Comfort and Reassurance from Doula During Delivery
My name is Kristina Lankow, and this is my son Weston Lankow, and we're from Brookings, South Dakota.
How did you learn about the volunteer doula service?
I do photography as a side hustle. And one of my photo clients during the newborn session had mentioned that she had had a doula during her delivery here at Brookings Hospital. I didn't know that that service existed, we were still really new in our pregnancy, hadn't come to birth classes yet. So, I chatted with her and she just said it was such a great experience.
How was your labor?
About 7, 7:30, my first contraction kicked in, and the nurse was in the room with me when it happened and so they were monitoring me and asking how it was and I said, "Well, I felt most of it in my back, is that bad?" And the nurse was like, "Well, it's not good," which then led to pretty much the entire labor was back labor, which was really intense.
How did your doula help you with labor?
At that point, I was laboring, kneeling on the bed, and kind of leaned over the bed and like I said, husband holding my hand, nurses are trying to help with the back labor. I'm just breathing, eyes are close. The doula, Alyssa, came in the room, jumped on the bed behind me and just...well, she, you know, scrubbed in first, got the hand sanitized, jumped on the bed behind me, and put her hands on my back to apply that counterpoint pressure. So, I couldn't even tell you what her face looked like until much later throughout the delivery process, because I was just trying to focus. But she just jumped right in, put that counterpoint pressure on and was immediately a source of just constant positive reinforcement, helping me remember to breathe because when that back labor is just consistent, it honestly was hard to remember to breathe sometimes. And then that natural inclination to, like, raise your shoulders up, she would tap my shoulder and tell me to, like, okay, you need to relax, you need to let your body do the work, don't resist it. So, she was there the whole time, and my husband was too, I don't know if either of them ever needed to leave the room. They didn't, they put me completely before them.
What was delivery like?
I really wanted to be strong in the pushing and I was concerned that the back labor would make it challenging for me to be really effective in pushing. So, we made the decision, I looked at my husband, he looked at me, he's like, "Okay, are you ready for the epidural?" I'm like, "Yep, I think I need that just to make it through the pushing." So, when they came, they administered the epidural, they let my husband know, and they probably told me, but again, I was pretty in pain, that it was just going to be a low dose epidural, which would take away the back labor and it did, which was amazing relief, and a really good decision. Because ultimately, I think it was maybe an hour, hour and a half after that, that we were ready to start pushing. And it was 20 minutes worth of pushing. And I was the one who said I think I need to start, I think I'm feeling it, I'm feeling him coming down the birth canal. It's time to get baby out. The doctor came in, Dr. Bennis, I was like, "Yeah, it's time to push." The team just, like, rolled into the room. It was amazing, they, like, brought in all of their equipment and rolled out...I don't...I mean, Brian tells...my husband tells the story better than I do. But, like, because I couldn't see it. I was still just trying to push baby. But they rolled in all their equipment, got everything ready, got the light on, got me prepped in the position for pushing, and it was about 20 minutes later and baby was here, so.
What was your impression of the doula?
You know, having Alyssa come in the room, not being able to see her face because I was just concentrating on breathing, she immediately made me feel supported just in her calm tone that she was speaking to me. I know she and Brian connected because she made sure he was up by my head, holding my hand, talking in my ear, reassuring me, being there in the moment for him while she helped my body by applying that counterpoint pressure.
How did your husband feel about the doula?
Brian was a little hesitant at first when we heard about the doula program, just because he wanted to support me and he really took that role seriously and being the dad and being a part of delivery. And so, I think he was just hesitant that having a doula might take away from that experience, that they might come in and, you know, be the person holding my hand or be the person that's kind of conducting that delivery experience with me versus him aiding me. And it ended up being a total teamwork sort of environment because Alyssa was there through the entire delivery, there was no time where she left the room. Even when the nursing staff came in to, you know, when I was ready to start pushing and it was more of, like, bring in the doctor and let's, you know, make sure all those procedures are met. She still was right next to me, you know, right next to us, like, teamwork telling Brian or asking Brian maybe does she want some water or maybe you wanna try this or... They were just completely a team.
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