Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dads and Doulas

When I first meet a couple - many times I notice the dad has very little questions of me - his eyes start to glaze over about 30 minutes into the conversation - and I just know he has an overall view of my work - but not a clear picture of how I might be able to help HIM. 

I do understand that - it's very hard to describe what a doula does in the labor room - or even in those phone calls during the hours of early labor.  I make suggestions, provide reassurance of what is normal, try to give them a clearer idea of what things might look like to say "let's head into the hospital".  In the labor room, it can be a position change suggestion, changing the bed, offering a drink of water to the mom, a soothing voice, but I'm definitely concerned about the dad also!  Does he need a chair, does he need some reassurance, does he need a suggestion of how to better support her, does he need some coffee or food, does he need to leave for a minute and know that his wife is still supported?  Do the family in the waiting room need to be updated?  Does the car need to be moved?

Again- hard sometimes to describe what I do.  But recently when I was with a first time dad whom I had actually just met the week before - I was so pleased to hear him enthusiastically  tell me how much I had helped them on the birth - that he felt he owed me so much.  And I was reminded once again that after a birth, dads really are my biggest supporters, my best advertising.  So thanks for the hundreds of dads who have allowed me to share their magic moment of birth, and come out on the other side with a great birth memory and a better idea of the value of a doula - to the dad!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Baby #700

When I started to attend births 24 years ago, I never imagined I would see so many babies come into the world. What has been the toughest part of this passion? First of all - remembering everyone's name! Honestly, the older I get, the worse it is to remember names. But after all these years, I can still remember something from almost every birth I have ever attended.

Today was a real treat. I had worked with this couple on their first birth and felt privileged to be asked back for number 2. And this was a very typical second birth. Mom called me at 5:30am, 30 minutes after going into labor. And baby was born about 80 minutes later. All went well and I was so happy to share their journey again.

And today was a milestone for me - baby #700. Some have teased me that after l000 I'll quit - but who knows. I just know I'm thrilled to have had a part in so many birth stories over the years. If you are expecting - I hope you'll consider having a doula as a part of your birth. It will not only add to your cherished memory - but hers!