I’ve given birth twice now using a Birth Roots Doula, and I have a bunch of good things to say about them. Doulas can and do make a huge difference in the experience of birth.
If you don’t know what a doula is you can read more about what a doula is and why you need one here.
A doula is a professionally trained, mental, emotional, and physical support person who cares for and assists Mamma before, during and after birth. While not medically trained they have extensive experience working with expectant mothers and their birthing teams in hospital, birthcentre or home deliveries.
About Birth Roots Doula Services
Birth Roots Doula Services provides more than just doula services. They also provide prenatal classes like Lamaze Childbirth Educational classes and Prenatal Yoga.
You can also find classes for new Grandparents, caring for your Newborn, how to help new siblings adjust, and breastfeeding classes.
Their Doulas also offer Postpartum Doula services as well as Prenatal and Birthing Doula Services.
You can check them out here.
Baby #1 – Couldn’t ask for a better Birth Roots Doula
With my first the Birth Roots Doula Team they were friendly, encouraging and easy to get in touch with. And I had a LOT of questions and concerns I bombarded them.
I basically freaked out and wrote them 1,000+ word emails at least once a week, sometimes more frequently. And I always got a response back that was insightful, friendly and helpful in calming my nerves.
I really felt like I was being understood by the one doula who would eventually be there for the birth of our baby. She and I have become good friends and I can’t sing her praises enough.
There was just some intuitive responses that she had which made me more comfortable and confident that I could handle what was coming.
During labor, she continued the stellar support and made recomendations on what could be done to make me more comfortable. To the point that I actually wasn’t ready to admit I was in labor until we actually went to the birth center.
It is because of her support and recomendations that I firmly believe I had the MOST AMAZING birthing experience. Not once do I remember feeling pain, or even being stressed out.
There is something calming and relaxing about having someone experienced in birth who is focused only on your comfort and holding space for you.
Her calm reminders of what was physically happening were helpful as they helped me surrender to the process. And this simple letting go was evidenced in the easy birth we experienced.
At the end of it I even had the most amazing photos on my phone to remember the experience from.
As a matter of fact just three days after delivering I posted the following on my personal Facebook page:
So today I’m incredibly grateful to our support team, I think no mater your labour preferences every woman deserves to have access to all the info to make the best choices for her and her family. In our case this info & resulting choices defined the way we remember our day. And it all started when we found Birth Roots Doula and her Doula team, the support I received from these 3 women gave me the courage, strength and drive to ask the questions we needed answered. They even suggested many questions we hadn’t thought of, one of which determined our birth location and care provider! This process has been eye-opening on so many levels but not nearly as many as when I look back to just a few short days ago and know that things could have been very different. I will always remember the critical role my doula played in it for me directly, not just as my Doula, but as a friend. And while I think I may have thanked her a few hundred times over the course of Sunday for her assistance I am also deeply grateful in retrospect that she was with us in throughout, she really did set the tone for one of the most amazing memories I will ever hold in my heart! You are an amazing woman, an awesome friend, and I sincerely hope that when we have our next child that you will be my doula again.– Edited out name for privacy
2 – Long Labor and 2 doulas…
With our second I hoped to have a similar experience. I didn’t expect to have the exact same experience simply because that would be next to impossible with a totally different baby.
But I had thought it would be similar or close to the same. And many people told me to expect a fast delivery again.
But that was not to be. I was more calm throughout the pregnancy, almost to the point of not really recognizing that I was (occasionally).
And because I was so determined to have the same doula attend this delivery I didn’t really care who her back up was.
I should have cared more. At one point my 1st doula brought someone around to meet me who she thought would make a good fit. And honestly this woman was nice, friendly and didn’t cause me any concern.
But I didn’t “click” with her like I did with my first.
And while this isn’t a huge problem the not "clicking" can affect your birth story in unexpected ways. So please make sure that you find those support people you need to feel that connection with during birth.
When I finally went into labour I was all excited and nervous. I kinda freaked out and stayed stuck in my head. I wanted to remember every detail this time, and that got in the way of letting my body do what it needed to.
I called my first doula pretty early on and asked if she could come support me at home. Getting my preferred doula early on would guarantee a quick delivery in my mind and I didn’t want to call anyone else.
Well things didn’t work out the way I expected. While I ended up admitted to the birthing center fairly quickly it was still over 19 hours away from delivery. Which meant my preferred doula ended up having to switch off.
And I’ll be honest, I have nothing against her replacement. Our second doula is a kind, caring and all around wonderful person. But we didn’t have that "click" and the level of intuition that I expected was just not there.
I’ll also note here that the two doulas I’ve worked with have different personalities and when you meet them very different personal essence. For me my first doula was very relaxing to be around. Where my second doula I frequently was startled by because she seems to blend into the background.
When she was directed to do something, either by my husband or the midwives she did it to the best of her ability. But there were times where I needed a different type of help to move into the best position.
At the best of times I don’t communicate verbally well. And when I’m in a vulnerable position like giving birth I need someone who is capable of reading my body language easily.
For a good portion of the labor my support team (Midwife, Husband and Doula) worked to help me reposition baby.
At one point I remember my second doula using a fabric support (ribozo) under my tummy. However, it never felt like it was supportive, rather more restrictive and hindered my ability to handle contractions.
At no point did I feel like I had the support in the right place under my abdomen. And when I shifted to correct that the doula moved the ribozo into a position that made me work harder and became binding.
I feel that this was in complete contradiction to the experience I had with our first. During which our first doula not only provided support with the ribozo but made it comfortable and relaxing in the same position.
This points to a difference between knowing the mechanics and the wisdom of reading a person’s body and it’s needs.
I don’t know if it was just bad timing on my part or if she was making notes about the birthing process maybe? But I can clearly picture our second Birth Roots Doula being on her phone at numerous points when I needed support.
I can also remember her leaning casually against the sink while I labored on the toilet. While this enabled my husband to step in I felt like she could have been assisting in positioning me or applying counter pressure. As it was I felt like she was more of a spectator than a support member.
One aspect I deeply regret is that photos were taken of me on someone else’s phone. Specifically, my 2nd doula took photos on her phone then sent them via Facebook Messenger to me.
Now I had asked for photos to be taken, but I expected they would be taken on my phone. This eliminates the need to request them and that they could be shared by anyone anywhere I had not authorized. During a vulnerable time, I feel this was a violation of my privacy. And the distress this has caused me is something I am still struggling with over 6 months later.
Now I’m not saying that a doula SHOULD take photos, quite frankly that’s not their job. And if you want photos it is best to hire a birth photographer. BUT, if a doula does take photos it should not be on their phone.
My thoughts on Birth Roots Doula is the same as it will likely be for any doula service. When you find the one that is right for you it’s like getting the perfect man. Snap them up, the experience is going to be AMAZING and worth building the relationship. Also, I would have happily paid double what I did for my first doula.
But when you get one you’re not feeling compatible with don’t walk away RUN. This day is one that should be amazing and totally rock your world in a good way. And I walked away from this one feeling ignored and unsupported.
My husband noted after the birth that he had to instruct our second doula to do things. He took more instruction on how to help me FROM our first doula.
Again I want to say that I know both Birth Roots Doulas are highly trained and amazing people in their own right. I respect both of them as women who want to support birthing persons to the best of their capability.
The main problem I had with our second doula is more personal compatibility. And if I hadn’t had the experience that I did with our first doula I likely would not have had such high expectations. And since no 2 people are the same expecting 2 different doulas to be identical is unrealistic.
The comparison of the two ladies is not really fair. At the same point, it has shown me the value in communicating with your support team exactly what your expectations are.
Unfortunately for me, our first doula is stepping back from being a Birth Doula. So when we get pregnant with our third I’ll be interviewing for a new one. Because YES even though it was not the best fit I refuse to deliver without a doula. I just know that this time I’m going to make sure I get that "click" I had with our first again 😉