I have been a birthing doula for almost 20 years. When I first started, it was a lot of support over the phone, in writing (yes, real postal letters in those days!) and lovely face to face contact with local women.
I started by supporting women who had had 2 caesareans, and just did not want more major abdominal surgery. They wanted to give birth to their babies. In those days, it was not the accepted thing to give birth after 2 caesareans, even though it was, and still is, a womans’ right to choose how and where she birthed her baby.
I had already been the first woman in North London not only to give birth at home after a caesarean, but to give birth under water. This was to a baby I had been told I would not have been able to birth, as my pelvis would not cope with anything bigger than a 7lb baby. This one was not only OP, she weighed in, several hours after her birth, at a gorgeous 9lb 1 oz.
The question of an HBAC reared its’ scared head from the NHS when we moved down to West Sussex and I planned another homebirth. So good I know my rights, as I was told that after a caesarean, I had to give birth in hospital! I had another beautiful homebirth. Several more women who had had 2 caesareans were put in touch with me, and went on to either have homebirths or hospital births, on their own terms around the Chichester and Portsmouth areas.
I support Mums to be, regardless of it being 1st or 4th baby, at home or in hospital. I support the dads too! Right now, I am on standby, so shall sign off, incase I am called out 🙂
Have a look at http://www.doulafilm.com I am the second doula in the preview clip.
I can also advise you on how to make tinctures, smoothies and encapsulate your placenta, all in the comfort of your own home.
January 2014. I was called out at about 1.20 in the morning. The storm made for an interesting drive as the rain came down heavier than my windscreen wipers could keep up with. All the time I prayed to the universe to protect me to get me to my labouring woman, and to help keep her calm so that she could be enjoying her labour.
I arrived to find her lying sideways on her bed, just as the contractions intensified. I rubbed her back, held her hand, let her know her man was filling the birthing pool, and then helped her to get up to walk a little. The toilet gave some relief, and the contractions became even more intense. Massaging her back I noticed that her sacrum was bulging. She wanted to lie down again, had an even more in depth contraction that she found hard to cope with, and her waters broke. She had the beautiful glow of a woman further into her labour than her breathing showed. With her man, we helped her to move, and went to the birthing pool. She had had enough, she wanted to go to hospital and ordered us to call for an ambulance. I love the strength of labouring women.
I asked her to do her own internal as she stood in the pool. She did not know what she could feel, and turned to me. My eyes caught her man’s eyes as he was phoning for an ambulance, and I guided him to see, as I said “That’s your baby’s head.” She sank into the pool and quietly pushed out the head. Baby rested, and then she birthed him, scooping him up into her arms. After 2 caesareans, she finally got to be the first to hold her baby. Daddy wrapped his arms around both of them. Precious new family time.
Eventually he was interrupted by a voice from his phone asking him to let the paramedics in. The came in quietly, respectfully, watched and waited. Mum wanted them to go, but they asked if they could wait till the Midwife arrived, then they would know that they were not needed. The parents agreed and I made everyone a drink.
There was an atmosphere of joy and reverence in the home. Later the midwives arrived, the placenta was delivered and suddenly Mum’s sister arrived. As Mum was in the bath, I was holding baby, and with such joy, I handed Auntie her new nephew.
I made a placenta smoothie, tidied up, re made the bed and made food and drinks for everyone and got a few homoeopathic remedies together for Mum.
When the midwives and Aunty had left, and the home was in order, I tucked the parents up in bed with their new son, and headed for home.
The storm had died down, and all was peaceful.
Post Natal Doula.
This role is about looking after the family and helping them to integrate with their new born. I am there to help support with breast feeding, ensuring Mum gets rest and a chance to recover from the birth. I can cook meals, clear up the kitchen, sort out laundry, do general housework, be a companion, accompany Mum with baby to appointments and on shopping trips, care for baby so Mum can sleep or have a bath! I can do the shopping and help with older children, including school runs.
I have worked in the mornings, from getting children to school to doing the normal jobs Mum would have done, to being there in the evening to help with children, meal, bath and bed times.
I am a listening ear, a sounding board, a provider of information and support. I can help with time management. All of this is done non judgementally. Each family is unique, and so will be their way of parenting. I respect and support this process. All the time I am working towards the family no longer needing the care and support that is the role of the Post Natal Doula 🙂