March 22, 2017

Hoping to have a VBAC? Hire a Doula!

I had a rough pregnancy with my oldest. I had a complete placenta previa, which is a condition where the placenta covers the cervix. It basically meant that I had a lot of bleeding, I would need to deliver via cesarean and was put on bed rest for about half of my pregnancy. I spent the last 2 months of my pregnancy in the hospital for closer monitoring. I ended up delivering 5 weeks early by c-section. My son was rushed to the NICU and my husband went with him. I ended up sitting alone recovering from surgery for hours before I got any updates. My husband then came down with the flu and wasn’t allowed near us. I spent the next 5 days recovering from my c-section, pumping like crazy, and staying in the NICU as long as possible. It was the hardest week of my life and I remember feeling so completely alone and I never wanted to experience that again.
 
When I found out that we were expecting baby #2, I decided to explore the idea of hiring a doula. My friends loved their experience and encouraged me to interview their doula. I felt so comfortable and decided I really wanted to make sure to have some support. I really wanted my birth experience to be different this time around.
 
As my pregnancy went on, my doctor told me I’d be an ideal candidate for a VBAC. I honestly had never considered it as I just assumed I’d have a repeat c-section. My c-section recovery had been brutal and I didn’t know how much of it was due to the bed rest or healing from surgery. This time around I’d have a toddler and was worried about not being able to lift him. I did a lot of research and ultimately decided that I wanted to try a VBAC. This meant I had no idea what I was in for.
 
My doula was great at walking me through what to do during labor, how to prepare my toddler for a sibling and answered my many, many questions with grace and confidence. When I started labor, I immediately had my husband call her and she encouraged us to get our childcare plans set in motion. I had a very short labor and she calmed me as we raced to get to the hospital in time. I had been so worried about what to do with my toddler that I never really took a moment to prepare myself for childbirth. Our doula guided me through my intense labor and reinforced the strength I knew I had in me. She took photos and video of our baby’s first breaths and captured that special moment when parents meet their baby for the first time.


 
After our baby was born, she not only made sure my needs were met but she also made sure my husband was eating and that we were all settled. She talked to nurses for us and set us up to have a nice quiet first night in the hospital with our baby. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt this time around and I attribute a lot of it to the fact that I felt completely supported. She checked in with us a lot those first few weeks and she made the transition from one child to two feel as seamless as could be expected. I’m very glad I made the decision to involve a doula in my second pregnancy.
 

 

 written by VHS contributor// Marcie Cheung
Marcie in Mommyland