The Blessing of a Doula during our Miscarriage

Janine SchullerWhy I’ve chosen to share this very personal story:

Miscarriages are still very much a taboo subject in many countries.  Women suffering in silence and how many feel their bodies have let them down.  I know as I’ve have had 2 miscarriages in 11 months.  Even though I am a healer and understand learnings from challenges and soul contracts on this earth, I felt the pain and anger with myself and frustration with the world.  But I refuse to be silent as I share my story with the hope that it helps other women going through similar situations.  Through my vulnerability of sharing I find my healing and strength and if even if 1 other women’s healing process starts, I’ve achieved something.

 

 

Will and Janine photoA little bit about our story: 

I met my partner Will at the age of 42 and we knew this was it – we were destined to be together.  We started discussing kids very early on in our relationship, by 7 months we had moved in together and 2 months later we were pregnant.  It was a miracle as I was told it highly unlikely I’d ever fall pregnant.  Sadly in January 2018 we had an early miscarriage.  I was 9 weeks pregnant when my suspicions were confirmed and after almost 2 weeks of following hospital protocols it was confirmed our baby never developed a heartbeat and we were booked in for a DNC.   We took a break from trying for a baby to heal and by end of August we were pregnant again.

We were over the moon, this was going to be it, and we were finally going to be parents.

 

 

Baby Scan 13 weeksOur 2nd Pregnancy:

Our baby had a lovely strong heartbeat at both the 7 and 9 week stage and as scared as I still was, I was starting to relax a bit more.  By 9 weeks I was prescribed Cariban tablets for extreme vomiting and 24/7 morning sickness were I was practically bed ridden.

At our 12 week scan we saw our baby’s heartbeat again, but this time I asked them to check the NT (nuchal translucency, which can flag any concerns with Downs Syndrome).  I wanted this due to the risk with my age (almost 44) and to get support at an early stage if need be.  Normal fluid is 3 /3.5mm and ours was 5.5mm.  We immediately had a Harmony Test sent off to the UK.  The following week we had our Booking appointment at 13 weeks 2 days and we saw our baby’s heartbeat again.  The next day the hospital called confirming the Harmony Test results had arrived and we were scheduled in the following morning.

That Friday the Dr confirmed our baby BOY had Downs Syndrome.  We took a few days to digest this information, but we were fine with this.  We just wanted to welcome our baby boy into this world.  We knew we were strong individuals and a strong loving couple who were fully capable of raising out special baby boy.

The following week at 14 weeks 2 days we were back at the clinic to receive results for more blood tests.  Out of the blue I asked to see the baby’s heartbeat.  Sadly our baby wasn’t moving and the there was no heartbeat.  In a state and heartbroken we were sent to the hospital for validation.

I just couldn’t believe we had lost another baby.  The hospital confirmed that measurements showed the baby had passed at 13 weeks 4 days (the day after we saw his heartbeat the week before, the same day the hospital called to say they had our Harmony Test results).

 

 

Aine DoulaWhy we chose a Doula:

I’m very fortunate to know Aine Ni Chuirrin from West Coast Doulas and I had already requested her services for the birth of our baby.  She helped me so much with the difficulty of being diagnosed with Hyperemesis (and the need of Cariban), with support and tips when I was weak.  She was there through our Harmony Test results with words of encouragement.  Sometimes she was there for me before I even knew I needed her support.

My partner and I are very connected and close and through my 1st miscarriage I could see and feel his pain as he watched me going through physical and emotional pain.

As I was 15 weeks 2 days pregnant and our baby was almost 14 weeks in size, I had to birth him and this was very overwhelming for me.  I knew this too would have a big impact on Will and so I know we needed Aine to hold space and support both of us.

It was the best decision we ever made!!

 

 

Doulas hospital kitHow our Doula helped us through our miscarriage:

Aine arrived and helped me settle in.  She arrived with a bag of stuff – she had hot water bottles and a flask of boiling water to help with the cramps and for comfort.  She had my favourite oils to hand which she placed in a diffuser.  The smells calmed and uplifted me just when I needed them.  She had suggested to Will he pack in my favourite blanket and pillow and something that had his scent on it.  It started feeling less like a hospital and more homely.  When the cramps started she was rubbing my feet with lovely smelling oils to calm me and she reminded me to focus on my breathing.  She had me sipping water when needed and when we were right in the thick of it and I was burning up she even had a hand held fan to cool me down.  She was there for Will when he needed her, she kept him calm and helped him soothe me.  My placenta wouldn’t come and we were trying everything to avoid surgery, she even had a Homoeopathy in Childbirth kit to aid with that.

She knew when to walk out the room to give Will and I space (when it was time to hold the baby) and just to be together.  And she was there right till the end, I mean till I returned from surgery and was back in my bed.  She kept Will calm till I returned.

There is no way our experience could have been so special and less traumatic if it wasn’t for our Doula.  For that we are eternally thankful to her for sharing her gift with us.

 

 

west coast doula flyerHospitals and Doula’s:

This is a service that should, but sadly isn’t, advertised in most hospitals.  I strongly feel this needs to change.  Now if you asked if you could have a Doula present at a miscarriage or birth, they don’t object at all.  I think Aine was the first Doula the midwives and staff had worked alongside in the hospital we were at.  I’m hoping they noticed the impact she had on our experience and start promoting this service.  I hope the Doula’s in Ireland push and promote in hospitals as it’s invaluable.

 

I believe things will change and most people will start to know what a Doula is and how they are a gift not only to us women, but our partners too.  You don’t have to be spiritual to have a Doula present, a Doula has very practical experience that helps you and your partner stay more relaxed during the process.

 

 

 

lady holding sparklerThank you Aine, and thank you West Coast Doula’s, for uniting to nurture women and men through the hardship of miscarriages or the joys of birth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With miscarriages sadly being more common in our society, it’s times like this that we need the extra support.

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