Before I got pregnant with my first child, I had never heard of a doula. My idea of a midwife was this eccentric, hippie woman that came to your house and birthed your child in your bed with unshaven legs and dreads; while I was perfectly fine (ie. didn't care) about the unshaven legs and dreads, the idea of birthing my child at home scared me more than anything.
Fast forward to about 12 weeks pregnant and I was sitting in my OB's office expressing my fears of a c-section when she looked at me and said, "well, you're 205lbs, so you'll probably need a one. Just start preparing yourself now". Excuse me, what? I left that appointment infuriated because I couldn't believe she had basically told me to schedule and sign because that's the only option for a girl of my size.
I went home that night and watched The Business of Being Born. (If you haven't watched it or even heard of it, I seriously recommend it to everyone!) I decided a midwife was not what I believed them to be and found one in my insurance network to switch to. I started reading and really thinking about what I wanted for me and my baby. That's when I started hearing/reading about having a doula. The first thing that caught my eye was the statistic about a lower c-section rate. If having a doula meant a lower chance, then that's what I wanted. I figured between a midwife and a doula, I'd be good!
At about 17 weeks, I went to a meet and greet for Blessed Arrivals Birth Doulas. During that short meeting, I knew I needed the extra support. I immediately contacted Ashley Fleming, a slightly "newer" doula that seemed calm and supportive even from the short meeting we'd had. I knew before I left that night that she was going to be best fit for me. Throughout my pregnancy, she was there. Anytime I had a question or concern, she answered. When things did not go the way I expected and I needed to be induced, she reassured me it would be okay. She spent three days and two nights with me and never left. Ashley was my sanity, my lifeline when I needed to be grounded and centered, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. She didn't just support me, she supported my partner and my mother who were both there too. She told me I was strong. She told me I could do it. She told me that every decision I was making was what was best for me and my child because I was choosing and I believed her.
After 61 hours, from beginning of induction to birth, my beautiful baby boy entered the world. I wouldn't change anything, ANYTHING, about my birth because I have never felt so empowered and supported in my entire life. And I truly believe I could not have had the birth I wanted without my doula. I will truly be forever grateful and in about 10 weeks, I look forward to doing it all again with Ashley and my loving partner by my side as we welcome our second baby boy into the world.