Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is a doula?

It’s a funny story.  Shortly after the nuptials of Laura and Alexander Judge, myself and about 10 other women got pregnant!  Laura was a great support and source of information to me during my pregnancy and up until this very day.  I remember sending multiple panic-laced texts while she was at work because I didn't know how to set up my Medela breast pump.  I swear those days seem so far away and my little one is only 6 months!

So, my friend and we shall call her my pregnancy coach, Laura Judge, mom to Alexander Lee Judge III explained to me that she used a Doula.  My first question was, “What is a Doula?”

Laura explained a doula knows your birth plan and will make sure to keep you calm and relaxed while making sure medical staff know your wishes and your birth plan. “She helped with pain management through massage and helping me change positions,” said Laura. “She also gave my husband a break when possible.”
Laura at the hospital.

Please read Laura’s birthing story:

Q. When did you go to the hospital?
A. I had my 41 week (and 3 days) appointment and my midwife let me know that induction would happen that evening, since the practice wouldn't allow me to go past 1 week overdue and that I needed to grab a bite to eat. I was way too nervous to eat (I decided on Subway) because I was excited to meet my little guy and then drove to the hospital about one hour later.

Q. Why did you decide to have a doula?
A. I wanted someone to help me through my labor that was calming and had a great energy around them.  I was big on my baby coming into a relaxing environment.  When I learned that Dee Dee was a doula I knew she was the perfect person to help assist with my labor.  If you ever meet or talk to Dee Dee, she has this calming aura around her.  Also, I believe she has 7 of her own children, so experience is an understatement.

Q. What was your labor experience?
A. When I got to the hospital, I was given Cervidil (which helps dilate the cervix) on May 5, at about 7 p.m. with no progress I was then given Pitocin (to help my contractions) around 9 a.m. on May 6.  Dee Dee arrived early that morning, but I had been in contact with her through phone calls and text messages letting her know to be rested for Thursday (the 6th).  She immediately helped calm my nervous energy and let my husband get some much needed rest.  She helped assist me on the birthing ball and gave me massages to help my son travel down the birth canal.  I was still not progressing and the baby's heart rate started to decrease.  Dee Dee was very motivational, letting me know that I was doing everything right and letting me know how strong I was.  Ultimately, I delivered my son by c-section on May 7 at 1:46 a.m.  Alexander Lee Judge III weighed 8 lbs 2 oz. and was 21.5 inches long.

Q. Who was in the hospital room with you?
A. I had made it clear in my birth plan that I didn't want to many people running in and out of my room, nor did I want many visitors (makes me feel pressure to perform well).  So in the hospital room was my husband, doula, my mother and limited hospital personnel (nurse, midwife). The surgery room was super different: my husband, midwife, doctor, pediatrician (for the baby) and about 6-8 other medical staff.

Q. Explain the moments after your delivery.
A. Recovering from a c-section and trying to see my baby.  I was so drugged up from the surgery, all I remember is speaking gibberish to the nurses.  My husband came to check on me and I yelled at him for leaving the baby's side but my family was watching the baby (sorry love!). They took the baby to the special care nursery for "breathing issues" but I wanted to breastfeed.  As soon as possible (probably too soon), I had my husband take me to see him since no one was bringing my child to me.

Q. Explain the your first time home with your little one.
A. I had lots of visitors. I tried not to have people make me laugh because the incision HURT. I had my husband give the baby his first bath because I was afraid of breaking him.  I couldn't believe we made such an awesome little human being! There was lots of sleeping and nursing, and of course lots of staring at this magnificent little boy!  Dee Dee even called to check in on how healing and nursing was going for me....did I mention how awesome she was?
Alex and Laura

For more on Laura, her birth experience and raising her little one.  Please check out her blog at .

Dee Dee Cocheta served as Laura’s doula.  For more information on contacting Dee Dee, please .

For more information on doulas, please visit  .