Birth and Postpartum Doula – Former Preschool Teacher – Former Nanny
Some people know what they want to be and have as a career from the time they are young. For me, figuring out my life’s calling wasn’t so apparent.
I struggled to find what really set my soul on fire. Being an inherently passionate person, I knew I wouldn’t truly thrive until I found something authentic and that I innately loved doing. My jobs usually centered around caring for children and working with families because I love human connection. For many years I was an infant and preschool teacher, a nanny, a children’s gymnastics instructor.
I felt fortunate for not only the children I had the opportunity to teach and watch grow, but for the variety of families I met and was able to build meaningful relationships with. Each family was unique and different from the other. Each with their own daily routines, needs, cultures and beliefs. While all of these jobs brought me happiness, I didn’t feel completely fulfilled. Something was still missing.
Fast forward to many years later, I became pregnant with my son. Unfortunately, my birth experience was full of a uncompassionate hospital staff. I was 41 2/7 days with no cervical dilation and no effacement. I was scheduled to be induced the next day at 41 3/7. When I arrived to be induced, I was hooked up to the fetal heart monitor. I was told I was having contractions even though I could not feel what was happening. At that time I was not familiar with the labor or process of birth. Not like I am now. I sometimes wonder if I was actually in the very early stages of labor. After an ultrasound and pelvic exam, I was told my son was in the range of 10 pounds. The physician came into my room and recommended scheduling a cesarean section for the next morning. She was felt that because of his size, if I was induced it would ultimately end in surgery. I trusted her opinion, prepared myself and came back for my c-section the next morning.
After I checked in, I was looking over my new birth plan that I had spent hours researching and putting together the night before. Even though I understood why a cesarean was being recommended, I knew still had options to make it my own and I optimistic that they would be acknowledged. When I began to show it to the nurse I was told, “the doctor will do whatever is safe and best for you and the baby. You don’t need that”. The birth plan never left my hand. At that moment, I was in disbelief. I didn’t feel adequate enough to respond to her.
Before being brought into the operating room, I asked if it was possible to use the restroom. The same nurse rolled her eyes and told me that I was getting a catheter. To stop wasting time. That they were on a schedule. Again, I was taken back. I listened to her, got on the gurney and was wheeled into the OR. It was Super Bowl weekend and the anesthesiologist kept talking about how he had a plane and sushi waiting for him. When I attempted to express concerns in the OR, the anesthesiologist reminded me that I was in his operating room and things were going to go his way.
My son was born at a healthy, 8 lbs 9 oz. Big, but not as big as he was estimated to be.
I realized that almost every person who is part of your birth, you will remember, good and bad. Looking back now, I thought I would know how to navigate childbirth because of my decade’s worth of childcare experience and education. But I didn’t know how to advocate for myself. I had no preparation for the birthing process.
Many years later still trying to find my groove in life, I took an online career assessment test to help guide me. The results had a few options. A doula was listed as one. I vaguely remember hearing the word doula in the past but didn’t know what a doula purpose was. After independently researching and educating myself, I was intrigued. I started watching countless videos, reading blogs, doula and birthing books. I couldn’t believe a career like this existed. I immediately signed up to attend doula training. After the workshop, I left on cloud nine. I was completely hooked. I couldn’t wait to dive into this whole new world.
While attending my first birth as a doula, I had a moment. A flash when I realized everything I had done and everything I had been through led me to becoming a doula. My work with families and their children, my birth experience. I will never forget how proud I was watching my first client confidently hand over her birth plan we had prepared together and the medical staff who respected her wishes. I watched her and helped guide her in achieving her ideal birth experience.
Just like all of the families I have worked with over the years, each birth is unique and different from the other. Each with its own set of needs, vibes, and environment. I am here to support each one of them.
While I still feel pretty fresh on my doula journey, I cannot say how good it feels to be in this place now. A place where I have found my calling. I love every single aspect of what this doula work entails. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with those who are birthing and share such an intimate, beautiful and life changing experience with them.
Do you love birth? Heck yeah you do!
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