By Jen Bain
The decision to hire a birth doula was absolutely paramount to my birth experience, though I couldn’t have known it when we first set out to make our birth plan. Like every expectant parent, my partner and I wanted the best for our first birth, our firstborn, and his first entry into the world. I expected everything to go smoothly. I wanted to hire a birth doula to ensure we had the best possible chance for a complication-free delivery.
Our amazing doula, Debra Woods, was magically perfect, smoothly fitting in to the dynamics of our unfolding birth-time. When labour began and she showed up at our house, I was so relieved to see her! She took good care of all of us and it felt easy and relaxed, spirited and soulful. My partner was comfortably guided and supported as he guided and supported me. Debra ushered me into ‘the zone’ and it was lovely! Her expertise was amazing, offering different positions, rebozo shifting, homeopathics and more! But it was really her very person that made me feel so relaxed. Things were going so well that we decided to stay home and have our baby in this sweet and loving atmosphere.
However, even with the best of chances, our careful planning, and every well-intentioned effort, our birth did not end up going ‘as planned’. I ended up needing to make a hospital transfer. But having our amazing doula with us meant we weren’t alone! Inevitably I required a C-Section, which absolutely wasn’t in the plan, but because we had Debra with us, I felt safe and my partner and I had an ally in the midst of everything. She never left our side, accompanying my partner as he suited up, telling him what to expect, and walking him into the surgical suite. She even made sure he had a coffee and a muffin. It was such a relief to me to have her there, knowing that we were somehow taken care of, even as our birth plan went out the window. I can’t stress this enough! I only wish I’d had the forethought to ask for more of her help post-partum. Even so, she helped me (mostly out of the goodness of her heart) for months as I struggled with breastfeeding. I now know that I wouldn’t be breastfeeding my sweet 8 month old boy if it hadn’t been for her.
Even though my birth story has a degree of trauma, I remember it fondly because of the support we received with our enchanting birth doula. I wouldn’t hesitate to have her by my side again. In fact, I’d consider it integral. Giving birth is quite a ride, and one with it’s own trajectory and momentum, sometimes requiring a total reworking of the plan. In cases like this, how dear it is to have the care of an experienced companion! And how grateful I am to have had ours!
Jen Bain is an Expressive Arts Therapist living in Vancouver and has been basking in the tumultuous glory of motherhood since September of 2013. When she is not delighting in her sweet boy, she can be found making pretty things and writing poetry.