You've Had Your Baby... Now What?

The day is finally here – you are in labour and headed to the hospital.  For nine months you have been leading up to this day.  You have read all the books, done your research, attended childbirth education classes and believe you are prepared to take on the monumental task of delivering your baby and becoming a new parent. 

Your beautiful baby arrives and your hospital stay is 24 hours or longer depending on the type of birth you have had.  While in the hospital, your baby has been in your room by your side the whole time.  You have been showered with gifts, well-wishes and visitors.  You have been taught how to swaddle your babe, bathe them and perhaps had some assistance with breastfeeding.  Now the day arrives for you to take your precious bundle home.  This should be a time of joy and happiness but if you are anything like me, it was a time filled with anxiety and fear.  Most parents will not admit to this fear as the expectation of family, friends and society is that this is supposed to be a happy time in their lives.  I remember with my firstborn as if it were yesterday...packing up to go home, crying, scared and unsure if I knew how to take care of my newborn son.  I was recovering from a c-section, struggling to breastfeed and totally emotionally and physically exhausted.

My husband called in re-enforcements – my Mom.  We took our baby home and I remember crying most of the drive home from the hospital.  When we went into the house, we put his car seat on the couch, looked at each other and said “what do we do now?" – after all, he had been beside me in his crib for five days in the hospital.

My first few weeks as a new mother were far from joyful.  I was emotional, exhausted, sleep deprived and struggling to breastfeed.  My mother was a god-send and supported me as much as she could; even getting up in the middle of the night to assist me in my breastfeeding...she had successfully nursed eight babies and had lots of knowledge to pass along. I was hard on myself and felt like I was failing at the one task I “should” know how to do.  I even said as much to my mother and she had the best response – “Have you ever been a mother before? Stop being so hard on yourself, you are both learning.”

So, in the words of my very wise Mother...stop being hard on yourself.  You may be the best that you can be at your career but you have never been a parent before.  Be patient; take time for your family to learn together.  You don’t have to put on a happy face, ask for what you need and remember – you are ENOUGH.  Your baby doesn’t know anything but the care you give them and they won’t judge you.

Happy new parenting and rest assured that the next go around will be so much easier.

How Are You Different From a Midwife?

So, you are pregnant, excited and have just announced your joy to your family and friends.  One of the first questions you might be considering is should you have an OB or a midwife at your birth.  Perhaps you have a friend who has used a doula for their birth and you might ask...How is a doula different from a midwife?

Here are some of the differences between a doula and a midwife and how I, as your doula, can benefit you:

1.  Doulas Get to Know You & Your Partner. You have asked me to attend to you and support you through one of the most intimate experiences of your life.  I will take the time to get to know both you and your partner.  I will find out your wishes for your birth, I will learn how you and your partner communicate and work together in everyday life.  I will listen to you and answer your questions.  I will help your partner learn how to be the best support system for you not only at your birth but through your pregnancy as well.

2. Doulas Provide Continuous Care. During your pregnancy I will be available for you when ever a question comes up.  There is no such thing as a silly question; after all, this is your first go around at being pregnant.  As your birth doula, I am only a phone call, text or email away from answering your questions. As you approach your big moment I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 2 weeks before your estimated due date.  Once I join you in labour, I offer continuous support to both you and your partner for your entire labour.  I don’t have a shift that ends at a certain time.  Unlike your midwife, who may have other clients on the birthing unit at the same time as you – you are my only client and I will stay by your side.  Combined with the support of your partner, you will have one rocking team by your side as your cheerleaders and comfort provider until you meet your baby.

3. No Medical Stuff. The biggest difference between a Midwife and Doula is…I don’t do any of the medical stuff.  Doula’s do NOT do blood pressure checks, fetal heart rate monitoring, cervical checks for dilation, IVs, order medication or administer it.  We know about all of the process and can provide you with the information to make informed decisions when the time comes.  Doulas most definitely do NOT deliver your baby…that is why you have a Midwife as your medical care provider.

4. Doulas Stay With You After Your Birth. Unlike your midwife, who may have other clients birthing at the same time and may have to leave to attend to them, my support doesn’t end once your baby has been welcomed to the outside world.  On the contrary – I will stay with you at the hospital for a few hours post-birth.  I will guide you through your first attempt at breast feeding. I will go with you when you are transferred to your room.  I will make sure all of your things go with you.  I will help you settle in with your new little love.  And once you and your partner are settled in, your babe is safely tucked in doing skin to skin, I will leave you to bask in the glow and enormity of being a new parent.

Now that you know how a Doula is different from a Midwife and how I can support you as your birth doula…reach out and contact me to set up your free consultation to find out if I am the right fit for you and your partner.