Birth Story

ABBIE AND ANDY

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For Abbie and Andy, entering birth in an informed and confident way was a big part of their birth vision. After learning about the benefits of doula support, Abbie and Andy added me to their birth team and found that having emotional support and postpartum continuity of care were significant investments in their overall experience.

 

Learn more from Abbie and Andy on how having doula support helped them prepare for birth, work well together, and welcome both their first and second child with a greater sense of readiness.

LISTEN TO ABBIE AND ANDY'S STORY

Abbie and AndyYour Doula Cares Birth Story
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Quotes | Andy, on why have a doula

"And I think the importance of us getting a doula was, it's not that my wife didn't feel like I couldn't speak up for her. But having someone else there to advocate for my wife gave me an opportunity to be more focused on the birth experience, myself, and to be more focused on my wife and the baby, while I know someone else is there to advocate for what my wife is desiring."

READ ABBIE AND ANDY'S STORY

Gabrielle

 

So I would love to hear your responses to these questions. So what inspired you all to want to have a doula? You know, what were some of the things that you were hoping for from your birth experience? And just kind of how did that inspire you to also think about having doula support?

Andy

Okay, so I guess one of the reasons, one, that we want to go with a doula is one, my wife wanted a doula. So. And I think the importance of us getting a doula was, it's not that my wife didn't feel like I couldn't speak up for her. But having someone else there to advocate for my wife gave me an opportunity to be more focused on the birth experience, myself, and to be more focused on my wife and the baby, while I know someone else is there to advocate for what my wife is desiring.

Abbie

I know a friend of mine had told me about her doula, and that she really enjoyed the experience. And so I researched it more and realize that doulas were not exactly what I thought they were. And so learning that they were not just extra support for pregnancy or extra support for, for 'crunchy moms,' forgive the expression. But the more I learned about it, the more I realized that learning more about my pregnancy, support and comfort, and advocacy during the birth itself were really all things that I wanted. And so that's why I really wanted to go ahead and have a doula at our birth.

Gabrielle

Were there things that concerns you about birth, or were there particularly things that you were excited about your birth that also contributed to specifically wanting that additional support, as well?

Abbie

For me specifically, I have always had a special terror around the birth experience, which I find somewhat humorous now that I've gone through it and postpartum was worse. But I think that's what drove me to want extra support. Was that I know that my own mother's experience with labor and delivery had not been a positive one. And you hear so often that it's the most painful experience of your life. And so I wanted extra support for that time. But thankfully, what I found was not only extra support when I was vulnerable, though, I did get that and I appreciated it very much. But looking back at the experience, the education and being more involved with my own birth and pregnancy was empowering, as well. 

Andy

Yeah, I think having the added support was definitely a good consideration. I think one of the things that I guess made me nervous just going into the birth was the fact that we had a miscarriage before that. And I didn't want to go through that experience again. And so I know, like, I think I was nervous the whole time that I guess it didn't become really real until Laurel was on the outside. So I guess the whole process leading up to Laurel actually coming out was sort of just a combination of what ifs and probabilities and possibilities, something could go wrong, maybe not a guarantee, but just that thought. And so I think the idea of going into it, and us having a little bit of control over what's going on was helpful.

 

And so I think the fact that knowing that there were people -- because I wasn't familiar with doulas prior to all of that. So knowing that, I guess, there were people out there that were willing to teach Abbie more about the pregnancy she was going through, teach me about the pregnancy she's going through, ways that we can help make it a successful birth, was helpful. So I would say definitely the more in depth classes that were presented to us, the more means of helping Abbie, especially physically as her body was changing to hold the baby. And then just the actual birth and knowing that we had someone there that was on our side, and not necessarily on the hospital side, was helpful.

Gabrielle

I really, I appreciate that so much. Because I think sometimes like the -- people sometimes can feel like, almost like their concerns are maybe not very important, you know, just especially if it's a first pregnancy or first birth. But those things matter so much, you know. And it's I think it's helpful for other families to hear just like, you know, 'What were the things that you were considering, and what were the things that mattered to you?' So I really, really appreciate you all sharing that. So then my next question's, one is, what were some of the specific things that you most appreciated about the support that I was able to offer as your doula? Or another way to think of that question could just be, you know, were there any unexpected benefits that you experienced having me as your doula?

Andy

I guess one of the things that I did value most I guess about you being our doula was the fact that you offer postpartum checkups and care. Considering that's the thing that I think makes her most nervous. The fact that that's offered definitely helps, because, yeah, I can't really help her when it comes to postpartum. Because I don't know how her body's feeling or what she's going through. I just see the effects of it. So to have someone else we can regularly check up and see [how it's] going also helps.

Abbie

The postpartum care was probably -- was much more needed than I anticipated. And so that was one of the biggest benefits, but the other one was just how, how calm and confident you were at the hospital. It was very helpful to have you there because it just felt grounding, and it was very calming to have you that calm.

Gabrielle

Oh, I'm so glad, haha! That's always the thing. It's so special to me, just the things that stand out to my clients because I don't always know, you know. It's just my heart just to serve and to really try to do that well. But I'm always just like, I'm so glad that -- that that was helpful and meaningful. So that blesses me a lot.

 

Gabrielle

And actually, I think this was -- this is a particular question for our journey because I know, we worked on some of the specific sort of like, centering exercises, and like centering practices and conversation. Yeah. How did you -- how did you feel about just, you know, having the opportunity to kind of think about centering, you know, before going into your birth, how was that for you?

Abbie

I did enjoy being able to remind myself of truth going into the birth. And it did help with some of the -- with some of the fear over things that I couldn't control. So I enjoyed that. As far as centering practices during the birth, I don't think I did very many, haha. But during the last several weeks of pregnancy, they were helpful.

Gabrielle

Yeah, yeah. And I think that was kind of the area too, where it mattered going into your birth that you had that opportunity. Because no one wants to be stressed on top of being stressed to their birth. So that completely makes sense. I'm glad. I'm glad that even in that period of time, that that was helpful to just be able to take time to think through that. So that's really good. Were there any particular memories from your experience that -- where you felt grateful to have me as your doula or both birth or postpartum transitions?

Abbie

The first one is you gently pointing out that my doctor had broken my water without my consent, just so that I could be aware of that and be able to process that later. It was helpful to have that knowledge so that it wasn't like a surprise later on. And it helps me with my priorities now, when I was looking for a new care provider. So there was that. Probably the others were just those calm moments. Like when I was trying to make decisions about what was best for my birth, but still kind of anxious about it. Just your calmness and assuring me that, what I decided was right for my body was okay, was really helpful.

Gabrielle

I'm so touched by that, too. I remember, I know at least for me, one of the moments that I really, really valued and carried in my heart was just giving you a big, big hug, you know, after we'd had a conversation about that you're doing a good job. That hug! I was like, 'Ah! I love Abbie!' haha. You know, some of the sweet moments are just mutual appreciation. It goes both ways a lot. So if someone else was considering my services, what might you want them to know about me as a doula or what would you -- or if you were to recommend my services, you know, what would be your main encouragement just based on your experiences?

Abbie

Probably, literally for anyone, I would say, 'Go for it.' Because I think having a doula was the best decision in my baby birthing process. But as far as specific things, people who are wanting to feel more involved and empowered in their own experience, I would definitely recommend your services for the front end going into it. And then for the birth itself, I mean, there's really --

Andy

[Andy speaking softly in the background]

Abbie

Oh, haha, Andy said, 'You're not crazing if you get a doula.' Haha.

There were only positive things to say. I mean, having more support during your birth; you know, having someone there who's calm and cool and ready to help was excellent. And I know, one of Andy's first concerns when we were first talking about it was he didn't want someone to take his place. But having you there was actually more helpful to him. Because he was able to focus on me more. Having you there was helpful to me because it stabilized me. And I think that was also helpful for Andy.

Gabrielle

And Andy did such a great job. And that's something that I really care about, too, is that partners and especially husbands, you know, that they know that they are important. That their experience is important. And that, yeah, that I'm not there to replace them. If anything, you know, I want to be there to really support them working together and being able to have a shared experience where they feel like they got the chance to really experience their birth journey together and love each other and take care and welcome their child together. So I'm so glad to hear that.

 

Well, this has been so kind. I really, really appreciate it so much. And I guess in this, you know, this is a unique experience. We're talking about me coming back for your second pregnancy. So is there just anything you'd want to share about that, just your decision to have a doula again for your second pregnancy, and what that means to have me back on your birth journey again?

Abbie

It was one of my first considerations when we were planning getting pregnant again. Like, the two ones were, I need a new care provider because I don't have one currently, and we need to talk to Gaby.

Gabrielle

Hahaha, oohhh, my heart!

Abbie

It was a much easier decision this time around to go ahead and to get a doula earlier in the process. Really having that experience with you beforehand helped. But a lot of what I learned about birth autonomy, and really, the culture of being a doula actually came after my birth from following Traci's page. And so after continuing my learning that way, having you there to support those decisions, and also to calm me down probably, haha, was really a non-negotiable.

Gabrielle

Well, I'm so honored. It's just been such a joy. I'm so excited. I'm just again really honored. So glad. Thank you!