Alice, our doula, came over for a visit yesterday to check in on us and check up on baby Alice. We were thrilled to see her. The last time Alice showed up at our front door it was 2:00 on the morning of baby Alice’s birth and I had just started to go into labor. What a difference one week makes!
Many people have asked us recently, “So… what exactly is a doula?”
I have a hard time answering that question in a concise fashion because Alice was so many things to us. Before the birth she was an encourager, assuring us that a natural birth was not a crazy pipe dream, but something that could be totally achievable. She was a consultant, helping us think through specific strategies that would allow us to make it through all parts of the labor process. During the birth she played so many roles that it is hard to remember them all. She helped me breathe through each contraction, she helped Jason to be an incredible coach and support for me, she made sure I was comfortable by rubbing my back and constantly reminding me to take sips of water. She helped to keep me distracted by telling funny stories in between contractions. She was an advocate on our behalf once we made it to the hospital and had to make quick decisions about forgoing medications. And towards the end of my labor, as each contraction became more intense than the previous and things became very fuzzy for me, I can still distinctly remember the sound of her voice as she looked me in the eye and insisted, “Anne, you CAN do this.”
More than anything, I am in awe of how Alice’s presence enabled us to have the kind of birth we’d hoped for. Her confidence in us gave me the courage I needed to help bring our very own baby Alice into this world. And for that, we think she is a miracle worker.
Thank you, Alice, for being our doula.