Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The "Middle Wife"

A friend of mine emailed me this because it's funny. We have no idea if it's true or not, but regardless, it's too stinkin' cute not to share!

The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid,takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

"First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe.

They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there in the first place.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat.

I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's Show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Voodoo Doula?

I have a twin. Just a Doula twin, but I love her. Mainly because I think she is me. Or I'm her, or she wants to be me... Either way, she has made me laugh, read my mind, encouraged me in some challenging moments, and reminds me that I'm not weird. Correction,that I'm not the only one who is weird.

We call each other "twin" because we have a freakish amount of things in common, both in our doula-ness and real life. Not that doula-ness isn't real life, but, well, you know what I mean! 

I'm pretty sure the reason we live on opposite sides of the county is for the safety of those around us! I am often told that I don't "seem like the doula type". Okaaaayy??.... never sure how to reply to that! Maybe this will explain what goes through some peoples mind when they hear the word doula and respond like this: hula? houd-la? dou-la-la? cool-a? Oh! Doula? ok, what's that?  

From here!  

I promise I only wear my voodoo outfit when I'm barbecue-ing  a placenta. (kidding. really.)  Maybe the reason OB's think that is because they usually only see us when we have sprung out of bed at oh-dark-thirty and rushed bed-head and all to support a momma! Perhaps a hat would be a wise investment.... nah!

ANYWHO.... back to the purpose of this post... Jen, my doula twin, all the way across the country, wrote a blog post, and this paragraph was seriously sucked right from my own brain... perhaps she does fit the bottom middle picture better than most... hmmmm....  ;-) 

As a doula, I am called to become familiar enough with a mother or a mother and partner in a matter of hours to be able to not totally tick them off when the time comes for their precious child to make their grand debut.  It's like speed-dating and then running off for a quickie wedding if you're the chosen one.  I'm always humbled when an expectant family says, "Yes, we'd like for you to be with us for the birth of this child" despite my tendency towards goofiness and caffeine consumption  (I swear I am quiet and calm during birth.  Promise.).

It's not like someone choosing a toothbrush. They are choosing ME. I still get awkward at that moment.  It is humbling and such an honor! How on earth am I able to provide all that they deserve? So as I approach my 50 family mark, I continue to be blessed and honored! Thank you to each of you who have chosen me to be part of your birth team and witness the birth and growth of your family! 

If you had a doula, how did you decide who it would be? Were your expectations met? How or how not? 

Hugs to ya!
Shannon =) 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What do you mean - "You're on call"?

Being on call means doulas have to consider a whole lot more than just a phone... 
Here's 8 things on our mind while we wait for "the call"... 

1. "Is that a wedding ring on your cell phone?" Yup! Pretty much married to the gadget during on-call weeks!

2. Beauty rest... well, you get what you get if you call me at 3 a.m.... but I do try to get to bed at a decent hour every night so I can see straight when you do call! Nothing worse than being called a 1 a.m. after staying up till midnight!

heeheee... car flags for doulas and mommas in labor!
3. House arrest. Well, not really the house, but the general area at least! Need to be local for that one momma who is blessed with a rapid labor!

4. What goes in, might come out. This means we have watch what we eat... Tuna for lunch? Not enough Crest in the world to kill that breath! Onion rings? Scope can't touch this. Beans... well, let's just say sometimes life stinks. *chuckle* But really, not much worse than trying to help a momma change positions while trying not to let one rip.

5. There's only one time the word virgin fits into my line of work... when ordering drinks while on-call! 'Nuf said.

6. Murphy's Law. There are two days that babies are most likely to come; one is the day I have jam packed full of plans; the other is the day I have none and decide to stay in my jammies and not shower, color my hair and paint my nails. THAT is the day I'll get a call saying "come NOW!"

7. Sleep aids... bahahahhaha! uh. NO.

8. Earthquake preparedness extreme. AKA my doula bag... So in case of emergency, I can cook ya some rice,(rice socks) exercise,(tennis balls and fitness ball) keep you warm (rebozo) and massage the knots out of your back! (massage oil)

After being blessed with 21 one families in 2011, I decided not to take any clients for the month of February. I'm not sure I'll know how to behave! 

Hugs to ya!
Shannon =)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Brace yourself for this one.

Recently I was in a conversation about doulas and our differences.
The main focus was on how some doulas will not take on clients who make certain decisions. For example, if parents plan to circumcise their sons, or if they plan on using pain medication for labor.

The conversation was civil to the public eye, but when I made this comment, my inbox filled up. The big controversial comment?
"I believe we should have an attitude of "your birth your way", not "your birth my way"".

I pretty much got blasted for that. How can I tolerate all birth styles? How can I condone circumcision? And on and on. I was shocked. Just a little though. I've often teased  that I feel like a doula outcast. This confirmed it. It's okay though, I'm not much of a conformist anyways. My socks don't even match. :)

When I look back over the 21 families I worked with in 2011, I feel good about my non-conformist ways. I recall being told many times, (sad actually how often) that I was being chosen as the doula for them because I didn't make them feel like I had my own agenda or that I would frown on their choices. Did I make sure they knew the risks of choosing an epidural? Heck yes!! That's my job! They hired a doula because they want to make INFORMED choices. So, I INFORM them. I don't guilt them. I don't shame them and I don't make them question their ability to make their own choices for their own family.

Am I perfect at that? Sadly, no. I'm sure that I have made a face or raised an eyebrow when I feel a squeeze in my heart that there are choices being made that don't sit right with me. I'm sorry for that. I wasn't hired to agree with everyone, I was hired to inform and support.

I take on couples that plans to circumcise,  do I therefore "condone" circumcision?  I take on clients that don't plan to circumcise, am I an "intactavist"?  You may never know. Will I give them the facts about circumcision and intactness? Yes. Will I give them the risks of doing or not doing it? Yes. Will I tell them what I did or didn't do for my boys? No! Personally, I have no desire to have anyone imagine what my husbands or sons penis' look like. And I cringe every time I see a mom all over facebook talking about her sons private parts. I can't imagine the horror my son would feel if his college buddies came across a posting about his penis on facebook! Really moms/wives? Show some discretion please!

Phew, little off track there.... Back to my point. I have no problem agreeing to disagree with other doulas or parents. I do have a problem with being blasted for my doula philosophies. If you want to refuse a client because they will vaccinate or use an epidural or circumcise, that's your choice. I don't have to agree with you. I do appreciate that if you can't take a client on and fully support her, that you kindly decline serving her. But then don't blast me because I'm willing to offer non-judgmental services to her.  So please, no more letters telling me I'm harming children because I support moms in labor who use medication or any of those other hot topics.

I really could keep going, but I'll stop now. I'm sure I've made some peoples blood boil, and I'm sure I've had a few nods of agreement. Either response is fine by me. Just be kind. :-)

Oh, and by the way, I've had conversations similar to that one many times and have been blasted both publicly and privately, so please don't assume I'm talking about you, or that you know who I am talking about. :)

P.S. If you thought this was a doosy, wait until I write about breastfeeding in public!

Hugs to ya ~
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