Thursday, May 27, 2010

Doula or Dontcha?

lol i feel so clever for my post's title right now ;)

anywayyyy today I want to talk about something exciting that Ryan and I did over the weekend!  We found our Doula!

What is a doula? 

Well, according to the definition given to us by DONA International (doulas of north america):

"The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.." (

We've been describing a doula as our Birth Advocate and the individual who will be there to support us throughout our labor and delivery process. She will also be a part of our prenatal process and she pays us one post-partum visit too. A doula is an amazing birth diva, basically.

Why is a doula necessary?

For us, having a doula is a necessary part of our birth for several reasons. First is because neither myself nor my husband has ever had a child before (that I know of lol) and we really felt it would be helpful to have someone there who has been a part of many births, who knows what is "normal" and what isn't, who can help me through the tougher parts of labor and who just support us on the journey.

Second, I wanted there to be someone who is on my side during the birth process.

Let's face it, at a hospital I am just one of dozens of women who will be there that day.  I am not their main priority (imagine that!) and therefore it's easy for them to treat more like how they see me: just another patient.

But for me and Ryan obviously, this is a HUGE deal. We are individuals and this is the birth of the most important little person in the world: our BABY. Nothing matters more than making sure that everything goes okay for us and our little baby.  We may be a number to a large organization but we are certainly individuals to ourselves and our baby is a little individual too and we want to make sure we are receiving the kind of care we need and that we feel we deserve.

That's where our doula comes in.

Before giving birth, it's common nowadays to write what's known as a Birth Plan. A Birth Plan is basically just an outline of what you would like to have happen under ideal circumstances. Of course, as is true of everything in life, things don't usually go according to plan, we know that but we still have definitive wishes for how we would like things to happen and what criteria we would like our caretakers to utilize when making decisions for us.  Out doula can help in this arena because not only will she support us in writing our birth plan but she will be the one who makes sure that the doctors will be following it to the best of their abilities during the labor and delivery.

I really thought this was important because I didn't want Ryan or my mother to be responsible for memorizing a list of procedures that we didn't want or experiences we needed modified for our needs. I wanted Ryan to be able to be as stress-free on our baby's Birth Day and I wanted my mother to get the chance to just be my mother. I didn't want anyone to feel obligated to have to monitor what anyone else was doing. Plus, like i said, we have no clue what the hell is going on anyway and i have the feeling that in such a potentially intense situation like giving birth all of those things we've committed to memory will just go flying out the window.

So that's another thing our doula will do for us. She will make sure that the doctors aren't deviating from the birth plan too much.

For example, I am hoping to have an entirely natural birth (laugh all you want! my mother had natural births with all four of us and my sister had a natural birth with both of her kids. i'm not sure about my other sister though). I don't even want anyone to OFFER me any pain medication. I will specify this in my Birth Plan but if for some reason a nurse decides to take it upon herself to bring by the concession stand of pain meds anyway, my doula will usher her right out of the room for us. Problem solved.

Overall a doula is going to help us create the kind of experience we want for our birth. And so it was important for us to find a doula that we connected with.

Enter in Amy Owen, our newly acquired Doula! We had the pleasure of meeting with her on Sunday and it was an instant connection for us.

Amy totally understands my approach to this birth. She is on the absolute same page as me and even better, she gave me so many great ideas.

I described to Amy that I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, she was enthusiastic about this decision and gave me a list of why this is a really desirable approach to birth - especially a birth at a hospital (there is less time for unwanted interventions if you do most of your laboring at home as opposed to laboring in a hospital room).

She went on to describe the ways in which we could make the birth experience our own. Things like music, lighting, the setting, aromatherapy; elements that allow us to really define the experience for ourselves. It hadn't occurred to me that I could set the stage that I wanted for my experience. If i wanted a holistic and beautiful atmosphere, i could create that.  That sounds much more lovely to me than the florescent experience being offered to me through hours spent at a hospital.

She also discussed the fact that this is a Birth Day Celebration and not something to be anticipated with fear and trepidation. We can look forward to the birth, we can choose to embrace it, to be thrilled when it happens and to get through each contraction knowing that 1. they will end and 2. at the very end our little baby will be in our arms. It will be his or her birthday! and that IS something to celebrate, isn't it?

It certainly is. 

So needless to say, we are snapping Amy Owen right up and we are thrilled to be doing so. I'm feeling better already about things. My compulsive need to "have a plan" for everything is temporarily satiated and I am really excited about what these next weeks and months hold for us.

Up next for us: determining where exactly we will be delivering our little bundle of joy. I'll of course keep you updated on that one as it progresses.

But first, we have to move. And you all know how much I just looooooove that process lol. Saturday can't come and go quickly enough.


Emma said...

That second picture is so beautiful!!

And Amy looks really nice!! I definitely stalked her website.

I can't wait to Celebrate!!!

Shauna said...

Yay! I am so glad you found a doula that you like. I think it's so important to feel connected to the person who will be supporting you on such a special and momentous day! Your reasons for choosing a doula are basically the exact same reasons I chose a midwife. If I have to be transferred to an OB, I'm going to be calling up doulas for sure. :)

Rhian said...

Emma I totally want to buy that second picture and hang it on my wall or something, I love it so much!

Amy is awesome! I'm hoping my plug will send more business her awesome way, i have several local pregnant friends!

and yay tank you so much Shauna! I totally love the whole experience a doula can offer, it's just perfect for me/us :)

IGal said...

Very cool post... I didn't know that!

thejoysofjess said...

I'm glad you found someone that you love! I considered a doula, but in the end decided to skip it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you found someone like Amy! Just knowing she will be there with you would calm my fears. I love her last name too =)

Victoria said...

I'm so glad you found an awesome doula! I can not wait to read your birth story :)

I had a doula hired and loved her so much. She would have been such a great resource had things not turned out the way they did for me

Jennifer said...

My mom went the natural route with me and my brother! Seems scary, but people do it all the time so I know it's OK haha! You definitely have on the doula side...I totally am going to need/get one when I'm pregnant!

I am so excited for all that's to come for you & Ryan! & baby!! Love you!

Amy said...

Rhian, thank you SO much for plugging me. That was incredibly touching. I would happily meet with any mama and papa who were considering a doula. I strongly believe in this calling, as you know :) Be loved, be empowered, be strong.

Can't wait to see you again!