Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Thursday, July 26, 2018
What is it that the doula do?
Simply put a birth doula is professional labor coach. A doula attends the mother during her labor and delivery, offering emotional and physical support. She has specialized training and experience with the entire labor and delivery process (natural and medicalized), and is devoted to serving new mothers and their families to achieve the birth experience they desire.
We promise we will NOT replace you.
Your doula is not interested in replacing you in the delivery room. Your partner is going to need reassurance, comfort, and love from you to make it through her labor and delivery and the doula's job is to step aside and help you do what you do best; being there for her when she needs you. Your doula will be your guide, and like a good jock strap she is going to provide you with enough support to get you through this! She may take the lead for a bit now and again when she sees you need a break or are unsure what to do, but a large part of her role is to show you what to do and how to do it so that your partner remembers how amazing you were in helping her have an incredible birth.
We're like the "Phone A Friend" option, only better.
We all know you have been there for your partner the past nine months, helping her rub coco butter on her swelling belly and massaging her aching feet. We know you went with her and cringed through watching that infamous video; the grainy one that has emotionally scarred so many men in childbirth ed classes across the nation. You've also likely read every book on pregnancy and childbirth and babies that your wife handed to you over the past year in preparation for this very moment, so when those first contractions hit and you instantly forget everything we promise we will not judge you. Your doula is going to be right there by your side gently reminding you about how to time contractions, what it means when a care provider murmurs your wife is "at 0 station and 60% effaced", that it is in fact normal for an incredible amount of fluid to gush out when the sac finally ruptures, and will calmly guide you over to help "hold a leg" when the moment of truth arrives.
Here's your hall pass.
The one thing expecting fathers tend to appreciate most about their doula is the fact that they can take breaks during their partner's labor. Having a doula allows you to be able to go to the bathroom, take a quick nap, go grab a bite to eat, or simply take a break from the excitement in those long hours leading up to delivery. A doula also offers peace of mind to those who like to have a plan laid out if there is an emergency - fathers can safely and guilt-free leave their partners in the trusted care of their doula while they are able to go with the baby after delivery if an issue arises.
We'll hold your hand, too.
It may seem like all the focus is on your partner (because it is), but your doula is aware that you are going through a big life event as well. Don't be shy about letting her know if you have any concerns about what's going on in the labor and delivery room. She understands what you're going through and will be happy to help make sure your are getting the same answers and reassurance your partner needs to make informed choices during her labor. Your doula is also acutely aware that not every guy is going to be able to put on a brave face through all of the more graphic parts of the labor process. It isn't easy to suddenly see the person you love most in this world go through what can only be described as one of the hardest (but also one of the most incredible) things of her life. Your doula is there to help reassure you that even though things may look and feel scary, it is all part of the normal birth process.
We will not burn sage or start a drum circle in the delivery room (unless you ask us to).
While TV and social media have pegged doulas as all being the stereotypical New Age Flakes, most of us are actually pretty "normal" individuals. Just like everyone else, doulas come from various backgrounds and have differing life-styles and values. It is true almost all birth workers (individuals who work within the birth community) tend to have a more holistic and natural approach to things but the beauty of a doula is that she sets all of her personal beliefs aside and supports her clients choices and decisions 100%. Hiring a doula does not mean you suddenly need to start drinking home-made kombucha and listen to Peruvian pan-flutes set to whale song during your morning commute to work, it simply ensures you have someone devoted to making sure your and your partner's wishes are honored as you bring your child into the world.
The buck stops here.
Your doula works for you and you only. She does not answer to your care provider, nor is she an employee at the hospital or birth center who has to adhere to their rules. Her sole focus is on your partner and you. This is important as it allows your partner to know without a doubt that your doula is there supporting and honoring her wishes no matter what. You can trust that your doula will give you honest, open answers regarding care options and will always list the pros and cons of any intervention offered. She will not become frustrated with your questions and will not judge any decision made. Your doula has made a commitment to your partner (and to you) that she will honor and respect your preferences, provider suggestions and hospital policies be damned.
Monday, July 23, 2018
1. Ask us where WE would want to deliver.
Doulas are placed in a unique position in the birth world. We often get to stand silent witness as different obstetricians, nurses, hospitals, and yes even midwives question (or worse, flat out ignore) a mother's choices in the delivery room. We have seen it all, from beautifully supported births down to horror stories where the mother's consent is violated repeatedly. Doulas have to be careful about how and what they say in regard to hospital and care-giver practices when speaking with their clients, however if your doula says she will not attend births with a specific provider or at a specific location there is probably good reason for that. The same goes if she tells you that she would deliver her own baby with a specific provider or hospital/birth center.
2. Pictures, or it didn't happen. (Does your doula really want to see your mucous plug?)
We all know how excited you are for something to indicate you're approaching the start of labor. It's been a long ten (yes, it's actually technically ten) months waiting for that first contraction to hit, marking the moment when you finally get to meet that precious little bundle. Trust me when I say your doula is just as excited as you are. We live and breathe birth and we LOVE it when our clients go into labor! However, a picture mail in the middle of the night showing what you think may or may not be your mucous plug cradled lovingly in a wad-full of T.P. is not always the best way for us to share in your enthusiasm. Certainly let your doula know if you think you passed your plug - she may even request a pic! - but consider saving the image for your pregnancy scrap book unless she asks you to send it her way.
3. There is a doula out there for every individual, and we want you to find the right one for YOU.
Take your time interviewing doulas before making your final decision. Just as you are a unique woman with specific life style choices and preferences, doulas come from all walks of life as well. You should feel a kinship with the doula that you choose - a "click". While it is true that you do not have to even have met your doula before labor for her to positively impact your birth (studies have shown that just having a doula sit in the room with you greatly impacts birth outcomes), for you to get the best experience possible it is worth holding out until you find the perfect doula for you! As doulas, we want you to have the best birth possible and we know that means that we are not always the perfect fit with potential clients. We will not be offended if you ask us for referrals so you can interview other doulas in your area!
4. No, we won't deliver your baby. No, not even 'accidentally'. No, really.
Seriously. This is a big no-no. The role of your doula is to provide informational, emotional, and physical support for you during your labor and delivery process. A doula DOES NOT perform any medical tasks and is not properly trained (or prepared) to deal with emergent situations that could potentially occur during a normal birth. Yes, doulas have a great deal of knowledge and training about the birth process. And yes, we trust the body's natural ability to have uncomplicated deliveries 99.9% of the time. However, we do not have the training or skillset to handle medical emergencies. If your doula tells you she is comfortable delivering your baby for you, please understand that she has over-stepped the bounds of her profession and is no longer acting as a 'doula', but as an unlicensed midwife.
5. "Student" and "In-Training" doulas have value, too.
There seems to be a popular thought out there that women can get a "steal of a deal" by hiring a student doula or doula in training for their births. So what exactly is a student doula? This is a term often used to describe an uncertified doula who is working towards certifying with a particular organization. There are many certifying organizations available for doulas to choose from, all with different requirements for certification and guidelines they expect their doulas to adhere to. It needs to be mentioned that doulas are not required to be certified. A doula who is going through her certification process may have attended zero birth prior to starting or may have been attending births for 20+ years and decided it was worth affiliating herself with an organization. Generally speaking, a student doula has completed her "hands-on" training requirement prior to seeking clients, but that is not always the case. So, what does this mean in regards to the overall "value" of your doula's services? Experience, of course, does count and certainly has it's value which is why most doulas who are certified and/or who have attended more births charge more. However, a student doula also has value. Consider the fact that your doula, whether she has 700 births or 2 births under her belt, is devoting her time to you for the entire length of your active labor through your immediate postpartum period (up to three hours after you deliver). For some women, this means upwards of 18hrs total of labor support. This does not include the time your doula will spend with you prior to labor, being on-call for your delivery (which means they are unable to make any other commitments or solid plans during that time-frame), or the time spent with you during any postpartum appointments. Regardless of whether a doula is certified or not, she can have a very positive impact on your delivery (as mentioned before, studies have shown the benefits of just having a doula in the room with you). Please keep all of these factors in mind before you start "bargain hunting" for doula services. Normally the fee your doula charges has been agonized over - doulas do this work from the heart and are not out there trying to rip anyone off - and she is charging what she needs to be able to stay in business.
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