I cant even begin to express how amazing my experience was working with Kathleen. After my very first visit I forgot we hired her because she felt just like family and I felt instantly connected to her.
Let me begin by adding, I did opt for an epidural. It was always part of my birth plan. So I was often asked “why are you getting a doula if you’re getting an epidural?” There is a huge misconception about what a doula can do and how she can benefit the expecting mom, her husband and the whole family. I cant speak for others but let me tell you how fantastic it was to have Kathleen despite my decision to get an epidural.
She was extremely supportive of my choice from day one and helped me create a birth plan to support my choices. She asked questions I had not even thought about, for example “if it comes down to it, do you want to rupture your water?” – I would have just assumed I had no choice but to do so, but that’s the thing, a doula knows more than you know and she can help prepare you for things leading up to the day so you feel “oh I DO have a say and a choice”.
- VISITS – first of all she does the most visits I have seen offered by a doula before and after delivery. My first visits were detailed where we talked about exercises to keep my baby in head down positions, we heard the baby’s heart rate, talked about labor and what it feels like, when to call her or go to hospital, send her photos of whatever was questionable (I did send her what I thought was my mucus plug) and my favorite statement “Asraa if you need me, just say the words I NEED YOU and I will be there” – AND SHE WAS.
- EXPERIENCE – I delivered at Texas Children’s. my doctor know her but the staff at the hospital knew her and were very comfortable working with her. This benefitted me in so many ways during labor. Kathleen was my no 1 advocate for what I needed and when I needed it. If I needed pain meds, she got it for me… if I needed a break from invasive checkups she made sure nobody touched me… if I wanted a different nurse, she arranged it. If I needed more explanation or more time, she made it happen. she gets what you need without being rude to the staff.
- PRE LABOR – I was lucky to get a sneak peak of what my labor support would look like. We had a false alarm 3 days before delivery and I was in the hospital, hooked up to monitors and very scared because nurses would pop in and out and say one liners “oh your BP is high, we need to bring it down because its not good for baby or you cant be sent home” – wow scary! thankfully I wasn’t alone after nurses left because Kathleen was there to coach me and my husband and help me calm down. I can’t imagine just hearing fragmented statements and just waiting around. Having Kathleen and her experience was invaluable because she explained in more details what was going on and how I can address it, as a result, my BP did go back to normal and I was allowed to go home.
- LABOR DAY – this was an 18 hour experience more or less. Quick summary:
- This was an overwhelming day for me as I am a first time mom who hates cervical check ups by the way. Certainly not if you have large fingers and long nails, Kathleen made sure the right people did my tests and explained to staff on my behalf that I was sensitive down there and everyone needs to be extra gentle with me, as a result they were very careful with me. I don’t think they would have been otherwise. She held my hand for every check up and locked eyes with me. I could see compassion in her eyes when I teared up from fright or discomfort from the check ups, it was great to have her one side and husband on the other. Can never underestimate what a calming and familiar face can do for you.
- Post the epidural, Kathleen constantly made sure I was turned left and right, never flat on my back. Again something only a doula will do for you. Nurses may leave you flat on your back with baby against you which can suck post-delivery. The constant movement from side to side helped me not get any bed sores. She also kept me informed of my BP and if it fluctuated she was quick to inform the nurses. I would hate to wait around for help to come after alarming sounds went off …and they did. I needed BP medication at one point, I needed extra oxygen at another point, etc etc.
- At one point I needed more pain medication, hitting the nurse button is not as effective as having Kathleen march down halls for you and get what you need and get it fast.
- There was a time I was “advised” to rupture my bag and I just didn’t want to. Frankly I was in and out of sleep and I just wasn’t ready and needed more time, with Kathleens help I was able to tactfully deny the recommendation and let nature take its course.
- I got super nauseous at one point, Kathleen was able to use some aromatherapy to help alleviate it and make me comfortable. I did eventually need to puke and she ran and got me a bag. There was no nurse in my room when I needed the bag, my husband doesn’t know where bags are… if Kathleen wasn’t there, I would have been in a mess and then had to wait 30 mins before someone came to help clean up. She is available even when a hospital staff member is not. Non stop. No matter what time of day you deliver.
- I was extremely nervous when I reached 10 cm. it was time to push. I was shit scared!! My immediate reaction was I wanted more pain medication but they don’t let you get more because they need you to “feel” where to push. Kathleen really helped me overcome my fear. We had a pep talk with nobody in the room. She told me how more drugs could lead to me not pushing well and probably a C section. She encouraged me to try for one push and one push only, promising she would get me medication if I felt like I needed it. At this point I had too much trust in her, so for her sake I pushed once, the rest is history because my son was born 45 mins later.
- Constant support. She was there for my husband and gave him breaks which was ok because I was never alone this way. She made sure she kept my family informed in the waiting area of every progress I made. My family is so grateful to have had her otherwise as family they would have just had to wait around.
- She is still available to me post delivery and makes visits to make sure all is ok.
Really you don’t know what you don’t know – she does. Having a doula was amazing but having Kathleen was like flying first class with the best airlines – so many perks you cannot be prepared enough.
She told me her goal was for me to have a beautiful birth memory so my son could hear the story one day and also want children of his own. I can confidently say it was a beautiful experience where I felt supported 100%, my wishes were all accounted for, I was never uncomfortable, always informed and most importantly I felt in control of a situation I know I probably had no control over because I had Kathleen. We would have been a nervous wreck without you! Thank you from my family, my husband, my baby and from the bottom of my heart. We all love you.
Best Regards, Asraa and Faeez!