“Baby Doula” Turns “Big Girl Doula” Overnight!
“But I’m just a baby doula!”
These were the words that I practically wailed to myself as I packed up my car and zoomed down the highway to meet my FIRST clients at the hospital for the birth of their baby.
It was happening!
My first birth as a doula!
My work partner had communicated to me earlier that was she was sick, and I agreed to be her backup. I thought I had days to get myself together… I had 3 hours!
The client went from having contractions 10 mins apart to 4 mins apart within 3 hours!
I was just getting into bed to get some sleep when I got the call to meet them at the hospital. Can you say… ADRENALINE RUSH?!?!
The rest of my night was what I can best be described as a FRENZY. I quickly gathered myself and a few essential belongings, before heading out. I don’t know why my essential choices were nail clippers and a banana but I can sort through that later…
Next time, I will already have a bag packed and in my car! Babies wait for no one, and this was my first lesson.
So I’m back in the car, heading to the hospital when the doubt started to creep in.
What if I’m too nervous?
Too new at this?
What if they don’t like me?
Would they resent me if something went wrong during their birth?
I wanted everything to be perfect.
I wanted enough time to present myself AS perfect.
The soothing voice of Leon Bridges came over my radio, but I was anything but soothed. I was just a baby doula! So fresh and out the gates of training just 6 weeks ago!
My training with ProDoula had gone great, and I definitely left there feeling like I could tackle the world.
Seriously, Randy Patterson is so motivating and encouraging that she could teach a workshop on how to lick your own elbow (practically impossible for most of us) and we would all come out as CERTIFIABLE ELBOW LICKERS!
I wondered where that feeling of doula greatness had gone as I pulled into the parking lot of the hospital…
When did I become such a bundle of nerves?
The pressure was on, and I didn’t know if I was ready for it.
I met the client and her partner in the waiting area of the Labor and Deliverer unit and suddenly I realized that the feelings of doubt I was having, simply didn’t matter. I didn’t put my emotions on the back burner, they simply just evaporated as the bigger picture came into view.
My client’s partner started on the registration, while I walked over and hesitantly greeted the client. She looked so very, very tired. I could see that her contractions were starting to mount on top of each other, barely giving her time to breathe. She was squirming around in the wheelchair, unable to walk or stand and I could see the gooseflesh rise up on her arms as the chills took over.
Like trying to get the best score on a game of Tetris, my priorities fell into perfect order.
This wasn’t about me!
It wasn’t about my lack of experience, or my nerves, because I had been given skills.
I knew exactly how to tackle this, and as I crouched down and she weakly smiled at me, something in me shifted. Some call this, “putting on your doula hat” but to me, it felt like I went through a whole magical girl transformation!
Confidence ran up my arms and legs and into my heart as I stepped into this role of being a Doula.
I felt so happy just being a part of their experience alone. Although I was there as the backup doula, and not who they originally had been working with, I was still going to show up and be exactly what they needed. I reminded myself that this family had fully paid for this service.
They were expecting professionalism and competency and I could absolutely provide that.
Things progressed pretty quickly from there. By the time we got her in the bed and situated, she was fully dilated and effaced.
I supported her through a couple of interventions that she had previously opted against but now decided she’d like.
I was there to calm her fears and help her and her partner understand what the physician was saying. I (a baby doula!) even taught he partner some moves on how to best assist his wife during pushing!
The baby was born in what appeared to me to be a peaceful manner. He didn’t cry and instead, just mewled and made gurgles as he stared up at his parents. It was a truly heartwarming thing to witness. I hung around a little longer, made sure my client and her partner was all set, and then quietly excused myself to give them some family time.
I left the hospital and cried tears of joy and triumph because as it turned out, I wasn’t a baby doula, I was a ProDoula and I now know that this is my career and I can absolutely do this again, and again.
It’s official! I am a BIG GIRL DOULA!
Authored by: Rae Braxton