Name: Melissa Hamlen
Child: Claire Bomi (Korean name meaning spring girl or born in spring which is ironic because she was born on a snowy Earth Day!) 11 months old
Place of Birth: Metro Health Hospital
What were your reasons for hiring a doula?
I decided to hire a doula to increase my chance of birthing with the least amount of interventions. I did a lot of research and read books about natural birthing during my pregnancy and decided in the 6th month that I wanted to have a doula on my birth team alongside my husband. After a few referrals, Megan was available during my birth month and after we met with her, she was a great match! There were many birth stories I had heard with inductions, slow progressions or fevers and the births ended up as c-sections. It seemed as if I heard the same story from several people. Obviously everyone has different pregnancies and OBs, but I wanted to do what I could do to avoid unnecessary interventions and I thought a doula would help and I was correct!
What surprised you about giving birth?
Several things surprised me about giving birth. Firstly, I ended up pushing while lying on my back. Not how I pictured doing it because I knew that it was not an optimal position, but I was a little bit bullied into birthing that way by the resident doc. In the end, I have no regrets, but I imagine I would have had an easier time pushing in another position. Secondly, I was surprised that I pretty much had my eyes closed from the second I got to my birthing room. I think I was concentrating so hard on being calm and being there with every contraction that it was the only way I could block out the chaos in my room. I briefly opened my eyes once and I swear there were like 7 other people besides the resident and nurse hanging out in my room! Lastly, I had been super calm my entire pregnancy and up until it was time to push and then it became so real and such difficult work that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to actually push my daughter out! I did have difficulty pushing even after the very top of baby's head was out. I thought she was going to be stuck like that forever. It did hurt a great deal because her head was poking out for what seemed like an eternity. But after all that hard work, Claire came out and my OB had me reach down and help pull her out! It was completely unexpected and totally amazing!
What advice or encouragement regarding birth or the postpartum period would you like to offer to women expecting their first babies?
I would advise not googling every little "issue" that comes up with a newborn. It just makes you go crazy and you may stumble upon creepy pictures. All those long nights up nursing, just binge watch a lot of fun or light-hearted tv shows/ movies. :) Also, I am fortunate to have a wonderful husband who literally took care of EVERYTHING else after bringing Claire home. I would hope that every new momma has someone to take care of them so she can just focus on being with her little one! For those who are able, breastfeeding will become your entire life, no joke! (Even 11 months down the line...) I love being a mom so much and am proud of how I birthed my first baby and I wish that for every new momma also!