I support the birthing family in the hospital or at home. Scientifically, a doula can lower your chance of having a c-section by 50%, reduce the length of your labor by 25%, reduce the use of pitocin by 40%, and reduce your need for an epidural by 60%. (Hodnett ED. Gates S Hofmeyr GJ. Sakala C. Continuous Support for Women During Childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. CD003766, 2003). Dr. John H. Kennell said, "If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."
But a doula is more than numbers. Just like you are more than just numbers and risk factors. And that's part of what I can do for you. I know the numbers, but you know your values. With our powers combined, we can forge an epic birth plan based in evidence and desire.
Prenatally I meet with you and your partner prenatally to become aquainted, explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, develop a positive nutrition plan, prepare you and your partner for common comfort measures used during labor including rebozo techniques, and help you make a flexible birth plan with language that is most likely to be understood and respected by your birth team.
During labor I can help you decide when it's time to go to the hospital or call your midwife, facilitate positive and effective communication between you and your birth team including incidental hospital staff if applicable, make suggestions based on your birth preferences, and recommend ways for your partner to support you both physically and emotionally. I will offer physical and emotional support too, but I won't ever get between you and your partner (unless we've planned his minimal involvement ahead of time). I can also take pictures with your own camera and be in charge of keeping your placenta safe if you have specific plans for it.
Postpartum I help with initial breastfeeding. I remain with you for a couple of hours until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. We'll meet again a few days or weeks to talk about the birth and help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
As your doula I do NOT catch your baby, perform clinical tasks, make decisions for you, or speak to your birth team on your behalf.
You will remember your birth experience forever. How do you want to remember it? Do you want to remember that you were empowered with information and supported physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Because you can have that without ever putting yourself or your baby in harm's way.
"Heather was absolutely wonderful. I recently had my third baby a few weeks ago, I asked Heather to be my doula after meeting her in a birthing class my midwife was giving. After being very unhappy with my birth experiences with the first two children I approached this next birth differently. We decided to have the baby at home and wanted a doula that I could feel comfortable with because so much is involved In a delivery. Heather is very knowledgeable and is always reading and learning about all the things releated to prgnancy, labor and after delivery. Plus it was comforting to know she has gone through the same thing herself. You can tell she enjoys what she is doing and is excited about it. I had an awesome experience with her and my midwife and would recommend her for sure. In fact I have told everyone. She was very easy to feel comfortable around and was by my side throughout my entire labor, helping me relax, breathe, change postions, be positive and reassured me I could get through it. I had really intense back labor and her and my husband worked together to get me through it. She was not only there for my labor but has also been very helpful with any questions or concerns I have had after the birth and has come to visit with my midwife several times. I only wish I had met her and my midwife for the first two labors. I am greatful to her and want everyone to know they would be so happy to have her by your side for an amazing experience." --Niki