“After doing extensive research and some serious soul-searching, I knew that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth. While I liked the idea of giving birth at home or at a birth center, my husband and I decided that since it was our first child, we felt more comfortable having the baby in the hospital in case there was some type of emergency. I knew that I would need a lot of support in order to forgo medication and unnecessary intervention in a hospital setting so we decided to hire a doula to help us achieve our goal. We hired the doula that was recommended to us by our OB’s office and felt so much better knowing that we would have someone there to support us the ENTIRE time I was in labor. The day I was waiting for had finally come, my water had broken and the OB on call had advised us to come into the hospital.
I called my doula, who informed me that she wouldn’t be able to come into the hospital that night, but she gave us the number for another doula—Robin. Since my contractions were still mild and only about ten minutes apart (and it was 10:30 at night), Robin told us to let her know when my contractions were 5 minutes apart and she would come to the hospital. I wasn’t so sure about having someone I had never met before help me through labor, but as my contractions got closer together and more intense, I was so glad to see Robin walk into my hospital room! I liked her immediately. As soon as she walked in the room I felt like everything changed. Her presence was so calming and reassuring—I was ready to get down to business—I was ready to have my baby. Robin helped me cope with the intensity of my contractions by massaging me on the birthing ball, coaching me to relax my body through the contractions and let my baby move through the birth canal, and encouraging me to move and switch positions all throughout labor. I only laid down in the hospital bed when the nurses made me and I think all of that movement really helped me to deal with the pain and move my labor along.
Not only did Robin help me deal with the physical aspects of labor, she kept my husband and I informed on the hospital routines and procedures – she was always one step ahead of the nursing staff! When I had been in the hospital for around 12 hours she warned me that they would probably want to start pitocin if I didn’t start to progress more quickly and what do you know, about 5 minutes later someone came in and told me that exact thing. It was nice to have the 5 minutes to prepare. Robin was ahead of the nursing staff on several other occasions warning me that they would suggest antibiotics and fluids to rehydrate me. (I had been sneaking water the whole time while the nurses weren’t looking so I stayed hydrated.) With Robin’s support and suggestions for different movements and labor positions we were able to avoid all medications during labor. When the time came for me to start pushing, Robin made sure my husband was prepared to document the birth of our daughter by getting out the baby book for footprints.
We forgot our camera but Robin took my husband’s phone and took pictures of the birth. I never thought that I would want pictures of the birth, but I was so glad Robin was there to take them for us. My husband was right there by my side and could focus on me and the birth of our daughter. After the birth Robin stayed a little while to help get us started breastfeeding. I had read up on breastfeeding, but reading a book and actually doing it are two completely different things! A few days after we got home from the hospital Robin came by our house for a postpartum visit to talk about the birth and answer questions we had about it. The delivery didn’t go quite as we had planned – there was some chaos and confusion with the hospital staff and I ended up having an episiotomy and a vacuum-assisted delivery. I was a little disappointed and confused about the delivery and it was nice to talk about it with Robin since she was there to witness the whole thing. I also told her about some issues with breastfeeding I was having and she was nice enough to contact some lactation consultants she knew and emailed me their advice.
While I really liked the original doula we hired, I am so thankful that Robin was the one who was there during my labor. She was so confident and reassuring. My husband and I kept saying after the delivery, “I can’t imagine having done it without her.” I still feel that way and will recommend her to every single one of my friends who is having a baby, whether they plan on an unmedicated birth or not.”