In today's technological world it is easy to forget how to nurture a laboring woman. We know birth gives the deepest, most intense physical sensations and the widest range of emotions experienced in a day! We also know that a woman will remember her birth vividly, poignantly and accurately and the care a woman receives has more impact than the physical events of labor. This places her support person in a difficult and stressful role as someone who is responsible for understanding these sensations and emotions, knowing the intricacies of birth, comfort measures, which labor and pushing positions to use; all while communicating with healthcare providers and being a memory keeper -- a tough job for anyone not fully trained! This is where hiring a certified doula is invaluable!
Certified Birth Doula Service
The Cochran Review found 23 trials involving 15,061 women that demonstrated those who had continuous labor support were more likely to give birth spontaneously without forceps, vaccum or cesarean, to have a satisfying experience and to have a slightly shorter labor. They were less likely have pain medicine or have a baby with a low 5 minue APGAR. No adverse effects were identified. They concluded that all women should have continuous support during labor. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman's social circle, is experienced in providing labor support and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial.
And now during this Corona pandemic supporting laboring persons and their families is even more crucial. Hospital policies are changing daily. Currently only the partner may accompany the birthing person in labor and must stay the entire time or abide by visiting hours. We know many US hospitals that are overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and have restricted all visitors including a laboring persons support person. Clearly these policies are not done in haste and the gravity of the situation is clear to everyone. As your doulas we are in communication with our area hospitals and providers so we can best to support you and your family. And while virtual support is not the same as in person support we know the benefits far out weigh the risks of leaving a person alone and unsupported during this incredible time of their life. We want you to know we are here for you and have put strategies in place to help you and your partner navigate the best and safest way to birth your sweet baby into the world. We will help you sort through choices and decisions you never thought you would been making. We believe in you. We know your strength. We know your resilience. We know you can do hard things. And we will be there to help you every step of the way, however we can. Stay Safe. Shelter In. Flatten the curve. Enjoy those little (and not so little) bumps and kicks! Your baby will have one heck of a birth story to tell one day!
We are two friends each with 3 kids, 1 dog and a love for doula-ing! I trained Alli as a birth doula 4 years ago and we became fast friends. As a photographer she shot my brother's wedding, both my daughter's senior photos and their homecoming! She loves all things birth but with a professional photography business she cannot take on a full private practice. So we backed each other up. And it worked well. Then my mom got sick and Allison came to my rescue. She supported my clients while I supported my mom. And all my repeat clients sang the same praise--- "Alli is wonderful! You guys are so similar. She said all the same things you do! We were in great hands." At that point we knew we had something special. I am still primary doula for all my clients, as she is for hers. But we back each other up, provide support for each other's clients. I teach and provide lactation support for her clients and she provides ah.maz.ing photography for my clients with outstanding doula support. It has allowed us to be more present with our families. We know if something unexpected happens our clients will be well supported. Working together at the end of a labor where I am supporting and she is documenting all the fresh moments or doubling up our postpartum visits with doula support, lactation help and fresh newborn/family photos feels all the feels. We love this work. And are so happy to be a part of your BIRTHday!
Virtural Birth Doula Services
Unlimited pregnancy support for all the "I feel silly calling the nurse or I don't want to wait until my next appointment" questions.
Virtual Lamaze childbirth education class or refresher class
Access to Evidence Based Birth library
Includes 3 interactive childbirth, newborn care and breastfeeding books.
pep and prep Birth Planning
Making a game plan for birth
Prep and Pep Virtual meeting for preparing support person for labor
Navigating any unexpected changes
Making sure everyone is on the same page
virtual realtime labor support
Virtual support via phone, text and video from early labor through baby's birth.
Assistance on when to go to the hospital.
Position and comfort measure ideas for each stage of labor
Speaker phone to talk out any next step decisions together
Ideas on how to keep birthing person calm, breathing well and relaxed
Unlimited virtual postpartum support via phone, text and email
Board Certified Breastfeeding Support/Bottling Support
Transitioning back to work or school
Certified Virtual Doula Service $475
Add on In Person Support (if desired/available/both parties agree)
New Client $350
Repeat Client $100
Add on newborn/family photos (socially distanced/combined with postpartum visit): $350
Frequently asked questions
What should I look for when choosing a doula?
When exploring the use of a doula plan to visit with them over the phone. Ask them to tell you what they usually do and see if it matches with what you are looking for. If conversation flows well then set up a consultation visit to get to know each other and make sure everyone is comfortable with each other.
*What training have you had? Are you certified?
*How many births have you attended?
*Why did you decide to become a doula? What is the best part?
*Have you worked with our provider? At our location?
*How do you see your role?
*May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me through childbirth?
*May we call you with any questions/concerns both before and after the birth?
*When will you join me in labor?
*What postpartum services do you offer?
*Do you work with one or more back up doulas for times when you are not available?
May we meet them? Choose our own?
*Do you have an all-inclusive fee or by the hour? (Never pay by the hour!)
*What are your fees and refund policies?
*What are your favorite labors?
I am planning on using an epidural do I need a doula?
Absoluetely! A person with an epidural still needs and deserves sensitive and appropriate labor support, because emotional distress and anxiety do not necessarily go away when pain is alleviated. I can help you find the perfect time to get your epidural, keep contractions manageable until the epidural, keep you calm and still during placement and cheer on the sweet nectar of epidural as your contractions get shorter and shorter until gone! I still provides emotional support, reassurance and information as labor progresses. I help you remain focused on your labor and baby. I help with favorable positions for pushing and how to push effectively. The doula's role is still to nurture and protect the woman's memory of the birth. John Kennell's recent study found that even when the use of epidural anesthesia is very high, the presence of a doula reduces the cesarean section rate. I still provide a written account of the experience, take photos, get breastfeeding off to a great start and offer postpartum support. An epidural can be a great option for many reasons--- to help labor progress, to give baby room to move and drop, to rest after a longer early labor, to allow the person to be comfortable and present during labor and birth, etc. My clients are evenly split with those planning on the epidural and those who are not. The epidural is just another tool to use if needed or requested.
I am hoping for a low intervention birth. How can you help?
It can be very helpful to have a vision for how you want to bring your baby into the world. Birth is a crazy good system. If baby's are in a favorable drop down position, labors tend to move smoothly and contractions remain manageable. It is not the pain of a contraction but rather the exhaustion that can make them difficult to manage. We create an early labor plan to maximum rest and conserve energy. I provide a much more extensive when to go the hospital list that makes that decision black and white and allows you to labor comfortably at home in the early phase. We work with your OB/CNM to get standing orders that support your vision, get your wishes charted ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page when you have baby. Growing up with an OB nurse/House Supervisor mom gave me an inside edge on how to navigate the hospital world. We work on using the hospital stuff to your advantage and not your disadvantage. Your partner and I work together to keep you comfortable, hydrated, changing positions and breathing. By prioritizing comfort and balancing active vs restful positions we work to bring this baby into the world as efficiently as possible. And then slather in a whole bunch of support, encouragement, massage, counter pressure, reassurance, empathy and an unlimted supply of eternal optimism-- this is how we support you through labor! And then we see what happens. Babies will always "tell" us what they need. If labor is moving slowly, exhaustion is creeping in or pain is moving from manageable to unmanageable then we adjust our plan as needed. We will look at the big picture, see where you are at in labor and then make a decision. I like to slow the moment down so you can make decisions in a non panic state and feel confident in your decisions. I trust that you know where you are in labor mentally and physically. If we need to do an epidural to rest, regroup. make more space for baby so baby can move down then we do that. There are a million ways to healthy baby and healthy mom. And I trust you to create your own story.
What have you learned by doulaing over 500 babies?
When I first started doula-ing and teaching everything seemed very black and white and had a direct cause and effect. If we do this then this will happen. Try this then this would happen. But in reality birth does not work like that. There are too many variables. Families are being told "if you have to be induced you will have a cesarean." When in reality, with a patient provider, a cervix that is nudge-able and the right softening meds we deliver most inductions vaginally. "If you get an epidural you will slow things down." When in reality a lot of times it speeds things up, allows a baby room to move and a family to rest. Timing is really more important that anything else (And that doesnt mean you have to be writhing on the floor in agony-- I NEVER want to see that!
Why is certification important?
I value certification for numerous reasons. First and foremost it demonstrates a committment to you, the client. It shows you that I am continuting my education. It gives me a framework to work within-- having a clear written scope of practice and code of ethics -- keeps me in my lane. It allows me to serve you, work well with your care providers and not overstate my duties. The most important reason is to give you recourse. If I ever step out of my lane you have an organization to go to and file a complaint. Care providers can report negligent behavior. Without certification there is no way to hold doulas accountable or protect their clients. I certify with DONA International. They are the original doula organization. They have an outstanding board of directors, are non profit, promote the health and safety of families. collaborate with LAMAZE to advocate for maternal and child laws and value education as a key tenet to doula work. I am proud to say I am a DONA Doula!
How well do you work with the OB, CNM, Nurses?
I like to earn my keep with everyone! I have had a partnership with Women's Health Associates for the last 17 years-- teaching prenatal classes, providing birth doula services and breastfeeding support for their patients. Seventy five percent of my clients are direct referrals from local OBs and CNMs and am routinely recommended by 2 local JOCO hospitals. A cohesive team only makes birth better.
How does payment work?
After you accept the proposal/sign agreement a non-refundable deposit of $300 is due to secure your due date. I will send you an open invoice where you can pay any amount at any time until paid in full-- essentially creating your own payment plan. I am flexible on payments-- some pay deposit ($300) and then the rest in full, others split up the payments along the way or you can pay in full. FSA/HSA accounts will pay for certified doula services. Currently KS/MO insurance does not cover doula services. A $25 discount will be applied if paid in full prior to baby.
When would you use Allison as a back up?
I ALWAYS try and make all of my own babies! I do everything in full disclosure-- if I have an induction scheduled for Friday I will call and let you know, "Don't have a baby on Friday!" ;) If I am in a labor and you are starting I will have Allison start your birth and I will join in as soon as 1st baby is here. I also try and do most of my births at the same hospital to make life a little less stressful. Advent Health Shawnee Mission and Overland Park Regional are my two favorites! Occasionally I have to teach a class/attend a conference for work but will let you know as soon as I know. And then there's life--- if I get sick/my kiddos have a program/family emergency--- I will let you know asap. But we try and minimize all of those things! And as much as I can I have my life scheduled out 9 months in advance-- but babies are a bit unpredictable! But I have full faith in Allison should you need her.
How exactly does virtual doula support work?
Providing virtual birth support involves a lot of ground laying work before you give birth (ideally). We do a Prep and Pep review over the phone/video to walk you through when to go to the hospital, what to expect when you get there and laying down a game plan for labor. We are essentially sharing all of our tips, tricks and phrases so your support person can feel prepared to serve you in labor. We review the most common positions people do in labor, comfort measures, strategies to work through contractions, knowing when is the perfect time to do an epidural (if needed/requested), pushing strategies and anything else that may be helpful. We created a Cliff Notes handout and a Comfort Measure Checklist for quick reference too.
We can chat a bit on the phone--I will share what I usually do as a doula and we can see if that fits into what you were looking for. If it does we will then schedule a time to just say hello and make sure everyone is comfortable with each other. If not, I can help you find other doulas who might be a perfect match for you.