Monday, August 04, 2008

Front lawn birth

This has probably made the rounds already -- the baby born in an Ann Arbor front lawn. If you haven't read the story it's really a fun one. The doula on-hand, Beth Barbeau, is a local homebirth midwife, doula, and breastfeeding educator. And a delightful soul on top of all that.

Says the article,

Barbeau arrived at 10:50 and found that Jennifer was still in the early stages of dilation, but her water broke as she was getting out of the shower. By the time Jennifer was helped out to the car, she could feel the baby coming. "We won't make it!" she shouted.

Barbeau needed to examine her. In the dark in the front yard, she mistook Jakary for her daughter.

"She grabbed my mom's crotch," said Jennifer.
I can only imagine how crazy things were there for a few minutes.

The one potential negative I can see to the story is that it perpetuates the common misperception that doulas are involved in the woman's medical care. As a doula, I am not permitted to check for dilation. In the situation above, I would have (as my partner T$ did at her client's unplanned home birth) called for an ambulance and helped catch the baby if it arrived before the ambulance.

The DONA Standards of Practice actually say, "If doulas who are also health care professionals choose to provide services for a client that are outside the doula’s scope of practice, they should not describe themselves as doulas to their client or to others." I don't read that to mean that you CANNOT use your skills in an "emergency" situation that calls for them. It seems Barbeau should be able to use her midwife skills if a client is delivering a baby.

I just don't want people to think, "I'm not going to have a doula because I don't want one more person with her hand up my hoo hoo."

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