My name is Jennifer Hazi, I am a Registered Midwife, Doula and childbirth educator. I work as a midwife in a busy suburban hospital in Sydney, privately with women and their families in their homes and facilitate a monthly space for pregnant women and their female support people which is a unique mix of education, connection and space for women to process the changes and expectations where they are in pregnancy.
I fell in love with birth sometime during my first pregnancy in 2005. Over the course of my pregnancy, the fear I didn’t even know I had was slowly educated away and a fascination with the body’s ability to grow, birth and nurture a baby with very little help from outside.
I began my work as a doula, training with an experienced doula in a mentor/mentee relationship. After a year of working together under the nurturing eye of an experienced doula, and completing the Optimum Birth training for good measure, the launch into private practice was smooth and joyous.
My hunger for all things parturition continued into my direct entry Bachelor of Midwifery at UTS. While studying I juggled childbirth education, working as a doula and my growing family. I am fortunate to have worked with women in continuity not just through one pregnancy but over the course of their childbearing career and being invited into such an intimate and incredibly life-affirming space with new families is a continual privilege.
I now have 5 witty and vivacious girls who keep me busy and work clinically as a midwife in a large tertiary referral hospital in Sydney. I absolutely love working as an educator and working with women and their families as they discover their own fears about birth are dissolved with good information, a space to reflect and time. I work privately with women and families wherever suits them antenatally, and postnatally in their home. Occasionally I attend births as a doula, however, at this stage, I try to “pay it forward” and bring a newly qualified or student doula with me. I have begun to play with photography and filmmaking more to fulfil my creative needs (far from professional!!), and my only regret is I didn’t start sooner.
So what are my passions? My family is number 1. Having 5 daughters definitely gets me thinking more than ever about women, our empowerment and how to ensure the road is smoother for the next generation. I am fortunate to have found a profession which is also my hobby. I know many of you feel the same way. I truly believe doulas are an underused resource for women and their families in both the birth space and the postnatal period. I know for myself what a pleasure it is to work with compassionate and caring doulas and how much physical and emotional support in the postpartum can have such a positive effect years later.
I really believe we, as midwives, doulas, obstetricians, childbirth educators, birth photographers, postnatal support people, birth workers and all of us in the perinatal space have a massive responsibility to protect the future by providing care in the most respectful and uplifting way possible.
Words: Jen Hazi
(It’s pretty difficult finding a non-pregnant pic of me but I did it.)
(Not that I’m prone to hyperbole)
In all seriousness, there is a fundamental skill which separates the passionate, well meaning doula from the insightful, effective and professional one. That skill is reflective practice.
What reflective practice isn’t:
- Rehashing bad scenarios.
- Relying on your own knowledge and experience to help you make sense of every situation.
- Unfocused and undirected remembering and daydreaming.
- Journaling (although that is a good start).
Ok, so what is it?
- A framework for thinking.
- A tool to help structure your learning needs
- The ability to turn every experience into a growth opportunity.
- Really rewarding. Once you see what a difference it makes it is hard to stop!
- Vital for doulas who are working independently or in isolation.
access to our online course below.
Why does a doula need to learn about obstetric emergencies?
Doulas are NOT medical professionals. Clinical care of the woman and baby is directly outside of our scope of practice. Clearly defining ourselves as non-clinicians is vital to safe practice.
However, we are there on the frontline. We are with women in the dark of night as they labour at home. Women are told to stay home as long as possible so they turn to us and ask for our support and help before they present to their care provider. We know labour is predictably unpredictable and although we do everything we can to direct women to their care provider there are a few, random situations where timely intervention can save lives.
Many professions have first aid requirements, and no doubt many qualified doulas have undergone some kind of first aid training. An understanding of emergencies for doulas is important.
It is not appropriate for a doula to attend the kind of emergency training midwives, obstetric nurses and doctors attend. Their role in most emergencies is very different. Understanding a few scenarios that doulas may see might give them the insight to recognise when to call for emergency assistance.
Consider the following scenarios:
If a pregnant woman was to collapse at home in early labour what would you do? After calling for an ambulance, you may be asked to assist the ambulance officer on the phone. If you have an understanding of emergencies then you will feel more prepared to assist.
Supporting a woman in the home quickly turns into a precipitous labour and there is no time to get to the hospital. You have called for an ambulance but the baby is born stunned and not breathing. What do you do while you wait for help?
Moments after the birth of a baby the woman in your care begins to haemorrhage. Staff quickly flood the room to help her. How can you help her partner? Is there anything you can do to support the baby?
This is a course about obstetric and neonatal emergencies completely devoted to the unique needs of doulas.
Experienced doulas may have (unfortunately) come across these sorts of scenarios in the past. However, these skills need to be practised, to keep current, particularly when we don’t use them very often. If you are a newly qualified (or qualifying) doula, learning about emergencies and hearing from more experienced doulas can help equip you with ideas and skills if you ever need them in you (hopefully) long and rewarding career.
Words: Jennifer Hazi
We Birth presents a course on emergencies in childbirth for doulas. Thursday 22nd June 2017, at Oxford Falls Peace Park, Oxford Falls, in Sydney’s northern beaches. Reserve your space now.