Throughout our labor and post-partum experience, we’ve been lucky to enlist the help of two magical women who helped me in ways that I never knew were possible. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived labor or the first two nights at home without them. These women were both doulas, serving different roles but with one unified goal: to make my life calmer and easier so that I could be a calmer and happier mama to Amalia.
I get a lot of questions from many of you (as well as from family and friends) about why I chose to use doulas, so I thought I’d talk about it a little more today. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture with either of them!
I’d also love to know about your experience with doulas. Did you use one? Did you love her?
I always knew that I wanted a doula at the birth of my babies. The idea of someone giving me extra support, whose only focus was to help me be comfortable during labor, sounded almost too good to be true. After looking into it, the service was more affordable than I had expected, so it was a no brainer. My friend Eva recommended CT Birth Partners, so I called them up at the end of my first trimester.
The woman who runs the company got to know me on the phone and then paired me with the doula that she thought would fit my needs and personality best. She teamed us up with Dawn, an amazing doula, mother, and woman, who has been at over 500 births over the years! Needless to say, I knew I was in good hands right away.
We had a few calls with her on the phone and that was the first time in my life that I realized labor didn’t have to be a scary thing. She made me feel so safe and supported without even having met in person yet. A few weeks later, she came over to talk to us about our goals for birth and to get to know me and Anel. She had the most calming energy, and I knew we had made the right choice.
Over the next few months of my pregnancy, she would call or text me after all of my doctor appointments to check in on my progress, and constantly reminded me to hydrate and rest. We didn’t talk at length very often, but I knew she was always thinking of me.
Where she was really clutch, however, was the night of Amalia’s birth. From the moment she met us at the hospital, I felt at peace. During each contraction (pre-epidural), she would tell me to breathe deep into my uterus, and held my hands while Anel would rub my back.
After I got my epidural, she made me a cold wash cloth with lavender oil for my forehead and encouraged me to drink water and rest up as much as possible.
When it came time to push, she coached me through each one, rubbing my head and hands as it progressed. At that point, she made me another forehead washcloth with peppermint oil to energize me. These little details may seem silly, but in the moment even the tiniest of gestures went a long way.
She was such an amazing support system during what could have been a really scary time, and I’m so grateful that she was there. She also encapsulated my placenta in the days following, but that’s another story that I’m a little afraid to talk too much about. Maybe next time!
I had never heard of post-partum doulas until a friend told me about them. Their job is to help new mamas in whatever way possible after birth. Anel and I talked about it while I was still pregnant, and we quickly came to the conclusion that we could use some help at night, the scariest time with an infant.
Baby nurses are pricey, but doulas are much more affordable! What’s the difference? A doula’s job is to “mother the mother” and basically make sure that she’s ok and feels supported. We found Natalie, our post-partum doula, via MothersCare Doula Services, and she did exactly that.
She would change Amalia’s diaper, and bring her to me to feed for those first few nights. She also made sure I was drinking enough water, and would answer any questions I had while I nursed. It was nice that Anel got a few nights of sleep at the beginning so he could be “on” during the day while I was brain dead and exhausted.
She also taught me some tricks for nursing, burping the baby, and soothing techniques. On top of that, she’d help clean up and make me “mother’s milk” tea to help my milk supply. I’ll forever be so grateful to Natalie who had the most beautiful energy, and kept me sane during our first few, terrifying nights home from the hospital.
A baby nurse is usually much more expensive, and focuses more on the baby as opposed to the mother. She might be highly trained in sleep training, feeding, etc. We ended up hiring one to help us with sleep training, but I’ll talk about that in another post soon!
I’d love to know about your experience with doulas. Did you use one? Did you love her?