Birth Experiences

How can a doula change your birth experience?

This part of my blog allows families to share their birth experience, birth memoires, and doula "reviews". It can be very meaningful, and in some cases healing, for parents or even grandparents to recall their birth story from their perspective. So, please feel free to comment with your story or opinion. Thanks!


  1. For the labor and birth of my son I had a strong team of 6 people in the room with me. I had my husband, mom, sister, sister in law, mother in law, and of course my wonderful doula Annie. Annie played such an important role in comfort measures and keeping the progression of the labor moving.
    The evening before my son's birth I had gone to the doctors with contractions and found out I was 4.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. When my husband and I came home from the doctors, I took a shower and got ready to go to the hospital. Annie was at our home within minutes to drive with us. Of coarse, I forgot to eat before we left, but Annie was prepared with all sorts of snacks and water bottles, so I was able to eat and drink.
    Once we got a room in the hospital they checked my dilation and effacement. I was still 4.5cm and 90% effaced. I knew I wanted an epidural, it was just a matter of when. Annie strongly encouraged me to walk around before I got the epidural to help me dilate more. So I walked up and down the hall with my husband and Dad. After that the epidural was placed. When the doctor checked me again I was 6cm and 100% effaced. I believe the walking did help with that progression, thanks to Annie's encouragement.
    For me, the epidural did not help with my back labor. Annie had some massage tools that helped soothe some of the back pain and discomfort. As my labor progressed I started to feel very needy. During this time my contractions were so painful that I did not want to move, because each movement made the contractions feel worse. Annie told me it was important to change positions. Annie kept me moving from right to left to keep labor progressing. During this transition phase I began to feel unbearably hot. Luckily Annie brought an ice pack that rescued me! When the ice pack was not being rubbed across my back I would vomit. Annie also brought a fan that was crucial for helping me through the heat. She made sure I had fresh ice water to sip on through the process. Annie helped provide water and snacks for my family members who were in the room with us too. I needed every single person in the room to help out with transition; one person to put my hair back every time I pulled it out with the contractions, one person to give me the sips of water, one person to fan me, one person to rub the ice pack across my back and so on.
    Towards the end of transition the doctor checked me and told me I was 9cm and 100% effaced. The doctor said the baby's head was not facing the optimum direction, it was turned to the side of my pelvis. After finding this out, Annie wanted me to try a certain position. Annie and my husband put the head of my bed down, rolled me to my right side, lifted my left leg over my right leg and placed it on top of the bed side table. Within minutes I felt a shift, like I needed to push. I believe this position really helped my son descend into the right position for birth. The doctor came back in, I started pushing, and all my family and Annie were encouraging me, saying, "we see his head, he is almost here, you are doing a great job...." I just heard those words, and felt my son coming through the canal more with each push. After 9 minutes of pushing my son was born! It was such a beautiful moment! My family, Annie and I were all overwhelmed with joy.
    They say it takes a village to raise a child, but for me, the day of my son's birth, I felt like it takes a village to deliver a child. I feel so BLESSED to have had so many supportive people there for me that day, especially Annie. Annie provided the tools necessary to comfort me, provided the knowledge to keep my labor progressing well, provided encouragement the entire time, and was attentive to me and my family, making sure everyone's needs were meet. I know this was her first birth experience, but you would think she has been doing this for years!

  2. My birth experience was quite different from the average one. I decided to have my baby at home and Annie was part of the process every step of the way. When I went into labor, I kept Annie updated on my contractions and progress. Annie told me that she would come in whenever I felt like I needed her. So I called Annie when I felt like my contractions were getting significantly stronger and very close together. She helped me with various comfort measures, massage techniques, demonstrated various exercises on the birthing ball she provided for pain relief, and more. She had this handy dandy little fan that was a life savor and a rice bag compress that she heated and applied to my back for my back pain. Most of my labor pain was in my thighs and back for some reason and Annie was there every step massaging me and doing whatever she could to ease my pain. My birthing team consisted of my doula (Annie), my midwife, her assistant, my mother in law for the early part of labor, and my husband. All of them worked so well together to make my experience incredible! My labor lasted 23 hours and Annie was there for almost the entire time. My early labor went by fairly quickly compared to the end since I was at 9.5 cm dilated for quite a while... Annie even lay in bed with me for support when there wasn't much to be done except wait :) During my 2 hours of pushing, she was my support (literally haha!) She held up all my weight when I was leaning against her on the birthing stool, where I delivered my baby girl. My birthing team was so amazing and truly made every aspect of my birth so memorable! It was the most incredible experience of my life and I could not have done it without them. Annie even came by the next 2-3 days (I just gave her a call and she immediately took time out of her busy schedule to come to me as soon as she could) to help with breastfeeding. We texted nonstop throughout my pregnancy, during early labor, and even now postpartum! She was always available whenever I needed her no matter how busy she was or what time of day it was. She really knew her stuff! She even came by postpartum and brought over some dinner and a cloth diapering wetbag she sewed herself and wipes as gifts :) Thank you for making my birth so wonderful Annie!

  3. I gave birth to my daughter less than a week ago and there is rarely a moment that goes by that I'm not recollecting the experience. In looking back, sure... it was tough... it was hard...harder than I thought, but gosh I can wholeheartedly say that the experience was as memorable and amazing as it was because of the guidance and comfort I received from Annie (and my husband too of course :)
    The day before my due date I started to have a "different" feeling with the contractions I was having. I kept Annie aware and she continually checked in on me throughout the day. By 6pm that evening I was pretty positive this was "it". An hour later, my husband and I head to the hospital, Annie met us there with excitement for what was to come! She knew too that this was "it", and was quick to be by my side and husbands with whatever I needed.
    We walked the halls of the hospital, contractions grew stronger. I got to a point of wanting to change up my original birth plan and goal but was continually encouraged by Annie and my husband to try different techniques, to breathe, etc. which I couldn't be happier that they did. Never were my requests dismissed, but (and as I wanted) other options were suggested to help me cope through my ultimate goal for a natural labor.
    Annie came prepared as well. I had terrible back labor and she stayed patient, helped calm me, had me use a ball, had different techniques to apply pressure and massage my back, and helped my husband in these techniques as well. I knew with each contraction that I NEEDED my team of my husband and Annie there... and she was, every step. There was never a moment where I felt Annie was not my biggest advocate! She would inform the midwife and nurses of my progress, offer suggestions to keep the labor moving and let them know of my condition throughout. She was exactly what we needed and completely had my back (literally!)
    About 4 1/2 hours in and it was time to push. The encouragement and coaching that Annie provided during this time was huge! On one side of me I had my husband, having total faith in me during one of the biggest moments of our life and on the other, Annie... giving me constant guidance, comfort and encouragement. About 20 minutes later my beautiful daughter was born, on her due date! The overwhelming relief, joy, excitement, and amazement is impossible to put into words. I was thrilled, I thanked everyone, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Annie continued to help, taking pictures of my husband, baby and I during these very special moments and expressing how proud she was. And likewise, I was equally as happy with everything she did for us. It was an incredible experience and my husband and I owe a lot of it to Annie.
    Thank you so much, Annie! You've made this special moment in our lives that much more amazing!

  4. Thank God for Annie!

    I started contracting after dinner, and I knew I wanted to try to sleep (plus I wasn't really sure if it was REALLY happening), so I texted Annie before bed to keep her posted. In the wee hours of the morning, we decided that I was really in labor, but my contractions were not consistent or very frequent. We called Annie to come over to our apartment around 8:30-9am. She immediately had ideas to help labor progress, and she kept me on a regular routine of walking and moving around. She reminded me to eat and drink to keep my energy up, and even went out to buy my husband and I lunch.

    After lunch, active labor really kicked in. I felt a lot of pain in my upper thighs, and she employed various techniques to try to interrupt the pain signals. If something wasn’t really working for me, I was kind of rude in telling Annie to stop, but she completely took it in stride and acted like I was the nicest person in the world. I tried to stop paying attention to the timing of contractions, but when I realized that the contractions were still more than 5 minutes apart, I felt discouraged. Annie was nothing but helpful and positive. She could see how hard I was working, and she recommended calling my midwife, but I refused, because I wanted to wait as long as I could before going to the hospital. She suggested a walk, and I agreed to pace the apartment. Suddenly, I had three long, strong, and intense contractions less than three minutes apart, and I got sick. We called the midwife and headed to the hospital at 4:15.

    My contractions slowed in the car, but once we arrived, they picked back up. I opted to walk up to L&D instead of use a wheelchair. I had strong contractions multiple times in the hallways, and Annie would drop everything and focus on me. In the delivery room, I felt like there was so much going on, but Annie helped keep me calm. They put the monitors on my belly at 5:00, and check my dilation, 7cm. I had been moving around so much during labor that lying on the bed was difficult, but Annie kept me focused.

    My baby’s heart rate was dropping during contractions, and I could feel a sense of tension in the room. Annie was reassuring to both me and my husband about our baby’s safety, and that helped me not panic. Things were happening so fast…baby dropped, I felt intense pressure, and within about 30 minutes of arriving at L&D, I was fully dilated and ready to push. Annie held one leg while my husband held the other. I honestly can’t remember anything except the midwife softly whispering “Pushpushpushpush…” and me gasping and yelling when I wasn’t holding my breath, but I’m sure Annie was cheering for me :)

    Baby’s head came out, but his cord was wrapped tightly around his neck. The midwife had to cut his cord, and I had to stop pushing with his body yet to be delivered. Annie was right there reminding me not to push and telling me that everything was okay. Finally, at 5:45, I delivered our son. Annie knew right away to take photos - something we completely forgot about - and those photos are some of my favorite. He came out so fast that he had some trouble breathing, and when he was taken off my chest to be checked by a doctor, she kept me posted on his condition.

    After his arrival, Annie stayed to help me try to nurse. She called our parents to let them know baby boy had arrived. When our son needed to go to the nursery, my husband went with him. Annie stayed with me, kept me company, helped me clean up, and got me food until we were all reunited again in the recovery room. She again helped us with breastfeeding, and three days later at home, she helped us give him his first bath.

    I am so very thankful to have Annie woven into the story of baby boy’s birth. Even though I’m sure baby would have come out either way :), I can’t imagine having gone through this experience without her by our sides. If we are so inclined to have another baby, I will not hesitate to call Annie again. We love you, Annie!

  5. Annie is a fabulous doula, and I am so grateful to her for making my natural, unmedicated birth possible! From our very first meeting months before my due date, Annie was extremely knowledgable and helpful. She clearly understood my goals and priorities for my birth, and she gave me lots of advice (books, exercises, etc.) about preparing for labor. My husband and I were also very happy that Annie taught our “infant care and breastfeeding” class, and it was very reassuring to us that Annie not only visited our apartment six weeks before my due date, but also checked in with me weekly during the third trimester. As I got closer to my due date, Annie started to check in even more frequently (by texting and emailing), and then I passed my due date, and we started communicating even more!

    I started to feel frequent contractions after dinner on a Friday night, and they were not quite painful enough to be real labor but they were too intense to let me sleep. My husband sent Annie a text around 5am on Saturday morning, and she had us time the contractions to decide when to come to our apartment. Annie arrived around 9am, and she gently but firmly coaxed me out of bed (where I was trying to handle the contractions while lying down) and into the kitchen where she had me sit on a birthing ball. As the day wore on, Annie helped me stand up and walk laps around the apartment, and she helped me remember to drink apple juice and eat yogurt. Annie talked me through every contraction, helping me relax and feel less pain through massage and breathing exercises.

    Around 4pm, the contractions were increasingly intense (although they never came closer than three minutes apart and they never lasted longer than a minute or so, even at the very end). My husband and I and we drove to the hospital in our car, and we met Annie outside of triage. At triage, I was disappointed to find out that I was only at 4cm, and when the nurse spoke with my OB and offered an intervention (breaking my water), Annie gently suggested that I wait to see what would happen. The triage nurse agreed with Annie, and she suggested that we spend time walking around the hallways and having a last-minute snack before getting formally checked in, so Annie helped me through each contraction as we walked in the hospital’s hallway, trying to make more progress in labor. I went back to triage around 7pm, and I was checked into labor and delivery.

    We got settled in the L&D room, and Annie quickly made friends with the L&D nurse! I was very committed to having an unmedicated birth, and Annie connected with the nurse and brought her onto our team. I had prepared to argue with the medical staff at the hospital, but Annie made it so that they were on my side and cheering for me to achieve my goal. The nurses agreed to intermittent fetal monitoring, which allowed me to walk around the L&D room, with Annie helping me (of course). Before I knew it, I was told that it was time to push. Annie coached me (and also told my husband how to be helpful to me), and after an hour or so, my son was born at 10:52pm. Annie helped me and then my husband with skin-to-skin contact with our baby, and then the OB and nursing staff left, and Annie stayed to teach me how to get a proper latch and nurse. Annie stayed with us until well after midnight, and she remained in touch with me the next day while I was still in the hospital, and the day after that, when my husband and I brought our son home. Annie did a home visit later in the week, and she spent two hours talking with my husband and me about the birth and about our son. Annie gave me incredibly important advice about breastfeeding, which was tough in the beginning, but which is wonderful (and easy) now. My son is three months old and exclusively breast fed, thanks to Annie’s help!

    I felt incredibly supported throughout the birth and afterwards, and I am grateful to Annie for coaching me through my natural birth and for helping me get breastfeeding off to a great start!