1. Information- Yes, you are perfectly capable of reading books and taking childbirth classes without a doula! What you will not usually have is extensive training on labor and childbirth and how to give families up to date information on the questions they might have. Educated and informed consent and refusal is ideal for all families. Through my multiple doula trainings, I have discovered the best ways to offer local families information on the questions they have, while remaining neutral regarding their decisions. I want you to have a beautiful birth, however that looks for you.
2. Hands-on support- I love to see a partner supporting a laboring mother. I also know what it’s like to offer a double hip squeeze until my arms are about to fall off, I haven’t used the restroom in at least 12 hours and I am asleep on my feet. That is a lot for your partner to take on while they are supporting you in labor and are excited to meet their child. Having another support person in the room that knows and understands your birth goals can be priceless, to you and dad. Often, partners and I will tag team physical support for a birthing mom. There are times I leave the room to offer some privacy to the birthing couple as well. I love utilizing the rebozo, massage, effleurage, counter pressure and physical support to my clients. You never know when you will need this, but having it can be so beneficial to your labor and birth experience.
3. Intuition- There are times that I just know a baby needs something specific to be born vaginally. I cannot explain how I know this but I often give these intuitive suggestions to the mother to utilize with much success. After years of watching mothers in the Oklahoma City metro area labor and birth, I have come to be able to know what certain sounds a mother makes mean. Offering position changes, hands on support, visual distractions, guided breath and reassurance help not only mom, but her partner and baby as well. Being in tune with my doula clients is important to me and an advantage to them.
4. Sounding Board- Sometimes, augmenting labor becomes a real possibility. When this happens, it is beneficial for the family to have another, objective person in the room to discuss the possibilities with. Often, there is only one choice presented by the provider. When this happens, I can help you navigate the options and need for the suggestions being given. You are the one to advocate for yourself via open and honest communication with your provider. I am there beside you to remind you of your goals and how these choices might affect those outcomes. Supporting you in the decision you make is a given. I love an empowered family!
5. Snacks- I have a Mary Poppins bag of goodies, which consists mostly of snacks and food items. I happily share with both mom and partner. On any given day, you will find in my bag some sort of raw nuts, nut butters, honey sticks (great for energy!), various protein bars, jerky (dads love this!), hard candies, mints, gum, fruit, and sometimes chocolate. Keeping your energy up while laboring is so important. Birth is a marathon, not a sprint. If you have not prepared to go 24 hours with no sleep, food or physical rest, it can really take a real toll on your body and mental status. That is why I offer snacks to my clients. What about the "no food or drink" rule imposed by most hospitals, you ask? It is a practice that is not backed by evidence and is actually not needed. If your provider gives you grief over food or drink, you are able to sign a right of refusal. *I also carry new lip balms for mom. Mouth breathing dries out your lips.
I hope this post has been of some help to anyone in the Oklahoma City area who is considering hiring a doula. There are many other reasons why my services is invaluable to your home birth or hospital birth. I would be happy to go over them during a face to face consult. Please go to the contact me section to set that meeting up as space is limited!