My birth story and my experience working with a doula were different than I had envisioned because I had no idea what my body would want or need during labor.
All of the things I had learned through birthing class and our prenatal meetings with Claire that I was most excited about (massage, pressure point work, and laboring in the tub) ended up being the things I did not enjoy at all once we were at the hospital. I remember feeling really warm while I was in labor, so anything involving touch or more heat felt super uncomfortable. I ended up walking and breathing through my contractions and just appreciated Claire and my husband’s quiet presence in the room.
Despite my not wanting hands-on support during labor, having Claire with us brought a sense of calm to the birthing suite.
She set the mood by dimming the lights and diffusing lavender oil which made the room feel more homey and made the whole process seem less scary. Claire was also a great partner for my husband who was sick with a bad cold at the time. She kept him informed when things were progressing with my me and the baby, encouraged him to eat and sleep when things quieted down between labor phases, and reminded him of some of the motivational phrases we had discussed before the big day. Hearing the two of them tell me I was strong and that I was doing such a great job during tough contractions kept me going.
Claire also helped my husband remain calm when our doctor discovered our daughter was experiencing shoulder dystocia (one shoulder was stuck as she was being born). Our doctor called emergency, and the room filled up with nurses and doctors from the NICU. Luckily, Claire’s experience with previous births taught her how to read verbal and physical cues from the birthing team, and she knew that, even though our doctor had to call for an emergency, things would be okay. Claire was not alarmed by the situation, and that reassured my husband.
Baby girl arrived safely in a matter of minutes!
In the end, I’m so glad that Claire was with us during the birth of our first baby. She kept both me and my husband sane (and hydrated!) during the most exciting and physically demanding day of our lives, and we can’t imagine the day without her.”