My hospital has a volunteer doula program. When you arrive at Labor & Delivery, you’re asked if you’d like a doula—even if you’re having a caesarean. Last time, I declined a doula. I figured, why ‘bother’ someone for an hour-long surgery. What could a doula possibly help with?
Of course, had I known then how V’s birth would be so traumatic, I would have demanded one!
This time around, both DH and I were in absolute agreement about having a doula. We figured we could benefit from having the extra emotional support if it becomes necessary (especially if the shit hits the fan like last time, and DH is kicked out of the OR…). With a twin pregnancy and a history of massive postpartum haemorrhage, I’m at risk for haemorrhaging again.
But assuming all goes well, here are my reasons why we are having a doula:
- A doula will take photos and videos of the birth, which will help me feel like a more active participant in my children’s birth.
- With twins, it will be good to have a second pair of hands to help with skin-to-skin contact in the OR and immediately postpartum. For example, she can help me hold Twin A while DH accompanies Twin B to the isolette for his Apgar checks.
- Things like skin-to-skin, a clear drape, and access to lactation consultants are standard at my hospital, but it is still good to have an advocate!
- She will help me with breastfeeding, until a lactation consultant is available to meet with me (which might not be until later that day or the following day).
- A doula would also help advocate for my non-standard requests, such as delaying the erythromycin ointment* for an hour; delaying cord clamping**; and declining a sedative (even in the case of an emergency hysterectomy, I have requested to stay awake).
* Even though I have never had an STD and won’t be delivering vaginally, erythromycin (an antibiotic eye ointment) is a legal requirement in the state of California. I want it delayed until after each baby and I have made eye contact.
** Might not be possible, given that there are two babies being delivered.
My history of pregnancy loss, infertility, and traumatic birth qualified me for being assigned a volunteer doula ahead of time. She’s called Patti, and she’s a former military OR nurse and a grandmother who (if I remember correctly) helped deliver seven of her eight grandchildren. I haven’t yet met her, but we have spoken on the phone and she texted me the other day just to check in, which was really sweet!
Amazing to think that the babies will be here in just 2½ weeks!
→ You can read my full #bellybirth list of preferences here.