"I help you to realize that you have the abilities, wisdom and courage to give birth. Birth is something that you know on a basic level. I just help you to access that knowledge."
I have been interested in birthing issues since I studied developmental psychology at UBC in the early 1980s. I put my studies to practical use during my two pregnancies, first with medical, then with midwifery care. Soon after, I became involved with the birthing community to promote family-centred care, and studied to become a Certified Childbirth Educator and Doula. I was the Co-ordinator for Vancouver Childbirth, a founding developer of the Douglas College Doula Course, the BC Doulas of North America representative, and developed a holistic childbirth education series for The Midwifery Group.
I have been a doula and childbirth educator since 1987, supporting over 1200 women and their families at home and in the hospital, and teaching thousands of expectant parents. Iʼm the grandmother (aka “Deecy”) of identical twin boys born in 2010, and 2015 will bring another grandson, so Iʼm right in the thick of things!
My Care Includes:
- 2 prenatal visits for teaching and planning
- pre/post-natal telephone/email/text consultations
- physical and emotional support during labour and birth at your home and/or hospital
- written birth notes (and photos on request)
- 1 postpartum visit
Please note: I do not perform clinical tasks such as blood pressure readings, fetal heart checks, and vaginal exams. Your physician, midwife, or nurse will provide that service. I do not make decisions for you. However, I will help you get the information necessary to make informed decisions, and be your advocate.
According to a Cochrane Review published in 2012, when a continuous support person (doula) is present, women experience a:
- 31% decrease in the use of IV oxytocin
- 28% decrease in the risk of cesarean
- 12% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
- 9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
- 14% decrease in the risk of her newborn being admitted to a special care nursery
- 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
Stress hormones can cause the labour of many mothers to slow down, making complications more likely and the labour experience more stressful. By reducing the womanʼs fear through calm reassuring words, touch, information and relaxation techniques, it is theorized that the doula helps to moderate these reactions, increase mobility and self-esteem, decrease pain and anxiety, leading to a decreased need for epidurals, ultimately lessening the need for further medical interventions, potentially shortening the labour, which leads to a higher rate of satisfaction.
How can I help?
As your doula, I am the person who helps you to understand the rhythm of labour and birth, who comes to your house when your labour is beginning to intensify, who helps you to find comfort, and reduces your fears. I work with you and your partner, teaching you both to understand the wisdom and the logic of the body, so you can recognize and accept the changes in labour. I encourage you to move, to take showers, to trust your body as it moves into the right positions for your baby. I can help with relaxation and massage, taking turns with your partner, so that he or she never becomes too tired. Whether the labour is straight-forward, or you encounter the unexpected, you should both feel strengthened by your ability to make informed choices. The effects of a positive birth experience can immeasurably increase your self-esteem, and strengthen your relationship with your partner and your baby.
During your Pregnancy
I will meet with you both to discuss your hopes, dreams, and concerns. We will talk about your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together, and with me. We will discuss roles, expectations, comfort measures, and the rhythm of labour. We will build on the information you received in your prenatal or yoga classes.
You can call, email, or text me at any time during your pregnancy with your questions, or just to chat. Our contact will increase as your due date approaches. During the on-call period (two weeks prior to and after your due date), I am generally available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I will give you advance notice of times when I may be unavailable. To cover you during that time, I can provide a back-up doula. Of course, you have as much choice over your back-up as your primary doula.
I strongly encourage you to develop and maintain a trusting relationship with your midwife or physician. Discuss with your caregiver what you expect from him or her, and what you expect from me, your doula. This goes a long way toward creating a positive birth environment. I am happy to meet with your caregiver in person or over the phone at your request.
When you are in Labour
I prefer that you call me at 778-883-9851 as soon as you feel any pre-labour symptoms. If you are having trouble reaching me, please leave me a message by voicemail and text. As early labour progresses, I can reassure you, answer your questions, and make suggestions over the phone. I will come to you when you need my physical presence. Depending on your labour, we may meet at your home or at the hospital. No matter what, we will remain in touch with your caregivers during early labour, for safety. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I (or my back-up) will remain with you throughout the labour and birth.
After the Birth
I usually remain with you for up to two hours after the birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breastfeeding. I am available to phone consultations throughout the postpartum period to answer questions about the birth or your baby. I will visit you at home or hospital within the first few weeks to see how you are doing, to review the birth, and to give you the birth notes. If you think you might need help in the weeks after the birth, I can make a referral to a postpartum doula.
Please Note: I will make every effort to be at your birth. If I am unable to attend your birth or provide back-up due to circumstances beyond our control (e.g. unexpected illness, etc), you will not be charged the birth fee. However, I will retain the booking/prenatal visit fee, which covers the on-call fee, prenatal visits, and phone calls. If you are at or beyond 38 weeks and do not call me, the full fee is due.