Birth is one of the most intimate and transformative experiences. You may be wondering why you might even hire a doula. As you learn about doulas you may come across some pretty amazing statistics about how the presence of a doula can positively impact your labor. The Cochrane Library, 2011, Issue 2, published a review entitled Continuous Support For Women During Childbirth. The review analyzed 21 studies and found that birthing people who received continuous support were less likely than those who did not to:
have regional analgesia
have any analgesia/anesthesia
give birth with vacuum extraction or forceps
give birth by cesarean
have a baby with a low 5-minute Apgar score
report dissatisfaction or a negative rating of their experience
This is great news for families, but I believe it focuses too much on medical outcomes. I believe the more important research findings about doulas and continuous labor support pertain to your experience of labor. Have you found that people feel compelled to tell you birth horror stories? I believe that one reason this happens is that families are trying to make sense of their own birth experience or fears.
Families who have had doula assistance at their birth likely share a different kind of story. These families leave their birth experiences feeling accomplished, proud, and cared for. They feel heard, supported, accomplished, satisfied and confident in their choices, regardless of the medical details of their birth. These families have higher rates of breast/chestfeeding, lower rates of perinatal mood disorders, and have more positive feelings about their baby. This impacts not only individual parents and their babies, but also positively impacts future generations. What a wonderful way to begin the parenting journey!
Where I excel
It is important that you hire a doula with whom you feel 100% safe, comfortable and confident. I have many wonderful doula colleagues in the Seattle area. Most of us offer similar services, so here I would like to tell you why I would hire me.
Hands on support – My combination of massage, anatomy and counseling training help me to understand what you may want physically and emotionally. I have been an LMP and anatomy teacher for 20+ years which helps me to quickly tune into where my clients could most benefit from touch. I ‘see’ with my hands. One of my first doula clients was stunned that I could tell a contraction was coming before she could, just by watching her face or feeling her back.
Helping discover the essence of your birth experience – Every family holds the health of mother and baby as their highest priority in labor. But birth is so much more! Families deserve a larger vision for their birth. John Gottmann in his research on couples says that one of the predictors of long term relationship success is how a pair describes their meeting. If they describe how they met with warm loving feelings, regardless of the circumstances, they are more likely to report that they are happy together.
I believe this translates to parenting. It may not always be easy, but being able to look back on first meeting your baby, and having memories of feeling loved, supported, heard and strong at your birth can give you the strength to get through the tougher days of parenting. My experience as a counselor have aided me in becoming especially skilled at helping families find what it is that will help you achieve that positive birth memory.
Working as part of a team – It may sound very Stuart Smalley, but darn it, people like me! I am a funny gal and I usually carry chocolate. While that may sound like a strange thing to mention, humor, thank you notes and yes, chocolate, are some of the multiple ways I show staff at your birth place that I appreciate their loving care for you, that I understand my scope of practice and I respect their amazing job. The last thing a birthing woman needs is friction in her birth space so I pay special attention to developing positive working relationships at area hospitals and birth centers. My positive reputation as a doula precedes me with many birth practitioners. I have a number of midwives and obstetricians and other health care practitioners who recommend my services to their patients. I am also delighted to be a part of the new Swedish Hospital Doula Program team!
My work as a doula allows me to draw from a wide variety of skills I have accrued in both my formal trainings as well as experiences with each of the birthing families with whom I have worked. My knowledge of anatomy, how to listen deeply, where to touch and how – all of these help me to be a better doula. I love my work and feel very fortunate to be able to do something that I believe truly makes the world a better place.
At a Glance
Here's the brass tacks. My services include, at minimum:
A free initial interview to discuss my services and to decide if we would like to work together.
Two prenatal meetings to help prepare for your unique birth experience.
On-call from week 38 of your pregnancy until you give birth.
Use of TENS unit (optional).
Physical and emotional support during your labor, birth and initiation of breastfeeding.
24-hour support by phone or email beginning when you hire me.
Video and book lending library.
Placenta encapsulation (optional).
Two postpartum visits, one of which includes a 60-minute postpartum massage.
Perhaps the gift of a swanky I LOVE MY DOULA onesie similar to the one modeled by the fashion-forward babies on this site.
Access to me for the rest of your days – really! I enjoy hearing updates about the families I serve, am happy to offer myself as a parenting resource and would certainly love to help you welcome your next baby/babies if your family continues to grow.
Fees: $3000. I am happy to provide my Client Service Agreement for complete details.
Area of Service: I attend births in hospitals, homes, and birth centers from North Seattle to Des Moines, WA (sorry, I don't travel east of Lake Washington).
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No doula can 100% guarantee their availability. Illness, scheduled away time, and simultaneous births happen. I am delighted to be working with Marni Campbell as my primary backup! Marni works solely as backup for my clients, so I can almost fully guarantee that I or Marni will attend your birth. I also collaborate with a number of other experienced doula colleagues for backup, in the unlikely circumstance that is needed.
All birthing people deserve to be supremely human in this most supremely human experience. They deserve to be seen, honored, heard, and supported. I have experienced giving birth and attending dozens of births that at the most intense moments in the birth process people are the most vulnerable. Birth work enables us to be allies to birthing people by intentionally clearing space for their voice, their desire, and their pain, and their joy.
Every birth I have attended has been spectacular, and no two have been alike. But the most vivid is the birth of my nephew in the foyer of my sister’s house, with me kneeling by her feet, trying to buckle her sandals. As I bent over her feet, I suddenly felt her lean her whole weight on my shoulders. “He’s coming
she said with a low, urgent voice. With the next contraction he dove into the world, strong and healthy, already himself. I helped her sit down, right there in the foyer in the puddle of blood and water and as she lifted her shirt, held him to her chest, she was incandescent.
I hope to support your birthing experience with care and respect. As your doula, I will create the space for you to have a birthing experience that will add to the story of your becoming.
About Me: I grew up in Eastern Canada (beautiful Ontario) and have lived in Seattle with my three children and partner for almost 30 years. I am a lifelong educator and have been a teacher and administrator in K-12 and post-secondary settings. I love creating learning spaces that are wide open, generous, and loaded with discovery. I am also a music teacher, musician (I met my husband in our college Orchestra), and devotee of open water swimming and poetry.
My household is fully vaccinated for COVID19 and influenza. I only work with clients with fully vaccinated households; everyone eligible in their home is vaccinated for COVID19 and influenza. I always wear a mask when in-person with clients. If I have a known exposure, or become infected myself, I will notify you immediately. I ask that you do the same if you have an exposure or become infected. If I have a known exposure/become infected, I will provide a backup for your labor.
I am willing to attend births in-person with a client with a known or suspected COVID19/influenza/RSV infection with PPE. I cannot guarantee that my backups will do this or that your birthplace will allow it. I or my backups can attempt to provide virtual support. Infection control policies at birthplaces change frequently. The remainder of the fee is due at the first postpartum visit even if hospital/birth center policy or client COVID19 status precludes my joining your labor.