I wish someone had told me about sibling doulas when I was pregnant with my third baby.
My first baby had been born with just my father and stepmother by my side. For many reasons, it was a very special time for all of us.
My second baby was born in the wee hours of the morning. This time I had my new husband, my stepmom, a friend, and a doula. My father was in the living room waiting patiently with my older son after he woke partway through. My oldest was a very laid back kid who listened well, and understood that this was not a time to try to get attention from mom. The fact that it was 2 in the morning and he was 4 1/2 years old helped a lot. I imagine they both dozed on and off waiting for the newest member of our family. It worked perfectly, and my boys got to meet each other almost immediately. Bliss.
My third baby was a whole different story and one in which a sibling doula would have been instrumental.
I thought I would want to have both my boys (8 and 2 1/2 at the time) with me in the room, or at least around the house when I gave birth to their little brother. I had visions of laboring around the house while my sweet boys doted on me and played quietly with their grandfather, or slept peacefully in their beds. After a few hours, they would be bundled up by my parents and taken for a sleepover to give us one night with nothing to attend to but our newborn babe.
Of course, that’s not quite how life works.
I had contractions all night, and woke up in labor, to two rambunctious boys who had no concept of what mom needed while in labor. Looking back, a big sibling class might have been a good idea as well…….
While I was physically handling the contractions well, something about their energy just was not working for me. Contractions were consistent, and I knew this was the day. I called my midwife. I called my doulas, and I called my parents.
They had been at both of my other births, and were caught off guard when I asked them to come get the boys and take them to their home. Honestly, so was I, but that’s the thing about labor, you don’t know what you’re going to need until you’re in it, and I needed to not be needed by my sweet little boys. I needed my team’s full attention. I needed to not be interrupted, and I needed their father to focus on me.
My parents came and got the boys and went back home.
My mom wanted to be there for the birth, like she had been for the previous two. Of course she did, but I was in the labor zone, and I didn’t have time to think about that. Her feelings were hurt. It wasn’t that we wanted to keep her away, but there were discussions back and forth, and the consensus was that if they came back, the kids were coming with them. That was one thing I knew I couldn’t deal with.
In the throes of labor I had turned from visions of being surrounded by my family and children to the woman who couldn’t even comprehend hearing a cute little boy call out mom while I was pushing out a baby.
The very second my third son was born, the first and only thing I wanted was to have my boys back in my home, meeting their newest little brother. Hormones, am I right? Whew.
So, we called my parents to bring the boys back. My vision was that they would come back, meet their brother, bond for a few hours, and then go back to the original plan of a sleep over with their grandparents.
Of course, that’s not quite how life works.
There was no problem bringing the boys back, but the sleep over was now off the table. I can say that I honestly don’t remember details of how everything went down. What I do know is that feelings were hurt all the way around and we ended up with an energetic 8 & 2 year old, and a newborn, at home, alone, within hours after birth. To say it was overwhelming was an understatement.
I wish someone had told me that sibling doulas in Colorado existed. I wish I had a paid professional, who understood birth, babies and children to come to my home and take care of my boys. My parents wanted to be a part of the birth. I see that now. Having their grand kids for extended periods of time was not a normal part of their routine. They both still worked full time, and this birth was in the middle of the day. My boys were excited to meet their brother! My husband and I were not in the mindset to deal with details.
I wish I had hired an experienced Colorado sibling doula as part of my team. They could have fed my kids, taken them for walks, put movies on, played quiet games, all in the comfort and closeness of their own home. If I had been of the mindset to have them in the room, (and there was a point when I wanted that) they could’ve come to me. When my labor stalled for 2 hours and I went on a walk around the neighborhood, they could’ve come with me. They could’ve been a part of the experience.
My parents could have been a part of the experience. Instead, they had a job to do. They were robbed of the experience they’d had with my first two children, because I didn’t know what a sibling doula was. I would go back and save for my whole pregnancy to change that one little thing.
I feel peace about Colorado Mountain Doulas being able to now offer Colorado sibling doula services in Denver, Colorado Springs, and other surrounding areas so that other new parents can have a smoother and less anxious experience than I had!