I had a doula at my daughter’s beautiful and empowering birth three years ago and am a strong believer in the powerful role doulas play at a birth. When I was pregnant with my son, I asked my wonderful mother-in-law Colleen if I could birth at her tranquil home with her as my doula.
My daughter was born at 38 weeks and so when my son still showed no signs of wanting to come earth-side by 41 weeks, we decided to follow our gynaecologist’s advice and have an induction in the hospital. This was not an easy decision for me and the weeks leading up to this were an emotional roller coaster of anticipation, anxiety, disappointment and hope. It was in this time that I saw again the powerful role of a doula. Colleen really became my rock in this time. We tried many natural means of induction to bring on the birth. We laughed, we talked, I cried and eventually together we grieved that the home birth we had dreamed of was not to be. She gave me helpful medical advice and when the day came for the induction, I felt prepared and peaceful. She helped me in my efforts to make the hospital birth as close to a home birth as possible. She arrived with candles, calming music, her birthing stool and with a great attitude - professional and calm. I stuck up my birth affirmation signs all over the room I was to birth in and we waited. After the induction the contractions took 3 hours to get going but when they did they were intense and overwhelming. I know I would not have managed the pain if Colleen were not present. One of my hopes for this birth had been that my husband would be more intimately involved than at our daughter's birth, and with Colleen’s assistance this is what happened. She coached my husband (her son) on how to apply pressure to my back during contractions and he did a great job. I made him work very hard this time, and it really felt like a team effort! Colleen's gentle, calm, assuring presence helped me to remain calm and focused on the work of birth. Just less than 3 hours after contractions started, my son was born. And then there he was, this strong boy with chunky fingers and a calm disposition who latched perfectly.
After the long, hard wait for his arrival, his quick birth was pure relief for me. The room was filled with such joy and celebration, and although it was not the birth I had hoped for, it was perfect in its own way.