Somedays I spend so much time worried about my clients or tied up in thinking about ways to improve the system that I stop to stop and think about all of the really neat things I’ve seen in my career. So, in no particular order, here are some changes I’ve noticed in my thirty-odd years of working as a birth professional:
- Labor/Delivery/Recovery (LDR) Room: I am so grateful for the combination that is the LDR room. I’ve even had a few experiences with the LDRP rooms, the P is postpartum. Being able to settle in and not have to make the wild ride down the hall on a stretcher that would invariably hit a wall or door along the way jarring the passenger at a crucial time is such a big deal. Though it was quickly normalized and I don’t think of it too often. I just walk into the hospital and help my client settle in.
- Nitrous Oxide: This is fairly new in my area, despite being a long-time option in other places. I love having an option that allows a person to choose something that they have a bit more control over and allows them to still feel their body – all while promoting relaxation. It’s portable and moves around, allowing some movement and ease. And goodness knows I love how quickly it can work for those who choose it.
- Healthy Babies Stay in the Room: When I first started working as a doula, every single baby would have mere moments in the room with parents before being unceremoniously whisked to the nursery for a mandatory four-hour observation. This leads me to my next point…
- Delayed Procedures: Those precious few minutes a baby was in the room after the birth were mostly spent having routine procedures like weighing, and poking. The parents were simply able to watch while that happened.
- Skin to Skin Care: I can’t believe we had to convince anyone that this was a good thing. I feel like it’s pretty obvious if you’ve ever held a tiny baby. Many places of birth consider this the standard of care now.
- The Lack of Drapes: There used to be so many drapes. Everything was that hospital green/blue as they covered anything that wasn’t medical equipment in a sterile drape. You could barely see anything and then out would pop a baby’s head. It was very strange. This was one that wasn’t fast to depart. First, we had a period of time where there was a single green drape over the abdomen – you know, we’d hate to put a baby on germy skin of its parent.
Yes, we still have a ways to go. Yes, there are things I wish were different. But sometimes we need to look backward and realize that while there is the road ahead of us, there are wins along the way.