Certified Doula Birth Services
Whatcom County, WA
WHAT IS A DOULA?
The word “doula” comes from the Greek word for woman servant. Birth Doulas (also called labor assistants or coaches) are trained and experienced in childbirth, and ready to serve in a unique, non-medical role throughout a woman’s pregnancy, labor, birth and the early days postpartum. We see throughout history and in other cultures the community of female support that gathers around a new mother and acknowledge the power of this emotional support and guidance that has been largely lost in modern day life.
I get to know you and your family in our prenatal meetings. I am available by phone or email for questions in between our chats. My goal is to provide you with the support—emotionally, informationally, physically—to enable you to envision and achieve your own goals for your childbirth.
Many women hire a doula to provide extra support and encouragement for a “natural” (generally meaning non-medicated) labor. I love sharing the many techniques that can make the labor process more comfortable and productive, such as breathing, movement, water therapy, massage, hot or cold packs, counterpressure, music, birth affirmations, and much more. You have options!
Women also hire doulas even when they plan to request an epidural. After all, you are going to feel a number of contractions before arriving to the hospital, and definitely before the anesthesiologist arrives to your room! And we’ve all heard the stories of how they don’t always work as expected. A doula helps you cope with contractions as long as needed and change of plans.
OF HAVING A DOULA
Many studies confirm the benefits of having a doula present, but one of my favorites is a report released by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in February 2017. (Read the complete report here.)
Recommendations include continuous one-on-one emotional support provided by a doula, an active upright labor, and more use of nonpharmacologic pain relief. They acknowledge that doula care saves money for consumers and the government, is linked to shortened labor, higher Apgar scores for baby, families report higher satisfaction with labor, and a decreased need for pain medication and c-sections (40% less with doula supported births!).
What About Dad?
STRENGTH IN SUPPORT
Some dads may worry that a doula will replace them at the birth.
Others may not feel equipped to be mom’s sole support during labor.
Don’t worry! For the dad who wants to play a large part, he can certainly do so. I can give ideas as needed to enhance his ability to provide much needed support during labor...and even get more intimate moments if desired, while I deal with the medical staff!
For the dad who is nervous about being all that his wife will need him to be, you are not alone!
“In no other area of the hospital is a family member asked to take on such a significant caretaking role as in childbirth. ...We have often been struck by how terribly relieved fathers are when an experienced nurse or midwife enters the room and remains with them. This feeling of relief enables fathers to be much more relaxed, loving, and emotionally available than when they bear the burden of responsibility alone. We therefore want to enable the father to be present at his own comfort level and to remain emotionally connected to his partner and child. Few fathers want to be—or should be—the sole support person in the room.” Quote from The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth, by Klaus, Kennell, Klaus
As a doula, I make sure ALL fathers feel supported! My continual presence allows him to take care of his own needs when necessary (getting something to eat, taking a breather, etc.) so that he is more emotionally and physically present for the momentous occasion. I also encourage and inform him throughout labor to reduce fear and anxiety, resulting in happier memories for the entire family!
Why Mothers Hire Doulas
The multitude of reasons include:
A listening ear beyond her busy healthcare provider
Information and assistance creating a birth plan
Basic childbirth education for her and her partner
First birth! Everything is so new and unknown
Second birth! Need emotional and informational support after a previous difficult pregnancy or birth
Comfort measures during the birthing process, with or without an epidural
Extra support for partner
For continuous labor support (your doctor and nurses will only enter room occasionally during the labor process, and they change shifts)
Studies show that brides spend 9-12 months and 250 hours planning their wedding. Shouldn’t some time be given to planning the birth of your child, a day you will always remember?
What My Services Include
*Initial meeting at no cost to get to know each other and see if we are a good match. If not, I would love to give you contact information for other doulas!
*Getting to know you and your family during 2 prenatal meetings, during which we discuss your dreams and plans for the big birth day
*Information, articles, books, studies, hand-outs, etc., tailored to your questions and needs
*Assistance creating a birth plan
*Assessment of mother’s love languages, so that her partner and I can focus on serving her in that way
*Access to my extensive lending library of books on pregnancy, childbirth, baby care, and parenting
*Unlimited support by phone, text, and email for any questions or concerns you may have in between our meetings
*Continual care during your labor from the time you need me, helping you move towards the vision of your ideal birth
*Access to all the goodies of my doula bag
*Photos of baby’s birth, as I am able
*Support for the first hour or two after baby’s birth
*Delivery of placenta pills within 2-3 days, if that service is desired
*Postpartum visit to your home within 1-2 weeks after baby’s birth to reflect on the birth and answer breastfeeding and newborn questions
*Your birth story, presented at our postpartum meeting, as well as all the pictures I took on the Birth Day
*Special gift for mom and baby
What They Say...
Katie, second baby, Olive Branch Methodist Hospital
"I just wanted to thank you again for everything! I can't really put into words how much help and peace of mind you helped me to get to. :)"
Kaamilya, first baby, homebirth
"Jennifer was an excellent help for my labor and birth.
My husband and I were extremely pleased."
Every family is unique and I love to tailor the experience to your needs. Regardless of where you birth, all of my aforementioned services are included. Please let me know if you have any questions!
HOSPITAL SUPPORTED BIRTH
HOME SUPPORTED BIRTH
"Remember this, for it is as true as true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth as well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body."