Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When A Doula Misses A Birth

This might seem like a strange topic, but in almost every interview I've attended, one of the questions is "Have you ever had two moms in labor at once?"  After over 750 births, the answer is a resounding "yes". A few times,  3 moms in laboring stages at once.  What does a doula do?

We have to have qualified backup to make sure that families who are expecting doula support for their birth - have doula support for their birth.  So a doula's backup is a very important person.  She allows a doula to take more than l birth a year - or a vacation once in awhile.  Or even to get through something like a bad cold.

Expectant moms understand that even though they may have a primary OB, many, many times they are uncertain that the doctor doing the delivery will be their primary or even perhaps a doctor they have never met.  It will be the doctor on call that day.  That is one reason some families look for a doula - to have a person in the room that they know, have developed a trust in before the birth.  It is a privileged responsibility that doulas take seriously.

In many years of attendiing births, I have a very small amount of times I have had to use a backup.  Thankfully. But it can happen and having someone who is willing and able to run to an unexpected birth, of a family that they've not met, is amazing.  And in my experience, families love the backup and are grateful for the support.

But how does the doula feel when she has to send backup.  Sad.  After months of preparing to support a family through their birth, it is so disappointing to be somewhere else and get the messages of the progress of the birth.   That has happened to me twice in a month and I have to say it has been hard to miss the births.  Of course the families have loved their birth and their doula support - which tells me that the wonderful doulas I use as backup are well qualified - and great!  But it has been so disappointing to not be the person in the room sharing the journey.  I'm just glad I'm the disappointed one - not the clients.  I'm looking forward to many more exciting birth journeys - and to hopefully making the rest of my births this year without need for backup!  But if I do need to send someone else, know that it will be  a wonderful doula.