To God be the Glory!
I had the pleasure of working with Kara for the birth of my first baby, Caleb, in October 2013. I had decided early on in my pregnancy that my ideal birth would be a completely natural, drug free labor and delivery. At that time I began looking into the idea of hiring a doula to assist me in my labor and delivery. I’m sure that my husband was fully capable of coaching me through a natural labor and delivery process, but he had never experienced it before and I believed the added support of a trained doula with a passion for women, labor, delivery and babies would be extremely beneficial. I met Kara on a referral from my OBGYN, which to me was a huge positive as my doctor supported my desire for a doula.
The first time I met Kara she felt like a friend. We chatted for nearly three hours about the role of a doula, her experience, my hopes for the birth of my son, pregnancy, cloth diapers, all kinda of things. One thing that stuck out to me that she said that day about finding the right doula was, “You need to feel completely comfortable with who you hire because that person is going to see you naked.” And it was true, as funny as that may sound, I felt that comfortable with Kara right from day one.
Over the next few months leading up to my due date my husband and I met with Kara a couple times to get to know each other more and to talk about her role, my husband’s role and what I could expect during childbirth. She graciously answered all of my questions and reassured me when I had any doubts. I texted her weekly (if not daily) with questions, thoughts and concerns. She was always so excited to respond and share her knowledge with me.
When I reached 32 weeks pregnant my OB sent me to a specialist to monitor the size of my growing baby. He was measuring a couple weeks ahead both on ultrasound and belly measurements. By the time I was 37 weeks the doctors warned me that he may be around 10 pounds at birth. I shared my concerns for natural childbirth of a large baby with Kara and she reassured me that it was not impossible.
When I was scheduled for an induction at 41 weeks, I was slightly disheartened about not being able to experience the onset of natural labor. After discussing the induction process with Kara and learning how to approach the medical staff about my wishes to have the most natural delivery as possible even with an induction, I felt more confident moving forward. When my labor finally started about twelve hours after the induction with Cytotec, Kara arrived at the hospital with her doula bag in tow. She quickly jumped right in supporting my husband while he supported me as I was laboring in the tub. She worked as a team with the nursing staff and never overstepped her boundaries as a doula with the medical staff or with my husband. He too was very pleased with the level of support she offered and took comfort in the fact that I was in good hands with her when he needed to step out for coffee or a bathroom break. After Caleb was born my husband confessed that having Kara in the room during labor was very helpful in directing him on how to best support and care for me during labor.
Hours into my labor (and at 3:00 in the morning!), I made it to 8cm dilated. I reached a breaking point. My son, it seemed, was posterior and I was exhausted. Although I had been able to labor naturally to that point (Pitocin was stopped completely once my contractions reached active labor and continued on their own) I decided it was time to veer off my ideal birth plan route and get an epidural. Kara, knowing my birthing desires, gently reminded me of them and wanted to make sure that I was making the best decision for myself and my baby. Yes, I wanted the medication. Once the epidural had taken affect, I was able to rest a bit. A few hours later I was checked and found to be fully dilated and effaced. However baby boy was still not quite low enough into my pelvis. Kara helped my nurses position me in ways that would help him to drop. Under the direction of the medical staff, I was permitted to push to see if the baby would drop more. Kara and my husband each took a side and held me as I pushed down. Kara used some tools to help me bear down correctly and get the most of my pushes. After about an hour and a half of pushing, it was decided by the medical staff that he was not going to drop naturally and it was suggested that he be delivered via cesarean section. I was not thrilled with the idea, and it completely demolished any dreams I had for giving birth vaginally. With Kara and my husband there to talk it through with me, we consented and decided that it was the best decision for me and for the health of my baby. The comfort I felt from Kara during those intense moments before the c-section were incredible. She was extremely sensitive to my feelings and made sure that I was communicating how I was feeling with her and my husband through the sobs that were exiting my body at the time. It was truly an emotional rush of disappointment over not achieving my ideal birth whatsoever but at the same time unbelievable excitement that this was it! I’d be meeting my baby boy within the hour!
I requested that Kara be allowed back in the operating room; although, usually only one person is permitted into the operating room, she was allowed back thanks to the relationship she had with my OBGYN. She was able to offer words of encouragement from one end of the room as my husband stood by my side and held my hand. When the doctor was able to pull out my baby and found that he weighed 10 pounds 12 ounces, we all had a sigh of relief. I no longer felt disappointed that he was not born vaginally! Such a big, beautiful, healthy boy; the biggest Kara had seen born. I remember her laughing and crying in joy and amazement over the birth of this boy.
Kara is a wonderful photographer and was able to snap some of the most amazing pictures of the delivery, Caleb’s first few moments of life and our first picture as a family. Within an hour after Caleb’s delivery, Kara was by my side coaching me though my first breastfeeding experience. That was a magical moment. Finally something that had gone according to my “ideal” plan- a hungry baby and a good latcher! My husband and I are so thankful for Kara and the relationship we formed with her over the months prior to and during delivery. Her passion for the doula profession and her clients is amazing. We truly felt blessed having worked with her. We would highly recommend her to any parents hiring a doula for the arrival of their newest addition!
Caleb’s Mom and Dad
“I believe it was no coincidence that Kara was brought to our family to help with Calvin’s pregnancy, birth and first few weeks of life. My first pregnancy resulted in our amazing son, but with it also came some trauma and grief about the birth experience. Like many first time moms, despite “feeling” informed, I was unprepared and scared during my emergency cesarean section performed after 18 hours of labor. With that birth, I also experienced debilitating postpartum depression, and the nagging feeling that my birth experience could have been different.
I met Kara, not as a professional doula, but as a fellow mother on my stepson’s baseball team. I was newly pregnant with my second, when we began a dialogue that would result in not only a professional relationship, but also a friendship. Each week I would share some of my experience and concerns with Kara, and she would in turn freely share her experience and suggestions about how things could be different for me. I found myself constantly texting or seeking out her guidance while she provided so much knowledgeable and loving support, e-mailing me links to articles and information that answered my questions and relieved my fears. By my third trimester, there was no doubt that she would be vital in helping me achieve a better experience for Calvin’s birth.
At first I was a little leery about telling my husband I wanted to hire a doula, as I didn’t know what he would think about inviting someone else into the room with us. After meeting with Kara, he said to me “Good job, honey. I’m so glad you thought this was important. I feel so comfortable and less stressed knowing Kara will be with us.”
As Calvin’s birthday approached, Kara guided me in preparing for any scenario, and helped me feel comfortable that I would be fully supported and loved no matter what happened during the birth. When we found out Calvin was in the posterior position, she had many helpful suggestions to try and get him where he needed to be. She also assured me of some techniques we could use during labor if he remained in posterior. I share all of this, mostly to illustrate that during my entire pregnancy, no matter what curve ball was thrown our way, Kara’s calm, reassuring and informed suggestions and guidance helped alleviate so much fear we would have had otherwise. Kara’s guidance and support was priceless when faced with the question of attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), or scheduling another cesarean for Calvin. I was fraught with emotion over this decision, but the calm, reassuring experience and professionalism that Kara brought to the table allowed me to finally settle on scheduling a repeat cesarean and to attempt a VBAC should Calvin choose to come before that. Kara helped us prepare for how we would handle postpartum depression in case of recurrence.
The date we chose for the repeat C-section arrived with no progression of labor. Kara helped turn a disappointing turn of events into a wonderful journey to welcome our son, Calvin, into the world. Kara held my hand and talked me through all of the pre-op processes. She helped me communicate my needs about minimal pain medication with the anesthesiologist. She let me know each step of the way what was happening in the operating room, and because she was there with me, my husband was able to go be with our son in his first minutes of life while Kara sat by my side as we talked and laughed in the beautiful experience of birth.
One of the very important things for me in this birth was to ensure that Calvin was laid on my chest as soon as possible following his birth. Kara was instrumental in making sure that request was fulfilled while I was in an anesthetized state, allowing me to bond with my son moments after he took his first breaths. She stayed in the recovery room making sure all my needs and desires were met during this important time. Once satisfied that everything was perfect, Kara gracefully left the three of us alone to bond and bask in the joy and love of the day.
I would be selling Kara’s services short if my story ended here– over the next several weeks, through Calvin’s case of severe jaundice and the weariness about postpartum sneaking back in, Kara consistently checked on our family to make sure our birth experience continued to be aligned with our desires. I did not suffer severe symptoms of postpartum depression after Calvin’s birth, and I know it’s due in part because of all of Kara’s support before, during and after my pregnancy. I will never forget how Kara helped us have such a beautiful birth experience, despite less than ideal circumstances, and we will undoubtedly use her again in our next pregnancy.”
“Through out my pregnancy with my second, I contemplating having a doula for my home birth. I really wanted a limited amount of people there (I’m very introverted), and I wanted to really “rely” on my husband as much as I could. I also had 2 excellent midwifes that would come at any point I needed them. Doula’s are a great asset, to take with you to the hospital, I knew that, but I wasn’t sure how she could serve me in a home birth. Kara, is my friend, while I decided not to use a doula, I consistently was relying on her through out my labor, updating her with how I was feeling, and she would send me some text messages of scripture, positive words for me to breathe and focus on. Well, what I thought would be an “easy fast labor” (I was still nursing my first baby and oxytocin has the similar effect as pitocin, and her labor was about 18 hours with an epidural and it was an induction!), it turned out it wasn’t. After laboring for 19 hours, and my sweet boy just taking his time, I desperately wanted Kara there, and as a friend, she was there for me. As soon as she arrived she was professional, loving, and just did whatever was needed. Sometimes this was giving my husband a break (which you need when you haven’t had sleep in two days and have been laboring for 20+ hours!), sometimes it was just to get a cold rag for my face. She gave me words of affirmation and quickly responded to my response, if something didn’t work she immediately pulled back from it and wasn’t pushy. Something beautiful happened in this process that I believe happens when a women has a doula, it was like she was in my body and knew what I needed! Sometimes before I even knew it! She used accupressure which helped a lot near the end with pain relief, she helped “hip squeeze” while I was pushing, and she took beautiful photo’s which I hoped someone there would do but never got done until she was there! She was responsive and respectful to everyone in the room, including my midwives. In the end, even my midwife said that she had a wonderful time working along side Kara. Kara heated up food for me after I had my baby, helped me get cleaned up, helped clean up the room, anything that was needed she was there. Kara is truly fulfilling her calling as a doula, she is an inspiration to me as a friend, but also in her work. Kara made me feel loved, beautiful, and so special when I was in labor, this is something every women deserves to feel.”
“I waited until the last month of my pregnancy to meet with a doula, and am so thankful to have found Kara. We only were able to meet once before my baby came. She arrived one month early after two weeks of intense false labor. During those two weeks, I was exhausted and discouraged due to so much pre-labor, but Kara was right there every step of the way. We talked every day on the phone or by email. And she was at the hospital for 8 hours with me during a pre-labor experience. Even though the doctor sent me home that day, little did I know it, but I would use everything Kara taught me that night to bring my beautiful baby girl into the world. Kara showed me – relaxation, breathing, massages, focus, goals, lullabies, positive thinking, and beauty during labor. I went home later that day and actually went into real labor. Because of Kara I was able to stay at home up until the very end. We arrived at the hospital just in time to literally push the baby right out! Kara was there for her actual birth. She captured every moment by taking beautiful pictures. Most of all, Kara helped me through my afterbirth pains, which were really hard for me, because I didn’t expect it to be painful after the baby was born. She helped me up out of the bed and got me walking again. She knew just what to do for me when I was unsure and in pain. She knew because she had been there. I appreciate so much about her, and find her to be every bit of a blessing from God.”
“I was never opposed to inviting another person into the birthing room with my wife and I, but I also did not realize how essential it would be. All the weight of the birthing techniques, medicines, and other details were completely lifted off our shoulders thanks to Kara, and I was able to focus on my wife and enjoy the experience. It was very apparent that Kara’s first concern was our successful birth experience, she didn’t care about the time or effort she needed to spend on us before, during, or after our birth. I really couldn’t recommend going through the process of child birth without a doula, regardless of what type of birth you plan on having. A doula provides the preparation, support, and knowledge essential to having a positive birth, and Kara is superior in all three of these areas! Oh, and she takes great pictures!”
“I had previously given birth to two other children before giving birth to my last child with Kara’s assistance. My first birth I had an epideral, with the second it was natural, and the third I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Kara walked me through all my options and made sure I understood them. The day I went into labor Kara came over and helped me through my labor to make sure I would continue to progress while at home. Once we got to the hospital, she was focused on keeping me comfortable and made sure I understood and was in control of everything the medical team was doing. She wanted me to be completely happy with my birth experience. I couldn’t imagine not having her there! I recommend everyone have a doula when they welcome their bundle of joy into the world.”
“Kara had such a calming and knowledgeable presence at my house and in the delivery room…she played a big part in the ability for me to go natural. It was also nice to have her support before and after delivery. I felt that I could always come to her with questions or concerns.”