My doula, my hero

9 Jul

This woman looks radiant after providing 20 straight hours of labour support. Seriously!

I would like to introduce you to our friend Caro and tell you why she has been our super hero over the last two weeks. Caro is a student midwife, our closest friend and acted as our volunteer doula when Daphne was born. Since then, she has been the fiercest advocate for our tiny baby and she deserves some sort of major award. Instead, I will let this post serve as a public record of her sheer awesomeness.

When I first started thinking about how our childbirth experience might play out, it didn’t occur to me that we would want or need a doula. We were receiving excellent care from a team of talented and compassionate midwives. Caitlyn has always been a rock of support and tenderness. I figured that we had a good team in place and wouldn’t want or need any extra people at the birth. When Caro offered to act as our doula, I was thrilled, but also a bit skeptical. As the sole parent to an adorable, active and very attached 8-month old, I figured that she would perhaps be able to provide telephone counsel and drop in for a spell. I never expected that she would be by our side for our entire labour and delivery experience.

Somehow, miraculously, only days before Daphne was born, Caro found an amazing babysitter that her discerning daughter fell head over heels for. And when I went into early labour, Caro counseled us by phone and text, until her sitter arrived in the morning. Then she pretty much spent 20 hours by our side, providing comfort measures and documenting Daphne’s birth. Here is a short and by no-means exhaustive list of all of the amazing things she did for us and for our baby. I am quite sure that most doulas wouldn’t provide all of these services, but many will provide some of them. If you can afford to hire a doula, I would say it’s well worth it (though I understand that this is not an option for many people).

  • She supervised and provided hands-on comfort measures, taking over for Caitlyn, who had been up all night with me. This allowed my wife to get a couple of hours of sleep and be in better shape for the marathon of labour.
  • She timed contractions and called the midwife when things really picked up.
  • She coached me through the most painful contractions and helped me make the decision about when to head to the hospital. If it wasn’t for her, I am fairly sure I would have ended up there much sooner.
  • She gave me sips of apple juice and helped coach me through the pushing stage (which lasted almost three hours!)
  • She took photos and videos of Daphne’s delivery.
  • She and a friend went to our house the morning we were getting out of the hospital and washed our sheets, made our bed and set up the portable crib in our bedroom.
  • When Daphne was becoming lethargic and at risk of jaundice on day #3, she arrived at 10 pm with bags of frozen breast milk, a pump, and her own daughter. She put her baby to bed in our guest room and stayed up all night with us, as we bottle-fed her back to health. She also put Daphne to her own breast, to help test her suck reflex.
  • She arranged for a chiropractor to do a home visit on her day off, to provide some cranial sacral therapy. She also convinced the one dentist in town who does laser surgery for tongue ties to stay late on his last day before his vacation, so Daphne could have the procedure done without delay.
  • She helped us connect with lactation consultants and other community resources.
  • She calls daily to check in and serves as our number one cheerleader.

Conclusion? Doulas are amazing, but ours is a super hero. Daphne is so lucky to have her Auntie Caro in her corner and so are we.

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One Response to “My doula, my hero”

  1. Kristin Ireland (@MonWithMac) July 10, 2012 at 6:33 am #

    What an amazing friend to have! It really does take a village to raise a child… and sometimes one amazing friend can be worth a whole village on their own.

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