And now we wait…..

Dear Friends:

(Sorry SUPER long email ahead – bear with me as I get to the point here…)

I have an exciting prospect in front of me – something that makes me nervous and giddy all at the same time.  But it is something I cannot do without help from friends.

Those of you who know me well probably are aware that I am a helpless pregnancy nut and birth junkie.  (You know that when you still read books about pregnancy and childbirth even after you no longer have a uterus that it is something you are passionate about.)  I’ve toyed with the idea for years of doing something career-wise with birth for years, but the inherently unstructured schedule and my commitment as a mother has left me at an impasse.  Nevertheless, the niggling at my brain and heart has never stopped as much as I’ve tried to bury it. 

I’ve recently decided that if I take on birth work on a very, very part-time basis I may be able to make it work.  Rich and I have been talking and I now have the opportunity to enter into training for certification with Doulas of North America (DONA) to become a birth doula.  Although there are a handful of other certified doulas in the Tri-Cities, none are currently certified through DONA which is the largest and most respected doula organization in the world. Rich is on board with the idea of me taking on one birth a month if I can find adequate child care when he is unavailable.

For those of you who don’t know, a doula is a professional birth coach who is hired not by the hospital, but by the mother.  Doulas do not deliver babies.  Doulas do not just do homebirths as some believe but may work in many different birth settings such as hospitals, birth centers, and at homebirths or a combination of the three.  In our town, the largest number of women by far choose to birth in hospitals, so I’m sure the vast majority of women I’d work with would be in the hospital.  Doulas also do not (or at least should not) make any decisions about how a baby should be born or voice any personal opinions about a decision a mother and her care provider (obstetrician or midwife) have come to.  I strongly believe that doulas should never stand between a care provider and a mother and those sorts of decisions should be left to the mother to work out with her care providers which has the added affect of empowering the mother.  Doulas also don’t just attend women who have “natural births” but attend women who are having planned epidurals, inductions, and cesarean birth.  Doulas do help women in labor (and their husband/partner if present) come up with and help train/administer coping techniques for pain management and progression of labor such as massage, positions, breathing, etc.  The presence of a doula has been proven to make childbirth much easier and progress much more “normally” and, if the woman wants it, can drastically lower her need for such interventions as pitocin, pain medications, and cesarean.

Where I need help is with childcare.  And because of the unpredictability of birth, hiring childcare from a daycare of some other situation would not work.  I want to see if any of you would be interested in PAID (and on this point I insist) babysitting about once a month for 12-36 hours at a time.

What I need before I decide if I am going to take this class (I need to sign up by the end of next week) is to see if I have an adequate number of people who would be interested in getting some extra spending money for watching my children once a month.  We’ll work out the hourly fee together, but I’m willing to pay VERY WELL.  We are only sending this to people we know and trust with our children.

The plan is that I would take on no more than one client a month.  Unless the mom’s birth is scheduled (as in the case of an induction or a planned cesarean), I would not know when she goes into labor or how long the labor would be.  You might get a call in the middle of the night if Rich was out of town or he might drop them off quite early in the morning (about 5:30 am – he has to be at work at 6am Monday – Thursday).  I would provide an aerobed, sleeping bags and pillow for each of them each time because we wouldn’t know if they would be needing to spend the night.  It also might mean that you might need to take Connor to preschool.  Starting next fall, his preschool will be in the afternoon each Monday through Thursday.  I would drop off carseats with the children on the way to a birth.  You need to have a car big enough to haul my kids and yours if you have any. You would also need to feed my kids during regular mealtimes.

I could be attending to births as early as July 1.  Let me know if you would be interested in this sort of arrangement. 

Can you email me back and tell me either:

1. Yes!  I’d love the extra money and wouldn’t mind the unpredictable hours.  Put me at the top of your list.

2.  I couldn’t do it all the time, but wouldn’t mind babysitting occasionally if you can’t find someone else.  Put me down as backup.

3.  My schedule doesn’t allow me to babysit all the time as I have other commitments (job, etc.) but I would be interested in doing it as my schedule allows and taking the kids to someone else’s house on my way once I have to leave.

4.  Sorry.  This isn’t going to work for me.  (I utterly and completely understand if this is the case)

It is hard to put into words how excited (and nervous! Did I mention it makes me excitedly nervous???) this idea makes me.  Thanks for at least entertaining the idea if you read this far.  If I don’t hear from you by Wednesday, I’ll assume the answer was #4.


PS – if you know anyone that is pregnant in the area and interested in having a doula, ***my first 3 births at least would be free of charge*** as I work toward certification.  Spread the word!


3 Responses to “And now we wait…..”

  1. 1 karen May 19, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    keeping my fingers crossed for you…

  2. 2 doulicia May 21, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Good for you! Put your needs “out there.”

    I have found college students pretty flexible. They think nothing of getting a call at 3 a.m.!

    And best wishes with the doula path!

  3. 3 Agatha May 22, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Awesome. That’s awesome.

    You HAVE to do this – but you know that already. Sign up for the class, the childcare will actually take care of itself. I know that sounds flippant, but these things DO work out. They really do.

    I’m so excited for you – I’ve been trawling back through your blog & this is clearly something you NEED & HAVE to do.

    Good luck! X

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