Sep 28, 2012
I recently attended my first Cesarean birth as a doula. In advance of 'birth day' I spent a lot of time thinking about how to re-define my role and importance as a support professional for a Cesarean. I was not going to be allowed into the OR which led to me to believe that I would miss the birth entirely, the climax of a doula's work. How would I be able to support mom and dad if I couldn't physically be there? Was there a need for me anymore?
In hindsight, I can say with total confidence that I was able to support this family in a profound way regardless of the fact that I was not in the room at the moment of baby's grand entrance. Today's #1 lesson: Support has little to do with physical proximity and everything to do with intention and preparation.
Mom, dad and I were together for the 2 hours prior to delivery. This time turned out to be precious. In this small room, as countless medical staff maintained a revolving door in and out, we stayed focused on mom and what she needed. At times it was something tangible like a back rub, at others, it was just a glance, nod and a smile of reassurance. When the time came for mom and dad to soldier on without me, I knew they would continue to feel my support.
Back together again after the birth, a new mission is revealed. This family just went through something that was far outside of their initial plan. It was crucial that they be reminded that they just gave birth to their darling baby. At that moment, method of entry was irrelevant. You gave birth. Your baby is here because of you.
The post-partum script was slightly different, but all things considered, it was back to business as usual for this doula. Breastfeeding, self-care for mom, newborn care for baby and of course, a birthday party.