Shelly's story...

Why do you need a doula? Well let me tell you about the experience without my doula and then compare it with the births that were attended by a doula. First off, I had an OB for my first birth. I was young, scared, and frankly didn’t think I should have anyone except medically “trained” professionals at my birth. So I found myself in the hospital with lots of staff and no OB! He didn’t get there till he decided that I should have a C-section! Anyways, I labored for 26 something hours un-medicated. The OB came in and said that I wasn’t progressing and that I needed a C-section. My husband, lucky, was paying attention in Bradley classes and said to wait a bit. Eventually though we agreed to the c-section. I was instantly depressed. I couldn’t have my own baby naturally, and the OB said that going forward I wouldn’t be able to have a vaginal delivery because I am too small. “Your baby could be at risk” “it’s been too long and nothing is happening”…. blah blah blah. That’s how that went down! Oh yea, and I wasn’t fully medicated so I felt the C-section! My son, Michael Burns was born healthy, but I was in surgery and he left with his daddy…

6 months later… Guess what, I’m pregnant again. I would have been ok with this except that I was terrified! I just had a c-section, and from what I am told I can’t go to the hospital for a vbac… some stupid law (sorry, stupid is a bad word, I am a little emotional)! So began my search for a midwife. Found one, she was/is great! My friend, Shannon Strubhar found out about the pregnancy and offered to assist as my doula. Sure! Great! Bring on the experienced birth helpers… I can use all that i can get. Through out the pregnancy Shannon was there to offer her support and encouragement (from afar… she is in Oregon and I’m in California). She kept up with how I was feeling and helped me understand some things that I didn’t get. Now my case is different because of the distance, but I want you all to know how great Shannon is. I went into labor and she drove from her home to mine BEFORE I had the baby…. she didn’t rest, eat, or do other things! She just came… and made it! During the birth she held me, fed me, gave me liquids. She let my husband rest, and just took over. She wanted me to be comfortable, to rest when I could and work when I had to. I have this photo that is of me and Shannon. She is holding me from behind as I squatted to push. That is HARD CORE LOVE right there! I guess to sum it all up, she was my voice and support when I was too tired to do things. Unfortunately, we had to transfer to the hospital. After arriving, they checked me and I was back down to 5/6 cm (I had been fully dialated and pushing at home). Shannon did encourage me to take the medications. She knew that I was tired, but I wanted so badly to do things natural. If not for her, I wouldn’t have rested at all. She knew what I needed and encouraged me to do it. Melody Jean was born healthy and by vaginal birth!!!

I know, I’m crazy to some, but baby #3 was due a short 18 months after Melody. Of course I asked Shannon to come! By this pregnancy/birth I knew that I needed her. In fact, I really only needed her and the midwife, but others wanted to be there. Her presence made it possible for my husband to relax and watch me. He didn’t have to worry about timing things or making decisions. She did that. “You should eat” “Try this, it might make you more comfortable”… that was Shannon to me! Baby 3 was born healthy too. Emily June, and Shannon was right there again!

So why do you need a doula? Because they are your strength, your support, your voice, and your friend. They know what you need and how to help you feel comfortable through some of the most uncomfortable times. Yes, I do plan on having more babies, as many as God gives us. And whether hospital or home birth, I know that I will have my doula!

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