Katy was my doula, but she wasn’t at my birth (thanks to a certain very behind-schedule baby of mine). This isn’t the typical opener for a doula testimonial, but it feels particularly relevant in the new normal to which we are adjusting.
Katy began working with me early in pregnancy, and immediately became our ally. From her, my husband and I gained critical knowledge about what we might encounter in labor (much of it missing from birthing books), the conviction that it is our right to advocate for ourselves, and empathy as I navigated an emotionally difficult pregnancy.
I experienced a number of complications during labor but, thanks to all that Katy taught us, we never felt like we were swimming in jargon that was beyond comprehension. There’s less space for fear when we understand the language.
Katy’s guidance amplified our willingness to advocate for my health and my baby’s health during labor and postpartum. Each time we sought out additional information or asked for space to process, it was Katy’s voice in our heads reminding us to do so. Even now, I continue to advocate for myself when the response offered doesn’t lend credence to what I’m experiencing in my body. This is to Katy’s credit.
Katy viewed herself not as a labor and birth doula, but a confidant throughout pregnancy. Her empathy was unparalleled. She welcomed texts when prenatal appointments brought updates—mundane or otherwise—and she slogged through the final weeks of pregnancy alongside me. More than once, my husband reached out independently to ask for her support. Shortly after birth, I lamented not taking more photos during pregnancy; Katy quickly reminded me that this decision was for my mental health, and shouldn’t be doubted. Even now, nearly a year later, I return to this moment when I doubt myself and my past decisions.
Katy’s presence in my pregnancy was invaluable and, though she wasn’t at birth, everything she taught us was put to use. Working with a doula will likely look different for quite some time. But I know with conviction that there’s value in hiring Katy even if, from the beginning, there’s a chance she won’t be present at birth. Did I want her at my birth? Desperately. But much about this life is out of our control, and I find solace in the knowledge that, even as birth didn’t go as planned, I had a doula who gave our family the knowledge, advocacy, and empathy we needed as we grew our family.
After going into a pregnancy and labor while dealing with some hard times with my partner, it felt very reassuring to know I at least had a partner in birth with Katy. And honestly, one of the things I remember most about what ended up being a whirlwind of a labor was Katy whispering in my ear to take deep breaths and that I could do it — in fact, my first words after pushing out a giant baby was, “I did it!” And I think having Katy on my team was a huge part of why I felt it.
Katy is exactly who she presents herself to be, a birth educator and advocate for your own birth empowerment. She is calm, thoughtful and wicked smart. I came to her at 7 months pregnant, full of fear and questions. Each time my husband and I met with her, we grew more informed and more confident. By the time my due date came, we felt unexpectedly ready. We knew we had all the information and felt reassured to have someone to call for support when it was time to deliver our little one. I one hundred percent believe this attributed to a very smooth delivery with our first child. Katy is a helpful medium between hospital and natural birth, and because of this I was able to seamlessly combine the benefits of both. Also, the postpartum care she offers is invaluable as the hospital really does release you ill-equipped to deal with the magnitude of postpartum recovery. The most important thing I gained from the entire experience of having a doula was that I felt in control of my own decisions during a confusing time that could otherwise feel very chaotic. I consider it the best money we’ve ever spent to bring our daughter into this world with the support of Katy by our side.
My husband and I were so grateful to have Katy on our birth team. My labor ended up being very fast and not at all what we expected. It was so helpful, especially to my husband, to have Katy on the phone and waiting for us when we got to the hospital. Literally, when we pulled up she was waiting with a wheelchair. She expedited things and helped to get us into a room within minutes. After my son was born, things took a bit of a turn and Katy really helped to create the space we needed to make decisions and she supported us through the process. Katy’s knowledge of the hospital and their processes, along with her relationships with the staff made her a huge asset on our birth team. Overall, her understanding of the body and birth process, combined with her gentle and supportive nature truly make her amazing at what she does.
Katy was so encouraging, took the time to get to know me and what would be helpful and supportive to me and my partner before, during and after the birth of our son, and really empowered us to have the birth experience we desired in bringing our son into the world. Katy educated us on what to expect at the hospital, how to cope with labor sensations, empowered my partner to be my birth partner, and just in general cultivated a relationship with us that I will always cherish. Katy was especially supportive after our son was born and supported us with breastfeeding, postpartum ups and downs, and connecting us with the resources we needed when we struggled. She checked in with us and went way above and beyond of what we expected from our doula experience. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through my birth and postpartum without her – Katy is one of the kindest people I’ve met and truly is amazing!
It’s difficult to summarize the impact of Katy on my birth and postpartum experience. I was scared of almost everything having to do with labor and delivery, and having someone who had been there before (many, many times!) was wonderful. Her calm demeanor, abundance of knowledge, and lending library helped me figure out what I wanted for my birth experience. The meetings with Katy engaged my partner in preparation for birth and post-partum in a way that he would not have been if we didn’t have dedicated time, space, and a guide. I used many of her suggestions during labor including rebozo sifting and the miles circuit which finally helped me progress after 20+ hours of slow moving back labor. By the time we got to the hospital neither my husband nor I had slept much in about two days, and so Katy become our memory keeper. She pushed against my feet during contractions, kept track of what was happening when, and was probably the most calm and lucid adult in the room. I value the notes she took during my labor and delivery because I was too exhausted to remember much of what was happening. Despite having both my mother and my husband with me during the majority of my labor (and they were great!), it is Katy’s voice that I remember coaching me, her presence that I felt, and somehow her strength that carried us all through the process. I wasn’t ever truly scared because I knew she would have her eye on things. Post-partum Katy fielded several anxiety filled texts from me and helped me remember that I was capable, wise, and strong. I am more than happy that my daughter is one of “her” babies.