Why I Wish I’d Hired a Doula.
Part 2 of 2
My second birth was a completely different experience. My second child was born in water, in a wonderfully calm non-hospital VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I had no medical interventions and it was exactly the type of birth that I had hoped for the first time around.
Still, I wish I’d had a doula.
At that time, I still didn’t know much about doulas (I found out about a doula training offered in a nearby community when my son was around 5 months old… after looking into doulas more at that point, I knew that I wanted to do the training). Going into birth #2 I was a lot more prepared. I had taken lots of time on my own to read about and practice relaxation techniques, I knew more, and most importantly, I was prepared for the fact that birth is super unpredictable and anything can happen. The secondtime around I needed my mom to stay with my daughter, so I knew my husband would be my only support person, but at the time, I felt like since we’d been through labour together before, that would be ok. Although the birth went well and was generally a very positive experience, there are a few reasons it would have been very helpful to have a doula. Here are three of those reasons:
1. I still had a very long and difficult early labour. By the time I was in active labour, not only was I tired, my husband was also very tired. Having a doula there would have meant that he could gotten a bit of sleep when he needed it without leaving me to labour on my own.
2. Although my husband was amazing (my midwife commented at one point that he could be a doula!) and was great at providing comfort during labour, there’s really just something about having another woman providing encouragement and comfort that makes it somehow sink into just the right spot in your heart. My midwife (who was also incredible) stayed outside of the room I was laboring in during most of my labour to give us some space, coming in only periodically to check on me and baby. Generally, when she came in to check on us, she would offer words of encouragement. Somehow, she and my husband could be saying the exact same words, but hearing her say them made me believe them more. It was as if internally I was saying, “If she, an expert in birth, thinks I’m doing a good job, I must really be doing a good job.” Having a doula would have meant having that encouraging presence of a woman who understands labour and birth throughout the entire process rather than just intermittently.
3. Having a doula and my husband as support would have meant double the hands! There were times in labour when I needed my husband to hold my hand, rub my back, apply pressure, or some other comfort measure that tied up both of his hands, but at the same time, I also really needed some water or a cold/hot compress, or help getting the hair out of my face, or the pillow behind me adjusted. As most of yours, my husband only has two hands, and can only be in one place at a time. Having two sets of hands would have meant double the hands to massage, fetch water, etc.
If I ever have another baby, finding a doula will be right near the top of my list of things to do to prepare for the birth.