Monday, August 03, 2009

Inquisition Monday

This week I'm answering a few of Jamie's questions. I think 3 questions each week is about right,

Have you ever considered becoming a doula?
Yes. I have. And then I unconsidered it. It's a complicated emotion. Most of it is that I don't feel like that's where my life is heading right now. But there are other issues involved, too:

After I had Margaret I re-thought about the influences of the people around me in labor. I was in labor for a long time and if I had a professional of any type there, I would have been distracted asking them, "I'm feeling this--- is that ok?" instead of listening to my body. Even with my UC where at the end I had a friend there, I think it did affect the birth. I did feel more like I was "on stage" for her. It is possible that her being there postponed my second stage- I was having transition thoughts and was throwing up around the time she arrived, but then I had a 12 hour lull and didn't hit the pushing stage until that evening. Of course I can't go back and re-do it to find out "what would have happened" if I hadn't invited her to see if this speculation has any truth, so I'm just guessing here.

But I don't want to be that distraction. I don't want someone to feel like they're "on stage" for me. Also, I would feel so helpless for the mom. A few weeks after my UC, I somehow ended up on the phone with a woman who was 24 hours into her labor. I had never met her before and she was states away, but she wanted assurance in her long labor. And I was just lost as to how to help her. I tried to say supportive things, but during every contraction when she put the phone down, I heard her noises and my own labor came rushing back to me. I remember thinking, "What could I possibly say to make this easier and encourage her when I know there's nothing for her to do except to do it herself? I can't help her." I suspect that doula training helps you know what to say in these sorts of situations, but it was still a hard position for me to be in. Also, reflecting on it now, my inability to help her at that point may have been compounded by the fact that I was still very newly postpartum and emotional. When I rethink that situation now, I don't feel as helpless as I did at the time.

I know a lot of doulas who became disenchanted with doulaing. One friend of mine only attends homebirths because she doesn't feel kindly towards hospital environments and knows she'd be no help there. One quit altogether- feeling like if she spoke up during a woman's labor she could be sent out of the room, but if she didn't speak up she felt she was enabling things she didn't agree with. There's an interesting power balance at play.

Having said all that, I would be at a birth if I was asked to be. I have been asked by friends, "If I want you there, can I call you?" Yes. You can do that and I'll be there for you. I'll even say supportive things and give encouragement or shove my fists into your back for pain relief. I think there is great benefit to having a doula and it increases your chances at having a natural birth. If we feel inspired in the future to have a baby in a hospital, I'd have a doula instantly.

Why did you major in math?

Well, hmm. I don't know. I guess it's because everyone told me I was good at it and I liked it well enough. Also, I was kind of the goody goody kid who always liked to do the hard stuff. I was a masochist goody goody. Also, I had finished Calc 3 by the time I graduated high school. Those years of working ahead would have been such a waste if I hadn't gone into math, you know? It was the economical choice. It was when I had one semester left that I decided what I wanted to do with my life (hint: it's that "Project: Pigeon Hole" I reference occasionally), so I decided I'd finish up my degree and then do a graduate degree in what I'd like. Now I'm wondering if I even want to bother with a graduate degree. I can do Project: Pigeon Hole without the degree; there are other professional routes I can take.

How did you meet McKay?

Short story: we were in the same ward.

Slightly longer story: There was no one else around, so I kind of got stuck with him. ;)

Long story condensed for the sake of post length: When Thanksgiving came around, I didn't have plans for going home so I just stayed in my apartment. He and another neighbor were going door to door in the ward looking for those "Turkey Bucks" that Macey's gives you during the month of November to buy a turkey. The plan was to share it with the few of us that were around. Of our student ward, only 13 of us opted to stay in Provo for the holiday, so there weren't many people to hang out with. We all had Thanksgiving dinner together and I started hanging out with McKay over that break. We went on our first official date the next Friday. We officially started "dating" as a couple in December (that DTR was HILARIOUS) and he proposed to me in February. Through some stress and my lack of assertiveness in the planning, our wedding didn't happen until August though.


  1. YAY! Thanks for answering my questions! I loved your short, longer, and longish stories of how you met McKay. :) Also, it was interesting to read about your doula-ing opinion. I wonder if I would have felt like I was more on a stage if my labor hadn't progressed as quickly as it did. Since it was so short and I never really felt any progression (I woke up to constant contractions and it kept on intensifying from there---we never timed them because it didn't seem to matter), I never felt that way with the doula, but I can see why other women might. I did feel that way with our midwife though (I will never go back to that practice).
    Totally makes sense about the math---I did the same kind of thing with Spanish until I got back from my mission and decided I rather be an English major, which did set me back....and I have yet to finish those last 3 semesters... :)
    Thanks again for answering some of my questions!

  2. Great post. I feel like I am getting to know you a little better each time I read these. And seriously, you are a babe! Love your engagement picture.
    Hooray for inquisition Monday!

  3. Awwww. Fer cute!

  4. Seems like being a doula and being an advocate for unassisted childbirth would be sort of a contradiction. Or maybe not. I wanted a doula, but my husband was against the idea. I totally regret not fighting harder for it. The midwives at the hospital were busy, but one did take a few minutes to stroke me and speak calmly to me, and it was amazing how much that helped me--as long as she did it. I needed someone there the whole time to support me--my mom and my husband were practically useless, even though I was glad they were there.

    I think a good doula would not make you feel like you were on stage. In fact, I think a good doula would be able to get on the same wavelength as the mother giving birth. For unassisted childbirth, I like the idea of having someone available, should I need them, but otherwise they can just be "on call" for me. For a hospital birth, I think a doula is a very wise investment.

    My stepsister is studying to be a doula, so it will be interesting to learn more about it.

  5. If I call you (and possibly pay your plane ticket too), can you come encourage me if I choose to homebirth? hehe ;-)

    But seriously though, yes, I do think that doula training gives you some idea of what to do and how to do it, but it's also a very personal thing. Some doulas are very respectful of the mother's choice regardless of their beliefs, while others are a bit more dogmatic and will only help clients who share similar beliefs. Which is why it's so important to interview a few doulas when looking to hire one (which I didn't do, because I was late and facing imminent preterm labour that thankfully never happened... but I lucked out, and had such a wonderful doula, who's now a dear friend :) ).

    I'm also considering doula work - in fact, I was signed up for the training last March and all, and my doula was ready to hire me on in her team, and then thought I'd go back to work, which I didn't do in the end. So I'm still absolutely considering it, but I'm giving myself time. It would be hard to arrange care for Ariana anyway, even if I choose to attend only 1 birth every 2 months or so.

    I'm totally curious about Project: Pigeon Hole. :)

  6. @edenwild - I had a doula for my hospital birth, and it was a real investment. My husband was also happy she was there, because he did indeed feel useless. :D My mom was also there, but we tend to differ in our views, so although her presence was comforting, I was glad to have a buffer. I agree that a doula chosen carefully, who is in tuned with your desires and beliefs, will be able to get in tune with you and your body. I sometimes completely forgot my doula was there, as in she was comforting without standing out.

    I'm planning on going with a midwife next time, but will for sure hire a doula again - indeed, the midwives are busy with the practicality of the birth, especially during delivery. They can hardly breath with you by your side and keep you focused, while catching the baby! :)

  7. @edenwild As for UCers promoting doulas, or even UCers becoming midwives, may know that not all women would want a UC and would like to help even them have a happy birth. I can totally understand that.

    Also, I think just the fact that having people there makes me feel "on stage" is probably a good reason for my choosing UC. I'll probably UC again unless I feel otherwise but I don't know if I want anyone there yet. Of course, I have a long while to think about it. :)

    Joe- sure, call me! :)


Please review my blog comment policy here before commenting. You may not use the name "Anonymous." You must use a Google Account, OpenID, or type in a name in the OpenID option. You can make one up if you need to. Even if your comment is productive and adding to the conversation, I will not publish it if it is anonymous.