A birth doula is your guide during your pregnancy and birth, your advocate in the hospital, and helping hands when you come home.
You will never forget the birth of your child. It's a time of great excitement tinged with a little apprehension because of its unknown quality. Birth is a very personal event that requires patience, stamina, and a healthy sense of humor!
When I attend a birth I incorporate many of the techniques I have learned over the last 18 years from many of the experts in birth.
Some women need more physical attention during labor, others need more verbal cues, rhythmic distraction or music. Most of us respond to a combination of physical, verbal and going "within themselves" to find our way in labor. I do my best to help each woman find her way through the labyrinth of her labor.
Think of me as your guide in a foreign land. I speak the language, I know the 'locals' and the shortest route to the best places!
My role is to help expectant couples have the best birth possible in any given set of circumstances. Each birth is unique and requires the ability to "go with the flow".
Labor is never quite what you expect it to be.
Having an open mind about what might work for you is the key to success
I highly recommend gathering as much information about labor and birth, from reliable resources, as possible. Reading books about natural birth practices will help you gain a good understanding of the physical process of labor and birth.
What is a Doula?
I’m often asked, "What is a Doula?"
I am a guide who prepares a woman for labor and assists her when labor begins and stays by her side until the baby is born.
I use movement, water, music, touch, breath work and visualization to help a mother in labor. I am the constant companion who encourages and supports and explains the birth process. I support husbands and partners to be involved and encourage them to work as a couple in their first role as parents. I respect the couples’ need for time alone. I offer suggestions when situations arise and the plans for labor and birth change.
The birth of a child is a moment in time that you will never forget and my goal is to make your labor a positive experience.
Studies show that having a doula present at your birth decreases your need for pain medication, shortens your labor and helps couples feel more confidant about the process of becoming a parent
I was drawn to this profession and have loved every part of it since attending my first birth in 1999.
As of 2016 I have attended over 190 births, every one unique and special. I learn from every birth and bring that experience and my love for my work to yours.
HELPED ME FIND MY VOICE
As a first time mom, and a do-it-yourself type person, I thought my husband and I would be fine going at the birth experience by ourselves. After discussing doulas with multiple friends, and reading about their value in some of our books, I decided to look further into the idea. We were introduced to Fiona by our hypnobirthing coach, and soon after set up a time to meet with her at our house. From this very first meeting, we could tell we were in the best of hands.
For all of you reading this considering a doula... DO IT! It's the best investment in your birth experience you could possibly make.
To start with, she was there for me when I couldn't get through the emergency phone line at 2am at 33 weeks pregnant, and started going into pre-term labor. She calmed me down, advised what I should do, and met me at the birth center where I was kept for a few days prior to going on bed rest. At the actual birth experience, Fiona's gentle touch and calm reassurance were the anchor I needed to keep from getting lost in rolling waves of contractions. I wish I could say that things went smoother than they did, but my little guy got a little caught up in the birth canal and I ended up pushing for 5 hours.
I remember the Dr. suggesting that she could help me have this baby now (meaning a c-section) and I started to feel helpless like something was wrong with me and I just couldn't do it by myself. This is where have a Doula like Fiona is so essential. Not only did she reassure me, but she helped me find my voice, and to keep the Dr. at bay while we tried a little more to stick with our original birth plan. Needless to say, our son was born healthy and beautiful, and so alert being drug-free on his entry into this world.
Thank you so much, Fiona. You felt like family to us during that precious and somewhat perilous time... It would not have gone the same way without you!
CONSTANT CALM PRESENCE
I separately have given my testimonial as to Fiona's great help during my birth experience, but my mother, who was by my side during the birth, also took it upon herself to write a testimonial as well. This is what my mother wrote:
I recently had the privilege and honor to be present at the birth of my first grandchild, Amaya. Having the educational background of obstetric training as an RN and giving birth to my own four children naturally, I feel minimal medication during a normal labor and delivery is best for the baby.
Fiona, as the doula attending the labor and birth greatly, increased the odds of that happening for Amaya. During her labor at Neugarten, my daughter Emily's husband, Naseer, and I provided hands to grip and hold, encouragement and boundless love, but Fiona supplied the knowledge, experience and timely practical suggestions on location and positioning for each contraction.
Her constant calm presence, soothing touch, and lyrical voice provided the reassurance and relaxation necessary to get through the next contraction and eventual natural birth. The nursing staff and midwife provided the essential medical checks of fetal heart rate and cervical changes during labor and delivery to be sure that all was going well, but I often felt that besides my daughter, Fiona was the most important person in the room. I could not have done what she did for Emily, and ultimately, for Amaya. Thank you to everyone, especially Fiona, for an exceptional experience. Emily, Naseer, and I will never forget the absolute best introduction into our world for our precious Amaya.
Emily Siddique's mom
I can't find enough words to thank Fiona for her invaluable help during labor with my first child.
An experience that was rather painful was made better with her soothing words and hands. She helped me get through each contraction and made suggestions as to different positions I could try to ease the pain. I swear that because of her, my labor, despite being my first, was fairly quick once I had her by my side at the birth center, and I was able to make it through labor drug-free. The best suggestion she made was for me to try out the tub as being in the water should help ease the intensity of the pain of active labor. I decided to try it out, and ended up having my daughter in the water bath, which was in itself an amazing experience, and certainly not one I had planned on.
Ultimately, Fiona empowered me to make it through labor without drugs or other medical intervention, and for that, I am extremely grateful. In addition, she has been readily available since my daughter's birth to answer any questions or concerns I have had and even made a house visit when my daughter was a week old. I will not hesitate if we have baby #2 to count on Fiona to be there with us again! (and she did-Fiona)
A GIFT THAT I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD RECEIVE
Fiona gave me a gift that I never thought I would receive...the gift of a fearless, beautiful, and empowering birth experience...not once, but twice! Her calm, supportive strength never felt invasive or pushy. She was there when I needed her and seemed to instinctively know when to step back and let my husband and I work together. She supported both of us in so many ways and really changed the way I see labor and birth forever.
With Fiona assisting us, my husband and I had nothing but each other and our baby to be concerned with. She always seemed to know what I needed even before I knew it, from suggesting position changes, lightening the mood with a joke, to quieting fear with a calm, soothing voice or touch in a time of confusion and stress. She even took care of my husband, making sure he had time to take a break and recharge himself so he could continue to support me. She has an easy rapport with care providers, and there is clearly a mutual respect with everyone with whom she works.
Our babies were born into a calm, joyful room and Fiona was there to take pictures, handle all the details, and just let us bask in the wonder of our newborn. Her presence is invaluable, and I cannot imagine having another baby without her. It is incredibly touching to see Fiona holding your baby after she has assisted your birth...you can just see the awe and joy on her face. You can tell she loves what she does, and she welcomes your baby with almost as much love and joy as you do.