Katy Gladwin was an excellent doula who I highly recommend to women and families who appreciate the balance of an educated professional who understands medical explanations (she was a pre-med student) while having a kind and compassionate heart who genuinely encourages the most comfortable experience possible. Katy was accessible before, during and after the labor and we felt an instant connection to her. She knew when to probe further when medical professionals made suggestions and when to allow us the space to make our own decisions throughout the labor. I highly valued her presence and would recommend her services to others who want the extra support and experienced knowledge during labor.
Katy’s reassurance and ability to back up her suggestions with medical explanations helped calm me down throughout the process. Katy is very knowledgeable and her demeanor is wonderful too. I would pepper her with questions and she would often know the answers. When she didn’t she was honest (which I appreciated). I fully trusted her knowledge and know that she will continue to be successful if she relies on combining her pre-med background and explanations of not only ‘what’ may be happening but ‘why’ something occurs to let the facts sink in.
As first time parents, we recommend not only hiring a doula, but recommend Katy’s services especially. She exhibited a keen sensitivity to [mom’s] needs, but also in keeping dad and the medical staff at the right level of engagement. Katy’s emphasis is on building the environment of a “team” and this really helped take the pressure off mom to the extent possible. We were very satisfied with the experience at all levels.
Katy suggested that I get a tub room at the hospital, and that made all the difference in the world. I spent all of my time in the tub until it was time to push, and during this time Katy talked casually with my husband and me in between contractions, which was a nice distraction. Once the pushing stage started and I transitioned to the bed, she worked with the midwife offering various positions and movements to make me as comfortable as possible. Knowing that she was there and had experience, as well as my best interest in mind, made me feel like I didn’t have to worry about anything happening to me or my daughter that I would have regretted later on and I could just be present and be in labor without fear of the unknown. She also made it much easier for my husband to be supportive through offering suggestions and taking care of the things we didn’t have to worry about.
Having someone to talk to nursing staff as my advocate was the most important thing for me. It allowed me to stay focused on birth and not have to think about next steps or the various questions I was asked. I felt the suggestions for positions, fans, heat or cold compresses, etc. helped so much.
Katy advocated our wants and needs to the hospital staff which was huge for us. She also made us feel comfortable in the hospital. She told me that in the particular hospital we were in (St. Joe) a lot of nurses and other staff members try to give you lactation consultation and that it can be overwhelming and confusing. Because she mentioned this I felt very prepared when I did experience the barrage of random staff members poking at my nipples and telling me over and over again about “the football hold”. The pain management during contractions was extremely effective. I loved the hip massages so much and I love that something so simple worked such wonders. Thank you Katy for all you did for John, Milo and I! Our birth experience was beautiful and calm because of your care.
The long and the short of it is this—Katy is amazing! I’ll be the first to admit that I have exceedingly high standards, and I am rarely impressed by providers I come across. Katy is the exception to that in every way, and I can’t sing her praises highly enough. I was referred to Katy by another doula who was phasing out of her doula/midwifery work, and said that she thought Katy would be a great fit—she couldn’t have been more right! From the first meeting, Katy was warm and compassionate, but also incredibly knowledgeable and frank. She was always responsive and I felt like went above and beyond in her efforts. I appreciated that it never felt like she was pushing me to make a decision, but instead offered the information I needed to make an informed choice. I also never felt as though Katy judged any decisions I made, and she always took pains to normalize how I was feeling and what I was experiencing. When my pregnancy took an unexpected turn that caused a total reworking of my birthing plan, Katy remained a source of calm in a sea of seeming chaos. And when several providers made me feel as though my advanced maternal age was something to be feared and treated with great caution; Katy continued to remind me what a normal, natural process giving birth is, and that my body would be able to handle it. I really can’t convey the depth of appreciation I feel for Katy and the support she provided for both me and my husband. Initially I was uncertain if her fee would prove to be worth it—in the end I would’ve paid much more to know I’d be so well taken care of, and I would choose Katy as my doula again without question.