Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

April 5, 2014

Doulas in demand

TRAVERSE CITY — Inga Everson had a good problem — she didn’t know what “real” pain felt like.

She’d eeked through 25 lucky years with no broken bones, major surgeries or injuries a Band Aid couldn’t fix. Could she gut through natural childbirth? She had no way to know but wanted to try. So Inga and Eric Everson, of Interlochen, Googled “doula.”

“We were first-time parents. We were nervous,” Inga Everson said. “We were going in blind but I knew that I wanted to try and do it drug-free. We figured the more people we could have on our team, the better.”

The big day arrived. Doula Sarah Rasmussen met Inga Everson at the hospital, digging in alongside Eric and the midwife in the delivery room.

“At one point, Sarah rubbed my back for three hours,” Inga Everson said. “I would’ve owed my husband for that for a long time.”

Then there was the moment — as there is in every birth, assures Rasmussen — when “going natural” loses its allure.

“I was begging for it (epidural),” Inga Everson said. “But Sarah told me I was almost there, that I could do it. I believed her. She walked me back off that ledge and got me back on track.”

The Eversons got two gifts that day; the healthy, 8-pound, 11-ounce baby boy they’d expected and the empowered birth memory they’d hoped for.

“Even if we would have ended up with medical interventions, we felt like we had a say the whole way through it,” Inga Everson said. Now 27, Inga is preparing for round two. She’s 38-weeks pregnant. The family’s birth plan is the same; only this time she’ll email a copy to Rasmussen’s sister, Heather Jaworski — also a doula.

The doula duo go on call for each others’ clients and doula for each others’ childbirths. Rasmussen and Jaworski also do a lot of explaining. Hiring a doula is becoming more common but there’s plenty of “dou-wah?” confusion about what exactly a doula does.

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