If 2017 has taught me anything is that EVERY WOMEN deserves A DOULA.
While I personally think that a natural birth is the best way to go; prepared with a comprehensive child birth education class I also realize that this is my preference and my story. Not every women has the same desires – a birth at home in a pool. We – all women and birthing people – should think about (yes even those working in the birth community, doulas and child birth educators I am talking about you) that we have a story to tell and yet to be written. As an outsider looking at a situation it is sooo easy to judge, which I catch myself doing more often then I want to BUT we should just stop.
I have had several clients last year whose stories did not go as initially planned but in the end they had a healthy baby in their arms and YES sometimes that is ALL that they wanted. One example is of a couple that had fertility issues for years, they both envisioned life with children of their own and the anticipation grew with every year they weren’t able to conceive on their own. Finally it happened with some assistance (Hello medical advances of 2017) and shortly after they were preparing early on for a natural birth. They picked a great doctor and took a well thought after child birth education class, they read the books, they prepared and hired me as their doula. We made a plan for an all natural birth. The father wanted to be very involved in the process and I was going to be his right hand. Then it turned out the baby was BREECH. (no local doctor will attend a vaginal birth for a first time mom around here) and all their plans shattered. A cesarean birth became very real. Other factors in their life happening at that time made them feel that this would be the best option.
Not that they didn’t want the vaginal birth, not because they didn’t realize that it wasn’t dangerous or even possible – they needed a HEALTHY BABY – in the least stressful environment.
They contemplated and choose a planned cesarean. They needed something predictable in their life. A day and time their lives would change forever. Being their doula I understood their reasoning and feelings and supported their decision. As an outsider it might be hard to understand that they choose this decision; since we have the option to drive north to the Bay Area and find several provider that would support a breech vaginal birth, or waiting until the very end of pregnancy or even labor for the baby to turn head down, This happens all the time by the way) or even simply refuse a cesarean and take their chances with a breech vaginal birth with a provider not necessarily experienced with this variation of normal.
They choose a planned cesarean birth for their birth and their child. The hospital and doctors were able to honor almost all of their requests and they went ahead with a family centered – gentle – cesarean. (again here came their preparation into play since they took a child birth education class) and are now a very happy family of three. They would make all the same decisions again and feel very happy about their choices. Again it was their birth story and this women contemplated all scenarios over and over again before making this hard decision. NO outsider has the right to judge her!
Another family had I had the pleasure to work with made a decision that might be incomprehensible for others as well. I supported her during her second pregnancy and birth. She had a home birth with her first. While her baby is now a beautiful, healthy and sassy 5 years old; her birth birth didn’t go as planned. The midwife handled the situation accordingly but the mother was scared, very scared for herself and her baby for a LONG couple of minutes. So with her second pregnancy she choose a hospital birth. While the situation was one of a kind and it was very unlikely to happen again HER feelings got the best of her and she couldn’t get herself comfortable enough to choose a home birth again. Not because she didn’t trust midwives, not because her baby got injured or wasn’t healthy – this decision was purely based on those couple of minutes she felt helpless for herself and her new baby. She also wanted something more predictable and picked an amazing doctor for a her prenatal care and was anxiously awaiting for her new arrival. Then this baby decided to come much later then his sister who thought 37 weeks was enough. By the time 39 weeks rolled around my client was even considering an elective induction because her feelings were all over the place and she couldn’t wait for the birth. Very anxious. At the end she had a very quick vaginal birth without any complications. Again from an outsider prospective a home birth could have been a reasonable option for her but her intuition told her to choose a hospital this time. I was her decision and her story to write!
To be continued…