I Wish We Had A Doula During My C-Section

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c-section mom with her doula

There is a misconception that doulas are only for moms looking to have a natural birth when in reality, a doula can be incredibly amazing to have no matter what kind of birth you are planning or end up having. Their only job is to support you, and you are their only boss. Having a C-section is often scary and it can be challenging to keep calm throughout. After having an unexpected C-section myself, I realized that even though a doula would be amazingly helpful for a natural birth, I needed a doula with me in the operating room even more than if I had had an unmedicated, vaginal birth.

Sometimes it is hard to know what you will want or need for birth before you go through it first-hand. Here are five moments that I desperately wish we had had a doula with us during my labor and C-section.

When my nurse told me, “I have seen natural births and you aren’t the type of person who can do that.” I was too exhausted to stand up for myself, and so was my husband. So instead, I internalized and started to believe what she said and lost confidence in myself. If a doula had been there in that moment, she would have given me the encouragement I needed to regain trust in my own body.c-section mom milwaukee

When my OB asked if I had any questions or requests for my C-Section. I didn’t give much thought to the possibility of having an unexpected C-section, so I didn’t know what to ask. If a doula had been there with me, she would have helped me ask good questions like, “Is a clear drape available or can you lower the drape to show Baby to Mom?”

When I was lying on the operating table as they prepped me for surgery and my husband was sitting alone in the hallway. Being separated from my husband for about twenty minutes before my major surgery was the loneliest and scariest time of our lives. It would have been so comforting to have a doula to keep us company, reassure us, and inform us about what was happening.

c-section babyAt the moment of our daughter’s birth. Because my providers were all busy with important medical tasks during my C-section, no one told me the moment my baby was born and no one announced her sex (which we hadn’t known at the time). It would have meant the world to me to have a doula with us and focused on just me and my husband to announce important moments.

When they delivered the placenta. I had really hoped to see the organ that had nourished my baby and the cord that linked us together throughout my pregnancy, but I had a lot of other things on my mind at the time—like meeting my firstborn—when the placenta was delivered. They carried it away before I ever had the chance to see it. If I had hired a doula, we would have discussed my wishes several days or weeks before and she would have known it was something important for me to see.

Having a C-section is hard for a lot of women. I hope that any expecting mom would consider bringing on a doula to their care team no matter what type of birth they are hoping for or what setting they have chosen. 

Find a doula in the Milwaukee area:

Photography by the author of this post :: Raisa Mnichowicz

6 COMMENTS

  1. I have had four c sections. My first being a very scary, drugged up (diamorphine, epidural) emergency one as I laboured for days then baby was tired and her heart rate dropped. My second was 12 months later and I was told that I HAD to have a c section because of scar rupture!!! With my third I was adamant that I was going to labour naturally but came up against so many professionals who “wouldn’t let me”. I had acupuncture to assist with me going into labour naturally and laboured lovely. I loved the experience of the natural labour and my waters breaking. I laboured but again there were complications and a section was necessary. Third time around the anesthetist was amazing and lower the screen at the right time.(he asked if I wanted him to) I got to see my baby boys head pop out of my tummyy and he was born facing up so I got to see for myself that we had a boy. Fourth time around I had a planned for medical reasons and felt empowered to ask to watch. I got to see my baby girl emerge from my tummy too!! There needs to be more information out there for mothers who need section. Thank you for writing this.

    • Thank you so much for sharing some of your experiences. It is so important that people hear a variety of birth stories, including ones like yours. I am so happy to hear that you had healing births. C-section moms matter <3

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