I never expected to become so engulfed in learning. I feel like a happy binge eater. I’m gobbling every delicious morsel of knowledge about labor and birth I can and loving every moment. I’ve got so much information I’m spewing it out Peter while we (ahem) “cuddle in bed.” I’m teaching him about the cervix and the wonders of the uterus and how the shape and size of a woman’s foot can give good information on how easily she’ll birth. (*see below for info about this) He’s very patient with me.
It’s hard not to post every interesting article I read on Facebook. Trust me, for every one article I’ve posted on my FB page about birth there are literally dozens that I’m not, for fear of irritating innocent bystanders. Beyond the raw information I’m absorbing, I’m also shocked by something else that’s new, I’ve never been so interested in references before, or who funded that study or this study. I MUST know the bottom line. I’m absorbed in this and it’s just the beginning. I find myself staring in disbelief at the clock, two AM! I’ve been reading labor and birth blogs/articles for three hours. I’m Alice in wonderland and I just went down the rabbit hole.
Truthfully, it feels good. I’ve found my axis and now I’m spinning with purpose. I can see my future for the first time with concise clarity. I am suddenly running my own business, so to speak, and now I have a two-year plan, a five-year plan and a ten-year plan. I have NEVER been one of THOSE types of people. So, you’ll have to forgive my fervency. I’m a little frantic with my birth incarnation.
I’m energized with purpose for a reason. The benefits of a doula are INCREDIBLE! Here are just a few reasons why I’m convinced that having a doula present (and not just your partner) makes a huge difference. Did you know that by having a doula you will literally reduce your labor and lessen your chance of cesarean? I’ve experienced natural childbirth and trust me when I say, shortening your labor is (in most cases) a GOOD thing. Since 1980, research has been done to determine the benefits of doula assisted births. These studies showed that there were significant decreases in birth interventions including:
- Decreased medical intervention in labor
- Reduces need for cesarean by 26%
- Reduces the need for forceps or vacuum extractor by 41%
- Reduces use of pain medication by 28%
- Reduces dissatisfaction with birth by 33%
- Reduces length of labor
Six weeks after birth, mothers who had doulas were:
- Less anxious and depressed
- Had more confidence with baby
- More satisfied w/ partner
- More likely to be breastfeeding
These statistics appear in Hodnett E, Gates S, Hofmeyr G, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2003. Issue 3, Art. No. CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.
Also this is a great link with more detailed statistics done on a group of Guatemalan women; the results of doula assisted labor were jaw drooping and very positive. In order to confirm their study and to ensure that it wasn’t an isolated event they did the study in Houston, TX, as well. Pretty convincing: look for yourself.
I’ve got three confirmed births lined up. Boy, do I wish I could spill the beans on all the details of my clients, but that’s not professional or ethical. Plus, I’ve signed client confidentiality agreements. But what I can say is that I will be attending my first ever hospital birth in (hopefully) about two weeks. This is where the dream meets the dirt. I’ve got to shake a leg and prove I can do this. I’m excited, I can feel the adrenaline seeping through me just typing it right now, and I’m afraid. Afraid of what I may or may not be able to do, afraid of not delivering the goods, so to speak. However, we fall down and we get up. This is about learning and not performance. All my clients know that I’m in the beginning stages and have agreed to work with me regardless. They are trusting of me, so I will be trusting of me. But more than that, of HIM. I remind myself of that beautiful scripture, “Christ in me, the hope of…”
*Midwives and experienced doulas alike will tell you that they can look at the sway of a womans back or the size of a woman’s foot and get a good sense of the bone structure of her pelvis and how well the baby will fit/sit. Not an exact science, nor one to place bets on, but interesting nonetheless.