To Doula or not to Doula.

Doula of course!

But before we get onto that topic, lets have a little chat about ‘birthing experiences’. Your Wife or partners birthing experience will be unique in how long it will take, how much pressure they will feel, how small or large your baby is etc. Generally though your Wife or partner, from the moment people around her either know or notice she is pregnant will more likely than not, tell her about their experience. So let me tell you now, their experience is likely to be horrible. It was likely in hospital and they will like tell your Wife or partner that it was the single most painful thing they have ever experienced. Nice.

I am here to tell you gents, your other half does not have to have a negative birthing experience. She may go though the entire process without even touching gas and air ( half nitrous oxide and half oxygen mix or better known as laughing gas). She may go through labour without screaming like some holywood movie actress. It doesn’t have to be like birthing experiences on ‘One born every minute’.

And trust me, I was called deluded when I said that I wanted a calm labour for my wife by some women. But that is exactly what we got. My wife also, was made to feel naïve for wanting a calm, natural home birth for her first child. That’s what you are up against. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

my next post will cover language and team work in the hopes to setting up a positive birthing experience and how Sarah and I prepared for our birth. There is one thing that may help create a positive birthing story for you though. The Doula.

Our Doula and friend Bryoni

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So a Doula will most likely be a new concept for you to think about. The best way to explain what a Doula is would be to call them a birth companion. They are trained, but are basically a non-medical person who can attend your birth to assist physically and emotionally both your Wife or partner and yourself. They provide continuous support during labour and generally provide prenatal visits to get to know you both and postnatal visits to make sure everything is going well with your new baby.

There are many reasons why having a Doula is a brilliant addition to you both during your pregnancy but to explain it as simply as possible I have condensed it down to the most important stuff for you.

By having a Doula at your baby’s birth you will significantly increase maternal and foetal health*, decrease the chance that interventions (medical process by which midwifes will try to speed up the process of labour which can be stressful and/or traumatic) are required.

  • 31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
  • 28% decrease in the risk of C-section
  • 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
  • 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

*more than any other person (including midwives and family members) who is continuously there with your Wife or partner during labour, according to multiple studies.

A doula is literally a form of pain relief with women far less likely to request an Epidural or C-section if they have a Doula.

It is completely up to you whether or not you hire a Doula. The above is just fact and I urge you to talk seriously about it with your Wife or partner because it is an important decision, it can also be costly, but absolutely worth every penny.

I won’t go into our Birth story until after the next post as I want to pen it out in full, but without Bryoni with us our birthing story and my wife’s labour would not have been as calm as it was. We would not be able to describe it as wonderful. And when I say ‘wonderful’, I don’t mean that the end result was wonderful, I mean the entire experience. All of it was magical, wonderful, brilliant, exhilarating. There was even a little humour thrown in.

Bryoni was there from 9pm an hour after I got home until Oak was born and then some. At all times was she with us. At all times she attended Sarah like a friend. She cared for her, calmed her and loved her. She rubbed Sarah’s back when she experienced a surge and I wasn’t there to do it myself. She whispered affirming words to Sarah to let her know how how well she was doing. She made drinks and gave me time to eat. She helped the midwives. She was there to make sure the midwives knew our birthing plan and if she needed to, act as a buffer between the midwives and Sarah.

I am in no doubt that with Bryoni as our Doula at our home, our birth was safer, calmer and more wonderful than it ever would have been anywhere else. And I am eternally grateful and humbled to and by her. Bryoni was exactly what we needed.

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Our Doula Bryoni (you will notice this is a hospital. Sarah needed quite a few stitches)

Now your Wife or partner may not feel comfortable with someone she doesn’t know being there while she is in labour and that’s absolutely fine. But I cant stress enough the importance about communicating different ideas so your Wife or partner is comfortable with the plan she makes.

From our point of view though, a Doula is there to be whatever you need her to be and they are invaluable.

A massive, unending heartfelt thank you to Bryoni. I dare say Oak is a happy, calm and wonderful boy in part because of your involvement in our birth story.

If you want to find out more about hiring a doula, ask your midwife or google doulas in your area. There will be a page up soon with links to sites we have come across that are useful. This will include a link to Bryoni’s web page on Divine Doulas.

 

2 thoughts on “To Doula or not to Doula.

  1. I am so very much enjoying your blog Will. I totally love seeing men empowering other men. When our first child was born (she’s 12 this year) David was made to feel like a spare part by those around us. No-one ever thought to ask him ‘how are you’ in truth his comfort and support meant everything to me. I’ve often seriously thought about training to become a Doula. It’s something that was always there to support us woman, but like many things modern life has taken it away.

    Like

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