Hi Erin and Betsy,
I wanted to share with you the impressions I had, as a grandma and as an RN, of your doula services. Please do share this with anyone interested in your services.
In the other room I can hear my daughter murmuring happily to her tiny son. Her milk has come in amply. The baby is getting plump fast, and he is a good-natured guy who seems to cry only when being changed. My son-in-law is totally and blissfully in love with his new son. All in all, it feels like a fairytale ending.
I think you get lots of the credit for this happy ending. You spent plenty of time with her before the delivery, both talking and doing massage, so that you knew who she was and what she hoped for during the delivery. The massages were wonderful preparation for help during the labor itself, since you knew her body and she knew your touch. You offered lots of information that her doctors did not, such as how to help the cervix ripen for delivery. All in all, your easy availability and common sense approach really helped when she was trying to decide if she was really in labor or not. And as she passed her due date and waited, you were wonderful support for her hope of a natural vaginal delivery.
When she went past her due date, things felt stressful and complicated. You helped her understand her choices about whether to have an induction or not and how to respond to her doctors. It empowered her at a difficult time. Even when she decided to have an induction, you offered positive ways to handle the long labor in the hospital.
One extremely important suggestion from you was urging her to keep eating, so her strength would stay up for the delivery. This really mattered when she had such a long labor and when pushing was so tiring. If she had eaten nothing, I doubt she would have been able to push successfully.
Another huge difference you made was the massage, coaching and positioning during the induced labor. It was a long, very tough labor, and her husband, although willing and loving, did not have the expertise needed relieve her discomfort and relax her in expert ways.
Finally, you had the assertiveness and the finesse to work with the hospital staff to achieve the best outcome for her. You watched for signs of problems getting started and took early steps that changed the outcome. I am certain that you prevented a C section and prevented real problems. You made this difficult labor easier and helped her husband know how best to support her. All of this is priceless.
If anyone wonders if having a doula is worth it in a hospital with an attentive husband and grandma available, I can tell them: It was worth every penny and more. You definitely changed the course of what happened for the better.Finally, your support after the birth has also been useful and wise. She feels she can ask you all sorts of things about breastfeeding and her own recovery.
Thanks so much!