The lights are so bright and there is so much going on. Your partner is held up with forms and answers questions. You are trying your best to find the rhythm you had in your kitchen, but here, change your clothes, lets adjust this monitor belt, can you lift your arm for a blood pressure reading, oh dear, lets re-tape your IV.
You. Just. Can't. Find. Focus.
And then a knock and there she is. Your doula has arrived and you breathe a sigh you didn't know you were holding.
Relief comes because you know your doula will be right where you need her before you know where you need her. The water appears before you think to ask for it. Your hips are sore, and with a few touches, she is easing that pain, over and over, contraction after contraction. She is right there helping you.
There is no fear reflected in her face, no judgement.
Some doulas usually carry a bag with them that have some practical items: lip balm, hair tie, change for the vending machine. There might be a massage tool or some mints.
But your doula will be ready to step into your birth space. She'll put down her bag and and pull out her...
...Confidence. Your doula has walked this path before and can help you through it. She will validate your experience. She will let you know what you are feeling is normal, help you navigate each wave and sensation, and guide you through the peaks. Reminding to rest, helping to comfort, repeating encouragement.
She can help a lost partner, See how I do this, now you try.
She can suggest adjustments. You look like you would like to grab on to something. Here let's try this position, you may be more comfortable.
She will cast out the self conscious. Let's make some low tones with our voice. It will help open your body. Here, I'll do it and feel free to join me.
But also, in those moments when you start to question if your baby will ever get out of your body, your doula will be right there reassuring you that you ARE getting your baby to come.
"I can't!" you say. "But you ARE!" she answers.
Authored by A Swift Doula
*The bag shown above was made by Ariel Swift. Click the photo to see more of her projects.