So, I've been a doula for a year and a half now, my first client-baby was born 13 months ago. Oh, what I've seen!
I've seen doctors outright lie to moms. One felt the need to tell mom that her baby would die if the shoulders didn't come out right. This was before the head had even been delivered, so what was the point? I've seen a doctor who doesn't do vaginal births after Cesareans pretend they did, only to pull the proverbial rug out from under mom at the last minute, giving her a fictitious reason a repeat surgery would be needed. I've seen a doctor rush his patient to deliver, putting a time restriction on her pushing time just because the L&D floor was busy. If she didn't perform this nearly super-human feat? Surgical birth for no good reason. She pushed like mad and tore as her baby was born under the time limit. One nurse confided in me that needing to pick up the kids from school is a determining factor in one OBs use of Pitocin to manage labors.
But I've seen doctors cheer on a mom doing it all the old fashioned way. One mom had a very fast labor and arrived at the hospital near the pushing stage. She wore a gown and gave birth on a hospital bed, but nothing else was medical about it. She pushed her baby out on her side in 20 minutes. The doctor said, "This is how everyone should do it."
In more than one birth, it's been the nurse who saved my client from an unnecessary Cesarean birth. Recently, one of those nurses was gently coaching my client to push, counting to ten for her. My client told me later that as she blew out her breath half way (the preferred method for moms who actually want their babies to get oxygen during pushing), she purposefully opened her eyes to check the nurse's reaction to her rebellion. The nurse was apparently looking at me knowingly. The she smiled.
Families: This is the best part. I love getting tearful hugs from the new Grandmas as I say my goodbyes after a birth. They know all too well the joyful mountain top experience the new parents are experiencing. And what a sweet moment it is when a Daddy sees his child's head start to emerge. The looks on their faces the first time they lock eyes with their baby. It's fresh on my mind right now, so it stands out more, but I will never forget the pride the husband of a vbac-ing mom has. He did it, too! She wasn't alone in her quest for a vaginal birth, he supported her and even more importantly, he saw her achieve it. It's nothing like the work a Cesarean birth demands (more emotional and restrengthening afterwards). Vaginal birth is powerful from the core of her being, especially when she's fighting the system to get it. The wise husband can't miss this and he will forever be changed by witnessing her strength.
The strength of laboring women has changed me too. And I'm so glad.