Photo: Doula bag, work shoes, and my coffee.
Over the years, I have had clients who have gone 2 weeks over, 2 weeks early, or a lot earlier. I have had clients who have needed to be induced early due to health issues with the mom. The percentage of people who go into labor and give birth on their estimated due date is 3-5%: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-on-inducing-labor-for-going-past-your-due-date/ To say that a doula’s biggest gift is being flexible in her planning is probably and understatement.
When I choose to work with a family, I am connected and committed, even though I always have another doula waiting in the wings. I will do everything to be there for my families.
This past Monday was a crazy series of events which lead me on into caring for three clients whose babies all decided that Monday was the day to start labor and come out to meet their families. It started with an induction; this sweet baby was teasing theparents and the doctors by flipping breech. So when they found that she had flipped back head-down they decided to induce to reduce the risk that she would flip again. Since I knew this baby was coming a little earlier than planned I reached out to my back-up so I would have someone on call for me since I knew I had another client due that day, but you know 3-5% are good odds for me.
While I was waiting for my client who was being induced to need me to be there providing physical support (the induction started at 4pm), another client’s partner calls. The second mom is in active labor, ( I can hear her in the background). So I head to the hospital and call my back up. Her car is not working well, but she will come in if I need her. So, client number one has an AMAZING and quick birth, she had a baby in her arms about 20 minutes after getting to the hospital. After the baby is born my other clients asks me to come around 10pm.
I check in with my back up and let her know that everything is A-OK, then I jump into support with my first client who was being induced. We labor through the night, and at 2 AM I get another call…. a third client is in labor, they say they will call when they need me. I check in with another doula who’s car isn’t risky incase I need back up again. The induction baby is born around 3:40am, after they are settled my third client is ready for some support. So I jump in with client number 3, and provide 18+ hours of support for this client. We welcomed her daughter into her arms at 8:51pm Tuesday.
I was very tired, but also very committed. As I stated earlier, I am invested in the success and support of each of the clients who welcomes me into such an special moment for them.I have a village who supports me in the work that I do. Without them, I couldn’t have pulled off this marathon of work. My family brought me breakfast, a friend brought me lunch, and others brought me coffee.
Some months, each birth is stand-alone, and sometimes, you end up in a marathon. I am so thankful to the other doulas who where there and had my back, and to the friends and family who checked on me and made sure that I was nourished throughout my 25 hour stay at the hospital. I am also so thankful and thrilled that I was able to provide wonderful care and support to each of my families.