Saturday, October 25, 2008


I just got home from a 13-hour visit to the hospital. My client was induced at 6:00 yesterday morning but wasn't progressing past 4.5 cm by 10:00 at night. So the doctor did a c-section and baby was here before midnight. It was a little emotional for mom because she didn't have a lot of time to adjust to the idea of a surgical birth. But everything went fine and the baby was safe and healthy.

This was another experience where I wasn't sure what my role should be. There were five support people in the room, including me, the laboring mom's mother, and three friends. :) Once the epidural was introduced, my comfort methods weren't necessary. And once the laboring mother was tethered to her bed by a catheter, epidural, blood pressure cuff, internal monitor, and IV, there wasn't much option for moving around. Basically, we all just sat and waited...

We never once glanced at the birth plan. The scheduled induction wasn't ideal was convenient for out-of-town family members... and then the c-section became unavoidable. I wonder how to tell how serious a mom is about her birth plan, in the future. It almost seems like some moms write these lists of birth preferences disconnected from the reality of their situation. It would be nice for me to be able to set my expectations somewhat.

I've also decided I will ask a few more questions when I interview with potential clients in the future. :) Like, "how many support people do you anticipate having in the delivery room with you?" It might help me to gauge what my level of involvement would be...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

¡Numero Dos!

I attended my second birth as a doula this week. :)

This labor and delivery was different for me than the first one in a few ways. First of all, I was more familiar with the hospital environment. I knew how to read the monitors and I was familiar with more language and standard procedure. I was in a hospital that was unfamiliar to me, but I knew just enough to figure out where things were. I also had a better sense of the sounds and the smells, what an epidural is like, how often the nurse checks blood pressure, why they might use a cathater...

But, even knowing a little bit more than the first time, I wasn't necessarily a lot more comfortable, really, because I didn't feel quite so needed. The first mom I supported didn't have anyone else to share the experience with her. There was always plenty I could say or do to be of help. But this mom had a great support team in her husband and her mother. I tried to make myself helpful by doing little errands and chores, but the laboring mom was getting plenty of encouragement from her family.

Both she and her baby are healthy and happy. It was another great doula experience for me. But it also gave me something to think about, as I continue to try to understand the role of a doula and what I can bring to the birthing room. What can I offer that perhaps family members or friends do not?