I met Avery's mother the month before he was born. Another doula referred me to her. I called her as soon as I read the message, I was calling to set up an interview, doing all the things just as they were supposed to be done. Whatever that even means. Her mom answered: "the doula is on the phone!!!!" Wait what!? I am not your doula yet, you have to interview me! I didn't say that,but that's what went through my head. We set up a meeting for the next day, I was in a hurry, she was dues soon and we had much to do. I jabbered like a crazy person at our first meeting, going around in circles about this and that. She was young. Sixteen in fact. I had questions, who is in charge at the birth. Her? Her mother? I needed answers! Not really,but I harassed more seasoned doulas anyway.
I jumped a mile any time my phone made a peep. Is is Jme? Is she in labor? The day before the birth she called me to say her OB wanted to induce. I panicked. What's wrong? Is everything ok!? I raged and punched a wall a few times after we got off the phone. What kind of doctor wants to induce a perfectly healthy woman? The baby is fine. The mother is fine. Leave.Her. Alone. After I drove myself crazy for a while. I got myself to sit down and shut up. It's her birth,not mine. I am there to support,not run the show.
The induction was set for the next day. I had to get myself together and be prepared for a potentially very long birth. I was scrambling to figure out what to put in my doula bag. I was flat broke so I couldn't by any gadgets or any "official" doula tools. I feel very silly about all this now, as I don't really use anything from my bag these days. I packed my honey bear,Moby wrap, a sandwich,phone charger,and my manuals from my doula training. I was ready as I could get. I didn't sleep at all. I was up two hours before my alarm.
I rode to the hospital with Jme and her family. I noticed she was having contractions the whole time we were in the car. This was very exciting! Maybe her labor would take off and there would be no need for induction. Labor picked up right away, after checking in and getting settled in a room. The nurse came in and broke her water, and we were off. I was officially at my first birth. Labor picked up steadily and a stream of visitors was in and out all day. Jme labored beautifully, she was in her own space, immune to the chaos going on around her. There wasn't a lot for me to do and I didn't know what to make of that. Shouldn't I be DOING something? The answer was no, as a doula I don't always have to be doing something. Sometimes my presence is enough. Eventually she was laboring on the birthing ball and I was doing the doula's bread and butter-the double hip squeeze. At that precise moment I was a doula. Doing doula things.
As the day went by Jme was caught up in labor, she wasn't saying a much and the contractions were requiring all of her attention. She wasn't responding to all of the commotion in the room, hearing Avery's heartbeat on the monitor was meditative for her. I noticed that she was shaking through each contraction, I whispered "are you feeling pushy?" Yes. She was. Then what I like to call the baby swat team swooped in. Doctor,tech,more nurses. It was a bright sunny afternoon,what's that spotlight doing there? Avery was earthside after very little time pushing, he wasn't Avery yet. The name hadn't been decided yet. Avery? Alekzander? Every family member had an opinion, everyone wanted to hold him.
A mother,baby,and a doula were born that day. Though it took me a bit longer to not be the over excited new doula.