Name: Tara Buchler
Children: Kellen, 4.5, and Kendall, almost 2
Occupation: IT Project Manager
Place of Birth: Spectrum Butterworth
1. What were your reasons for hiring a doula? After my son was born via c-section in 2011, I struggled through the postpartum period, both physically and emotionally. In hindsight my son’s birth set the stage for a long and difficult first year of parenting. I decided I wanted to have a more positive experience with my second child and began to research VBAC. Ultimately, I felt that having a med-free birth, with a doula to support me, would help me increase my odds of avoiding another c-section. In October of 2013, I was about six weeks pregnant with my daughter when I reached out to Brenda Baar and asked for more information about her services as a doula. It was one of the best “parenting” decisions I have made!
2. How was your doula most helpful? My doula Brenda was “my person” during pregnancy. She was compassionate and understanding about my son’s delivery and helped me focus and prepare for my daughter’s upcoming birth. A lot of people I was close with were misinformed about VBAC or didn’t understand why I wouldn’t just have another c-section. It was nice to have Brenda get where I was coming from. I tended to get into the weeds, over research and geek out about birth, and she was right there with me! All of her knowledge plays out into a flexible process that helped me define what I wanted during birth and how to prepare for it. I had the confidence to advocate for myself with my doctor and the hospital staff, which I desperately needed and couldn’t have had without Brenda.
3. What surprised you about giving birth? How intense it can be! During my son’s birth, I had an epidural and I remember feeling panicked at the intensity of contractions during transition. I thought I would be numb to that but it didn’t work out that way! I wasn’t prepared. My daughter’s birth was literally the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. Since I had planned to had a med-free birth, I had coping techniques to get me through, but it’s like parenting – you never really know what to expect until you’re in the moment. ☺
4. What advice or encouragement regarding birth or the postpartum period would you like to offer to a woman expecting her first child? Be kind to yourself. Everyone has opinion about pregnancy, birth and parenting but only YOU know what’s best for your family. Find the friends that support you unconditionally and make them your support system. And remember that the days are long, but the years are short!
For more information regarding VBAC, take a look at our VBAC in West Michigan blog post!
For local VBAC support, visit the ICAN of Grand Rapids VBAC Support group or the ICAN of Grand Rapids Facebook pages.