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The following is part three of our World Doula Week series, based on a phone interview with Marta Lugo Rodriguez, a new doula with CHASS Center in Detroit, Michigan, and her supervisor, Amy Frank.
Part of preparing is getting to know the hospital.
I really believe that you have to build a pleasant atmosphere at the hospital you are going to with the mom because you don’t want to step on anybody’s toes and then have a bad experience. Whatever experience or rapport you, the Doula, establish will affect how the hospital staff will treat the mom. I don’t want any patient to feel or see that there’s some type of tension between me and the nurse.
Interviewer (RoiAnn): Do you work mostly at the same hospital?
No, no we’re a separate clinic.
Amy Frank: Most of our clients go to Henry Ford Hospital. I don’t know how familiar you are with us but we’re a federally qualified health center. We have a partnership with the hospital. Our medical doctors at CHASS are actually employed by Henry Ford. And so they’re Henry Ford doctors that are at our clinic. There is a relationship that we have there, which is good.
Before we started recruiting our moms, we went to see the hospital facility and just sat in on some of the births. I got to experience two births on two different days. On those two different days, we tried to establish connections with the nurses at the hospital. My co-worker and I tried to establish communication by purchasing some Mexican donuts from a Mexican bakery on the second visit. Then we were able to explain who we were and our purpose there. Before we knew it, a few of the nurses let us sit in to watch one or two births at ease. So by my third birth, some of the nurses would say, “Oh, you’re back,” and “You’re here to sit in?” I said, “No, I actually have my own patient who’s here today,” and I quickly asked if they were my nurse for the day.
Shopping, Listening to Music, Stretching
When I trained to become a Doula, I received a nice CHASS bag in which I keep my extra clothes and all my goodies to take with me when I go to the hospital. So, once in a while, when I am running low on goodies, I just go to the dollar store to get some more things I need, like: granola bars, mints, gum, barrette clips for my client’s hair, a hand fan and a type of rolling pin or massage roller for the back to massage my client. That way I don’t have to use my hands, as much.
I prepare myself mentally by listening to Christian music when I am on my way to the hospital. It helps me calm down. I stretch parts of my body and change into my sneakers once I am there. Now, I’m ready for the mom…
Marta’s interview continues tomorrow, right here.