You are the Captain of your Birth Team
Were you one of those people who stood alone on the side of the field waiting to get picked for the baseball game, last of the lot to be chosen. Well, those days are over because if you are going to have a baby,- you get to be the Captain of this team.
There are different roles on a Birth Team:
1. The BIRTHING PERSON- Star of the Show. #1 Priority. Centre of your Birth World. Giver of Directions. That's you. Captain.
2. All Others: Support People- partners, care givers, family members, friends, and doulas
Support People are - back rubbers, ice chip bringers, huggers, hand holders, getters of blankets and water, tub fillers, enouragers and courage bringers, information gatherers, explainers, guardians of the atmosphere, cheerleaders and substitutes.
You get to choose who will be on your Birth Team
You get to decide whether your birth team will be you alone, you plus partner, you plus partner and others. Unless you are giving birth at home, you may have to check with your birth facility to find out if they have limits on number of support people.
Birth is meant to happen in an environment of support. Soemtimes that means the birthing person is mainly alone and support people are in the near distance, ready and willing to step in if necessary, Sometimes that means, literally all hands on the birthing person rubbing, stroking, guiding, encouraging, loving. You get to decide that!
Birth is not a spectator sport, Choose people who understand what their roles are; active invoolvement. They are there in a support capacity and need to be able to hold up under that responsibioity. They need to understand that the nucleus of this event is YOU and if you have a partner- they are the secondary priority. The third support person supports you AND your partner. If you are birthing alone, that support person need to be 100% there for you and your needs as you go through labour.
This is one time, that you get to call the shots as to your comfort and ability to cope with contractions. Soft touch, firm touch- you get to say. Time to get out of the tub- your call. Need to eat something- do it. And it is all good. You can be assertive- even bossy about your needs and good support people will not be offended or put off by your tone.
Tip: prepare and discuss this with your partner if this is something you suspect will happen to you during labour. Jus' sayin'
As a doula, I am used to this. It is totally understandable when in the middle of a back rub, I am told "don't touch me!" Its all fine.
Make a list of helpful things you may want to have in your labour strategies bag. Discuss and practice the different strategies on how the birthing person can be supported on labour day. I'm referring to things like relaxation, breathing, massage and pressure techniques, using water, sound, etc...
We all need to keep in mind that the bottom line here is that we are trying to have a positive birth experience; that everyone is on the same team but that we all have different roles.
If you have mulitpe people on your roster, don't be afraid to cut anyone form the team who is not going to truly be there in a support capacity. Folks can be relegated to the waiting room and pop in occassionally. Everyon. Has. A. Different. Role. That person can be the coffe, bagel, other food bringer. They can be the Supporters of the Support people. Yay!!
So, gather your forces, call up your troops, blow your whistle and put that team together.
Looking like a Birth Team.