A Cesarean Birth; From a Doula’s Perspective

Ladies, meet Carie McDonough! Carie is a birth and postpartum doula and owner of Foothills Family Doulas. We asked her to share a birth story from her perspective; we hope it shows you the power of not only birth, but in having a doula share in that experience. YMS truly believes that women empower women, and we are so inspired by stories like these.

I love my job. I truly believe that being a doula is one of the most sacred and rewarding careers out there. I get the privilege of watching families grow. Mothers and fathers are born, alongside their wrinkly new babies. Grandparents are made, and littles become big brothers and sisters. Each and every birth is unique and amazing.

I do think that there is a misconception out there, though, that doulas are just for “natural” births. The reality is that 60-80% of those giving birth will use an epidural for pain management. And, approximately 30% of births are of the cesarean variety. Now, I know that all cesarean births aren’t planned, BUT SOME ARE, and that’s awesome. Because it’s 2017, and being able to choose how we give birth is pretty great, in my opinion. Whether a birth is medicated or not, it can be the most empowering event to ever take place in one’s lifetime!

I recently had the honor of supporting a client through a cesarean birth. (Yes, cesarean birth. Oranges are sectioned, babies are born.) This client had her birth plan ready from day one, was choosing an unmedicated birth (yay, choices!), had her birth team hand picked, knew exactly what she wanted…but her baby had other plans. That sweet little nugget was lying transverse (across the belly instead of head or feet pointing down), and her midwives informed her that a cesarean was the safest option for her and the baby. Birth is crazy unpredictable y’all. As her doula I supported her through the news, and she made new plans.

The morning of her birth I met her and her mother at the hospital. I gave her a foot massage, some grounding touch, and reminded her that she was going to meet her little girl very soon. We talked over her birth preferences with the nurses and anesthesiologist to make sure everyone was on board with her plans. Some minor kinks were worked out with new OR policy, and all was made well. Her incredible midwife and adoring mom went into the OR with her while I visited with her other family members in the waiting room. And then, 4 minutes later, her baby girl was born!

The thing with cesarean births is that recovery can be a b*tch. It is, after all, major surgery. Nausea, shaking, headache, pain are all very common afterwards, and having a doula to help you through the recovery process can be a game changer! When you’re focused on your new baby, and in pain, it can be tough to voice your concerns and get what you need. I was able to support my client with breastfeeding and skin-to-skin, as to avoid her sensitive incision. Make sure her pain was being managed by asking her questions, and finding the answers. Provide cool touch when hot flashes were kicking in, and use my doula tricks to help her with the nausea. She was never alone as her mother went in out of recovery to greet family and friends as they arrived on the special day. Her hands were held, her feet rubbed, her brow wiped, and her fears and concerns reassured. When I left her, she was in her family room eating dinner, and beaming while looking at her mother holding her sweet new baby. It was a beautiful moment, and I am incredibly lucky to have played a small part in it.

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