Growing up, I didn’t have many friends. My family moved around too much, and I never had the opportunity to develop close personal ties with people or places. As soon as I could, I got married, moved out, and started my own life. I married a hardworking man who did, (and still does,) everything he could to provide for me.
While I was pregnant, my husband was in trade school full-time, while simultaneously working a full-time job doing hard, manual labor. I didn’t have a car, or a license, and was frequently alone. I spent a lot of time going places that were with in walking distance in our little, rural town. Places like the small, local library, and a few local diners.
I was pregnant with my first son when I was eighteen years old! I am the oldest kid from a large family, type A personality. I am a researcher and a planner. You couldn’t tell me anything! I read everything I could get my hands on. Every book in my public library! Every forum on the internet! Every pamphlet in my Obstetrician’s office! However, my pregnancy was very isolating for me.
I felt very alone, because my husband was busy being an awesome provider. I lived in a tiny town halfway across the country from my family. Because we were young and still working on setting up our lives, we had very little money. My rural hospital had no access to parenting support groups or childbirth education classes. I didn’t know what a doula was, and if I had known I wouldn’t have hired one because of my own pride, and “do it all myself” attitude. I wouldn’t have accepted the services of a doula if someone had gifted them to me!
My Labor Experience
I had a less than favorable experience during the labor and birth of my son. I had enough sense to write a birth plan, but I had absolutely no idea what to expect during labor, birth, and after care. I knew that I wanted to have an un-medicated birth, with no interventions. When I got to the hospital, the on call nurse broke my water, to “speed up” labor! She continued to push medication, and came in to ask me about it every 15 minutes! My husband was completely uneducated about the birthing process and about what was going on. He didn’t understand what I needed in terms of support, and didn’t know what to expect. He was as unprepared as I was.
What I wanted, was for my husband to tell the nurse to leave me alone. I wanted a quiet place to labor and manage my own birth! I wanted some counter pressure on my back and some cold rags for my forehead! I wanted something to drink! (FORGET ABOUT ICE CHIPS!!!) I wanted to immediately breast feed my son. I didn’t want to be left after delivery, shaking, cold, and alone, wondering what they were doing to my baby in a separate room. I wanted to be the first person to hold my baby.
I loved my doctor, I wish he had been present for my labor. If I would have known that doctors are not present during the laboring process, and only show up for delivery, I would better considered my options for a support person in the delivery room! I would have also taken advantage of a childbirth education class if I would have known such a thing existed!
So in the end, Even though I researched, and read, and mentally prepared, and meditated and prayed, I WAS NOT prepared for my hospital birth at all! If I would have had a doula, I believe the way my labor was managed would have been different, and I would have been more aware of my options in the hospital, and more satisfied with my birth outcome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brittany started her journey of helping women in 2012, as a pregnancy consultant. She was certified as a Birth and Bereavement Doula through Stillbirthday in 2015 and gained certification as a Gena Kirby Rebozo Doula later that year. She is the Birth Doula for modern women. She is intuitive and open-minded; she is attentive and ready to support everyone. Brittany received over 800 hours of advanced training in the practice of massage therapy in her quest as a healer, and is continually researching and attending training in the art of holistic health and wellness. She volunteers with the Oklahoma Birth Trauma Support Group for mothers and families who have experienced birth trauma and pregnancy loss. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
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