Enjoy this special post told by both me and my doula, Micah Burgess of Waco Doula!
Me: Black text
Micah: Red text
If you’re planning to have kids, more kids, even if your births have gone well, this post is STILL for you. Why? Because every birth is different. Ask any one of us Mamas and we will tell you our birth stories – they were all different! You never know how the story is going to unfold, and that’s one of my favorite parts of birth, particularly the last week. It’s absolute physical hell but the anticipation, reading of signs, guessing of the final trigger, feeling extra kicks and barrel rolls; it’s so special because you’re living your baby’s birth story. It’s amazing being in the middle of a miracle.
But let’s back up a little for my story. My big sister already had 2 home births with a midwife, my best friend had a c-section in a hospital, and my sister-in-law, a natural birth in the hospital. Lots of stories around me. First of all, I never pictured myself to be a natural childbirth type of girl. But when I watched my sister give birth to her second baby and she recounted the details of her experiences enough times, I realized that I also had that same strength in me. If she could do it, I could do it. Then there was my best friend who planned a natural birth but upon recommendations for meds to speed her up, she ended up with a traumatic c-section birth and says she and her child both still suffer from it – his health and her emotional triggers. It changed her life. Not every c-section goes like that, but many do. For her second birth, she was scared she had no other option, but had one friend who encouraged her to have a v-bac. Her friend recommended a different doctor who worked closely with a midwife, so my friend switched everything and even chose a different hospital and was more prepared. Her story was pivotal for me because of these words:
She (the midwife) told me to put the stopwatch away and calmly told me I was going to birth a baby, and here’s a popsicle. She told me to get on my hands and knees, when to get on the ball, when to walk around, how to breathe, what sounds to make, and which side to lay on. She was gentle, but so strong. She was all I needed. I felt so incredibly empowered. You just can’t describe the bond you have with this person who supports you during your labor and who knows what to do with a woman in labor, how to push a baby down and how gravity works. There was one moment I said “I CAN’T DO IT, I CAN’T DO IT!” And she looked at me in the eye and said, “You’re doing it.” I thought I was dying but she affirmed that I was supposed to feel like that and that I was doing it. That pushed me to decide to use that feeling and go harder with it. Having my daughter was the most empowering and euphoric experience of my life and I could not have done it without that kind of support.
When she told me her experience, I decided I didn’t want her first birth, I wanted to skip ahead to the answer for an empowering birth: I needed a doula. I couldn’t have a midwife at home like my sister because I was high risk, but a doula – yes.
I interviewed THREE doulas. The first talked my ear off, the second was sweet but maybe too calm for me, and the third was Micah Burgess. Hey there, it’s me. At the time it was just her, she wasn’t Waco Doula with a team yet. When I interviewed her, she was direct, nice, pretty, and looked strong. I’m already cracking up because “looking strong” was gonna be more important than we both realized. I decided I felt like she wouldn’t be afraid to yell at me if I needed her to, so we hired her. Don’t worry readers, I don’t yell at everyone…LOL!
Micah recommended a childbirth coach for us, which was great, and she was available by text or calls if I had questions. Our relationship was very simple before the birth. So let me tell you WHY she was an essential part of all three of my births. Buckle up. I repeat, BUCKLE UP!
After the walking, bouncing (all per Micah’s suggestions), and broken water, I went into transition, the part where you feel like you’re dying. I was still on my feet at this point and I should mention my husband was having severe back pain because I went into the slow dance position with Micah.
Fully pregnant, I weighed 165lbs and during each contraction my feet literally lifted off the floor “Looked strong” and I hung on her shoulders. She didn’t say a word, she just supported me. I may not have said a word but I made some pretty funny faces. I was actually shocked at first. Then, it was just too hilarious! Not all doulas could do that, or should do that, but she did that. I was in transition for four hours with a minor complication the nurses didn’t notice until the end. But during the throes of subconscious oblivion, the only voice I could tolerate was hers or my sister’s. My sister because in that moment she was the transformed version of myself, the identification that I could get to the other side alive, and Micah because she was the light in the tunnel. She knew how to guide me out. I was pushing most of transition because my body was making me, but I swelled and the nurse told me to stop. I thought she lost her mind pretty sure you told her and I said I couldn’t stop, but Micah told me how to breathe to make me stop pushing. It was awful, but I wasn’t alone. You know how it is in those contractions, right? Like, your brain resets after each one and you totally forget how to ride the violent wave. Girl, I was so impressed by you. Absolutely a tower of strength! Micah saw that in me and was faithful to coach my breathing through every single one. I was never alone, and I can tell you right now that my husband wouldn’t have known when, why, or how to coach me through any of that. He’d never lived it before. He’s freaking amazing, and I needed him there playing Daniel Lanois and Enya, and telling me I was amazing, but he wasn’t a doula. My Mom and sister…let’s be real. As close as we are, I would have just gotten mad at them. You know, you did bite me once 😉 (shocked face, I forgot that) Micah was a different voice. In all seriousness, Robin is FABULOUS at childbirth! I mean y’all, if she’s talking about birth….listen!
My water broke at the nurse’s station. Micah was with us at check in. Labor ramped up quickly and as soon as I hit transition, I went to the restroom. (Micah likes telling this story) It is one of my favorite stories! I’d go, get up and wash hands, have a contraction and end up back on the toilet. This happened over and over until I grabbed the sink, squatted and started pushing. I heard Micah through the door, “Robin…are you ok?” “I’m just having a contraction.” “Robin, are you pushing in there?” Pretty sure you said, “No” the first time I asked. “Um, yeah, maybe a little. I’ll be ok, I’ll be out in just a minute. I just keep having contractions on top of each other.” “ROBIN, OPEN THAT DOOR!” “Just a miiiiiiiiiiiiiiinute.” I could hear her talking to my hubby outside the door (“Josh, come here”). LOL! I’m laughing right now at that whole scene! I actually told Josh “She’s having that baby and we’ve gotta get her to the bed.” I knew this might be problematic. They opened the door and she admonished me to get into bed, I said I couldn’t move, she said she wasn’t letting me have a baby on a hospital bathroom floor and I whined that I couldn’t move. Keep in mind, she’s still pushing. I was at the end and she knew it. I was just in the moment, not thinking. She ordered Josh under one of my arms, and she got under the other, and they dragged literally all 165lbs of me to the bed as she cried saying, “I hate y’all” bahahaha! where I immediately went hands and knees and started pushing. The on-call doctor arrived just in time and had never in his entire career delivered a baby with Mom on hands and knees. Go me. He was actually bragging to everyone in the room, “That was a first”. When Robin turned around she looked at the doctor for the first time and said, “Hi, I’m Robin”. That was the best! I died laughing. But for real, I would have delivered Everly alone on the bathroom floor if it wasn’t for Micah knowing and acting.
I think because I already knew you and me were now friends, I felt more confident in leading you with a stronger hand. You were absolutely gonna do your thing and I knew as soon as we got you to that bed baby would come flying…and she did.
Micah was training a new doula and asked if she could be my doula while Micah observed. I said yes. This doula was younger and hadn’t had babies before but had been an L&D nurse. This birth was also fast, and I recognized my bathroom break this time as the moment to get my giant body in bed asap. I honestly can’t remember how it happened, You were picture perfect. I mean if anyone had walked into the room they would have said that you weren’t even in early labor yet. You were quiet, smiling, peaceful…. it was impressive, but while the new doula was beside me, she had the softest and sweetest voice and I felt so supported, but I really really liked being called ahead with a blazing lantern the way Micah had coached me. I was starting to see the handwriting on the wall. Robin actually said, “Okay- I need ya’ll to start coaching me.” She got close to my bed to ask one thing and I grabbed her jacket, pulled her face to mine I was trying so hard not to fall on you! and didn’t let go until my third daughter was born. I didn’t mean to do that, but I was so bonded to Micah that my body just took over and forced her to be there.
You know that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Robin loves birth and she is a tremendous advocate for women enjoying everything about their experiences. Robin truly is one of my favorite clients and our friendship is so special to me! Luv ya girl….
Nurses and Doulas
I want to quickly address my experiences with L&D nurses at each birth. First one, very supportive, extremely empathic and direct (that’s a dream combo for that field) and was strong enough in her field to convince me of “flip this way” and “you need to.” Second birth, I can’t remember a thing about her. I think she just gave Micah space to tend to me. Third birth, I think it had to have been her first. She murdered my hand attempting a hep lock and I have never been meaner to anyone in my life. That poor nurse didn’t know what hit her. Having said that, she REALLY needed more training. I told her not to come back unless she was certain she could get it right. LOL! She quietly walked out and sent someone else in. Nurses are amazing and when you don’t have a doula, they are your lifeline to birthing a baby. They are also under orders from the doctors. This is the difference with a doula. They also cannot and will not tell you what to do, but they remind you of what you wanted, and are able to be completely attentive to you. Nurses often have multiple patients and can’t stay with you the whole time. Doulas are only there for you. I love the fact that my role is so different from the nurse’s role! My focus can be on the laboring woman so intently that I can pick up on all the things that my client needs me to see.
Making Birth Normal
I loved the book The Red Tent, and think women were made to be together during childbirth. I also think our daughters need to see childbirth if they can, so they aren’t so scared of it when they grow up. It needs to be more normal for them. I think the lack of normalcy is what makes us feel so unprepared for birth, so scared of birth “happening to us,” or not having realistic expectations of what the pain and pressure feels/looks like. All the unknown creates uncertainty and fear. A great book with stories and stories of childbirth is The Baby Catcher. But, trigger warning too (not all babies live).
If I had ten more babies, I would always want Micah there. Pretty sure I would be heartbroken if I wasn’t! If you’re considering a doula, think about your personality and what kind of doula you feel you would need in your most vulnerable and disoriented state of mind. This is a really important point that Robin is making. She needed someone to be, well, bigger than her. She’s a strong woman and sometimes it takes another strong woman to understand you. Having said that, a good doula should know how to adapt to whatever personalities come her way. I’m sure if some of my other clients were reading this they’d be surprised to see that I was “bossy” at all. Knowing yourself and allowing yourself to have exactly what you need at your birth is huge in having a great birth experience. I encourage you to interview Micah and her team and see if they’re a good fit for you. I’m willing to guess you’ll be less scared of birth if you had someone like Micah lighting the way for you.
We LOVE what we do and are ready to serve, listen and support anyone that’s looking to have a positive & confident birth.
Interviewing a Doula
Also, I’m including my list of interview questions when I interviewed doulas. Call Waco Doula today (254-749-4009 or email email@example.com) and set up your first meeting! The investment is undoubtedly worth it, and your insurance just might cover it!
- Are you taking any new clients for the month I’m due? (If they say no, ask them if they can refer you to any other local doulas.)
- What’s your training as a doula? Experience with high-risk pregnancies? Why did you become one?
- About how many clients have you had?
- What are some of the services you provide to expecting mothers? What services don’t you provide?
- How would you describe your approach to birth as a doula? Personality?
- Will you be on call at all times? If you’re unavailable, who fills in for you? How often do we meet before the birth?
- When a client of yours goes into labor, when do you meet up with her? Do you go to her home or to the place of birth?
- How many clients do you take on that are due around the same time?
- Have you ever worked with my obstetrician before? What was that experience like?
- What will you do if I end up needing a C-section?
- What is your fee? What is your refund policy?
- Do you provide any postpartum services? When do your services begin postpartum? What is your experience in breastfeeding support?
- Can you provide me with 2 references?