As a doula, I provide continuity of care for pregnant families in ways that doctors, midwives & nurses generally cannot.
Choosing the right midwife or doctor is an essential piece of planning your birth – they look after mama and baby’s physical health, and make sure everyone is well in pregnancy, birth, and the immediate postpartum. Doulas? We do everything that you may not even realize is missing from typical American obstetrical care.
Birth is a rite of passage for women, their partners, and their entire families. We remember our birth experiences vividly for our whole lives: the way we feel about how we give birth later shapes the way we feel about ourselves as women and as mothers for years to come.
Having a doula ensures that even if you know no one else in your delivery room, you have a strong, comfortable, trusting relationship with me.
I ease fear, hold hands, mop sweaty brows, squeeze aching hips, and quench dry lips. I help labor progress and help manage pain. I answer to no one but the pregnant family. I encourage, I empathize, I stay up all night until the work is done. Doulas help birthing families feel safe and respected in the midst of the most intense experience of their lives.
I educate, but I do not judge.
I have no agenda, and I do not only serve natural birthing families. I believe that birth is normal, that labor can be hard, that women are strong, and that you can do it. Is having a doula a luxury? I believe having a professional doula to comfort, hold, help, and support your family in birth is a necessity.
Studies show that families with doulas use less medical intervention, have shorter labors, greater success breastfeeding, and greet their babies feeling secure, respected, and self confident. When women are supported by doulas, we are happier with our experiences in the long-term – regardless of how our births unfold.
Birth doula care includes:
We begin with a free one hour
interview, to get to know one another, discuss your plans for your
birth, what I offer, and figure out if we are a good match. You might also want to read about my approach to VBACs and cesareans, and how I work with your partner to support your whole family.
* TWO PRENATAL VISITS to discuss, in depth, your hopes and preferences for your birth, my role as your doula and the roles of other support people you may choose to include, and provide you with useful tools and tips for labor and birth. The last of these meetings always happens at your home. If you go past your estimated due date, I offer another prenatal visit at 41 weeks.
* ON CALL SUPPORT; unlimited phone and e-mail support to answer your questions and offer suggestions and support throughout pregnancy and early labor, and in the early weeks and months of parenting your new baby. The official on-call period begins at 38 weeks, when I set aside all obligations and prepare to join you in labor.
* EXCELLENT BACK UP DOULAS; I am lucky to work closely with my doula partner, Amanda Kingsley. In the rare event that I cannot be with you in labor, Amanda or another member of the Western Mass. Doula Collective will care for you until I can join you. You will have the opportunity to meet your back up doula ahead of time. This a model of doula care is unique in our area and offers our clients the very best coverage and peace of mind.
* BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY during labor, birth, and the first hour or two with your newborn. I capture beautiful, intimate moments and details that you will cherish for a lifetime. Supporting you as your doula is always my first priority, so I don’t guarantee any particular shots or number of images. Examples of my photographs are available here, throughout this website, and many more are on facebook.
* POSTPARTUM SELF CARE SUPPORT following the birth, including suggestions and tips for rest, healing, and settling in with your baby.
* BIRTH PLAN ASSISTANCE to help you clarify your preferences for birth, discuss the options that are available to you, and, if you like, to help you craft a written birth plan that honors your vision for your birth and allows us to work in cooperation with your midwives, doctors, and nurses.
* CONTINUOUS SUPPORT IN LABOR; I meet you at your home when your labor becomes established, and provide physical, emotional, and informational support for you and your partner for the duration of labor and birth. I can facilitate communication with medical staff, and help you hold and move towards the vision you created for your baby’s birth. I may remind you about important questions to ask your care provider, suggest position changes, comfort techniques for your partner to try, I may breathe and move with you, take photos if you wish, and I will always remain mindful of your birth plan. I will be a constant supportive hand and voice to help you and your partner through the transformative experience of birth. I will be by your side until you and your new baby are settled comfortably, nursing, and nourished.
* INITIAL BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT immediately after birth to gently help your baby self attach to the breast. This includes showing you some different nursing positions, comfort techniques for the early days, discussing what a good latch is, and ways a supportive partner can help you be successful at nursing your newborn.
* POSTPARTUM FOLLOW UP VISIT to celebrate the birth of your baby, review and process your birth experience, answer any questions you have during the early postpartum period, and bring you your edited birth photos. Please see postpartum doula for a more complete list of topics we can cover.
I attend births at all the local hospitals in Western MA, my coverage area generally includes Springfield and Westfield in the south; Holyoke, Amherst, Northampton, Greenfield, and the Hilltowns; Brattleboro VT and Keene NH to the north; west to Pittsfield, North Adams, and the Berkshires; and east to Montague, Orange, and the Quabbin. I would be honored to assist you in the work of growing your family.