I've been doulaing for about a year and half and I consider myself experienced. But on the flip side of that, I also consider myself a sponge, not a faucet, I'm always soaking up anything I can learn from each birth I attend. When we say every birth is different, we mean it. For real, the only one who really knows what is going on, is the baby. We have yet to find the technology to fully see inside the womb and check out what they are doing. Someday, I'm sure. But right now, we have the baby's heart rate and how the mom is doing. The rest is a shot in the dark.
I'm sure that isn't very appealing to those that currently have a bun in the oven, but it's the truth. "You mean I hire you and you still can't tell me exactly what is going on?" That is correct. We take the knowledge we have from our schooling, our hands-on experience, learning from other birth workers, from any and all books we can get our hands on and we apply that to your birth and see if baby complies.
I was recently at a long birth (long is a relative term, but it was my longest yet) and we had 2 midwives, went through 4 nurse shift changes, an OB came in to give her opinion, they had me as their doula, and a family member or two giving their two cents. Knowledge and opinions abound, yet there is baby all "Nah, I'm good. Give it a go if you want, but I'm gonna stay right here." Why, baby why?! And we jut don't know until baby comes out.
We can do all the things throughout pregnancy; yoga, chiropractic work, acupuncture, staying active, resting when needed, self-care, reading all the books, and the one who is really in charge is the baby. Did you know that it's the baby that initiates labor? They release a hormone called CRH (cortico-releasing hormone) which sends a message to the placenta who then talks to the uterus and your cervix and at some point the message gets to your brain.
*you can read more about it here www.kimjames.net/Close-To-Due-Date.aspx
This can all happen and you may have no idea. Because baby is the one driving this labor train and we are just along for the ride. And because science rocks.
They say to plan for exactly what you'd like your birth to look like and then be prepared for all of it to go out the window. I encourage my clients to take a birth class, because knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you will do. To be aware of all that can happen, to have an idea what is behind this birth door or what happens when we chose to open that birth window, it all can be your choice, if you are informed. Are you asking "Is it like anything in life, prepare for the worst but expect the best"?? Kind of. In birth it's more like fill your brain with all your options and prepare yourself to use the one you least expect.
Oh and hire a doula. They will help you make your choice and support you through every decision and every move that that baby in your belly makes. Baby drives, and you and your doula make sure you stay on the road.
Sarah: Birth doula, wife, mother, coffee and wine drinker, lover of beer, books and tattoos.