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doulas-do you take notes for the family?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Wondering if other doulas take notes at births they attend? what types of things do you record?

post #2 of 16

I did for the births I completed for my certification (which I then declined to actually send in...) and I found it distracting. Honestly, I ended up missing big chunks of info because I was focused on mama instead... or alternatively, I would end up sitting there jotting notes, when I felt like I should have been focusing on mama.

 

When I did, the things I thought were the most 'useful' were things like times mama pushed, or felt changes. and very quick notes when she had VE, to let us know the progress since the last one. Sometimes it was reassuring to show mom that she was still progressing.
 

But overall... I don't know that I would continue taking notes unless requested by the parents. I felt it took away from what I was 'really' there to do.

post #3 of 16

I did for the couple of births where I was officially a doula.  The families were glad, because when you are in the birth you lose track of time, so sometimes it's nice to have some kind of record.  I didn't sit there with a clipboard or anything, just jotted stuff down when I had a few free minutes.  Things like:

12:15 mom called to let me know things were happening

4:10 dad told me to come over

4:45 I arrive and mom is doing XYZ

6:15 midwives arrive

7:20 water broke, mom pushy

 

stuff like that... and some of it can be filled in after the birth while the family is resting but it is still fresh in your mind.  It will be different for every birth, sometimes you will have lots to say, sometimes not so much.

post #4 of 16

I do, but I keep them only for myself so that I can remember what happened.  Sadly the truth is that if I have had another birth or a few births between their birth and their postpartum I might not recall the details in the manner I would like to, so notes help to jog my memory.

post #5 of 16

I kept notes on specific times, like when ROM occurred, when contractions changed, vag exams, etc.  But what many of the families really appreciated most was when I would record some of the funny or strange comments that were made by them, other family members, caregivers.  At the pp meeting I would share these comments, with much sharing of laughter, and "oh, did i/she/he really say that!?!

post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by weliveintheforest View Post

I did for the couple of births where I was officially a doula.  The families were glad, because when you are in the birth you lose track of time, so sometimes it's nice to have some kind of record.  I didn't sit there with a clipboard or anything, just jotted stuff down when I had a few free minutes.  Things like:

12:15 mom called to let me know things were happening

4:10 dad told me to come over

4:45 I arrive and mom is doing XYZ

6:15 midwives arrive

7:20 water broke, mom pushy



This is similar to what I do, and then type them up in a timeline format with full sentences for the family. Also, as sweeetpea said, I also record funny comments/events that happened during the birth. I try to keep everything as positive as possible, and keep out most editorial so that they can know what happened when, but are free to form their own memories and perceptions too.

 

My clients seem to love this! It doesn't really take away from my focus on the mom, I trend toward undisturbed birth as much as possible anyhow (unless mom needs something else), so there is almost always time to jot a short hand note between contractions.  If she's requiring 100% of my focus, of course I would not break away to take notes.

post #7 of 16
I'm with Jessica.

Having been a doula for 10 years now I've learned that I don't have to be all up in my clients birth. I do hands on stuff but I don't have to be meddling every minute.

I encourage bathroom stops every 45-60 minutes and I can jot down my notes then. During exams I also have plenty of opportunity to catch up on notes. Shower, bath, etc all provide ample opportunity to take notes.

I write timeline birth stories for all my clients and they love it. They are also made aware prenatally that they'll see me taking notes on my iPad or on my phone, I used to use a journal but I can type way faster than I can write and emailing myself the notes and pasting them into word and filling in the rest and editing it is soooooo much faster.. No one has ever had an issue with it.
post #8 of 16

Angie..Would you mind sharing one of your time line birth stories? I have tried writing a couple but get too detailed and don't want to put my view on them. Just curious to see what yours looks like.

 

I take the basic notes when I am not need\ed in case they have questions at the PP visit. Just like some of the PP said. 

post #9 of 16

Due to confidentality I'm not comfortable posting an entire birth story because I write such detailed birth stories that a client could easily identify her own story if I posted it here. 

 

Here's the beginning of one that has innocuous details but gives you an idea:

 

5:16AM
Debbie calls me to tell me that she’s pretty sure she’s in labor. She’s been having
contractions that she can’t sleep through since about 2AM and she just finished up having a
nice shower. I suggested that she stay hydrated, take a long, warm bath and call me back
when she is done.

 

6:30AM
I call Debbie back to see what is going on and she informs me she just got out of the bath and
there really hasn’t been much change in the contraction pattern. Since it sounds like the bath
didn’t slow or stop the contractions we discuss when to go to the hospital and that she’ll know
when she feels ready and I ask them to call me back in an hour, or before if things change.

 

7:30AM
Confident that this is the big day for Debbie and Arnold I head out to gas up my van and grab
some breakfast.

 

7:41AM
Arnold calls me to inform me that they are at the hospital and just getting ready to check in at the
front desk. I inform him that I will be on my way and I ask him to notify the front desk that
they’re expecting me so that he won’t have to leave Debbie alone to come allow me into the
L&D unit.

 

8:00AM
I arrive at the hospital and the front desk clerk informs me that Arnold and Debbie are in the
Antepartum Unit. I arrive at the Antepartum Unit and the nurse at the desk points me towards
room ***. I arrive and gently knock on the door and Arnold lets me in. Debbie and Arnold
seem to be in good spirits. Our Antepartum nurse Crystal seems very sweet and asks Debbie
to get into bed so that she can monitor the baby and check Debbie’s cervix.

 

8:15AM
Crystal does a vaginal exam and finds that Debbie’s cervix is 3CM, 100% effaced and baby is
at -1 to -2 station.

 

This particular birth story is 10 pages long, tons of detail.  It's printed with 1.3 inch margins all around and double spaced between entries, so that makes it appear a bit longer than it actually is, but that's the formatting I have to use with the pretty papers I print my stories on.  Most of my birth stories are at least 4-5 pages long, the longest being somewhere around 12-13.  It's part of my package and part of what my clients are paying for.  So when I have a fast birth where there's little to write about they end up being 1-2 pages long and I feel incredibly guilty LOL

post #10 of 16

I haven't been to a birth yet so this was great to read. I think my plan is to take some notes. I have tiny notebook in my doula bag just to jot down times and quick key details like others have said. I would then (right after leaving the birth) fill in details so that if the mom has any questions later or is interested I can give her the info. Plus I plan to write birth stories for my own personal reference to look back on later, and offer them to the mom if she'd like, but at the same time I wouldn't want to taint the moms memory with my personal thoughts because of course she and I would be experiencing the birth very differently. Thanks for sharing everyone :)

 

 

 

 

post #11 of 16

I write a timeline, too.  :)

post #12 of 16

I write a very detailed timeline for each client.  My own doula did that for me, and it was so appreciated since the "birth high" sometimes can take away a few memories of specifics! 

post #13 of 16

I do a time line for myself and then type it out for the parents.

post #14 of 16

I also take timeline notes. Time sort of disappears during labor and birth, so I keep a timeline so that I can write a more detailed birth story. I haven't found that I spend a lot of time away from mom taking notes. She has to go to the bathroom and have intimate time with her partner and I use these moments to jot down quick info. The one birth I didn't take notes on, I was so lost as to the time anything happened or how long things lasted. 

post #15 of 16

I wanted to also note that jotting down the timeline helps me to remember the more personal/fun things, like something funny or sweet someone said, or the cute thing the baby did at 1 hour old.

post #16 of 16

I do a very basic time line of progress markers in the labor. VEs, ROM, what time she called me to alert me of labor, dilation. I don't find it intrusive, since I only record basic info and I keep a pen in my pocket and a long strip of masking tape on my pant leg/skirt. I can easily jot down a time and "VE, 7cm" or what have you, when things get busy.

 

All my clients have been appreciative. When I type up the time line, the notes also sometimes jog my memory of a detail or two I can add. I also encourage clients to contact me at any time in the future if they have questions about anything that happened.

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