Two days before we left for our camping adventure, I attended my second birth as a doula. This birth reminded me of many birth truths- that birth is unpredictable, uncontrollable, unique, and much like a marathon, except that at the finish line there is a beautiful little human wrapped in mama's arms.
I am gaining experience with the truth that births more often than not, occur at night. Meaning that for me, I miss an entire night of sleep. I both love and hate this. The rush and excitement of going to a birth, driving while no one is on the roads, the quiet sleepiness of the hospital, and mystery of the entire event seems magnified by the dark, deep, starry sky.
But the next day is usually a blur of headaches, clingy children, and an impatient sleep-deprived mama, who floats through the day in an exhaustion-induced higher state of consciousness, reminiscing of the magic of the night before.
Having a babysitter for an hour or two has helped me collect myself, and catch a small nap to get me through. My own doula recommended having a special "after-birth" outing planned to help entertain the children. This definitely made things go smoother. Letting the littles play at the park is a lot less mentally challenging than entertaining them at home, when I'm not on top of my parenting game. Another doula says that for the next 3-4 nights she goes to bed with her children, to catch up on sleep. I have not learned to be quite that disciplined, since after bedtime is my only time to myself and catch my breath. But hopefully, that will come with experience.
My third client was induced early due to pre-eclampsia while I was on Cumberland Island, so my back-up doula was there to cover for me. I was incredibly sad to miss the birth, but happy that all was well with mother and baby.
Speaking of back-up, I am working with a really awesome doula group, called Two Bee Birth Services. You can read about the amazing doulas that I am working with, as well as my own bio. Being a doula is a wonderful blessing, yet it's also very challenging to mesh with other parts of life, like being a parent, or having another job to supplement the lucrative career of doula-ing (I kid, I kid). As a group, doulas can work together to support each-other and to back each other up as one works through the challenges that naturally come along with the job.
I do not have any births lined-up for a couple more months, and for now, I am content with a little break. Maybe I can catch up on those 16 hours of missed sleep during April and May. I know that despite the sleep-deprivation, I will jump at the next opportunity and blessing to witness the journey of a new soul earthside.