Using a Volunteer Doula During Delivery - Brookings Health System

My name is Nicole Biever. I'm from Brookings, South Dakota. I have two daughters. Their names are Elizabeth and Caroline. Elizabeth is four years old, and Caroline is one month old.


Why Did You Choose Brookings Health System?

I had both of my children at Brookings Health System, and I chose Brookings Health System because it's close to where I live. I live here in Brookings. It's a small hospital, and I like that you can invite your family to come, and they're not going to get lost in a large hospital. I also appreciate that you get lots of personalized attention, and something that was important to me, too, was to have my own doctor deliver.


What Were Your Deliveries Like?

The delivery for my first daughter wasn't nearly as difficult as this delivery was. She came pretty quickly. I only had to spend about five hours at the hospital before she came. My second daughter was more difficult because she came late and so I did have to be induced. But, I had help from a doula this time. And so, I was able to have all of her advice on how to make the labor progress more quickly, and how to deal with some of the pain. That's what she did at the labor.

I was induced because my daughter was a week and a half late, and so, they decided that it was time to have her come out. Otherwise, the baby keeps getting bigger, and that's not a good idea.


Why Did You Choose a Volunteer Doula?

I was actually really excited when I heard that there was a doula program here at Brookings. The first time I had a baby here at the Brookings Health System, the doula program wasn't in place, and I didn't even know what a doula was. And, I had a friend who had actually hired a doula at a different hospital for her delivery, and she just couldn't say enough good. She talked to me about all the different things that a doula can do to help a woman. Especially, since I choose natural childbirth, I don't have any pain relief, and so I wanted to find natural ways to help get through that pain. And so, once I heard that here in Brookings, they're going to have this volunteer program, I definitely knew I wanted to utilize that program.

So, before I even came into the hospital, I called the hospital in advance, and I said, "I want to use this program." And, so they knew as soon as I came to the hospital, to call a doula up, and she was fabulous. She helped as much or as little as I wanted. If I wanted her right in there, pushing on my back, she was there. Or, if my husband wanted to be doing something, then she would back off a little, and she had great advice. When it actually came time to push, there were, probably, three, four nurses in there, the doctor, my husband, and the doula. There were lots of people in that room, and there were all these different voices saying, "Do this. Do that. Do this." And the one voice that I could hear, that I could always listen to was that doula. And she would count for me, and she kind of made all those other voices go away. And then, I could focus and concentrate, and get that baby out faster.


How Does a Volunteer Doula Help During Labor?

She gave me advice on different positions, to stand in or to crouch in or... We tried a birthing ball. She brought that into the room, and then... so it puts you in a different position for sitting. We walked down the hallway. She and I put a lot of miles on that hallway, and up in the birthing center here. She, at the end, gave me advice on a different way, because I was worn out by the end of all that after 12 hours from being induced to actually delivering. I was tired, and so she said, "Let's try this one more position," and then I had to push. Right then, because of that one more position that she had me try. When I was starting to feel worn out, and felt like, "I can't do this anymore," she'd say, "Let's just try one more thing. We can do this one more thing." And she kind of gave me that encouragement to hang in there and keep on going until the end.


Was Your Husband Able to Participate in the Delivery?

My husband was able to participate, just as he did with our first delivery. He was there, able to be there for me to lean on, if I wanted him to, while the doula would rub my back, or if I was leaning on her, he'd be rubbing my back. Or, it was nice to have her there, because then he could take a break and go to the bathroom and get lunch. And then, she would be there to help me at that time.

 

What Are the Advantages of Using a Doula?

I think the greatest benefit of using a doula was being able to get... I felt faster through the delivery, that if she hadn't been there, encouraging me to try different positions or reminding me, "Okay, it's been about 20 minutes. Let's move." I don't think my delivery would have gone as quickly or as easily. I think it would have been a much more difficult delivery. But she sped things up. She reminded me, "Do this thing," or "Let's try a different position. Let's move some more." And also, actually during delivery, she was the one person that I could rely on to say, "Okay, push. Breathe," and I could hear that one constant voice.


Would You Recommend a Volunteer Doula?

I would absolutely recommend other women use the volunteer doula program here, at the Brookings Health System. I think it made a big difference in my delivery. It made it much easier, and it made it so I could have a natural birth without having to use any pain medication, yet still have the kinds of relief I needed to make it manageable.


Would You Recommend Brookings Health System?

I would recommend Brookings Health System for anyone who's going to be delivering a baby, any time in the future. Again, it's a small hospital, so there's a lot of personal attention. It's a place that feels more like home than a lot of the bigger hospitals in the region.