But for those of you that have asked, here's a less "hippie" answer:
This is my doula bag! It's actually the bag for my electric breast pump but it works super great for fitting all my doula items in! It has 2 side pockets, one for my water bottle and the other I stuff my wallet and keys in because I don't want to drag my purse in to hospitals births. Especially if my clients need help carrying in their bags.
This front pouch is handy for:
Snacks and caffeinated tea! During births I need quick, easy to eat foods that will give me energy and fill me up. So I choose ones with lots of sugar (which I normally stay away from) and protein.
I also bring other food with me that doesn't stay stored in my bag, like sandwiches and fruit.
In the front pouch I also have gum and deodorant (laboring moms can be sensitive to smell), lip balm for me, comb with hair ties, and a tampon for me, just in case!
Lastly in the front pouch I bring drinking straws so she can easily stay hydrated and honey sticks in case she needs an easy boost of energy.
The main pocket of my bag contains:
A rebozo (Mexican hand woven shawl) for helping the baby reposition if needed (see here), as a comfort measure, or for use in pushing (see here). The green kneeling pad is for me, the mom, or the partner when kneeling on hard floors. The rice pack is heated and used on the lower back with counter pressure or other areas of the body. The tennis balls are also used for counter pressure on her lower back.
A ball pump in the left corner is great if the birthing balls at the birth place are too flat. My cell phone charger is a huge necessity, especially if I'm at a long birth. Tea light candles are great for giving enough light in a dim room (dim lights are preferable during birth as it helps the mom's hormones stay at an optimal level. We are mammals and mammals generally need privacy, darkness, and quiet when birthing!) The ziploc bags are for if the mom needs to vomit and there's nothing else on hand. I also use them as a cold pack with ice. Lastly here I have my essential oils that are usually used only as aromatherapy on the cotton balls and oil for massage.
This is one of the most important things I bring: my notebook and pen. I keep a list of events during the birth, such as when the client leaves for the birth place, vaginal exams, or what time she starts pushing. Then I type it up and give it to the client at our postpartum visit.
This awesome notebook also has folder pockets inside where I keep the notes from our prenatal visits, a copy of the birth plan, and my business cards.
A change of clothes for me in case I get wet from mom laboring in the water or from bodily fluids. Also very nice if I'm at a long birth and I want to just feel fresher. And a sweatshirt because hospitals can be very cold!
And lastly there is a handy pouch on the inside of the main section where I keep small items for the mom, such as:
A washcloth, comforting on her forehead or back of her neck during transition or pushing. New hair ties and hair clips for her as there's nothing more annoying than hair in your face when you're giving birth! New lip balm for mom, as women often get chapped lips when mouth breathing during labor. A "preggo pop" candy if she feels nauseated, and band aids because the last thing you want is an open wound in a hospital.
So there you have it! All my doula secrets and tools I bring with me to births! After a long winter of not attending births I have quite a few coming up and I'm looking forward to using my doula bag once again.