we love our doula

It’s National Doula Week! I was so excited to see these images floating around social media, with an extra opportunity to celebrate doulas around the world.

Doula Graphic

(Source)

Even though Liv is three years old, I think about her birth, our birth team, and our fabulous doula at least a few times a week. I feel so lucky and blessed that they were there for us, they took such amazing care of us, and enabled me to have the type of birth I’d wanted. (The only thing I really wanted was a healthy delivery and healthy baby, but to not have to be poked with ANY needles in the process was the icing on the cake.)

Meandbell7 thumb

(Bella was my at-home doula, before we headed to the hospital. She provided lots of snuggles, despite the very concerned look on her face.)

No matter what type of birth you’d like to have, I highly recommend having a doula by your side. They know your wishes and are able to be a voice, or a liaison, on your behalf. They can serve many roles, but their main goal is to support you with your birth, and/or during the postpartum period.

Some of the benefits of hiring a doula (from this website):

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Reduces the incidence of c-sections      

May shorten the length of labor    

Reduces epidural and analgesic requests      

Increases breastfeeding initiation and continuation    

Increases mother’s satisfaction of birth experience    

Can reduce the incidence of postpartum mood disorders     

Increases new parents’ confidence in the care of their newborn

We met our doula through our Bradley Method class in Tucson. She was going to school for nurse midwifery, and observing the class. Turns out that she was friends with some great family friends (the family who adopted Viesa! Also a midwife), and we instantly connected. Our original doula (Viesa’s mom), wasn’t able to do it since they’d moved to Phoenix, so she offered to help us out. 

A doula knows your wishes and general birth plan, and can stick up for you if you need it. They can do so many other things, from breathing/coaching, massage, taking photos, talking to the family, whatever you may need during birth. For our birth, Tom and Tricia alternated putting hot packs on my back -it was the only thing that gave me relief from the intense contractions- and Tricia stayed with me while Tom updated the family throughout the course of labor. 

It’s funny because even though she’s a friend, she definitely saw more of me that day than any of my friends have (thank goodness haha). At one point, I was stumbling around, naked, crying, and mooing like a cow, and she was there with me to push on my back with the hot compresses while Tom coached me through every.single.contraction (<— typing that brings tears to my eyes even 3 years later. They were beyond amazing.) I know that with the two of them, along with our incredible midwife, I was able to have an intervention-free birth. I’m not sure I would have made it through transition without their help. 

After the birth, Tricia also encapsulated the placenta, which I took in pill form. I avoided taking them for a while, but when I finally did, I started to feel better from the intense postpartum hormonal shift and noticed an increase in milk production. I’m not sure if it was a placebo effect, but next time, I’m taking those pills straightaway. (If you’re interested in learning more about placenta encapsulation, here’s an article about it + some research supporting the perceived benefits.)

Did you use a doula during your birth experience? I love hearing these types of stories. Tricia, we are so thankful for you. <3

xoxo

Gina

Liv’s birth story Part 1

Liv’s birth story Part 2

Pilot becomes Dad

Our birth team

Our Bradley Method class experience

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17 Comments

  1. Nichole on March 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Love this! I was lucky enough to have my best friend serve as my doula. You are so right that I never would have made it through the birth of my son without her! My labor and delivery went really fast (just about 4.5 hours) but it was also extremely intense. I was most comfortable laboring on the toilet (HA!) and she made sure to let the nurses and hospital staff know that that was where I was to stay, putting cold compresses on my head and rubbing my back. She coached me through every step of the way and I was able to deliver a healthy baby without an epidural (even though at one point I was totally asking for one!) Cheers to Doula’s everywhere!

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      amen to that! so happy you had an awesome birth experience, too <3

  2. Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries on March 25, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I’m interested in pursuing a doula next time around. Sounds like they would be a wonderful help during childbirth. Does insurance typically cover doulas or is it something you have to do out of pocket, do you know?

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      i’m not sure if they typically cover them. ours didn’t, but they paid for everything else, so we were happy to pay for a doula

  3. melissa @fitnessnycblog on March 25, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I love your mom related posts, I’m not having kids any time soon, but I feel like I’ve learned so much from you!

    • Fitnessista on March 25, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      thank you so much, lovely!

  4. Jill on March 25, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I’m currently a nanny specializing in infant care and am thinking about pursuing post-partum doula certification! They are a bit different than birth doulas but nonetheless I love everything I know already about the doula profession.

  5. Britt@MyOwnBalance on March 26, 2015 at 4:18 am

    I didn’t use a doula. We considered it but I had a really great relationship with my two doctors and I trusted them so I decided that a doula wasn’t for me. I know a lot of people who used one and were very happy with the results!

  6. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on March 26, 2015 at 5:11 am

    I would love to have a doula one day!

  7. Shaina Anderson on March 26, 2015 at 6:24 am

    I didn’t hire a doula, and thankfully made it through without one. Patrick did read “Husband Coached Childbirth” cover to cover both times, we printed out my birth plan and wrote little notes on the back about essential oils, etc for his little cheat sheet. WE almost didn’t make it to the hospital in time for Ryleigh’s birth, so a doula may not have made it at all haha. I was adamant about staying home as loooong as possible to avoid intervention but finally left when my Mom kicked us out at 1am because she said I sounded like I was losing my mind ha.

    I’m so thankful for the birth experiences I’ve had and, while I don’t look forward to the ouch part of birth, I’m excited to do it again!

  8. kristin | W [H] A T C H on March 26, 2015 at 6:59 am

    i’ve heard so many wonderful things about douls. i’ve never given birth, but love the idea of having an advocate when you are in such a vulnerable state.

  9. Carrie on March 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Nope, no doula for me. I was coached by my amazing doctor, incredible L&D nurses and my husband (who is a physician as well). I had a fantastic delivery!

  10. stacy @ sweating tulipz on March 26, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Wow…I loved reading this as I don’t know much about doulas. I am hoping to get pregnant in the future, so I am so glad I got to hear the insight on your experience!

  11. jaclyn on March 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Thank you Gina for sharing this! I am really interested in nurse midwifery as well, and would be really curious to know what you paid your doula or what she charged (if that’s not too nosy?shoot me an email?) thank you again for sharing <3

  12. Carrie on March 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Well, I suppose a variety of opinions is good to have in these types of situations, so I will say that I did have a doula, and she was lovely, but I don’t think I really had a better experience because she was there. I had this idea that my husband would need the moral support throughout the process, and I was totally wrong. He was super, and instead we just wound up with an extra person in the room. It felt a bit like we had a visitor the whole time. In the end, I think it is more my personality that got in the way, but I now know I don’t need a doula and I’ll have a better experience if it’s just the hubs and me. Live and learn.

  13. Becky @ TheBexFactor.com on March 28, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I had a doula for the birth of my son almost 2.5 years ago. She was amazing. She offered to come with me to any medical appointments or even prenatal yoga class if I needed a partner since mine worked away a lot. With her help, I was able to stay home for most of my labor and was great support when my sons dad was too freaked out to be of use. Unfortunately I still ended up having to have a section because my sons head was crooked and stuck but my doula helped me try everything we could to get him out without intervention.

    After delivery, she brought me enough food to feed an army. Fresh vegetables for salad, a home cooked casserole and fresh baked muffins. She offered to help me to appointments since I was unable to lift my son in his car seat, she was a great reference through breast feeding struggles.

    I honestly don’t know how I would have made it through my labor and those first couple weeks without her. I recommend hiring a doula to anyone, especially mine because she’s just the sweetest person in the world.

  14. Allie on March 30, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Yes! Had a Doula for my vbac in December 2013. I was able to go intervention free and avoid a repeat csection. I delivered at Naval Hospital Bremeton and everyone was there was very natural and baby friendly. I also had my placenta encapsulated. My Doula just moved to San Diego! Be on the look out for San Diego Placenta 🙂 if more babies are in our future we will for use doula and placenta encapsulation services

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