When I was expecting my twins I admit that I was terrified at the prospect of giving birth to two babies and all the potential problems that might occur for both them and me (yes, I did a little too much research for my own mental health). So I did the sensible thing and asked my sister Judy, a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse and veteran labor and delivery nurse, to attend my birth. Just knowing that I had someone who had a working knowledge of birth, the hospital, and what I might be dealing with reduced my anxiety tremendously.
She helped me explore my options, figure out what I could and couldn't deal with, and reminded me to discuss it all with my doctor to make sure we were on the same page. I don't know about anyone else, but I had a lot of trouble focusing and remembering as my term progressed and it was comforting to know someone had our back.
Her role in our birth was to be there for the babies should they need attention in the NICU. This would allow my husband to stay by my side while in the delivery room and not be torn between leaving me and being with the babies. I cannot put into words the comfort and strength her presence brought to us. I could focus on delivering baby B because Judy was able to follow the neonatalogist with baby A and report back that all was well. She was, literally, my cheerleader as I worked to push my babies into the world, bringing laughter to alleviate the tension and ease my my fears.
On my husbands behalf, having Judy there took a lot of the pressure off of him to be-all and do-all for me. He was more able to focus knowing that she was there to cover all the bases should he not know what to do. It also decreased his anxiety because he knew her presence was a comfort to me.
After the birth my husband was worn-out from the long night and morning of labor and delivery. Judy eased our transition by sending him home for the last good night's rest he'd get in a very long time and stayed with me and the babies that night. She assisted me in position and latch for breastfeeding, with diaper changing, as well snuggling my little ones so I could get some rest. Her support, comfort, and encouragement made for a blessing second only to the miracle of my babies.
I didn't know beforehand the impact that experience would have on my life. It was and is the very reason I chose to become a doula. She made me feel strong, supported, and empowered in my birth choices. Her presence bolstered me, strengthened me, and gave me confidence in my ability to be a good mother. I will forever be grateful. Now it is my turn to pay it forward. She is, what I hope to be for you.