I've had a lot of trouble coming up with the "perfect" person to have with me during labor and delivery, other than Corey of course. Perhaps I'm being really weird about this, but the whole process seems like a very vulnerable time! Especially for me, being my first and having no idea how I'm going to react to pain and exposure. Who can I be absolutely comfortable with no matter what I say or do? Who will have a calm personality and completely support me in my desire to do it all naturally. (I'm not even sure if Corey's with me on this - his philosophy is, 'if it hurts, take something.')
In my reading and in my childbirth education class, I've recently come across the word "doula." Doula is a Greek word meaning "a female birth companion." Basically, any female you have in the room with you could be considered a doula. But it's actually a profession that woman are trained in. A doula is "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth."(Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus, in Mothering the Mother)
My first thought was why would you pay someone you hardly know to attend the birth of your baby?! But as I continued to struggle with who to ask, and as Corey listened to the issues I was having, he encouraged me to look in to this doula thing.
There's a website, www.dona.org, that has a list of doulas you can find in your area. I contacted one and then himhawed around, still trying to decide what to do. I finally met with a doula Tuesday night, and now I'm really excited about the prospect of having her at my birth!
I'm sold on the idea of having someone there who's experienced in childbirth and trained in how to best encourage and comfort and help in the whole process! The lady I met with had a bag full of stuff to help comfort and aid in the process: blow up birthing ball, snacks, sour candy (I hear this might be desirable), powder, lotion, massage oil, a knobby massaging device - I love the last items; massage sounds wonderful! They're also there to support dad and help him in how to best assist his wife. I think Corey's probably feeling somewhat hesitant and unsure - he's never done this either - and I don't want him to feel sole responsibility for supporting and caring for me in a completely unknown and intense situation!
And perhaps I'll enjoy the fact that I don't know this lady very well - she should have no expectations of me.
So I believe I've made up my mind on who to have with me during labor and delivery. I guess that means I can cross one thing off my list of things to worry about!:)