Friday, October 12, 2012

Lessons Learned

I had the great experience to attend a birth with a fellow doula. It was great to see things from a new perspective. I have only my own limited experience to draw from so it was nice to see how other doulas care for their clients. It was a very long day. I was awake for almost 24 hours. I have never been the type to stay up late and I found that I am really not good at it.

Here are some things that I learned:
  1. Always have snacks 
  2. Adrenaline is awesome but carries a large whammy afterward. 
  3. People are always watching to see how/what you are doing
  4. Never underestimate the power of small things 
  5. You are not just caring for mom, but dad as well 
The miracle of birth humbles me every time, no matter the place or circumstance. Being a part of that moment when families are created or expanded is breathtaking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is in YOUR Bag?

The bag of tools and tricks. The DOULA bag. As a new doula, the idea of a bag seemed kind of intimidating. What if I needed something that I didn't have? What should I put in it? Etc...  These are the questions that began plaguing me shortly after I confirmed with my first client. I researched and found a TON of great ideas, which would probably weigh about that much if you had some of everything. I decided that I couldn't have everything and made my decisions on what felt right for me.

I am the doula, I have the training and knowledge in my head that is the real key to assisting in the birthing process, so the things in my bag needed to reflect that.  Here are the contents of my bag.

I know that it is hard to see everything so I broke it up into smaller parts.

The contents of my toiletry kit. This stuff is just for me. So that I can still feel like a human being after 12+ hours of being awake. :) 

The Essentials
<------ My essential oils, fractionated coconut oil and medicine syringe; lotion and my helper book about oils in maternity care. This is a travel case I use for all - well a lot of the oils I use myself, so I just toss it in the bag so that I have what I need.

Volleyball Knee Pads

Basic first aid- just in case

Spray bottle- for misting

Extra batteries, phone charger adapter, Ipod and travel speaker/charger, birth ball pump and massage tool
I take my bag with me to interviews so that I can answer questions. so I keep several copies of my paperwork, (for my certification) as well as a notebook for notes, and a few additional resources.
I usually have snacks, but they got eaten and haven't been replaced. I like fruit snacks, Fiber One bars, honey sticks, and those dark chocolate pomegranate aryls from Costco.  But that is totally up to you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Certification as a doula through D.O.N.A. is not an easy process. There is a ton of reading to do, and the training workshops, and the classes and the paperwork and finding the first few births and getting all the evaluations back...

I am coming to the end of this process and I am still as happy and excited to be a doula as I was when the idea first occurred to me... probably even more so.   I get asked all the time to explain what a doula is and why I choose to be one. I honestly don't know how to explain except to say that the whole process resonates with my soul on a level that I have never felt before. I love helping people and knowing that I have made even the smallest difference in their lives. I appreciate the miracle of birth and it's ability to enlarge families as they welcome new members. It is not an easy process, there is a lot of waiting, and anticipation; there is also a lot of aspects that are just out of your control.

I have not experienced the full range of possibilities that is labor and delivery yet, but I look forward to every late night call, every determined grimace, and the brightness of each new little face as it enters the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do You Doula?

I found this video online and thought it was great. I know that it explains a lot and gives different perspectives on the whole process.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What is a Doula?

Doula what???? 

When I tell people that I am a doula, I usually get the confused look and head nod... "oh yeah... What is a doula?"   In the simplest terms, a doula is a professional labor support person; but, for me, it is so much more.   A doula is an advocate for the birthing mother and father. She cares about the couple and works toward helping provide the birth that the family would like to have.  For dad, a doula can be a reassurance and help him know what he can do to support mom. Lets face it, childbirth classes are great, but what if you don't remember something, or draw a blank?  A doula in no way replaces Dad's job when it comes to the birth of his child.

How it works:

Generally speaking, a doula meets with potential clients in a consultation format to see if the doula is a good fit for the couple. It is best if a couple looking for a doula meets with several before making the final decision.  Once a doula is hired, the number of prenatal visits varies. The purpose of the prenatal visits is to get to know each other. Being present for a birth is a very intimate moment, one where you don't want people you can't trust.  I like to learn what the couple's expectations are for the birth and how they foresee things going, what relaxation techniques work best etc.  We also work out the schedule for when to call and answer any questions. Many doulas will also make themselves available for prenatal Dr. visits if that is something that is desired. After that, it is really just a waiting game. I put myself  'on call' for the two weeks before and after the due date.  Which basically means that I don't travel more than an hour away from home and try not to make plans that would be devastated by being interrupted by being called in.

As a doula, I do not perform any medical procedures whatsoever. But I do provide emotional, physical and informational support.  Physical support can include, but is not limited to: massage (hands, feet, shoulders, back), counter pressure, and position change suggestions. Informational support can be as simple as letting mom know that what she is feeling is normal, to reviewing the pros and cons of different options.

Bottom line:

A doula can be a great option for any woman no matter the birth she wants to have. Going 'natural' is not a prerequisite in order to have a doula. A doula will provide as much or as little support as the family wants, and will be a positive influence and advocate during the birthing process. 

Year in Review...

Over the last year a lot of things have happened on the doula front for me.   First and foremost I have been honored to attend 2 births. My first birth was at the end of June it was a beautiful experience that went about as well as you could hope for. The second was in August and it was just as amazing as the first.  Both babies were healthy and beautiful. Those moments are the most miraculous of my life.  I have a few other births potentially scheduled for the end of November and the beginning of December.

I observed a hypnobabies class and learned a lot!   I think that this labor technique is awesome. Having never used it during a birth myself I can't vouch for that aspect, but I do know that the hypnosis works for me, especially when I can't fall asleep at night. :) I also recently attended a special training to be a hypno doula. Which means that I am even more prepared to support moms who choose to use this technique.

I love being a doula!  It is the best thing ever.  :)  I only wish that I could do it full time without having to worry about having a 'real' job. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

DONA Doula training

I just had one of the best weekends of my life. I went to my birth doula training!  I have been looking forward to attending training for a while and finally had the chance to do it. 

I have found that even just the idea of being a doula inspires me. I  am so excited about the opportunities that are now before me. I learned so much during training , not just about being a doula, but about myself and what I am truly capable of. I can love people and I do love people. I want the chance to help people have a wonderful, life changing birth experience.  Because birth truly is life altering. A couple goes from being just the two of them to a family of 3, or the family increases in size.

I know that our bodies were made to do the work of birth. We can do it even though it seems impossible, even when society tells us we don't have to. We really need the experience to be completely fulfilled in our role as women. How wonderful it is to feel the power that we all have within us, coming to the forefront that we can then draw on in the future because we know it is there.

I can't wait to experience my first birth as a doula!