Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Reese's 'Birth' Day
Reese’s ‘Birth’ Day….
I had a fleeting glimpse of what a ‘Doula’ meant when I was reading the famous “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” and thought that Doulas were not likely to be available to us in small cities such as Saskatoon (much less Rosetown, 115km outside of Saskatoon)! I thought the concept of a Doula would have been something I would have investigated further had I realized their availability to us sooner. Other mothers and fathers we knew had never mentioned a doula before, so that is why I assumed this would not be an option to celebrate the birth of our baby. I must say that there seems to be an incorrect perception that midwives and doulas are the same and are the old-fashioned way to celebrate your baby’s birth day –much like when health care was at a much lower standard and lower-tech. This could not be further from the truth and that is why I have chosen to share my husband’s and my experience in choosing to use Doula services!
Reese was due December 30, 2006 so my husband and I were attending the hospital orientation held at Royal University Hospital in early October. We were choosing to deliver Reese in Saskatoon due to my doctor being located in Saskatoon. It was here that we heard a brief presentation from Kari Hollingsworth discussing the role and benefits of doulas. It wasn’t until early December that we met with Lisa Wass and Ann Cook to fine-tune our Birth Plan. My philosophy for our baby’s birth was to have no medical interventions unless our baby’s life was compromised….this meant no epidural (or other medications for pain), vacuum, etc. There are many services doulas provide to help both mothers and fathers prepare for the birth of their child, but given that we enlisted Lisa and Ann’s services so late in my pregnancy, they were primarily available to assist with the actual ‘birth’ day. This meant reviewing considerations we hadn’t thought of as related to our Birth Plan, helping us with how to practice various breathing and massage techniques, a few different exercises for mom to practice, and even some herbs that I could try to induce labour naturally if I felt necessary (rather than being induced at the hospital).
Since this was our first child, my husband and I wanted to have some assistance for the delivery of our precious gift!! Our hope was for a safe and healthy delivery of our baby –one that both of us could participate in. Well…..on January 7th my contractions came with a vengeance, beginning at 11:45AM. It was like a light switch had been flipped! I had thought something was ‘up’ the previous night, and had called our doula to discuss what I had been feeling. Under her advice, I tried to rest as much as I could, thinking that I could be going into labour. My husband and I decided to make the drive into Saskatoon to have our baby delivered there (even though Ann and d Lisa would have come out to the hospital in Rosetown). When we arrived just after 1PM, Lisa met us at the emergency door for RUH and had even taken the liberty of saving my husband a parking spot!! --That is certainly going the extra mile! J
Upon assessing me, the doctor on call found that I was fully dilated…so up I went to the birthing unit, expecting my baby to be born very quickly! Ann and Lisa were great at involving my husband in my labour: they guided my husband as to what to do be it various position changes, massage, positive reinforcement to encourage me….soon (that means after five hours or labour), our son, Reese was born! I was fortunate that we didn’t require any interventions (episiotomy, vacuum, epidural, etc) other than the doctor suggesting he break my water as he thought this was holding the deliver of my baby. He was right! Within 20 minutes of him breaking my water, my son was born!
Typically, pregnancy and birth related health care facilities, classes, and books are tailored exclusively to the needs of the mother-to-be. Lisa and Ann’s practice was to include both the mother and father. We found our doulas attentive to our needs, plans, wishes, worries, and concerns regarding labor, birth, and transition to parenting our new baby. My husband was encouraged to be as involved as he wanted: from simply holding my hand to coaching me through each contraction. I concentrated on the labor, while my husband concentrated on supporting me. Ann and Lisa took care of everything else (being familiar with the process and terminology of birth to understanding hospital protocols while at the same time being and advocate for what we hoped our ‘birth’ day to be). They seemed to know what we needed before we did.
Overall, by my husband and I using doulas for the birth of our son definitely helped nurture and protect this intimate and life-changing event for our family! My husband and I felt that he was a better participant during the labour and delivery process as a result of Ann and Lisa’s doula services. Both he and I were much more prepared, confident, and…dare I say it….relaxed about the delivery of our precious son!
Tammy, Geoff & Reese
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