December 3, 2014

Why My Birth Team Made All the Difference.

I've written a lot here recently about Judah's birth.  I have his birth story, my attempt to VBAC and my breastfeeding journey.  These were all very personal, yet very positive posts.  If you read them, you will see one of the main themes is the importance of my birth team and the supportive people around me.  For me there is no way I could have done this with out my Doula Marcia Mattern, my Bradley teacher Laura Thorp, my amazing midwife Janey Hitch and the lactation girls at Pekin hospital.  If you are in the central IL area I can not say enough good things about my birth team and would recommend them to anyone who would listen to me rave about them.



That being said I need to get to my reason I am writing this and that is the importance of a supportive birth team.  I knew setting out to VBAC I needed a supportive team and I also knew that a doula would be a very important part of that.  We interviewed a few different people and the two we liked the best ended up being the two who were involved in our birth.  There is so much information out there about how much a doula can help you to get the birth you want and have less medical interventions. Doulas are birth support who are there to help the mother and the father.  They do not make any decisions for you, they are just there so you know you options and to be supportive.  This was beyond true for me.  She helped me in finding the right provider and also the information and courage to change providers when it was apparent  I wasn't in a good place for me.  Her knowledge of the local birth community was so helpful.  She also had me think about things I had never even thought of.  During the birth she was calming and gave me courage to make my own decisions and she also encouraged me to move and helped with pain.  I had pretty intense back labor and I needed her or my husband by my side the whole time to apply pressure on my back when I had contractions.  She was a truly treasured part of my birth, I could not have done it with out her.  That is my experience, and I will never give birth with out a doula again.

I decided to take Bradley Method birth classes.  My birth educator there ended up being a major source of support in the ups and downs of my pregnancy.  She knew the birth community and way able to help direct me.  She went above and beyond helping me.  She also obviously taught my the Bradley Birth Method.  I found the techniques she taught and we practiced in those classes to be so amazingly useful during labor.  In fact the anesthesiologist told me right before the C-section (long story) that while he was waiting he researched the Bradley Method because he saw I took the classes on my birth plan, and said I was one of the calmest women he had ever seen in labor.  And for that I can give some credit to my teacher for preparing me for that day and supporting me along the way.

I did not start seeing my midwife until around 30 weeks when it became apparent my provider was not as supportive of my attempting to VBAC as he initially said.  My doula and teacher both recommended her.  She was very upfront and supportive.  I learned you have to have a provider who supports your choices and doesn't merely tolerate your choices.  I always felt support from my midwife and she never rushed me.  She always took the time to explain everything to me.  I feel like she fought for my VBAC as much as I did.

If you read any of my breastfeeding posts you know it has been a very rocky road.  Seeing lactation specialists is the only reason I am still breastfeeding.  They helped me figure out why these things are happening to me and got a game plan to figure it out.  I am now half breastfeeding/half bottle feeding with donor milk and my supply is still increasing. The knowledge they have seems unending and gives me options I didn't know existed.

So in the end I would say that a birth team is important because they are your source of knowledge and support.  You need to be able to trust and feel comfortable with these people.  They see you at your most vulnerable time in life and you need to feel trust and support.  This is what my birth team did for me.  Although my birth did not end how I had hope because I did have to have a c-section, I know that me and my birth team did everything we could to avoid that.  Because of that I am at peace and very happy with this birth and I would say that my birth team is the biggest part of that.

So please look for a supportive team and if you don't feel like you have one, don't be afraid to leave and find that support you need.  This is your birth and you are in control.


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