Why do I need a DOULA?
This is often the first question I am asked about hiring a doula for a birth. Many first time parents figure they can manage the intricacies of labor and birth on their own, and often, they are right. From my own experience, my babies did not get the memo on what they were supposed to do to come out and my first labor was induced for high blood pressure and ended in a cesarean section. I was determined to VBAC from the recovery room and approach things differently.
Doulas were just making their way into the labor rooms. Many nurses were threatened, thinking their care was in question ( I know, because I was also a labor nurse). I knew that in my own nursing skills, I wanted to be able to help more and becoming a Doula fit that perfectly! When I became pregnant with baby #2, I planned on a complete childbirth class series and hired a doula. My husband at first was hesitant, asking “Was I not helpful enough the last time?” He had been , but I explained how much I really wanted a vaginal birth and I wanted to create my own team of supporters to accomplish that task.
My labor nurse and Doula gave me the confidence that I was doing everything I needed to do to birth my baby. They were right there to give sips of water, walk me up and down the halls, move me around the labor room when I was exhausted, kept me going to the bathroom, never once making me question my ability to birth my baby. It was a long two day induction, and when labor finally started, it was 17 1/2 hours later when my baby girl was pushed into the world, even to the surprise of my OB. My doula sat with me, breathed with me, asked me hard questions when I mentally shut down in labor and doubted myself.
If she doubted that my birth would happen, I never knew it. She honored my wishes, did not suggest pain medicine or interventions and I had the birth I wanted overall. I found a hidden strength in myself and she helped me discover that! I might have been able to figure it out without herm but I didn’t have to, and I am forever grateful. So are the other 7 children I went on to VBAC…for me a doula changed my childbearing years and helped me find a new confidence in myself as a woman and mother. I am forever grateful. She became an honorary family member, sharing in those intimate moments and taking the journey with me.
I am a little biased when it comes to answering this question…No, you don’t have to have a doula, but why wouldn’t you? Doulas want to be there for the birth you want to have, and they are continual supporters in the journey. They have a heart for women and for birth, even when things may not go as planned, they will be there to hold your hand, wipe a tear, and see you through. Having a doula is a wonderful gift to give yourself!
Have a beautiful birth!
A Tulsa Doula