Can I Give Up a Natural Birth?

Have you always imagined you’d give birth naturally, but are realizing now that, for whatever reason, natural birth just isn’t in the cards this time?

Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from having a natural birth – it could be placenta previa, or a breech baby, or maybe there’s concern over how well the baby could handle labor, to name a few common examples.

Is it ok to accept that a natural birth isn’t in your future?

Sure, you could stand on your head for hours a day, or do special moves in the swimming pool, or any of the other hundreds of suggestions for getting a breech baby to flip around – but what if none of them work for you? And what if you just don’t feel like trying yet another trick you heard worked for your coworker’s friend?

poolside lemonade
Set aside your worries – enjoy your time poolside!

 

What if the thought of one more positive visualization imagining your placenta moving out of the way makes you want to throw things across the room? Is it ok to just stop?

Can you feel good about accepting this change in your plans?

Absolutely.

If natural birth has always been your goal, it can be a hard mental shift to accepting that your reality may involve more medical intervention than you want. But you can do it. In fact, it’s ok to make that shift. It’s ok to embrace a new outlook, and look forward with anticipation instead of dread.

I’ll repeat, because it’s so important: it is absolutely, always, 100% ok for you to be at peace with your decisions.

Asking yourself the following questions can help you clarify your feelings. Part of our job at Doulas of Memphis is to help you work through the answers, and to support you every step of the way, so if you don’t know us already, let’s chat!

What is it about a medicalized birth that I’m hoping to avoid?

Is it a feeling of lack of control? Are you worried that you are somehow letting your baby or your partner down? Is it important to you that you still have a voice in your experience? Are you concerned that the medical aspect will overwhelm you with questions and details?

You might have a combination of answers to this question. Once you have explored all your answers, start to think about concrete things you can do to alleviate or even eliminate your concerns. Talk about your ideas with your doula and your doctor. We both want what is best for you, and can help you with your new plans.

What will it mean about me as a person or as a parent if I have a medicalized birth?

Worded slightly differently, you might come to an answer from a different angle: what will it mean about me as a person if I don’t have a natural birth? Hopefully, you are able to see that you are a worthy and valuable person and parent, regardless of the circumstances of your baby’s birth. You deserve to feel good about your choices and your experience.

Imagine yourself birthing your baby with confidence and clarity. What do you need this time to do that?

This is a great question to ask yourself regardless! Do you need education about your new options? Do you need additional support now and during the labor? Do you just need someone who “gets it” and won’t judge as you work through your feelings and make new decisions; someone who will remind you that you are enough?

The insight gained from your answers can help you start setting the stage for a positive birth experience, even if it isn’t the one you always thought you wanted. We would love to help you every step of the way.

Do I need a doula with VBAC experience?

doula with vbac experience

 

VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, is increasing in popularity and is a viable option for many women who have experienced a prior cesarean. Many VBAC hopefuls seek out the support of a doula and in turn might ask the question, “Do I need a doula with VBAC experience?”

The short answer is no, but more important than the desire for a doula with VBAC experience is the reasoning behind the request. While for some this may be strictly personal preference, which is valid in its own right, others ask for this because they feel that a doula with VBAC experience is more likely to possess certain qualities that are important to them. Attempting a TOLAC, or trial of labor after cesarean, often comes with a wide range of emotions and special considerations for the birthing woman, and it is important that her doula is well-equipped to support her. If you’re looking for the best doula for VBAC in Memphis, be on the lookout for these qualities:

1. Is your doula educated about VBAC and equipped to support both vaginal and cesarean birth?

Even if your doula has not attended a VBAC, she should be aware of what the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ current recommendations are surrounding TOLAC and VBAC. Staying current on this information is part of ProDoula’s certification process, and all Doulas of Memphis doulas are educated on this topic. Our doulas have also been trained by ProDoula to support both vaginal and cesarean birth without judgment or bias. We’ll never speak to you negatively about your previous births, or even about cesareans in general.

2. Does your doula support your goals for a VBAC? What if those goals change?

During your pregnancy and labor, your doula is your biggest cheerleader on your road to a VBAC. She is there to listen, validate concerns, and to help you navigate the many choices you must make. Most women who are undergoing a TOLAC will go on to have a succesful VBAC, but this is not always the case. Our doulas will encourage you and support you unconditionally, even if your goals and plans change. Your goals are important to us because they are important to you, and we’ll never define you by your mode of delivery!

3. Will your doula be able to tune in to your physical and emotional needs during labor?

VBAC often comes with more challenges than a normal vaginal delivery, both physically and emotionally. It is far more important to have a doula who can stay attuned to your needs than it is to have a doula with VBAC experience. You want a team of doulas who is fully focused on you and what you need in the moment, not on achieving a certain outcome. We want you to feel supported at all times, whether you need extra encouragement or physical support. It’s always about you and your needs!

The best doula for VBAC in Memphis is knowledgeable, supportive of your goals, and attuned to you. At Doulas of Memphis, we are committed to providing The Gold Standard for labor support in Memphis. Contact us today and tell us your story!

 

 

Big Brave Dog: on finding strength

Never in my life did I think that a quote from Rugrats would enter my birth room.  And yet, when I think back to the birth of my first child, my mind’s eye goes to the image of Suzie and Angelica fighting over Chuckie as he sits terrified at the top of the big kid slide.

For me, my “slide” was the emergency cesarean I faced. I was terrified. This was not how I planned my birth! This was not the birth I wanted, but here I was.

slide strength
The view from the top

“You’re a big brave dog.”

I’ll be honest with you: it would have so very easy to give into the fear and I almost did. Even though I was a nurse and had attended hundreds of cesarean births, I was still afraid in that moment. Then my husband did something to shake me out of it. He leaned down and whispered in my ear, “You’re a big brave dog.”

All of a sudden, I had a choice. I could give into the fear or I could be a big brave dog.

Those words stuck. I repeated them over and over throughout my cesarean. Each time I said ‘I’m a big brave dog,” the fear melted a bit more and my inner strength came out.
In that moment, I made the choice to speak power into my fear and less-than-ideal circumstances. There may be a time during your birth where you find yourself at the top of the proverbial slide and in need of some strength to help you go down it. It doesn’t matter if your slide is a cesarean, an induction, or epidural, or even when the time comes to push your baby out.

The good news is that while we don’t always have control over our circumstances during labor and birth, we DO have control over the way we speak to ourselves. You can make choices in that moment to speak fear, or to speak power and strength.

As doulas, we help you dig deep and find the power and strength that was there all along.  Maybe your phrase isn’t,  “I’m a big brave dog”-  maybe for you it’s, “I’m a rockstar,” “I’m doing the best thing for my baby,” “I can trust my doctor and medical team,” or “I am powerful.” Take that phrase, and like Chuckie from Rugrats, allow that to propel you through your fear and down your slide.

We’ll be right here with you, waiting at the bottom.

Authored by Lindsey Hanna

The Doulas of Memphis Difference

March 22-28 is World Doula Week, and this week on the blog Doulas of Memphis is taking the World Doula Week Blog Challenge hosted by Louisville Area Doulas! Today, we’ve been challenged to tell you all about something that makes us different.

Doulas of Memphis Difference

If you spend any amount of time on our website, you’ll see that we are different. We’re an agency and that’s different. Our birth doulas work in teams and that’s different. We go on call from the moment you sign your contract and that’s different. We can provide round-the-clock postpartum care, we have the most availability, we have uniform training through ProDoula, we’re not an advocacy group, we’re building sustainability through our business model, we’re invested in our community, and yeah, that’s all different, and yes, we’re proud of all the things we have to offer you. But…

All of that is great, but it isn’t what makes Doulas of Memphis the best doula services in Memphis. We are the best doula services in Memphis because our business is built not around an ideology, but around YOU, the client.

Traditionally, has been approached from the framework of helping women achieve greater success in their attempts at natural childbirth, also known as unmedicated childbirth. You hire a doula to help you bypass that epidural, unless of course something happens and it becomes “medically necessary.” There are studies that suggest doulas can help lower the cesarean rate, decrease interventions, and promote shorter labors. The problem with those studies is that they are just that- studies that look at populations and not individuals.

We are grateful for the women who have come before us to put doulas on the map and to get the word out about what we do. We work to carry on their tradition of supporting women through birth and the postpartum period, but Doulas of Memphis was founded based not around an ideal of a birth without interventions, but around the support that modern women in Memphis are craving.

The truth is that the vast majority of women in this city are not having the unmedicated vaginal deliveries that the doulas of the past traditionally supported. We feel at Doulas of Memphis that if we base our support around that standard, we are doing women a disservice.  A woman who wants an epidural, chooses a “wait-and-see” approach to pain relief,  chooses an elective induction, trusts her doctor and values safety over the experience,  or chooses a cesarean birth can benefit from the support of a doula equally as much as someone who wants a natural birth.

Our clients come from different backgrounds and have different values and expectations surrounding childbirth, and we value them all. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:

We’re not here for an experience. We’re here for YOU.

We’ll never hang up the phone or leave your side because you choose an epidural. We value the doctor-patient relationship and believe you are capable of choosing the birth team and making the choices that are best for you. We leave your clinical care to those who are most qualified and keep our focus instead on your emotional well-being. We aren’t invested in your parenting choices, whether you choose to circumcise or not, or if you decide that it’s best for your family if you take a more scheduled approach. We’re invested in YOU, the client. You, the woman who is more than someone giving birth or a mom with spit-up on your shirt after a rough night.  We are invested in getting to know you as individuals so that we can be the best doula in Memphis for YOU.  

If you’ve never considered hiring a doula in Memphis because you thought they were only for a certain type of birth or parenting style, we’d love for you to reconsider and  give us a call! We want to hear from you and learn about your needs and how we can support and serve your family.

That’s the Doulas of Memphis difference. We hope to hear from you soon!

To read blogs from other contributors to the World Doula Week Blog Challenge, visit http://louisvilleareadoulas.com/blog/2016-world-doula-week

 

Everybody has a birth plan

birth plan
Birth plans are common enough nowadays that “Do you have a written birth plan?” has made the list of intake questions when you check in at the hospital. You see people asking for birth plan examples in mommy groups, and you might be wondering, “Wait, do I even need one of these?!”

Well, yes and no.

The truth is that everybody has a birth plan. We all come into birth with some preconceived notion of how it’s going to go. You might be expecting a “natural” or unmedicated birth, or you might know you want the epidural as fast as they can get it to you. You might be open to a more wait-and-see approach where you know that relief is there if you need it. You might already know that you will be induced or are going to have a scheduled cesarean. You may trust your doctor wholeheartedly and your plan is to show up and go with the flow. All of these are valid options!

How does a doula help me with my birth plan?

Whether or not you write your birth plan down is completely up to you. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t a “must” to bring a written birth plan to the hospital. Plenty of women have beautiful birth experiences and leave the birth plan at home, and others feel better having it packed in their bag and ready to go. When you hire Doulas of Memphis for your birth, we spend time during our prenatal visit talking through your plan for birth. This is our time to get to know all of your wishes and preferences, and help you sift through all of your options. We are familiar with your birthplace and can tell you what’s commonplace and what you should discuss with your doctor prior to birth. If you like, we can provide you with a Birth Preferences template and help you get your thoughts on paper. This is our time with you to make sure we are on the same page and to learn how we can best meet your needs. If that changes during labor, we’re great at rolling with it and meeting you in that moment. You’re never chained to the paper with us and your birth plan is not a standard to which we hold you. It’s simply a tool for you to be able to gain confidence in communicating your wishes and desires with each other, your doula, your doctor, and any hospital staff you come into contact with.

The most important kind of birth plan

The most important kind of birth plan is the one that you’ve communicated with your birth team. Birth comes with a bit of unpredictability, so focusing on your overall goals and remaining flexible is key. Your doctor and nurses want you to have a safe, healthy delivery and a positive experience. You should never be afraid to ask for what you need — they’re there to help you and to explain why if they are unable to accommodate a particular wish on your list. While they work to keep things running smoothly, your doula is there to attend to your other non-medical needs. Even if your plans change, our support for you never will.

If you’d like to hear more about adding a doula to your birth team, give us a call!

The grass is greener where you water it

greener

Ever notice that when you talk about our city, you typically get one of two reactions? I remember being surprised by that when I first came here 10 years ago. Sure, Memphis has its problems and idiosyncrasies like any other place, but I could never make myself hate it here. Memphis is home. It’s my home. There’s no real reason it should be, but it is. I guess this city will do that to you. If you’re nodding your head, you know what I mean.

Here’s the thing: instead of looking at the grass on the other side, looking at Nashville, looking at Chattanooga, looking at all the other places we could be except here…what if we water the grass we have?

We love Memphis and we’re not going anywhere

Doulas of Memphis is committed to blooming where we’re planted. We care about this city and we care about the people in it. We want to invest in building relationships, to get to know you not only as families giving birth or as doctors and nurses caring for patients, but as people. We want to know what you’re passionate about, we want to know what you bring to this city where we all live, work, and love. We want every interaction you have with us to leave you feeling supported and cared for, even if it’s nothing more than a brief encounter at the grocery store.

Building bridges, starting conversations

As doulas, we approach our work free of judgment and full of humility. We aren’t here to advocate for you, and our goal isn’t to lower the cesarean rate or make sure as many families as possible are breastfeeding their babies. We’re not even here to make sure you know what the evidence says or how you should interpret it for your family. We’re here to nurture the relationships you’ve built with the people you’ve chosen to surround yourself with. We want to create a culture of support in our city, to build bridges with hospitals and have conversations about our shared goals and how our support can complement the care they provide.

If you’d like to get to know us better, give us a call or hop on over to our contact page and drop us a line. We can’t wait to serve you