I learn something with every birth, but at the first birth, I learned quite a lot! Here are some of those lessons:
- Don't believe everything you learn in childbirth class: My doula client had called me and said that she might be in labor. I naturally thought she would be in labor a while, as she was a first time mom. I told her she was in luck; I had the following day off of work. She replied, how about today?! Yes, I was available, and we all set off for the hospital.
- Dads are awesome: ... and sometimes need a little encouragement! This dad was a little unsure of himself. Before I took a break (yes, doulas need to use the bathroom at times too), I physically took his hands and placed them on his wife. From that moment on, in the labor, he stayed with her. It was if I had given him the opening to do so, and helped him to find his place in the labor room.
- Doctors are awesome, too! From this day until now, I do not think I could have picked a better doctor to be a part of a labor with as a newbie doula. Twenty years ago, doulas were all but unheard of. However, this doctor was very nice and welcoming. To this day, every interaction I have had with him has been positive and upbeat.
- Don’t believe everything you learn in childbirth class, Part II: One big lesson that I take away from many, many births, including my own, is that birth is unpredictable. Having had a doula at my three subsequent births, I can tell you, your doula is your “person”. They truly can help to navigate unchartered waters, and ease the problem of the unknown in birth. We may not be able to predict what happens next, but we can help you to be reassured that someone has got you; they are with you, no matter what. Doulas have your back!
I am friends with this family to this day. I am so grateful to them for allowing me to be a part of this very special experience. That one birth put me on the path to the become the doula I am today.