Tag Archives: Bradley Birth

To Doula or Not to Doula

I have given up worrying about when we will close on the house.  Both our real estate agent and our mortgage broker have confirmed that it is a “when” not an “if,” so my time spent wondering when we will close, when I will escape the maze of boxes and pet hair and madness in my house is time I could spend worrying about something else.

Like this baby.  That we are apparently going to have sometime in the next…  eighty some odd days.  The alternating stress and excitement of moving and packing has kept my mind occupied.  But the heartburn and reflux I have at night has given me ample opportunity to worry when I might otherwise be sleeping.  Thanks, baby.  You must have known I wanted to squeeze in some extra worrying, I appreciate the reflux keeping me awake so I can get that worrying in.

Lack of sleep and stress finally resulted in two inevitabilities yesterday.  Both involving tears.  I called my mom and informed her that I want to come home.  I tearfully announced that I need to blow it out all over her so I can get through the rest of the day.  I don’t think thirty five is too old for the occasional “I WANT MY MOMMY” moments.  I had a nice explosive one.  I thought it would tide me over.

Nope.  I don’t think I had even shut the door from tucking Em in to bed last night when the tears started to flow again.  I sat down on the couch with MQD and all I could get out of my mouth at first was that I was so scared.  So very, very scared.

As is always the case when something is eating at me I never realize the degree to which I am bothered until it comes out of my mouth and I can breathe again.  My labor and delivery with Emily was not what I had planned.  And this time around I am again hopeful that I will achieve my goals, an un-medicated birth.

My clearly not un-medicated labor with Emily June

There is no part of me that imagines I will deliver in a pool of lavender scented water, a hot sweat on my forehead but cool and calm on the inside.  I go apeshit when I stub my toe.  It is an emergency when I can not find my keys.  Cool and calm are not adjectives that describe me in the best of circumstances.  So I am prepared to bring the hysteria.

But I am frightened that it will be difficult on MQD.  We have planned what could best be described as a Bradley birth.  Bradley, by design, is a method of primarily husband or partner coached laboring.  The theory being that a woman needs to trust her body to do what it does naturally and that no one (certainly not a medical professional or a nurse they’ve not ever met) is better suited to remind her of who she is, of her strengths, of the love and support available to her in this difficult time than her husband or chosen partner.  But this is where it gets hairy for me.

What if you know that your reaction to pain and fear is occasionally not particularly…. kind?  What if you know that there will be a moment when you lash out at that person that is there to support you?  And even more, what if you know even while you are doing it that you wish they could go take a breather because while you know that you are the one in pain that it hasn’t been a picnic to watch you, to support you, to love you through this time?

I have been afraid to suggest to MQD that we hire a doula because I didn’t want him to hear that as a criticism or a lack of faith in his abilities to support me.  I told him this last night and he said the only thing he could have possibly said in that moment “But this isn’t about how I feel.”

But to me, in some ways, it is.  I have been more and more inclined to want a doula because I see how very much he does want to make this happen for me.  I see this while he reads Robert Bradley’s book, index cards in hand.  While he is supporting me, who is supporting him?  Who is reminding him that my swaying and moaning like a wildebeest is great work and that I am right where I should be?

He is a scientist.  He assimilates data and information rapidly and with a precision and attention to detail I can not comprehend.  But what if what I need in that moment is not his rational mind, what if I want him to just put his arms around me and tell me that he knows I can do this, because at the end of it all, we will have a baby, our baby, in our arms, and cry right along with me that we have the good fortune to have this moment so close at hand?   How can he feel free to let go for a moment if there is not someone else to take the reins?

So… this morning I started a hunt for a doula.  It feels a little like online dating, I imagine.  You look at a picture, of a woman, and her family, smiling.  And you think, can I imagine you in the room at a spectacular moment in my life?

This morning at our midwife appointment we could feel the baby’s head.  We could actually almost juggle it back and forth between our hands like  a tennis ball.  And so “the  baby” that I have been up late at night worrying about is now really a person to me.

The moment your fingers curl around the back of a babies head… you are never the same.   In that moment you realize you made a life.  And that you hold that life in your literal hands.  I told MQD last night that I thought it would  be less scary to be pregnant the second time.  I could not have been more wrong.  This time, I know.  I know how much I will love this baby.  I know that s/he will change my life in ways I can not imagine.  Last time I could only speculate.

After the boo-hooing and the conversation and the “what do we do about this now?” kind of conversation a couple has we finally got to just talk.  MQD smiled and looked at me and said “It’s a girl.”  Neither of us have been quiet about our hopes for a boy.  Who wouldn’t want one of each? But last night was the first time we both admitted we have a feeling it is a girl.

This morning I said that I thought it was kind of silly to be disappointed at all, no matter what we have, because when your worst case scenario is still a baby, who cares?  I said “It’s like someone with both hands behind their back says “I have a cupcake in this hand and a slice of cake in this one, pick one” and you choose.  Even if you really wanted a cupcake, who in their right mind is gonna say “Fuck, man, I got cake!”

Emily June, September 2006 ~ The only time I have ever seen a person so thoroughly pissed off at a cake.

I think the cake vs cupcake argument applies to the labor and delivery, too.  No matter what happens, hysteria or a blissed out hypno-birth, at the end of it all we will have our baby.  And in that moment when I am expecting MQD to look at me with tears in his eyes, as he passes me our baby, fresh from delivery, crying and red and tiny and ours… when I am expecting him to say “It’s a girl/boy” I hope he has his wits about him.

Through his tears, I hope he says “It’s a piece of cake!”



Fear seems to be a reoccurring theme with me.  I’m not sure if the pregnancy induced insomnia makes me crazy on the inside or if it’s just that I have the time to dwell on the crazy I have already got.  No reason to spend hours dissecting that question, which came first the insomnia or the worrying.  Either way, I don’t sleep lately.  I just worry.  Continue reading