Teresa, I cannot express my thrill and gratitude at having you as my doula! What an absolutely wonderful experience it was to give birth, but you truly made it the thrill of a lifetime.

Without you we never would have known the inner strength we had to accomplish such an amazing task. Your classes prepared us so well for what was to come and how to handle it. I believe you truly did help us to reach inside ourselves and find the power to make it through. You not only prepared me for the pain and how to endure, but you also helped Todd to know the perfect ways to support me and be present during the entire experience!

It sure is fantastic to learn what you can do if you just listen to your body and trust your instincts! Now I look at Wesley and revel in the joy that he brings us. What a tremendous way to meet God and learn about His love for us.

We couldn’t have done it without you and we are truly blessed!

Paige

The smartest thing I ever did was hire a doula!

My husband travels extensively for his job. Although we arranged for him to be in town the week before and after our due date, our baby came three weeks early! Sure enough, he was landing in Austin, TX at midnight as I was going into labor in Atlanta, GA! Fortunately I had been in close touch with Teresa, my doula and she arrived at the hospital minutes after me. I would have been really nervous and frightened without her as my labor progressed very quickly and i was in a lot of pain. She calmed me down, helped me labor and explained to me the procedures and monitoring that were going on around me. (Don’t expect the labor and delivery nurses or doctor to do this: they are too busy.) She even told me what forms I was signing between contractions. (This was despite sending in our pre-admission paperwork early.) She was more than my coach. With her amazing blend of experience, knowledge and mothering, she gave me courage and comfort and support at a scary time. Within 3 1/2 hours, our son was born. All this before my husband was even able to board the first plane back to Atlanta.

I adore my husband and he’s a very capable man. And I’m typically a pretty tough cookie. But knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t contemplate entering into labor without the help of a doula. We are just so grateful she was there for our family.

Mary G

Smyrna, GA

To those wondering if a drive to Lawrenceville for childbirth classes is worth it:

If you have lived in Metro Atlanta for any amount of time, traffic is a big part of your life. The average commute to and from work is over one hour for lots of Atlantans. So, why would anybody in their right mind get up on a Saturday morning and drive 30 miles to childbirth classes?

My wife and I live in the East Atlanta Village area and chose to drice 30 miles or so north for childbirth classes with Teresa. We heard about A Labor of Love through some friends and decided to suck it up and make the drive for 6 straight Saturday mornings. It was highly educational for first time parents and gave us a chance to get to know our doula personally before the big day. After our child’s birth, I can honestly say that it was one of the smartest things we did during my wife’s pregnancy. Here is why:

I am a firm believer that everyone born into this world is great at something. Unfortunately, most of us never find out what that something is. Every once in a while a lucky few find their ultimate calling in life and seize the opportunity. Teresa is one of those lucky few. She was born to be a doula and childbirth educator. My wife’s 22 ½ hour labor and unmedicated vaginal birth of a 9 lb. 8 oz. baby girl went wonderfully and Teresa was a very large reason for that. Doula certifications and the experience of 295+ births are great on her resume, but what sets Teresa apart is something that really can’t be explained. You can see it in her eyes, you hear it in her voice, and you just know that you are in good hands. Not only do you get the benefit of her knowledge, she somehow empowers you to believe in yourself.

Through the A Labor of Love classes, my wife and I felt we had the tools and the confidence for what was up ahead. Sign up for her childbirth classes, hire her as your doula and drive from wherever you have to. It’s worth every minute.

P.S. Teresa didn’t pay me to write this.

P.P.S. There are some things you can do while you’re up in the ‘burbs. For example, there is a Babies R Us, so you can register. It made the drive a little more bearable.

Donnie, husband to Ila

Donnie states that it is 30 miles to his home- it actually is a little more- but mapquest says it is only a 32 minute drive- on Saturdays it is usually a less congested drive than a weekday or evening. The new childbirth location is just off of Hwy.316 which is directly off of I-85. So, don’t fear the drive to the burbs! It may be worth it to you in the end as it was for Ila and Donnie! There are a lot of things to do when you come out this way- Babies R Us is certainly one of them, as well as being a short drive to the Mall of Georgia and Discover Mill Mall. So, bite the bullet and make the drive- we will certainly try to make it a great experience!

I was invited back as their doula for their next child who came mid 2007!

This is a letter from a dad who actually caught his son- on Christmas Day!

This was my 100th birth!

04/03/2001

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in response to your husband’s concerns with the partnership of a Doula. When my wife first presented the Doula to me, I was a skeptic and had the initial reaction of being relegated to a bench player during delivery. After reading the same articles as my wife, I begin to see the medical support for a Doula and started to ask questions and looking for more answers.

Teresa Howard was the answer for us, for me. My personal fear about Resa’s pregnancy was two fold: 1) would I be the supportive husband she needed and 2) would I know how to make an informed decision during the stress of labor and delivery. Through constant communication with Resa and the challenging perspectives brought out by Teresa’s classes, I began to understand the value of my involvement during labor and delivery.

It was refreshing to know that I could pro-actively support Resa and do things to make our labor and delivery one that both of us look back upon fondly. Teresa was always supporting both of us through constant reassurance and communication. She had the uncanny ability to sense when I needed her approving look, because I had never experienced the helplessness one feels when your wife is struggling through the contractions.

The second key support from Teresa was at the hospital. She enabled me to have confidence in my support of Resa and when I was not sure, she was someone not drawn into the emotion of the moment that I could talk to. Resa had a long labor (30 hours) and there were several times when I know that I would have gone to the hospital had Teresa not been there to guide us. Resa wanted a natural childbirth and I wanted her to have the labor and delivery she desired. But as a man, who am I to say that Resa can make through the contraction or that she needs to tough it out? Together, we worked through the challenges and Teresa provided us the guidance we needed to make the right decisions for us.

One last note, a bit selfish. Teresa’s involvement allowed me to catch our son and cut the cord. Something I will never forget. That happened only because Teresa asked me if I thought about doing it during birth classes. Had she not asked me, I probably would never had considered it much less answer our Midwife’s question about it with a yes. Don’t miss out on that experience, it will change your life and build your bond with your spouse and child.

Please don’t hesitate to ask my wife or me any questions about Teresa or our birth experience.

Regards,

Ron Mechling