I came to know Tami after the birth of my daughter. When I became pregnant again, I began to talk with Tami about pregnancy and birth and eventually decided to ask her to be our doula. It is possibly the best decision I have made as a parent. While my daughter’s birth went reasonably well, I ended up getting an epidural and needing a vacuum to birth my baby. I also had tearing that resulted in post-partum complications. I didn’t regret anything but I had a feeling the experience of childbirth could be better. After birthing my son with Tami’s help, I know it can be enjoyable! I feel blessed to have had an amazing, completely natural birth. Below is my story of the preparation Tami gave me and the subsequent birth she helped me to have.
I am a yoga teacher and before my daughter’s birth I read some material on labor and birth but mostly trusted my instincts to guide me through. I had a doula but didn’t meet with her until we went to the hospital. With my son, I knew I needed to better prepare myself for the intensity so that I could do a better job drawing on my strengths. This is where Tami’s help was most noticeable. She and I met often, usually once a week for the last months. One of her main concerns was to find out how I thought, what was important to me, what were my strengths and weaknesses, and how did I deal with difficult things. All of this was to help me learn where and how to draw my own strength and how she could best support me during my labor.
For me, movement and a grounded connection to the earth is very important. Because of this, Tami helped me focus on movement both before and during birth that would be best for me and the baby, especially in terms of helping the baby position well in my pelvis (in order to avoid another vacuum!).
I felt confident in the weeks leading into my second birth that I knew what I should be doing and that the baby was happy. As Tami and I talked, she helped me understand things about my life that made me scared during my first birth. Getting to spend time thinking about this helped to prepare me for the intensity of my son’s birth. Another thing Tami did with me was visualization. We tried a few different images and then one began to resonate with me. Whenever I would have “practice” contractions, I would practice a certain visualization that Tami helped me discover that made me feel strong, centered, and directed. This visualization became the critical guiding element for me during my labor.
The other thing Tami offered in preparation was education about what actually happens during labor, delivery, and after. I came to understand much more completely how the hormones affect and support natural labor. I also learned about standard practices in the hospital and felt empowered to make my own decisions during labor. That confidence was so wonderful during the sometimes uncertain feelings during labor.
Finally, Tami helped to prepare my husband. He was present at my daughter’s birth but was not directly doing anything during my contractions. Tami helped us determine a way that my husband could help me during my second birth. It turned out that my husband was critical to me both in maintaining the best position during contractions but also in his close presence. Tami helped him be the necessary central piece of my labor support system.
After all the preparation, there was a time - about a week before my son’s birth - when I felt ready. Tami saw this too and just began to support me, knowing our time was near. She helped me to understand that the whole week was actually early labor. She helped me be confident that my baby would come in his own time. Finally, labor started in earnest and Tami came to my house. We had a great morning moving through contractions while my daughter played, helped us walk or sway, and asked questions. My mother was in the background watching in amazement since her birth experiences were very different. From the moment she arrived, Tami helped through each contraction. We used movement as we planned, Tami provided massage, and she and my husband gradually created a protective sense of space for me to do what I needed to do. Tami helped me keep the labor moving by walking stairs and reminded me of my visualization when necessary. I found that visualization and focus actually made the pain lessen!