Missing a client's birth is no joking matter as a Doula. Out of the 55 births I've supported I've been able to be present physically for 43, almost missed 8, and actually missed 2 births, unfortunately. I work with several qualified backup Doulas AND I want to be with my clients when they birth. I've learned a lot along the way to decrease this probability that may help you be more efficient with clients.
I bet you're like, "It's your job, how do you miss a birth?" Sometimes the problem was hospital gatekeepers, sometimes it was late notice from families or notice at all, one time I legit let my phone die (whew talk about feeling guilty). Regardless of the reason, it never felt good being stressed and wondering what I could have done bet
ter. I came up with a few policies and procedures that have drastically decreased my possibility of missing a birth.
In a nutshell:
I don't take clients within 2 weeks of the same estimated due date (EDD
We start a group thread of support people at 38 weeks so anybody can inform me of labor.
I calendar my off time, important personal dates, and professional development dates quarterly and my Google Calendar syncs with Wix booking.
I ensure clients are clear on signs of labor and when to call me in every prenatal visit. Essentially it's never too early or too late and always try me more than once via call text. They use the contraction timer app to stay on top of contractions and their patterns.
We reconfirm birth location and room # at arrival if they need to transfer from home.
I stay with families once in active labor . (I keep a pillow and blanket in my car)
When I first started out missing a birth was a big fear of mine. Now I understand that whether I'm in the room or not, my client's birth wishes should still be carried out and I can still support via phone or video. I do everything in my power to be present but in the grand scheme, birth is not waiting for the Doula, the OB, or anyone! Clients, please remember to alert your Doula at the first sign of labor so they can prepare to support you, even if not immediately. Doulas, implement proactive policies to ensure you remove any obstacles from being present using tips like these above.
Have a funny birth story to share or more tips to share? Drop them in the comments below!