Day 14: The Mother of Three Boys
For Mother's Day, a birth-day slide show! My friend, Jen, just had her third baby. They didn't know the sex of the baby, and they already had two boys. Jen's first two dealt with tongue ties, and she fully expected her third baby to be tied -- she wasn't wrong! That's how we met, when we helped create Advocates for Tongue Tie Education. Jen has since moved from California to the East Coast, and I am thrilled she got to welcome her baby at home with a birth team who supported her in all the right ways.
Jen, her husband, and their three boys live in Washington DC. They love exploring all DC has to offer in the way of parks and monuments, and this new baby will fit right in on their adventures. Her doula was Justine Robinison.
Day 31: Home Sweet Homebirth
I had the privilege of attending this homebirth -- one of the longer births I have witnessed as a doula, 38 hours. Had this been a hospital birth, I am positive it would not have been allowed to progress at its own pace. All the while, Mom and Baby were perfect, healthy, and happy. Baby just decided to come out OP, face-up, and that made things happen a little slower than what we expected. There is just nothing like watching a woman bloom in labor -- no matter where she is -- when she feels safe, cared-for, and in-control.
I want to share what I think and how I feel about pregnancy and birth. I believe so much in respectful, evidence-based care for women and their babies. To me it's about choice; the choice to choose a care provider you're comfortable with, the choice to deliver your baby in the place you feel safest, and the choice to surround yourself with the people who will best support and love you during labor. Not everyone will make the same choices, and that shows how important it is for women to have safe options for whatever method they choose. Below are some photos of me in labor with our sweet baby boy and right after birth. We are all familiar with what hospital birth looks like, so here's a look at the other side.
Here my midwife's apprentice is showing my midwife how to hold up my belly and gently shake it side to side. This was heavenly! It got the weight of my baby off my back and was such a relief. and my husband has his feet up, too! Power of an effective birth team!
Here we were trying to get my labor to progress. I had such a strange labor (to me at least, no one else seemed that surprised!). It was a lot of intense contractions followed by long breaks. It didn't progress normally and we were surprised when my midwife would check my dilation and said there had been significant progress. The sweetness and patience of my support team is not lost on me. I would probably have not been able to labor so long at the hospital without intervention and augmentation. I'm thankful I got plenty of time to labor, even if it was unconventional.
"This may just look like a picture of two blurry feet with toenails of pink. But what you don't see is the AMAZING way a woman blossoms while laboring at home with the support of her family, her midwife, and her birth team. One foot is mine -- offering leverage and stability to the other foot -- a woman as she works to push her baby out. Not seen is the midwife using creative means to look for baby while not disturbing mom's floor-crouching position, dad who is behind mom physically supporting her, a student midwife simultaneously uplifting mom while preparing to serve birthing women in the future, and grandma who takes care of us all with homemade food and hospitality. Homebirth with a midwife offers a respect and kindness for the woman that is hard to find in the hospital, at least I can say that is my experience. What a joy to witness the simple miracle of birth and the power of a woman in her home who has choices and support."
I just love this picture and think it sums up homebirth perfectly. My midwife and her apprentice are studying me and waiting patiently for my next contraction. The equipment behind them is ready for use if we need it, but do not rely on it, trusting that my body knows how to birth this baby. I remember them encouraging me; telling me what a good job I was doing and that soon my baby would be in my arms. My husband sits behind me, a rebozo around his shoulders so I can use the scarf to pull on while I push through a contraction. Not pictured are my mom and Stacie, who are also watching and waiting, ready with a drink of water or a cool washcloth to wipe my forehead. What a privilege it was to be surrounded by this excellent, prepared and encouraging team!
Our baby is finally born!! We eventually moved onto the bed and were surprised to see him come out face first! My midwife rubs him down and checks to see that he's breathing. I am pretty much yelling about how much I love this little guy. Haha! What a rush of emotions!!!
For us, homebirth was where we felt safest and most comfortable, and where we believed our choices would be respected, while still having professionals available to advise us on risks and look out for potential problems. It is how I have birthed all three of my babies. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Marivette is another Bakersfield area local, and this is also her third time participating in the 31 Days project. She holds the record for most repins in her first post, Using the Rebozo in Labor. I had the honor of joining her at a very long homebirth recently, and with the casual nature of this labor, family, and birth team, in the long stretches between serious midwife-needed events, I saw Marivette's doula side shine though. Ever appreciative for all the support a woman gets in labor (and let's be honest, it made my job easier), I saw Marivette's knowledge and understanding come though her voice, her eyes, her touch. I know she will be an incredible midwife, and the families she will serve will be in great hands.
I have been a doula for 18 years. I began after the birth of my third child who was born at home with a direct-entry midwife. My midwife asked me if I would help her at births, and that launched me into being a home birth doula for seven years. She eventually moved away, and at that time, it was too far for me to travel to be a doula for her clients. I decided to start attending births at hospitals, and I have been an in-hospital doula for 11 years now.
When I was a doula at home births, I never saw myself in the position of midwife. I think at that time in my life, I wasn’t ready for that kind of responsibility. My children were all very young, and I wasn’t yet done having children. I was a lot younger, and I felt I wasn’t quite qualified and didn’t have enough experience to be in that role. So, I’d occasionally tell the midwife with whom I worked, that I didn’t want to be a midwife. I also thought that midwifery was not for me. After all, I had been pregnant while a senior in high school, barely graduated (attended a California’s continuation program to finish high school) and I had five children by the time I was 29 years old. By the time I was 38, I had eight children. Life was busy enough with homeschooling, church, helping my husband with his business, and being a doula. I couldn’t possibly add anything else to my over-flowing plate.
Well…that all changed in 2014. I noticed a trend in homebirths not only in the nation, but in my own community. I noticed no midwifery care was being provided to Spanish speaking women in my community. While English speaking women at least had the option of receiving midwifery care from a midwife who spoke their language if they so desired, Spanish speaking women in my county do not even have that option. “Someone should do something about this!” I thought. I still didn’t think that person would or could be me.
I became friends with a doula in a nearby city. She also has a large family, AND she was studying to be a midwife. I was excited for her! A doula-turned-midwife was a great journey. As the months and years of our friendship developed and grew, she eventually finished midwifery college, passed the NARM exam, and became a licensed midwife. During this time, I began being moved to pursue midwifery. I think it was always in me to become a midwife, but I just couldn’t imagine how I would pursue a midwifery degree. Watching my friend inspired me, so I began asking her questions about midwifery school.
My friend patiently answered all my questions, provided me with links, and fully encouraged me to go this route. I talked to my husband, I prayed about it, and I -- finally -- knew this was the next step for my life.
After looking at different schools, I chose Midwives College of Utah (MCU). MCU offers continuing education classes and these classes are a non-committal fashion to figure out if a distance education platform works for a person. After one semester of continuing ed classes, and getting a feel for how MCU operates, I knew, for sure, this was the school for me. I began the process of enrolling, and I was accepted into the Associates of Science in Midwifery at Midwives College of Utah in August, 2015. It will take me three years to complete the academic portion of the associate’s degree, and possibly another year to complete the clinical portion, totaling four years before taking the NARM exam.
Changing careers at the age of 45 has been an exciting and stressful adventure. My whole life, and how I operate, changed drastically. I went from having plenty of time to do all the things household, to doing school work 6-8 hours per day, including the weekends. I had to adjust my way of thinking, accept that going to school is the same as having a full-time job. When deciding to take vacations or weekend trips, or even day trips, I look at my calendar. I may have to do extra school work to make up for days I won’t be able to get any work done. I may have to take some school work with me, and get some studying done while on vacation. I have had to adjust everything around my education, and it has been difficult to make that transition.
Everything, right now in my life, is all planned around my schooling. In case any of you might by thinking, “Well there are summer breaks.” No, actually, there aren’t any summer breaks. MCU operates on a trimester schedule. That means, school runs all year long. We have four – fifteen week semesters: fall trimester, winter trimester, spring trimester, and summer trimester. Between semesters, we get a two-week break. That’s it, folks! So, no summer breaks! Now, if I plan it just right, I can finish up about 3 weeks early, and have about a 5-week break, but that means doubling up on assignments to get done early. It’s doable, but not an easy task!
Currently, I am in the assist phase and working with a preceptor (a licensed midwife who has been approved by MCU to be my supervising midwife). Being in an apprenticeship is such a blessing, but such a huge change for me! I have been accustomed to being in the doula role (education, information, and labor support – which means, never any medical advice is given and no medical procedures are ever done!). Being in the midwife apprentice position is completely different. I get to check blood pressure, pulse, and feel the abdomen for the baby’s position (Leopold’s maneuvers). These are things which are out of the scope of practice for doulas, but within the scope of practice for midwife’s apprentice while under the supervision of a licensed midwife. It’s amazing and exhilarating to be in this new role!
Another big change, for me, is that I now call meetings with my preceptor’s clients “prenatal” appointments. As a doula, I never felt comfortable calling meetings with clients a “prenatal,” because that, to me, is a term used to describe an obstetricians or midwife’s appointment to receive prenatal care. But, now, I am in the midwife’s apprentice role, and can call these "prenatal" meetings.
Going from doula to midwife is completely polar opposite. Doulas provide one to three meetings before birth, provide education, information, and emotional support, provide labor support, some breastfeeding support, and one visit after the baby is born. Doula support is invaluable! Doulas do not, however, provide any medical services, whatsoever.
Midwives provide one prenatal visit once per month from 4 weeks – 28 weeks of pregnancy, one prenatal visit every 2 weeks from 28 weeks – 36 weeks of pregnancy, and one prenatal visit from 36 weeks – 40 weeks and beyond if needed. That’s a total of approximately 15 prenatal visits. These visits include blood pressure, pulse, weight, and fundal measurements. They include lots of information on pregnancy health, nutrition, exercise, and things to expect. They make sure mom and baby are well, and that there are no medical issues. If there are issues, they refer them to an OB. Each prenatal visit typically lasts an hour, sometimes more…Postpartum, they provide approximately 3-4 visits…
So, for me, going from the doula role, to the midwife assistant role, has been a huge transition. Being part of the care a woman is receiving during her entire pregnancy is a completely different role from the doula role. I am in transition. As we know, transition is a hard place to be -- and I am eager to make the changes to get to my dream of becoming a midwife.
Marivette Torres is the founder/owner of Tender Doula Hands, a rebozo trained instructor and distributor. She is a CBI certified birth doula with 19 years experience serving the Bakersfield, California area. She has eight children ranging in ages from 26 to 8 years old. Her first child was born via surgery at a community hospital due to breech presentation. Her subsequent seven children were all VBAC births, two of which were born at a hospital birth center and five were born at home attended by a midwife.
She is currently undertaking her dream of pursuing a midwifery career. You may visit her website and
Facebook page. She also has a page dedicated to specific rebozo class information.
Pink...After a Blue Streak
This guest birth story is by a friend who, after 5 boys, had her baby girl. Nicolle was instrumental in helping me find my midwife when I moved to Bakersfield pregnant -- this was her hometown. I knew Linda Cowley was right for me when, at our interview, my dog sat on her feet! I owe Nicolle a debt of gratitude for her recommendation, and in an abuncance of good karma points, she found a midwife just as excellent to help her with Keira's birth. Enjoy the story and pictures!
On March 29th, 2014, my blue streak ended. I had a daughter. She was a total and utter surprise, starting from her pregnancy. I found I was pregnant after losing a pregnancy early in the first trimester. I assumed I would be having another boy. I don't think I allowed myself to even entertain the thought of having a girl, but shortly after finding out I was pregnant I bought a tiny pink nightgown, keeping the tags on, because surely I would be re-gifting.
My pregnancy progressed normally. I was taken care of by a great midwife. I can say in my life I have had the privilege of knowing some very amazing midwives. Randi was no exception. I called her for a consult, she came to my house, and I knew in my gut she was the one. I had interviewed several homebirth midwives at this point, but had not yet pulled the trigger After my initial consult, I hired her on the spot. I knew she was the perfect fit to help me and guide my baby earthside. She was competent, confident, and smart. I felt immediately comfortable, and it felt I had known her a million years. Our appointments were like a visit from an old friend. Lots of laughs and love.
Towards the end, baby decided head down was for losers. This baby decided breech was the way to be. I immediately called Randi, who came out the next morning and confirmed the lump I felt under my ribs was exactly what I thought it was, a head. No panicking, no freaking out was done by her, she was cool as cucumber. My mother, a seasoned midwife said inside she probably thinking, "oh for the love of Pete, this great big baby needs to turn head down immediately or I will have to be carried out of here on stretcher." We did some exercises, threatened the baby with a spanking(haha) and that silly baby turned head down. And then I stayed pregnant for another few weeks, as my babies like to do.
41 weeks came and went. Xander, our oldest, was to be confirmed on March 30th. March 28 came and bit of urgency was felt by me. I did NOT want to be in labor the day of his confirmation. My mom and Cheryl, my ever present birth partner, made the 5 hour drive up north. But, alas, no labor came.
I woke up at 12:45 AM, March 29th, with my water breaking in bed. I shook Jacob awake and told him my water broke. He didn't really wake up, but moved over so he wasn't laying in amniotic fluid. I heaved my very large self out of bed and had a contraction that brought me to my knees. I had to have Jacob get out of bed to wake my mom and Cheryl, and call the midwife. I was having back to back contractions and couldn't do anything but stay kneeling over my bed, preparing for the next contraction.
Things moved quickly from that point on. Randi made it, and my friend Danielle was there as well. Cheryl was taking pictures and I was getting close. I have always labored a long time, but this time it was different. I was going fast. Jacob and I seemed to be completely in sync with each other, and I didn't really have to even articulate what I needed, he just knew. Between he, my mom, and Cheryl, I was very well attended to, and I had a lot of help to support me through my intense contractions.
My contractions were on top of each other, and very intense. I thought maybe the bathtub would help, but I didn't care for it, at all. I had a really hard contraction when I was getting out of the bath, and I told Jacob I didn't think I could handle another like it. I started to get a little a weepy, and my legs started to shake, a sure sign of transition for me.
I was not feeling the urge to push, although I was fully dilated. Baby was high and floating. Randi said I could push if I wanted to, and I didn't want to, but it was going to be the only way to get this over with. I pushed, and the amniotic sac bulged out like a tidal wave. My bag of water burst explosively, shooting up over the chux sheet Randi was shielding herself and Jacob. Keira's head quickly followed, and with one more push came her body. I heard Jacob say "I think it's a girl!" and the whole room just came alive. I laughed, and then I cried tears of joy. I could not believe I had a daughter. I kept saying over and over I can't believe I have a daughter. She was perfect. Just perfect. She breathed and cried, and was trying to nurse while she was still connected to me. I was on cloud 9!
I wish I had to words to describe how the air felt in the room. I wish I was not limited by language so I could fully explain the joy, the peace, and the euphoria I was feeling. That feeling, that is birth. That is why it happens in a sacred place, the place where that child was created, a living token of the love between Jacob and myself, who are given the privilege to create life.
My child was welcomed into the world surrounded by those that loved her the most. The first hands to touch my daughter were the hands of her grandmother, who lifted her into my arms, the arms of the woman who would be her champion until the end of time. My world was complete.
Keira Kristina was born on March 29th, 2014 at 3:16 AM. My fastest, easiest delivery. It was everything I wanted it to be, and I wasn't in labor for Xander's confirmation. She was gracious and came the day before. My mom made it, Cheryl made it, and she took the most beautiful pictures. I will treasure them always. A truer friend there never was. I am pretty sure she'd drive the Bronco in a slow speed chase if I needed her to. Randi was perfect, just perfect. She slipped out of the room after I delivered the placenta and was tucked into bed, Facetiming my sister. She came back in with a plate of snacks, and yummy tea for me, and had thrown in a load of laundry for us. I love her so, and I forever am in debt to her goodness to me.
Two years later, and I am still reduced to tears of joy when I think about my girl's entrance into the world. She is just what this family needed!
Just a few shout-outs to some great professionals:
Linda Cowley, LM, CPM, serving the Bakersfield Area
Randi Payton, LM, CPM, serving the Greater Sacramento Area
Cheryl Lopez Photography, serving the Bakersfield Area
I had been looking forward to Sunday afternoon all week. A local midwife (and friend!) was throwing an open-house party to reveal her new office and birth suite. There was to be a petting zoo, bounce house, food, families, and fun. I couldn't wait, and I excitedly brought my mom and Ezra along for the ride.
LaMonica Bryant, LM, CPM, has been a midwife since 1999. She offers homebirth services to families in Kern, Tulare, and Kings Counties. LaMonica is based outside of Bakersfield, and after moving to a farm with more room, it was time to create a dedicated office space. It was also decided to include a birth suite, for situations when families may want the option of out-of-hospital birth closer to town than they may be.
I arrived to the party, eager to check out the new space and visit with LaMonica. I saw many friends, including my own midwife, Linda Cowley, who had helped me birth Ezra. Tables were set up and food was near, so I sat and visited for a bit, always keeping an eye out for LaMonica as I wanted to tour the new space with her. After about a half hour, another friend came to our table and whispered something about there being a baby born that morning.
Let me back up: LaMonica was pregnant, due around Valentine's Day. Her party's date was supposed to have been far enough ahead of her baby's date to not get the two mixed up. But as we all know, sometimes baby's have other plans!
The night before the party, around 11 pm, LaMonica's water broke! Labor ensued, and at 6:17 am, on the day of the planned party, Jasper was born! A short while later LaMonica's husband asked what they were going to do about the party? LaMonica said, the food was bought, the bounce house was on its way, so the show must go on! A bit bewildered, I would imagine, her husband agreed -- as long as she promised to stay in the house, in bed, with her baby.
After hearing LaMonica's baby had been born (and realizing that was why I hadn't seen her around), I went off to find her. She was accepting visitors, thankfully. I came to her bedroom, where she was skin-to-skin with Jasper. There were a couple other women with her, and it was calm and quiet, despite the party outside. If you are anything like me, though, you know THIS is where the real party is! A mom and her new baby, complete for the moment, happy and resting in a comfy bed with a wall of festive turquoise behind them. LaMonica had such a look of happiness on her face! In truth, she looked amazing and bright -- like she could be out there, showing families the new space! But a woman who has been present for 300+ families when they birthed was having her own moment. And truly, I felt her joy.
There was a buzz at this open house, like all of us were gathered to celebrate the birth of Jasper. Even though most never even saw him, we knew he was near, and we knew he was safe and happy. The most honored guest didn't even come to his own party, but all of us there were aware of his impact. We were reminded that birth is wonderful and unpredictable -- and that birth is safe.
How better for a midwife to know the functionality of her space than to test it herself? It may not have been in LaMonica's plans, but Jasper decided they needed to do just that. Well before the guests arrived, and with the help of her family and her own midwife, the baby was born, the suite was cleaned, and LaMonica and Jasper moved to their bedroom in the house to begin their babymoon (despite the festivities of the day!).
Reflecting back to the spirit of this day, I think I pin-pointed it: As a midwife, LaMonica is with families on these, the most special days of their lives. The birth of a baby -- magical and amazing -- changes a family. What a blessing to us, just to be near LaMonica and Jasper on their own special day, we family and friends who were mostly brought together by birth in the first place. Thanks to Jasper and his timing, to really give us something to celebrate.
Thanks to fellow doula, Melissa Hettick, for sharing pictures of the office/suite.
Ecstasy in 5 Brilliant Birth Pictures
Before working as a doula in Bakersfield, Visalia, Hanford, and the lower Central Valley, I was in Chico, CA -- up north. This mother was a client of mine, and here she is shown having her second baby at home, after a very medicalized first birth due to her baby's health issues. This time around she labored all night, with erratic but strong contractions. When she finally realized they needed the midwife, it was just in the nick of time! The joy and ecstasy she experienced by this fast, healing birth shows in her body language, and of course her face! For this woman, being left undisturbed to labor was a huge part in the emotions and feelings that helped her have an ecstatic experience. It is a day she will always remember and have pride in -- and no matter how a woman's birth experience goes, with support from her team and knowledge of her choices, she can also be left with these good feelings.
Monica shares her thoughts about the differences she noticed between her midwife-supported birth and her midwife-and-doula-supported birth. There is good information about roles here as well -- helpful when trying to explain to family and friends what your midwife will do, and what your doula will do.
I had a doula at my second homebirth. A lot of people asked me why. Here is what I have come up with.
1-First, a doula is not the same as a midwife. Your midwife takes care of all your medical needs and your baby’s medical needs. Your doula isn’t a medical professional. She gives understanding and support for you while you are in labor. She also gives support to your husband.
2-After my first birth at home with a CNM, everything was great. My midwife came with all her supplies. She was perfect at helping me get the birth I dreamed of in the medical way. But I did feel I needed more of the kind of support a doula could give, meaning, just focusing on me and my emotions and physically having labor and my baby. My midwife was taking care of me and my baby, but it was hard to get the support I needed to cope with everything I was feeling.
3-My doula came before my midwife. This was great for me and my husband. He was very worried the first time around. He kind of hung around not sure what to do. I know he was worried and even with good classes he didn’t know what to expect. When our doula came it helped my husband see that laboring was going smoothly. He was also able to relax and know we were both being watched out for.
4-My midwife wanted me to tell her when things were happening with labor. But that didn’t mean she was ready to come and stay with me yet. My doula was able to come be with us earlier in labor and just hang out. She went for a walk with me, and she made me and my husband some sandwiches. She suggested I lay down for a while to rest. She helped remind me of how to take care of myself.
5-My doula and my midwife made a great team. They had worked together at births before. My midwife said I might want to look into a doula the first time but I felt secure with my midwife and her help. Even if the second birth was just like the first with only my midwife, it would have been good. I wanted to try a doula the next time. And I am glad we did. With a doula, I felt like I was being catered to more and taken care of more. It was the difference between a homemade chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven, or a homemade chocolate chip cookie from the oven with ice cold milk. I am glad I had the full experience. Now I know the best combination for me is a doula and a midwife.
Monica is a Respiratory Therapist who currently stays home with her two girls. She often worked on the OB floor of a major hospital in Florida. She became friends with, and developed a deep respect for the midwives there. When she was pregnant with her first baby, the midwife she wanted to see was relocating across the state, but this midwife suggested a friend who offered homebirth, and Monica was hooked. She, her husband, and their girls love hiking, camping, and of course, the beach.
My Homebirth Midwife
With my 4th and final baby, after some conflicts with finding a local hospital-based midwife and hospital I was comfortable with (we had moved away from our homebase of fabulous midwives), I chose to birth at home with a licensed midwife. I was offered a few names by families in the area, but one name kept standing out: Linda Cowley.
If I was impressed by my hospital midwives and their relaxed ways in the office, being at home for my prenatal appointments was even better. When I told Linda I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the gestational diabetes lab work, she encouraged me to trust my gut and make the decision I was comfortable with. Knowing she trusted me to make decisions about my health helped me trust myself. I do believe we have inner wisdom that guides us, and this was a way I could build that up instead of the scare-tactics and what-ifs that often push us into making choices we don't feel good about.
Something I still find amazing is what was going on behind-the-scenes when I was in labor. I waited until 5:30 am to call Linda as I didn't want to wake her too early; little did I know, she was already awake because she had another mama in labor. This other woman had a history of fast labors. I am so grateful Linda was calm and selective in what information she shared with me that morning, meaning, she didn't say, "Oh, I was already up because another client is in labor." I would have panicked! Instead she said she would get ready and come see me...and we live about 45-ish minutes apart.
The First Midwife I Ever Met...
The first midwife I ever met was Sharon, the amazing Sharon. She was my sister's midwife, and my sister was three months behind me -- we were both pregnant with our first babies. My sister planned to have her baby at home, and I planned to have a traditional hospital birth with a female OB -- I thought that would close any gap there might be between me and a doctor.
I actually knew Sharon before she became my sister's midwife -- we went to church together. She was a good friend to me while I despairingly tried to get pregnant. Sharon understood the depths of worry and sorrow I experienced. She truly offered me empathy when others were telling me to just "relax." Because of our relationship, once I was pregnant, I brought all of my questions to her.
I don't think I knew enough about birth in general, and homebirth specifically, to think my sister's plans to birth in her bedroom were anything short of crazy. I was able to be there at her birth, and although she did birth in the hospital due to her water breaking 5 weeks early, the difference between her experience with a midwife, and mine were burned into my brain. As Sharon massaged my nephew's head out, gently coaxing, "Come on, Baby, your mama still has room to stretch," I felt a thousand tiny knives pierce my heart for the loss of that kind of nurturing during such a miraculous, life-altering experience. That was when I decided I would never birth again unless I had a midwife assisting me...and the next time I did birth in the hospital with a midwife.
All my love, appreciation, and gratitude to Sharon and the amazing way she served families for years by helping them birth safely within the walls of their own homes. She will always be treasured by our family.
These pictures are from the triumphant homebirth of my sister's second baby.
Day 10: Creating a Doula Group
Last summer, with a new baby and living in a new place, I felt the desire to gather with doula sisters. I offered to meet with doulas in different areas and share how I helped set up the Chico Doula Circle. A handful of doulas in Modesto (a few hours north of me) were interested. It was lovely meeting all these ladies. They were already thinking about creating a doula group, and this was a chance to hear how it worked in Chico -- the basics of putting it together and keeping it going.
These women have true synergy and passion. It was exciting to see their ideas flowing as we came together as doulas. Months later I was thrilled to see the birth of their doula group and excited for what they have to offer area families. If you know anyone who is pregnant in the Modesto area, I would whole-heartedly recommend Rebecca, Teri, Jennifer, and Melissa. Be sure to check their website for service areas -- they do expand beyond Modesto.
The Modesto Doula Group states "We believe all women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to have educational, physical, and emotional support throughout pregnancy and the transition into the postpartum period. We respect a women's right and ability to make informed decisions about her care and that of her baby."
How did such a diverse group of women come together? They are united by passion and belief, and committed to combining their varied skills to best serve expectant families. By meeting prenatally with families they get to know their clients. Each doula has a 12-hour span of time where she is on-call for a birth. This enables each doula to be rested and ready for whatever support a family requires. Beyond the initial connection between doulas and the desire to work together, preparation and behind-the-scenes business to figure out logisitics takes a great amount of energy and time -- because it isn't seen it is easy to think these kinds of groups just come together. That is not so. There needs to be ample communication, some give-and-take, and a plan that suits not only the doulas as professionals, but also the families they serve.
And then, a doula group is born! For more information about creating a doula group, contact these ladies, or contact me -- we all love helping our doula sisters find ways to gain more satisfaction from their work.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)