Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If you need to birth in a hospital, for whatever reason . . .

. . . you must view these videos! Unnecessarean posted the other day about these FABULOUS videos, put up by Mother's Advocate, and I can't not pass them along. These are short and very well done, broken down into 6 components:

1: Let Labor Begin on Its Own
2: Walk, Move, and Change Positions
3: Have Continuous Support
4: Avoid Unnecessary Interventions
5: Get Upright and Follow Urges to Push
6: Keep Your Baby With You

Obviously, I'm a home birth advocate (uh, have I mentioned that?), and these 6 items are pretty much a given with home birth, but I certainly recognize that it's not for everyone and not appropriate in all circumstances. These videos are a GREAT tool. It's especially helpful to see all of this in action IN a hospital setting, as Unnecessarean points out. True, you could see all of this in YouTube home birth videos (assuming they remain uncensored), but I can see how someone planning for a hospital birth could watch those and be thinking, "Well, that's all lovely and good, but how is that possible in a hospital?"

But I'll pipe down and let the videos speak for themselves! Really, I think this could be enormously helpful towards optimizing a hospital experience.

And after all, optimizing a hospital experience is my entire raison d'etre as a doula. I admit that the thought of entering the belly of the beast gives me pause. Home birth is where my heart is, and where I hope to end up eventually, as a midwife, when my children are old enough for me to undertake such a calling - because I do feel it as a calling. But doula work is what makes the most sense for me in the present, given my family circumstances (FYI, I plan to focus on postpartum work initially, sort of working backwards, because while it still revolves around the mother's schedule, it's not quite as spur-of-the-moment as labor support). And doula support, let's face it, can be a bit, well, redundant in a home setting. With good midwives and family and friends around, the role is pretty much covered in most cases.

It's hospitals where they - we - are most needed. This is where a woman and her spouse or partner need to have an anchor, helping them navigate the labyrinth. Whether this calls for advocating or not is up for some debate, but either way, empowering them to assert their rights and make their own choices. I know I'm going to have to grit my teeth at times. I know I'm going to witness things that make me cringe, I know I'm going to have to support choices I don't necessarily agree with (frankly, this last part will be good for me). I'm aware that a lot of doulas eventually get fed up and burnt out at seeing the crap they've had to see over the years.

But I also know they DO make a difference, so come hell or high water, I'm committed to it until I burn out myself or until I can take the next step towards CPM-land. Sharing videos like these with my clients (see how nicely I brought that tangent full circle?) will be immensely helpful.

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