The top 3 most ridiculous things I’ve done or said as a doula in the last year. WARNING: may not be for the weak-stomached and if you’re a current client, you might lose complete confidence in me.
1) I chased a placenta down a hospital hallway. It was almost midnight and I hadn’t had anything to drink or eat since noon. The client asked me to take her placenta home so she could get it later. Staggering under the glaring lights, I walked into the hall holding my birth ball, doula bag, and odd tupperware-like container of placenta. I dropped the container which then rolled an enormous distance past the nurse’s station. I dropped my bag and ball and bounded like a toddler after the container much to the amusement of one OB and several nurses. Thankfully the container remained closed. Could have been a disaster.
2) I made up a story about marshmallows. I had a client who seemed to respond well to mental imagery during contractions. I was doing ok at first with the usual “Imagine you’re in the center of a field on a breezy day…” Then, after so many of those, I went blank. She was lying on white sheets with fluffy white pillows so I said something so embarrassing like “You’re climbing a mountain and when you get to the top, you realize you’re on the edge of a bowl of marshmallows. And you spread your arms and fall into them. Smell the powdery sugar.” And if the image wasn’t bad enough, the client followed a kosher diet and I couldn’t remember if marshmallows were kosher! It was awful.
3) I wiped meconium poop with one hand while eating chick-fil-a with the other. I was starving. And the glorious saint of a dad called his mother to bring me a chick-fil-a sandwich. It didn’t arrive until the mom was pushing so it got dropped in the shuffle. During the birth, my entire chest got covered with amniotic fluid. As soon as baby was breastfeeding, I grabbed my sandwich and started munching. Then baby pooped on mom’s hand. So, wearing a saturated shirt and with my half-eaten sandwich in one hand, I used my other hand to clean her up with wet wipes. A few years ago, that scene would have really bothered me.
It was a good year.