I'm a doula. I stopped counting, but I think I'm up to around forty now.
And yes, every single one
is unique and beautiful and an honor to attend.
BUT, I actually just finally attended the birth of a sweet friend of mine. It was a VBAC, planned water birth at a freestanding birth center, with a five minute shoulder dystocia. You know...the "doula" "birth geek" part of me was very interested in the fact that I saw the gaskin maneuver done, and that the baby was pinker than pink the whole time, and didn't take her first unassisted breath for almost five minutes, and considered immediately after the birth what a disaster it would probably have been at the hospital because of procedures...but it was my FRIEND's baby.
And that made it quite a bit different in the way of how I think I experienced the birth from allll of the other births I've attended. I become friendly with, and even friends with, the women I attend. However, this woman was my friend FIRST. I was more emotional with this resuscitation than I've ever been at a crisis during a birth. Not that anybody probably noticed, because I was still calm and did my job, but there was DEFINATELY a different flavor for me to attending the birth of a loved one in general, and in watching a crisis situation develop, specifically. T
I understand now why my mother and sister freaked out when my ds had a very short shoulder dystocia when he was born. I am related to them, and he looked weird (turtled and black), AND they're not birth professionals!
I agree that birth is a very personal event...but I was glad to be surrounded and supported by women whom I trusted and loved when I was laboring and birthing. For me, it made my births much more intimate and memorable. You might wonder how MORE people at a birth could make it more intimate? I had a planned midwife supported birth at the hospital with my first, with a midwife who didn't really support me. My mother and sister supported me, doted on me, got me fresh water, and cool wash cloths, and actually fended off the midwife when she got cranky with me. That made it much less an institutional birth.
With my second, it was a planned home birth, and the midwife walked out on me because she didn't believe I was in active labor and I wouldn't let her break my water. My mom and sister were with me again. Now, they made the transport to the hospital happen flawlessly, taking care of packing me (oh, BOY, should I have been better prepared for a transfer of care!), getting in touch with my dad to come and get my daughter for the afternoon, and getting my husband calmly into the driver's seat to get me to the hospital before my son was born. JUST before he was born, but they got me there. And, once again, they were with me in an institution that I hadn't wanted to be in this time around, familliar faces, loving touches, and wonderful emotional and physical support. MOstly, I DID labor in a dark corner all by myself when I got there, and actually my son crowned as I stood up off the birthing ball to walk myself to the bathroom.
I said, "OH! The baby just crowned!...and I tore!" and BOY did a lot of action take place rather quickly. This time a different midwife attended me, and she was IN the room the whole time I was there (not long, under an hour from the door to the baby!), and a good thing, as she made quick work of my son's shoulder being stuck...but I had a close relationship with her, as well, so really, there were no strangers in the room, or anybody whom I felt was a hinderance. I felt blessed to have the women who were there surrounding me...especially after being abandoned by the homebirth midwife!!
Just a different perspective on why I'm able to attend women and not feel like I'm intruding. I guess I can read a woman most of the time, and if she's a cave birther, I DO leave her to herself and just let her know that I'm there for her if she needs me...but otherwise, I'm happy to help when and how I'm can, to make even a home birth a more intimate experience by giving loving support!