A Doula's role during an epidural
You're in your seat on a plane going on vacation, a business trip, or just plain going. What runs through your mind?
The emotions and thoughts often experienced during a flight. As wondrous and amazing as flying through the air in a large metal object is, being mostly confined to a single space is anything but.
Introduce the Flight Attendant. A person there to help the flight go as smoothly as possible. They go over procedures that keep you safe in the event of an emergency. They bring you beverages and snacks. They check in on how you're doing. They can provide some insight and updates when the cabin hasn't heard from the pilot in awhile. They know where items are, and how to access them. They are professional, polite, and comforting.
Ever notice that for the brief times they are there, you're distracted from your discomforts? You feel slightly better, and you're left feeling slightly better?
So how does this apply to a doula?
Epidurals can cause similar feelings to being stuck in your seat on your flight. You can't get out of bed, you're limited to what people bring you. Not only are you in labor, but it can be tiring to lay for so long, mostly limited to rolling from one side to the other. You're excited that your baby will be in your arms shortly, but nervous about how it will all go. You're bored because your epidural is fantastic and working, and now you don't feel like you're in labor. You're hot because you're pregnant and in labor, but you're cold because hospitals are cold and epidurals can make you cold.
A doula is there to be your attendant. There to go over information about the procedures that keep you safe. There to bring you beverages and snacks, and ice chips. There to check in and understand how you are doing. There to provide some insight and updates (within their scope) when the doctor hasn't been in recently, and to help get your questions answered. They know where items are and how to access them. There to be professional, polite, and comforting.
As helpful as a doula can be for an unmedicated birth, they can be equally helpful for a medicated one.
At Embrace Births we believe that every woman who wants a doula should have one that understands and adjusts their support to each woman and their circumstances.
Giving birth is one of the most intense, miraculous, beautiful, messy, difficult, easy, MEMORABLE experiences of your womanhood.
Just as each birth and baby different, each woman is different. Thus the support that will help a woman feel most confident and comfortable needs to change with each mom and baby.
There's a newer idea that any doula can be the right fit for any woman. A birth doula should leave her own birth philosophies for her own birth experience, and embrace your philosophies for your birth experience.
Whatever most speaks to you, a doula is there for you. She's not there to speak with providers, be a birth activist, or push her own agenda.
Doula - a woman who serves
Embrace Births' believes that whatever your preferences, anywhere from an epidural in a hospital to a water birth at home, your support should be tailored to you and your preferences. Judgement-free, respectful, and empowering doula care.
"If you come in with a birth plan, you're gonna get a c-section."
A running "joke" that if you specify what you want out of your birth, the Labor and Delivery staff will make sure you end up having surgery. Not funny.
L&D staff are wonderful people (mostly). With good hearts, that love birth, and truly want to help you and your baby. In a lot of hospitals though, they have too many patients, and too little time to invest a lot of energy in reading something and remembering a birth plan you bring in.
Enter a visual birth plan.
I'm certainly not the first to come up with this. I just believe in the helpfulness a quick one page, easy to glance at list of birth preferences can be during labor and birth.
That is why I'm offering to create a custom visual birth plan for each of my doula clients after our first prenatal appointment. We'll go over what Mom (and dad) finds most important, and what choices they would like to convey to their L&D staff.
During labor we'll put this up in the room, so that everyone who comes in can clearly see it and easily know your choices.