Natural Birth

Discouraged Doula

Ok, this might be kinda long, but bear with me please. I need encouragment something fierce.

I am a doula. I am also pregnant with my third child (DH's first). I have had two natural deliveries (very fast ones at that...1 hour for the first and 3 hours for the second). I have been a doula for a number of years, but I don't do births very often, mainly for friends and family.

My best friend just had her baby last weekend, and I was her doula. In a lot of ways it went great; healthy baby, healthy mom. Mom wanted a natural birth, but had a herniated disk in her back, so she was open to meds if it came to that. Well, the doc decided to induce, due to the back injury, so the day before her due date we went in. It was the standard cascade of interventions. He broke her water at 1cm, started pitocine, and put in an IUPC. When things were getting rough he started pushing for an epidural; she kept saying no. Even though she had said she didn't want one, doc told the nurses to set up the room for an epidural. Everyone from her husband to the doc to the nurses were pushing for her to get it. She did. I don't blame her a bit; we knew that labor might make her backpain much much worse. She said the contractions were a piece of cake compared to the back pain. I was just so upset that so many people weren't listening to her.

She told the doctor three times that she DID NOT want an episeotomy (worked in birth for 10 years, still can't spell that word...) During crowning he did one. The biggest part of the baby was right there, plus he had his HAND in there alongside the baby's head...looked to me like there was plenty of room!! She only pushed three times, so it's not like there was fatigue or stress on the baby or something. He didn't tell her he was going to do it until it was already done. She is just happy to have her baby, and isn't really worried about it, which is fine. It's just been a little hard for me.

THEN, when I was talking to DH, going over the things that were bugging me about the birth, he told me that he thinks I should have an epidural! That moving around and moaning and pacing and crying mean that the pain is too much. "If you can't sit still and talk through it then it's too bad, and there is no award for suffering!" I explained my position, and what has worked for me in the past. The best I got was "Well, I think you are crazy, but I guess if thats what you want I will just shut up about it." Not exactly the support I was hoping for. He kept saying "I don't see why you feel like you have something to prove."

DH is a nurse, and feels really strongly that all pain should be treated aggressivly. He is also the son of a surgeon, and has grown up the with the view that patients should just shut up and do what they are told. I know he is scared of seeing me in pain (we have talked about that), and he feels that since the pain is "his fault" we should "make it stop". (I know he sounds like an @ss here, please believe me that he is not, and I am going to present info to him and convince him...I have no doubt.)

It's just...I am feeling really really down about all of this. Maybe I should refrain from Doula-ing when I am pregnant myself lol!

Re: Discouraged Doula

  • I am currently working on my certification, and I am so afraid of this happening. I am thinking about only taking on home births or those births that I know are going to be all natural b/c the mom is a stubborn as I am.

    I have NO idea why a back injury = induction? I have a back injury that caused me to have back labor for the entire 15 hours. Never once did my midwife mention induction...what would be the point in that? To make it hurt worse?

    Also, whether or not your husband understands your choice, he should not argue with you about it. It is not his body, end of story. I am not saying that he is an @ss...I am just saying that he needs to respect the point and you should not feel that you have to convince him.

    Also, as far as the doc cutting an episiotomy...that is so horrible. That is assult and is illegal if the mother did not consent. Some mothers are not "bothered" by their wishes not being followed, but that only continues the problem we have in this country. Doctors are not made to answer for their egotistical ways. We have to make them accountable.

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  • If your first 2 births were less than 3 hours, I can't imagine that you will have time for any interventions at all.
  • I don't have too much to add, but I did want to say this about your DH and his position on having epidural. Most men don't like seeing their wives in pain. Some, like your DH, may feel like it's partially their fault, and they can't "make it go away". It may be helpful to have him learn about the birth process and the ways in which he can help you cope with the pain. (I did Bradley, so that's where I am comig from). Maybe if he understand the different stages of labor, the physiology of it all and how to help you breathe/relax/visualize through the contractions, he would be more supportive of your desire to go med free and he may also feel less helpless. Essentially, he could be your Doula! You didn't mention doing any of this, so I apologize if you were already planning on all of this...

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  • My DH was not on board for me having a natural birth.  Basically, I labored at work (in the hospital) as long as I could, then we were only in L & D for three hours before DS was born.  I zoned into myself and my body and the only other person I really needed there was my MW.  DH really was just watching from the corner until I started pushing.  You can do it and as long as your mw/ob knows you may need extra support you will be OK. 
  • image Blessed1018:

    I am currently working on my certification, and I am so afraid of this happening. I am thinking about only taking on home births or those births that I know are going to be all natural b/c the mom is a stubborn as I am.

    I have NO idea why a back injury = induction? I have a back injury that caused me to have back labor for the entire 15 hours. Never once did my midwife mention induction...what would be the point in that? To make it hurt worse?

    Also, whether or not your husband understands your choice, he should not argue with you about it. It is not his body, end of story. I am not saying that he is an @ss...I am just saying that he needs to respect the point and you should not feel that you have to convince him.

    Also, as far as the doc cutting an episiotomy...that is so horrible. That is assult and is illegal if the mother did not consent. Some mothers are not "bothered" by their wishes not being followed, but that only continues the problem we have in this country. Doctors are not made to answer for their egotistical ways. We have to make them accountable.

    I know some doulas only take OOH births but I think women delivering in hospitals are the ones who need a doula the most.  Sometimes women who want a natural birth have no choice but to deliver in a hospital, whether because of a medical situation or because they can't find a midwife to take them--and those women deserve support too.  I know when I worked in a hospital it was very frustrating to see how those women were treated sometimes--but I felt so good about being there for them and when they would thank me for being there, I knew I was doing the right thing. 

    To your last point, I agree that women need to stand up for themselves and demand change if we want things to improve.  But a mother who has just been through a birth like that may not be in the right state of mind to do that, and I think that needs to be respected.  Maybe she truly doesn't have a problem with what happened.  Or maybe she hasn't had time to process it--maybe right now she needs to focus on physically recovering and adjusting to life with a new baby and it would be too much for her to admit to herself that she was wronged.  I know that was the case for me after my daughter's birth.  It took many months before I was able to digest what happened and realize my true emotions about it.  Let's not blame new moms for contributing to our country's maternity care problems or obligate every women to become a birth activist.  The onus is always on the medical practitioner to provide good care.

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  • I have a great midwife, I will be hiring a doula...and all of this may come to nothing at all because DH leaves for the military in June and won't even be back until four days after my due date. We tend to see eye to eye on most things, so when we don't it's even harder to deal with.
  • image iris427:
    image Blessed1018:

    I am currently working on my certification, and I am so afraid of this happening. I am thinking about only taking on home births or those births that I know are going to be all natural b/c the mom is a stubborn as I am.

    I have NO idea why a back injury = induction? I have a back injury that caused me to have back labor for the entire 15 hours. Never once did my midwife mention induction...what would be the point in that? To make it hurt worse?

    Also, whether or not your husband understands your choice, he should not argue with you about it. It is not his body, end of story. I am not saying that he is an @ss...I am just saying that he needs to respect the point and you should not feel that you have to convince him.

    Also, as far as the doc cutting an episiotomy...that is so horrible. That is assult and is illegal if the mother did not consent. Some mothers are not "bothered" by their wishes not being followed, but that only continues the problem we have in this country. Doctors are not made to answer for their egotistical ways. We have to make them accountable.

    I know some doulas only take OOH births but I think women delivering in hospitals are the ones who need a doula the most.  Sometimes women who want a natural birth have no choice but to deliver in a hospital, whether because of a medical situation or because they can't find a midwife to take them--and those women deserve support too.  I know when I worked in a hospital it was very frustrating to see how those women were treated sometimes--but I felt so good about being there for them and when they would thank me for being there, I knew I was doing the right thing. 

    To your last point, I agree that women need to stand up for themselves and demand change if we want things to improve.  But a mother who has just been through a birth like that may not be in the right state of mind to do that, and I think that needs to be respected.  Maybe she truly doesn't have a problem with what happened.  Or maybe she hasn't had time to process it--maybe right now she needs to focus on physically recovering and adjusting to life with a new baby and it would be too much for her to admit to herself that she was wronged.  I know that was the case for me after my daughter's birth.  It took many months before I was able to digest what happened and realize my true emotions about it.  Let's not blame new moms for contributing to our country's maternity care problems or obligate every women to become a birth activist.  The onus is always on the medical practitioner to provide good care.

     

    You are right about not blaming new mothers. That is not what I meant at all, but I can see how it would come across that way. I was meaning women in general, as a community. Until we, as a group, stand up for the normal physiological birth process, things will not change. Women should know that they do not have to put up with interventions they do not want or need.

    As to only doing OOH births or Hospital...I am on the fence. The state that I will practice in has "outlawed" home birth and has no birthing centers. Chances are I will be at "underground" deliveries and go over the state border for many births. I will most likely take hospital births as well, but I know that it is going to be an uphill battle in my neck of the woods (were they are intervention happy).

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  • image Blessed1018:

    You are right about not blaming new mothers. That is not what I meant at all, but I can see how it would come across that way. I was meaning women in general, as a community. Until we, as a group, stand up for the normal physiological birth process, things will not change. Women should know that they do not have to put up with interventions they do not want or need.

    As to only doing OOH births or Hospital...I am on the fence. The state that I will practice in has "outlawed" home birth and has no birthing centers. Chances are I will be at "underground" deliveries and go over the state border for many births. I will most likely take hospital births as well, but I know that it is going to be an uphill battle in my neck of the woods (were they are intervention happy).

    I agree, we need to be the ones demanding change.

    And I understand your hesitations about doing hospital deliveries.  It was very frustrating for me sometimes.  Sometimes it's hard to feel like you are making a difference when the system is so stacked against people.  But you are making a difference in that mom's life. She will remember for the rest of her life that you were there for her. :)

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  • I'm sorry your friends birth was upsetting for you to witness. Sounds to me like she was bullied and ignored, which is never the way ANY patient deserves to be treated.

    I am also a doula, and all my births thus far (only 7 as I don't take many clients b/c I have a FT job that's not being a doula) have been in a hospital. Three of the seven were natural, and only 2 of those moms had planned a natural birth. The third asked for an epidural and then shot from 4-10 cm in less than 5 minutes and was pushing before the anesthesiologist could get into the room.

    All my natural moms were delivering second babies, so they went into it with a better idea of what they did and did not like the first time around, and how to speak up about it. They also relied heavily on me for information, resources, help with a birth plan, and support during the birth. And 2 out of the 3 had a CNM catching their baby.

    I would absolutely love to do a home or birth center birth, and have one scheduled this fall. But I think the most important thing to remember about being a doula is that you can't control the outcome. The best thing you can do is help mom (and partner if she has one) get educated and informed and feel confident in her decisions. In my experience, the happiest moms are the ones who felt in control of how their baby's birth happened...whether that meant getting their natural birth as planned or ending up with a repeat c/s at 42 weeks after desperately hoping for a natural VBAC. It's SO hard not to feel discouraged and powerless, but you serve an important role!

  • image Katediggs:

    I'm sorry your friends birth was upsetting for you to witness. Sounds to me like she was bullied and ignored, which is never the way ANY patient deserves to be treated.

    I am also a doula, and all my births thus far (only 7 as I don't take many clients b/c I have a FT job that's not being a doula) have been in a hospital. Three of the seven were natural, and only 2 of those moms had planned a natural birth. The third asked for an epidural and then shot from 4-10 cm in less than 5 minutes and was pushing before the anesthesiologist could get into the room.

    All my natural moms were delivering second babies, so they went into it with a better idea of what they did and did not like the first time around, and how to speak up about it. They also relied heavily on me for information, resources, help with a birth plan, and support during the birth. And 2 out of the 3 had a CNM catching their baby.

    I would absolutely love to do a home or birth center birth, and have one scheduled this fall. But I think the most important thing to remember about being a doula is that you can't control the outcome. The best thing you can do is help mom (and partner if she has one) get educated and informed and feel confident in her decisions. In my experience, the happiest moms are the ones who felt in control of how their baby's birth happened...whether that meant getting their natural birth as planned or ending up with a repeat c/s at 42 weeks after desperately hoping for a natural VBAC. It's SO hard not to feel discouraged and powerless, but you serve an important role!

    Yes

    I know as a doula you (general you) want to be able to control things and make sure everything goes right for that mom and baby, but it's ultimately out of your hands.  The best you can do is be there for her no matter what happens.  Sometimes a birth goes great and it's wonderful.  Sometimes a birth is heart-breaking.  And you're there holding that mom's hand either way. 

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  • image Corbin30:

    THEN, when I was talking to DH, going over the things that were bugging me about the birth, he told me that he thinks I should have an epidural! That moving around and moaning and pacing and crying mean that the pain is too much. "If you can't sit still and talk through it then it's too bad, and there is no award for suffering!" I explained my position, and what has worked for me in the past. The best I got was "Well, I think you are crazy, but I guess if thats what you want I will just shut up about it." Not exactly the support I was hoping for. He kept saying "I don't see why you feel like you have something to prove."

    DH is a nurse, and feels really strongly that all pain should be treated aggressively.

    I'm really sorry you're not getting the support you need from your husband =( FWIW I definitely don't think he sounds like an @ss, he sounds like he's coming from a different point of view than you are, and is concerned about you being in pain. The thing is- you don't WANT an epidural, you don't WANT pain relief, and at some point it doesn't matter what he thinks you should do. It's YOUR body, and his job is to support you. I had to have this conversation with my husband early in my pregnancy- it's not about him, and total support is the only acceptable option- not half-@ss "support" in the form of just keeping his mouth shut. Saying things like "you don't get an award" are hurtful and belittling- once he understood how that made me feel he was 100% on my side, regardless of what HE would have done if he had a uterus.

    I get his point of view as a nurse though. I'm an RN and I hate seeing people in pain. I have no problem at all drugging people up (lol... safely of course) when they are in post-op/illness-related/chronic pain, etc. I want them to be able to sit still and talk to me, sleep comfortably, walk around. There's no award for toughing out gallbladder surgery without meds. The difference is that those pains mean something is wrong- pain in labor is not indicative of a problem. There may not be "an award" for going med-free, but it's what you WANT, and he needs to support you.

    Good luck! I hope you can get him to understand the support you need =)

     

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  • Just a thought...have you thought about taking a Hypnobabies live class together?  That way he could learn normal birth, along with the risks benefits and alternatives to procedures and medications, along with hypnosis so he could experience you having a comfortable birthing time.  There does not need to be pain and suffering with birth. I had a painless birth with Hypnobabies (not that ALL have painless births but many do) My husband was skeptical but after seeing me so calm comfortable and relaxed that he now tells everyone about it.
    SAHM of fabulous twin girls, a Hypnobabies intact son, wife to my high school sweetheart. Birth junky and Childbirth Educator. Trying to stay present in the moment in a very busy life!
  • Im also a doula, but I have been blessed with a husband who, while sometimes hesitant is willing to learn from me about birth, and support my birth goals.  I only attend births in a hospital, and he hears my horror stories.  I think its why he is so pro home birth now.  Maybe your husband doesn't really understand the realities of birth.  He probably only knows what he sees on TV and movies.  Have you thought about watching different birth videos together?  So he can see various live births?  You could try something like The Business of Being Born which has a more commercial appeal, and then maybe try some that are more focused on the beauty of normal healthy labor and birth. 

    Good luck! 



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