I went through 10+ hours of pitocin-induced back labor and gave birth to a healthy little boy all without an epidural.
Hello, my name is Kendra and the above statement is not a boast but rather to share what is possible with the right birth team. The intent of this post is to share a resource that will help you have the birth experience you desire, no matter what that is.
This resource being a doula.
I’ve had two birth experiences and while the last one was far more painful, it was easier in a way because I felt in control. With my first birth my husband was my only support. He was wonderful, but neither of us really knew what we were doing and I was left feeling alone and scared.
With my last birth we had a doula who was not only my support but also my husband’s, coming alongside us and supporting us as a team.
Allow me to briefly share my two different birth experiences and then I will share a bit more about these wonder women called doula’s and how they help a laboring momma.
Birth Experience #1
With my first, we planned a homebirth. A late-term diagnosis of ICP changed our plans. We switched to a doctor’s care and I was induced at 40 weeks. Because we had planned a homebirth and were anticipating my midwife team and their care, I hadn’t made any other plans and that left us a bit vulnerable at the hospital.
The induction was a gentle one and a cervix ripener was all I needed to go into labor. But it was still scary. Instead of being at home with my wonderful midwife team and hubby, I was in the hospital, left alone for the most part with just my hubby.
I had back labor and was just miserable. Jason did what he could to help me but we felt like we were in over our heads and alone. Our son was eventually born in the water the way I wanted but something about the whole experience was hard for me.
I told Jason that next time I got pregnant we were hiring a doula. He agreed.
Birth Experience #2
After discovering I was pregnant with our second, I immediately put out feelers for a doula. I found several, interviewed a few, found two I really liked and made a final decision. Based on my personal criteria and needs, I chose the one that seemed to fit best.
We met a couple of times and sent many messages back on forth on Facebook. We discussed my plans and wishes for labor and delivery and talked about relaxation and how to help me be comfortable during a likely induction.
Due to the return of my ICP, my doctor felt an induction shortly after 37 weeks would be the safest thing for my baby. A gentle induction did not work this time so we started a pitocin drip in the evening.
My doula came and worked with me to help naturally further labor as well as changing positions, trying to flip my sunny-side up baby and working towards my overall comfort. After a long night where she got less sleep than I, things hadn’t progressed at all. I sent her home around 10 a.m. to get some rest so she would be able to help me when things really got bad.
Around 2 p.m. contractions became harder and more regular but I still wasn’t in “active labor” even though the pain was getting worse and worse. At 3 p.m. I still hadn’t progressed and was miserable.
By 4 p.m., Jason had called my doula and told her what was going on. I was just trying to survive each contraction and rest between them.
My doula returned by 6 p.m. and I really hadn’t progressed nor was I yet in active labor (contractions 2 minutes apart). I was also very tense.
She began talking me through each contraction. Reminding me of the things we had talked about. Asking me to think of my son and realize that I would be holding him soon.
With her coaching, I began relaxing through each contraction. As I relaxed, things finally began progressing. Two hours after my doula arrived they checked me again and I was at 8cm! In two hours, I was able to progress more than I had in the 4 hours before she came!
They filled the pool for me and I got in around 9:15 p.m. and less than 20 minutes later, my son was born.
After everything calmed down and my doula left, I turned to Jason and said: “Best money we ever spent.” He nodded and emphatically agreed.
Even though my second birth was far more painful and harder, I was left feeling empowered. I had faced my greatest obstacle to an unmedicated birth and overcame it!
What a Doula Does
A doula’s main concern is the momma. She looks out for the laboring mom’s comfort and helps support mom and dad as a birth team.
Her goal is to assist the mom in having a positive and safe birth. Whether that is an all natural unmedicated birth or a fully medicated one, the doula is there for the mom.
A doula provides physical, emotional, and educational support.
Unlike a midwife or nurse whose main concern is mother/baby safety, a doula is there for mom’s comfort.
For me, I wasn’t left alone trying to cope as best I could. I had constant support and coaching towards my goal of an unmedicated water birth. Without her coaching, it’s likely I would’ve never relaxed enough to progress on my own, leaving me with no alternative but an epidural.
Who Would Benefit from a Doula?
Basically, any mom who is preparing to give birth, whether to her first or her last. However, I believe the following moms would really benefit.
- A first-time mom
- A mom who knows she will be induced
- A mom who is trying for a VBAC
- A mom who has a history of long complicated labors
- A mom who has very specific birth goals
- A mom who doesn’t have a birth partner
- A mom whose birth partner wants/needs a little support
For more on finding the right doula, this post answers the What Should I Ask When Interviewing a Doula question.
Have you used a doula during birth? Did it make a difference for you?
Kendra is a daughter of God, Wife, Mommy and Blogger. In that order.
She writes at A Proverbs 31 Wife where her goal is to encourage, uplift, and inspire wives, mommies, and homemakers everywhere.
With practical homemaking tips, ideas for saving money, recipes that are healthy and delicious, diy tips and more, it’s no wonder A Proverbs 31 Wife is becoming the go-to homemaker’s website for thousands of women daily.