I happen to be one of the few blessed individuals that gets to say that I am a birth worker. I get to be present as a life comes into this world, as a child takes their first breath.I get to see the look on the mom's face when she hears her child's first cry. I also get to see a look between a mother and a father who have longed for this beautiful child for sometime. I get to watch as time stands still. I am a doula. Many people ask me what a doula is and my response is simple, a woman supporting another woman who is about to become a mother, whether its the first time or the third time. Then I also go about my little speech about how having a doula present can give you a much safer birth-- here are some facts:
-Women who receive continuous support from a birth doula were found to have shorter labors (by at least 40 minutes) and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores.
-31% decrease in the use of pitocen
-28% decrease risk of cesearn section
-34% decrease risk of being unhappy with their birth experience.
... that is just to name a few facts about how having a doula present has been shown to be safer!
At this point, I happen to be blessed to mostly work with military families. I have a special love for the mom's who's spouse is active duty and my active duty mamas! Many of us do not live in the same state as our immediate family and we only have our spouse and a couple friends for support during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum. When I gave birth to my son, it was just my husband and myself. I did not hire a doula (the doula I wanted to hire is actually a good friend of mine-- her daughter was born 3 days prior to my son), and at times I wish I would have.
During my birth, my husband was an amazing support system, but we both have looked back and wished that we would have hired a doula.
Here are some of the reasons we wished we had hired a doula:
-I had terrible back labor and had to have counter pressure or rubbing on my back pretty much constantly for the 4 hours I was in labor.
-It was very difficult to keep our family updated (it wasn't #1 on our list of things to do, but it would have been nice)
-We have 1 picture from when my son was born and it was a picture my husband took. (to the right)
-There were times my husband, being a man, did not understand what I wanted or needed. Doulas are trained to understand and be able to communicate with their clients often times without speaking.
-I delivered in a slightly reclined position, when it was not what I wanted or what was best for my body or my son.
My most recent birth, was actually an active duty mom. Her and the father of the baby are not really in contact, and he was not going to be there to support her. Her family lived out of town, 17 hours away to be exact. As soon as my client's water broke (9:20am) she phoned her mother, who was on the interstate within a half hour. She delivered her beautiful daughter at 9:15pm-- her mother was still about 6 hours away.
I was her only support system. Once her labor became active, she was no longer able to talk on the phone or send text messages. She handled labor beautifully, if I might add. There were also nurses and her doctor that tried to push her around and hook her up to pitocen (she had only been in labor 6 hours and it was progressing well, there was no need for pitocen). She found strength in the fact that another woman, another woman who had had an unmedicated birth, present.
When a contract hit, we would breathe and moan together. I would hold her hand, put cool wash cloths on her forehead, and feed her ice chips. When she felt the urge to push, we had her mother on speaker phone. It was a beautiful experience, but not ideal.
Here are some reasons you should consider having a doula become part of your birth plan if you are attached to the military:
-Often times, at military hospitals, women have had a less than desirable birth.
-It is a known fact, that delivering at certain military hospitals increases your risk of contracting an infection during or after birth.
-It is possible that your husband/so might not be able to accompany you to the birth-- especially if he is deployed.
-Often times who you would choose to be your main support system (mom, grandmother) live in a different state and are unable to attend.
-Your doula, often times has more than one certification under her belt. She might also be a postpartum doula (someone who comes to your home and helps you out during the postpartum period), a placenta encapsulation specialist, and/or a breastfeeding educator-- or knows someone who is. This makes the postpartum period much better for you! She can help with breastfeeding and help you adjust to motherhood!
If you are a military spouse or active duty, please look into doulas in your area! They are an amazing asset to have during your journey of becoming a mother!
Who am I?
My name is Jessica Kellaway! I am the earth loving, natural parenting, Jesus loving weirdo your mama might have warned you about!