Its part of the learning curve to figure out everyone’s role at birth and can be a little overwhelming. For those of you who like to know what’s going on, let me see if I can give you an idea.
Let’s break it down. First of all, you should know that your doctor plans to only be in the room with you for the very last moments of your birth. Like, once they can see the head, they will be with you and stay until the birth of the placenta. Then they are saying, “Congratulations!” and are out the door. It’s not that they don’t care about you, its just that they don’t want to be a disruption. So they do their work and wait to be summoned by the nurses. At the very end, it’s very exciting, you can feel how close you are and the doctor flies in like a burst of light! They catch your beautiful baby and then are gone to let you mask in the glow of one of the sweetest babies you have ever seen!
The nurses are in and out of the room. There’s no way to tell who you will get, and shifts change whether you want them to or not. They are smiling at you while they monitor you and the baby. They do vitals, listening to the babies heart rate and charting everything. If you need ice chips or more pillows, they will be happy to grab them for you. They are so sweet but usually have other moms to help too.
Your partner is your rock. They aren’t leaving your side and are supporting you through every contraction. They are encouraging you, massaging you and sneaking you honey straws. Your partner is a dream until they don’t know what to do anymore. Here’s where the doula comes in.
The doula is the gap filler, the runner, the second support to the partner and laboring mom. It can get tribal during labors, because well, I’ll say it… it hurts! Not only does it hurt but you also have to give in to the sensations (blog post about that here https://dreamcatcherbirth.com/2018/01/01/the-hardest-part-of-birth/). You can get interrupted, lose your flow and start getting anxious, scared, or feeling out of control. The doula is there to know what to say, and what positions to try next. The doula reminds everyone that this is normal, that we can continue to say, “yes” to the process, and that, “this is the feeling of your baby getting closer to meeting you”! She will also do little things like making sure your cup is full, you are emptying your bladder and that your partner doesn’t need anything. She is well educated in birth and can give you a really good idea of where you are in the process and will help you know your options when things come up. She is your constant support, ready to fill all sorts of roles.
Laboring mom, partner and doula are the three constants in the room. While nurses and doctors come in and out, the partner and doula are charged with maintaining a calm and supportive atmosphere, your doula especially is a sponge of things that could affect the couple. Simple questions, comments, opened curtains are no match for her!
Really, with a role for everyone, it works together really nicely. You can even add a photographer in there or best friend who’s only job is to hold your hand and it would be great.
*Refreshed from my prior blog post in August of 2017. It’s too good not to share again.