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Tips for the holidays

 

Setting boundaries and allowances for friends and family during the holiday season. 

My husband and I have been married for 15 years and together for 16. Setting up family traditions of our own as well as continuing to be a part of the traditions of our families has been (at times) a bit of a struggle, both in logistics and interpersonal relationships.  

Here are a few things that I would suggest considering:



What is a Doula

 

A doula fills in the gaps between you and the rest of your care team. We help support you within these 5 pillars of support: Emotional Support, Physical Support, Information/advocacy, Partner and Family Support, and Preserving the Memory

When we work within the boundaries of these 5 pillars we can help cover the gaps within modern medicine. Because your doctor and nurses are primarily focused on you and your baby's health and wellness, it can feel like the intimate care is slightly lacking. This is where a doula who is a non-clinical support person can truly help. We can use the information that the clinical team shares with everyone, and put it to use in position changes for you during labor, comfort modalities to help you during pregnancy, and educational support to help you, your partner and your family understand the options that you have available.

An excellent doula works within these parameters, supporting you and your partner, and balancing communication, and is a valued member of the care team at any hospital. 

Questions

When picking a doula you know a few different things that can make sure that you are getting the right doula for you.

  1. What is your experience level?
  2. Do you work with my hospital/doctor?
  3. What doula support packages do you offer?
  4. Do you have a specialty/additional training or certifications?
  5. Who is your back up?
  6. How many clients do you work with? *Client load varies by doula, however we all work with solid back up to protect continuity of care.

I would also recommend being ready to have some questions asked of you and your partner. This will be a two way interview. You may love the doula, but there may be something that doesn’t work for her. 

Questions that you could be asked:

  1. What kind of birth support are you looking for?
  2. What are your current goals for birth (i.e. home birth, birth center, hospital)?
  3. Do you have any personal beliefs that you are hoping the doula can join you in supporting you through? (i.e. Prayers, chants, meditations)
  4. What kind of family support do you have, and how will you expect the doula to integrate into that? (Some folks need us to help manage family, and some expect some sibling support during labor/birth)

Setting up interviews

You can set up interviews with multiple doulas. You can do this in person, or via a video chat. I personally really like the in person option. At Kooshlie Care, we have a home office, so I generally will offer to host in-person meetings here. You can set up a meeting at your favorite coffee shop, library or park. And have each doula you are hoping to interview come at different 30 minute time-frames.  In every area we generally know each other and it is a playful competition when we know that we are interviewing with the same potential client.

 

Post interview

I highly recommend that you and your partner take a few minutes after the interview to discuss what you loved and what you could do without in regards to each doula. It is a very personal thing that you are inviting this person to join you for. So you should EACH be comfortable with the selection. You may love the doula, but their voice or personality is slightly grating to your partner. Ultimately this would not be a good fit. 

I am personally confident that I can walk into any birth and do an amazing job at support, but I also know that I am NOT the doula for every potential client that I meet. 

What to expect with a contract

Each contract will cover labor and birth support, some prenatal appointments, birth plan building, and postpartum support. 

You can negotiate within your contract, doulas generally have packages that you can select from regarding the contracts.

For example my general contract covers 1-3 prenatal visits, 15 hours of face to face labor and birth support, and 1 postpartum follow up. There are other packages available with more or less pre and post support depending on your needs.

Where to find doulas

Start at your local health food store. JUST KIDDING!! A local search should give you a good list of doulas to reach out to. At Kooshlie Care we host a monthly in person meeting, Kooshlie Connections where you can learn more about our doulas and style of support. You can hire any of the doulas listed on our team page, and have the assurance, that if backup is needed that one of the doulas in our group will be there to relieve your doula or cover your birth in the event that is needed. 



There was a misconception that professional doulas solely assisted with natural births when they initially became well-known. But now, more people are becoming aware of the benefits of using a doula during a high-risk delivery.



What to know about planning a Cesarean birth

What does a C-section generally look like?

I will do my best to paint a picture of what a planned cesarean birth can look like in general. 

Planned meaning you have not had labor at all and are going to the hospital for a scheduled procedure. 

You will be asked to arrive two hours prior to your scheduled surgery. This is to give everyone time to double check that they have everything ready for you, and that you have nothing else that needs to be completed. 

Things they will be doing, checking your blood pressure, starting an IV and running fluids, giving medicine for pain that will start working in your system by the time the surgery is completed, they will double check the position of a baby (for example if baby is no longer in a breech position we could switch gears from surgery). 

Your nurse will be cleaning your belly, and checking the surgical sight, sometimes they need to trim a little along the bikini line. Please don’t shave yourself the night before, as the act of shaving can actually put you at a higher risk of infection due to the small cuts that can be on your skin from razor burn. They will use sterile clippers, and then clean if there is too much hair. 

Your partner will be given a ‘bunny suit.’ This is a large coverall, that makes you look like you are a very large “umpa lumpa” from the chocolate factory. Your partner will be waiting to come into the OR for about 15-20 minutes while they do the spinal and the final prep for surgery. 

Before the baby is born they will be brought into the room.

Baby is usually born within 10-15 mins after surgery has started. At this point, the partner should go to the warmers to say hello to the little one. They are there for just a few minutes before being brought to mama. The goal is to get the whole family together ASAP. Baby’s tend to need a little extra assistance during a surgical birth to clear and open up their lungs. Once that has happened, they are brought to do skin to skin with mama. 

I cannot stress this enough, until that happens the BEST thing that your partner can do is to talk to your baby. Hearing your voice helps them so much, it is something familiar in this bright loud

Do I even have any REAL choices at this point?

In short, YES! You always have a choice and should feel empowered to use your voice. Open the lines of communication between you and your support team. Some good questions to ask at this point are: “What is your normal process?” “Is my doula allowed with me the whole time?” “When can my partner join us?” “How quickly is my baby on my chest?” “How long from start to finish?” 



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