I have wanted to write more about my doula work, but have held back. For my most recent birth with Shannon, I can tell more! I'll explain....
Doula work is a job which holds a significant amount of privacy and confidence. You may notice on my blog that I don't say much aside from "I was at a birth....". To be with a couple during the birth of their baby is a very treasured, private, personal experience. That said, at times I want to scream to the world, "Do you know how amazing these women and their husbands are?!! I am so proud of so-and-so!!" But I keep it to myself, as to respect that confidentiality.
This afternoon I went up to the hospital to visit Shannon, baby Daxton and Dustin. Shannon heard "from a little bird" :) that I had written about her having their baby on our blog. I reassured her that I didn't use her name, as I respect the confidentiality which goes along with being a doula. Shannon said, "Oh, Zoya-you don't have to worry about confidentiality with me. I don't mind if you talk about it. I'm so happy with how everything went". I appreciated her giving me the ok to write a little bit about the birth of Daxton. Being a doula is the most amazing job ever-watching babies be born and watching women being transformed into moms is an absolutely amazing experience. With Shannon, I was there as her friend, not as a formal doula, but I still respected the confidentiality which goes along with that.
I am so proud of Shannon. She had the birth of her dreams and she is invigorated and empowered by that! She was a beautiful, glowing laboring woman and when her baby was born, she had the most amazing smile and sense of joy that was so contagious to everyone in the room. The endorphins and euphoria were intense--the amount of oxytocin (love hormone) in a mom and baby are the highest they will ever be in their life during that one hour after an unmedicated/undisturbed birth. It is what makes mom bond so strongly with baby and makes baby bond so strongly with mom.
I have been at 8 births now, and what amazing experiences they all have been. Women are so strong, powerful and I am able to see them transform into the resilient mothers they are! Women are empowered through the experience of birth. It is hard to even write about or describe until you have been through it or have seen a birth.
Dustin and I took turns helping her through contractions and if one method didn't work, we'd switch to something else. The thing about labor is that it can take a long time, and so for both of us to be able to relieve eachother now and then (for food and bathroom and phone calls) is so wonderful. Dustin did such a great job of keeping me well fed and hydrated--coffee, muffins from Mill Bay, gum, Taco bell...when my energy would get low at various points throughout the 20 hours, there was some pick-me-up food waiting!! The nurses change shifts, doctors come in and out, but the doula is there for the long haul of the labor--and it can have moments which are exhausting. So to have the help from Dustin was fabulous.
I truly am inspired by the moms and families I work with. That sounds cheesy, but you see so many amazing sides to women and men during labor and birth and you see them pull together and commit to eachother and to doing what needs to be done for a healthy baby.
Every labor/birth brings me to tears or near tears--I send women my strength with the contractions, I understand their pain and I share in their joy after its all done. Having a baby is definitey a team effort and being part of that team is such an honor.
This path of doula work has been an incredible part of my life. It is a calling. Physical Therapy is a calling. And teaching childbirth classes is a calling. In opening my own business, I have been able to follow my heart and do all that I love.
I am so, so proud of all the moms I've worked with and SO honored to be part of their birth experience. It is a true honor.
And-Thank you, Shannon, for allowing me to share a little bit about my doula work!
(And you go, girl, Shannon! You did it!!!!)