Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Storms vs Full Moon

We have often heard moms looking at the calendar and declaring their birth will no doubt come on a certain day because there will be  a full moon.

Although I'm sure there is some scientific evidence to prove that this may be true, i.e., barometric pressure changes, I have been in labor floors before with the place empty on the night of a full moon.  I've had moms who were almost 42 weeks and the night of the full moon passed with no labor beginning. I have actually seen more labors start during storms.

Of course this seems very inconvenient since the doula is racing through the rain and wind on wet streets  in the early morning hours to reach the laboring couple - but such is the nature of the job.  And then we can be in a lovely labor room enjoying the birth while the rest of the area has to deal with the storm's fury.

I really don't mind the rain - what I like the least is fog.  There is nothing more scary to me than navigating the causeway at 2am with the fog so thick that you can barely see a foot in front of the car.  I can still remember getting a frantic call from a client at about that time - obviously labor was proceeding rapidly - and I'm trying to get to Davis in a thick fog - quickly but safely - and half asleep.  I'm happy to report I did make it before the baby arrived - but barely.

It would be so handy to be able to predict when a labor is going to begin by looking at the weather report or the full moon listings on the calendar.  But it just isn't that simple.  Babies don't seem to have those at their disposable to use to coordinate their appearance.

So the next time you are starting to drift off to sleep with the rain and wind pounding outside, imagine the doulas navigating the storm to get to a birth.  And rest assured your doula is willing to meet the challenge of dealing with all these situations to be at your side as quickly as possible to welcome the arrival of your little one!

Friday, November 16, 2012

When Your Doula Is Away

As I'm finishing up a well earned vacation, I'm reminded of a common question I am asked.  "What happens if you are not available for my birth?"

Good question.  Having supported families for decades I can say that having to bring a back up doula  into the process is rare.  All hard working doulas take their responsibility to be available very seriously.  That means any plans we make are always "tentative".   We know we are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.   Dental appointments, parent teacher conferences, giving family a ride to the doctor, special dinners out..all have to be cancelled if a family has a need.

But this continuous schedule can be stressful after a long period of time, a break is needed.  I try to get out of town twice a year.   When I return, I'm happy once again to be on call for the families who have chosen to have doula support.

But while away, I make sure that I have a dedicated doula on call for these families.  So what happens if I'm not available?   Another hard working and qualified doula will be available to support them.  

I'm back on call at midnight and continuously until the next great vacation is planned. Thanks to all those wonderful doulas who provide backup so I can get away and regroup! Thanks to all the families who have chosen doula support but also support my getting away for a vacation!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The word "induction" can strike fear in the heart of many expectant moms.  There are two main fears - that the pain will be unmanageable and that starting with an intervention will lead to many more.

So when is induction a good plan?

No matter how wonderful our plans can be for an intervention free birth - sometimes a mom's health or a baby's health dictate a change in plans.  So when either mom or baby are compromised, an induction can be a good plan.

In working with your medical team, make sure you understand the details.  How will the induction start?  Are there several options in beginning this process?  If one doesn't start labor - what is the next step?  Will this be a slow process allowing labor to kick in - or are there medical reasons that it needs to be moved along more quickly?

Will you be allowed to eat up to a certain point, if labor does not start by evening, do you have the option to turn everything off, shower, eat and sleep before starting again.

What will your limitations be with the method of induction chosen?  Will you be able to move around? Will you need constant monitoring?

These are all questions to discuss to come to a medically sound, safe process of induction.

I've seen many families go through an induction unmedicated and with a happy ending. There are definitely inductions that don't lead to many more interventions.  But if that happens, just keep asking questions so that you feel informed of the choices made.

Having a doula to support you through this process can be a great help.  But in any case, be well - and try not to fear that induction can lead to a bad memory of your birth.