I wanted to share with you my experience of having Jeanne as a Doula with me on my journey to parenthood. Actually she was with “us” – as she was as much a support to Jaco as she was to me.
Dr. Odendaal suggested I go to Jeanne for some energy work (there were some issues that had come up for me on an emotional level that Dr. Odendaal thought Jeanne could help with), and then she became my doula as well during the end of my pregnancy when I was confined to bedrest.
Jeanne was a life-saver during this time. She came to give me weekly massages and she inevitably stayed for 2 hours or longer and we would get to talk about everything! As interested as Jaco was in the whole process, there are some things you really can only talk to a woman about as your body (and you) go through this huge transformation. And also – asking friends and family members is fine, but it really is better to have someone knowledgeable AND objective to advise you. And Gynaes just don’t have time for all this. Even if your pregnancy is a completely normal one, the doula will see you more frequently in the last trimester as you have more questions and as you prepare for the birth.
Near my due date Jeanne went through the whole labour process with both Jaco and myself in great detail. There was a fair amount I knew – I wanted to go to the hospital for the birth, I didn’t want to use any pain killers, I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital. I even knew what position I wanted to be in for the actual birth. And for all these things a doula is vital:
– at the hospital the nurses will come in and go out as they see other patients, change shifts etc. These are all people you have never met before. I really didn’t want a bunch of strangers around me at this time in my life. I really wanted someone I knew and trusted.
– a doula will know breathing techniques and positions, aromatherapy oils and massage methods to help reduce the pain – or make it manageable. Not only that – she doesn’t leave your side! And at times that is all you really need in the birth – just someone cheering you on! (Jeanne did also massage me for 7 hours!)
– we had planned to stay at home for as long as possible during the early stages of labour. That way, I could be comfortable in my own environment, eat my own food, bath, play music, walk around etc. Often in hospitals they make you lie down in a brightly lit room – neither of these things is what you want to be doing during labour. Jeanne was going to come to the house (day or night) to facilitate this and come with us to the hospital when it really was time to go. As it happens, my contractions started really close together in the middle of the night – so Jaco and I decided to go to the hospital before even waking Jeanne up. She did join us at 1am as soon as we did call her.
I can’t tell you what a vital role Jeanne played in the delivery. I know that Jaco was at my side the whole time, but it was really Jeanne that I was (literally) holding onto and relying on. While the doctors and nurses came and went, she was always there – massaging, encouraging, and reminding me of the breathing and mental “pictures” we had prepared and practiced before the time.
And in the days that followed the birth… shew, you really want to go home from the hospital – usually they let you on Day 2 – which is the day your milk arrives and a whole new challenge with it! It really is nerve-wracking being sent home with a 2 day old baby, even though you really wanted to go! Both Jaco and I were so grateful that Jeanne kept popping in. She helped with the breastfeeding, answered a million questions, gave really great supportive “its going to be okay” hugs, and kept telling us what a great job we were doing – all of this was so needed! And I could phone her anytime for anything.
Still to this day (nearly 6 months later) Jeanne is a source of advice and support for us.
I really would never consider doing this again without Jeanne.