“How did you decide to become a doula?”
When talking with inquiring clients, family members, friends and aquaintences that I meet, this is usually one of the questions I get asked. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite questions to answer! So with today being the 3 year anniversary of how I decided to become a doula why not share my story as my first blog ever?!!
It was Tuesday, January 6, 2015. Keith (my husband) had the day off work to stay home with our boys and I had plans to support my brother and his wife (Chris & Amanda) as they laid Amanda’s father, Scott to rest. The August prior, when Amanda was just 5 months pregnant, her dad had triple bypass surgery and two valve replacements. After waking from an 11 day coma following his surgery he contracted a staff infection which lead to another surgery to remove his sternum. It was during that surgery that Scott had to be resuscitated 3 times and after he remained on life support December 31, 2014, when Amanda was 9 months pregnant. During those 4 months I watched Amanda and Chris go through the hardest time of their lives. I was determined to do whatever I could to support them through this difficult time.
When I awoke on that Tuesday morning I had a pit in my stomach. I made some coffee, showered, put on my black dress, said a small prayer to help me be strong for my brother and his wife, put my shoes on, grabbed my keys and as I gave Keith a kiss good-bye my phone rang. It was my mom, probably calling to make sure I was on my way to the funeral service. I answered my phone and the first words out of her mouth were “Amanda is in labor!” WHAT??? Now what? Is she going to make it to the funeral? Is she going to the hospital? My mom couldn’t answer any of those questions. All I knew was that I had planned to support Chris and Amanda that day and where ever they needed that support is where I was going to be.
I called Amanda, “Hey! How’s it going? Are your contractions strong? Are you going to the hospital or are you going to try and make it to the funeral?” Amanda’s response, “Ummm I’m not sure yet. We are on our way to pick up a puppy right now.” WHAT??? (Are you confused? I sure was!!) Yep. They went and picked up a new puppy while in labor AND on their way to a funeral!
After they picked up the puppy Amanda’s contractions were much stronger. She gave me a call and asked that I meet them at the hospital. I changed out of my dress clothes and put jeans on as quick as I could. I hopped in my car and rushed to the hospital. When I arrived at Amanda’s delivery room her contractions were intense and regular. Amanda had asked for an epidural but with her kidney history the nurse needed to do some additional blood work before the epidural could be placed. While waiting for the epidural the nurse began to place Amanda’s IV. Watching Amanda in that much pain and having gone through childbirth myself, all I could think to do was try and help keep her calm. I talked to her softly, reassured held her hand, I did what I though I would want while in labor. My brother was struggling because he HATES needles and as soon as the nurse busted out those needles he backed away! After Amanda had her IV placed the nurse said that she also needed to have a bag or two of IV fluids before the epidural. I could tell from the look on Amanda’s face that she wasn’t sure how she was going to get through these contractions while waiting for her epidural. I reassured her she can do this and I stayed by her side until, FINALLY, the anesthesiologist arrived! My brother asked if I would stay with Amanda while they placed her epidural, I agreed. Amanda and I held hands as her epidural was placed and once it was done she was happy and comfortable again. Just a few hours later it was time to push. Amanda’s labor and delivery room was filled with so much love and support as her and my brother welcomed Emmie Scott earth side!
As I was leaving the hospital a nurse stopped me in the hallway and introduced herself. She apologized for not remembering my name (and now I don’t remember hers) and asked if I was Amanda’s doula. I let the nurse know that I wasn’t sure what a doula was and that I was just the sister-in-law trying to help. The nurse encouraged me to look into being a doula as she thought that I would be good at it. On my way to my car I googled “What is a doula?” I read the description and a few blog experiences about doulas and I was HOOKED. I got to my car, called my husband and my exact words were “I know what I want to be when I grow up!” He was confused and told me we could talk about it when I got home. I rushed home and explained what a doula was, he was still a bit confused, I told him there was doula training in 6 months that I wanted to attend. The next I day I contacted the training instructor and after exchanging a few emails I learned that there was a training coming up on January 21st. So, less than 3 weeks later I was sitting in that January doula training class on my way to becoming a trained, certified, professional doula!
And that's how I decided to become a doula.
Happy 3rd Birthday Emmie!
RIP Scott Riley, You are dearly missed by your family and friends.
Thank you to Chris and Amanda for allowing me to be in your birthing space and for letting me share such intimate details,