Every once in a while I find myself reflecting on my birth experience with Charlotte. I have mentionned previously in my blog that we had a doula. A doula is a labour coach and he or she provides support to the whole family before, during and after labour. She is really part of your journey as you go through this life altering experience together.
I had read about doulas in books and online articles early on in my pregnancy. Tim didn't really see the importance of having this type of labour support and thought that that's what the nurses were there for. You also have to pay for doulas yourself and he was nervous about spending the money as we were about to add another person to our family! In the spring, I attended the fredkid fair and spent some time talking with the doula who was working at the infomation table they had, all about the work of doulas. She told me about Emilie, who was working towards getting her certification. (Check out dona.org for more information.) I told Tim all about this, and because Emilie was still working towards certification, she might not cost the full price and money was a big limitation at this point.
In the summer we attended two different prenatal courses. The first was with Kathryn Downtown and it was focused on natural birth. It was fabulous. Kathryn is a doula herself and after this workshop, Tim realized that hiring a doula might not be a bad idea! Kathryn spoke about the role of the doula. They are not meant to take the place of the husband in the process. In fact, they can be a huge support to the husband and allow him to have breaks throughout the process. She talked about the doula as an advocate for the mother's wishes and desires about their birth experience.
The second prenatal class we went to was through the VON and our teacher was Kelly Ebbett. There are a couple of options for this class and we choose meeting one evening a week instead of doing a full weekend course. This class was also very good and Kelly was an amazing teacher. She is also a doula and she trains doulas too! (Check out her website for more information.) I saw Kelly at the global breastfeeding challenge and she said that her doula training class is more popular than she ever thought it would be! I think that is it wonderful that so many women are interested in doula training and hope that the word spreads about the value of having the support of a trained doula during labour.
After many discussions, Tim and I decided to meet with Emilie Patterson and decide after our first meeting if we would hire her to be our doula. Most doula's will allow you to do this without charge so that you can decide if they are the right person to hire. Emilie was wonderful. She was calm and a great listener. We decided to hire her! I think we had two prenatal appointments after the first meeting. She was available for birth two weeks before and two weeks after our due date. She also included a post natal appointment.
Emilie coached me through almost all of my contractions, telling me when they were peaking and receding. She was a calm, steady presence through the whole process. She stayed with me for many, many hours and had to express milk because she was still breastfeeding her son. She walked with us on the trail and spoke encouraging words over me. She must have been exhausted by the end, but was thrilled to meet Charlotte. She also gave us a beautifully written birth story after everything was over.
Tim is now adamant that we have a doula for future children! Full price, or whatever the cost! Having a doula allowed us to have the birthing experience we had only dreamed about. I highly recommend getting the support! Check out the section on prenatal birth options on fredkid.com for doulas in our area. If you are pregnant and interested in a doula, you can contact Emilie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy birthing!!