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.

Doulas and Epidurals? Yes, please!

I’m planning an epidural. Should I hire a doula? What does a doula do with an epidural? I thought doulas and epidurals didn’t go together!

At Doulas of Memphis, we give the same high-quality, expert support to all kinds of birth, whether an epidural is your contingency plan or your only plan. Doulas and epidurals make a great pair, and we want Memphis families to know that having a doula and an epidural can make for a more peaceful, positive experience. We work hard to keep you feeling comfortable and anticipate even the smallest needs to help you feel pampered and cared for throughout the entire labor and delivery process.

doulas and epidurals

Don’t take our word for it, though! We asked former clients about their experience with doulas and epidurals, and here’s what they had to say:

Having a doula with my epidural was a deal MAKER for my VBAC. She was able to do simple things to make me comfortable, like hand me ice, or get coffee for my husband, and communicate with my family and friends about progress when I didn’t feel up to it. An epidural never comes soon enough, and she helped me through contractions while I was waiting for relief.

After my epidural she was able to be there for me constantly, to adjust my peanut ball or talk to me about what was going on when I didn’t understand or couldn’t remember what the nurse or doctor said. It was extremely comforting to have someone knowledgeable with me at all times to ask questions and discuss what was going on with my body. I was able to talk with her through what I was feeling in my body- what was normal and what warranted a call to the nurse.

The biggest and most critical job my doula did for me during my epidural was to describe what I would feel and how to control my body efficiently during pushing. While everyone else in the room was bustling around, she was able to stay constant by my ear and talk me through this critical point of delivery. I honestly have no idea how I would have figured out pushing without her.

Doulas give partners the space to relax and feel comfortable. A little rest before your baby’s arrival goes a long way!

I think the biggest help for me/us was the support that [my husband] got during the labor after I got the epidural. Having you there allowed us both to rest better. I was also appreciative of [my doula] being a sounding board when the doctor initially suggested a c-section.

If your epidural doesn’t go as planned, your doula is there to support you and offer suggestions for comfort.

Even after my epidural was in place, [my doula] helped me stay mentally grounded. She helped by positioning the peanut ball, she gave [my husband] support and availability to go take a breather, and she was a good voice reminding me of options. I remember freaking out when my epidural was in place but not doing much of anything for my right side, and how scared I was that if I needed a c-section, that I wouldn’t be numbed enough. Then she mentioned that we could have the anesthesiologist back in to adjust things, and that was like an, “Oh yeah, that’s an option” light bulb moment that I wouldn’t have thought of in the moment even though it was so simple.

Birth is hard work, even with an epidural! Doulas help you stay grounded, provide encouragement, and help hold you up as you bring your baby into the world.

Having [my doula] there helped me try different positions to find what was going to work best. It gave me companionship during the seemingly interminable walking and time in between contractions. It gave my husband a guide to helping me, a buffer to the emotional toll watching your wife in pain takes…Then the epidural was sweet relief and much needed rest. For pushing [my doula] was also right there. She helped us stay strong, remember how to breathe and keep feeling encouraged that I could do this!

Doulas provide companionship from pregnancy to postpartum!

The constant companionship and encouragement of a doula is what made my experience even better than I could have imagined. I feel like having you there before actual labor (those hard last few weeks) is what REALLY helped, though.

Having a doula at your birth allows your partner to be more present with you, and for you to connect during the whole experience.

[My doula] was strong both physically and mentally. Her professionalism shone as she interacted with both the doctors and nurses. During my other two births my poor husband wasn’t able to enjoy the experience at all and this time I really appreciated being able to have him to myself and I know he loved being free to enjoy the whole experience. He was able to help cut the cord and hold our baby.

Doulas and epidurals make a perfect pair, and our clients agree! Our doulas work with your family and your trusted medical team to give you the best care Memphis has to offer.

If you’re interested in adding a birth doula to your support team, we’d be delighted! Give us a call at 901-308-4888 or contact us to schedule a phone consultation so we can learn more about you and your family.

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