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Could you recommend a doula?

A question from Thuan:

I'm looking for recommendations for a birth doula. If you had a great experience with a doula could you share your experiences, including relevent stats including her birthing philosophy (i.e. birthing from within, bradley, hypnobirthing, etc.)?

Thanks in advance for your recommendations, urbanMamas!

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I have no suggestions but I look forward to hearing some. I am fairly certain I want a doula for this coming birth but I still have a hard time figuring out who it will be...

I LOVED (still do!) the doula we had for lil a's birth. Her name is Shari Saldana (http://www.preciousbirthdoula.com). She was perfect for us and was such a great support at the birth. She worked with me and my husband to make the birthing experience perfect. She was willing to help in any way she could and didn't force her ideologies on you.

My mother was very skeptical of the idea of a doula. But after lil a was born, she kept saying to everyone she knew "I wasn't sure what a doula was...but I'm the biggest believer in them now!"

I used Meg Stalnaker from ABC doula and she was great! She also teaches the childbirth class at providence hospital so she knows of what she speaks. I think there are a few other doulas there, Alisa and Leah, who I used for postpartum care, who would be great.

I had an incredible birth experience with my doula Rhonda Davis (http://www.davisdoula.com/). She came to our house before the due date to teach us about birthing positions, take pictures of my preggo belly, and left us with videotapes and books. I devoured the book Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin - wonderful. At the birth she was a lifesaver especially when I went through transition, coaching me through every contraction (my hubbie was awesome too but there's nothing like having a woman who has been through many labors). I ended up giving birth standing up (the only position in which my little Jack's heart rate was most stable) and holding onto a bar. I could not have done that had I not had both a midwife willing to catch a baby in that position (an ob/gyn would have scoffed at that - I almost certainly would have had a C-section) and my doula. Rhonda took pictures, even showing the head crowning, which required her to get down on the floor and point the camera up! Two weeks after the birth Rhonda visited us at home to help out with breastfeeding and answer any questions. She showed me how to swaddle my squirmy little guy the proper way and he slept SO much better after that. She also made a wonderful photo album with the preggo pictures, labor, and the smiling and relieved parents holding their new bundle of joy. I cannot say enough good things about Rhonda. We would have paid her double! Good luck with your labor Thuan.

I interviewed 3 doulas and chose Ginny Potter, who was recommended to me by my OB, my colleague and my friend -- 3 different recommendations made me really confident. She has 5 kids of her own, has participated in over 100 births, teaches women how to be doulas and also teaches natural childbirth classes. I can't imagine not having her by my side for delivery.

She has a wonderful personality and exudes an amazing spirit that must come from participating in so many miracles of birth. She was a great teacher/coach, and kindly but firmly kept my husband focused on what he needed to do whenever he got distracted (like, when he couldn't take his eyes off the baby's head).

During the delivery she even relieved one of the nurses in attendance (who was 8 months pregnant) -- she is that knowedgable. I think her web site is www.birthcircle.com. She also has a package that includes a lactation consultant, which we chose, and it was a great decision.

I also interviewed Rhonda Davis and she came in a close second t Ginny.

Good luck!

HI chiming in to add a HUGE plug for Mothertree Birth Doulas at www.mothertreebirth.com
Not only do they doula but they train doulas. I know them personally and they are all amazing, experienced, incredible doulas and women.

I highly recommend Rhonda Davis as well. I had a very long labor, and I don't know how my husband or I would have made it through without Rhonda. I wasn't sure about how it would feel to have someone I had only seen twice before be a part of my labor, but Rhonda has this wonderful calming presence and I felt so comfortable with her. I know my husband valued all Rhonda's specific suggestions on how to support me throughout the labor. If I have another baby, she will be there!

I highly recommend Aimee Nemeyer, she is wonderful, my partner was skeptical about hiring a doula, but after the delivery he said we never will have another birth without Aimee around. She worked wonders! My midwife even said she was one of the best she has ever seen, and she's seen a lot of doulas. And Aimee is just starting out and she is this talented already! Highly recommend her.
Contact info is
Aimee Nemeyer
503-357-0773

Tell her Cammie recommended her!

I HIGHLY recommend Melissa Haskins of Renaissance Doulas. She was amazing and provided just the right amount of support to both me and my husband through our 36 hour, unmedicated birth. She was there for us during my pregnancy and helped us make some wonderful choices about our birth plan and experience. During the birth, she offered aromatherapy, massage, verbal encouragement, energy booster food and drink and moral support for my exhausted husband. I still see her regularly because she has become a good friend. I would never have another birth experience without her around! You can find her group at http://www.renchildbirth.com/

Good Luck!

I also recommend Aimee Nemeyer. She was wonderful for our birth last summer. She has such a soothing way and was great with including my s/o. Loved her!

Sadie at Mothertree was my doula and she is amazing. I had a very difficult birth- 28 hours with horrible back labor the whole time. Sadie stayed with us the whole time and was incredibly present and supportive. She also helped with post partum care- I don't know how I would have gotten through those first few weeks without her!

Since I posted the original question, I thought it'd be great to follow-up with my experience. I got a lot of good referrals but decided to go with Renaissance Childbirth. I chose them for several reasons: 1)i had really good rapport with Erica over the phone. If you can believe it, while phone interviewing there were several other doulas who actually started to tell me what I could and couldn't do during my pregnancy! Not Erica. She was very open and interested in finding out what kind of support I was looking for. As importantly, she was also interested in my partner's views and wishes. 2)Renaissance doulas work in teams of two. This was really important because when I spoke to other mamas about their doula experience, there were an amazingly large # of cases where the doula wasn't able to attend and a back-up doula was present, usually someone they'd only met once before. At Renaissance, every prenatal meeting is with both doulas -that way, if one can't attend the birth (and all kinds of valid things do come up) you're not left with a virtual stranger. In our case, both doulas were present at the birth and this was great. My partner and I felt like we had "his and her doulas"!

So how did it go? fantastic. I ended up working with Erica Matteson and Nichole Rozelle and both my partner and I would do it again, the exact same way. We didn't have a "perfect" unmedicated birth: my water broke four weeks early, I went on pitocin, and i ended up with an epidural. This from someone who fantasized about a natural birth. Yet, I feel great about all the choices we made. Erica and Nichole were present for every step, they explained possible outcomes for each decision, they encouraged us to ask for what we needed from the hospital staff, and they were amazing during the delivery. I truly feel that i can look back on my delivery and feel so positive about it because, largely due to Erica and Nichole's support, I got to be in control of my birth experience. It's exactly what we wanted in a doula. Can't recommend them enough!

I also used Sadie @ Mother Tree. She was so wonderful! She had great techniques for me but also helped my husband quite a bit. She stayed with us the whole time and got us started with breastfeeding afterwards. I dont know what we would have done without her!

My wife has been doula-ing for 12+ years now and one of the best ways to find a doula is to go to one of the certifying agencies and get a listing of certified doulas in your area. In the United States, there are only three agencies that certify doulas:

The Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators (http://www.alace.org)
CAPPA (http://www.cappa.org)
Doulas of North America(http://www.dona.org)

My wife's company offers certified doulas personally trained and younger doulas being mentored for certification. Her site is:
http://www.mothermedoulas.com

Does any one happen to have any more or new recommendations for doulas?

(I realize this thread is pretty old.)

Thanks!

I realize this topic is fairly old but thought I would add earth mama doulas to the list. They are fairly new business but very professional and down to earth. You can contact them at www.earthmamadoulas.com

Greetings

My wife and I are looking for a mandarin-speaking doula. Any suggestions? Our due-date is August.

thx

Gracie Koester at birthrootdoula.com was there for me with my second baby, and she did a terrific job of supporting and educating me about my choices.

Mother Tree is amazing. Mary their "matchmaker" helped me find the perfect fit for me and my partner. I received several massage and positions classes for free (yay to free massage!) and Wendy, our doula was incredible, helping us through a long but satisfying birth. I met several other mamas afterwards at their annual tea party. Even though they helped us by providing a payment plan, I would have paid double!

After our daughter was born, my husband looked at me and said: "how does anyone do this without a doula?" Asking Gracie Koester to be our doula was the best decision we made concerning our birth experience. She was such a calming, grounding presence and her expertise was invaluable. My husband felt secure and confident knowing that she was backing him up, and I looked to her for support and encouragement throughout my labor. Our prenatal and postpartum visits with her were a joy. She was full of helpful information and helped us to feel confident and prepared. We will use Gracie as our doula for our future children, and we recommend to her to all of our pregnant friends.

Like Greta above, my husband and I also chose Gracie Koester of BirthRoot doula services. Our home visits/sessions with her before our son's birth two months ago helped us prepare so much; by the time I went into labor I felt really ready and certain that the experience would be a great one—and it was. I appreciated that Gracie didn't judge us based on any of our choices; she presented us with pertinent information about topics we wanted to know more about and respected our preferences. When it came to labor and delivery, I can't imagine what we would have done without her. Her calming presence diffused any stress and she stayed with us throughout a long labor, offering reassurance and guidance when (and only when) we needed it. Our postpartum visits from her helped make a potentially tough transition much smoother and more manageable. And her recommendations for various practitioners for our son have been invaluable. I'd definitely want Gracie to be our doula if we have another child; I simply can't recommend her enough!

Like a few others here, we chose Gracie Koester of BirthRoot Doula Services as our doula.

Gracie was an enormous help and comfort for us during the last few months of my pregnancy through the first weeks with our newborn. She helped us prepare by providing us with solid information and creative ideas to make informed decisions about the birth process. Gracie is open and non-judgmental and we always felt completely supported and confident in all the choices we made.

In the months before delivery, Gracie gave us many tools to prepare for delivery and my husband and I believe we worked better together as a team as a result.

During labor and delivery, Gracie spent a full 24 hours with us. She was an expert coach and an excellent support for my husband. I felt so confident in her guidance, she never seemed to run out of ideas to make me feel more comfortable, to help move labor along, and to make pushing more productive. When we were faced with hard choices during labor, she gave us sound advice and helped us feel confident in the decisions we were making. Gracie’s kindness, calm presence, and humor helped me stay focused and manage my anxiety. After delivery, Gracie provided excellent advice on newborn care and, especially, breastfeeding.

It’s clear Gracie finds great joy in helping couples birth babies, and we are so happy we had Gracie as our doula.

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