I'm a total sucker for the "What's In My Bag" posts... Maybe I just like being nosey, but I dig seeing what folks carry around with them. Since I've been busy doing the whole doula thing as of late I thought it'd be fun to share what I carry with my in my doula bag. Notice how there's no fancy gadgets or gear really? While it's not rare for me to go into a birth (or postpartum shift) with nothing in tow, this is what I tend to keep handy in my car.
My tried-and-true keepers:
// The Bag: The perfect doula bag is not too big, and not too small. Bonus points if it's not totally ugly, too haha! Sometimes that's a tall order. I use this Eva leather tote bag because it's pretty much the best of everything. It doesn't look like a "work" bag, so it doubles as a really great purse, too. And it doesn't get dirty from being thrown around my car or ending up on the floor somewhere.
// The Sling: I always have a baby carrier (or three) in my car. Always. While I'm an avid babywearer and I will always cherish those days with Linden, our wearing days are pretty much over. However I always keep a sling in my car because they're my favorite type of baby carrier, and they come in *so* handy for postpartum clients (or even at the postpartum visit for labor clients). I love teaching my clients how to babywear! Ring slings also come in handy for things like hip squeezes if you don't have a traditional rebozo (bedsheets work also!). This gorgeous sling is the Summer Rainbow from Hip Baby Wrap (I have a size 6 woven wrap from them, too -- this one actually -- and it was such a great learning wrap. Not too thick, not too thin.)
// The Lens: While birth photography isn't part of my doula duties, and it's not something I do always, I sometimes have my camera handy in my bag, and I'll snap a few shots here and there of clients if they want. Even if I only have my iPhone handy, I know how precious those moments are and if I can give a family a photo they'll cherish, I'm happy and eager to do so. This guy is my trusty ol' Nikon D300s.
// The Juice: With labor clients I live an on-call lifestyle. Luckily I have a partner to split call with, but I do one week on call, one week off. We alternate to allow the other to have at least a little bit of a life haha! But because I'm on call so often and I have a tiny window of time to get to the birthing location, my phone always has to be charged. ALWAYS. I always keep a backup battery pack with me. This one is the myCharge HubPlus power bank and it can fully charge my phone 4 times. It plugs straight into the wall and it has a built in lightning cable and micro USB cable for charging different devices. I cannot sing the praises of this thing enough. I used to always buy those single charge power banks but then get frustrated that I needed my charger cord *plus* a charging base if I wanted to charge it. I probably have no fewer than 6 random little power banks because I always forget one piece of the equation. This thing is an all-in-one heaven send. It can charge my iPad, too.
// The Cash: Parking tolls, hospital vending machines and/or cafeteria food, whatever. Cash is always necessary to have on hand for labors. I'm not typically a cash-carrying kind of gal but I've learned to change my ways thanks to needing tangible dollars a few too many times.
// The Snacks: Snacks! Always snacks! Labors can be long. Overnight postpartum shifts can be long. And I can get hungry so. I usually keep a bottle of water and some crackers or a mini thing of granola in my doula bag. 2am is a little more manageable if you're not starving haha
// The Deets: Music City Doulas business cards. Always on hand for random opportunities. OB ask for your info? Meet an L&D nurse out and about? Someone asks you what a doula is? Boom. Biz card all up in that. They're pretty too, right?
That's it. My doula bag. No fancy gadgets to hear heartbeats or turn babies because that's 110% outside my scope of practice. I'm there for the emotional/physical/informational support, not to provide medical advice or procedures. To be honest, my hands are plenty enough and often the only tool that gets used. Still, I like to feel prepared just in case the need arises. It's a definite honor to be invited into such an intimate and sacred space. I really love being a doula.
PS! Next month (May 27th) is our 2nd annual Nashville Diaper Dash! It's a 5k race and a 1 mile family fun run, and we'll have a bouncy house, face-painting, etc etc! It's a super family friendly event and the race is even stroller-friendly. Each year we raise money (and diapers!) for Nashville Diaper Connection, a non-profit here serving the families of Music City. Last year we collected 12,000 diapers for NDC, but this year we're aiming for even more. If you can't attend our event but want to help a wonderful cause, please consider donating some diapers to our efforts! 100% of profits from our event go straight to Nashville Diaper Connection, along with every. single. diaper. donated. This is an event we're really really proud of and we'd be so grateful if you considered contributing or at least sharing with your friends! If you're not local but want to help, you can buy diapers off of our Music City Doulas Amazon page and they'll go straight to our collection!
Here's the Facebook event page if you're interested in joining us!