Tag Archives: birth

VBAC the hell up

31 Jul

Over a third of women in the US are meeting their babies for the very first time in a sterile OR, while being stitched up from surgery.csection

Many of these women never asked for surgery. Many of them even planned to have a natural, drug free birth. Some of these women did everything right.

Sometimes cesareans have to happen. Often times, they could have been avoided.

Either way, a good amount of these women will then plan a VBAC, or at least want one. This is a problem for many women.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE A FUCKING PROBLEM!! If a woman chooses to have a VBAC, then why should anyone stand in her way? Who gives anyone that right? Hospitals, Dr’s, midwives, even States just simply “Don’t do VBAC”! VBAC’s are BANNED in places, BANNED!!! WHY???

As a doula, I get a lot of VBAC inquiries. So many women at 28, 29, or 30 weeks, who want a VBAC, are with an unsupportive provider, and want me, the doula, to save the day. I can’t save the day. I wish I could. I wish I could give every woman who wants a VBAC the opportunity to get one, but realistically, I can’t.

36917033Realistically, it really sucks for women who are in this position. It really sucks because not everyone is ok with a home birth, and not all birth centers will take VBAC’s, and there are more unsupportive hospitals and doctors than there are supportive ones. It really sucks that most of these women, wouldn’t even be needing to seek out support for a VBAC, if people had been supportive of them the first time around, and if women weren’t made to fear birth in the US.

I hate that people need to fight for VBAC, they shouldn’t have to!

I am a doula. I want you to have the birth you want. I want you to come out of this birth feeling like a fucking rock star.

It really sucks when that doesn’t happen.

It really sucks when you work so hard for a VBAC and you end up with a repeat cesarean. It really sucks for me, and it really sucks for you. My hope is that my clients still feel like rock stars. My clients are fucking rock stars, regardless of how they birth.

But sometimes they feel like shit, and when my clients feel like shit, so do I.this-is-a-job-for..-crap-im-not-wearing-my-costume

And no medical care provider should get to make the decision that leaves me and my client feeling like shit.

This is the not so glamorous part of being a doula. Sometimes you have to feel like shit. Sometimes you have to walk through a really shitty, frustrating and aggravating birth with a client, and feel like shit because you couldn’t save the day.

I can’t save the day.

I can support you though. I can support you even when you feel like shit. I will still think you’re awesome, and I will still tell you that I am proud of you. I will shove my own shit feelings down, so I can talk to you. I will talk to you and tell you all the things you did right.

I will be your rock when you need me, and I will be there to cry with you. I am here if you need to bitch about your shit doctor who wouldn’t even give you a chance.

tumblr_mddhgj6Az01rqlibwo1_500I am here for you, because I am a doula.

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Grab your bucket

16 Jul

…Because it’s gonna get sappy up in here.

So much of the time, doulas spend the days and weeks following a birth (especially a difficult birth) going over the fightclub“what if”s and “I should’ve…”s. We doulas are empathetic little beings, that’s part of what makes us great at what we do. So when a mom doesn’t cope with labor well, gets an intervention she didn’t plan on, or just flat out has a shitty fucking birth, a lot of us blame ourselves.

We’ll talk more about doula guilt in a later post, because right now I’m going to talk about the opposite of that. Sometimes… awesome birth, shitty birth, doesn’t matter… a client or former client says something to you that fills you with warm fuzzies, switches on the waterworks and makes you beam with Super Awesome Doula Pride.

That happened to me today. I’m still a relatively new doula, as I’m a couple days away from my first doula baby’s first birthday. The very first birth I attended was a fucking incredible, short, intervention-free hospital birth of an enormous baby boy. I could tell when her courage-wolf-fear-reflex-confidence-choicetransition hit, I could hear the “pushiness” in her birthing sounds, and was a great support to the couple – especially for it being my first birth. It was so easy, so amazing. I was on a birth high for weeks, and felt absolutely invincible.

Then the next 9 or 10 births were hard as fuck. Seriously, I almost quit about eight times. A 24 hour birth. A cesarean. A forceps delivery. Two births in three days. A Christmas Eve morning induction…where the baby wasn’t born until evening on Christmas day. Yep, I’ve had a challenging first full year as a practicing doula.

Today one of my former clients from one of my first births who had a particularly difficult situation and a rough labor e-mailed me. I won’t say what she said, but what she wrote in one sentence was enough to flood my body with the warm fuzzies and my face with tears. I did the ugly cry, y’all.

For a second I felt like the stars aligned, the universe and I were on the same wavelength, and a burning bush affirmed what I often wonder: “Should I even be puppiesInBasketdoing this crazy ass work?” And the answer was, “Yes, yes you should. And dude….stop beating yourself up for things you have no control over, and worry about the shit you CAN change.”

And so I shall begin year two of doulahood at peace with the fact that every mama isn’t going to have a perfect birth… but that the affects we doulas have on these mamas births lasts long after the cord is cut.

So give yourself a high-five (clapping works too), go grab your doula bag, and rock some fucking births.

by P

Back the fuck up, I know what I’m doing

12 Jul

I love my job. I love my clients. You know what I don’t love? When the hospital thinks they own you and your fucking baby!

 

Here’s the deal. You are pregnant, you hire some doctor to make sure you are healthy and your baby is healthy and ensure that you get through these precious moments without dying. That’s all your doctor really cares about! If keep-calm-and-don-t-kill-patients-3you and your baby are alive at the end of this whole thing, you doctor walks away feeling like the fucking shit, and never looks back again. Seriously. Do you really think your doctor gives a shit about your emotional well being, or how you are going to feel after they slice you open because your 8lb baby is too big for your small fucking pelvis? NO! They don’t care!!

 

Ok so you have your baby, both you and your baby make it out alive, your doctor makes his 5 minute appearance to feel like the star of the fucking show, congratulates you and goes off to show his skills in the next room. Now what? Well now you have a baby, and all the nurses, and the nursery staff and who ever else needed to be there to watch your doctor be the hero, start telling you what needs to happen next. Man that pisses me off!

 

Do you realize how fucking hard you just worked to birth this human baby product_8187_largeout of your vagina, or how fucking awesome you are for agreeing to let your doctor cut your 8lb baby out of your small ass pelvis (even though, you probably would have done just fine if anyone had any fucking confidence in your body)? You’re the fucking star of the show!! You! Not your doctor! Now in an instant you become a mother, to a real living breathing human. And you know what? You get a say in what happens to the living person you just spent 9 month growing and perfecting and birthing. You!

 

The hospital does not own your baby. They don’t get to dictate what happens. You are the mother, the grower and the nourisher of this little tiny being. Nothing worse than a nurse all high on her horse saying, “ok sweetie, we’re just going to take baby to the nursery for his bath, and eyes and thighs, and get him all wrapped up for you.”  BULLSHIT!! You are the mother, and your baby needs you. Your baby needs to be cuddled and nursed, who care’s if it’s covered in vagina juice, it’s the cutest fucking baby in the entire fucking world, and YOU created it!!!

 

Here’s something else I hear. Well, his sugar levels are a bit low, and he has a bit of jaundice, so we need to give him formula. UM NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Don’t do it! Formula is not the answer. Do you know what is the answer? NURSE, 1012NURSE, NURSE. It’s good for you, your healing, your baby, your supply, your bonding and it’s the best way to regulate your baby. Who decided that feeding your baby a fucking science project was the best way to regulate a body that you created? That sounds like a fucking money maker to me!! I wonder if the hospitals have some sort of agreement with the formula companies…..OH YA THEY DOOO!

 

Seriously, your baby needs you. It’s not fucking rocket science. Your baby has spent the last 9 months with you, 24 hours a day, hearing your voice, your heart beat. You are his mother. You are his protector. You!! The hospital does not own your fucking baby, and 3r0yfuyou should always know that you have the right to say no! Just because the hospital has a “procedure” or a “policy” does not mean you need follow it. Better yet! Pick a hospital that recognizes the importance of mother/baby bonding, rooming in, nursing, etc.

 

This is the only chance you’re going to get to birth this baby.

 

by Robin Sparkles

Being empowered is a choice

10 Jul
As a doula, I have a bit of a pet peeve with clients.  It bugs the shit out of me when they ask my advice, and then do the exact opposite or just do what the doctor says.  WHY THE FUCK DID YOU BOTHER HIRING ME?

 

I am a doula.  My job is to lay out all your options, talk you through it, support you in your choices, and tell you when you are not making choices that are going to get you the birth you claim to want.  Take this example. “I want a completely natural birth, but my doctor said I have to have constant monitors, and stay in bed”.  Ok great, so what are you going to do  to get a natural birth?  When LetMeDoMyJobyou picture your labor do you see yourself laying in a hospital bed, strapped to monitors?  Probably not!   I get this ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!  Here it is! If you want a natural birth, you need to find a provider that is supportive of that.  There can’t be a huge list of rules you are expected to follow.  And don’t tell me that you’ll just labor at home and then go in, and think that’s the answer.  It might be, but you know what a better answer is? FINDING A DOCTOR THAT SUPPORTS YOUR CHOICE!  Holy shit, what a fucking concept!!

 

If you want a completely intervention free birth, hire a midwife.  Did you just come up with like 10 reasons why you needed to be in a hospital? Oh, then hire a hospital midwife, but just being in a hospital is going to decrease your chance of an intervention free birth by a huge amount.   Oh, your baby had to go to the NICU last time, so you think it’s safer to be in a hospital. Ok great, then go to a hospital, find a doctor that will support you, and decide what you want to make compromises on, because there WILL be compromises!!!

Do you see where I am going here?  There are a million options, be an informed consumer.  Seriously, it pisses me off when people hire me, tell me they want a natural birth, and then stay with a doctor who dictates how birth is done.  If you want a natural birth, then make choices that support it.  You can still have a doctor, but probably not the doctor that your neighbor who had a cesarean suggested to you.  If you don’t care about a natural birth, you want an epidural, but you don’t want a cesarean, then listen to me about the steps you can take to reach your goal.

 

I am a doula.  I do not make decisions for you.  I do not tell you not to get an epidural, or that you have to have a home birth….but I am going to tell you when your choices and your goals DON”T FUCKING MATCH!!  There is a reason I am telling you this.  It’s not because I am mean, and just want to piss you off….it’s because I have seen it happen, over and over and over again.

 

I don’t want to hear, well my doctor knows me, and she knows I won’t do it if I don’t want to.  You know what? You will, because

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 you’ll be in labor, and because the nurses will come in and tell you it’s time to get an IV, and that because your water broke you need to stay in bed, because it’s against hospital policy to walk with your water broken.  And you know what? You aren’t going to want to fight it, because you are going to be fucking exhausted, and scared that anything you say or do is going to hurt your baby.  When you are in labor, you do not want to fight, you want to just focus on being in labor.

 

Ok, let’s change the direction of this a little bit.  Why did you hire a doula?  Because you want support? Because this is your first baby and your doctor is difficult? Great, now when your doula tells you things, LISTEN TO HER!!!  Don’t write a birth plan and be all excited about it, only to turn around and change your birth plan because your doctor says you “can’t” labor without IV.  Who says? I did it, thousands of other people do it all the fucking time! Why do you need one? You are an individual person, and should be treated as such.

 

So here’s the deal.  Hire a doula, because doulas are fucking awesome.  Hire the right doula, the one how is going to give you what you need.  Hire a great provider who supports your choices.  Make decisions about what you want, what is most important to you, and find a provider who supports YOU.  A great doula can’t work to her full potential if you are willing to give in to all the pressure from rocketsurgery_fullpic_artworkyour unsupportive doctor.  You hire a doula because you want a great birth, I can’t ever guarantee that for you, because you ultimately make the choices, but I can offer suggestions on how to get it.  If you really want it, you’ll make the choices to get there.  If you choose to stay with an unsupportive provider, then you’ll get the birth you signed up for.
by Robin Sparkles

Work for free? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

21 Jun
I haven’t been a doula for all that long, a couple years, give or take.  There’s been a common theme that I have noticed; Free or Low Cost births.  Moms want them, and Doulas are offering them.

 

I happen to live in a large metropolis, where there is a ton of options for the birthing mother, and there are a ton of doulas.  There is a doula out there for every woman, and that is never so true as it is right now.  There are doulas to meet religious requirements, doulas to meet distance requirements, training requirements, birth history requirements…you name it!!

 

Now we have seen a huge increase in the amount of doulas over the last few years, probably worldwide, nationwide and definitely city-wide.  Doulas are popping up everywhere!  They all have a different history, and reason for wanting to get into doula work.  And each and every one feels like offering free or low cost births is what will be best for them as they get started.

 

Ok, confession time! I did births for free, and I did births for low cost.  I did it! I know! But now I am a couple years in, I have some really great experience behind me, and I am having a hard time finding clients.  Me! The doula that everyone says is awesome. Me! The doula that the new doulas come to for advice.  Why am I having a hard time finding clients? Well it would be my guess that since a huge amount of the doulas in town are doing my job for free, people just aren’t really ready to pay me for it.

 

Because here is the reality.  Money is tight, for a lot of people.  That’s reality.  So why would they pay for services that someone beside me is giving away?  If I had to get my oil changed and I had a choice to take it to a mechanic with 20 years experience and pay like $50 or I could take it next door to a new mechanic who was doing it for free, who would I choose? Who would you choose?

 

Doulas are worth every penny they charge, most of the are probably worth way more than they charge.  We are trying to make ourselves a respected part of the birth team.  We can’t do that if we are doing our job for free.  And we certainly can’t do it, if the doulas who have experience and who do charge can’t get clients.  New doulas are just that; They’re NEW.  They don’t have experience, some haven’t taken training, or ever seen a birth.

 

So here is the main point to this whole thing.  STOP! Stop running yourselves around stressing out, paying for expenses out of your own pocket to give a service to a woman for free.  The women who really benefit from a doula are the ones who pay for it.  The ones who are invested in it.  When I did free and low cost births, I had more moms getting cesareans, more moms getting induced and less respect.  I can only say that’s because once I started really getting in there, finding people to pay for my services, getting more educated on how to be helpful in situations, my clients listened to and valued my words.

 

Doulas need to be valued, if we aren’t then we aren’t making any headway here.  We aren’t going to make changes.  The only way we are going to make an impact on birth is by recognizing our value.  Now I told you already that I did free births. I did low cost births, so I get it.  I get where the thinking is.

 

My thinking  as a doula with experience is that, while you are out there getting your experience for free, are the women who truly needed a doula getting the care they need?  Is that mom going for a VBAC really getting a doula who can help her achieve that?  If that woman who ended up with a cesarean for exhaustion, gotten a vaginal birth if an experienced doula worked with her?

 

I understand that sometimes shit happens.  I get that.  But don’t let your need for experience interfere in a woman’s true need for a doula.  I have put a lot of time and money into training, and learning and asking questions, and walking through each birth, step by step, with doula’s who have more experience than me. I still do that.  I still question whether I missed something or could have done something different.

 

A lot of women are brought to this work after having a really great birth. That’s great! I love when women get really great births, it makes me smile.  What doesn’t make me smile is when that woman who had a really easy, really great birth, ends up with a client getting a cesarean because she thinks that everything that worked for her will work for this woman too.  It doesn’t work like that.  You need to know when a woman needs to rest and when she needs to work, when she needs a rebozo and when she needs some time alone with her partner.  You need to be able to take a step back, accept that sometimes women make choices we don’t agree with.  You need to know how to help a woman after she’s decided to get an epidural, even after you had a really awesome home birth.  This is hard work! It’s unpredictable, and it really sucks sometimes.  You need to be ready for that.

 

So to all the new doulas out there, to all you eager, sweet women with your empowered births.  Know your boundaries. Know when you have taken on more than you can handle.  Know that this work is a family sacrifice.  Know that when you are starting out, a woman with a huge amount of emotional baggage, who is suffering from birth trauma, who needs to have a healing birth, needs a doula with experience.  Let your own needs go.  Put that woman’s need for a good birth be more important than your need for experience.  Maybe suggest she hire an experienced doula, and you can shadow, be a part, without being in charge.  Know your limits, your families limits, and know that you are worth it.

 

by Robin Sparkles

What the fuck is a doula?

24 Mar

Some dictionary defines “doula” as “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides advice, information, emotional support, and

physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth”. Yeah, that pretty much nails it. Yay, the end!

But really, hold the fuck up a second. Doulas are the shit. And I’m not just saying that because I am one.

Doulas are so passionate about what they do, that they’ll work their asses off without complaint for what very well could only be a couple bucks an hour. They are there for you 100% even when they have their own shit going on. Most complete extensive training and continuing education to be awesome at what they do. They make it their very serious personal goal to help you have the very best birth outcome possible; one that you’ll look back on happily and proudly. Doulas fucking know their shit, and they do their best to make sure you make healthy decisions that you won’t regret like that time you smoked that…never mind.

From the moment they are hired until after your baby has been born, they are officially your birth bitch. When you call them during dinner with a frantic question (“I just pissed myself at Rite Aid, is that normal?!?”), they pick that goddamn phone and answer you. Because they care that fucking much. Because they LIVE for this kind of shit.

No, really. We do.

This woman you have hired willingly puts herself “on call” for you for what could be an entire month (or more), during which she never strays far from home, has to be able to run out the door fully dressed and smelling decent within 10 minutes flat, and practically begs for 7:30 am Sunday morning telemarketer wake-up calls because she never, ever turns her ringer off.

Not to mention that she has to remain sober at all times. Even though she may have two or three rabid offspring under the age of five and a borderline unhealthy relationship with $6 Target wine.

Your doula will help you write your birth plan and make sure you actually know what the fuck a “saline lock” and “telemetry unit” are before you go in there and make a fool out of yourself (and her). She will help you outline your preferences and wishes for your labor and birth, even if they aren’t choices she would make for herself, without judgement. She’ll also guide you through making the Big Ass Decisions so you don’t fuck up and have your kid’s junk cut off or something stupid.

Your amazing rockstar superhero doula angel will stay with you through your entire labor, even if it’s days long. She will stay by your side while your baby daddy lies there oblivious and snoring and you work hard at bringing his mini-me into the world through your vagina. She will reassure you and build you up and tell you you’re a goddamned birthing goddess when you’re feeling done and nobody else has anything encouraging to say. She will say “yo, hold the fuck on a second” and give you a heads up when Doogie Howser M.D. tries to sneak something into your IV, or grabs his scissors and attempts to go at your vagina all Wolverine-style because it was NOT ON YOUR MOTHERFUCKING BIRTH PLAN.

In the midst of all of this, she will likely end up with at least two (and probably more) of your bodily fluids on her. And that’s okay, because she fucking cares about your birth that much. She cares so much that even though she’s probably super emotionally invested in you, she will hold it the fuck together if things go awry because she knows you need her to.

After your bundle of joy has vacated your womb, your doula will help you breastfeed. Isn’t that so completely badass of her? Even if
it’s the first time and you have no clue what the fuck you are doing, she will not leave until she feels like your baby the whole “sucking on a titty” thing down.

uJKjiAnd if that’s not enough…she will continue to be your bitch via phone for at least a few weeks, and come visit you once or twice to listen to you go on and on about how blissfully awesome not sleeping is AND  hold your brand new Shart-O-Matic 5000 while you go shower the infant feces off of you. You’ll reflect on your birth experience and never once hear the words “you had a healthy baby and that’s all that matters” pass your doula’s lips. We doulas HATE that fucking shit. She will be understanding, empathetic, and she will L-I-S-T-E-N with love and compassion, and without negativity or criticism. She’ll basically be the opposite of that vapid bitch you call your mother-in-law.

And if you’re still not convinced about how fucking cool doulas are…here, have some statistics:

  • 50% reduction in the cesarean rate
  • 25% shorter labor
  • 60% reduction in epidural requests
  • 40% reduction in oxytocin use
  • 30% reduction in analgesia use
  • 40% reduction in forceps delivery

All by just having a badass doula by your side. Like unicorns, we are  fucking rare and magical creatures.

Knocked up? Get yourself a doula.

Find a doula in your area: www.DoulaMatch.net

by P