When hospital birth becomes a cesarean birth
I had a client that wanted a hospital birth. Amazing, fabulous. Let's do this! We talked about all her options; what she could expect in a hospital setting, what each monitor displays, who could be there (pre COVID) and what she wanted out of this birth. She sent me a text at 8am and said they were on their way to the hospital. I showered and ran right over, as she said she needed me by her side. Her birth, her call. This birth had more people in attendance than any other I've seen! Her family was amazing and super supportive of my being there. 13 hours into labor, she starts pushing. She is effectively pushing, both nurse and midwife agreed on this. But baby just wasn't coming. So the midwife suggests a cesarean birth. My client agrees. And I feel myself tumble into my brain and thoughts just start coming.
What did I do wrong? How wasn't this something we talked about? How does my client feel about this? Will she be upset? I totally lost myself in my brain for a few seconds. Then I snapped out of it. This is when my client needs me the most! I need to be the calm center she hired me for. I leaned over my client and looked into her eyes. I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was ok with a cesarean birth, she was tired and just wanted baby to be here. K so she's set, in good spirits and comfortable. I walk over to my clients partner and he is freaking out, but trying not to show it. He begs me to be in the operating room with them. I ask the nurse if that's possible and she says no. Only one support person and of course I would never take the place of the partner. So I start "doulaing" the partner. I explain what he can expect in the operating room, what his partner might experience, and how he can help her.
This experience changed my perspective on being a doula. Sometimes its not about the client, sometimes its about supporting the support people. I was able to find my inner strength and push through my fear to support my client. Because it's not about me, it's about the client. And what they need. In that moment she needed her partner to be strong and knowledgeable. And I helped with that. I also sat with my clients family and supported them during the birth. It shaped me as a doula because sometimes the outcome of a birth isn't what was originally expected. And being a strong doula means you need to keep yourself in check and focus on the client first and what her team needs second.
All in all, baby was born beautifully, my client was happy and I became a better doula. Now I know that I have that power to help my clients when things don't go as planned.