Recently I received an email from a client of one of our doulas. She was unhappy that her doula did not come earlier to her induction. I reviewed the timeline that the doula had from the numerous texts she had had with the partner of the pregnant woman and even the phone calls she had had with her. The truth is an induction can take days to get going and can turn and get going quickly. No one knows what will happen.
I have worked with moms who were gently induced over several days before they were having any significant contractions. Our agreement states that we will come when you need us. But not being present when your labor induction begins does not allow us to hold a magic 8 ball that tells us when that will be. So, we rely on your communication. Here is a timeline of a recent birth:
- 12:19am text from dad that mom’swater may have broken. Doula suggested that she call midwives. She texted them at 1:30 to hear if they had heard anything yet. Midwife suggested resting and calling back at 7am to give them an update.
- 7:32am text that she had talked to midwife and she had wanted them to come in for antibiotics and see if they could get labor going. She was off to take a shower. Doula suggested walking and using a breast pump once she got there. 8:38am on their way over via text. Doula suggested getting something to eat and made a reference that today may be his birthday!
- 11am text that she was waiting on pharmacy for her GBS meds and they had just drawn bloodwork. She was up walking since she was having mild contractions. Midwife said that the contractions could be actual labor beginning- and guessed her to be maybe 3cm, and she said she is still having discharge coming out. Doula agreed that vaginal exams would not be good and told them she was sitting on ready- she would stay tuned. Doula asked where she was feeling these little contractions.
- Mom said that she was feeling it mostly in the front. Midwife said maybe there would be an exam at 1pm which would be 12 hours since her water had broken. It is now noon and she just finished her first big dose of antibiotics. Doula suggested during that exam to ask midwife the position of the baby. But based on what she is feeling, it sounded like a perfectly positioned baby.
- Vaginal exam at 1:37pm and she could not even feel the cervix since it was so posterior. But the baby’s head is down. Due to the GBS and her water having broken, midwife needs to give her Pitocin to get things going. 1:40pm a text to dad asking when they started the Pitocin. There is no response.
- Next text is at 3:13pm saying that midwife feels she is having a rapid start and it is time for the doula to come. He tells her they are in room 7. 3:17pm doula says she is on her way.
- Next text at 4:07pm from dad says they are getting close. Doula responds that she is parking at 4:08pm. Baby boy was born at 6:17pm.
The mom of this baby contacted me telling me she was upset that the doula did not come earlier. She is upset that the doula was only there for a few minutes ( more than 2 hours actually). But when the mom contacted me, I talked to the doula and got the actual text times for this timeline. So what is really going on here?
Sometimes moms have a squeded idea of who the birth actually unfolded. Fast births can be traumatic. Perhaps the dad did not share the texting that had been happening between the doula and the mom. This is why although I appreciate communicating with the dad or partner, communication with the mom directly if at all possible is best. Sometimes depending on traffic, it can take a while to get to the mom in Atlanta. This doula had been sitting on ready and was able to walk out the door immediately- but it still took 50 minutes to arrive.
As doulas we have no idea what is happening if you do not communicate with us. Every labor is different. But we want to be with you when you desire for us to be there. Know that. But you will need to communicate with us to let us know what is happening.
I recently had a birth where the mom was what we lovingly call a “park and push” Here is their timeline:
- I met with them on Tuesday night for four hours. I shared some optimal positioning exercises and rebozo techniques. The baby was beautifully positioned but tucked deep into her right ribs. She was barely 37 weeks.
- I received a call that night regarding some cramping and more mucus. I encouraged her to drink a let of water and try to rest. I later find out the cramps had awoken her at 4pm and she was now seeing some pinkish red show. She was also having loose stools, a release of prostaglandins.That morning she said the baby had dropped into her pelvis.
- I heard from them again on Wednesday evening. they called me at 4:45…to give me a heads up. We discussed how this could be early labor. I suggested calling the midwife to see if she could come by the office for a check. The midwife said she would be leaving soon but would ask the in call midwife to call…should get a call within the next 2 hours from midwife. She told her maybe early labor.
- I received a call at 5:27. They heard back from the midwife. She suggested they come to triage. They decided to get dinner before doing so.
- I called at 6:01, they are headed to hospital. will call me. Dad said mom is not doing good. She sounded very different than the time I had spoken to them only a half hour ago when she was barely having contractions. I asked if he wanted me to meet them. He said they are close and will call me ..don’t come yet. I was in Midtown on 85 in heavy traffic.
- I called at 6:09 after thinking about how she sounded but it was not a good connection. I thought he said he would call me back.
- 6:13 I called to say I was going to meet then there…I was downtown in rush hour it sounded like she was in very active labor. Dad was so calm. GPS was sending me onto Freedom Parkway. So I took at 2 minute detour to drop off the things I had for the meeting I was headed to. But there was so much traffic once I got off the highway and onto the streets to the hospital.
- I called at 6:57 only 1 mile away. I was on high traffic surface streets to the hospital. Dad told me that they were in room 2004 but that their baby girl was here.
- He had dropped her off at the hospital. She had waddled in. The ride over had been hard. She eventually took her seat belt off after trying to lay the seat back but not being able to do so since the birth ball was in the back seat. She turned around facing the seat with one knee down, feeling nauseous at the traffic stop she had opened the window fearing she would be sick, head out the window!
- Once in the labor area, she went to the public restroom where her water broke. She managed to open the door for her husband. A nurse attempted to get her in a wheel chair but she could not sit. She instead knelt in the wheel chair and someone got a towel to cover her now bare bottom. She was immediately wheeled down to room 2004.
- Dad had to hang up with the midwife who luckily was in the hospital. She heard them call overhead for any doctor in room 2004 and she realized that was her patient. She entered the room and four contractions later this speedy little girl entered the world at 6:44. Her placenta came within 5 minutes.
- I arrived at 7:08. Mom was resting with her hubby by her side and her baby girl on her chest.
- I stayed until it was family time and baby had nursed at 9:30
- I was glad to have been a small part of this labor of love. The dad said it was my voodoo the night before that had started everything!
Although the dad did comment that the hourly rate for all involved had been a good one, never did they state they were unhappy with the way their birth unfolded or my services. I went to visit them on day three and offered some soothing baby guidance while sharing the pictures I had taken when family arrived to meet the new little one and congratulate the family.
Both of these couples had a precipitous birth. Both had doulas who very much wanted to be there to support them. Both doulas had been communicating along the way. Both families had been supported by their doulas.So why are the stories so different on how they feel about their doulas support? I am unsure. What I do know is time some time helps to bring peace to the situation. But the key factor is communication.
Call your doula along the way. She will offer guidance. If at any time you desire her to come, invite her to do so. She wants to be there. We have no idea what your needs are unless you call us. We often hear that fast labors are like roller coaster rides, but without getting your seat belt buckled in. We want to be there to help buckle you in for the fast ride when it happens. Call us.