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Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash.

Why choose a doula?

Part 1:
Q&A with Olivia & Quinn

In part one of a three-part series about Olivia and Quinn’s birth experience, we had a chance to sit down and ask a few questions about what led them to choose a doula for the birth of their second child, Wilder.

Why did you feel the need for a doula?

Olivia: “With our first birth experience, things happened very quickly, and both my husband and I felt very rushed, scared, and alone. I wanted someone who could help slow things down and help me stay focused on the present and the experience so that it wouldn’t be lost to me this time.”

Quinn: “Initially we were planning a hospital birth so I wanted someone who could help us communicate with our providers, understand our options when it came to interventions, and support both of us emotionally and physically. ”

Olivia: “As I was hoping for a VBAC I knew that having a doula could help me with labor positions, comfort measures, and increase my chances of having a natural vaginal birth.”

“I wanted support in case we didn’t have the outcome we hoped for. If we were to undergo another c-section I wanted someone who could either be in the room with me when getting a spinal, or out in the hallway with my husband while I would be getting prepped.”

Quinn: “If the baby were to need to go to the NICU, I wanted someone who could stay with her so I could go with the baby and not feel pulled in two different directions.”

Olivia: “Once we started working together and shortly after we hired our homebirth midwives, I didn’t worry so much about navigating the actual birth experience, as I trusted my team and my body. It became clear to me that I needed my doulas more for the encouragement, emotional support, and validation leading up to the birth which I hadn’t first anticipated.”

How did you meet?

Olivia: “The Birth and Baby expo put on a “Doula Speed Dating” event in November 2017, where we first met Justine. It was a great way to meet a handful of doulas and to ask some preliminary questions. We only got about 2 minutes with each doula, but within that short time frame it was clear that she was our person.”

“I followed up with her at the booth downstairs, where I also met Staci and a former client of theirs. We talked a little more about my situation and set up a meet and greet at my home a few weeks later with my husband.”

How do you feel that your doulas helped you in forming your plans?

Olivia: “My doulas helped my husband understand the role of a doula and how they could be a great support to us both, which helped me convince him to hire one.

Justine asked us questions to help us reflect on our previous birth experience and identify what was important to us for this birth. That helped me realize that how a doula could help us.

– Quinn

Olivia: “By doing so it became clear to me that the care providers I was seeing and the plan I had in place didn’t align with what I wanted or valued. I shared with her that I wanted to start exploring the option of home birth but that we didn’t understand the risks, the costs, or where to start. Justine recommended we connect with a few homebirth midwives to understand their model of care and ask some basic questions. She gathered a list of midwives for us to set up interviews with and followed up with me afterward to see how we felt about them.”

“Without these recommendations, I don’t think we would have found the match we did, and we may have had a very different experience as a result. As we got closer to my due date and my anxiety was peaking around the potential for a preterm birth, Justine encouraged me to form a backup plan for the hospital just in case which set my mind at ease.”

Quinn: “They also arranged for a sibling doula to be on call for our toddler which was another major stress for us since our parents don’t live close by and they all came to our home visit with our midwives at 34 weeks to ensure everyone was on the same page about our birth plan.”

Olivia: “At each step of the way they were helpful in providing us with information and choices, but they were careful to let me and my husband make decisions as we found our own path, which helped me feel empowered.”

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