Intuition, Trust and Red Flags

It’s funny how, over the years, I’ve only been given the births that I can handle. Each birth prepares me for the challenges of the next. What amazing gifts these women give to each other.

When I began my life as a doula, I was still breastfeeding my one-year-old son. I knew that I could only manage six hours away from him. For me - I couldn’t stand the breastmilk backlog! For him - hey, he needed me. For the first year, the births were amazing. I was never needed for more than six hours. I was only faced with long births once my son was able to go longer between feeds. Though I do remember pumping midway through long births for a few years...

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On the necessity of overseas travel

You'll notice, if you've read enough of my blog, that we generally take off to Europe each year. Since I mainly work solo, I am on call 24/7 for most of the year.  Even when I'm not attending births, I'm doing prenatal and postpartum visits, tea visits, and fielding calls/text/emails from clients old and new.  Even if I have a week without births, I am still on call (I promise to be in town for each client's 38-42 week window), so I can't take off on an impromptu getaway. 

So, what's my solution? I book off a 6 week block, most summers, turn my iPhone to Airplane Mode, and hide overseas with my husband (and maybe some family). It's the perfect way to recharge my batteries. Most clients hold on to their questions until I return. Some clients do send me a few non-urgent emails, but they are content to wait a few days for a response. It's all about finding balance. I try to go totally off the grid, but as a solo doula, my work can't really stop 100%.  

So, where do we go?  Scotland, England, France, Italy, Spain are the main go-to's. Most of my family still lives in the north of England (Cheshire, Derbyshire, Manchester).  My husband's family come from the north of Scotland (Berneray and the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, as well as Laggan in the Highlands.)  We love hiking, cycling, genealogy, history, windswept moors, searching for hidden castles and standing stones. We don't go to many different places on each trip - we take it slow.

This year, it was Scotland.  Within 48 hours of arriving home, two new babies had already arrived. They were waiting for me to come home!

One bonnie boy made a dramatic entrance. I had a phone call - "Something came out of me!"  She had just gone to the bathroom, her water had broken on the toilet, and one of her baby's legs had slipped out! So, after a fast ambulance ride (I arrived at her home in Ladner at the same time as the paramedics), her baby was safely born at BC Women's hospital. It was a spontaneous vaginal footling breech - with less than 2 hours of labour from start to finish.  She hadn't even known that her baby was breech. What a night!

Then another boy arrived less than 12 hours later - almost 9 pounds of him. Another speedy delivery. I think I can now change from Greenwich Mean Time to Pacific Time.

The August 2005 trip to Scotland was the best yet! My son's band won the Juvenile World Pipe Band Championship title, Best Drum Corps, and Best Bass. Our Alex, as lead drummer, went up before 40,000 people to accept the trophy for best drum corps. What an amazing day!

And the views of Stirling from the iron age fort on top of the Dumyat in the Ochil Hills, the sheep, the castles, the ferns and heather...they will be missed.  Until next time.