Announcing baby Milo Joseph, born 5/4/2022 to proud parents Stephanie and Michael
Special thanks to doula Christa for supporting this sweet family with labor doula care and postpartum doula care, and also giving us a snapshot into her process as their doula.
As a doula, a majority of the clients I serve are "go with the flow" when it comes to pain medication. They typically want to try to deliver med-free, but say they won’t be disappointed with themselves if they end up consenting to an epidural. Sometimes that flexibility is just what is needed. However, Stephanie’s desires were much different. She came to me after what she experienced as a very traumatic first birth. An adverse reaction to the epidural at her first birth impacted the "4th trimester" with her newborn in almost every way imaginable, and Stephanie wanted a 0% chance of that happening again. The only way to ensure that was to take the epidural entirely off the table.
In my experience, there are 2 major keys to reaching your goal of delivering med-free in a hospital setting:
1. You should labor at home as long as possible, and
2. it is VITAL that you mentally make the commitment to go med free during pregnancy. You must set it in your mind early on, because if you go into the hospital with a play by ear approach, chances are you WILL end up wanting pain relief (which is 1000% ok and understandable- I will always support my clients through their decisions!).
Stephanie helped prepare herself by taking our Birthing from Within class, and staying focused on the goal of having a different birth and postpartum experience than her first. This included having a doula with her this time, too. When it seemed like labor started, she reached out to me and we kept in touch through the evening and into the next morning.
Having a doula is helpful when those moments of doubt creep in. Whether you’re doubting your ability to get through labor and you need some encouragement, or you're doubting the progress of your labor, an extra support person who is knowledgeable in birth can keep you calm, comfortable and focused. When things began to intensify I went to their home and supported Stephanie as she continued to labor at home for about 5 more hours. Stephanie told me, “If it weren’t for you I would have gone to the hospital last night!” (opening the door to medical support and/or interventions she was not interested in).