My Experience with a Birth Doula

After writing this title, I’m still shocked I can even say “I have a birth doula!”  My third pregnancy and first time with a birth doula seems surreal.

birth doula

With my first two pregnancies I had all the excuses – I didn’t know much about doulas, I was planning an epidural so didn’t think I needed one… Ultimately, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to partner up with Better Beginnings, a premier birth and postpartum doula company in the Twin Cities area, and I’m thrilled to share my journey with new or future mamas.

First things first!

What is a birth doula and how can they help you?

Birth doulas are non-medical pregnancy and labor professionals who provide informational, physical, and emotional support during childbirth.  Services are customized to address the unique needs of each woman and family.  Birth doulas can help provide evidence-based and anecdotal experiences related to pregnancy, labor and delivery to help families make informed decisions and be as prepared as possible for labor and delivery! In addition to helping with pain management techniques and providing a calming reassuring voice during labor, some birth doulas will take photos and help capture your special moment.

You can learn more about a birth doula here.

birth doula

What was the process like for me?

I met Hallie Rogers, the CEO and founder of Better Beginnings a year+ ago and we connected right away (I swear doulas have a unique, friendly and welcoming demeaner :))  When Hallie learned of my third pregnancy we hopped on a call and she shared all the details of her amazing company and the doula process.  After our conversation, I filled out the new client information and was sent a list of birth doulas I could interview.  We interviewed our first doula via Zoom, and it was an immediate fit!! Next, I filled out the new client information sheet – which includes a lot of the details on my pregnancy to date as well as what I hope to get out of the experience.

Then, Laura (our birth doula) reached out to me via e-mail and text with a few “get to know you” questions and more details on the process – including opportunities to attend weekly client enrichment sessions to learn from experts on various birth/postpartum related topic!  It was also reassuring to have  her phone # on hand early on! Since I had shared with her my previous birth experiences, and my continued tailbone pain, she also sent some recommendations for Pelvic Floor therapists and gentle exercise/stretches to consider.  I LOVE how she was willing to listen and help support my basic concerns/pains.

Around the 31 week mark of my pregnancy, we had our first prenatal visit with Laura.  Ideally, Laura would have came to our home, but due to sick kiddos, we were able to pivot virtually.  Laura gave Gavin and I a great overview of what to expect during our labor and delivery process, we went through my list of birth preferences, and talked through a few next steps.

Our next Prenatal visit was around 35 weeks, where we focused what to expect when labor starts, practiced some acupressure, stretching and even labor positions :).  It was nice to meet Laura in person and feel more confident about the big day!

Our (short) birth story…

Graham Joseph joined our crew on 4/15/22! 8lbs 2oz (9 days early).

Labor started Thursday night with cramping & discomfort. Things escalated with diarrhea & vomiting (happened with all my labors so I didn’t think much of it). Woke up Gavin, took a bath, messaged our birth doula, bounced on the birthing ball. I wasn’t having regular contractions so I thought it would be a long night – but quickly everything felt like one giant cramp/contraction with no reprieve. I was soon in a lot of pain & wanted to get to the hospital (for either some pain relief or a calming reminder everything I was feeling was normal).

In true Minnesota fashion, roads were icy & slow so it took longer than expected to arrive at the hospital😩. By the time we checked in I was 8cm dilated & we opted out of the epidural (I’m honestly not even sure I could have sat still long enough to have one placed). Thankfully, our @betterbeginningsmn doula, Laura arrived just in time for pushing + keeping me calm & focused. Graham was born less than an hour later!

What was my labor/deliver like with our doula?

    • They say you can never truly plan for labor/birth, and that remains true with all three of my babies!  This labor happened fast and furious, and to be honest. Thankfully, Laura was there for the birth of our son.  She was able to capture some amazing photos of his birth, and also hold my hand during pushing and help keep me calm and collected.  Her soft mantras of telling me I’m doing it, to trust my body, and to keep breathing helped me focus on the process and not the pain.
    • There were parts of my birth that didn’t go as I wanted, but Laura helped my process the pros & cons, and even made a visit to our house a few days after birth to help us talk (+ laugh) through the reflection of our birth experience.  I’m so grateful for the birth doula experience and can’t recommend Better Beginnings enough!

doula

More about Better Beginnings!

Better Beginnings offers premier birth and postpartum services.  Their mission is to provide the best birth and postpartum support to clients through caring, knowledgeable, and professional service during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum time, so that families can transition more easily into their new life together.  Learn more about their services here!

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