The back story with this one is a tic long but stay put and I hope you will learn so much!
With baby number four on the way, my husband and I had been reminiscing on our past labors with our other three kiddos. I was induced at 38 weeks with my oldest for pre-eclampsia, my middle came all on his own at 37 weeks and my youngest (and at the time, we thought last) decided he wanted to make his own statement coming into this world by arriving at just 35 weeks. For those who are unsure a baby delivered 37 weeks or later is considered “full term” any baby born prior is considered premature.
Long story short, with my third, my water broke around 1pm and I did not start having contractions until 8pm. They were going to start Pitocin (a medication to induce contractions) but were pulled away to an emergency and in that time my body decided to kick start itself. A mere 2 hours later my little Elias entered the world. During my labor my contractions got more intense than the ones before but when I was not contracting I felt fine and was even joking with my husband, the nurse and some friends. Now being that I labored fast (and my Dr. knew that) When I was about 7 cm dilated he said “If you want the epidural you better get it now because if we wait any longer there will not be time. There is just a little lip left on your cervix and when that is gone it will be go time, your body will rev up and you will completely dilate very fast.”
My other two kiddos, I got epidurals during labor. But this time I wasn’t in as much pain. Had he not scared me with the “Now or never” approach, I honestly probably would have went all natural with that labor. But I was already in an anxious state of mind knowing my baby was coming too early and may need NICU time so I just gave in.
That labor still makes me disappointed every time I tell it. Because I felt I could have went on but out of fear, chose to side with the doctor. Now do not get me wrong I was ABSOLUTELY in love with him and would have him again if he didn’t move away. I think he was just giving me a harsh reality check that it was now or not at all for an epidural.
After we found out about baby number four I did some research. I had never had a Doula before but was hearing about what great things they can do and how other mothers had such an amazing labor experience with them.
To start, if you are like I was, you may not know that a Doula and Midwife ARE NOT THE SAME. I never wanted a Doula because I associated that term with midwife which was then associated with home births. While may be the way to go for some, for me, with my history, it was not an avenue I was willing to take.
But after doing research and learning things, I found out they are not the same at all!. In fact a Midwife has medical education while a Doula is more of a support person during labor. They know about labor and the stages and techniques to help sooth yourself during active labor, but they do not have a medical license. A midwife goes to med school and is able to deliver a baby. During my research I also learned that a midwife will deliver in the hospital with you and you do not HAVE to deliver at home or in a pool. So my views on Midwives have also changed this pregnancy.
After teaching all of this to my husband and talking about it we decided to hire a doula for my fourth birth. I say this to potential clients of my own, make sure you interview doulas and pick the one you mesh with best! We found a local chiropractor that I ended up going to due to my severe SPD. After talking with her more and more I learned she was also a doula! We got along so well it wasn’t long before we hired her! With her on my side, I feel that I will have the support I need to continue to push through this labor and make my dream of a medication free birth a reality!
Let me tell you guys something. EVERY SINGLE PERSON NEEDS A DOULA IN LABOR. I repeat: EVERYONE! I cannot even begin to describe the amount of support I felt from her. I went into labor at 35 weeks (again!) and due to some unforeseen circumstances, my birth plan went out the window. (and that itself was very hard for me to grasp). She was there and helped keep me calm when I wanted to just run home and be done with it all. I went all natural WITH Pitocin and I am extremely proud to say that! I absolutely would not have been able to do it without her. There were a few moments of despair on my end and I will admit I did ask for some IV pain meds, but I was past the point of them. They told me I could not due to being so close to delivery.
Our interaction with our doula did not end there. She offered support postpartum as well which I firmly believe is SO important and I preach it to anyone I can. Moms always put themselves last, and we cannot keep doing that. We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our family too!
After everything she helped me through, that combined with my love for labor and delivery, I chose to become a doula myself! I am beyond excited that I chose this path for myself. I think I may even get more anxious than the mothers! I just can’t wait to be that person to them that my doula was to me!
I hope this post sheds some insight on the difference between a Doula and Midwife. My goal is to just educate even one person, so they do not have to feel that they are trapped or just a number while in labor. After all, its a very special time for you and your partner, your child is about to arrive in the world!
Much love, Allison.