'Doula's are the experts of the experience'. A top 10 must read for every father to be.
I’ve been up all night with little Adriano who is nearly two days old. I’ve been reflecting on births and thinking of you and what you and Pauline meant to us, being our doula's. So I made a top 10 list.
My third child was born yesterday. Here’s a reflection on what I’ve learned from amazing people like Pauline, Maartje and my wife.
1. Get a Doula. There is a 99% chance shit will hit the fan. They are the experts of the experience of birth. Doctors are experts of the medical needs, midwives are experts of the birth, Doula’s are the experts of the experience. She is there for the mother, but she’s got your back too.
2. Make your doula teach you how to squeeze moms pelvis from behind. You have to be careful. Once you know how to do it your wife will love and trust you through the process.
3. Make sure your Doula knows the “rebozo” techniques. It helps with contractions and makes the mother feel a million times better. Pure magic.
4. Bring a birth ball. It’s great in the shower, it’s great everywhere. Mom will love it for her hips. My wife spent 3/4 of our second birth on that ball. It is magic beyond my comprehension.
5. Guard the door. You don’t need nurses and orderlies going in and out every 10 minutes. You can arrange the lunch in the hall and carry it in yourself. They can clean the bathroom later. Every extra person slows things down. (Including the mother in law). Don’t let them in until the baby is born. Plus it gives you a reason to step into the hall when you need to deal with your own emotions.
6. Wear a swimsuit. The only “nice” part of the process is the hot shower the mother will eventually need. You need to be there to love her through the process; make sure she doesn’t fall over, and catch the baby when things move really fast.
7. In fact, take multiple swimsuits. On day two (or three) of labor everyone will love the distraction. The nurses that laughed at you the day before will smile at you on day two when they realize it's a thing.
8. No really. Wear a swimsuit. And flip flops. And a beach towel. Umbrellas in the drinks might work too. No one likes hospitals. Changing the mood to beach life goes a long way into making it a positive experience. The beach towel will be useful after the shower, when the mother is cold, rolled up as a pillow, and as an awesome accessory when you run to the cafe for an energy packed pastry. It will help you relax which makes you look confident. That confidence screams everything is going to be ok. It is the best gift you can give your partner.
9. Every birth is different. I’ve been at three and nothing is similar about any of them. They are tough experiences with miraculous endings. They require you to be at your strongest and most creative. There are no wrong decisions, but don’t just take what the doctors and midwives offer. Mix them up. Ask for new solutions. At my third birth the midwife told me afterwards “I’ve never done it that way before, but it worked great.”
10. Get a Doula. Make sure you like her. Make sure your wife likes her. Make sure she likes you. She’s the person you want in room when the decisions get hard. Once you hit the 24 hour mark she’s your guardian angel. You will never forget her.
Thank you for being our doula's Maartje and Pauline. You changed my life. Twice.