What is a Doula?
The word “doula” has come to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother and her family unit before, during, and just after childbirth” (Mothering the Mother, by Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus). Doulas come from all walks of life and may, or may not, have had children themselves. We see this practice in many native cultures where the women of the village come together to surround the woman in labor and provide her with comfort, food, and nurturing care while she gives birth. These women are at all stages in their life span, from children to the elderly, proving that labor support knows no age boundaries.
Doulas support all members of the birth family, as well as her providers at her birthing facility. Mothers need doulas to allow them to feel nurtured, connected, and safe as they move through the various stages of labor and birth. Birth partners need doulas to help them relax, believe in the process, and develop conﬁdence in their ability to support their partner in the birthing process. Birth is not a “two-person job” for just the woman and her partner. The hours can be long and emotionally trying. Physically supporting a woman in labor can be exhausting. The partner also needs support, naps, bathroom breaks, and nourishment. The doula shares the labor support role with the birth partner, to provide the mother with the uninterrupted support that she needs throughout her experience. Nurses, midwives, and doctors need doulas because they cannot sit with the laboring mother continuously. Doulas provide the emotional and physical support so the providers can focus on her medical needs and keep her and her baby safe.
From RN to Doula
I have been a labor & delivery nurse, and pediatric nurse, since 1990. I spent the last part of my nursing career at the Sutter Davis Birthing Center, practicing mother-centered care in an evidence-based facility that supports normal birth. In 2011, I started Birth Fusion to bring my real-life experiences and passions to families in a very personal way. I felt my experience as an RN could beneﬁt families as I personally guide them through a process that often takes many twists and turns. I have witnessed hundreds of births as a nurse and doula, and I use these experiences to offer perspective and familiarity to an often unfamiliar experience. I do this from a clinical perspective, but also from a “best friend” and “mothering” perspective, to allow you to feel safe and supported in the decisions you make in your journey towards parenthood. I have seen all forms of birth, including vaginal, cesarean, water, twin, pre-term, still, and vaginal breech births, with many different family members involved, from toddler siblings to elderly grandparents and great-grandparents. I’ve witnessed unmedicated births, inductions and augmentations, as well as beautiful births with an epidural and even beautiful and joyful cesarean births. I have faith in this process and I know how to keep you and your support team focused on the goal of a safe and memorable birth.
What are your rates?
The fee for my doula services is $1250. This rate is based on my vast knowledge base as a labor nurse and childbirth educator, and the sheer volume of births I have attended as both a nurse and private doula. This fee is divided into 3 separate payments.
What is included with your fee?
- A 1-hour, no-obligation meet-and-greet so we can get to know each other and decide if we are a good ﬁt. I will explain my services as well as how I work with couples throughout the pregnancy and birth process. I welcome questions and exploration of any concerns you may have. I will present my contract and a few educational materials I ﬁnd helpful as you decide if a doula is right for you.
- One 2-3 hour in-home prenatal visit. We review your medical history and desires for your birth. All support people who will be present at your birth are encouraged to attend this meeting, including siblings (I encourage and support the presence of all ages at a family’s birth). We will discuss your at-home labor plans, transferring to the delivering facility, what is important to you for your labor and birth at the hospital, and answer any questions you may have about the entire process. We leave no stone unturned.
- You will have unlimited access to my expertise 24/7 throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. I am available for questions or concerns regarding your pregnancy. You will have access to my ever-growing network of local and web-based birth professionals that support birth, both prenatally and in the post-partum period. I have many friends who are midwives, physicians, and birth professionals. Ask me anything. If I don’t know the answer, I can usually ﬁnd out pretty quickly.
- Continuous hands-on labor support throughout your entire labor experience, both at home and at the birthing facility. My support continues for at least 2 hours after your birth. I place no time limit on labor. Relax. I have nowhere else I need to be and nowhere else I’d rather be.
- I will assist you in any emergent situation that may arise, providing extra support to your partner and family and keeping everyone informed and involved in the event of a mother-baby separation.
- Because the post partum period is so delicate and wrought with new questions, I provide you with 3 visits after your birth:
- Day 1-2 post partum while you are still in the hospital to review your birth and answer any questions that may arise after the “dust settles”. I will also support you in breastfeeding and new baby care.
- Day 3-5 post partum, after your return home and are starting life with your new baby. This is often an emotional time adjusting to breastfeeding, exhaustion, healing, and questions about your new baby. This visit is meant to assess you and baby, and make immediate referrals if necessary.
- 2-3 weeks post partum in your home to discuss any further questions you may have about your birth or the initial post partum period and close our relationship - until next time.