What is my role as a doula? I accompany women in labor to help ensure a satisfying birth experience. I draw on my knowledge and experience to provide physical, emotional and informational support to women and their partners. I, in no way, replace the partner; the relational connection between couples is irreplaceable and I highly encourage partners to participate. I work independently and am self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not for your caregiver or the hospital.
My availability. I am available via phone, email, or text for support throughout your pregnancy. For labor, I consider myself on call 24/7 two weeks before and two weeks after your EDD. I am a part of a network of other doulas, so that in the event that I am unavailable, you will still have qualified professional doula support.
Prenatal Visit. We will have one in home prenatal meeting around 36 weeks to review the desires for your birth and give us a chance to talk in detail about your preferences. We will talk about your knowledge of the birth process and I can provide information and resources as needed. I will want to know your own personal ways of coping with pain and fatigue in difficult situations, and what internal resources we can draw upon to assist you with the birthing experience. I will want to know how you and your partner foresee working together, and the roles of others who may be attending the birth. My role is to help you have a satisfying birth as defined by YOU. The more we explore this in advance, the better it is. I ask that we touch base every week after 36 weeks, preferably with an update after your prenatal visits with your care provider.
When Labor Begins. We will discuss in the prenatal meeting what needs to take place once labor has begun and what to expect. When there are any signs that labor has begun, let me know so I can begin making arrangements for attending your labor and birth. We will keep in touch via phone/text once labor has begun, and I can offer ideas for comfort techniques, and reassurance if needed. Once in active labor, it is up to you to decide at what point you want me to come and be with you. Once you make that choice, I will typically be there within an hour, depending on your location, rush hour, etc…
During Your Labor and Birth. I can offer help and advice with comfort measures such as guiding your breathing, relaxation, encouraging movement, suggesting effective positions for labor, doing massage, and utilizing the TENS unit, if you choose to rent one. I can assist with gathering information about the progress of labor to make sure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your birth. My most critical role is providing continuous support and emotional reassurance and comfort to you and your partner.
After Birth. I stay with you to assist with immediate skin-to-skin and provide help with initial breastfeeding as needed. You can expect me to remain with you after birth until you are comfortable and the family is ready for quiet time together, typically up to two hours. My services include a follow-up phone call within the first 48 hours after your birth. At this time, we can decide the best time for your postpartum visit. You can of course call at any time for questions or need of referrals.
Postpartum Visit. Typically 10-12 days after birth I come do a home visit with you where I present you with your birth story written from my perspective, hard copy and high resolution digital images and a slideshow of your photographs set to music (if you purchase the deluxe package). We discuss the birth and answer any questions if needed, as well as provide further resources to meet your needs.
What I Do Not Do As A Doula. I do not perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, etc. I am there to provide only physical, emotional, and informational support. I do not make decisions for you. I will help you get the information you need to make your own informed decisions. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your Birth Preferences and will verify if this is, in fact, your informed decision. I will not speak to medical staff regarding matters where health care decisions are being made. I can discuss your concerns with you and suggest options to you. I can support you in discussions with staff, making sure you have the opportunity to discuss any concerns, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the medical staff.
TENS Unit. TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) works by passing mild electrical impulses through the skin, via electrode pads, into the nerve fibers which lie below. The TENS impulses help your body produce its own pain killing chemicals, such as ‘endorphins’. Rental of TENS unit is $30.
Fees. My fee is $800 for the basic package and $1200 for the deluxe photography package. I truly value the positive benefits of doula care and do not want financial difficulty to make my services inaccessible to mothers who desire them. Should you find my fee is unaffordable, I am willing to discuss trade possibilities and/or payment plans. I ask for a 50% retainer fee which is due at the time you hire me. I will not consider myself obligated to your birth until I receive the retainer, once received your EDD is secure on my calendar. The balance is due at your 36th week prenatal meeting, unless other payment arrangements have been made. I accept cash, check, Chase Quick-Pay, PayPal or credit card (add 3% service fee to PayPal and credit card payments). Should you choose to cancel this agreement after 30 days from date of hire, there is a non-refundable fee of $250. Full retainer fee becomes nonrefundable after 60 days from date of hire.
Special circumstances. I will make every effort to provide the services described above. Sometimes this is not possible for a variety of reasons. In the event I miss the birth due to a very fast labor/birth, or you fail to contact me by phone, there is no refund. Should there be a need for a cesarean birth, whether planned or unplanned, my full fee still applies. Should there be circumstances beyond my control (illness, emergency, two clients laboring, etc.) I have qualified professional doulas that are my backups. Any other special circumstances will be handled in a compassionate, professional manner on an individual basis.