If you're anything like I was during my pregnancy, or maybe even before...you're researching all the best gear, choosing your diapering style (which I highly recommend a cloth diapering service*-see my Blog post on diapering here), shopping for adorable baby clothes and preparing your birth plan...and that's just in the first trimester! There are so many options and suggested ways to go about this whole having a baby thing ;) but the bottom line is, this is your experience and you get to make it personal...to YOU. Now, the reality is, there are so many things that can happen that can derail you from your birth plan you created 8 months prior. Flexibility and openness can be helpful in this process, but having an advocate for your choices can also be very helpful.
When we started this search, my husband said what so many other husbands tend to say, "You want to hire a what-a?" "Babe, a doula, she helps throughout the birth." "Isn't that my job?" Sound familiar? Let me tell you right now, if you have a good doula, your husband will be thanking her profusely by the end. A doula, technically, is "a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible." A doula in mama to mama terms: a person who knows how births go, can be your advocate when your plan starts to derail, rubs your back, helps your partner know what to do and how to help you, helps keep your anxious family out of the birthing suite until you're ready, and cheers you on, helping you breathe, relax and push that gem out into the world.
I happened to stumble upon my doula from a recommendation of my dad's friend. Turns out, she was amazing! A sweet, comforting presence that was calming, helped me breathe through my contractions, encouraged me to stay in control and and championed for my wishes, both with the doctors (within safe limits, of course) and with my very excited families in the waiting room. I am so incredibly grateful for choosing to have a doula, but also wonderfully lucky to have found such a fantastic person to go through the most incredible and most vulnerable moment in my life with. By the way, of course I had the, "Is she gonna see my everything?!" thoughts beforehand. Haha, fellow mamas, you'll understand this...a few contractions in, I didn't care what she saw, as long as she helped me survive that pain! But in all seriousness, it's a beautiful bonding moment and a good doula will help you feel comfortable through that vulnerability. Needless to say, I will absolutely be using my doula again for our next one. There is no question in my mind. Definitely doula!
Suggestions for the Seattle/North of Seattle region:
*If you are in the greater Seattle region, I HIGHLY recommend Baby Diaper Service. I personally use them for my daughter, and I have worked with Carolyn, the owner, and she is lovely! Here is their FB page as well.
**Your doula choice is very personal. You need to feel comfortable with them, and of course, they'll need to have availability when you are due. However, for a reference, here is the website to my AMAZING doula, Malerie Brock at Manor Born Birth Services and her FB page.