In honor of World Doula Week starting tomorrow, I thought I would start my blog with a personal story of myself, my birth, and why I doula.
I was about 34 weeks pregnant and about to have my second son. We lived in San Diego, and I planned to try for a drug free VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) at the military hospital. I had extremely high hopes for a better experience and birth, but still really didn't know what to expect from a natural birth since I got the epidural extremely early with my first and barely felt mild contractions for longer than 2 hours.
I joined my local ICAN chapter, posted a few questions and asked for advice. A doula was a common theme in this group, it was suggested often, but I had no clue what it was. After some research I felt like I needed one to be successful. I found my doula after the first meeting. Her presence was calm, reassuring, and so confident. Our prenatal meetings were therapeutic, she helped me open up about my cesarean and help my husband understand why I needed this VBAC. You see, at this point, I still heard the phrase "once a cesarean always a cesarean" quite often. And most that I told were saying that scheduling the cesarean is "so much easier" than going through labor and birth. I mean, going through major surgery is so easy along with taking care of a toddler, right?!?! NOT AT ALL!
My doula helped me understand the risks and benefits to every intervention. That is basically what got me into this situation in the first place, right? She was amazing. And she was there when I needed her. My labor came on naturally at 40+3 weeks. I labored for 18 hours and having a vaginal birth was the most healing and empowering experience that I could have ever imagined. You don't realize how important birthing your own child, pulling him to your chest, and gazing into their eyes right away is. I didn't get any of that with my first and I know many other moms can relate. After my birth with Gannon, I immediately knew that becoming a doula was my path. I wanted to support families during this extremely important and life changing time. And if I could make even a small difference in their birth experience to help make it positive, then I did my job.
To all my fellow doula's out there....keep doing the amazing work you do and Happy World Doula Week!
Here are a few images from my birth with Gannon, I'm pretty sure I didn't open my eyes the entire time haha....enjoy!