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Friday, July 30, 2010

anticipation - and why it does no good

I have a client who is at the 37 week mark. She really wanted a homebirth but, due to Georgia being the way Georgia is, she's having a natural, hospital birth. Anyone who has, or who has tried, to give birth naturally in a hospital-setting knows this is no easy task. It's why I often claim that doulas are necessary birth support for women who plan intervention&medication-free births with doctors. My client is going to show up to the hospital to push, though - which will make fighting off any possibility of IVs and epidurals a lot easier. However, she lives 3 hours north of me. Knowing how important her natural birth is, and knowing how badly I want to be there, I find myself on my toes. I am awaiting a phone call, checking in via e-mail, and trying to find out if she's feeling any signs of early labor.

We e-mail each other often (both having two children, our phone conversations can become quite disruptive), and she recently discussed with me how concerned she is that she will go into labor before her mother-in-law gets into town to babysit her older children. How she is worried about how her husband will react, and how she's stressed she'll go into labor during the day - when her kids are still awake.

Jump backward in time a day, when I tweeted furiously about being nervous beyond sanity about a dental appointment. A dear "internet-friend" of mine responded by telling me to, "release what is not in your control." She went on to tell me that anticipation was, essentially, useless. Immediately, I felt better because she was right.

Stress and anxiety are often defined as the anticipation of an event. Often, when a woman is in labor (particularly, in transition) - she will need to be told, "You have to let go." Once a woman releases herself of hiding and fighting the pain, once she stops anticipating the next contraction - she can release herself from that control. In every birth I have seen, where a woman just accepts her birth in the way that it is, when she stops trying to run away - she begins pushing within a matter of minutes.

It makes sense that this same principle be applied to all aspects of life. Anticipation is the feeling of anxiousness. Anxiety causes heart problems, high blood pressure, headaches, and shortness of breath - amongst other things. What if we just let go of the stress of things that are off in the future? Instead of anticipating the future, what if we promised to just focus on the events as they happen?

I e-mailed my client back and told her, "there is no way to guarantee you won't have the baby before your mother-in-law is there, so don't anticipate what you can't control. Release yourself from that. I know it's hard, but you have to let go of stuff that is not in your ability to change... let [your birth team] stress about [everything]. You have one job and that one job is to birth your baby. We will take care of the rest."

So, I followed my own advice. I handled the things that I could - I charged my camera, printed off directions, and packed my doula bags. However, I don't want to sit there and wonder every second if her baby is on the way. It does me no good, just like it would do her no good. Once she calls, I will take care of things. Labor, and life, are not predictable. It's more sensible to just take care of things as they fall.

Funny that it took a "dental doula" to make me realize how important it is to release yourself and just let go.

Give it a try. You'll feel better.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

where will YOU give birth?

First: please, take my poll ---->

Second: where have you given birth to the children you have now? (If you have any)

Third: will where you give birth to any future children?

Fourth: why?

I'm going to write a post later with my reason for having a homebirth and I'm going to write a response to the poll results.

For now, your help and answers are much appreciated!

bad doula: the doula who knew better

I forgot to hire a doula.

Mind you, I'm only 13 weeks pregnant and I have some time before I am set to give birth. However, I also know that I should have hired one before I left Arizona. Now, I will have around 2 months to find a doula when I get back.

The reason I forgot to hire one is because I forgot I needed one. Or, even worse, I thought I didn't need one.

I know.
bad doula.

It's hard to explain. I know doulas are amazing, and I'm not just tooting my own horn. Ask any woman who has had a doula and she'll tell you that they made a difference in either a small way or in the biggest way possible. They help. It's obvious.

Maybe, for a weird reason or another, I considered myself immune to doulas. I plan to have a lot of people at my birth. I know a ton of women who have never witnessed a birth like the one I am having, and I feel honored to have them there. I also feel more comfortable in groups - and I know I won't have an issue telling people to get the Hell out if I change my mind. I have people there who will give massages and rub my back. They will fill the birth tub and get me water. Take photos and video tape.

(doing the doula thing and rubbing some feet)

I know doulas do emotional too. However, as my husband said, I "
know all their mind tricks." I know what they might say and I figured this was a disadvantage. Then it hit me.

I'm scared. I'm scared. I've never had a homebirth. I'm terrified of transfer. I'm terrified that I will change my mind. I fear the unknown and, though I have seen homebirths up close and personal - I have never had one. The only people at my birth who have witnessed a homebirth are my midwives and, God willingly, if she can make it - my friend over at Birth Faith.

So, why was I convincing myself I didn't need a doula? My job is normally to convince women and men that they do need a doula. In spite of my knowledge and even though I "know" what doulas say and I "know" what they do - I
need that.

I am probably going to say something like, "
I'm scared"
and I need someone to say, "
I'm here."

I am probably going to say something like, "
It hurts too much"
and I need someone to say, "
I know, but it won't hurt forever."

I am probably going to say something like, "
I can't do this"
and I need someone to say, "
But, you are. And, you can. And, you will."

I then sat there, pouring over names of doulas and thinking, "
Damn. I'm picky." Then I questioned - wait. Are most people this picky? Are people this choosy when they opt for me as their doula? Just as I was contemplating this notion, a client of mine back in Arizona, who is pregnant with a 2nd and planning a VBAC delivery, sent me this message on Facebook:

"[my husband] said he feels confident in being my doula since we can't have you. He's kind of funny that way, it's hard for him to connect and feel comfortable with people. That's why his instant comfort with you was very unlike him but quite a blessing.

I wish you could be here too...but I know it will all work out."

First and foremost, bring on the doula guilt! I wish I never had to move because then I would never have to leave my clients. Secondly, wow. My job just felt even more important than the pedestal I thought I was already putting it on. Three - I need that. Of course I need that, and, of course, I have the right to be picky.

So, doulas - did
you have doulas? Will you?

Or non-doulas - what did you think about
your doula if you had one. If you didn't - did you wish you did?

And, most importantly, how did/how would you
choose your doula?