One of my recent clients is a doula from Fort McMurray. She drove all the way to Vancouver to have her baby. I was honoured that she asked me to support her and her partner (and sister) through her labour. With her permission, I'd like to share a part of her email that she sent me after she had driven all the way home with the new baby (only a few days after the birth!)
"I really wanted to email you and say thank you once again for a terrific job and your incredible support. I drove to Vancouver with hopes for an amazing birth, and I couldn't have imagined it being any better, even though it was longer than I anticipated! I wrote down my birth story as you suggested, and literally just finished reading your notes. Like you said, it's so funny what a different perception you have when in labor. I love the quotes you wrote down, and I honestly thought you had arrived at my sister's place at 4am, not 4:45! You make the birth sound like it happened a heck of a lot faster than what I remember it feeling to be. What an incredible experience! Thank you for making it be so.
I can't remember if I explained this to you or not but bear with me if I already have. There are three things that you did which were crucial to my needing encouragement to carry forward. The first was the 2:30am phone call I made to you where I said I was considering going to the hospital to walk or have my waters broken and you said, "No, you're not. Go to sleep and let your baby and your body do what they need to do." I had read a birth story before driving out to BC, and this women spoke of a laboring tradition in Africa where a laboring Mom is guided to a log by village women who have not yet had children. This woman crosses the log by herself with no help and is welcomed on the other side by all the women who have children. At my sister's apartment I ventured out onto the log and at 2:30am I got stuck there. Your voice at 2:30am showed me the way across that log on my own again and you greeted me on the other side. It was amazing.
Secondly, was your word of "Safe". In my own time, mostly during a warm shower at home, I would envision myself in labor and I found myself singing a mantra of "It's okay, I'm safe here." I never explained this to you beforehand and you using that word during my contractions at the hospital renders me speechless at how effective it was in guiding me. My husband asked later if this was a word that you and I had chosen together and I said, "Not at all. She just knew."
Lastly, when it came time to get onto the bed and my contractions were extremely intense, you held onto my thighs firmly, almost as counterpressure, and it was incredible how more in control I felt during my contractions when you did this. It is definitely a tool I will carry forward when I begin doula work again. I know the hip squeeze is a welcomed favorite among my clients, but just that security of the firm hold you placed on my upper thighs was incredible. Truly.
So, thank you again so much for all that you have both helped with and taught me about. My gratitude for the opportunity to work with you goes beyond words, and should I choose to have a fourth baby in Vancouver, I sure hope I can work with you again."
...And I thank HER for letting me be a witness to her power on that day!
- Jacquie Munro, Vancouver Doula