Photo credit to: Memories by Tasha Photography

Brandon shares his experience of working with a Doula to help his wife Stepfnie welcome their daughter.

With World Doula Week in full swing we want to share with you through the eyes of dad or a birth partner experiences they've have had with doulas.  Initial feedback commonly heard from expecting moms wanting a doula as part of their birth was apprehension or reservations from their significant other. After learning more and speaking with doulas, many of those concerns are laid to rest. The parents feel confident and very supported moving forward with their decision. 

A note from the Military Birth Resource Network: Birth comes in all shapes and sizes. We often hear the negative side of birth. By sharing this father's story, we hope to put a positive outlook on the experience when giving birth at military bases around the world. 

Sometimes is just helps hearing about an experience from another guy. 

Tell us about yourself and your family.

My wife Stefnie is from Los Angeles and I am from Dallas. We met in San Antonio when I was stationed at Fort Sam Houston instructing at DMRTI (Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute). We met in the beer isle at Whole Foods. We married and then about 2 years later PCS to 29 Palms. At the time Stefnie was 8 months pregnant and freaking out since we only had 19 days to move out of our custom-built home in San Antonio. We already had a doula and a mid-wife lined up in San Antonio for the birth of our first child Nellie May.

Tell us about your experience with your wife’s doula.

My wife was adamant about having a natural birth and really wanted to birth at home or in a birthing center. Being a combat corpsman, we did not see eye to eye on this. Luckily, Tri-Care would not allow her to birth at a birthing center or at home so she was forced to birth in a hospital.  Having my wife birthing at a hospital made me feel at ease, but I still wanted to please my wife so we hired a new doula in 29 Palms. We spent a ton of money on doulas since the first doula wouldn’t give us a refund even though we had only paid her 5 days before we found out that we had to PCS.

What were some of your biggest worries or concerns as a new father?

Terrified of becoming a father, I was terrified of the unknown.  Once Nellie May was born it got real. My biggest concern was being a father to a baby girl since I really thought I was having a boy. I had no concern about my wife having a baby; I had full faith that my wife was so strong that labor and birth would be a great experience for her.

How did the doula become an asset your birth?

The doula was 100% for my wife my wife was happy and at ease, so I was happy and at ease. We also didn’t have any family nearby.

What is one word of advice you’d give to a new father? Advice for a family wanting to hire a doula?

Listen to your doula. All of the pre-birth mentoring and guidance was invaluable. If you are on the fence about hiring a doula just do it and plan ahead. If you really want a doula you can afford one and some of them even have payment plans.

Anything else you would like to add about birth with a doula?

My wife had the best birth experience one can have. Her and I labored at home until she was dilated to 10 centimeters. She was so calm and in the zone that we had no idea that she had progressed that far and so quickly. She woke up at 8:30am on Christmas Eve and told me that she felt weird and that she thinks we might have a baby today. By 10:30am she was laying in the dark contracting ever so calmly. She told me around 11:00am that she was ready to go to the hospital… so I made a pot of coffee, changed my clothes and packed the car which took 45 minutes. She then in a very serious tone said take me now. We pulled up to the hospital at 11:55am and Nellie May was born at 12:39pm. Stefnie was able to have a completely natural birth with no complications. She felt so supported and in the beginning was having a hard time pushing. Once our doula told her how to push properly and rolled Stefanie on her side Nellie May was born within a few minutes.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Crawford, certified doula of  Desert Birth and Wellness

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Crawford, certified doula of Desert Birth and Wellness

Find a doula at your duty station by visiting our website under Professional Listing