"Do I Need a Doula if I Have a Midwife?"

In the wee hours of the night a woman is working to bring forth her baby. Her heart is open and her body is opening. She knew her body was designed for this miracle. She only needed a place in which she felt safe and people who she could trust to keep an eye on the details. She would have to let go of her alert attention to detail, she knew, for her labor to progress.

The smell of her mate is comfort itself. Her mate holds the story of who she has been. She wants him to see the birth, to be part of the event that brings about who she will become.

She chose a midwife for her patience with the natural process of birth. Her midwife also knows how to handle common birth complications and knows which signs mean its necessary to move on to another provider, like a family practice physician or obstetrician. Her midwife not only believes in the normalcy of birth in general but can also assess and validate that her labor is normal.

In early labor the comfort from her mate was just right. In active labor, the midwife’s presence is comforting to both her and her partner. Now, as the sky lightens, the labor picks up even more intensely.

Our birthing mother notices her mate pulling back a bit. It happens as she slips deeper into the labor, into that primeval place, where her partner cannot follow. The midwife, too, seems distant for a moment. Ahh, there she is, bringing her instruments closer. The smell of the ginger compresses is rejuvinating. She hears the midwife tearing open the paper package that holds her sterile gloves.

A contraction sweeps over her rocking her to her core. Wait. Can’t quite stay with it. She wonders will she ride it out or will it ride her under?

She feels a warm touch on her shoulder, hears her name spoken kindly. The doula is there. Oh, yes, that’s right, women do this.

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