Submitted By: Kate Wright Mills
At 37 weeks pregnant, I came late to the doula party.
If I’m being honest, having a doula was never something I considered. Perhaps at the top of my reasons why not is because I tend to be a more private and modest person and I thought having a doula present for the birth of my child would not respect those parts of me. I’m also slow to change, and can take awhile to warm up to new ideas. So, when the opportunity for Val to be present with us for the birth of our first baby, I was hesitant at first.
My husband loved the idea immediately. Not only were we blessed to already be friends with Val, and so we knew what an amazing person she was, but he was also comforted by the idea of having someone experienced with us the whole time, since we had heard from friends that doctors and nurses are sort of in and out throughout the day. After a few days of thinking it over, I realized there must be a reason that the opportunity to have Val with us became available, and I went with it.
I remember feeling a little nervous talking to Val on the phone for the first time because I wasn’t sure how she’d feel about or receive my views on childbirth, which were namely that I had few. I knew that I wanted to labor at home as long as possible and to delay an epidural, but that I’d eventually need one. I also knew that I felt most comfortable deferring to my doctor when any decisions were being made throughout the day, that I trusted my doctor’s opinions. I told all of this to Val and her reception of my feelings made me realize immediately that I was silly for being nervous about how she’d respond.
Val gently encouraged me to make a more formal birth plan, and shared information with me to help me in doing so, which helped me think through some things I hadn’t ever considered before. While I didn’t want to have a birth plan that I shared with the nurses or doctor, and Val respected that, the process of making it with my husband and sharing it with Val made us feel more confident going into the labor process.
Our entire experience with Val was so special. I felt respected and understood and cared for by her. She’s knowledgeable and experienced. She was supportive and responsive and available in the days leading up to the birth as well as throughout the time I was in labor at home, which brought us so much comfort. Her nature is calming and nurturing, and we felt that in every minute with her. During the labor, she was just what we needed – there consistently so that we felt her presence and benefitted from her suggestions, but also stepped out at moments that she correctly discerned would be nice for us to have just the two of us. When our baby was less than a day old, we were already saying to each other that we couldn’t imagine that birth or any future births happening without Val there.
I’ve been excited to refer friends to Val because I have seen and experienced what a positive impact she had for us on the whole process, and want that for others. While I don’t know what it would have been like not to have Val for the birth of our first baby, I do know that we can’t imagine it having happened without her, and we love that she was a part of the most sacred experience we’ve had together so far, because she helped in making it so for us.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I came late to the doula party, but am so glad that I did.