Sunday, May 24, 2015
One year ago I remember being in a debate in a FB group about doulas attending unassisted birth. The question was, "If a woman gives birth in a grocery store do you help her?" Several of the licensed doulas on the page said they would not, for fear of legality or having their license taken away for operating outside scope of practice. To me the question was common sense. I will quote my words from that day: "Faith and humanity over fear and legality." I couldn't understand *why* someone wouldn't help a pregnant woman, and if I'm practicing fear-based I ought not be practicing. Friday I got called to my first unassisted birth. It was an inspired prompting that moment I went on my computer and saw a fellow colleague reaching out for a friend in labor. *In labor,* as in contractions 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 2 minutes long (a.k.a. "transition.") After a phone call, brief introduction, and what would become the world's shortest prenatal intake that would fit on a post-it note, I showered and was en-route. I knew there was to be no midwife, and I also made crystal-clear my scope of practice as a doula and that had an emergency come into play the most help I could be would be to help the couple dial 911. I felt the calling to this couple in my heart. Amidst my busy day of laundry, chores, meals, and kids, my mama heart could not let another woman labor alone. There was no question but as doubt started to creep in I had to ask myself, am I operating in fear? As I prepared mentally, spiritually, and emotionally and made the shift from SAHM life to putting on my doula hat, I had to re-affirm to myself, I do not serve out of fear. I had to throw caution to the wind as I recounted the words of those who renounced doulas attending unassisted birth. This mama needed help and I was not going to deny her. I had to remind myself, this is not *my* birth, not *my* responsibility, and that my role as a doula would be the same as it would in any home, hospital, or birthing center birth and that I was there for the mother. I reminded myself not to operate on fear, that this was my calling, and in the words of my wise midwife friend who provided moral support from afar and was there in spirit that day, "Shake your nerves lady, this is their show!" Oh, how I draw strength and support from our community of wonderful homebirth midwives. As I calm-frantically drove the windy roads of Sly Park navigated by GPS, I received this text: "Birth already happened!" Baby was here. Knowing there was still work to do in the delivery of the placenta and being that I was a quarter mile from there house, I trekked on. Upon finding their beautiful secluded home in the country I parked, took a deep breath, and walked in. The rest of the story is theirs to tell but what I can tell you is that birth happens, babies do come out, and like my midwife friend said, it's good to witness a couple do it all on their own because it reaffirms your belief to trust birth, as we as birth workers should do. I definitely feel that way. I received a message the next day that my presence was a "sweet support" and I feel that I did just enough for them in being there without taking away the grace, which is rightfully theirs, that they did it all on their own. In my life I constantly find myself in these situations where I am primed for a situation, then it happens. I continue to trust in the process. Birth work is a divine calling and I pray that I am always able to stand where I am called. Truly grateful to be a part of this sacred work, and grateful to the many families and women who teach me. Motherhood is a beautiful calling and I am grateful for the women in my life.