Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's raining clients, as life gets more confusing

I keep getting phone calls for work. It is simply "raining" work. Suddenly all the pregnant women in Be'er Sheva heard of me, and want to have my support at their births. In principle, this is *great*. In practice, I feel confused.

Is Hashem sowing me this scenario so that I can get back on my feet again and get into my work? *Or*, is this the opportunity to set my boundaries, and Hashem is giving me exactly the challenges I need in order to rebuild my practice with the boundaries I need to make it work. ??

Remember last time I told you about the three women who all called for the estimated due date of April 4th? Well I took two and turned down one. Good. Done. But then this evening, I get another call from a woman due March 31st. In the doula world, it is basically the same thing. And it is all Pesach time. Seder night is March 29th, so we are talking about the possibility of me having to be away for the seder, and/or quite possibly not being with family for chol hamoed (the 8 days of Passover). And lots of calls during that time period; lots of time involvement. I know how it goes as the due date gets closer- my phone rings a lot more with zillions of questions. And then there are the after birth follow-ups. Going to the hospital to help nursing emergencies, going to the homes for the same thing, etc.

What a challenge- How many births to take? Each one I turn away I feel personal responsibility to take care of these women. They come to me for guidance, and I hate turning them away. (there aren't other doulas in Be'er Sheva that I know of). I turned away this couple last week, and I am sad about it, but at the same time, I feel strong that I made a good decision for myself. Now here is another; from a good reference. Looks like I'm going to turn her down- three births in a week-or-two time span is probably not the best plan (I've done that, and it was hhaarrdd). I have already accepted two.

What do y'all think? Input invited here. Can I rely on my strengths (which I build on every day now) and take on a full work load by March, or should I be thinking of taking it easy even then, even a few months down the line..?? These women want and deserve answers ASAP. [just at this moment I notice a persistent throb in the middle of my thigh joint]

As I write this, I feel that I will have to let this one who called today go. Again, it was a good reference, I hate to not follow through when they get good recommendations for me. But three births at Pesach time is a bit risky. Two even is, but I've accepted them. They were the first two who called.

And there are still many unknowns...

Robert's father's condition; will Robert even be here then? If not, all commitments to births are off.

My leg... what will be? I am absolutely having more pain these days. Lot's more. It is a marked difference from how free my thigh felt 6-8 weeks after the surgery when I had such renewed range of movement and less pain. Now I feel it's back. We'll find out soon when I get the write-up of the MRI. If it is, I have a lot of taking care of myself to do. Research into treatments at this point, getting myself on Gleevec, the experimentally used drug (a type of chemotherapy) to treat PVNS. Or possibly partial thigh joint replacement. Who knows, it is all an unknown at this time.

I am pretty sure I will stick with the two-births-a-month decision, even if it means turning down March 31st because I have two beginning of April births. They are the same, in my mind.

But life is always an unknown... as far as Robert's father, there is no way to plan around that. We talk about going there to visit him if the miracle happens that he wakes up. And the unknown about my leg could also get us traveling to America to get a prescription for the Gleevec if I don't have a doctor on board with me here.

Then there is the issue that I still need an extraordinary amount of sleep. I am working hard at the rehab. My body needs rest. The vitamins I am taking are for sure giving me lots more energy, thank Gd. But I find after a few days in a row of energy filled action, I crash big. This past Wed and Thursday I was pretty much in bed, praying that nobody goes into labor (I am waiting for two births to happen any time now).

Please help me sort out these issues. I see them as one heap of paths going in different directions and I feel so unsure of anything.

Making a transition into working --I think-- is a good idea. But, notice that the book project didn't make it into these scenarios. And I really want that, too, more than anything. But it is a vast project, and it is scary to start unless I have a full commitment to it. And I want that full commitment.

I don't want to juggle in my life. I mean, we all have to, to a certain extent. That's how life is. But for me... where do I stand in the wellness scale... stay at home and carve out time to write, or do what I do well and get involved in helping women with births. That gives me lots of satisfaction.

Mostly, I want to be present for my kids. So that points to only two births a month.

But what about my longing to dive into the writing project?



  1. I think you said it yourself. There is too much uncertainty still for you to add the "mother of all uncertainties", the births, however unfortunate. The other areas you want to expand, taking more care of the kids independently and writing the book, are more flexible and you can build your recovery around them. Being a full-time Mom to four small children is challenging enough. I'm afraid being on 24 hour call for births, which are a certainty but you never know when, could land you right back where you started. Take it easy.

  2. Your children are only young now and the time you give them is the most precious way to love them. As you already know, when you take on too much, your life collapses. I want to suggest that you keep your strength for your family and yourself and say no to most of these women.

  3. I agree with the two who posted already. I think you need to see how 1 birth a month works for you before you start adding more. It sounds like all the pre and post work with a birth add a significant amount of time to your schedule. You've been out of commission for a while. Enjoy your kids. Enjoy being able to take care of your kids again. Get on a solid footing. Then consider adding to it.

    Also, find out who is referring clients to you. Let them know you can only take one a month.

  4. Yup. After sleeping on the whole issue, it is abundantly clear to me. Thanks, you guys, for being unanimous. I have a lady going into labor today- she already started, but it is still slow. I can see how encompassing it is just to arrange childcare and my get my head in place. I will probably go to her this evening- in a few hours I assume, unless it stops, which is known to happen... In short, my plate is full as is. I will call back yesterday's lady and turn her away. That's just how it is.
    Thanks. :-)

  5. Sarah, you've come to the right conclusion. You need to recover first, before committing to others, tempting though it is.

    I just wanted you to know that your blog may have prevented a health crisis for me. Last week my foot began to swell a bit and on Friday I had a low grade fever. I didn't put the two together until shabbat, when my foot started to really look swollen. I went to Terem emergency clinic on Shabbat (I'm shomeret Shabbat, so this was a big decision) and they put me on anti-biotics and sent me home. Sunday morning (not the 24 hours I was told to wait) my foot was very swollen and I went to a called a surgeon who suggested a specialist. Usually it takes forever to see him. He had a cancellation -- in an hour. I called the doctors because of your experience. He took one look at me and sent me right to the ER in Hadassah. I was on IV antibiotics for 24 hours and was just released. There is a tiny bit of necrosis but it seems to have stopped. We're monitoring it closely. It was likely a spider bite but could be MRSA or something else. No one knows. YOu were in my thoughts the whole time and that's why I took care of this in a very proactive way. I shudder to think what would have happened had I waited another day. I think you may have saved my life!