Before Your Doula Steps into Your Labor Room
It was 1:08 am in the morning when I received your text. It simply read, "We are ready for you.” In the haze of sleep I realized it was time, and you were requesting my presence at your birth. I replied: "on my way,” as I blinked my eyes open and forced myself to wake up and ready myself to leave my comfy warm bed in the middle of the night.
Bracing myself for the chill, I moved from under my warm covers and dressed in the darkness. I quickly entered the restroom & brushed my teeth without turning on the light.
Ready in 5 minutes, I tiptoed out of my room hoping not to wake my sleeping husband. I made a quick cup of coffee for myself and went over the items needed for this trip; client binder, doula bag, food, phone charger, clothes, water, etc.
Birth is unpredictable and I never know when I walk out my front door, exactly when I will return. I could be gone for 5 hours or 25 hours.
Once I was ready & packed, I gave a quick kiss to my sleeping husband & sneak a loving glance at my cozy slumbering children.
The day was Thanksgiving and I was oh so grateful for my family. My oldest will be disappointment that I will miss the celebration but she knows what mommy does and is prepared for me not being here when she wakes up. I pulled on a heavy sweater & hat as I slipped into the night. Fall had finally arrived in California and it was chilly.
I merged onto the 91 freeway at 1:40 am and reflected on our relationship. Our first emails about your birth and working out the details of hiring me to support you through this process.
10 weeks we worked together in my childbirth education classes as you & your husband learned how to prepare for this moment. I remembered our prenatal meeting where you invited me into your home and we talked, planned and worked out the details for your best care.
As I drove to meet you, I reflected on the last three intense days that started when your doctor gave you your induction date. We talked on the phone for a very long time about your options, choices, hospital policy & protocol. We discussed the reasons given for induction versus medical necessity. We weighed the benefits and the risks as we tried to access what your birth experience may turn into. We continued to have several lengthy conversations before you decided to agree to be induced.
As I continued on the dark & deserted freeway, I recalled the numerous (26 to be exact) text messages, in addition to multiple phone conversations yesterday with your husband as your induction began. All day I was attached to my phone, staying close to home and clearing my schedule, as well as arranging childcare so that I could join you at a moments notice.
And now, here I am at 2:00 am in the middle of the night driving to assist you on your baby's birthday. I am excited and anxious for you, but most of all I am confident in however this night unfolds. You have prepared for this moment and your knowledge has empowered you to guide your birth. I will simply follow your direction and support you as best as I know. I am proud of how strong you are and happy for what is to come.
As I got closer, I anticipated your needs reviewing the specifics we discussed and the exact tools, touch and talk you wished for. I reminded myself of your preferences and prepared myself to enter your space and to be right there in the moment for you. It is 2:06 when I walked into your birth room.
This is the back story, the less exciting part of being a doula. The part that no one sees and is not photographed. Doulas work so hard for their clients even before we step into your labor space. We research, study, connect and care. We plan, anticipate and play out all scenarios to fit your specific needs. We listen, validate and reassure. We answer your call at 1 am on Thanksgiving day leaving our own family to assist with your family’s needs.
This is the hardest job I have ever done. I give my clients my time, my compassion, my professionalism, my genuine support, and my physical touch. I feel and move with them in labor. I am nervous, anxious and excited for them in labor. I am generous, unbiased, nonjudgmental, and kind in labor.
I am your doula.