Please feel free to write about your experience HERE. Your feedback is very much appreciated! Thank you!
Although Ariana wasn't present for my labor and birth, she gave me reading material, answered all my nit-picky questions, and generally calmed my nerves which was extremely helpful. Also coming to visit postpartum, and hailing gifts I needed the most helped my mental state more than anything.
I was extremely lucky to find Ariana who provided my family with on-call sibling care and postpartum services. I called Ariana when labor started and she arrived at our home shortly after. Confident that my toddler was in excellent hands, I was able to focus on labor, birth, and bonding with our baby without any worries. When I arrived home from the hospital, Ariana made the transition an easy one. Her help with grocery shopping, meal prep, and light cleaning helped our household run smoothly and gave me time to rest and recover. I found Ariana to be extremely detail oriented, responsive to my needs, and pleasant to be around. She exceeded all of my expectations and I don't know what I would have done without her!
Ari was trustworthy and reliable and gentle with me. I was comfortable and was able to lean on her through the emotional journey of my labor and I knew she was supportive and loving. She knew when to push me and be strict with me through labor and in postpartum and she knew when to be gentle and kind with me. I think that was because we spent so much time during my pregnancy together. I got to know her and she got to know me before labor so that during labor I trusted her to give me the right advice.
I want to give my thanks to Ariana Riegel, my doula, who stuck with me during a gruelingly long labor. She hardly took a break and helped keep my mind, body and spirit nourished. With Ariana, I was able to stick to my goals for my labor experience. She also provided my partner with much needed rest so that he could support me throughout my labor. I can't thank her enough for helping me make my birth experience a story I am proud of. Thanks also to Katy Gladwin for her back up support that arrived at just the right moment. I highly recommend the Doula services provided by Sacred Roots Services. After this experience, I wouldn't dream of having another baby without doula support.
Ariana's research regarding micro-birth (the benefit of exposing the baby to some of my natural bacteria after a c-section birth) was something my husband and I had not heard of and had not come across in our personal research. We also found her childbirth class and book recommendations incredibly helpful. We were at a point of transition (physically and emotionally) during our pregnancy and Ariana provided a stable point of reliable information and support for us.
Ariana did an incredible amount of research to help us with our breech birth!
"There are the tangible aspects about having Katy as our doula that were undoubtedly critical - helping me by trying different positions through labor pains, using essential oils to keep me grounded, feeding me honey as my energy waned... these were all things that were obvious benefits. At a greater level, the most valuable part of Katy's participation was her calm and resolute presence. As my labor failed to progress and complications started, I never once felt panicked or scared. Each time a new situation unfolded - lack of progress, infection/fever, induction, more lack of progress - Katy was there, and I looked to her to gauge if I needed to be concerned. Never did she waver, and even though we neared 30 hours of labor and ended with an epidural and C-section, I am completely confident that we tried our best. Without Katy's strength and guidance, I know I would have felt much more anxiety and uncertainty, and perhaps much more regret after birth. Instead, despite the C-section, I look back at our birth experience as a beautiful and positive one.
All in all, I feel like Katy played such an important and special role in our son's birth. She will forever be a part of our lives now, and we couldn't be more thankful and appreciative for the incredible work she does as a doula and birth coach."
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.
My husband and I knew we wanted a doula for our 3rd pregnancy. We were planning another natural labor and had used a doula with great success in the past. We were so happy to find Katy. She was warm, calm, grounded and helpful. My previous labors had been long and quite painful and as my pregnancy progressed I grew more fearful. Katy always reminded me that my body was designed to give birth and never let my fear get the better of me. Prior to labor, she responded to my requests for reading material and listened as I complained about the aches and pains of my 3rd pregnancy. My other two children were 2 1/2 and 20 months. I had been pregnant 3 times in 3 years and I was finding this pregnancy very difficult. Katy suggested I work with her colleague Briannon English for prenatal massages and they were truly great. Briannon is very knowledgeable and was able to relieve some of the back, hip and pelvic pains that I had been experiencing. During labor Katy and my husband worked together to give me strength. I remember a moment where Katy let go of my hand for a second because she had to go to the restroom. I looked up at her and asked her to please stay with me and without hesitatation she sat right back down. I later found out that she was pregnant during my labor and was even more in awe of her dedication. My family and I are so grateful that we got to share the birth of our daughter with Katy and we couldn't have done it without her.
First I'd like to thank you for your support during labor. Jacob's delivery was so much easier than Joseph's and your input contributed greatly to a positive outcome.
I like to make lists and I wrote the lists below the month after Jacob was born but I hadn't gotten around to sending. I offer many thanks for all the suggestions that came from you (a good portion of them).
Labor/Delivery Pain Coping Mechanisms/Suggestions
Note I did not use these coping mechanisms/suggestions during the birth of my first child and found them very useful during the birth of my second
-Walking: some slower and some brisk
-Sitting backwards on toilet
-Taking multiple baths (it was really nice to feel clean even if I couldn't find a nice relaxing position in the tub)
-Eating when I was hungry
-Drinking a copious amount of fluid when I first started labor
-Talking to my baby during labor. I felt much more in tune with my body and baby during Jacob's labor than during Joseph's since I wasn't distracted by monitoring devices and their cords, lots of random people prodding/poking me, and dragging around an IV. Without all these distractions I had time to focus on Jacob and relaxing between contractions. I recall telling him it was his birthday, how excited I was to meet him, telling myself to relax into the contractions, and repeating ""down and out"" during contractions while sitting or standing.
-Trying lots of positions and realizing that the the best position for allowing labor to progress was at times the most comfortable and at others wasn't. While I found walking/standing to be the most comfortable position which also promoted labor progression it was tiring. I found sitting in the stiff leather chair in my living room (especially asymmetrically with one foot on a stool) was progressive (I could feel baby adjusting his posture into optimal delivery position) and while this position was far less comfortable during contractions than standing, it did allow for needed rest in between.
-Trying lots of positions kept me occupied during labor. While some positions I tried were dreadful, engaging in movement was a good way to keep me busy and pass the hours.
-While I'm certain I was oblivious to the full extent of the commotion around me due to the expeditious delivery of Jacob after arriving at the hospital a reminder by Katy during pushing that ""this is not an emergency"" even though the tension and exuberance on the part of the hospital staff gave off the feeling that it might be, was helpful. Despite the excitement, I was aware that it was not an emergency, however hearing Katy state ""this is not an emergency"" allowed me to relax, focus and complete the task at hand.
-Reminder to relax my face and throat during pushing.
-Ice on base of abdomen during nursing for cramping
-After Ease tonic for cramping
"I don't think I would've had the resolve to do a natural birth without having a doula. First of all the book Katy recommended to me and lent to me at our first meeting, "Natural Hospital Birth", was exactly what I needed to get in the right frame of mind for having a natural birth. Katy's support during the whole time leading up to the birth was key for me to be able to do it without an epidural, and all her suggestions were useful in how to make that happen. Mostly just knowing she was there and supporting me meant I didn't worry and she lifted the weight of worrying from my shoulders. At the hospital I was just able to focus on Katy and her voice rather than a bunch of Doctors who I didn't know and wasn't convinced had my best interests always in mind."
Honestly, I don't think I could have done it without you. My husband and I were (and still are) in a very bad place in our relationship. This is sad, but I honestly felt like he didn't care about me during my labor. I knew that you cared and you were there to support me when I felt like I could not go through labor any longer. You were reassuring and I knew you had my (and baby's) best interests at heart. I am so thankful to have had you present in my labor.
As a dad and support person, I was of course excited to help my wife through birth--but, especially as we chose to have a natural birth, I knew I couldn't offer much more than emotional support. What do I know about giving birth? This is where Katy came in. Katy didn't take my place as a support system, but rather became another member of our team. She was the one with the knowledge and the confidence to help us all stay calm through the process, which went perfectly.
During our prenatal visits, Katy helped us not only by creating a successful birth plan, but by talking about aspects of birth and infant care we otherwise might have never thought of. We made some very important decisions that we're very happy about now based on those talks.
Dude, just hire Katy.
We hired Katy to be our doula for several reasons.
First, I am a swim coach for the university of Michigan and if someone watched a video of someone swimming, I would not let them coach my swimmers afterwards. As a husband, I felt that just because I had watched a video of labor, did not mean I was qualified to "coach" someone though labor. I knew I could provide emotional support but I wanted a professional that had been through it before because labor can change at any minute. With Katy we got just that. Her professionalism and skill allowed me to stay calm as a first time dad. It allowed me to emotionally support my wife without having to worry about all the medical jargon that was going on around me. She assured me that when my wife was going through really bad pain that everything was normal. Also, our birthing plan changed during my wife's labor and with her help I felt more comfortable with these changes! There were also times where she left and got us food and kept us focused on taking care of ourselves through the emotions of labor. She also made calls to our family memebers to update them on our behalf so that my wife and I could focus on her labor, rather than all of the white noise surrounding us.
Second, and more importantly, Katy was a real support figure as another woman. There were times where my wife would tell me that she felt better with Katy just standing in the room. Her experience proved to be just as soothing for my wife as she was constantly reassuring her in a calm soft tone that everything that was happening was normal. She provided comfort measures, aroma therapy, massage and so much more to help my wife stay comfortable. She also was on call and helped my wife through 27 hours of prodromal labor and 24 hours of her actual labor. To say she put her time in is a understatement.
Third, She was great with the Doctors and nurses and really bridged the gap between us and the hospital staff. Katy knew many of the nurses/doctors and had worked with them before. It was reassuring to know that she was so connected to the hospital. She also made sure the hospital staff followed our birthing when it was time for delivery. She verbally reminded everyone on our behalf about waiting to cut the cord until it had stopped pulsating on it's own, and allowing the father to be the one to cut the cord. This was helpful because, although this was important to the two of us, it was the furthest thing from either of our minds when my wife started pushing.
After our experience I would recommend Katy as a doula to anyone with any level of birthing and labor experience. She does so many things beyond simply giving comfort measures to the wife. Without Katy I feel like we would not have had the birthing process we intended!
Everyone said your first baby takes forever, you'll be in labor for days...my water broke at 4:30, and by 6 my daughter was born. Katy arrived as soon as we called bright eyed and bushy tailed! No one expected my labor to be so fast or so intense. Having Katy there helped me to stay focused on what I needed. My partner and I felt it was great to have a third leg on the support team. We are sure it would have been even scarier without her calming presence.
Katy was a wonderful and integral part of our birth experience. From the prenatal meetings, where we discussed our birth preferences, expectations, and feelings about birth, to the birth itself, Katy was a great support for us. What I appreciate most about Katy was her calm demeanor, and nonjudgemental nature. When discussing birth preferences, she was supportive of us and was able to discuss options and pros & cons without pushing us in one particular direction. She was extremely well informed about the hospital staff, policies, and procedures, which really helped us have clear expectations for the birth. During the labor, Katy knew when to step in and offer help and when to let me and my husband just be by ourselves. Just having her calm presence in the room was a great comfort! My husband also really appreciated the fact that Katy was there to help him and provide support for him throughout the labor and birth. The whole labor and birth was really wonderful and we are so thankful that Katy was able to support us throughout the experience!
Stephanie and Eric M
Childbirth was one of the most intimate moments in our lives. It was easy to share this moment with Katy. She has an ability to quickly form a relationship which is comfortable to both partners. Katy's biggest contribution was during active labor in the hospital by recommending and helping mom get into birthing positions, helping provide nourishment, listening to the needs of father and mother and communicating with the hospital staff. She helped us to develop our birth plan and ultimately to deliver our baby naturally. For this we will forever be grateful.
Viki and Marius T
[Katy] gave me tools to take control of the process, helping my emotional state.
The most helpful part of postpartum visits was Katy's interest in me and my needs. She is a good listener. Postpartum, her ease with me and my newborn was like she was role modeling what I most needed to learn.
Katy was a calm, confident presence at the birth of our son. She helped the hospital staff be more effective in caring for me, and helped me better communicate my needs. She was the comfort I needed to get through the most challenging moments!
I really enjoyed having a person around who was coming from another perspective - not a hospital employee, not a family member. Someone who could offer encouraging and comforting words, and provide a sense that no matter how nuts things got, we could deal with it (like trying to have an IV in the tub). Also, someone to believe what I was saying even when it seemed unbelievable (like when I said it was time to push).
While I really wanted to have a natural childbirth without an epidural or pain medications, I was somewhat uncertain whether I would be actually able to achieve that goal. Katy's support throughout labor and birth were extremely helpful. I couldn't imagine giving birth without the support of a doula like Katy. I was able to have a natural childbirth and a healthy, happy baby. Thanks so much.
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 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.