My first piece of advice to a new mother interested in birthing in the hospital is, GET A DOULA! With my first child I thought I would be able to go into the hospital with the wishes for a completely natural birth and get what I wanted, and what I had expected from birth. I was wrong.
Just as my experiences which greatly differed under OB/GYN care, and Midwife care in my post The Midwife Difference, I had greatly different experiences without a doula for my first, and with a doula for my second. If I knew what I did about hospital birth today, I would have requested money for a doula rather than baby gifts, and essentially a bunch of stuff that we would barely use for our oldest.
One of the major concerns over doula’s is the cost. Insurance rarely covers it, though they should because it lowers the costs of birth in a hospital by reducing the need or request for pain medication, epidurals, and even reduces the risk of a forcep assisted or vacuum assisted delivery. But cost being the biggest issue, many women opt to skip on a doula and use their husband or partner in this type of support capacity. I know, because I did it! And if anyone knows my husband, half way into my labor, we found him sleeping in one of the most uncomfortable looking positions. Yes, that is him to the right, sleeping on the floor with a tipped chair as a pillow while I was hooked up to pitocin. Had I had a doula, I would have probably skipped the pitocin, and the hospital, and especially the Obstetric practice I ended up with! Come time for my second child, especially given that my birth was going to be a VBAC attempt, I knew how important it was to have a doula no matter how much it may have cost our family. And it was worth it! The support I got from my doula was unlike anything my husband, or hospital staff could have ever provided me with. I knew this because I had already been through it one time, and I vowed I wouldn’t do it again under those circumstances.
But there are ways around the costs of doulas. Believe it or nor there are a lot of doulas out there. Training, well educated, attending births for decades, all kinds. And they are willing to work with you, especially if the only factor is money! If you contact local doula organizations such as DONA, or CAPPA they can point you in the direction of women who are still becoming certified and many of them would be willing to attend a birth for free, or seriously discounted rate to obtain their birth hours needed for certifications. Then there are the doulas who have been attending birth for decades willing to work on a sliding scale, payment plan, or make alternative arrangements such as bartering. Heck, some midwives even barter for services. Makes me glad I married a handy husband! (LOL!)
But what exactly is a doula?
Well, a birth doula according to DONA :
A birth doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials CD(DONA).
A postpartum doula is described as :
A postpartum doula certified by DONA International is designated by the initials PCD(DONA).
Where did the word Doula come from? Seems like a funny word right? Why couldn’t they just use the word birth attendant, or support person, or something less exotic. The word doula comes from an ancient Greek word that means mothers servant or woman who serves.
Where can you find a doula? Lots of places!
DONA International – Doulas of North America
CAPPA – Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association
Find a Doula
How to Find a Doula from ehow.com
Take a couple minutes to watch the short clip above, in June the full film will be released and I can’t wait to see it as a whole. I am sure there is going to be a lot of awesome clips that really show the great need, and benefit of having a doula.
What are the benefits of having a doula? There are a lot!
Numerous clinical studies have found that a doula’s presence at birth
Research shows parents who receive support can:
Thank you to DONA International for the amazing resources above provided on their website.
I hope some of the mothers, especially first time mothers will take a couple minutes to really seriously consider having a doula for their birth.
March is Woman’s History Month, and well deserved! There are so many amazing and inspirational women out there that I am not sure we can fit them all into one month! At least we get a 31 day month though!
So what I thought I would do is take a couple women who are my personal idols, women who have been inspirational to me, women who have moved me…
My mother : Deborah. Coming from a family of 9 children, and being the third from the top in the hierarchy, she certainly did not just blend in and roll with the punches that is for sure. A single mother of two children by the time she was 18 years old, she make it work, and never looked back. Left an abusive relationship, and years down the road was a successful restaurant/bar owner in a beautiful area of Connecticut. She then met my father, and started over. My oldest sibling was graduating high school when I was born.
She has been such an amazing support system, a great grandmother to her 6 grandsons, and overall just the best example of a woman role model.
Karen Kilson : I met Karen when I started to get heavily involved in the birth community in Connecticut. When I started ICAN of Connecticut, she contacted me before anyone else about how happy she was to have ICAN locally and how much of a need there was. From then on we had an amazing friendship, and bond. We grew closer over time, and became the best of friends. She was my idol in the birth community, from being on of the pioneers of a hospital based doula program in our state, all of her certifications from DONA to CAPPA, and the library of more books than either of us could ever count. She was a devoted grandmother, not only to her own grand children, but to my children also, and she was just the brightest, and most amazing soul you could ever encounter.
She was my doula for Benjamin’s Birth, and later on that year, in late 2009 she unexpectedly lost her life.
I talk to her daily still, although she is not physically here with me, I know she is my angel on my shoulder. She guides me through my days and I know she is incredibly proud of everything I do.
Ina May Gaskin : I dont think there is really much that can be said that most of my readers do not know already about Ina May. So I will keep this one on the shorter side. My parents have constantly told me that if I was alive in a different generation I probably would have been one of the Hippies on The Farm, and I am willing to bet I would be one of those catching babies! Her education, the way she speaks, and the way she reaches out into the birth community is something I wish to be some day!
Hilary Clinton : I always thought when I was a kid that I would head into politics. I seem to have made a huge detour, but I guess I still have the chance as I do get older. But Hilary has become such a role model for me for all her accomplishments. There really is no rhyme or reason, or special meaning for this, I just think that she sets such a positive example for young women everywhere.
Esther Booth Zorn : I know many of you are probably shaking your head and wondering who the hell she is. But Esther is actually the founder of ICAN. I am sure there are a few of my ICAN ladies out there that know that one though. Over 25 years ago, it started around her dining room table as CPM also known as the Cesarean Prevention Movement. Without ICAN I can certainly say I would not be the birth advocate that I am today.
Susan B Anthony : One of the original feminists. I credit her to being such an amazing and radial woman to help so many other women in being able to be treated equally in society. Even though much of her work focused on suffrage, where would any of us be today without the simple right to vote?
I hope you enjoyed a list of some of my idols..
Who are yours?
When the year started, I laid out a set of goals that I wanted to accomplish for 2010. Some were easy pleasey, and others were more difficult, or a process that may span longer than just 2010, but as long as I got some effort made towards them, I would feel comfortable checking them off as part of my 2010 goals.
My biggest goal that I included was starting the process of becoming a certified childbirth educator, and there are a ton of reasons this is the path I want to take at this point in time. One being time and availability. Because of my fail safe childcare plan crumbling mid summer last year, it kind of put my plan of going back to taking on doula clients on hold. Which for me is not completely heart breaking because it is enabling me to further my education during this time.
But there are so many reasons really why taking on this challenge is important to me :
Ok, so it all sounds pretty cut and dry right? WRONG! There are so many different programs with so many different options, approaches, and prices! It almost makes my head spin when trying to narrow down which option I want to look into and commit to! It is hard enough getting me to commit to spending a large sum of money (you would have seen my hysterics and buyers remorse over our recent sectional purchase, as well as my digital SLR.) but when I have a half dozen reasonable options to spend the money on, all within the same general price range, it is like watching a chicken with its head cut off in my decision making process.
And I don’t dare approach my husband about this before making a final decision on which program, path, and price!
So what am I looking into?
So, you can see what a pickle I am in.
If you have any suggestions, recommendations, or input I would really appreciate it all. This is a choice I have been thinking about since the start of January, and I still have no idea what to do.
At this point, I am leaning towards the first option with Lamaze, mainly because I can easily book a date with the awesome Robin Elise Weiss to come out and teach, and be able to actually meet her since we have worked together for about 6 months now. She invited me to write for Birth Activist last year and she has been an awesome mentor.
But please, if you are a CBE, chime in!