Monday, March 07, 2011

Doula Devotion

"Let the sun shine a smile your way. Open your heart, feel a touch of devotion. Maybe this song will help uplift your day." ~ Earth, Wind & Fire

When I was pregnant with Q, T and I decided that we would go with a regular OB to deliver the baby, but we liked the idea of employing a doula as a means of support, both spiritually and physically, during the labor and delivery of our first child. After doing a bit of a research, I came across the lovely and amazing Felicia. From the moment we met, we connected and felt right with one another. What I liked most about Felicia (and what I believe she admired in me) was her willingness to be open about the whole process. She certainly didn't have an agenda to push for natural birthing, which I think some people unfairly assume about doulas. She was there to offer support to the parents, to lend guidance through her experience of assisting with over 500(!) births. Sold. 

When we became pregnant this time around, I knew I wanted Felicia to be involved again, but I wasn't sure that we could afford it. My mom had gifted us with paying for a portion of her services during my first pregnancy. It was an incredible gift. Invaluable really. I believe my mom knew that she couldn't offer the kind of support that she might have been able to when she was at her full strength. So she did what she could. This time I emailed Felicia to let her know our predicament and how important she was to our first pregnancy and the birth of our first child, which was such a beautiful experience and not at all as frightening or painful as I imagined it could be -- Felicia played a large part in that experience. She replied saying that there was definitely a discount for 2nd time mamas and was more than happy to work with us at a rate that we could afford. I responded with an amount that I knew would be a generous discount but was being honest with what we could manage at this time. I worried it might be even a bit offensive. Still, I thought she might want to negotiate and there was possibly room for that on our end. 

When I read her response this weekend, I couldn't stop the tears from flooding my eyes and pouring down my cheeks. Q even ran to get his daddy when he saw me break down. But I was crying tears of joy. Tears of gratitude. She not only agreed to the suggested rate, she said she kept hearing the same number in her head and she believed it was my mom sending the message along. You see, the day my mom passed away was the day that Felicia was scheduled to come do her postpartum visit with us and Q. She was on her way when we got the phone call and had to call her to share the news and postpone her visit. I can imagine that impacted her in a way that would make it hard to forget the loss of my mom. And I had just been thinking about this whole ordeal the day that I received Felicia's message. So, on that day, I also felt my mom's presence. Even if she can't be here physically during this pregnancy, she has found such a key way to show that she is still with me. Thank you, Mamasay! You are still the best possible mom I have ever known.  

A little more about doulas. If you are considering working with a doula, I can't recommend it enough. She made me look forward to the full experience of our son's birth. She put T at ease and helped him to be a wonderful source of support during the labor. She helped me to manage the pain and put it all in perspective. I was able to give birth to Q without any drugs, but if things had not been moving along and I was really suffering, I know she would have advocated on my behalf for whatever interventions I might have needed. On the one hand, I was lucky to have a relatively fast labor and delivery. On the other hand, I don't know how I would have handled it all without her. If you're in the Bay Area and are researching doulas, please check out Felicia. She is more than worth the investment. Otherwise, in your search for a doula, remember that these are women who are there for your support and benefit, not necessarily to push their own agendas. And who couldn't use a little extra support during one of the most important events of her life?

4 comments:

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes! Such a powerful story! It's nice to know that there are human beings out there who genuinely care about other human beings. I'm convinced your mom was overseeing this one, providing help in a way that only she could. :)

    Oh, and thank you for providing information on doulas. I've been considering getting one, but was unsure about the costs involved and about what role one would play in the birthing process. I'm going to be doing more research now.

    p.s. I think it's fabulous that you were able to have a natural birth! That's awesome!

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  2. I recently went to a meeting at a birthing center here in vegas for mom's who've had c-section births and it was so healing for me to hear that they also felt robbed of their birthing experience.

    This time around (i'm 18 weeks along with #2) I've been doing my research and found an amazing doula and midwife and we're talking about the posibiity for a home birth.

    You're right, the doula made me feel so powerful and made me feel like I was totally capable whereas the hospital or doctors made me feel like they were looking on watching me birth just waiting for something to go wrong, not cheering me on to be successful but waiting for me to fail because in their eyes, I was defective and they needed to fix me.

    Congrats!

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  3. Oh, that is so amazing! Thank goodness for her kindness and understanding!

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  4. Oh Momeline, I'm so happy to hear you will be able to work with the doula again! I know how much you valued her assistance the 1st time around -- it's just the best news! I'm happy to come over anytime and chase Q around the couch, squeeze myself into the pillow fort, etc. when you're in desperate need of a nap. Love you, honey. xox

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