Know Your Options

It has been said that if you don’t know what your options are, then you don’t have any! I believe this to be absolutely true, especially when it comes to birth! Do you know that you don’t HAVE to have an IV to give birth? You can wear your own clothing of your choice instead of wearing the hospital gown with your bottom peeking through? You can opt out of vaginal exams? Not only do you NOT have to lay on your back when pushing your baby out, but it’s usually not even considered the healthy or comfortable choice (just the most convenient view for the doctor)? As your doula, I will help you to gather the information you need to make informed choices for yourself and for your family. We will go over more choices for your birth than you probably ever imagined were available to you! Armed with this information, you will be able to think about what is most important to you, what you are willing to compromise on, and what (unless extenuating circumstances arise) you are not. As your doula, I respect your choice of care provider. I know that you have chosen this care provider for a reason, have built a relationship with him or her, and trust his or her expertise. I in no way want to come between you and your chosen provider. Quite the contrary, in fact! I strive to facilitate communication between you and your chosen provider. When you know what your options are, you can know what questions you need to ask.

Perhaps you will learn that your care provider is completely in sync with what is important to you, and you can rest assured knowing he or she will help you to have the birth experience you are striving for…and perhaps you will learn just the opposite.  If the latter is the case, you may then realize that you might want to consider a transfer to another provider that supports your goals. What about the policies set by the hospital where you are planning to give birth? Some are more flexible than others in terms of the options they will allow you to exercise. Will they allow you to eat and drink freely in labor? Only ice chips? Nothing by mouth at all?? Will they allow you to move freely in labor or insist on having you continuously monitored close to or in the bed? Do you want to labor in water? Give birth in water? What about C-Section policies? Do they offer family centered C-Sections? Can your doula be present to support you and your partner through the process and remain with you if your partner needs to accompany baby to the nursery or NICU? When you know what is important to you, you can surround yourself with a supportive team that will honor your wishes for your birth, whether things are progressing normally or alterations to your birth plan need to be made out of necessity. Whom you choose as your birth team and your choice of birthplace will absolutely mold the experience you will ultimately have, so it’s vital to know your options, decide what is important to you, and surround yourself with supportive people. This is YOUR birth! Not your doctor’s, not your mother-in-law’s, not mine. In the end, whatever your choices are, I am here to support you and help you to have a birth experience that you can treasure for a lifetime.