I got thrown into the grown-up deep end part of the pool recently with doula stuff. I had 3 births in 3 days and one of those births was over 24 hours long. Another was a VBAC mom and originally planning on having a home birth and last minute changed her mind. And the third was a home birth. I saw so many different situations and things play out that my mind was pretty full and tired by the time I drove home from the last birth.
I learned a lot. Some funny and some more serious. But all important.
1. Always bring your bag like you are in it for the long haul. Since the first mom was 7cm I thought I wouldn’t need all of my stuff. 36 hours of having my contacts in and none of my snacks I love so much didn’t do me any favors.
2. Never be afraid to ask for something. The worst they can say is no. I did get to do help these moms by being bold [and oh so polite] by asking straight forward for something.
3. Some things and some births are just hard. No one did anything wrong and sometimes things just go nothing like you planned.
4. Always always have caffeine nearby.
5. Keep honey sticks in your doula bag. All 3 births had a situation where they were needed. 2 moms needed that boost of energy and one poor momma passed out. I kinda bought those with the idea that they would go bad before I ever used them…
6. I couldn’t do this job without the support of my husband. We were moving the weekend all 3 births took place. And each time John would send me away with a smile and tell me to “be there”. And believe me, I know moving by himself wasn’t wasn’t his idea of a rockin time.
7. By the 3rd birth, I’ll be honest, I cried when I got the call to come. But the minute I walked into the house and saw this momma doing this amazing thing, I was refreshed. I have moments of tired and headache and cranky. But I have many more moments of awe, pride, critical thinking and fulfillment.
8. One of the hardest things is after I get home. I get home at 4am and Harper and Phin still get up in the morning and need me. I’m at a 24 hour birth? That don’t matter in babyland. Learning how to continue giving even on a empty tank. But I think that’s a good thing to be better at.
Adjusting to this lifestyle is hard, but worth it. John and I had lengthy conversations before I started to pursue this dream and we both still know we made the right choice. I’ll never know it all and even when I’m considered an experienced doula I’ll still be learning and growing. It’s just up to me to have a heart that’s open and willing to learn.