Three of my Birth Companion moms went into labor while I was out of town for the holidays (two on Christmas Eve), requiring me to scramble to find someone to cover for me, and so when the call came on Tuesday night that a mom was in labor I knew I owed it to the universe to help a fellow doula out and pay back a smidge of my karmic debt. The mom was at a hospital that’s about forty minutes away from my apartment, but her doula was sick and no one else was available to go, so I got dressed (the call came around 11:30 at night) and headed out the ATM for cab fare. It’s easy catching a cab in my neighborhood, and I got one within minutes of getting my cash, which was a relief, since while my neighborhood is safe, I felt a little uneasy walking around with enough cab fare in my pocket to get my to Columbia (about $70. The actual ride cost $60 with tip, but I didn’t want to come up short) at 11:30 at night. I was a little worried the driver wouldn’t take me all the way out to Columbia, but he was actually pretty nice, and even offered to wait for me in case I needed a ride back.
I had never met the laboring mom before, but it was less awkward than I would have guessed. She was in early labor, and was slightly apologetic that I had come so early since she didn’t expect anything to happen for several hours, but within minutes of my arrival she changed her mind and was glad to have a doula with her. I was with her from a little after midnight until 9:00 the next morning, and we spent almost the entire time swaying, with her arms draped across her boyfriend’s shoulders and me applying counter-pressure to her lower back. It reminded me of a middle school dance almost, the way we were moving all together, with everyone rocking their hips. I absolutely love being a doula. It’s the best. On the long, long list of reasons I’m glad I came to Hopkins, Birth Companions is close to the top, and nights like that are why. I love going to births, and I’d do it for free (I’m hoping to eventually get paid- Birth Companions does pay once you’ve completed certain requirements), but I prefer it when I feel as though I’m helping by being there, and I’m not just there because it’s fun. I would (and hopefully will) be very happy doing birth work for the rest of my life, but I’d also like to be good at it. I’d like people to be glad I was with them for their labors and births, and this mom was, which was great.
This semester promises to be every bit as challenging as the last one. I’ve only had one day of classes (I sort of sometimes have Thursdays off, which is great for contra dancing, but there will be occasional weeks when I’ll have extra clinical stuff to do on those days. Still, it’s better than a poke in the eye), and I already have a quiz due tonight, another tomorrow, and two homework assignments. I’m happy to be back in the swing of things though- as hard as it was leaving Buffalo after the holidays, I love my routine here.