I am currently pregnant with baby number two, and expecting his arrival August 2017. This is an entirely new experience for me which some may find surprising, as I already have a child! However, when I was pregnant with my daughter I hadn’t ventured into the world of professional childbirth work and comparatively speaking, I didn’t know much (even though I spent SO much time researching. I for one can attest to the importance of getting your information from a professional and not Dr. Google!). It’s incredibly exciting to be able to take what I’ve learned over the past year and truly practice what I preach. So many of the things I have been taught, whether by my amazing doula instructor and mentors here in the Edmonton childbirth industry or by my experiences at Edmonton births, will now make sense on a deeper level. You can imagine how excited I am for my own birth! I will say that I am learning even more things that I can add to my array of skills as an Edmonton doula… things I never would have learned not being pregnant myself. Some things I’ve discovered as a pregnant doula…
Knowledge is power… but too much can be too powerful
One thing that went terribly wrong in my own birth was that my baby girl was OP (occiput posterior, which means head down but facing towards my stomach). For those of you who don’t know, OP position makes labour more complicated because it causes baby to put pressure from the back of the head on to mom’s back and spine, causing the dreaded back labour. It also doesn’t encourage head flexion, which is needed for baby’s head to exit the birth canal effectively. In can even, and in my case it did, cause baby to not fully descend into the pelvis before labour, which slows things right down in terms of when labour starts and the length of time it takes. So naturally, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the position of this baby. From religiously reading the Spinning Babies website everyday to analyzing every little bit of baby’s movement, and even refusing to lean back EVER… things are getting a little crazy in this head of mine. All of this is based on information I’ve gathered since becoming a doula, tips and tricks I’ve learned to correct baby’s posture in the early stages. While I’m happy I know what I know, I think that all of the information I’ve gained has me thinking a bit too much into things. It’s important to be educated, but it’s also important to enjoy the good parts of pregnancy – aka second trimester, where I am right now.
Just because you work in the field, doesn’t mean your birth has to be “perfect”
I know, it’s a bit premature to be thinking about my birth already… but hey, what else would you expect when a doula is having her own in the near future! My last birth ended in a c-section, and while I don’t resent the birth at all (my daughter made it out safe and healthy and I experienced a lot of birth outcomes in one shot), I do want things to be different this time around. I want to be able to share the experience of what a VBAC feels like to my future clients, but I also feel as though I, of all people, should be able to have a birth that my clients strive to achieve! I’ve had to spend a lot of time talking myself down from this high horse and reminding myself that I am, in fact, just another Edmonton mom. A birth is a birth – as long as mom and baby make it out safely and trauma-free, it’s absolutely perfect just the way it is. Also, just because someone has experienced a particular (or any) birth, it does’t mean that this person is more or less capable of supporting another mom through that scenario. I’ve felt completely comfortable with my previous clients who have had drug-free births and though I am obviously curious as to what that is like, I don’t need to personally have that particular experience to be able to cultivate that for other moms.
A doula needs a doula too!
I’ve recently hired my own local Edmonton birth doula… how exciting! It took a bit of explaining to my partner, as he was a bit unsure as to why I needed someone who works in the same field to do a job for me that I do for other people. In all honesty, there were even times when I was second-guessing why I needed my own doula. I am no expert and definitely not a senior birth doula in Edmonton, but I take pride in my skills and the amount of knowledge I have when it comes to birth. Then my midwife said something that really sealed the deal for me. She said, and I won’t quote as I can’t remember her exact words, but something along the lines of you can’t be expected to remember everything you were taught, just as you don’t expect your clients to. That’s what you are there for, and what your doula will be there for. Brilliant, and so accurate. I feel like with the doula I have selected, I will not only have amazing, top-notch support, but I may even learn through experiences to add on to my own knowledge.
It’s been so nice sharing my experience as a pregnant Edmonton doula so far, and I’m totally going to do this again! But not before I go and heckle others in my industry who have been in this position and find out what they have to say 🙂