After a traumatic birth experience with my first child, I was determined to have an unmedicated, natural labor experience. After taking a childbirth class, it was evident that there was no way my husband and I could do this on our own. I thought, “I can’t be referring to class notes, and be advocating for myself at a hospital AND focus on breathing this baby out.”
I discovered that a doula would my own method of “pain management”for childbirth, and quickly started researching doulas near our home in Hopkins. After deciding to hire Midwest Doulas, I met Justine and two other doulas on her team – Ale, and Alicia – to ensure that I knew my doula regardless if one couldn’t make it to the birth. They were all in the Twin Cities metro area and would team up to be available to me when I went into labor. Each woman carefully listened to my birth plan and my previous birth experience.
I met Justine first.
She was caring, reaffirming, and non-judgmental.
Ale was a great listener.
Each doula asked to hear me tell my birth story and during her visit, my husband thought he’d save her time by volunteering the abbreviated version. She compassionately listened and when he’d finished she looked over at me and said: “I’d still like to hear it from your perspective.” It was during her visit that I realized I had some unresolved trauma leftover from my first birth experience. When my husband jumped in to tell the watered-down version, I felt a rush of my power being taken away the same as I did in that hospital. It was at that moment I made the connection that I’d experience birth rap. Although sucky to find out that I was carrying baggage into my next birth, at least I had a little time to deal with it.
Lastly, I met Alicia.
Alicia is compassionate and very passionate about being a doula. I got a strong sense that she was going to fight for me (possibly literally ;-) ) as if she were my sister. In fact, I felt confident that they would all fight for me — and that’s what I needed.
In order to focus on laboring my baby out, I needed to be able to trust my team and my environment. Without these women, I would have kept my guard up during labor which could have led to a more painful birth.
Justine was the doula who attended my birth, and holy smokes your second baby comes fast! My labor started around 9:30 pm, and my water broke around 10 pm. Justine came over to assess my progress and (without scaring me) encouraged us to go to the hospital right away. She and my husband were such a great team. She held my hand the whole time and encouraged me that everything that was happening to me was normal, and that I was doing great. Both she and my husband executed my birth plan which was GREAT, because I couldn’t hear anything anybody said. The pain was louder than anyone else in the room.
When we arrived at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, the midwife checked my cervix and said, “You’re dilated to a 10! You may push the baby out whenever you’d like.” That, I did hear, and I got to work. Our baby was born in 6 pushes, 3 hours after my labor started. I was so thankful that I had a doula for this birth; I would have been really upset had I wanted an epidural and found out it was too late to have one!
Natural, unmedicated birth was hard. I felt everything, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. But the most amazing thing happened when my son was born. The emotional pain and trauma leftover from my first birth had lifted. I felt like I was reborn along with my son. That birth healed the scars of my first child, and I felt the return of my former self.
Today, I am three months postpartum and am relieved to have experienced no symptoms of postpartum depression, despite my previous OB’s warning that I might be at high risk.
My family is forever grateful to Justine and her team of at Midwest Doulas. I feel more strongly than ever that a birth doula is a must, regardless of the kind of childbirth you’d like to have.
Love you guys. – Sophia