Every woman hiring a doula has needs specific to them and different concerns and goals in their birth plan; these can be anything from physical support, emotional support, meetings reviewing information about birth and options available to them, and even support with housework, errands, and other children. While there are standard packages that doulas have for their clients, not every doula/client relationship is the same, which is perfectly okay!
As a birth worker providing antepartum, birth, and postpartum care it is important for me to keep in mind the varying needs of those I work with and remain flexible in my appointments with all clients. While antepartum doula care is not very common at this time, there are many women who do benefit from additional support before their baby arrives, Jen and her husband Tim were seeking this type of doula care but felt confident in going through labor and delivery without a birth doula present.
Jen and Tim met one of my other clients in a waiting room and reached out to me one month prior to their due date. Jen was 39 years old and pregnant with her first (and probably her only) baby. Technically, she is considered "high risk" because of her age, but her pregnancy has been healthy and she has not experienced any complications.
This fun, easy-going, world-traveling couple wanted to meet initially to discuss the benefits of hiring a doula. Why do people want extra care? What does a doula do? How is it helpful? We talked about the research and how I can provide assistance, and we decided to work together for antepartum care before her due date.
Jen and Tim had attended the one day birthing class offered at the University of Utah and read through the workbook "Prepared Childbirth-The Family Way" written by Debby Amis and Jeanne Green. But after this prep-work Tim still felt that his main concerns were not addressed and he wanted private classes with me to discuss topics and ideas more specific to Jen and their situation.
Our meetings together included the following:
- Q & A about labor and delivery at the University of Utah and other concerns they had
- How Tim can best support Jen both before they go into the hospital and while at the hospital
- Things to pack in the hospital bag
- I disclosed tips and tricks that I bring with me in my doula bag
- Practiced stretches and comfort measures that Jen can do on her own before and during labor
- Practiced and taught Tim various massage techniques and pressure points, and once we discovered Jens favorites we practices those even more.
- I gave recommendations for immediate postpartum routines with their baby once they come home from the University of Utah
Once I was hired as their antepartum doula I was available to answer questions, offer clarification, and help Jen and Tim throughout the rest of her pregnancy and during the early postpartum period. Jen went in to her delivery prepared for the journey or labor, and Tim was much more confident in his ability to comfort and support his wife. Their little girl, Penelope, was born September 2nd 5 hours after being checked in to the hospital. They utilized the techniques we practiced during our antepartum appointments and the counter pressure and massages helped Jen a lot! Everyone adjusted well during the postpartum period and they continue to learn and figure out their new roles as a family.