The call from my client comes in as I’m sitting at home watching TV with my husband and pups. I cheerfully answer. This is the day we’ve been waiting for. My client’s contractions are becoming more intense, and as I talk with her through a contraction, she has to stop and breathe and vocalize to cope. As the contraction ends, my client’s excitement returns. We make a plan to meet at the hospital and hang up the phone.
In this moment, my prebirth ritual begins with making sure my doula bag is ready to go. What’s in my doula bag? I always have a change of clothes, cash for the vending machines, my cell phone charger with a spare battery pack, and plenty of water and snacks. I want to be prepared to care for my basic needs for as long as my client needs me, and I approach it like a mini camping trip. What do I need for survival if birth lasts 2 days. That’s what I like to pack in my doula bag.
The second part of my prebirth ritual is to get dressed for the birth. I like to wear clothes that are comfortable and practical. For me, this looks like yoga pants and a branded t-shirt. I also make sure to wear comfortable, close-toed shoes, because I know that at many births I will be on my feet for long periods of time.
The final part of my ritual to prepare to attend a birth is the drive to the client. I want my heart and my head to be in a good space when I arrive, so I have some great songs that I blast on my stereo as I drive. My pre-birth playlist is packed with songs about girl power, love, and fun. If the song makes me feel good, then it’s on the playlist. As the music washes over me, any negative thoughts or feelings leftover from the day are rinsed away and my mind is prepared to attune and support my client.
Pulling into the parking garage, I calmly park, put on a huge smile, and head into the hospital. I feel confident that I am physically and mentally ready to support my client to the best of my ability. No matter the outcome, my client will feel supported through their birth experience.