Recently I received an email from a recent client who had a wonderful natural birth at Northside. She used a midwifery group there. This was her second baby. She birthed very quickly- having only been in labor for 3 hours when she gave birth. She was only at the hospital for less than an hour when she birthed. Sometimes folks think a fast labor would be ideal. But a fast labor is sometimes a bit traumatic because you hardly have time to wrap your mind around being in labor! I arrived only a few minutes behind her arrival. She was unsure she could do it without medication. She had had medication for her first birth and really wanted to have a natural birth this time. She got what she desired although she questioned whether she wanted it near the end when those around her knew she was going to be birthing again soon!



I wanted to thank you for your support during the birth.  It all seems a little blurry to me but I clearly remember the relief I had when you walked in the door.  From that moment forward your touch and word guided me.  I knew about your experience and the sheer number of births you had attended when we first met but am still in awe of your skills.   Your hands and words seem like they have the knowledge and stories of thousands of women’s births and strengths behind them.  You knew exactly how to touch me and talk to me to keep me centered, even when I was begging for relief. Thank you a thousand times over. “


Erin
8/24/2010


What she does not understand is that this is what I do- what I dream about- what I love….being with women as they become moms. I loved being with her and supporting her. She responded wonderfully to any guidance that I offered. I love being a doula! I especially loved her words she shared and was glad she gave me permission to share them with you!

I had a couple recently who gave birth to their first child at home. They came to me for private classes due to so many scheduling conflicts with joining our regular series (we do have home birth students in our regular classes often.). This is the letter from them that they sent the day after the birth! (I did edit some personal information out of the email to protect their privacy.)- Teresa
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!  As you already know, baby boy was born on Monday.  Same birthday as daddy, YES, Matthew and Baby have the same birthday! 🙂  Baby is doing very well.  Quick update.  I had a 5.5 hour labor (labor started about 6:15am Monday morning, he was born 11:48am) .  Went very well, smooth and healthy for mommy and baby.  Baby weighed in at 8 lb.12oz. and was 21 and 1/8″ long.    VERY healthy, with a great APGAR score and a good healthy newborn exam checkup.  Nothing could have gone more smoothly, and Matthew and I thank you SO MUCH for you labor classes and all you taught me, AND for the breastfeeding info. which I read through thoroughly all last week and it has helped so much.  Baby is sucking great already! and no soreness for me.  THANK YOU!!!  Another checkup to come for mommy and baby at home in 48 hours.  Can’t wait for you to see the little guy when we come to pick up the body cast. {I did a bellycast for them as well.} I am sure it looks beautiful as you say!  🙂  A has very good coloring and he is so VERY handsome!   Looks just like Matthew. 😉
Thank you again so much for your love and support Teresa.  You have been a God-send and a blessing in our lives!
Much love in Christ,
Jamie and Matt”
When I asked if I could share their story, she told me, “Yes, and as Matthew said when I asked him too. “you never hear the good stories, only the horror stories…..””
“thanks again….Charlotte said he and I should teach coaching classes one on one to other first time home birth couples. 🙂  You taught us well!  “
“I’ve been trying to find a minute to write to thank you, really thank you. I think that one of the most challenging parts of this birth (maybe THE most challenging part) was preparing for it mentally and spiritually.  The labor of love orientation was the second doula group we visited looking for a doula.  On our first visit to the group[….], David and I both left discouraged.  None of the doulas felt deep enough or truly connected enough to what we knew that birth could be.  Then we came to you guys.  I liked a number of your doulas, but it wasn’t until you spoke that I was sure.  You talked about women being warriors, even lions, I think.  What you said made me cry, and I turned to David and said, “that’s her.”

You really took seriously the trauma I felt I’d been through, and understood it in just the right way.[Although she had given birth unmedicated the first time, she had felt very traumatized by it for a number of reasons.]  You told me I was brave, and you looked me in the eye and said “I won’t let you suffer like that.”  This was what I needed more than anything—to have someone who really got it, in its beauty and in the fact that it may very well have been too much.  This gave me confidence and made me truly feel supported and safe.  Then when you told me to daydream my perfect birth (the day before labor), I came home teary again and told David about what you’d said.  And I started daydreaming—I wanted Noah to come during the day, I wanted to feel and embody the kind of deep moaning that I saw some of the women in the videos do—not moaning out of pain, but like the voice is riding the wave of the contraction—giving vocal form to that powerful force coming over my body.  And, as I started getting excited about the possibility of this good birth, my fear finally started to really fade.  I had thought it had faded already with the birthing class [she took Guina’s immersion class just a week or so earlier] and the relaxation tapes [I had loaned her some guided imagery cds to listen to] and all the work I was doing, and in part it really had, but I don’t think it was until our lunch that I felt a real sense of relief—the fear was replaced by a sense of possibility and looking forward rather than back.

Basically, I wanted to say thank you for this, so so much.  And many, many other things—I can hear your voice telling me to give little grunts at the peak of my contraction to see if I needed to push, which got pushing started.  You suggested that David get in the water with me, which was the very thing I needed…and so, so many other things.

You’re an amazing doula and an amazing woman Teresa.  Thank you so much for everything.”

Sarah
07.19.2010

I have had the privilege to work with a wonderful nurse at AMC- Atlanta Medical Center. Although I have edited out parts that have information not relative to this recommendation, I have been given permission to share a bit of her letter with you here. Often folks ask how nurses feel about working with doulas. I think this letter tells the story of how some like working along side of us!

“You are an excellent doula and really believe in the natural process of childbirth. I have worked labor and delivery at AMC for 22 years. The only other place I have ever worked is [hospital name] hospital so odd as it may sound…totally natural childbirth is something we really didn’t see a whole lot of at AMC until Margaret, Anjli, and our other midwife group came…after the OB residency got shut down. (She then goes on to describe the medical over management of the previous program) My whole career is based very much on this model of childbirth which is horrible! The births were never about what the mom dreamed about for the birth of her child.

I so appreciate the work you do and have very much enjoyed the births that we have had together thus far. You are a wonderful advocate for the families you doula for and I know you make their experience even more precious with your love and support. I have watched you with your camera at each of the births we have been apart of together. I bet you get some truly amazing shots that really capture what women really go thru.  I so appreciate the work that you do. You and Margaret work very well together. It is a truly wonderful pleasure for me to get to work with you!

You are truly a very special woman and so pro empowering women to do what their bodies were so perfectly made to do! I am learning a lot from Margaret and from you too. Natural childbirth is an incredibly amazing accomplishment…I was talking with Margaret after [the mom’s name of whom we worked with}’s delivery and asked her point blank if she thought she could have done what that mom just did herself:) And I loved her answer…she said “I have honestly never met a woman who I thought couldn’t! As a woman/mom you just do what you gotta do!” Isn’t that just the perfect answer? 🙂 ”

Kathy, 7.13.2010

Resa, a mom who I have had the pleasure of being with at all three of her births, recently sent this comment to me after I encouraged her by telling her I loved her mothering style. She allows her children to be creative and self expressive. She is a homeschooling stay at home mom of three and quite the Wonder Woman!.

She shared this with me and told me I could share it with you!

“You’re a woman and mom I aspire to be like. Ron and I often think back to some of the things we learned from you in our childbirth class and realize it has applications to our decisions as parents. Meeting you created a ripple in the life of the R5 much further than just their three splendid births. And this is a ripple I couldn’t imagine being where I am today without.”

I appreciate knowing that things I teach have a ripple effect! Thanks Resa!

Dear Teresa,

Many many thanks for today’s help. I cannot express in words my gratitude
to you.

The way that my wife was relaxed and comforted through her birth and later
was priceless. I will also send you some pictures once I download them.

Thanks again,

V

Teresa was an invaluable resource during our birth experience!
Although this was our first birth and we have never known anything
different, we would never think to do anything differently from here
on out. First time parents-to-be NEED to have a doula present for
their birth experience. If you are first time parents-to-be, you NEED
to, no matter how much you know about the medical and birth industry.
I don’t care if you yourself are a doula, midwife, or OB-GYN. So much
of your knowledge, research, and preparation just sort of goes out the
window when your baby actually starts making his or her entrance. If
you want to be at all in control of your birth (you should not just
let yourself be at the whim of an intervention-hungry obstetrician),
you need to be informed, and a doula will help you continue to be
informed in the heat of the moment(s).

It was so helpful to have a professional there who could keep a level
head and steady hand. Her experienced presence was worth a good
portion of her fee; my wife labored better when Teresa was present,
even when Teresa was not actively helping in some way. She even
helped turn the baby from posterior facing to anterior facing! For
those who don’t know, that means Teresa helped turn the baby to avoid
dreaded back labor. TWICE. Our goal was pretty much a party line
completely unmedicated, intervention-free natural birth. Teresa
helped us achieve that goal. For anyone on the fence about hiring a
doula, do it. If not Teresa, someone from Labor of Love.

Thanks Dena- great recommendation for Jennifer Fargar!

“Jennifer was my post-partum doula for several weeks after my daughter Jenna was born in February 2009. She was an excellent help during a very tiring, stressful time. She was so warm and calming and really helped me relax during those initial tiring weeks. One of the things I loved is that Jennifer really catered her help to my particular needs. When we first met, I told her that I had been forgetting to eat. She went into my kitchen and made small individual snacks that I could easily grab during the busy days. She even put the snacks next to my breast pump and bed so I could have some during the night. On days when I needed sleep, she would watch my daughter and help with laundry or whatever needed to be done at the time. She was also respectful of my choices for my daughter (such as supplementing breastfeeding with formula) and gave helpful suggestions without judging or questioning me on my choices. I would highly recommend Jennifer as a postpartum doula to any lucky mom that can have her!”

March 19, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

Patient enduring reliable supportive irreplaceable sistah! That is what comes to mind when I think of Persis Bristol Dodson. I am not sure what her mothers intentions were when she gave Persis that name but that is what it means to me. P.E.R.S.I.S. was truly a God send.

At already 8 months and taking various child prep classes, I had heard of a Doula wanted one but did not know where to even begin looking for one. Persis was an interpreter for one of my classes and offered her services to me. This could not have come at a better or more needed time. Shortly after we met only once I began labor for my first baby.

We hadn’t had time to even discuss birth plans or even enter a contract and Persis was there and stayed with me the entire time. I felt so relaxed and confident that I could do it with her help constantly reassuring me that all is fine and that every inch was taking me closer to the end. Never leaving me to feel alone or misunderstood. All of my family and friends were nervous, tired and stressed at one point or another but Persis was undaunted by the task and stood as my knight. She’s so necessary that I have come to the conclusion that she is needed for all of my future children as well. To give birth without Persis almost seems unnatural!

I can’t seem to thank her enough!

April Lee Mbakop

Here is a letter from a mom who Teresa Howard assisted in having her first children, twins. It was an unmedicated, vaginal birth that was amazing. A few years later, she asked me to return to assist her with the labor of her third child. Again, unmedicated and wonderful! She is totally amazing!

“…When I think about those days,I feel such a close bond with you. I have often felt strange about this, but you are somehow much more than just a healthcare provider hired for just a few hours of advice and service. I had such high hopes for my births, both in terms of medical choices we were able to make but also in wanting

to experience it with joy and confidence and empowerment rather than fear and frustration and regret. And, while I praise God for three wonderful, healthy, medically uncomplicated

births, the warm positive emotions that I feel when thinking about those experiences are due largely to your care and expertise.

I think the other important role you play in my mind is that you give me permission to feel the way I do about childbirth. That it is a normal, natural and healthy process that our bodies know how to do; that it is an experience to be sought after and embraced not avoided through medication or elective surgery; that it can

be a primal, empowering moment that reveals a woman’s unknown strength (perhaps most of all to the new mother herself); that the experience itself can be one of the most joyous and

cherished of a woman’s life, not just the painful, unavoidable process that resulted in the joy of a child. I don’t know that I need permission to embrace these feelings. It’s just that they are so rare among my own circle of family and friends that it’s nice to have a voice in my head that validates and agrees to them. All that to say Thanks for sharing your

kind memories of me and my children. You will always hold an important and special place in my heart.”