What is a Doula?
As a doula, I accompany women and their birth partner(s) in labor to help ensure a satisfying birth experience. I am a Certified Birth Doula with DONA (Doulas of North America). I draw on my knowledge of the birth process and experience to provide continuous emotional support, physical comfort measures and, as needed, information that will help you communicate with other members of your birth team to ensure you have an understanding of the events that take place during your birth. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your birth partner, make suggestions for labor progress and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for your comfort.
Choosing me as YOUR Doula
I will meet with you and your birth partner to get to know you and answer any questions you may have concerning the use of a doula for your birth. There is no fee for this meeting, and it does not obligate you in any way to use my services.
If you do select me as your doula, I will want to meet with you again to go over your plans for birth and make final arrangements for care during your birth. I am using the Mobile Doula App and there is a link on my website that is password protected and will have you fill out the client intake forms. I will also want to know your own best ways for coping and how you and your partner foresee working together and what my role in your birth will be.
Once you have hired me, I am available by telephone/text to answer any questions you may have or to help you find resources in the area. During your last two months of pregnancy, I prefer that you update me by email or phone/text after each of your appointments with your midwife or physician. It is also recommended that you advise your midwife/physician that you have hired a doula. If you like I will go with you to your prenatal to meet with your care provider.
**I am also a photographer and we can discuss whether you would like specific photos taken in labor, during birth (if possible but I am hired as your doula first and foremost) also after the birth of your baby I can take photos of those first special bonding moments. Please visit my photography website to see my work: http://lisaolschewskephotography.com/birth-photography
The baby’s father plays an essential role in providing support for the baby’s mother. A doula cannot make some of the unique contributions that the partner makes. Such contributions include an intimate knowledge of the woman, and his love for her and the baby. As doulas, we are not there instead of the partner. It has been found that a doula compliments the role of the partner. Some Dads may feel overwhelmed with the expectations to be instant experts and decision makers in regards to childbirth. That type of expectation is unrealistic for anyone who has little prior knowledge of birth or medical procedures. With this expectation, some partners can feel helpless and distressed and are not able to provide the confident reassurance and constant nurturing that a woman in labor needs. With a doula present, the pressure on the partner is decreased and they are able to participate at their own level of comfort. Partners often feel relieved when they know they have a doula there to help them and they actually enjoy the experience much more!
Childbirth is an emotional and spiritual experience with long-term impact on a woman’s personal well-being. A doula is constantly aware that the mother and her partner will remember this experience throughout their lives.
By “mothering the mother” during childbirth the doula supports the parents in having a positive and memorable birth experience.
When You Are in Labor
I prefer that you contact me as soon as you think you are in labor, no matter what time of day or night. I can answer any questions you may have and make suggestions for your comfort. If you are in early labor, I will encourage rest for everyone and we will decide when you should contact me again for an update. These decisions should all complement your instructions from your midwife/physician. Once I arrive at your home, birth center or hospital, I will remain with you throughout your labor and depending on prior discussion, call in my back up doula.
After Your Birth; The Fourth Trimester
After you give birth, I will stay with you for as long as needed. If you need help getting started with breastfeeding, I will help with that and stay with you until your family is ready for some quiet time. In the case of a cesarean in which I am not allowed to be with you for the birth, I will stay to see how you are doing and contact you the next day. I am available by telephone after you give birth to provide support, encouragement, answer questions and provide resources as you become a family. I will call and/or visit you at home a few days after your birth, and I will be glad to share with you all the details of the birth that I have in my own records. I am always a phone call away.
I offer many services for the “4th trimester” time, also called the postpartum time. http://gracefulbeginningsdoulaservices.com/sacred-postpartum-bengkung-belly-binding/
As a Doula I Do Not…..
1 Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information you need to make informed choices. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your original plan, but you and/or your partner will make medical decisions with the guidance of your midwife/physician.
2 Perform clinical assessments. I am not trained or qualified to perform clinical procedures such as checking blood pressure and fetal heart tones or performing vaginal exams.
3 Take the place of…. (a) your primary support person unless asked to do so by you or that person. If your primary support person does not want to be active in your birth, I may ask your permission to bring in a back-up doula so we may serve you better; (b) the medical staff, including the midwife, physician, midwife’s assistant(s), nurses or lactation consultants. They have a very important role in your birth, too, and we will work cooperatively to help you achieve your goals.
4 Speak to the medical staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but I will not speak for you or interfere with the birth process. You and/or your partner will need to communicate your desires to the medical staff.
5 Catch (deliver) babies. Unless your birth is a planned home birth with a qualified professional, I would not be willing to be with you at home for the actual birth. If you decide to stay home for a previously unplanned homebirth or if I arrive to find you advanced in labor and birth imminent, I will call 911 and get you the help you need. I will not leave you, but I AM NOT a midwife or physician.
Doula Services Packages
I am happy to go over my doula packages and fees over the phone or in person in more detail, but just a little information:
Doula Service Package: My doula services as described (we can discuss)
Doula & Childbirth Education Package: Doula services as described and Childbirth education in your home.
Doula & Photography Package: Doula services as described and Photography services.
Doula/Childbirth Education/Photography Package: Birth doula service, Childbirth education in your home, Placenta Encapsulation and photography. ( PE is done by one of my preferred PE Specialist )
Complete Doula Package: Includes unlimited txt/email/phone support during pregnancy, Childbirth education in the privacy of your home, photography, unlimited labor support with me or my back up doula, Placenta Encapsulation, 12 hours of postpartum service/support (no overnight broken down with 3-4 hrs a day) and a Sacred Postpartum belly binding session.( PE is done by one of my preferred PE Specialist )
**Virtual Doula Service: Includes unlimited text/email/phone support during pregnancy. As well as the option of Skype, during pregnancy, labor and postpartum.
Gift Certificates are available and make GREAT baby shower gifts. Just ask me about it.
HALF of my fee is a non-refundable retainer fee that is due along with a signed copy of the agreement when you select me as your doula. If you choose to pay in full when agreement is signed there is a discount.
The Balance of the fee is due by the 37th week of your pregnancy. I shared this article breaking down doulas fees http://gracefulbeginningsdoulaservices.com/2014/10/breaking-down-and-understanding-a-professional-doulas-fee/
If this payment plan poses a problem for you, I am happy to discuss other payment options and will amend the agreement to reflect our payment plan. I also offer a few scholarships and slide scale based on needs. There would be a more in depth interview about your needs.
**Photography (we can discuss my packages and options ) I am also a professional photographer. Please visit my Photography website: http://lisaolschewskephotography.com/birth-photography
Postpartum Doula Services
I offer a variety of postpartum doula services (and packages) read here what a Postpartum doula does http://gracefulbeginningsdoulaservices.com/2015/01/what-is-a-postpartum-doula/
If for any reason beyond my control you give birth before I or my back-up person make it to your birth, none of the fee is refundable. This would include a fast labor or your decision not to call me or my back-up once labor begins. In either case, I will support you to the best of my abilities when I do arrive. If it is necessary for you to have a planned or emergency cesarean and I am not allowed to attend due to hospital policy or your preference at the time, none of my fee is refundable. If you wish, I will be at the hospital with you before and after the surgery and will assist you in any way I can at that time. In any case, I will help you get settled as you begin bonding with your baby and get started breastfeeding. If, through some fault of my own, neither my back-up nor I arrive for your birth, we will make every effort to be with you afterwards to help you get settled, begin bonding with your baby and get started breastfeeding, and we will stay with you until you are comfortable. If a back-up attends your birth, I will reimburse her. We will go over more details in the agreement.
The retainer submitted with the signed agreement reserves your spot on my calendar and is non-refundable since I may turn another client down whose estimated due date is near yours.
Happily Serving Northeast Florida including Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Palm Coast, Flagler County, Daytona, Orange Park, Ormond beach and St Augustine Birth Doula Services and Postpartum Doula Services