The Power of Milk - DONA International

dona.org

The Power of Milk - DONA International

essay — multiculturalSight UnseenBy Marianna Terhune, CD(DONA), CMA, LS, CBEIalways try to make sure every This time during their second birth atmother and father feels like the same hospital the staff was extremelythey had control of their respectful of the couple’s impairmentbirth and that their voices and wishes for their baby’s birth. It waswere heard. When working with a couple important to them that the baby’s fatherwith impairments, this becomes even be very involved. The midwife introducedmore challenging. Their basic needs are herself and said she understood that thethe same, but the little details become husband was her assistant, getting him theextremely important. This includes making scrubs he requested, which made themsure that items are not moved without smile. The parents had full control of theletting them know, announcing who birthing process, with the staff’s respectfulis entering or leaving their space and guidance. The birthing woman touchedmaking sure that they are fully aware of herself as often as she needed to so thatany touching. The why, who, where and she could truly feel the progress and knowhow are even more pertinent and crucial where her baby was at all times. Whenin this situation for them to feel in control. the baby was crowning she rubbed thePart of a doula’s responsibility is to protect head and talked about the ring of fire. Thethe birthing environment. It is important midwife helped the father guide his babyto create a birthing space that invokes out into the world and he placed the babyall of the senses: sight, sound, taste, on the mother’s tummy. Both parents heldsmell, touch, balance and acceleration, the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsingtemperature, kinesthetic sense, pain and while talking to and stroking their newother internal senses to be calm.baby girl. The midwife helped the father toRecently I attended my second birth with clamp and cut the cord.a visually impaired couple. The womanis completely blind and the man only hassome vision at extremely close range. Theyare an amazing couple. He is studying forhis bar exam and she is on sabbatical fromher job as a counselor for the blind.During their first birth three years agoI was constantly reminding the staff thatthe couple was visually impaired despitethat it was noted on their chart and birthplan and posted on their door so anyonewho entered their space would know. Thestaff did not announce themselves whenentering the room, they did not explainwhat they were doing, they asked them tosign on the “X” and gave only visual clues.It was a bit challenging!As the new baby snuggled and wasloved by her mother the midwife explainedin great detail about the placenta andamniotic sac, letting the parents explore itwith their hands so they could understandwhat supported their baby in the womb.They identified the tree of life, placentaand sac.Baby self-attached with a little gentleguidance and nursed on both breasts withthe full support of the staff, where sheremained for two hours before newbornprocedures were done.It was an incredible experience towitness the birth journey as a part oftheir world. I now truly appreciate thelittle things that we sometimes take forgranted.Marianna Terhune is a DONA certified birth doula,certified midwife assistant, certified lactationspecialist and all around birth advocate who lovesthe process of birth and making a differencewhen a new life comes into this world. A goodfriend describes her as being a guardian angeland guide for newborn babies.It is important to create a birthing space thatinvokes all of the senseswww.DONA.org 23

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