It's a pretty amusing story, but the punchline is that I'm now a midwife's assistant, or "birth assistant" at the local birth center! This photo is me (very excited) after the first birth I attended as the birth assistant, which happened to me with MY midwife. I've already attended another birth since with one of the other CNMs working there, two births in less than 48 hours. It's a good thing I live so close, as I got the call that things were going VERY fast and I was out the door in 9 minutes, to the birth center within 7 minutes, and the baby arrived just 9 minutes after that. Hopefully next time I'll have a bit more warning time!
As a birth assistant I am providing support to and am trained by the midwives, as well as certified with CPR and NRP (both of which I did last year only for my own knowledge - not anticipating needing them in this capacity!) Thankfully I've attended over a dozen births at this center already so training went quickly in that regard. I still will be practicing all I can with the hands on care!
I've been asked so to clarify the two roles - I will be a doula OR the birth assistant at a birth, not both. Parents can hire me as a doula, as a birth assistant I work for the birth center. If I have a doula client go into labor while I'm on call as a birth assistant I have back up arrangements both directions - other birth assistants I can call in (my first choice) or if they are all unavailable (unlikely) then I also have back up doulas I can call in to provide care while I'm providing support to the midwife. As the birth assistant I work 12 or 24 hour shifts when I'm on call for any moms coming in to labor, and I can specify when I am not available. As the doula I'm on call 24/7 from 38 to 42 weeks for individual moms.
Each role - doula and birth assistant - are very important and each needs the undivided attention of someone so I will be ensuring I've got good back up for that unlikely scenario of my doula client laboring while I'm on shift as the birth assistant. And as a doula I still do not provide ANY medical care, I am strictly there for emotional and physical support. As a birth assistant I wear gloves and scrubs and have a stethoscope, as a doula I am in my regular clothes without gloves and I am not providing any type of medical support but giving lots of hands on care and verbal encouragement.
I'm booked with doula/photo clients from now through the first of April with one opening mid January. Because of my commitments with childbirth classes and this new role as a birth assistant I will be limiting the number of clients I take as a doula and birth photographer. If you are interested in having me attend your birth then get in touch with me asap! 🙂 I have a fantastic group of doulas I use as back up and refer to so if I'm unable to attend your birth I can still help you find the right doula for you.
Busy and feeling blessed!