Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beautiful Baby Born Yesterday!

So exciting! I attended my first birth as a doula yesterday. What an experience! I feel so privileged to be a part of witnessing the miracle of birth. How amazing that God has chosen us to be vessels of His wonderful creation. And to be women, who have the opportunity to carry this creation inside of our own bodies and to bring them forth into His world. I can't imagine ever getting tired of seeing this miracle occur.

The baby is healthy and mama and daddy doing wonderfully. Me? I am tired but happy. Need to catch up on my sleep now and prepare for the next birth.

Thank you, God!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting Started!

Well, it's very exciting around here right now. I currently have two clients who are due in the next two months. The first is due in the first week of July, so it won't be long before I will be going to my first birth as a doula!

I received an email recently asking me what I do and what I charge for my services. I will be adding that info to my blog soon in the form of additional pages, but for now, I will copy and paste what I sent to her so that any of you who are interested can get more of an idea about my business.

Here is what I do (copied from my contract that I give to all my clients):

General definition of a labor doula:

* A labor doula provides continuous physical, emotional and educational support for the pregnant woman before, during, and after labor and childbirth.

* A labor doula works for the mother and her partner, not the care provider or the hospital.

* A labor doula does not perform any clinical/medical tasks such as fetal heart rate monitoring, vaginal exams, or administering medications, nor does she make medical diagnoses.

* A doula will help the mother and her partner make decisions by providing information and support, but will not make decisions for them.

Responsibilities of our labor doula:

* Our labor doula will be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, beginning 2 weeks before the EDD and ending 2 weeks 1 week after the birth of our child. She will carry her cell phone with her at all times and will not leave the Greater Knoxville/Maryville area unless it is an emergency or an event disclosed at the time of the signing of this contract.

* Our labor doula will meet with us for 2 prenatal preparation sessions in our home (or the location of our choice) including, but not limited to the following discussions: help designing a birth plan, choices in childbirth, comfort measures, pain management, risks/benefits of various procedures, and postpartum adjustment.

* In the event of a possible induction of labor, our labor doula will provide an additional prenatal preparation session to discuss options with regard to induction of labor, including the risks and benefits of each method, medical reasons for induction, and choices that may prevent unecessary induction.

*Our labor doula will provide continuous labor support from the time we ask her to come until after the baby is born. She will come to our home or meet us at the hospital, whichever we prefer. She will not leave unless we ask her to, and then will be available by phone. In the event that labor exceeds 24 hours, our doula may call a backup doula to care for us while she takes a nap. We have the option to meet this backup doula if we desire.

*Our labor doula will provide 1-2 postnatal visits to our home (or hospital) to discuss the birth, answer any questions we may have, and provide breastfeeding support. These visits will take place within three weeks of the birth.

For my doula fee, I charge $300. That includes all that is stated above. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is due upon signing of the contract with the remaining due at or before 36 38 weeks of pregnancy. This $200 is refunded if I (or the backup doula) do not make it to the birth due to my own error. If I or the backup doula misses your birth due to your error or actions, the $200 is not refunded. A spot on my calendar will be reserved for you when the deposit is paid and contract signed. I will not schedule any other expectant mother one week five days before or after your due date.

I charge an additional $150 for photography. That includes 50+ pictures during labor and after the birth, a CD of the edited photos and an 8" x 8" embellished scrapbook of 20-30 selected photos. We would discuss what pictures you would want taken a few weeks before your estimated due date. A non-refundable deposit (unless I cannot make it to the birth) of $50 is required upon signing of the contract and the remainder due at 36 38 weeks of pregnancy.

If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Judy Dudley, Doula
Wonderfully Made Childbirth Services

email: wonderfullymadechildbirth@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

10 Reasons to Hire a Doula

I have had some people ask, "Why would anyone hire a doula?" or " What does a doula actually do?". Here is a list of reasons why an expectant mother might want to have a doula:

1. A doula provides continuous support throughout labor and childbirth. In most circumstances, the people who are with a mother during labor will not be able to be there for the entire time that she is giving birth. A father/partner will want to take a nap, head to the snack bar/restaurant for a bite to eat, go home for a shower, or simply have a few minutes of "time out" to become refreshed. However, a doula is with the mother for the whole time she is laboring and will be on hand for whatever the mother needs and/or wants.

2. Having a doula allows the medical team to do what they are trained to do. The doctor/midwife/nurse is many times unable to be available to help the mother breathe, give massages, walk with the mother, etc. They often have several patients that they are taking care of at once. A doula has only one client at a time.

3. A doula helps the mother become more comfortable during labor by using comfort techniques such as pressure on the aching lower back, hot/cold compresses, a cool washcloth on the mother's forehead, arms, etc., as well as suggesting a warm shower to ease the pain of contractions, or possibly a change in position when the labor is slowing down or the mother is getting uncomfortable. She can help the mother with her breathing and in pushing.

4. If a partner is involved in the process, the doula is there to help the partner help the mother. The doula can give advice and guide the partner and mother through labor and delivery, allowing the couple intimate time together while still remaining nearby for consultation and physical support. 

5. Doulas are affordable. In this area of East Tennesse, the going rate for a doula is between $300 and $1200 for 2-3 prenatal visits along with labor and delivery help. This most often includes one or two postpartum visits to follow up with the family.

6. A mother can call the doula for answers to any questions she may have throughout her pregnancy. These questions may include how to choose the right cargiver, concerns about breastfeeding, what to eat/not eat during pregnancy, facts on interventions during labor, etc. This will ease her mind concerning anything she may have questions about.

7. No matter when you have your baby, the doula will be there. This means that, unlike some doctors and midwives, most doulas (including me) will not schedule another birth near the time of your estimated due date. So they are almost guaranteed to be there for your birth. (I am on call 24/7 from the 38th week of pregnancy until the day you give birth. And, if I am unable to be there for the birth due to my own error, I will refund 2/3 of your fee.)

8. A doula is an advocate for the family in the labor room. She will be there to help the mother make the decisions that are right for her and her particular circumstances during labor and delivery. She can provide information that will help the mother choose for herself the best possible birth for her and her baby.

9. Studies show the benefits of having a doula with you at birth. According to a study conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration that assessed the birth experiences of over 15,000 women in 15 countries, women who have continuous support from another woman during labor experience the following benefits:
  • experienced enhanced feelings of control and confidence;
  • had less need for obstetric intervention;
  • were more likely to give birth without caesarean, vacuum extraction or forceps;
  • were less likely to use pain medications;
  • had babies who were less likely to have low 5-minute Apgar scores;
  • were more likely to be satisfied; and
  • had slightly shorter labors.
The study concluded: "...all women should have continuous support during labour. Continuous support from a person who is present solely to provide support, is not a member of the woman’s social network, is experienced in providing labour support, and has at least a modest amount of training, appears to be most beneficial."

10. A postpartum doula is available to help the mother and her partner and/or family after the birth. She may provide such services as: showing the mother how to breastfeed, bathe and diaper her baby; help with light housework (such as laundry, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and, preparing snacks for the mother and her partner/family, and taking care of any older siblings while the mother is with her baby. She may even be available to stay in the home and help with overnight care of the baby so that the mother and her partner can get the sleep that they will need after they bring the baby home. (My fee for postpartum care is $15 to $20 per hour.)

Email me today for more information on how I can help you: wonderfullymadechildbirth@gmail.com