I have been privileged to attend over 100 births as of January 2013. (that number was last updated January 2013)
Yes, I'm trained and certified by both CAPPA (I recently let that go) and DONA, the leading doula certifying organizations in the United States. I am a certified HypnoDoula, trained to assist moms using Childbirth Hypnosis. I also completed a Doula Internship through South Coast Midwifery. All of my certifications require me to attend several continuing education trainings each year. Training courses I have attended include:
When you ask me to join you. Some moms want support at home, some moms want me to meet them at the hospital. It's a very personal decision. It depends on so many factors - how fast your contractions get up to speed (if they start out at every 6 minutes, or they start out every 30 minutes), whether your partner is being useful to you, whether your baby is facing up or down (sunny side up, or OP, occiput posterior), etc. There is no wrong time to ask me to join you in labor. Studies show that early support is better than too late. I have never understood other doulas and their "rules" for when you can call them. Aren't you paying me to support you during your birth? You might need my emotional support from the very beginning!
It depends on the mom, and the position of the baby. Some things that usually help:
The most important thing is to keep trying until we find out what works for you!
I started my professional life as an attorney for children in foster care, and then did their adoptions if they couldn't go home to their birth parents.
got pregnant I hired a doula for my birth.
My baby was persistent occiput posterior (sunny side up) and had the
cord wrapped around his neck twice, and we joke that it took a long time for that cord to stretch long enough to let him out! My doula's presence at the hospital helped me avoid a
c-section. I would have asked
the staff to "do something, anything!" long before pushing
because I was tired and hurting. My doula had me walking the halls, taking showers, and changing positions to keep my labor going - and keep me distracted! Those simple things really work!
fine at home, but at the hospital, it would have been very hard to cope and relax and negotiate with staff
and work the hospital bed (you need a degree in civil engineering!!) and find the
pillows, pillowcases, blankets, etc. while dealing with contractions. My doula made it all happen without me or my husband having
to worry about it. She stood in the
shower with me (not getting wet) so she could hold the water nozzle on my back,
and my husband could hold the hand with the IV up and out of the water....for
When I couldn't take the pain
any more (back labor is very difficult to cope with), I asked for an epidural,
and my doula never left my side. She was
there when I went to sleep, and when I woke up.
She never "judged me" - and I've heard other doulas talk about their clients choosing an epidural like it is evil! Her face told me everything that I needed to know at that point. She believed in me and let me know I was doing alright and
everything would be okay, and it was. I
pushed and pushed and pushed and she never told me I was doing it wrong, or acted like I
wasn't going to be able to do this.
She kept looking at me like I was going to make it work, and I did. Partly because she believed I could. It was a transformative experience. Now, I am hired to believe in your ability to give birth, and that’s what I do. I have never looked back on my life as a lawyer and regretted changing jobs - my work remains the same. I work with families in a time of great need, same as before. The setting may have changed a little bit (hospitals instead of courts), but the rules are the same - find out what your client wants and try to get it for them. Believe in them. Trust them. And advocate for their wishes at every opportunity.
Because of my birth experience, my best friend decided to become a doula after spending most of my labor with me. She loved it so much, she invited me to join her at a training. I loved that training so much I left behind my fancy (and expensive!) law degree and joined the ranks of women helping women in this remarkable rite of passage. Now I'm a doula focusing on the whole family, and believing they can have the birth they want. It's doulable!What are my fees and what do they include?
Currently, I'm charging $1,200 for my complete birth package, but just in case, contact me for the latest fee. It
changes constantly as I get more birth experience and more certifications and as I discover what other doulas are charging (so tell me if you think my fee is out of step, I may have a discount for you as a student, as a military family, single mother, etc). My fee covers at least two prenatal visits
(the free consultation to meet each other doesn't count), a visit with you to
the doctor if necessary to fight off anything you don't want (after we both listen attentively to their concerns and exploring the gap between what you want and what the caregiver recommends in a peaceful way), I attend
non-stress tests as necessary, especially the ones where a decision is likely
going to be made about induction or c-section, the birth itself (of course!),
and a postpartum visit for breastfeeding support.
Depending on the need, I have made postpartum visits months after the birth when mom got a breast infection. I have also slept over with a few clients during the first week when they really needed some extra support to keep breastfeeding (depends on my availability, of course, and we'll have to work out some fee to compensate me for my time). Anything you need we can discuss and if it is above my normal commitment we can figure out a reasonable payment for the extra time.
only take so many clients per month or I might miss your birth, which goes into
my fee structure, naturally. To put my fees into perspective, think about how much you pay for an hourly massage. Now try to get that massage therapist to be on call for you for a month, ready to come to your home in the middle of the night, and stay with you for 12-24 hours! That's about what you're asking me to do!
Contact me for my most recent prices and packages. I offer discounts for local moms, and package deals if you have me encapsulate your placenta, because I really believe in the power of the placenta to ward off two things that are so prevalent right now: mild postpartum depression and low milk supply. I know it sounds crazy, but if you are prone to depression we should really discuss this.
How does hiring me work?
Ideally, we should schedule a short Skype chat first, and if that goes well, schedule an in-home interview. Once you both decide to hire me, call me to let me know and then fill out my contract and send it to me with a deposit for half of my fee. If you need alternate payment arrangements, let me know. I'm happy to accommodate you.
Once we know we are working together, we will schedule 2 meetings to go over your birth wishes and be sure you are ready for birth and breastfeeding. You will fill out some questionnaires for me to help me get to know you better, and we will stay in touch during your pregnancy. I ask you to call me after doctor/midwife appointments and let me know how things are going. Once we are in your due window (two weeks before and two weeks after your due date), I'll promise to stay nearby in case you need me. Once you think you are in labor, you decide when you need me to come to your side. (Hint: if you go into labor in the middle of the night, you can wait until morning to call me unless you have a question or want me to join you in the night. If you just wanted to let me know you are in labor, you can email me as that is the first thing I check every morning before I even get out of bed!).
What is placenta encapsulation?
I offer placenta encapsulation as an additional service for both my own clients and other mamas who contact me in advance to get on my calendar. All hospitals will dispose of your placenta immediately after your birth, so if you are planning to have this done you MUST tell me before I leave your birth so I can arrange with the staff to have you sign a form to release your placenta to me.
Encapsulation is basically dehydrating and then crushing your placenta, and placing the resulting fine powder into medical grade capsules, which can be taken during your postpartum recovery period to aid in mood stabilization and milk supply.
Of course there is research available on the benefits of encapsulation, but almost all of it was done on animal subjects... I'm most impressed with the stories of women giving birth a second time, who decided to try placenta encapsulation to see if they could have a better postpartum experience. Those moms have told me they felt much better, and wish they had known about encapsulation the first time!
Many moms tell me their own mothers remember their mothers did something special with their placentas, "back in the day!" I think it's wonderful this option exists for women who are interested, and I'm pleased to be able to provide it. I use flavored, colored capsules so you neither SEE nor TASTE anything unpleasant. :) Check out my page dedicated to encapsulation.