What is a doula?
It's crazy to me that there was a time when I did not know what a doula was. A doula in it's simplest and straight-to-the-point terms is informational, emotional, and physical support. But oh my! It is so much more. Pregnancy and birth are transformative. This is a journey, a beautiful one at that. It has many intimate moments that lay near and dear to your heart that are too tender to share and other parts that you want to shout from the roof top. Who you go through this journey with is so important. They take the roles of supporting you through everything- the good and the bad, the easy and the hard. As your doula, I am your go-to person who isn't going to think you're weird or crazy for having discomfort (or utter pain) in "that place" or having off the wall dreams. When you don't fully understand something, I'm here to give you evidence-based information to best make your decisions and so much more. During labor, I am there to support you in keeping in line with your birth goals as much as possible. I am able to provide you with the risks and benefits of different scenarios, provide suggestions for positional changes, and remind you of other information we've discussed prenatally so you have all of your options provided. I offer hands-on physical techniques for pain relief and an encouraging voice to coach you on and remind you of the power you have inside. I am here to well up with pride of how well you've done and gush over your perfect little one. I am here to support you with breastfeeding support, if this is what you choose, right after baby has arrived so you can treasure that golden hour. I am there to get you an amazing meal to nourish you body with after labor. I am there for you when you are settling in at home and your milk has come in and you need suggestions with breastfeeding after the first couple days and beyond (as it changes constantly). I am here to check in on you and your baby- to see how things are going (mentally, emotionally, and physically) the first few days, weeks, and months. I am here to support and love you through your unique, beautiful, and powerful journey.
a Need, a Passion, a Journey...
Have you noticed that there is a great need when it comes to information and support surrounding fertility, pregnancy, and parenting? This is why we see all these blogs, groups, meet and greets for local parents, and so much more. What is a parent to do when they need support? They need evidence-based information, they need support- emotionally and physically. As humans, we are not meant to do this thing called "life" alone. We most definitely are not meant to do this thing called "parenting" alone. The need is support- informationally, emotionally, and physically. The need is a doula.
Here's a little background to my journey and passion...
Before I had gotten pregnant my first time, I knew that I really didn't know anything about pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I knew what was mainstream, but I wanted something different. So, my immersion into everything maternal began. I was blown away. I studied everything from fertility and the best ways to conceive, anything pregnancy related, vaccines, breastfeeding, baby wearing, parenting styles, and more.
With my first son, I had chosen to go with an all natural (no pain meds, vaginal) water birth at birth center with midwives. It was going to be great! Looking back, I was so naive. I had assumed that I could fully rely on my midwives because well, hey, they're midwives, of course they are going to inform a mother (first time especially) of all of their options. I expected them to walk me through my pregnancy and labor and support me to maintain my hopes and dreams for my labor. I was wrong. They were kind, helpful with basics, and all... But they did not teach me what I needed to know before labor. I had NO idea what labor looked like, how it would feel, how the stages progress. During labor, they were mostly absent besides necessary monitoring and I had no idea how to labor! My son was posterior (OP) and no one discussed how that could affect labor, what to do to turn him, or how to labor with an OP baby. My early labor was maybe 15 hours long. My active labor was a total of 22 hours! *My poor husband was a rockstar with constant physical support!* I had no idea that when I stopped progressing during active labor that it was called labor arrest and there were ways to kickstart progression again or suggestions to handle it. At my 16th hour of active labor, I made the decision to transfer to the hospital which is when the cascade effect ensued of an epidural, Pitocin, concerns with baby (likely from those interventions), an 3rd degree episiotomy, and forceps. Due to concerns, my baby was rushed to the NICU after briefly holding him. Thankfully, he had no issues, but he remained in the NICU for about 36 hours, away from us. This affected my birth experience, our bond, and breastfeeding. After I was able to hold him, it was already 2 hours later and I almost dropped him because I had passed out. Looking back, it was a rather traumatic series of events for me. But somehow, this was viewed as normal to some extent with those around me. This was a typical birth, whereas my planned birth was the abnormal one.
After this, I continued to immerse myself more into pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding. I became the go-to for friends and family when they had questions and concerns. I loved it.
With my second son, we found a new birth center that I truly cannot suggest more. They were INCREDIBLE. All the midwives were informative, they cared, and they were there for whatever I needed. Between everything I had prepared myself and my husband with alongside incredible support at my birth center, I had the empowering birth I had dreamed of. Labor was intense, as labor goes, but I felt secure, informed, aware, and prepared for anything. Immediately following labor, I had my second son on my chest, he began to nurse with twenty minutes, and we all bonded. I was home 12 hours later and began the new journey of a mom of two boys.
My love of pregnancy, birth, and parenting managed to continue more in-depth which was when I discovered what a doula was! How on Earth had I not known what a doula was and how they could have helped me?!
The need was for a doula. My passion was being a doula (I hadn't even known there was a thing!). So my journey began..
I stumbled (quite honestly, it was perfect place at the right time) upon an incredible training opportunity to become a certified Maternal Support Practitioner (MSP), Doula. My training prepared me to be a fertility, birth, and postpartum doula. I was blown away by all of the resources, information, and support that I received and that I could now provide. I threw myself in full force and could not be more thankful. My passion of helping parents through pregnancy, birth, and beyond was going to be used in a much greater way than I could have imagined. As I continue my journey, my next leg of education includes Breastfeeding Education, Childbirth Education, and Diverse Families. Here's to the journey- it may not always be what we expected, but it can truly be beautiful!
Founder of Transcend Maternal Services, Wife, Mommy, Homeschooling Momma, and Doula!
What are Transcend Families saying?
"...Hannah has become so much more than that. She supported us every step of the way—from being almost absurdly available during my pregnancy for questions or just to chat, to helping us find donor milk when we found out our baby wasn’t getting enough to eat, to texting me to do a postpartum check in while she was on vacation. I probably should have used the hypnobirthing techniques I’d practiced or printed out reminders of how I envisioned our son’s birth happening, but in failing to do any of that, I discovered just how amazing of a doula Hannah is. All I needed during the intense moments was her voice reminding me that this was all to bring baby earth side, to use my breath, to spontaneously get in our bathtub (because I hadn’t gotten the birth pool I obviously should have). I had no idea of the blessing Hannah would become when I first spoke with her. She knows what you need before you do and even when you don’t. She will take care of you, be silly with your toddler, and lovingly help you bring your baby into this world. And at the end of it all, you will feel like you have made a new friend with the warmest heart, who loves your babies almost as much as you do." ~Brittany B.