I did it! I have now attended three births as a doula-in-training, or whatever the term is, and gotten good reviews on all of them, so I have now finished all of the big, daunting stuff on my DONA checklist. I still have a few odds and ends to finish up, mostly essay writing and collecting character references, and I need to attend a breastfeeding class as well. There's one perk from the unexpected pregnancy: I won't look at all out of place at the breastfeeding workshop! But the really big hurdles- the three days of out of town classes, the lining up of three births, the attending of the births and all the necessary caveats being fulfilled (for instance, you have to arrive at the birth at the beginning of "active" labor, or by four centimeters dilation, and I just barely made it on this last one! Also, only one out of the three can be a c-section, so after my first birth I was holding my breath praying the other two wouldn't be!) are completed.
The birth went wonderfully, only five hours of labor and another pushing phase so rapid that the nurse very nearly did the baby catching- the doctor literally flew in just in time to slap on some gloves and support the head as it crowned. It was the mom's second birth but first one attempting to go drug free, so I was very proud of her. The nurses and I kept saying that we couldn't believe she had ever requested an epidural her first time around, since she seemed to have an amazing capacity for coping with labor pain on her own. I never even heard her mention wanting one this time; in fact, she barely made noise at all beyond glancing up at the her laptop screen between contractions to reassure her husband (who was watching via Skype from Afghanistan) that yes, she was ok, but yes, it really really hurt. That part was so cool- the laptop screen was right over her shoulder during delivery, so he got to see the baby lifted to her chest almost as if he was there, and he cried just as if he was there, too. :)
She had planned a water birth, but ended up getting out of the jacuzzi right at the end for the delivery since the doctor wasn't there yet and the nurses aren't allowed to deliver the babies in the tub, apparently. She didn't seem too disappointed though- I think by the end who really cares as long as you can push! It was cool watching someone labor and transition in the water. It really brought back memories of Jameson's birth, and the vivid, specific feeling of rocking on my hands and knees in the water, feeling him rotate and move down my spine. This mom chose basically all the same positions I did, so I had this weird de ja vu, watching her. I also now have new understanding for how hard it is physically to support someone while they're in the water. All that leaning to rub the mom's back and squeeze her hips gets exhausting! So, you know, thanks four months in advance, Jim and Stacy!
Speaking of that, it was hard to shake off the "Holy crap, I'm going to be the one in this exact room having a baby in a few months!" thought and get my game face on for this delivery. I'm at the phase where every little thing I do triggers those thoughts though- from switching the clocks ahead an hour to getting out the next season of clothes. It all makes me think, "Yikes, next time I do this there's going to be a BABY here!"