Looking forward

Well things have kind of settled down at work since I laid down the law with them the other week. Thanks to you all for your advice and sharing your experiences. That really helped me to feel empowered to do what is right for me and for Nacho. Why should I put up with this shit?! I guess after years of being on autopilot, striving to do the best in my career, now allowing my health to take first place is a big adjustment as stupid as that sounds, one that is long overdue. I feel the guilt of waiting until we were at a “certain place in life” before TTC. Hindsight is total cow. What a fool I was. There is nothing more important that meeting a safe and healthy Nachito and nothing will stand in my way to make that happen.

I am trying now to allow myself to think about actually meeting this little guy, a surreal thought, as a way to get me through each day. Tomorrow we will have reached “viability” – a milestone I had to be reminded of by lovely Lauren at OnFecondThought – and this idea is becoming more and more a possibility. Viability seems so out of this world, so premature, there is still so much time left (I hope), so much growing to do. I am feeling a little bit more relaxed about Nacho doing his thing. This is no doubt helped by getting the all clear on his anomaly scan, by his constant moving and having a Doppler to hand for times when he is isn’t. Little tiny milestones, one day at a time. There haven’t been many things I’ve felt able to think about. Going into a baby store is very uncomfortable. Buying anything is a long way off. Names? No way. But I’m allowing myself to think about getting him here safely.

Have I turned a new leaf? Don’t think so, not yet. As I start to try to look towards the future, I realise just how terrified of things going wrong I really am. Being labelled high risk makes me envious of the experience I always hoped I would have: a home water birth, an experience under my control, under our terms, one that is comfortable and safe physically and mentally for us both. A labour ward is a far cry from a home water birth but I know I should take comfort in the fact that Nacho will be well monitored to ensure his safe arrival. I don’t care what they do to me; just please let it be OK for him.

I think what is freaking me is out is that up until now my care has been a bit sporadic, inconsistent, unreliable and I have yet to see the same midwife or consultant twice. The more I think about it the stronger I feel about the terms of his birth. Obviously I know I can’t control everything, I certainly haven’t been able to control anything related to my fertility so far, and push come to shove I’ll do anything to get him out safely, but I’d like to make his birth as comfortable and safe as possible. I have been educating myself these recent weeks, reading up. I know it’s a long way off but that’s my way of empowering myself. No induction, no forceps, no drugs that can affect his heart rate, keeping the placenta and cord intact until it gives him as much of his own blood as possible, etc. At least that’s what I want. None of it may actually happen but I’d like to try. And under those clinical conditions I don’t know if I trust my body to get shit done. I don’t know if I can trust them to help me through it. Living without fear isn’t something that comes easily after years of losses and infertility. Neither is trust. They are already talking about early induction, something I really don’t want. I had been hoping for as little intervention as possible, and truth is I am terrified.

For this reason we are considering retaining a doula. I don’t know if it is a crazy idea but I am hoping to use a doula as a consistent face, my advocate, someone to limit interventions and encourage me to go as far as possible by listening to my body. Someone with a midwifery background, someone who gets it. DH will no doubt be a lifesaver but even he feels better with the idea of a doula. I feel like I can’t fully trust the hospital to fully support my choices and we can’t afford to go private. And why should we? We pay taxes just like everybody else so the least I can ask the system for is to support a choice I have every right to make, within the parameters of my care, of course.

Saying that, determination has never been something I’ve been short on so maybe if I’m able to get myself in the zone I can do this without a doula? I don’t know. And it’s entirely possible things will not go according to any plan and we’ll have to decide as we go. And maybe decisions will be made for me because things became desperate enough. Maybe I need to sit with this all for a bit.

A doula’s fees are a drop in the bucket compared to the exorbitant fees we have spent on private consultants, blood tests, procedures, treatment. And research has shown a doula can:

  • Shorten first-time labour by an average of 2 hours
  • Decrease the chance of caesarean section by 50%
  • Decrease the need for pain medication
  • Helps fathers participate with confidence
  • Increase success in breastfeeding

After all the extreme measures I’ve taken from preconception, and throughout the pregnancy, I really just want to give the little buddy the best, safest birth experience I can give him. If a doula can help with that I am inclined to go with one. I also see it as another way to try to overcome the fear and anxiety that has become second nature to me in the last three years.

It’s still a long way off but thinking about these things now helps to me focus on the day I might actually meet this little guy.

Have any of you used a doula or know anyone who has? Am I insane for considering it? Does anyone regret it? Were you happy with the decision?

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35 thoughts on “Looking forward

  1. I didn’t use a doula but it seems like everyone that has is glad that they did.
    I wanted a birth much like the one you want. There was a time I would have been happy to have a home birth. Now that I experienced a high risk pregnancy that ended in an urgent c-section because of fetal distress (I never went into labor, I delivered at 37 weeks), I now feel a bit more security with the idea of birthing in a hospital primarily because they are able to monitor the baby regularly.
    I didn’t end up getting the things I wanted like delayed cord clamping due to having a c-section, but in the end, even though my birth experience would have totally horrified me if I had found out it would go down that way beforehand, it ended up being special and beautiful.
    I hope that you get to birth Nacho in the happiest, safest, most relaxed way possible. I’m so glad he has reached viability!! That is such a relief I’m sure.

  2. I’ve heard many good things about a doula. I also hear about it a lot in the IF community. I think it’s a good thing. I’m happy to hear things are still progressing and you are almost at viability! What a lovely word!

  3. (Thanks for the shout out!)

    I plan on having a doula. In fact, that was one of the reasons I chose UCSD, because they gave a volunteer doula program — that’s how much San Diego’s only teaching hospital believes in the doulas! A doula also helps dad / the other mum be the best birth partner they can be. You’re not crazy at all. I say go for it, it’s a wonderful idea.

    Love you xx

    • Yep it’s decided. We are getting a doula! Interviewed a couple so far and the more I talk to them the better it feels. Amazing programme at your hospital! Sooo progressive. Sending love babe as always xxx

  4. I can tell you that I didn’t have a doula and I wish I had. I will almost definitely have one if I have another baby. I had a good birth experience and don’t think my baby has any negative effects from it, but things didn’t go as I had planned. That may very well happen with the doula too, but I see now how I could have used that experienced support & advocacy.

  5. I would absolutely get a doula! Having been through 2 hospital births I think it is really important. I would not consider doing it without. I have also never talked to someone who regretted having a doula.

  6. Oh hon, I know exactly how you feel on so many levels. If all continues to go well with my own, very new pregnancy, I know I still won’t rest easy until he or she is in my arms. And even then who knows… I also know that I will have to have a c-section no matter what due to my emergency c-section with my son at 27 weeks. So the only thing I can insist on is to be awake for it, and I assume I’ll get to pick the day we deliver, but I think that will basically be it. It’s too dangerous for me to deliver vaginally so that’s what it will have to be. Sigh… But that is still so far down the road, it’s just a dream at this point.

    Since you do have choices, I think your birth plan should be as you want it to be (within reason of course), and I love the idea of a doula! You have come such a long way. You deserve to have someone who will stand up for you and your plan. Continuing to keep you and little nacho in my prayers. XOXO

    • Oh hun thanks for your insight, I really appreciate it! I’m so sorry that all your choices have will be removed but your and jelly bean’s safety is the most important thing. I am feeling good about a doula. The more I talk to them the better I feel! Sending love xx

  7. I have quite a few doula friends and definitely will get one myself. My one girlfriend went with a recommendation from me for her birth. She said it allowed her husband to step out to grab food or call the parents or even go to the washroom without constantly worrying about leaving her alone. The support was awesome. The doula also gave her a list of all possible options for birth plans or things to consider. I’d recommend interviewing a few to make sure your values align. Go with who feels best to you.

  8. Hey, I feel dumb saying this because I’m not even a little pregnant, but if I do have the opportunity then I’d like to have a doula. Two of my close friends that both just delivered used doulas (along with lots of other women I’ve known, including, I have a friend who is a doula). I’m glad you’ve made it to viability with Nacho 🙂 XO

    • You never sound dumb and I appreciate your insight so much!! We’ve decided for sure get a doula now and we’re busy interviewing some. It feels better already. Thinking of you always xx

  9. I think a doula is a brilliant idea. Not just because she can advocate for you, and all the other benefits, but because she’ll be that continuity of care you’re lacking.

    I reach viability on Saturday, just a few days behind you. It definitely feels like a milestone. Maybe one day I will let myself believe I’m actually going to have a baby at the end of all this! 🙂

    • OMG so excited for you hun! Feels so weird to get here doesn’t it. Such a journey.

      Thanks so much for the encouragement regarding getting a doula! It’s definitely something we’re going to do. Hugs xx

    • That sounds like a brilliant plan hun, I’m so pleased for you. The more I think about it the better it feels to get one. Will be watching and thinking of you! xx

  10. We hired a doula, and I know a handful of people (not in real life, just on Facebook) who have had great experiences with doulas. I trust my hospital and doctor, but both my husband and I want the extra help and support to keep us calm (as calm as possible, anyway) and focused, and to make sure our birth wishes are honored (to the extent possible depending on circumstances). Neither of us knows how we will be when the time comes to give birth. We can guess, but this is a brand new experience, an intense one. I really hope you do get a doula.

  11. I would recommend a doula to absolutely everyone, and I can think of no reason not to have one. During my first delivery, I was completely overwhelmed by pain in a chaotic triage environment and completely unable to focus. My husband is a wonderful, loving person, but he had no idea what I needed or how to support me. It’s not realistic to expect someone who has no experience with labour and delivery to know how to support a labouring woman. I ended up with an epidural at eight centimetres and an emergency c-section caused by the interventions I had after the epidural. A doula would have helped me manage the environment, she would have helped me make a good decision about pain management rather than a desperate one, and she would have been there during my terrifying surgery if it had come to that.

    Having a doula was only one of many changes I made for my second delivery, and I had a successful, unmedicated VBAC. The doula coached my husband, so he knew what to do and how to support me, and he felt far less stressed and upset and was much more helpful to me because of her. I have a friend who had a doula because she has a bleeding disorder and was not allowed to have an epidural, which she wanted. I have a friend whose doula has gotten her through three heavily induced unmedicated (VBAC) births, and I have a friend who had a doula even though she planned to and did have an epidural at three centimetres.

    One of the doula’s jobs is to protect your birth experience and make sure that as much as possible, you come out of it feeling as good about it as possible. That means both helping you stay focused on what you said you wanted and also helping you find a way to feel okay when things don’t go as planned. The doula is the only person in the room who has no agenda other than your interests and has no needs of her own. I hope you decide to have one.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your amazing insight. I think it is down to all these comments that I decided to get a doula for sure. You’re right: why the hell not! And all the reasons you mention are concerns for me so no reason not to get one. Really really appreciate it hun. Thanks so much xx

  12. Hi honey, I’ll be following this subject, curious to see what you decide! I’m starting to wonder about these things, too. I need to learn much more about it.

    The one thing I worry about, in my case, is having “too many cooks in the kitchen”—I tend to like things simple, with as few voices as possible guiding me. But maybe a doula would bring up birthing possibilities that never would have occurred to me, or that an OB would not bring up. Much to learn!

    Good luck with this. xoxo

    • Hey love! I get the too many cooks thing! That was my worry too. But after talking to a couple doulas about how they can help to empower the hubby and be as hands on or off as we want, I feel a lot better about having one around. We’re just interviewing a few now! I’ll keep you posted 🙂 xx

  13. I have ummed and ahhed about a doula for the last 6 weeks. So far everything with my pregnancy has been completely normal and I am not high risk. We have decided not to go with one this time purely from a financial point of view. If I was even slightly high risk I would have definitely hired one so that I had more support. My preggy yoga instructor is also a doula and I have had wonderful conversations with her even though we decided not to use her in the end.

    I think it will be an amazing experience for you and will give you and hubby the extra support during the whole process. You can also hire them early on to help with questions for your OB, midwives and consultants. It might be nice to have at least one consistent service provider through the next few months!

    And I’m so thrilled that you have reached viability. It was a big one for me too. I’m sure it’s just going to get better and better!

    I’m sorry I’ve been so slack on the blogs (reading and writing) and haven’t been following your journey well.

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