THANK YOU for your beautiful stories. Our community loved them. We actually have a tie for favorite story. Flora has decided to give the full prize to both winners! Members: Seawitch & Niccoluv, you have been sent PMs from Chris Elias28. - I work for MDC and will help coordinate to get you your prize! - Chris
The Midwives & Doulas need your help! They have all entered into this contest, sharing their stories about what called them to their profession. Now they need your vote (thumbs up) on MDC to win a trimester of Floradix for their next mom-to-be.
We encourage you to read these wonderful stories and give a "thumbs-up" to your favorite. The story with the most will win.
Voting will close on July 31st at 2pm PST.
Thanks and enjoy!
Dear Midwives & Doulas,
You bring light into our lives over and over again. You are a part of all our stories. Now, share your story of why you decided to become a Doula/Midwife and you could win a Trimester of Floradix Formula, a Floradix Branded Belly Measuring Tape, Mouse Pad, Floradix Pens, Notepad, and a $4 Coupon!
Entry Requirements and Terms of Contest:
1) Post your story to this thread to count toward your entry.
2) All entrants must be members of MotheringDotCommunity. You must have a complete member profile, profile image and a minimum of 3 posts in our community.
3) Mothering will accept entries from July 11-July 25th at 12pm PST. The Mothering Team will select our top stories and allow MDC members to vote for their favorite stories from July 26-31st.
***The winning author will receive the Floradix Prize.
4) MDC would love to hear how you like this prize. Winners will be asked to give a quick review on their winning product.
We look forward to reading your stories!
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Wow, really? I'm first? Okay :)
I decided to become a post partum doula in May 2008. I was DONA trained in Las Vegas but was never able to use my training until 2010, due to working full time and having an infant. I decided to become a PPD because after dealing with 7.5 years of infertility, after having my son via emergency C-section and not the birth I wanted, I was pretty shocked. I felt guilty because I had wanted my son for so long, and had 3 previous miscarriages, and didn't have any support. My Mother was as supportive as possible but never dealt with IF issues, and had not breastfed her children past 3 months old. I breastfed my son 2 weeks shy of 19 months. And this was with the help of numerous lactation consultants from helping with my latch issues. He was given 2 or 3 bottles of formula the first week of life and then I pumped for 12 months for his feedings while I was at work. We coslept until he was 13 months old to make my life easier.
I wanted to "specialize" with Mothers who had dealt with infertility issues in the past. To help them with the first few weeks/month of their little ones life to reassure them the feelings they had, the issues, were normal. That it wasn't something to feel guilty about. And I have been able to do that with a few of my clients. Being a doula is one of the best "jobs" I have ever had. Watching a new (or second time) Mommy being able to flourish in their new role is one of the most rewarding times in my life.
I hope to be able to continue helping new Mommy's out.
The calling on my life to serve as a midwife has always been there. My grandmother was a healer and my great grandmother and great great grandmother were midwives, although I did not know this until I had been serving families for many years. I do believe it is just a part of my genetic makeup, this passion for caring and healing. I found my calling in a local herb shop when I found a book that was filled with calligraphy and photographs of babies. I had NO idea what a midwife was but when I settled in at home with this beautiful volume my heart fire came alive! I KNEW that this was how I would spend the rest of my life. Thirty five years later, the fire remains, though the face of birth, even within the realm of midwifery is greatly changed. I am great full for the home births of my own children and remain committed to trying to re-normalize, and build trust in women's bodies to give birth for the generations to come.
I decided I wanted to become a Doula during the last semester of obtaining my undergraduate degree in 2007 after I took a Sociology course called "Medicalization of Society". I realized at that point that women need advocates at such a vulnerable time in their lives (pregnancy and postpartum). However, I put that dream on hold when I decided to pursue Graduate school, which I did obtain a Master's degree in May 2010. During my time in Grad school (2008) I got a job with the State of Missouri which I was recently laid off in April 2011. I found out I was getting laid off the same week I found out I was pregnant, too much all at once! I did lots of research and decided I wanted to pursue with a VBA3C this pregnancy because I was sick of doctors telling me what I should do with my body. After many, many, many hours of research about VBA3C I decided I wanted to continue with the dream I dropped back in 2007 and that was to get certified as a Labor Doula as well as A Childbirth Educator. This week I am beginning a new chapter in my life as a Labor Doula and Childbirth educator. Getting laid off was a blessing in disguise because if it wasn't for getting laid off I would not be pursing my dream of becoming a Doula and Childbirth Educator. In addition, I want to give thanks to my Doula and Doctor (who I worked hard to find) for supporting our family decision of pursing a VBA3C.
Oh wow, where to begin!!
I had my daughter via an emergency cesarean in 2007. We had an external version, her placenta was pulled off, and she ended up in the NICU for a week because of prematurity. I suffered with severe PTSD and PPD after her birth. When she was a year old, a friend of mine had a cesarean, and a few months later I started researching birth. She had planned a natural birth (same as I had) and I didn't think that it was right both of us were "robbed" of our experiences and that there must be something better out there.
I started studying to birth and a few months later decided to become a doula on my journey to become a midwife. I did the distance certification through Birth Arts International, though I chose not to certify, and attended births in the hospital.
About five months after starting my doula research, I ran across the blog of a homebirth midwife that would be moving into my area in the near future that was willing to take me on as an apprentice. When she moved here, I got an email that she had found a client that was due in three weeks and needed an assistant for the birth.
We met, and instantly clicked. She was the first person I was able to truly articulate what I felt about birth, that it was the way our body's were made, that we were meant to do this, and she took me on as her assistant/apprentice.
I have been apprenticing with her for the last two years and absolutely love this work. I have stopped doing doula work except for women that are suffering through miscarriages and stillbirths (having had many miscarriages myself), and am studying like mad to become a midwife.
I don't want women to go through what I had to, I don't want women to feel neglected and used and like their options didn't exist. I hated feeling like I was just patient, and no woman should feel that way.
I became a doula and student midwife because of the choices I made, and I love working with women during one of the most intimate and personal experiences of their lives.
Mom to One, Angel Mommy to Six, Midwifery Assistant and Apprentice in Southern Utah
When I got pregnant with my first, I had zero experience with babies or birthing. In fact, I never even held a baby until my own. I didn't know the least bit about birthing, breastfeeding - anything! I had a rough pregnancy and was on bedrest for a good chunk of it. I did a good chunk of reading that convinced me that I should try for a natural birth and try to breastfeed, but I wasn't really gung ho on it. I did transfer over to midwifery care and planned on breastfeeding and not circing, but that was about the extent of it. When my waters broke at 37 weeks, I about had a heart attack. I totally panicked and everything I'd read went out the window. We went to the birth center where they admitted me, found out that I wasn't contracting yet, and told me to hang tight. They turned out the lights and told me to go to sleep until the morning. Well, an hour of contractions later and I was at 7 cm and in full-blown labor. I then proceeded to have a completely, insanely wonderful, all-natural birth. It wasn't exactly orgasmic and it included 2.5 hours of pushing but I felt POWERFUL. I felt enlightened. I felt like a goddess. I went home on a total high from birth. Six weeks later, I found out I was already pregnant with my second, and went on to have an unassisted, uncomplicated home birth with her. My neighbor, who was present at the time watching my older son, said to me, "You are the strongest woman alive!" when I came out of the room with the new baby. I never forgot her words, or how, at that moment, I did feel like the strongest woman alive. (Considering the fact that I was/am a rape survivor, it really allowed me to take control of my sexuality again.) I realized how strong women can be, and felt very connected to the many, many generations of women before me who birthed our ancestors.
Naturally, I tried to share these stories with friends, especially those who had already given birth, and found that by and large they all thought I was absolutely NUTS. Birth couldn't be like that! It just couldn't! It was painful, messy, medical, scary. It was so sad and frustrating to try to share this experience with other women who just hadn't been able to see the power in birth.
Please don't get me wrong - I know that lots of women DREAM of the sort of birth I had, train for it, prepare for it, and some are cheated from the experience due to medical issues or whatever issues. I'm not talking about these women. And I wouldn't brag about how superduperawesome my birth was to them.
There IS a large segment of the population who just doesn't know that this type of birth exists! I had no idea myself until I stumbled on to it myself - by luck, mostly. I knew only what I had seen on TV and read on mainstream birth boards, and the short hospital birthing class I took. I was a total birth noob - and I was a college-educated, well-traveled, well-read woman - I just had never come across powerful birthing as a topic to research. My goal in life became to show other women - who COULD benefit from it - that women do have other options - and one of them is to embrace the birth process that is right for them. If I open a client's mind to the possibilities of birth, and educate them about it, then I consider that a success. I don't give a hoot whether someone chooses an epidural, induction, planned Cesarean, whatever - if they are making an EDUCATED choice, I am happy. I will be happy to support them in whatever they need, and try to hook them up with resources in the community so they can succeed.
Of special interest to me are teen moms, military moms, premature births, and miscarriage assistance. I have felt firsthand the discrimination teen mothers often face (even though I wasn't one myself - but I looked young) from everyone from medical personell to strangers on the street. I want to be someone who isn't going to pass judgment on them for getting pregnant early on in life - I believe every baby is a blessing, whatever the circumstances of conception. I also know how hard deployment is on families, and can hardly even imagine the added stress of being pregnant and/or giving birth while your partner is deployed. I give discounts for both teen and military moms. And, I've had a late miscarriage and know from experience that it can take a huge toll on both body and mind, and know that many women appreciate this type of service - which I provide for free.
Thanks for reading, and happy birthing!
In the ninth grade history class, we were talking about occupations from medieval times. One of the things that came up was the local midwife; and that aside from catching babies, she was the one people went to when they were hurt, sick or had a need.
The next year, at sixteen, I was pregnant with my oldest. He was born in a hospital with a nurse midwife. The experience was ok, but with it being a group practice, I ended up with a midwife that I hadn't met. I met the wonderful man who's now my husband right before my seventeenth birthday and we married shortly after I turned eighteen.
Our second baby was born at the Baltimore Birth Center, a freestanding birth center run by midwives. The experience was lovely. Compared to a hospital stay, it was like night and day. I gave birth in their tub, stayed long enough afterwards for my husband to run out and bring back pizza for us and my friend who came to eat, and headed home. Two years later, we had our third at Special Beginnings, another birth center (the BBC had closed). We had our fourth at home with a CPM and her two students. Not having to drive anywhere in labor and the time that we spent hanging out in between contractions, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and eating snowballs, are some of my best memories.
During the decade that I was having children, I was reading and learning about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I racked up an embarassing number of posts here at MDC, read all of the back issues of Mothering that I could get my hands on and subscribed to Midwifery Today. Having nursing babies for almost ten years and raising a family put a kink in my plans to "go" to school. Then, when our family was driving from Baltimore, MD back to our home in Syracuse, NY, my husband said "What about when you wanted to be a doula?" It was like a light coming on. I could be a doula! Our youngest was two and down to just nursing at bedtime. He would let my husband put him to bed if I wasn't there, which meant that it would be feasible for me to attend a long birth and not worry about my kids. The day after we got back to Syracuse, I signed up for a DONA training in the spring.
For the past year and a half, I've worked as a doula here in Syracuse. I've attended eleven births (with the twelfth coming up here soon). I've had the privilege of being invited to two twin births, one birth where I was meeting the mom for the first time, the birth of a preemie and a homebirth. I also got to attend a BirthWorks Childbirth Educator training weekend and am midway through their childbirth educator certification program.
At this April's Midwifery Today conference in Eugene, Oregon, I weighed the different choices for Midwifery school while meeting student midwives and midwives who had been in practice for years. I really on going the CPM route while I was there, knowing that I wanted my education to be based on the midwifery model of care and knowing I wanted to offer home birth to women. A CPM's education seemed like the best way to prepare for homebirth practice. In what seemed like God's way of saying "Do it!," when I got back from the conference, my husband took my into the kitchen to tell me that he thought I should become a midwife. He said I was meant for it and that the doula thing was good and all, but he thinks I would make a great midwife. Since it being his idea now means that he can't say things like, "I can't believe you talked me into this," I decided to apply to school. My acceptance to the National Midwifery Institute came mid-May.
It turned out school cost money (Ok, so I knew this, but joking about it helps). I was able to get a job working overnights at the Walmart near our house. It's not my dream job, but the people there are cool to hang out with and every night there is worth it to pay for my education. Last Friday, I mailed off my first tuition check. My journey to midwifery started back in the ninth grade, when I wasn't even sure if there were midwives around today. Today, I'm a doula, a homeschooling mom, a full-time "associate" overnight at Walmart and a student midwife with the National Midwifery Institute.
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
I am a doula, professionally trained by toLabor. The following is a blog post I wrote about why I am a doula. Thank you for this contest!
The one question I get asked in all of my interviews is “Why did you become a doula?”
The answer to that question lies in the journey I took to and through my own birth experience, and the incredible support I received from my doula and wonderful husband.
When I became pregnant, I did what most women in the United States do. I made an appointment with an OB/GYN (who was recommended to me by the primary care doc I’ve been seeing since college). I went to my prenatal visits, the longest of which was my intake appointment. I did the early prenatal screening tests. And when the pregnancy finally started to “feel real,” I started to think about a birth experience.
At the time, I didn’t exactly know what sort of birth experience I wanted to have. I knew I wasn’t afraid of birth, and that I was definitely interested in an unmedicated and intervention-free birth. I asked around to see if anyone I knew had birthed without either of those things, and not many had. “Don’t be a martyr,” they said. “Just get the epidural,” I was told. “What’s wrong with a little pain relief?” I was asked. The only people I knew who hadn’t had epidurals and such were women in my mom’s generation. My mom herself, in fact. She’d had her babies (me in 1978 and my sister in 1981) with a forward-thinking female OB who saw no need for mamas and babies to do anything but work together during labor and birth.
This got me thinking. So, being me, I got to reading. I picked up Henci Goer’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. I devoured Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth (just to name a select few). I read little snippets of information in magazines like FitPregnancy. And it was there, in the pages of a glossy, fairly fluffy periodical, that I first encountered the statistics about how doulas help to reduce the rate of epidurals, c-sections, and a number of other interventions in birth, simply by the virtue of their presence.
That information stopped me in my tracks. I had done enough reading to know that I didn’t want a surgical birth and a medicalized birth didn’t feel like the right choice for me, either. I wanted my baby to be born gently, sweetly, and surrounded by loving supporters who were committed to a mama having an old-school birth (with credit to Toni Negy).
We obviously needed to hire a doula.
Research, research, research. Read the Mothering.com forums, ask around for recommendations (no one I spoke to had hired a doula, and most had no idea what one was). Fast forward to June. I was five months pregnant and interviewing doulas. We chose three out of a larger list I had compiled and met our first candidate on a dreary early summer evening. Erin welcomed us into her space and I immediately liked her. It was an instant connection. The interview was wonderful. My husband asked as we got in to the car to go home: “Do we really have to bother with interviewing anyone else? I loved her, and I could tell that you did, too.” He was right, but I felt obligated to do our due diligence. We completed our interviews with the other doulas and then called Erin to ask her to be our doula. She said yes!
Prior to meeting Erin, I had realized that the OB/GYN I was seeing for prenatal care wasn’t the right fit for me, so halfway through my pregnancy I switched to a midwifery practice affiliated with a community-based hospital. I was happy with the practice, and felt very positive that I would be well-supported there. But as my pregnancy progressed, I became more and more interested in having a homebirth. The more I learned about birth, the more excited I got about it, and homebirth seemed the way to go.
Then I had my 30-week ultrasound to check on my low-lying placenta, and I learned that my baby was breech.
“Don’t worry!” said the radiologist. “Your baby still has lots of time to turn, and most of them do.” But I was worried, so I went home and I researched some more. To make a long story short, I spent hours trying to encourage my baby to turn. Anything you’ve heard about doing to try to turn breech babies, trust me, I’ve done it: lying on an ironing board, flash light in my crotch, music in my crotch, talking to my baby, listening to hypnosis scripts, moxabustion, accupunture, accupressure, shiatsu, walking, somersaults in a pool, homeopathic remedies, external cephalic version. The list goes on.
Despite my efforts, my baby stayed right were he was, content to have his head nestled up under my heart, all the better to hear it beat.
We continued interviewing homebirth midwives, with the idea that based on the information we learned about the safety of vaginal breech births with an experienced attendant, we’d still pursue a homebirth if we could find the right fit. But the midwives who were available for our due date and simultaneously a good personality fit, were not comfortable with a breech birth with a first time mom.
We were unable to find any information on doctors in our area who would remotely consider supporting a vaginal breech birth.
I began to realize that I was most likely facing the very birth I had most wanted to avoid: a cesarean. My baby would born out of an incision made through my skin, abdominal muscles, and uterus. I would be an inactive, immobile, and frightened participant. I began to feel sad, overwhelmed, and, quite frankly, cheated out an experience I very much wanted to have: labor and a vaginal birth.
Throughout all of this, my husband and doula remained hopeful that my baby would turn. They encouraged me to continue trying things that might get him to turn, so long as those things felt worth my time and energy. They asked me to talk with them about how I was feeling. Never once did either of them say, “The only thing that matters is a healthy mom and a healthy baby.”
In our second and final prenatal visit, Erin gently said to me that it seemed to her as though we had come to the decision to have our baby in the hospital, and in doing so, that we could be consenting to a cesarean birth. I remember tearing up. I remember feeling angry. I remember my husband rubbing my back, and holding my hand.
I remember Erin saying, “Nicole, I know this is the not the birth you wanted for your baby. It’s not the birth I wanted for you. I know you wanted him to enter the world vaginally. Though a cesarean is not the birth you envisioned, it may be the birth you will experience. And remember, it is still your birth. I am here for you. Zac is here for you. Babies are wise, and perhaps there is a reason yours is so happy head’s up. I encourage you to honor your baby’s wisdom, and to work on making peace with the birth you will experience.”
Erin suggested that we spend some time reading about cesarean births. She told us it would be a good idea to ask lots of questions (if we wanted to do so) at our upcoming prenatal appointment with the midwives. She reminded us that there were still things we could do to personalize our cesarean birth. Did we want to request music in the OR, ask for silence during the procedure, ask that the doctor’s not announce the sex of the baby (even though we already knew it), find out whether or not it would be possible to initiate breastfeeding during the repair, or at least have as much skin to skin contact as possible.
She was right. Zac and I knew that and so I began making preparations for the birth I didn’t want. I told my midwives that I would not be scheduling a date for my son’s birth. It felt cosmically wrong to pick his birthday. One midwife in the practice actually had to present our request for a “trial of labor before cesarean” during a staff meeting to get “approval” from the backing OB/GYN. Ours was not a common request. We were informed of the very short list of “risks” of not scheduling our cesarean: 1. Not knowing the doctor on call (which didn’t matter anyway, because I’d only met the OB/GYN in the practice once and had no real relationship with her). 2. Having to experience a significant amount of labor if labor and delivery was particularly busy that way and couldn’t get us in to the OR in a timely manner. 3. The possibility of a cord prolapse should my waters release in labor.
We reviewed the risks, did not find any that were reason enough to schedule our son’s birth. I spent the final weeks of my pregnancy settling in to the apartment we had recently moved to. I worked full time up until the night my waters broke at 1:00 in the morning on October 16, my son’s official due date.
After my waters broke, I called to Erin to see what she thought we should do, and after speaking with her my husband and I decided to go back to bed and that we would meet Erin at the hospital at 9 a.m. Erin met us at check-in, and rubbed my back while we answered all the questions we’d already answered in our pre-admission forms. She massaged my hands and feet in the ante-natal room, while I was hooked up to the monitor and leaking amniotic fluid into the chux pads beneath me. We joked, told stories and laughed together while we awaited a visit from the OB. Erin reminded us to ask questions that had come up in conversations at our prenatals about pain medication options. She took photos of me and my husband’s last moments as a family of two.
When the time came for me to enter the operating room, I was walked down the hall by one of the surgical nurses. I remember feeling scared, anxious, and ready to see my husband’s and Erin’s faces again as soon as I could. I remember really not wanting to lay on the operating table. I remember feeling very alone.
The prick of the needle in my back was startling, and the numbness that followed was anything but a relief. I hated the sensation of feeling nothing. I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling, listening to unfamiliar sounds: machines, voices, the clinking of surgical instruments.
“We’re going to begin now,” the doctor said.
“No!” I exclaimed. “You can’t! Where is my husband? Where is my doula? I’m all alone in here!” I started to cry. Someone hustled out the doors to usher in my husband and Erin. It still amazes me that no one noticed that I was a woman about to have her baby, and that I was alone. It hadn’t occurred to anyone in the room to bring them in.
Though I’m sure it was only a matter of moments before Zac and Erin were in the room after my saying something about their absence, it felt like a lifetime and I was quite upset when they got there. Erin immediately showed Zac where he could sit so that he could get in very close to comfort me.
To be honest, I don’t remember much that happened between the time they entered the room until the time I was recovery. During the procedure I went inside myself and focused on the feeling of my husband’s hand on my cheek, the sound of Erin’s breath. The warmth of my tears. I mostly kept my eyes closed. I remember my son crying when he was born. I remember Zac going to be with him. I remember Erin by my side, telling me, softly, in my ear, what she could see of my baby. When I expressed upset at the noises I was hearing during my repair, she asked me what was bothering me, sounds, smells, or sensations. I told her the sounds, so she spoke to me, telling me how wonderful things were going, how beautiful my baby looked. How close I was to having him all to myself.
Erin stayed with us for about an hour in post-operative recovery. She helped us with breastfeeding. She did all the things a doula is “supposed” to do. But what I will be forever grateful for is the human connection she forged with me and my husband in a maternity health care model that has all but done away with compassionate one-on-one care and support.
Erin encouraged us to follow our instincts, to trust ourselves, to trust our baby, and to educate ourselves on our options. She told us to ask questions, get answers, seek advice. She fostered communication between me and my husband, and shared with us an enthusiasm and appreciation for family, pregnancy, and the transformative power of labor and birth that is often forgotten in our “What’s on your baby registry?”-focused culture.
And I loved all of that so much, that I wanted to pay forward that same care and support to other mamas, babies, and families. That is why I am a doula.