While I was pregnant, I did an enormous amount of research (what soon-to-be parents don’t?) about all things “baby” including the hospital where we would be delivering. The hospital website said that you could bring your “doula” with you. Well, not being familiar with the word “doula”, I immediately thought of “obdula oblongata”, as in a part of your brain. OBVIOUSLY this isn’t what they meant. I mean, of course all mothers bring in their brains, pregnant or otherwise, to the hospital. I quickly found out, thanks to a search engine that “doulas” are basically birthing coaches. I wasn’t sure, at the time, why I would need one since I was planning on having my husband and mom at the birth.
Then I remembered. One of my husband’s “quirks”…he hates hospitals and gets the worst case of heebie-jeebies known to man anytime he enters one. The sight of me in pain, having contractions and potentially swearing as I near transition might be enough to send him into an alternate place…a place that doesn’t allow him to really “coach” me. Get my drift? So that leaves mom, but who would take pictures? Yeah. So I decided that a “doula” might just the perfect thing for me. I decided to mention this to my hubby and tested out the waters, this is what the conversation sounded like-
Me: “Hun, I was reading about delivery today on the hospital website, and they said we could bring a doula if we wanted.”
Me: “I was reading about delivering the baby today, on the St. David’s Hospital website and they said that we could bring in a doula, if we decided we needed one.”
Steve: “What’s a Doula? Is that like a Sherpa or something?”
Note:Sherpas are indigenous Himalayan people who have incredible strength, resilience and are considered to be expert mountaineers. These attributes make them invaluable guides when attempting to summit Mt. Everest.
On second thought, maybe a “Sherpa” would be the best option for us! After all, they are very strong (could pick Steve up when he faints), they have great resilience, (I bet they wouldn’t be put off by a woman screaming and potentially swearing while in transition) and they help people reach the top of the mountain (giving birth is one big Mountain). Perfect! My husband is a genius.
Unfortunately, Sherpas were in short supply here in the greater Austin, TX area. (I don’t think they enjoy 100 degree temps in the middle of summer.) So I decided to go with a doula after all. It was the best money ever spent. Seriously. Our doula, Amanda, coached my hubby and mom on how to support me during labor. She gave them helpful hints that really made a difference to my focus, comfort level, and helping to keep labor going! My hubby commented afterward that he felt so much more peaceful having her there and felt like he was able to soak in the experience so much more. So it was a win-win for all. I definitely recommend checking out a doula for your baby’s birth. Call a few, interview them, and see who you “click” with. I think you’ll be glad you did.