A Letter to an OB from a Birth Doula. Birth is never boring.
I sat with a woman who was about to become a mother with medications, instruments, and monitors in every place imaginable. Her beautiful, natural minded birth plan had gone out the window hours ago when severe preeclampsia prompted an immediate induction. Her health was in danger and she was being managed well by her nurses and physician. Her health care provider walked in to check on her and said something to me that left me thinking. She said to me (the doula), “Oh I’m so sorry, this is the worst kind of birth for a doula, you’re probably bored.”
Dear Health Care Provider,
I am so thankful for what you do. Often birth is a beautifully natural thing, but sometimes it becomes more complicated. Like today. It is your knowledge and skills that will help save the life of this mother and child that maybe only 100 years ago might have been lost. But as a fellow member of this birth team, I believe my role is important too.
In an uncomplicated birth, I do a lot of physical comfort. We do position changes, breathing, counter pressures, and various things to manage the intensities of the birthing time. However, another huge part of my job is emotional support because childbirth is a roller coaster of emotions, even in an uncomplicated situation. When the need arises for medical intervention, my role often shifts to even MORE emotional support.
I know this woman (or couple) intimately. We’ve spent hours talking and discussing her fears, wants, relationships, memories from her own childhood, and so many other things. So now I get to be there to let her grieve her previous birth plans, validate her feelings whatever they may be, and encourage her to seek understanding. I want her to make safe decisions she feels comfortable with so she looks back on this experience with positivity, even in the midst of changing plans. Having a doula does not guarantee a perfect or uncomplicated birth, but I can be the keeper of the peace in a potentially chaotic situation.
I have no agenda, no plan of what a perfect birth looks like, and no preference on choices she makes. What I DO care about is that she feels supported, safe, and happy even when things don’t go as she’s planned and hoped for. That’s what a doula does; provides unbiased physical and emotional support throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Providing physical AND emotional support, and I love to do it.
So no, this is not the worst kind of birth for a doula. This IS birth, for this woman, today. And I’m honored to be a part of it.