It's World Doula Week again! And I thought I would like to share my experiences with doulas both from my own doula and working alongside them as a Birth Photographer. So a few days this week I would like to share some stories of Doulas! Today I would like to start with my own. This post seems very fitting considering on this day exactly 4 years ago I was headed in to Hospital ready for an induction for my Daughter, Maggie. What I didn't know in those moments before was the huge role my Doula would play in my story. Both during and after my little love arrived.
44 hours. 44 hours and I remember nearly every one of them. I thought I was prepared. I read all the books, we took all the classes, we hired a doula, we hired a photographer. I felt so prepared and so ready to allow my body to do it's thing. Being all the way in Okinawa, Japan. Away from all of my family and friends. I was nervous and of course not having done this before I knew I wanted someone to help me navigate through the process. When I met Brittany early on in my pregnancy I knew she would be a great fit! After putting off getting induced until the LAST minute (42 weeks) I was sure my daughter was going to come. Baby's eventually come right? Wrong. Or at least that's how it felt. I tried just about everything possible to get her to come on her own. I went it the morning of my 42 week day ready for induction, they told me I was not even 1cm dilated. My heart sank but I was also hopeful the induction would be a quick-ish process. After a mishap placing the foley bulb. My waters broke. Having taken said classes and reading said books. I knew that being hospital and having my waters gone. The clock was ticking.
After things started to pick up I remember Brittany doing so many things to assist my pain. She worked so great with my Husband going back and forth between what I needed. My back labor was INTENSE. At that is putting it mild. My kiddo, in her rebellious spirit of hers was of course "Sunny Side Up" and if you experienced this before. You know. There is nothing "sunny" about it. I tried my best to push through and ultimately at 36 hours of labor I decided enough was enough and I needed an Epidural. This was one of the many tough choices I made during Maggie's birth.
Now, her comes the midnight hour on day 2. The staff has grown increasingly more impatient with me & really ready for Maggie to make her way. Since she was face up and my fever started to spike (my waters had gone at induction) that the choice was made for a c-section.THIS MOMENT I remember most. I remember my eyes swelling with tears. I remember feeling like I completely failed. But I also remember her & my husband holding my hands. Reassuring me that I had not failed. That no matter how she was born I was about to be a Mother. Birth plans are just that, plans. It is not a binding contract and I think after years of processing the events of my labor I finally feel sure about that.
2:23am- My Maggie is born. Screaming at the top of her lungs and the most beautiful thing my eyes had ever seen. Right away my husband was whisked away with her to our room. I was shaking uncontrollably, in and out of consciousness. Bleeding too much too quickly I would later learn. My doula was right there. Every minute holding my hand and telling me all about my Maggie. Just another thing I will never forget about her.
Postpartum Doula's and services. Something I never even though about when I was looking for Doulas. Now I don't think I could ever have a baby without one. After taking Maggie home I felt so lost. Was she eating enough? Did my breastmilk come in? Why is she so fussy all time? Is she having enough wet diapers? I mean those are just a few of the 1000's of questions in my head the first few days. It was late one evening maybe 3 days after we got home. I had the "baby blues" really bad and it caused so many frustrations and challenges. I could not seem to get Maggie to latch properly and because of that she was very fussy and hungry. I tried all the tricks I could remember being taught and just burst into tears and my poor husband did not know what to do. He called Brittany and she came over right away. While she was not a lactation consultant she was a breastfeeding mother herself and the so clam and ready to help. She comforted me and calmly helped me figure out a good latch. Wouldn't you know, a perfect latch. I cried again. (The baby blues are rough) and this time just out of joy. From that day on I felt confident and secure with nursing and successfully nursed my Maggie until she was 2 1/2!
Doulas in my book will always be a blessing. They are truly so vital to Mothers and their care before, during and after birth. #worlddoualweek #birth #doula #birthphotography #postpartumdoula #breastfeeding #worlddoulaweek2019 *Photo credit to my amazing Birth Photographer Six Luckey's Photography *My Doula Brittany Leavitt