Because birth is unpredictable, it is so important to work with a doula who has a solid and reliable back-up system in place. Here’s a testimonial from a client of one of my back-up partners whose birth I attended a few months ago. (Read more about my back-up system):
Jessica wasn’t supposed to be at the home birth of our daughter Io Elizabeth. As luck would have it, our wonderful doula Michelle MacLean was teaching in Victoria for a couple days when I went into labour a few days before my due date.
My husband Christopher and I hadn’t attended a meet-the-back-up night , so our first introduction to Jessica was in the middle of the night after a day of what I thought at the time was early labour. My contractions were regular and painful, but not consistently close enough together to call my midwife, and after a day of this we were feeling in need of some knowledgeable support. Jessica responded immediately to our call and as soon as she arrived through the snowy night, her calm, confident, and open nature changed the tone of the room.
Though we hadn’t had the opportunity to discuss my plans and hopes for the birth, Jessica seemed to intuitively sense the right level of support to provide during a labour that did not follow the usual pattern. At times she took an active role in helping me to manage pain and keep my physical and emotional strength up, but she also stood back and let my husband and dear friend provide their own comfort and encouragement. When my planned home water birth took an unexpected turn towards the hospital, culminating in a cesarean birth, Jessica’s unwavering aura of peaceful confidence was a constant source of strength for all of us.
Should we end up having another child while still in Vancouver, we will have to make the difficult decision of whether Jessica or Michelle will be our doula – not an easy choice, but one with no wrong answer for us. Both Christopher and I were impressed by the level of caring and commitment involved with being a doula: a fee that may seem high at first proves to be quite a low rate when someone like Jessica spends over twenty-four hours providing unwavering support to a new mother and her birth team.