Not knowing when the "I think this is it!" call will come can be stressful. I'm a bit of a night owl so I won't slide into bed until after midnight. When I go on call I have to force myself to go to bed early and often, this ends with me arguing with myself.
"She won't call tonight, just stay up for a bit longer!"
"Okay, but what if she does!? Then you won't have any energy to support this mother!"
"Oh come on, Beyond Scared Straight has an all night marathon! Do you really want to miss that!?"
This happens every night when I'm on call. :-) I do my best to go to bed early because I know that odds are, I'll have just started snoring when my phone will sound! I don't drink coffee or chug RedBull so I know that if I don't sleep, I'll be spending the next 18 hours running on vapors.
Then there is the unfortunate fact that you can't concretely plan anything in your life! I'm constantly scheduling, rescheduling, and scheduling again! Things like doctor appointments, birthdays, anniversaries often fall by the wayside. People in my life have come to understand that birth is very unpredictable and therefore, so am I. But I still see the disappointment in their eyes when I explain that I have to cancel with them again because something "birthy" came up. I can't turn off my phone in a crowded theater, hang out with the folks who are more carefree, or order that dirty martini because the phone could ring at any time. My life has definitely been changed by joining this profession. And even though sometimes being on call is no fun, when I get the call, things falls gently into place...I get up, shower, get dressed and grab my gear and go.
As stressful as being on call can sometimes be, It is after I've gotten this call that I get to do what I LOVE to do. Be with and support these mothers as they walk their journey through labor and childbirth...stand beside and guide their partners as they are shown the power that women possess...and most important of all is to witness the power of birth. The miracle that is first breath and the electric love that erupts and fills the room from the family that has just been created. That is the best part of being a doula!