Not long ago, I reached out to a former client for a letter of reference. We’d been through a long, hard birth together. I cared deeply for her, but in a way, I felt like I had let her down. On a logical level I knew doulas can’t create outcomes, but on an emotional level, you want all of your client’s wishes to come true. When I asked for a reference, I expected the written equivalent of a sound bite. Maybe “Very supportive, highly recommend” or some other standard issue blurb. What she actually wrote made me cry. I’ve been given permission to anonymously share her story. And with that, I’ll let V take over.
The short version is that I highly recommend a doula and Sophia specifically due to her knowledge, personality and support she provides. The long version is below 🙂
This was my first baby. My idea of doula initially was to have that support person for my husband and myself. My husband wasn’t too interested in prenatal classes however I really wanted to be able to count on him during labour. I thought a doula could be that source of knowledge on the spot for us, the person who could coach my husband on things he could do to help me in the moment, additional support for him if things don’t go as planned and support for me so he could have a nap or break.
Sophia really delivered on all this and more. Beforehand her knowledge, professionalism and positive attitude helped us both feel prepared and supported. I knew she had my best interests at heart and would help ensure my preferences were top of mind during the process. She also provided me medical articles about relevant “issues” like inducing with a large baby which my ob wanted and we went ahead with.
Afterwards she was around to support and give suggestions so that I had the ability to better advocate for myself and my baby. He was jaundice and as he got weaker we had some challenges with him nursing enough. She came by at the hospital after and also to my home where we talked about the birth and overcoming breastfeeding issues. She also provided a great recap of my birth story, took some pictures for us, brought my husband coffee and was a source of additional knowledge and support.
Back to the during labour and birth. I was induced Saturday evening, sent home until morning then sent home for 12 more hours or until my water broke/contractions started. Mid afternoon I woke up from a nap, my water broke so we headed in. We didn’t have her come right away but we’re in contact via phone, text and email all weekend.
After a couple hours in triage they brought me back and started pitocin around 7 pm. Around 11 pm we were thinking about getting Sophia in but the nurse pushed back saying it would likely be another 24 hours. Sophia provided support and suggestions to my husband over the phone in the meantime. I ended up getting an epidural and we eventually called Sophia in around 2 am even though our nurse was still pushing back.
Sophia got there and stayed by my side so my husband could rest. She helped with breathing techniques (my epidural only took on one side and I had back labour) and a few positions that were ok with an epidural. The nurse was pushing back initially on having her there and was a little rude to her but Sophia eventually won her over by showing her that her role was to just be extra support and comfort. In the end I think the nurse appreciated having her around.
When it came time to push Sophia was a support to both my husband and myself. She helped with breathing, keeping us calm and encouraging us. The delivering ob was also uncertain of her role and a little rude to her but Sophia was positive and professional the whole time.
My boys head was stuck behind my pubic bone ( head circumference is still over 97th percentile). The doctor ended up trying vacuum, forceps and an episiotomy but he wasn’t budging. During this Sophia was incredibly calm and supportive. She was reassuring to both my husband and me and explained things to us and was very positive.
My son’s heartrate was going up and I was exhausted so we decided on a c section. Sophia talked to me steadily while I was waiting to keep me calm and when they took me away she was there to support my husband.
Unfortunately they didn’t let her in the operating room. My son was born at 7:47 am and brought to the special care nursery due to initial breathing problems. My husband was with my son but Sophia was able to check in on them and then come see me in recovery with pictures and updates.
I can’t imagine not having her support throughout everything … whether it had gone as planned or in the situation it didn’t like mine. In my opinion no matter what option you choose to pursue I see a huge benefit from her being there. She really is an advocate for you and to help you make any decisions that come up by asking you questions and providing information on both sides of the subject.