“Next time we have a child, I’m not waiting for you to hire a doula. I’m hiring her first!”
We first met René Johnson when we participated in Birth Help's Natural Birth Series when my wife was about 32 weeks into her pregnancy. We never really considered hiring a doula, being that this was my wife’s third pregnancy. We figured we had been through a couple of childbirths (inductions at 39 weeks) and could probably manage on our own.
Fast forward to 41 weeks. We found out that my wife’s doctor could possibly be out of town when she went into labor so we began discussing options. We had leaned heavily on her OB for his knowledge and expertise in birthing naturally. Sensing the concern surrounding his possible absence, he suggested calling René as a comfort measure for my wife.
We met with René that afternoon and hired her immediately. We already knew the caliber of care she would provide from the amount of knowledge and compassion we witnessed during her classes. After a two and a half hour visit, we had a game plan. Little did we know the game was to begin in 4 hours!
We called Rene’ as we were leaving for the hospital, she was there ahead of us and had a wheelchair ready, as my wife was in hard labor. My wife labored and pushed for close to 4 hours and René was there for every second providing whatever we needed.
Yes, I said WE. Having René with us allowed me to be so much more emotionally involved in the birth of our third child. It freed me of the burden of feeling I wouldn't know what to do in any given situation as she was there to offer suggestions and encouragement.
I can’t help but think that René's presence was more for my benefit than for my wife. I’m sure my wife and I will argue about this for years to come. The natural birth of our son far exceeded any expectations we had.
If you or your partner are on the fence about hiring a doula, do yourself a favor; hire her now. At the very least, meet with her. Making the call to hire her doesn't have to be the mother’s idea first, it certainly won’t be in our household!
Adrian R. Griffin