What’s your view of childbirth?
Childbirth, especially the first time, is the most life-changing event that a woman can go through. The pregnant woman walks into her birthing place without a child, and walks out as a mother; feeling a stronger love than she ever though possible, and responsible for the well being of a tiny little human being. It’s miraculous, overwhelming, exhausting, and full of the biggest mixed bag of emotions.
Physiologically, I view childbirth as a generally safe, natural thing. And by natural, I mean that it is a normal life event for a baby to be born. Barring any emergent or otherwise abnormal situation, childbirth does not need to be “managed,” rather it will progress on its own, in hours or days, until the baby is born.
I believe that in our society, we have lost the valuable passing down of information and experiences among women. Childbirth used to be something that was commonly seen, discussed, cherished and valued. Now it is hidden behind hospital doors, fake TV shows and movies. Women are so much more likely to fear what they do not understand or know, and childbirth does not have to be something that is feared.
What do you think of medication during birth?
For most women, childbirth is not a walk in the park. It can be uncomfortable, painful, or downright excruciating for different women. One of the questions that nurses ask upon admittance at the hospitals here is, “what is an acceptable level of pain for you?” A lot of people scoff at this question, but I think the premise behind it is important–we are all different people, and we all have different levels of pain tolerance and what we are willing to go through. Each woman absolutely has a right to decide if and when she wants pain medication or an epidural during labor. If a client of mine decides to use medication during birth, I view it as my job to make sure they are fully educated and have a full understanding of the side effects and possible outcomes when using pain medication. It is not just a simple thing that is isolated in the body–pain medication can effect the whole labor experience, and depending on the medication, can also effect the baby. It’s important to me that women understand everything before they choose to make a decision about using pain medication during birth.
There are other medications that can be administered during birth that are not related to pain management. Antibiotics for Group B Strep, medications to help manage blood pressure, blood sugars, and other issues that a woman might be dealing with. Of course, if they are medically indicated, using these medications is important and I would never stand in the way of or discourage a woman from using a medication that she believed was important for her or her baby’s well being.
Why did you become a doula?
Do you want the short story or the long story? 🙂
After having my interest piqued about natural fertility, I sort of followed the rabbit trail to natural childbirth, midwifery, and doulas. After graduating with a B.S. from U of Illinois, I really began learning about childbirth, and decided that I wanted to become a midwife. I started back to school to get the pre-requisites for an RN degree, when I realized that being a midwife at that point in my life did not make sense. I knew I wanted to have kids, and I knew I wanted to be able to stay home with them. Being a midwife just did not fit that bill. It was then that I decided that doula-ing was the answer! I was able to have a family, stay home with my kids, and decide when to take clients and how many to take. It has been an amazing opportunity to be able to have the family that I’ve always wanted, and still be involved in the “birth world.”
Do you offer any special services?
Along with being a birth doula, I offer postpartum doula services, teach Fertililty Awareness Method classes, and offer babywearing instruction. I am excited to be taking a Spinning Babies class coming up soon, and am in the application process to become an instructor for Evidence Based Birth. I consider myself a life-learner, and enjoy constantly expanding my scope of skills!
What type of pre — and post-labor support do you provide?
Prenatally, I meet with clients 2-3 times to get to know them, their hopes and dreams and fears about birth, and answer any questions/provide information that they may request regarding different aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. I help my clients create a birth plan, and generally make sure they feel prepared for their upcoming labor and delivery.
As a birth doula, I remain with clients 1-2 hours after birth to make sure that breastfeeding is established and everyone gets settled. I check in via phone within the first 24 hours, and plan to stop by the client’s home within the first 1-2 weeks to see how they are doing, answer any questions they have, process their birth experience, and dote over their sweet new bundle!
As a postpartum doula, my postpartum support ranges from cooking and cleaning, to newborn care, to being a listening ear…it’s my job to meet whatever needs my client has. I try to meet with clients before their baby is born to discuss how I might serve them during their postpartum time, and we come up with a plan that works for them.
When will you arrive at my birth?
The short answer is: I will arrive at your birth whenever you want me there!
I do ask for at least 1 hour from the point that you call until I can get to you–I have my own family and need to make sure that I get them taken care of before I join you. I generally support clients through early labor via phone–advice and suggestions and information given through text or phone calls. Most clients ask me to join them once active labor is established and they need more support getting through contractions.
Which hospitals have you worked at?
We are lucky to have two great options for labor and delivery in the CU area! I have worked at both Carle and Presence hospitals in Urbana, and Gibson Area Hospital in Gibson City. I have also assisted clients during home births.
Are you certified? If so, by what organization?
I have completed birth doula certification through DONA International. I am not certified as a postpartum doula–I feel that after having two kids of my own and supporting many friends through their own family expansions, I have enough life experience to effectively and professionally support any new mother through their postpartum time. I am currently working on the (very involved!) certification process for teaching the Fertility Awareness Method classes, and am also in the certification process for becoming an Evidence Based Birth instructor.
Tell us about your family. What do you do for fun?
I am married to Jason, who is a production director for a Christian radio station in town. We have two kids, Annabelle (4) and Oliver (almost 16 months at the time of this post). I am just starting the home school process with Annabelle, and consider it both amazing and crazy! Annabelle is a very passionate, energetic, strong-willed kiddo. She cares deeply and is very loving and kind to those around her. Oliver is ALL BOY. He is rough and tumble, full of energy and life! He’s also my little snuggle bug, and melts my heart every day. He definitely keeps me on my toes as he bolts for the street the minute he is outside! My kids are amazing and exhausting, and I can’t imagine life without them.
When I’m not being wife, mom, or doula, you can usually find me out running on the road or trails around town. I also love to read, and often am reading 3 or 4 books at a time because I just can’t make up my mind. Jason and I love to cook and eat good food, so we make it a point to do some yummy at-home date nights after the kids go to bed, experimenting with different foods, and enjoying cooking things and sitting down to quiet dinners on our own.
My life is busy and full, but it is so, so fun. I consider myself very blessed!