What You Need to Know About Your Birth Experience
Hoping for a positive and supported birth experience, I hired a doula for the birth of my first child over 8 years ago. As my pregnancy went on and approached my due date, we learned that my baby was breech. We tried to encourage him to turn, but nothing worked. When it became clear that I was going to have a cesarean, my doula told me she didn’t attend planned cesareans. At the time, I assumed this is what all doulas did and simply accepted it as the reality. She kept our deposit and didn’t ask for the balance. And she didn’t attend my birth.
My Birth Experience
When I went into labor at 38 weeks we headed to the hospital for the cesarean. Everything happened so fast. The nurse catheterized me before I’d been given anesthesia, saying the doctor requested it be done in that order. And I didn’t know how to advocate for myself and decline this. When my baby was born, they took him to the nursery, saying his breathing and temperature needed to be regulated there. As a result, I found myself in the recovery room alone while my husband followed our son to the nursery. I was alone for 3 hours, shaking from the anesthesia, and from the anxiety I was experiencing being separated from my baby. As a doula now, I know that I would have helped my client advocate to get that baby skin-to-skin to regulate his breathing and temperature. But I had nobody there to do that with me.
Your Birth Experience is Valid
So it was later, when I started working as a doula, that I realized how badly I’d needed a doula during that birth. I needed someone to help me know what to expect. I needed someone to help me advocate for a more humane experience. And I needed someone to be with me in recovery. Not only did my doula leave me in the lurch when I really needed her, but she also inadvertently sent the message that my birth was somehow less worthy or valid or real than a vaginal birth. It wasn’t even worthy of her presence and support.
“I’m here to tell you that your birth experience is valid. All ways of giving birth are valid and all birth experiences are deserving of support and celebration.”
The message that only certain types of birth matter is not the message that birthing people should be receiving. And doulas especially should be spreading the message that all births are valid. I’m here to tell you that your birth experience is valid. All ways of giving birth are valid and all birth experiences are deserving of support and celebration. While I will continue to advocate for more humane birth experiences and less intervention when it’s not needed or wanted, I will also continue to celebrate all the ways that new humans join this world. Birth often takes its own path. I have seen many births unfold since that day. And I have a deep respect and admiration for all the parents who are dealt a different hand than they hoped and bravely and boldly move through the experience anyway.
Did your birth go differently than you had hoped? Were you able to find the support you needed to process your birth experience? I’d love it if you’d leave a comment and share your story or a comment to encourage others whose births took an unexpected path.
I'm Taylor, your VBAC Doula
I’m a doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, ICAN leader, cesarean mama, VBAC mama, and HBAC mama. My mission is to support VBAC hopefuls to have empowered births.
“Taylor is warm, encouraging, and assertive. She allowed me to take charge and supported my decisions. I know that is the role of a doula, but I guess I expected to be following her lead or waiting for her suggestions. In the moment of labor, I needed those around me to support me in whatever felt right in that moment. It’s like she knew my body would lead and she followed that. I felt loved and heard every step along the way.”Emily