Thursday, March 31, 2011

Looking for that first birth

After attending the DONA Doula workshop a few weeks ago, I am ready to start attending births. So far, I have two people who have expressed interest in having me attend their births. One is expecting at the end of June/early July, and the other is...well...I can't really say yet. :o) (NOT me)

In order to get my name out there, I am trying to design a logo, an eye-catching flier and a sophisticated business card. I also would like to use this blog as a resource for potential clients, which is why you may have noticed I changed my URL. I used to be and now I am I am still trying to decide on a business name. What do you think of "Keen Doula Care?" I mean, it is kind of cool that my last name is so nifty, right? And no one can get mad because it's my name, right?

This leads me to the reason why I am trying to get business cards and fliers made. I am looking for those first births to attend! I did not feel ready to attend any births until I had my training. Plus none of them would count towards certification until after my training.

I am located in the Rosenberg/Richmond area and I am willing to travel to Sugar Land, Houston and surrounding areas. Another plus, although I am very new at this, I am going to offer my services for a very modest fee until I am fully certified. That's right! You'd have a doula for a very low cost, and I would ask is for some pictures, a testimonial and/or thank you card to put in my albums for future clients to see. You know when you go to your prenatal check ups and/or pediatrician's office and you see all those cards and thank you notes plastered on the walls? Yup, that's what I am looking for.

If you are willing to be a pampered guinea pig at your upcoming birth, please consider me. I would love to be your doula!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Processing it all

I attended the DONA Introduction to Childbirth, Basic Lactation and DONA Doula Workshop that I have been talking about the past few days. There is so much information to process and share, and my brain is so full it has made me sleep like a rock the past few days. I do not think "intense" would be the right word to describe what these past three days were like, but I learned so much information that I need to sort through. I need to discover my thoughts and feelings about what I learned. Most importantly, I need opportunities to put my new knowledge into practice. I am so excited to have taken a step in the right direction to helping mothers during their journeys of labor, birth and new motherhood.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steps toward certification

I have registered for the DONA Introduction to Childbirth class, Doula Workshop and Basic Lactation class that is taking place this weekend. I purchased my certification packet yesterday and I am eager to receive it in my email. It should arrive tomorrow, and then I can head to the library to print it out. I still have to finish reading The Birth Partner before my class. I read it while pregnant, but I am reading it again to try to better soak in the information.

I also just discovered the South Houston Doula Cooperative. I have this feeling I should try to get to know these doulas!

In other news, I was able to be a guest blogger at Sheridan's Enjoy Birth blog with my Why I Want to Be a Doula post. Welcome and thank you for stopping by to those who may have discovered my page through her blog. I hope my journey towards becoming a doula will be helpful to you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's going to happen!!!

Just an update: I have signed up for the DONA Introduction to Childbirth class offered at Houston Pregnancy Massage and Doula care. I am super excited! It says that a minimum of four people need to sign up in order for the class to be held, so I am hoping beyond all hope that at least four people have already signed up. Tomorrow is payday and I plan to sign up for the DONA Birth Doula Workshop tomorrow!!! I have been saving as much of my flute private lesson money as I can in order to pay for this workshop, but I am going to probably have to borrow some of our "family money" after my husband gets paid. I did not want to do this, but he insists that he will not allow me to chicken out and claim that I can't take the class due to financial reasons. He says point blank, "You're taking the class." I love it! I love how I have a husband that knows how much I want this and is working his booty off to help me accomplish this goal. He also has faith in my ability to do this. He never has been one to tell me what to do with my life, but as soon as I admitted to him, "I think I want to be a doula," his eyes just lit up with excitement! He really feels like this is right up my alley.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this will all work out! It seems like it is meant to be since it is over Spring Break and I won't have to worry about finding a sitter for our baby.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Just be there

"Sometimes the best thing to do is to simply be there, quietly standing by while labor unfolds and the mother searches within herself for her best way to respond."

-Penny Simkin The Birth Partner

I've heard experienced doulas say that the more experience they gain as a doula the less they feel like they need to do. Because I have yet to attend any births, I will need time to learn what they mean when they say this. I imagine it will be hard for me to feel like I am helping the mother at all if I am not doing something active like rubbing her back, holding her hand, talking to her, etc. Eventually I hope to get paid for my services, so I will feel like I may be cheating the couple if I am not doing something for the mother. However, when I think back on my own birth, I appreciate that my midwife never touched me and mainly stayed in the background. My husband did not talk. He just moaned with me as I moaned. No one asked me questions. No one gave me massages. No one made me change positions. They were just there, and that was the best thing they could have done for me. They left me alone to enter that deep place within myself to cope with my labor without distractions.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Why I want to be a doula

This has been the most difficult question for me to answer because the desire to become a doula has taken me by surprise. I never heard the word doula until I was planning to have a natural hospital birth. My childbirth educator was also a doula, and she encouraged me to have a support person at my birth. I told her that we could not afford one, and she said that there are volunteer doulas available. At that time I did not know how to find someone, and I tried not to worry too much about it. I brought my concern up to my midwives and they told me that I did not need a doula because they would be there the entire time.

After they told me that, I did not worry about finding a doula. My husband and I voiced any concerns we had with one another. I continued to read books about comfort measures and books containing positive and/or honest birth stories. My favorites were Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, Marie Mongan's HypnoBirthing, and Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner. I read the Guide to Childbirth first, then the HypnoBirthing book. Once I finished that book, I felt ready to give birth. I was so uplifted and inspired. A few days later, I went into labor.

I had a wonderful and empowering birth. It went better than I expected and it was FAST! From the start of the first contraction I felt to the birth was 4.5 hours. Once I felt it, boy, it was a little scary! I am so thankful that I had my husband there with me and he seemed to know exactly what I needed.

I tell him now that he did everything perfectly, and I do not know how he knew what to do. He says, "I just did what you told me to do." I suppose I knew myself without knowing myself, if that makes any sense. I would tell him what I learned from my reading and say, "I think I'd like to try that." I also assured him that, when it came down to it, he'd be fine; he'd know what to do. And he did.

True to their word, the midwife who attended me was there all the time. Looking back, I appreciate how hands off she was. She allowed me to labor in the dark, in the tub, and with my husband at my side. Every now and then she would tell me things when my sounds started to get frantic. She did a wonderful job, and she was very surprised that my baby came so quickly. It was such a calm and peaceful experience. My husband describes it as reverent.

Nothing has effected me so intensely and deeply as birth. Preparing for childbirth and the actual birth was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life and I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that I had the experience that I did.

I was taken by surprise with the wonderful "birth high" I experienced. Either I forgot that I learned about the birth high in my class or I didn't know about it, but the wonderful feelings took me surprise. I was so ecstatic, giddy and on top of the world. I did it! I couldn't believe it, but I did it! I began to wish that all women could experience birth the way that I did. There is no reason why they can't! I do not think that my desire to be a doula came while I was in the hospital because I was enjoying my new baby and birth high. I believe that desire came a week later.

One week after I had my baby, a friend of mine was experiencing labor. I was talking to her over Facebook and found out she was alone. At that time I wished that I could go to her and comfort her, but she was about seven hours away. I felt so sad that she was alone and I tried to tell her about comfort measures. It just is not the same trying to comfort someone over facebook. I saw other comments she was getting like, "You can do it. With an epidural, of course." or "Let's get that epidural started. There is no sense in doing it the hard way."

I am not some anti-epidural tyrant, but I feel that if properly prepared, most women would be surprised by what they can do! However, I do not believe that is very encouraging to someone when they are asking for encouragement to immediately say "Go get that epidural!"  To me that says, "You are not strong enough to handle labor."

When I saw comments like that, I just wanted to go and give her a huge hug. I wanted her to know that she could do it. And above all, I wished that she was not alone. Being alone makes things worse for most people if you have not prepared to give birth alone.

That experience solidified my desire to be a doula. As I read and learn, my desire continues to grow. As I hear from other mothers about unnecessary interventions that occurred during their births, I wish that they would have had a doula to help them through the process. Even the most prepared and educated women I have known are vulnerable during birth, especially if it is their first one. They do not know what to expect. I would compare my desire to be a doula as a desire to be a guide during a woman's birth journey. I have taken this journey, overcome the challenges, and reached the destination- motherhood-feeling joyful and confident. As someone who has completed the birth journey, I hope that my presence can be a source of comfort and strength to the laboring woman and her partner as they prepare to welcome a new life into their family.