I must be nuts! I've just taken on a FOURTH client whose estimated due date is two weeks after client #1 and SIX DAYS before client #2. Plus client #3 who is due a month later. But that makes 4 clients with EDD's within a month and a half. I've gone insane. They're all probably going to go into labor on the same day, or back to back, and I'll get absolutely no sleep! Because I am determined to attend every single one of their labor's. I should probably e-mail my local doula group and see if anyone would be willing to be a back-up, but who knows if anyone will want to do back up and make no money from it (plus one client is almost an hour from me and possibly further from other doulas).
Four scheduled clients is my insurance that I will be able to complete my certification births by summer. Because just attending a birth for each client doesn't necessarily mean that I will be able to use every birth for my certification. Its possible I could show up too late (DONA requires I am there from the start of Active Labor) and the birth won't count. Its possible a doctor or nurse who hates doulas will refuse to sign my evaluation form and the birth won't count. So I'm hoping that with 4 births I will get at least 3!
Four clients due in a month and a half is not SO nutty... for an experienced doula. But I do not yet know how demanding these labors are going to be on my emotionally and physically. I don't know if I will take care of myself properly during a 20 hour labor (getting naps, meals, and so forth). I really think I'm going to be completely wiped out.
I can't actually tell how much I should worry. I've heard doulas say they don't even look at due dates because women RARELY go into labor when you think they're going to, so how can you really plan? And I've heard a doula say she had two clients due four weeks apart who both went into labor on the SAME DAY. So client #1 could go a week and a half late, client #2 could go half a week early, and client #3 could go a week and a half early, and that would all be the same day and I'd be screwed. Ahhh!!
So, why did I take this fourth client, whose EDD is so very close to two other's? Well, I'll tell you the truth; It was pride and excitement. She was referred to me by one of my current clients who is due a whole month later, because they are taking the same Bradley childbirth education workshop. So I was flattered that I had been recommended and agreed to an interview. Then it turned out she wanted to do this interview on Skype! So, I agreed (telling her that our prenatal meetings would have to be in person, though).
Its always odd to video chat with someone because you have nothing else to distract you while you chat (like you do on a phone or in person, while you may be multi-tasking) - you're just staring at one another the whole time! I think the chat went well and it was a good chance for the mom and husband and I to all get a feel for one another, but it definitely isn't my preferred method of interview. At other consult meetings the potential clients would get to talking freely, and I would do a lot of listening and responding. On Skype they mostly wanted to listen to me instead. It just felt like a less comfortable environment for us both. But I guess it was good enough because they hired me! Though that may just be because it costs them nothing to give me a try.
So, this week has been an extremely busy doula week. I had the Skype interview. Then I had my very first prenatal meeting, which was for a home birth (!) which will more than likely be my very first birth as a doula and I am ecstatic. It was a pretty simple one to count as my first prenatal, because I didn't need to teach or show much to the mom. Since this is her third birth, and her second home birth, she pretty much knows how things will go and how she wants them. She showed me around her house, showed me the homeopathy she'd like to use because I'm unfamiliar with that stuff, told me where she'd probably be laboring and told me what she'd like. I gave her some info on signs of labor (she had trouble with that last time), using a birth ball (she's interested in using mine), things her partner can do for her (I don't think he'll do any of this but I'll show him... play cards in labor?!) haha and things like that. I feel very triumphant, because though she was unsure when we spoke the first time, she is definitely going to call me! :D
This morning I went to an ultrasound appointment with a mom who isn't due for another 2 months. Boy, technology is SO COOL. That's all I kept whispering the whole time "cool!" haha. We saw the baby's hands, feet, stomach, head and even watched its heart beating! The baby was all curled up with its hand and feet up to its head, but then it moved them and we saw its face! So clearly! And we watched its mouth move and its eyes open enough to see both top and bottom eyelids! It was awesome. Both mom and dad are so sweet. This evening I have my first "real" prenatal - mom is giving birth in a hospital so we have their birth plan to go over. Wish me luck!