Jennifer delivered her first daughter vaginally, under the care of her OB but in a funny twist, a midwife who happened to not be busy at the time (the OB was caught up elsewhere) actually caught the baby. Jenn knew that for her next pregnancy, she would start with a midwife right in the beginning because it was closer to what she wanted her birth experience to be like. When she became pregnant again, I offered to be her doula for her birth of her second daughter, Braelynn. she wasn’t sure exactly how I would fit in but she took me on.
Jenn was completely immersed in herself during her labour and she handled each contraction beautifully. She laboured most of the time in the whirlpool with the lights down low, her husband, a close friend, her midwife and me in the room with her. The mood in the room was calm and relaxed, we joked around and kept spirits up. It was a quick and easy labour, and Jenn did it all her own way. Braelynn Mae slid from her mother into the outside world around 1 in the morning, after a powerful and fast pushing stage.
My first perception of a doula was that it was only for people who had a lot of money and that they were unnecessary. little did I know that in having Kyla be a part of my birth, I would end with a new perspective of how much a doula is important to the outcome of the experience. Having Kyla as a part of my birth team helped me to have the extra support for Graham (husband) and for myself, and helped me to achieve my goals in the delivery room.
Kyla was a great asset to my childbirth experience. She provided me with support all the way from early on in the days of pregnancy, before labour even started, right up to the delivery. She was available for me when i thought I was in labour, but it turned out it was a false alarm. She was respectful of my birth plan and fully supported what i wanted and my goals. When I needed to keep walking and stay mobile, she was there beside me to keep me going and keep my mind distracted. In the early stages, when we couldn’t keep my contractions consistent, she had so many ideas and kept encouraging us to stay positive. Kyla also helped me to discover that the labour ball, which I didn’t think I wanted to use because it was not helpful in my previous labour, actually became a critical tool for this birth. She encouraged me to try it out and I found that, this time, it provided comfort.
Kyla also was key in providing support for my husband. In my first labour, he was the only support I had and I counted on him through it all. This experience left us both exhausted and it meant he was unable to help as much in those first few days postpartum. With this delivery, Kyla was our key to success. She gave him time to sit back and rest when he needed. This helped him provide a more calm emotional support without wearing him out. For him, being my only support in my first labour was stressful for the both of us. My husband is not experienced in labour so it left him feeling uncertain. If he left to take a break, I had no one. I was afraid of him leaving me even for a moment. For this labour, Kyla became my major support person, and it made me more confident that I had both of them there for me together.
Having her be a part of my labour was important because it helped me achieve the kind of labour I wanted. With her experiences of delivering her own children in a similar way that I wanted to birth, I felt confident in her information and trusted her suggestions. Her constant encouragement and emotional support helped me to believe in my ability to go all the way. Even just the physical touch of her hands on my back or her holding my arm through a contraction gave me comfort and allowed me to stay calm. I felt very cared for in such a vulnerable situation. I recall that when I was pushing and I felt like I might give up, Kyla and my midwife gave me the encouragement to keep going. Together they told me “you can do this, just one more good push, she is almost out” which helped me get through those last, very intense few moments.
Every time i go over the labour in my head and I realize that I accomplished what I wanted and that I got through it, I still am surprised that I really did it. I didn’t believe that I could. Kyla helped me to see the strength that I didn’t know I had. I also learned that doulas are not at all unnecessary but that they are an important part of the whole experience. They help you to see childbirth, and yourself, in a different light. So thank you!
Doula at Sisterhood Wellness Collective, Toronto