Mindy Jin is a certified midwife and doula. She joined the FWH team several months ago, but has worked with Dr Ferguson and other team members for over 5 years now.
1. Why did you choose to become a doula?
There was one experience before I came to FWH that really proved to me how important doulas can be. I was working as a midwife at a local hospital. There was patient who requested an epidural, but she was so afraid that she would jump every time we tried to touch her back. Under that circumstance we were unable to administer the epidural. She was in so much pain that her husband was yelling in helplessness. His frustration was understandable, but it added so much stress to the birth team and the patient herself, that I really wished there was someone there to communicate between the family, the patient, and the doctors.
2. What actually do you do, as a doula?
Basically, a doula is a personal birth coach that stays with you throughout your delivery. We serve to bridge the gap between professionals and patients. FWH doctors are excellent at taking physical care of patients, and focus on their emotional care too, but sometimes they need to focus on the medical care more. As Doulas, we fill in the blanks by focusing on mental and emotional wellbeing. We take care of not just patient’s every need, but her family’s and baby’s, as well. This can be the difference between having just a safe, normal birth experience versus an amazing, unforgettable one.
3. How did you join FWH?
When I first transitioned from local hospitals to work at International Hospitals in Shanghai, I really enjoyed getting to know every patient as a friend, rather than a case number. Then I met Dr Ferguson and her support team. With them, I felt this personal interest on an even deeper level - and that’s why I chose them to deliver my own second child. When I was feeling pain, Dr Ferguson and her nurses’ every word and touch made all the difference. Their consideration for me showed through each detail, even the smallest look, and it determined how I faced my second birth - with courage, rather than fear. I wanted to be part of this experience, and to help provide this kind of care. So, when Dr Ferguson decided to expand her own support team, I followed her!
4. Can you give another example of how you have helped a patient?
Only recently, there was a patient who had her first birth at another hospital. She told us she had been in labour for a day, when the doctor suddenly told her, without explanation, that she had to have a c-section. She felt pain throughout, and she was not in a good state to breastfeed her baby until two days postpartum. The second time round, she came to us, adamant that she wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).
During labor, we tried everything to relax her. But, after more than 24 hours of labor and very little dilation, it was clear that her labor was not progressing. When my client heard this, she was so distraught. Never have I felt the need for emotional support more, when she was reliving the trauma of her first c-section. The entire team made sure she was comfortable. Her husband and I took care of her throughout, and Dr Ferguson and the anesthesiologist made sure she felt no pain. Finally, the baby came, and immediately I helped her to initiate skin-to-skin and breastfeeding in the operating room.
The second day, when I returned to check on her, the baby was breastfeeding perfectly. I will never forget the words she said to me: “Mindy, it’s magic!”
Some people believe that a Doula is only for “natural birth” but this really demonstrates the wide range of situations where a Doula’s touch is beneficial.
5. What’s unique about you as a doula?
Since I am also qualified as a midwife, I well understand the medical situation and procedures as well, and can help my clients understand their options.
Finally, one of my beliefs is that doulas should help provide a triangle of support for the patient - doula, husband and family, patient. FWH doulas encourage the partner to be a part of the experience - helping the doctor deliver the baby, and cutting the cord. Only if everyone around the patient is calm and informed, can the patient be confident, too.