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Don't get me wrong, I love being a doula. In fact, I'm not sure what I would do if I lived an entire year old my life not waiting for a little one to arrive. On call life is hard though, seriously hard.
My children know that if a baby call comes in, their day may be different the next day. They are old enough now to 'get it' but it's still something they deal with because of my career passion. I sit with women and hold their hands as they worry about their own child, I worry at the same time about mine. Is it a soccer day? Did the half time orange slices get there still? Is it Brownie night? Should I be calling home to check?
A midwife once told me, "A baby is coming to come when and where a baby wants to come". It's true. I love watching a mom achieve whatever birth vision they had in mind when labor began. I comfort moms and dads whose plans veer off the track and they deal with the reality of a birth that wasn't exactly how they planned.
On call means 3am phone calls and texts. It means calls about contractions, nausea, pains, aches, doctors who need bedside manner lessons, confusion about hospital protocols, and finally, it means the call about grabbing my birth bag, trusting my family to handle my daily duties and walking out the door to meet the laboring family.
Doula life is not glamorous. There are various ways that partners and groups handle the stress of on call life. I don't believe that any are perfect. We vent to each other. We laugh with each other. A doula sisterhood is one that I truly cherish. We aren't midwives, we aren't doctors, but we are on the front lines of some of the family concerns that maybe next filter up to the next level.
I see the journey from couple to family often. I enjoy every grueling minute. Now, if I could figure out why the birth calls always come in the night I have procrastinated filling my gas tank, that would be awesome.