The Doula, the Duel, and the Medulla Oblongata

"Ned" the Nightlight

The most stressful time of the year has arrived and I can feel the knots in my stomach welling up as I struggle to survive the next 2 weeks.  Like Zig’s Medulla Oblongata (now fully formed and developed) I am an automated machine hammering out projects and responsibilities.  Breathe in…breathe out.  Breathe in…breathe out.  Repeat.  I completed the final grand opening of the year and have only 1 travel day left in my schedule but boy what a day it will be.  I leave tomorrow at 5am to drive to Lawton, OK and interview two of my top performing guys about their success for a piece that is due Friday of next week.  In between now and then I have 3 all day phone conference meetings, a marketing strategy due tomorrow, 2 ROA’s to assemble, 19 markets to follow-up on local advertising, 3 house guests, moving Kate’s office to the bedroom, and of course Christmas shopping.  I am dueling with time…and time is winning.

There are a some shining moments though.  Zig has begun moving downward into the pelvic area and Kate’s cervix is slightly softer…tell tale signs we are entering the home stretch!  With less than 5 weeks to go I cannot wait to meet my son face to face at last.  I am not scared of being of father.  I will confess that I have been quite nervous about the birth.  Okay…quietly and internally panicking.  Every birth class I feel more and more confident that we can do a natural childbirth – at the same time I become more and more nervous about how I will cope with seeing Kate in pain.  I am “The Protector.”  I have and always will do anything to keep my friends and family from suffering any pain at the expense of my own happiness.  I am comfortable with sacrifice.  I feel an overwhelming urge to protect Kate from everything.  I perceive her as this fragile chalice when in fact she is a sturdy woman.  Her body is designed to give birth…naturally.

I’ve seen friends run a marathon.  I know you have to train for them.  I wouldn’t go out and run a marathon today without training right?  Same goes for childbirth…you need training.  I had been reading about doulas for a while and brushing it off as something hippy dippy that was not for me.  However, the more I read and the closer we get to birth the more I understand the role of the doula and how beneficial it would be.  Kate and I both agreed we were copacetic to the idea of a doula IF the right person came along.  Last night…she did.

We interviewed a woman named Molly Stephenson at our home and it was immediately obvious, we both wanted her to be a part of our birth.  We have been trying to figure out who in the family could be a helper who had positive birth experience…and who we were both comfortable inviting into this intimate experience.  The answer was to let family play the role of family and the doula play the role of support/coach.  She has 4 kids of her own, has helped deliver tons of babies, is about the same age as us, and has similar beliefs and mantras for life.  She has an amazing background in philosophy, massage, and most importantly nurturing.  The biggest plus was just that she exudes calmness, experience, knowledge, and care.  Everything Kate and I both need in the delivery room.

The Stroller Awaits Zig
Hiring her was an IMENSE weight lifted off my shoulders.  Its like having an ace up your sleeve.  Kate and I are still going to be together giving birth to this child as a team but now we have a coach who can help us answer questions, be there for needs, or step back when not needed.  An unobtrusive participant.  It is really awesome.  I still keep Ribbiqua (the rattle) by my bed to calm my nerves and keep me grounded.  It reminds me that I am stressed about stupid work stuff…things not related to the beauty of pregnancy, birth, and parenthood.  I get to be a dad.  I feel very blessed.  We have named a nightlight “Ned,” I assembled the stroller which is sitting quietly waiting to go on wintery walks, and we have begun singing him to sleep at night.  It is almost go time.  I couldn’t ne more excited.

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