kind words

~1-day childbirth class~

"I wanted to thank you for a fantastic class.  While this is our second child and we are giving birth at home as we did with our last, we wanted a day to focus on this baby and to get a refresher of what to expect.  This class allowed us to do both, but what was even more wonderful was that we learned new tools and new information in your class as well, even though we'd been in a 10 week intensive Bradley method class last time.  It is perhaps because we've done it once before, but we did find ourselves saying that we got more out of your class in 1 day than we had in the entire 10 week session! A lot of that has to do with your ability to communicate information and warmth at the same time, Sarah.  I wanted to thank you too for finding ways to incorporate our previous experience into the class"

JP,

~for unmedicated births~

We feel so incredibly lucky to have found DC Birth Doulas.  We got to interact with all three at various points - from the intro session, the childbirth class, the intake interview and finally our actual birth - and we kept switching back and forth as to which we'd like to have at our birth (a sign to us that all were equally wonderful.)

But brass tacks: these women know their stuff.  They do not have agendas - your desired birth is their desired birth.  We ended up with Amy for our birth (our first) and without a doubt we couldn't have done it without her.  (sidenote: we were lucky enough to have a doula-in-training there as well, Michaela, so we felt doubly cared for).  Truly though, without Amy's steadiness and steadfastness, I would have caved and screamed for drugs, and generally had a much more anxious experience.  She calmly guided me through the right exercises to speed labor, the right positions to encourage my water to break, and of course as many comfort measures as a drug-free birth allows.  She was an amazing presence for my wife as well, who was much better able to help me get through the process rather than worrying about whether something was normal, etc.  Amy's aid encouraged our partnership, rather than detract from it.

She was amazing once our babe was born as well, helping her to the breast to nurse and easing us into our recovery room.  She and Michaela [student doula] never once acted like they'd been up without a break for 12 hours, with us from 9 pm until 11am the next day.

In sum: hire these women immediately.  They are just wonderful.

Jordan,

~for medicated births~

While I knew I wanted an epidural, I wanted someone who could provide info., support, advocacy, and to help ward off unnecessary interventions.  Sarah turned out to be exactly what I wanted and needed. She talked me through signs of early labor via phone and text message. She gave me great ideas on things to buy and do to prepare, which were very useful. When I was in labor she was at my home as soon as I needed her, and helped me do early labor for hours before going to the hospital. At the hospital, Sarah coached me through what to do to get through contractions, what monitors were doing, what examination results meant, what options I had, what to expect, how long things would take, etc. I felt completely empowered and confident, and pretty much stress-free during what I thought would be an insanely stressful time, because Sarah was there. My husband, who was supportive but skeptical, was utterly converted. Sarah was critical in helping me get far enough along to do an epidural without my having to fear slowing down labor and risking a C-section - I could not have done it without her, and I think it would have been beyond stressful for me and my husband to cope with the pain without her. After the epidural, she was critical in letting me know what was happening, what my options were, what to expect, etc. And she even stayed to help me establish breastfeeding - which was key as I didn't yet have access to a lactation consultant at Sibley Hospital during the golden hour after delivery. Sarah's follow up visit to my home helped smooth breastfeeding even more."

Katrina,

~for planned cesareans~

I had a fantastic experience with DC birth doulas and highly recommend them.

I went into my pregnancy with the full intent of having a natural, unmedicated birth but learned around 37 weeks that I would have to have a c-section because my baby was in breech position and stubbornly unwilling to flip.  I was devastated about this and reached out to the dc birth doulas team to simply notify them of the change to my birth plan.  During the final weeks of my pregnancy I spoke with Amy multiple times - both leading up to an ECV procedure (attempt to flip the baby manually) where she talked me through what to expect based on other clients with whom she had worked.  After the ECV was unsuccessful and it was confirmed that a c-section would be necessary, she helped me think through some of the logistics of the c-section and educated me a bit on my options, specifically in the context that attempting a VBAC with future pregnancies was important to me.

I wound up going into labor naturally before the c-section and had about 5 hours of contractions.  Sarah P. was present for the hours leading up to the surgery, during which time she did a fantastic job of helping to relieve my pain and also ease my anxiety about the procedure.  While I believe it's atypical for a planned c-section patient to have a doula present, I would have still signed on with the DC birth doulas team had I known at the beginning of my pregnancy that the outcome would be a c-section.

Sarah was an incredibly comforting presence to have there with me throughout such an anxiety-inducing event, and she did a fantastic job of keeping my husband involved in the process and making us both feel at ease.  We were joking around and laughing far more than I ever expected going into a surgery I was so fearful of.

I will definitely be reaching out to dc birth doulas for my next pregnancies and cannot recommend them highly enough.

Emily,