A Doula’s Guide To An Unmedicated Birth

Most people hire me as their doula to help them have an unmedicated birth. I like to provide my clients with the tools necessary to accomplish this. While epidurals have their place and time, most people are capable of birthing just like their ancestors did.

I have learned what it requires to tap into our inner strength, and birth our babies without the use of modern medicine. 

Knowledge is Power

When birth moved into hospitals, we lost touch with the intuition needed to give birth as our bodies were meant to. We are taught doctors know best, but we know now some medical interventions can do more damage than good. Modern medicine has its place and time but is often overused. As a doula, I show my clients the research indicating the risks and benefits of each intervention. This helps you navigate what may be necessary and what is not.

Use Your B.R.A.I.N

When you’re in labor and an intervention is brought up, ask your provider:

Benefits – What are the benefits of this procedure?

Risks – What are the risks of this procedure?

Alternatives – What are the alternatives to this procedure? Can we try another option?

Intuition – What is your gut telling you?

Nothing – What happens if we do nothing?

Have the Support Team for You

I can’t stress this one enough! Having an OB or midwife that supports your decisions and doesn’t pressure you, is so important. When you are in labor, it is very easy to trigger your fight or flight response and having someone bring a negative energy to your birth space will affect your labor. You want to be able to labor comfortably knowing that everyone in your space, believes that you can birth how you want. Know that you can change providers at any time, including while you are in labor. Remember, you are the customer.

Submit to the Power of Birth

This one is the hardest, especially if it’s your first baby. Birth is the most primal thing you will experience and is led by your subconscious. There are things you can do prenatally to make this easier. In your first prenatal meeting, I will guide you through acknowledging your fears. Fear can be a big road block that we don’t expect or don’t want to deal with, but facing them can make a huge difference. Another thing I will work with you on is practicing comfort measures. This helps you learn what feels best to you, so that you can have the tools needed to create your own labor ritual. When you are in labor, you will come up with your own way of coping and I like to call that your ritual. Above all else, you need to know your labor and birth will happen how it’s meant to. Allowing yourself to let go, not tense against the discomfort and letting your brain tap into the subconscious, will be your most powerful tool.

Because I love to hike, I tell my clients that labor is like hiking a 14er. It takes strength, endurance and perseverance.

Year in Review and HudMama in 2021

Well it’s that time of year again. A time of reflection on this year and a look to 2021. What a year 2020 was! I sincerely hope that all of you have managed the best you could throughout this stressful time.

Reflecting Back on 2020

Last year, I wrote down quite a few goals for 2020. The one I’m most excited about is reaching my goal for birth clients! I am so thankful I supported so many pregnant people this year. My Birth Doula and Lactation Counselor certifications were up for expiration over the summer and I had wanted to get my CE’s in person at conferences, but I was not able to do that. So instead, I attended the GOLD Lactation conference online and I was able to recertify for both. I was really impressed with the presenters they had and plan to attend the GOLD Midwifery conference next year. I also was able to donate money to organizations that help decolonize the birth industry.

COVID-19

Like everyone else, Corona Virus had a big impact on both my personal and business life. I had several clients booked when the shut down began. I met with my April client once in person prenatally, then switched to zoom meetings and text messaging. When they went into labor, I was not able to be there due to hospital protocol and instead supported them over text and phone calls, and some video chatting. Doulas were allowed back in in June and I am hopeful things will stay that way. For now I am conducting interviews on zoom but meeting in person prenatally, while mask wearing. I find that in person support is invaluable because I can intuit my clients needs much better that way.

New HudMama Practices

I went back to basics this year and really thought about what HudMama was founded on. My practice is based on empowering people to have a positive birth journey and I am humble enough to say I was missing a huge piece in my support. That is helping people uncover their fears BEFORE heading into labor. I went back to my roots, reread Birthing From Within and started taking a holistic approach to my prenatal meetings. Holistic meaning I not only provide my clients with evidenced based research but also helping them dive into their inner psyche to address any fears or mental roadblocks. Being prepared emotionally for any possible event always leads to better outcomes. I also started extending my availability to six weeks postpartum. In today’s crazy world I want to make sure my clients have access to the resources they may need that come up after the baby is born. I also found it gives both me and my clients closure on their birth story. Lastly, I added photography as an added service. Doula support will always be my primary focus but I am happy to provide images of my clients’ birth story, if wanted.

Heading into 2021

A lot of my goals heading into the next year are financial and I am excited to announce that I will be taking up to two clients a month. My family is in a position that I feel comfortable doing so and I have been wanting to support as many people as I could since I started this business in 2016. I also plan to work on my photography skills to provide my clients with quality images. My biggest goal is to take the first steps into becoming a Certified Professional Midwife. My experiences as a doula continues to lead me to this path. I know it will be a long journey but that is my ultimate goal when it comes to my birth work and I am ready to begin. Until then, I plan to continue working and improving my skills as a doula.

I hope this upcoming year is more positive for us all and I am wishing my past clients, current and future clients, as well as my fellow birth workers a very Happy New Year!

Doula Support in the time of COVID-19

With the Stay at Home order in effect all over Colorado, many hospitals are only allowing one support person in the birth room. Because of this, many people are finding themselves having to choose between their Doula and their partner. Rightfully so, most people choose their partner.

Luckily, us Doula’s are pretty good at adapting and we have taken our support virtually. We are on the phone, using video call apps and texting our client’s around the clock. That’s because now more than ever, birthing people need guidance.

Many people are choosing to switch their care to homebirth midwives, in order to avoid COVID-19 or to simply not put further stress on the hospital system. But there are people that still feel the most comfortable birthing their babies in a hospital and as a Doula, I believe one of the most important factors when giving birth, is birthing where you feel the most safe.

So what does giving birth in a hospital look like right now? I have had the honor of virtually supporting someone recently at a Denver area hospital, and here is what I observed. First, I think we need to think about what being pregnant during a pandemic looks like. Pregnancy is stressful no matter what is or isn’t happening in the world, and whether the pregnancy is uncomplicated or not. Creating another human being is exhausting, sometimes scary and the outcome unknown. Add a pandemic to the mix and the unknown becomes even greater. Resources at hospitals are being stretched thin, as more people are becoming ill with this virus. Hospital staff are trying to manage that on top of the normal in patient flow. Doctor’s, midwives and nurses are working hard to protect everyone from coming into contact with coronavirus but unfortunately, that also means they may be more apt to introduce unnecessary interventions in order to get birthing people out of the hospital sooner. New parents are also not able to benefit from the postpartum support they may have otherwise had. Something that I feel is crucial when you are a new parent.

When I became a birth doula 4 years ago, it was because my own birth experience was very mentally challenging. So I have always put my client’s emotional health at the forefront of my care, vowing to do my best to not let anyone else experience what I had. When shut downs began due to the spread of coronavirus, I was angry at first. How could I offer birth support to my client’s that had already paid me to do so? Any Doula will tell you, we use our hands A LOT and I found it difficult to imagine helping someone without being able to use them. But as I worked with my first client virtually, I realized something. Anyone having a baby right now needs something even more than physical support, and that is emotional support. Something I built my business on. Thankfully, we live in a time that allows us to communicate with each other on several other platforms. Supporting my first client virtually meant a lot of phone time. I was able to answer any questions, walk them through different scenarios, guide them in making decisions and the most important thing of all, hold space for the feelings that came and are still coming up during this great transition. I know that new parents need an unbiased, listening ear more than they previously did, because they are lacking the in person support of their community.

So, if you are pregnant and reading this, and deciding if a Doula is worth it right now, I can assure you it is. I don’t know what the future holds or how soon Doula’s will be able to support their client’s in person again. I do know that everyone is trying to make the right decisions for the health of us all.

I also wanted to take a moment to give thanks to all of the health care workers right now. I know you are doing the best you can, with what you have, to heal and prevent this illness. I appreciate your hard work and dedication. We will get through this together!

HudMama in 2020

As the New Year approaches, I wanted to take the time and update everyone on my business plans.

First things first, I can’t guarantee I’ll stick to this but I really hope to! And that is blogging. It really is the best tool I have to get information about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding out to my clients. As a mama myself though, it’s hard sometimes to sit down and do that on top of doing my day to day business. But I will try my best!

Since I became certified as a doula, my family has had some big life changes happen that interfered with me taking clients. That was having my second child and selling and buying a new home. For 2020 and beyond, I don’t foresee anything like that happening (hopefully). I’m ready to move on and help other people grow their families. Because of that, I plan to have my busiest year yet. I will still only book one client a month so I can primarily be home with my own babies, but I am going to do my best to book every month except when my family has a vacation planned. So far the universe is in total sync with my plans and has been sending birthing people my way. I’m very excited to support the clients I have booked thus far in 2020!

As I get more clients I would love to start investing in more trainings. One I’ve really had on my mind is getting certified with a rebozo. I have one and I have basic knowledge of how to use it, but I would love to get more savvy with it. My hands would sure be happy about that! Along the lines of finances, I would also love to donate to non profits in the birth industry. Helping under served families is so important to me but I don’t always have the means to help the organizations serving these people.

This coming summer marks three years since I became certified as a doula and as a lactation counselor! So I will have to renew both my certifications and complete the continuing education necessary for that. The time sure flies!

I so look forward to helping more people birth their babies and provide them with evidenced based care. It is always such an honor to be a part of such a miraculous moment!