“Before meeting Renée I didn’t even know what a doula was. I had no understanding of the importance of a doula, or the role they could play in the birth process. After learning more about the significance of a doula, speaking with Renée, and hearing her perspective, it became clear to me, and to Amanda, that including her in the birth of our daughter would be a great benefit to us.
During our first consultations with Renée she initially, and importantly, helped us by affirming our belief that we COULD successfully see our vision of a natural birth through in a hospital setting where we knew that would be difficult to achieve. We were aware that hospitals generally have a very clinical approach to any obstacles we might encounter, so we wanted to go into the experience prepared to stick to our plan to do things as naturally as possible. Realizing Renée not only understood our vision for our daughter’s birth, but also that she was aligned with it, confirmed she was the person we wanted to include in the experience of bringing our first child into the world.
Also during our first meetings with Renée she taught us some excellent techniques for preparing for the birth, ideas that I in particular could do with Amanda to reduce the amount of physical and mental stress her body was experiencing due to her pregnancy. Things like stretching, massaging, and breathing techniques, and the use of a rebozo to help alleviate the weight of the baby on her stomach. Each of which we used every day in the weeks and days leading up to her labor and that were extremely beneficial in preparing for the birth. Amanda expressed to me that all the techniques we learned from Renée were great for making her feel relaxed, and helped in increasing her physical and mental strength prior to going into labor. Renée also gave us suggestions for the early labor process to help reduce any anxiety Amanda (or I) might encounter, some of the ideas were – additional breathing and massage techniques, use of scented oils, staying fed and hydrated, and keeping a relaxed state of mind. Each of these suggestions proved to be critical as Amanda’s labor began.
After being at the hospital for a while and Amanda having been in active labor for quite a long time she told me she was at a point where she would like for Renée to Join us, so I called her and she said she was on her way. The timing was perfect, both Amanda and I were completely exhausted, she had been in labor for many hours and we needed Renée’s assistance and revitalizing energy. Upon arriving at the hospital Renée immediately and calmly immersed herself in the situation and began offering reassurance, encouragement, and physical assistance to Amanda that let her know she had the strength and capability to get through the remainder of the birth. The addition of Renée’s calming presence gave both Amanda and I a mental boost, and the added strength we needed to keep going. She helped me by giving me a break, and helped Amanda by stepping in, guiding her, keeping her hydrated, and using massage techniques and position changes to ease her discomfort.
We had known that our daughter was in a posterior position in the womb, which meant added discomfort for Amanda and an increased possibility of intervention by the hospital during the birth. Amanda was very fearful of a c-section and was adamant about not having one. Fortunately Renée was able to help Amanda avoid a c-section by suggesting various position changes throughout the labor, and also by helping to try and move the baby while she was still in her belly by positioning Amanda in very specific ways. The combination of these things led to Amanda having the vaginal birth she wanted and planned for. I truly believe that had Renée not been there to assist us, Amanda would have ultimately been forced into having a c-section. I am so thankful Renée was with us to provide all the guidance she did so Amanda could give birth to our daughter the way she had hoped she would. Watching her give birth was the bravest and most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.
Working with Renée was a wonderful experience – she is warm and calm, she taught us a lot prior to the birth, she assisted us during the birth, and she did it all without being overbearing or seeming overly involved in the whole process. She always knew when to, and when not to insert herself in the experience. She was sensitive to my and Amanda’s dynamic, and that allowed us to maintain a strong connection throughout the birth of our daughter. Her ability to strike this balance created a very personal experience for the two of us, while also making us feel empowered by her presence.
Including Renée in the birth of our daughter was a wonderful choice. I cannot express my gratitude to her enough. I am so thankful we met her and made the decision to have her as our doula.”