Over the years serving families as a doula, this is the one topic that frequently trips people up. They are concerned about calling for a false alarm, or waking me up in the middle of the night, or calling me in too soon. I would like to touch on each one of these topics and alleviate some stress regarding when to call.
How do you know when to call your doula?
Let’s start at the beginning. When you hire me as your doula, I am a source of informational support for you and your partner from that point on. We will get together several times so that we build a relationship so that I am not merely a familiar face coming to the birthday party. I want my presence to feel like a supportive friend on delivery day. I am available for unlimited phone, email, and text support leading up to the big day. This part of what I do is offered with a guilt-free tag. I would honestly rather you call me in the middle of the night to discuss what is bothering you and for both of us to go back to bed and rest, than to find out that you spent the last two night worrying over something. When you hire me, you are paying me for the privilege of waking me up, calling me away from a family meal or event. If I and my family was not prepared to have me away for something then I will provide you with an alternative doula during that time frame.
One of my strengths is adaptability; it is one of the things that makes me a fantastic doula. I am ready to support you in person whenever the need arises. Whether that is the middle of the day or the middle of the night.
Labor and birth are predictably unpredictable. That is part of the job. I have had clients who had me on the edge of my seat for a month an a half with ‘false-start’ labors. I know those clients felt bad calling me, knowing that it might stop. But, here is the secret: I would rather know. When you hire me as your doula, I partner with you and your team. It is part of my job to empower you to trust your body and to be ready for the birth of your baby. If we have a few false starts, that is ok. We get our practice in and narrow down our response time. I love it when my clients trust me enough to be vulnerable with the ‘maybe this is it calls.’
Midnight Phone Calls
As your doula, I want to know that you are having mild contractions, or other signs of labor as they happen. Birth is unpredictable, but there are little signs along the way that can narrow the window down. There was a client one time who felt so bad about waking me up; their water had broken and they headed to the hospital and only sent a text. Please, call me. Even if you don’t want me to come right away. I would rather know something is happening so that I can prepare everything for my family while I am away.
Called Too Soon
In my contract, I do have an 18-hour clause. If I am supporting you face to face for more than 18 hours I reserve the right to charge an hourly fee to help compensate my time away from home and the extra childcare that is needed. Because of this, some families will not call me in early. Others understand and respect the extra work that they are asking me to do- but value my presence- even in the early stages.
I am never against coming whenever my clients need me. It is part of my job to help you to feel confident to labor however and where ever you wish to. It is not at all uncommon for a family to get excited about labor beginning, and to be nervous about the early stages. It can be super helpful to have me come over to reassure you that you are in labor and to go over all of the ‘what’s next.’ Once I have you settled, I can bow out, leaving you with instructions to keep me posted and I am ready to come back as soon as things pick up and you are in need of more support.
The contract you sign when you hire me states that I am officially ‘On Call’ for you starting at 37 weeks. This in no way means that you cannot call me if you happen to go into preterm labor. I, in fact, WANT you to call me at that point!! Whenever I am called early I do my absolute best re-arrange my schedule to be there for you. I have not yet had to do this, but worst case situation I can’t be there, I call my back up and I make sure that you get support.
The On Call Hustle
As a self-employed doula, I am on call nearly all the time in one way or another. There are weeks that it is more urgent and active ‘on call’. Other weeks or days it is just a small possibility that I will get a call needing support. It is part of the job and understood and supported by my family. When you hire me as your doula, part of what you are paying for is the right to call me at all hours of the day and night. Guilt-Free.
What can you do with this information? Hire me! Call me, text me or email me. I am here to educate, support and empower you!