Thursday, October 13, 2005

Preparing for the Unexpected

When one works with pregnant women, it pays to prepare for birth outside the expected parameters. Every day you read about babies born in cars or as unplanned home births. Here is a recent example (I love it that the nine-year-old passed the paramedic a note that said, "Stay calm).

Ever since T$ had a client deliver in her own driveway, I've kept a few special items in my doula bag:

--bulb syringe (to clear mucus from a baby's airway if necessary)
--cord clamps (to, well, clamp the umbilical cord)
--sterile gloves
--"blue pads" (those really absorbant and plastic-lined pads that help control fluid spread)

These tools are backed up by a few emergency maneuvers that I hope I'll never have to use, but that I also hope work if I do have to use them:

--"Gaskin Maneuver" (to help free a stuck shoulder)
--"Summersaulting" a baby with a too-tight nuchal cord
--Flexing the head of a breech baby by letting it "dangle" (assuming it's anterior) just prior to delivering the head

I also keep the phone number of the local homebirth midwives' practice in my cell phone. In the event of a precipitous birth with complications, I would call 9-1-1 and then call them to talk me (or the birth mother's partner) through the delivery. I have to think they'd know more how to handle an emergent birth situation than the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

May these preparations remain unnecessary!


Anonymous Ahavah said...

What a great post! I'm going to have to add those things to my bag.

Cute article! I think it sais the girl handed the note to her mom, but that's just as precious. I feel sorry for the dad. My second baby was also that fast, and I was afraid her Daddy missed it. He ended up being right there in the doorway, although I didn't realize it until later.

11:26 PM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

EXCELLENT post, doulicia.

I caught a baby, but it was IN THE HOSPITAL!

While I believe that doulas shouldn't do clinical things, it's inevitable based on odds because of what we do that we will have this happen at some point. Being prepared is a motto I think doulas should steal from the Boy Scouts.


7:08 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Did you see that my client gave birth at a park and ride last week!! There's a link on my blog. A few days later my other was feeling pushy when we left the house and I begged her not to give birth on the freeway- I would be the 'highway' doula and no one would hire me! ;) She thought that was hilarious and had a beautiful birth an hour or so after arriving at the hospital. It was surreal because I knew that if we had to pull over and help her give birth, that I would be calm and know what to do. I just knew it. I want to have a birth kit in my car too. Where did you learn the summersaultng and breech head flex?

One thing about the park and ride birth was that if I had been there, the dad would have definitely left me to catch, so it was really good I wasn't because he got to really be there for his baby's birth in a big way! I have no regrets about not making it!

10:32 AM  
Blogger The Mommy Blawger said...

I wrote a post on my blog a while back about potential Doula liability for carying a birth kit.

2:01 AM  

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