Doula

Birth Photography

Remember how part of the reason that I hired the doula that I did was because she did professional birth photography?

Well, those photos are finally in. Though a savvy person could figure out who I am, I’m still going to stay as anonymous as possible, so I have blurred myself out and excluded any pics that are dependent on my face (which means most of my in-labor pics). The rest are as follows (massive photo dump in one post):

Baby Shower 1

Me at my baby shower, my daughter Harley opening Constantine’s presents for me on the left. Personally, I think I made being 8+ months pregnant look good. 8-24-2013

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A Better Birth — Part 5

Serge Constantine, called by his middle name or "Costa" for short

Serge Constantine, a few hours after he was born. Called by his middle name or “Costa” for short.

My son was born at 6:10 PM on Sunday evening. I had been in labor for just around 8 hours, and had only been on the 1-2 ml/hr Pitocin drip for the first 5 hours. Beyond that (and the attendant continuous fetal monitoring), the only intervention that was used was the vacuum extractor.

Constantine was placed on my chest immediately, snuggled up under my hospital gown skin-to-skin with a warm blanket placed over us, and he stopped crying almost instantly. He was very awake and alert. They waited for the cord to stop pulsing, then clamped it and asked my husband if he would like to cut it. My husband is rather squeamish about blood, so he kind of surprised me when he said yes and did the cutting. He came around to the side of my bed to look down on the two of us, and I noticed that he had tears in his eyes. As for Costa, I thought he looked like a little cherub, so chubby and with golden blonde hair. (The blonde hair really, really surprised me. My husband and all of his siblings have dark brown or black hair, and my natural hair color is medium golden brown. But all of my siblings were blonde as babies, so Costa seems to have gotten those genes or something.)

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Categories: Babies, Birth Plan, Doula, Gestational Complications, Labor & Delivery | 2 Comments

Sixteen-week prenatal check-up

Getting baby's heart tones, 4-8-2013

Listening for baby’s heart tones, 4-8-2013. Photo by my doula.

What a busy day I had today! In the morning I was preaching at the retirement community where I volunteer with the chaplaincy ministry, then I went to my prenatal appointment, and immediately afterwards I went to set up for tomorrow’s election, where I am serving as an election judge. I find it satisfying to be staying so busy.

It was the 16-week prenatal today. My doula came to the appointment. I think her and my hot  doctor will get along well. She seemed to agree with my assessment of his looks. Always good to have a second opinion when it comes to prenatal care, right? 😉 He mentioned that he has never worked with a doula before, and he’s done 48 deliveries now, so I hope this is a learning experience for him.

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Categories: Doula, Hot Doctor, Prenatal Care | 3 Comments

Doula Dilemma

I found this beautiful picture at Natural Native Doula, a Pennsylvania doula's site

I found this beautiful picture at Natural Native Doula, a Pennsylvania doula’s site

(Image Source)

I just got done interviewing my second doula. I don’t think I’m going to interview any more; either of these would make for a fine doula. Here’s what both provide:

  • Doula support services during the birth: pain management through massage, counterpressure, aromatherapy, soft music, emotional support, etc. 
  • Basic lactation support
  • Both are very friendly and easy to get along with
  • Both offer additional contracts for postpartum doula services if I decide that I want those later on
  • Both seem to love birth and being a part of the birth experience

PROS for Doula #1:

  • Her services seem more clearly laid out and structured
  • Seems more knowledgeable & experienced
  • Includes professional birth photography in her services; provides a picture book at the postpartum visit
  • Services include one more prenatal visit than Doula #2
  • Seems interested in religion (this is always a plus with me)

CONS for Doula #1:

  • Is $400 more expensive than Doula #2
  • Is not as familiar with the hospital I want to labor at as Doula #2

PROS for Doula #2:

  • Knows the hospital that I want to labor at well, knows the staff there, maybe even has met my doctor already
  • Is $400 cheaper than Doula #1

CONS for Doula #2:

  • Is willing to take amateur snapshots with our own camera, but is not a professional photographer
  • Includes one less prenatal visit in her services than Doula #1

I’m leaning towards Doula #1 in spite of the higher price tag. While the cons balance each other out, she has more pros. I could certainly buy a lot of baby stuff with an extra $400, but I’d also really like professional birth photography, and hiring even a cheap birth photographer would probably be another $200-$300, and then I’d have another person in the labor and delivery room. For the record, Doula #1 has 14 years of experience, while Doula #2 has 2 years of experience.

I know I have fewer regular readers than I can count on one hand, but any feedback?

Categories: Doula | 4 Comments

Hugs! And Traveling During Pregnancy

Took my daughter to see Dr. Sark for her follow-up appointment on her ear infection today. Before he came in I was seated on the examination table, and he surprised me by crossing immediately to me and putting his arms around me. I didn’t realize what he was doing getting so close to me and I rather stupidly blurted out, “What’s this?” He replied, “This … is a hug.” “Okay … so we’re on a hugging basis now …” I said, trailing off. It kind of took me by surprise.

Far be it from me to complain though. A hug from a hot doctor is a hug from a hot doctor, right?

I asked Dr. Sark about travel during pregnancy, explaining that my sister is engaged and angling for a wedding date in November of next year. He replied that he wouldn’t want me traveling after four months.

“Four months!” I said in disbelief. He said something about being old-fashioned and not wanting pregnant women jetting around everywhere.

I’m sorry, but no. Even if I didn’t have the wedding, I have academic conferences to attend in the summer that are important to me. I only need a doctor’s permission to fly with certain airlines during the final month of pregnancy, and quite a few of them have no requirements for a doctor’s permission at any point of the pregnancy.

So, I guess I shouldn’t count on getting permission from him if I need to do any traveling during my final month of pregnancy. Which is fine. I’ll just have to stick to the airlines that don’t require it.

In other news, I asked him at an appointment several months ago if I could have a doula at my delivery if he were my doctor, and he said he’d get back to me on that. Today he finally got back to me, and he said a doula would be fine. So yay for that.

Categories: Doula, Hot Doctor, Travel During Pregnancy | Leave a comment

The Doula Advantage & Lying-In

The Doula Advantage by Rachel Gurevich (2003) — I liked it. It builds a strong case for why a woman should want to hire a doula to support her in labor and delivery, and also talks about postnatal doulas and antenatal doulas. Generally does a good job of citing scientific studies to support its points. The writing isn’t always strong, and the book gets rather repetitive, but overall, it’s a solid book in favor of doulas. I like how it does not portray doulas as a mere fixture of the NCB/homebirth movement, but makes it clear that they can be useful even when one is having an epidural or other interventions. 4/5 stars.

Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America by Richard W. Wertz and Dorothy C. Wertz (1989) — This is a scholarly text originally published in the 70s, updated and re-published by Yale Press in 1989. I loved it. It’s a general survey of American attitudes towards and practices involving pregnancy and childbirth. It traces the shift from community-supported, midwife-attended, mother-centered childbirth in the colonial era to the current world of physician-attended, medicalized childbirth that emphasizes the safety of the baby and the creation of perfect children even at the expense of the mother. It covers major developments in obstetrics (anesthesia, forceps, c-sections) and medical misfires (puerperal fever epidemic, Twilight Sleep). The Wertzes’ sources are not always terribly thorough, but overall it’s a strong text that really gave me a good perspective on where childbirth has been and how we arrived at where we are. 5/5 stars.

Categories: Book Reviews, Doula | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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