Anyone who knows me reasonably well knows that I do not tolerate physical pain well. Knowing this about myself, when I got pregnant with our baby girl, I began to worry about how I would handle the birthing process. For this reason, I thought I should get all the support available to me, including hiring a doula. Although the thought of a vaginal birth without epidural appealed to me from a theoretical perspective–I would avoid the risks related to the epidural injection and the side effects of the medication–in my heart of hearts I believed I could not endure a natural birth and I would surely have an epidural. My husband agreed pretty wholeheartedly… We even began asking around about what nurse anaesthetist to avoid and we had two solid names down! I researched doulas in the region and Beth Mathis was recommended. We met with Beth and both my husband and I thought she would be a good fit for “a little extra support.”
As it turns out, Beth became the single most important support to me in the delivery room in the hardest moments of my life so far. As it turned out, I had NO CHOICE but to have an unmedicated vaginal birth. Through a fluke development, my platelets suddenly dropped dangerously low so I could not get an epidural or spinal. My only option was C-section under general anesthesia as a last resort due to risk of bleeding. I was not dilating, so I ended up getting the maximum dose of pitocyn, as well, which I’m told makes the contractions a lot more painful, and I believe it. I received pitocyn and labored progressively for about 48 hours, and then pushed for about 4 hours. It took 1.5 hours to suture me up at the end. When it was all over, everyone was congratulating me, saying, “Wow, you did it, I did not think you had it in you! I kept on saying, and repeat it today, “No, I did not have it in me. I feel that I could not have done what I’ve done without Beth.” Beth coached me through the pain and helped me control the urge to push. Holding her hand, looking in her eyes, and breathing as she was instructing me was the only way I felt I could make it through each contraction. At one point, I remember focusing on just one of Beth’s eyes. I was assigned a very competent, experienced, and kind labor and delivery nurse, but I found that my already established relationship with and trust in Beth was very important to me during those moments of crisis. I could not respond to anyone else.
Beth also helped me write a birth plan, gave me a list of things to pack for the hospital, and followed up with us and offered her advice multiple times after we came home with our baby girl. I feel I did not even take full advantage of her expertise before and after birth–before because I stayed way too busy, and after because I was in survival mode and was listening to no one. But the truth is that I hired Beth to help me with the delivery and she became my Godsent deliverer.
If you are considering an unmedicated vaginal birth, OR ANY KIND OF BIRTH, because you can never predict what will happen, meet with Beth. She will gain your trust (because she is trustworthy) and will provide highly competent support during birth, as well as expert advice during pregnancy and postpartum.