Sunday, 19 December 2010

How did I get here pt 3

It's not that I was listening, it's that the conversation in front of me was rather loud.  If I remember correctly it was an aromatherapy party.  That was where I first heard the word Doula.  Tessa was talking about the fact that she had become a Doula.  So I cornered her in the school playground, our eldest children were in the same primary class, and asked her about it.  She told me about the Paramanadoula course that she had done and how fascinating it was.

Now I'd been to a couple of births and I knew that I enjoyed them, so what was there to lose?  I booked myself onto the next available course and before I knew it I was sat in a church hall by Clapham Common.

There was a large circle of women and we had to introduce ourselves by telling our names, sharing (briefly) the types of births that we'd had and the number of children.  After hearing several women introduce themselves, "Hi I'm Jane.  I have one child.  Vaginal birth", "Hi I'm Kate.  Two children.  One a section", "I'm June, two children", I suddenly realised that perhaps I had a lot of children.  And then came Sue.  Wonderful Sue who made me seem like a lightweight.  "Hi.  I"m Sue.  I have eight children".  Whilst the shock resonated around the room, I was silently cheering.

It was a course full of information.  Each day ended with me marvelling at the wonder of birth and a woman's body and also the need to unwind with a glass of red (a common theme).  The course ended with me wishing I could have another baby to do birth in a normal, physiological way.  I arrived home thinking that perhaps six would be too many! lol

My next job was to join Doula UK and be within an umbrella organisation.  I wanted to become a Recognised Doula.  So it was time to start putting my knowledge to work.  I approached a couple of lovely friends who I knew were pregnant.  Both agreed and I knew how privileged I was to have friends willing to share such an itimate time.

I attended the birth of my 4th godchild, the very beautiful Nathaniel.  I remember getting the call.  I was so excited but I knew that I needed to contain it.  This birth wasn't about me and gaining experience.  It was about Ronke, Lloyd and their new baby.

My twins were in their playgroup, so I ran across and asked the lovely Ann if they could stay to the afternoon session as well and then arranged for them to be picked up.  I grabbed my copy of Hamlet (I had started an English Literature degree with The Open University) and off I went.

Ronke was in the bath when I arrived.  So I sat quietly with her, periodically pouring warm water over her back.  She was contracting and labouring beautifully.  Lloyd would pop in and out of the bathroom looking very excited and talking to possibly every member of his family on the phone.  After an hour or so Ronke wanted to come out of the bath.  So we helped her to get dry and to dress.  Her waters broke just as she'd put her clothes on and I remember she cried a little and said "I was going to wear that to the hospital".  We put fresh trousers on her and Lloyd went to get the car.  Each step seemed to bring another contraction.  Two buses had to wait as several large contractions washed over her.  We arrived at the hospital where two off-duty Midwives grabbed a wheelchair and hit the entry button.  Ronke demanded an epidural and the Midwife she'd been handed over to told her that perhaps it was too late.  Thirty-five minutes later Ronke was holding Nathaniel.  Lloyd was in tears,  I was awestruck and Ronke was enraptured!

I got one of the best pieces of helpful advice that day.  The lovely Midwife took me aside and told me that my voice was too soothing at the pushing stage.  I wasn't helping Ronke as she wouldn't focus on listening to her body.  The Midwife told me that I had two choices at that stage.  First to encourage, second to stay silent.  Then she told me that I was a wonderful Doula.

No looking back!

My godson, Nathaniel

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