Should I have a birth doula for my cesarean?
As a mother who delivered both of her babies via cesarean, I know first-hand the challenges. When I gave birth 14+ years ago to my first, I had envisioned a typical hospital vaginal delivery. I was ok with an an epidural. I was going to be surrounded by my husband and my best friend and all would go as planned.
Well, all did not go as planned. At 41-1/2 weeks, I needed to be induced due to preeclampsia. Still, in my mind, my limited birth plan was going to happen. Then, after twelve hours of labor, only one-half of my body responding to the epidural (yes – that’s a thing!), a number of scares losing baby’s heart rate, and watching my cervix dilate to 7 cm and then decide that was far enough, and start to close, the decision was made to whisk me off to the OR for an emergency cesarean.
I was heavily sedated and only remember parts of the birth. I remember the tenseness of the room as Caleb was delivered. I remember my poor husband looking like a deer in headlights. I remember them taking our Caleb and calling Jon to come over to them. He looked at me like “I don’t want to leave you, but the baby might need me.”. I told him to go. Then I was alone. Of course, there was staff around, but I felt very alone.
The next thing I remember was waking up in recovery, shaking uncontrollably. Jon was holding Caleb while the nurse was telling him that Caleb needed to eat. I wanted so badly to nurse him, but couldn’t even hold him due to the shaking. So Jon was left to make a decision on something we hadn’t even considered, and they ended up syringe feeding him formula. Again, not part of our plan.
Meanwhile my parents were 400+ miles away and family waited in the hospital, knowing I only that I had been rushed to the operating room, anxious for details. They would have to wait.
I realize, looking back, I had a general idea, and not a plan. What I had really needed was a doula. Unfortunately for me, I had no idea they existed.
Fast-forward three years and I was pregnant with my second. I elected for a repeat cesarean. Again, no idea what a birth doula was and how they could help. I had really no idea what to expect with a planned cesarean. Last time was an emergency and a planned is a whole different ball game. It was terrifying.
My birth and postpartum experienced played a huge role in deciding to become a doula once I finally discovered what they were! Educating families on the services of birth doulas and postpartum doulas has become my passion. I wish I had the prenatal support, knew my options, had a plan that my birth team was aware of, and had support for my husband for both my births.
Many people of are the opinion that birth doulas are for natural, unmedicated births. While they most certainly are valuable for vaginal births both medicated and unmedicated, birth doulas are also invaluable for cesarean births as well, whether planned or unplanned.
Special thanks to Ashley for her contributions to this list of benefits to having a birth doula for a cesarean birth:
- Prenatal support and a birth plan.
- Education on cesarean birth and your options whether one is planned or a birth becomes a cesarean. i.e. immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord cutting, and more.
- Help guide and educate you through the admittance process and pre-op.
- Offer emotional support and guidance for your partner before, during and after your cesarean birth.
- A birth doula is experienced with the ins and outs of the maternity ward.
- A birth doula can help set the stage for a calm, peaceful and happy birth environment.
- A birth doula can keep you company in the event that your baby cannot be placed on your chest immediately, leaving your partner free to go be near your baby.
- A birth doula can support you in recovery, assist with skin to skin and breastfeeding. Moms often feel shaky during this time and the extra support can help boost confidence.
- A birth doula can act as the liaison between you and any family or friends that may be waiting in the waiting room. Offering updates and explaining things thoroughly for them.
Many aspects of childbirth are unpredictable. Birth doulas can help you better prepare for the surprises. A birth doula can help you navigate birth, provide unconditional support and educate you on your options for any birth whether vaginal or cesarean.
If you would like more information on how our birth doulas in Cleveland can support you, please contact us.
Wishing you the best on your birth journey!
Nurtured Foundation Doula Services provides a variety of birth services to the Cleveland and Akron areas. For more information on our birth services including placenta encapsulation, in-home lactation support, in-home prenatal massage and postpartum massage, birth photography, infant massage and a variety of classes, please contact us.
Do you have a pregnancy or postpartum question that you’d like answered by one of our doulas? Join our Facebook group, Cleveland’s “Ask the Doulas & OBGYN”, and ask away!
Nurtured Foundation Postpartum Doula Services provides day & night doula care, lactation support, belly binding, infant massage instruction and various classes to the Cleveland, Ohio and surrounding areas. Please contact us for more information.