Doula Week 2017

One of my favorite things about being a birth doula is all the great couples l get to meet. What a privilege it is to witness birth and to see such pride and joy expressed in the faces of new parents! #doulaweek2017


Essential Guide to Hormones in Labor & Birth

Birth is an awe-inspiring event. The wonder begins long before the delivery, generally unobserved and aspects of it without our knowledge. On the biochemical level, there is an amazing, complex orchestration and delicate interplay of hormones throughout labor and delivery, yet many times interventions during birth disrupt this unique process and create consequences which are problematic for labor, delivery, the postpartum period and beyond. Dr.Sarah Buckley did a wonderful job of researching and explaining these vital processes in the article posted below. I believe it is in every woman’s best interest to be well informed regarding the benefits of allowing her labor to begin and progress naturally, so this article is for care providers and mothers alike.


Giving birth in ecstasy: This is our birthright and our body’s intent. Mother Nature, in her wisdom, prescribes birthing hormones that take us outside (ec) our usual state (stasis), so that we can be transformed on every level as we enter motherhood. This exquisite hormonal orchestration unfolds optimally when birth is undisturbed, enhancing safety for both mother and baby. Science is also increasingly discovering what we realise as mothers – that our way of birth affects us life-long, both mother and baby, and that an ecstatic birth – a birth that takes us beyond our self – is the gift of a life-time. Read more…

Giving birth is an act of love, and each birth is unique to the mother and her baby. Yet we also share the same womanly physiology, and the same exquisite orchestration of our birthing hormones. Our capacity for ecstasy in birth is also both unique and universal, a necessary blessing that is hard-wired into our bodies, yet that requires, especially in these times, that we each trust, honor, and protect the act of giving birth according to our own instincts and needs. Dutch professor of obstetrics G. Kloosterman offers a succinct summary, which would be well placed on the door of every birth room: Spontaneous labour in a normal woman is an event marked by a number of processes so complicated and so perfectly attuned to each other that any interference will only detract from the optimal character. The only thing required from the bystanders is that they show respect for this awe-inspiring process by complying with the first rule of medicine—nil nocere [Do no harm].

Why Not Home?



Why would doctors who attend birth in hospitals choose to have their own babies at home? What do they know about birth that others don’t? Join Jessicca Moore, filmmaker and nurse practitioner, on a compelling journey through maternity care in the United States. Told through the lens of doctors, nurses, and midwives, Why Not Home? examines the latest evidence on risks and rewards of different birth settings. The film presents a balanced and accessible view on the latest research, along with moving personal stories of medical practitioners faced with big decisions for their own growing families. Viewers are challenged to move beyond preconceived ideas, and to envision a fresh future for maternity care in America.

“Why Not Home? is a thoughtful look at complex issues. It’s down to earth style puts a human spin on the contentious topic of home birth. I hope that every expectant parent, as well as medical and nursing students see this film. There is something for everyone in this beautifully done film.” — Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH, LCCE and President of the Lamaze Board



Annette was our doula for the birth of our first child, and we couldn’t have been happier with our experience with her! I contacted Annette at the last minute (I think I was 37 weeks pregnant at the time) and luckily she was still available. We met a couple of times prior to the birth to discuss our options and birth plan, and she checked in with us multiple times in the few weeks leading up to the birth to see how things were going and to answer any lingering questions.

When my water broke while at home one evening, Annette was the first person we called. She answered our phone calls and text messages throughout the night and early morning as we labored at home on our own. At our request, she met us at the hospital bright and early the next morning when we decided it was time to go in. Throughout my labor, Annette provided constant support – from rubbing my back with essential oils and getting a cold cloth for my head to suggesting positions that would help my pain and offering smiles and reassurance that helped to build my confidence during labor. She even snapped a few precious pictures of me and my husband when we first held our son! My husband wanted to be very involved during my labor, and Annette suggested ways that he could help better support me. I think her presence was very reassuing for him as well.

I could tell from my first meeting with Annette that she has a very calm disposition. I found her calming presence to be a big assset in the hectic, fast-paced labor room. She helped to make sure our needs were met and kept me as comfortable as possible so that I could relax and focus on my labor. She seemed to know just what I needed – whether it be a sip of water or a gentle word of encouragement. She has a wealth of experience and really knows how to put a mama at ease! We had a great experience working with Annette, and she was truly an invaluable part of our birth team! – Channing, Rapid City, SD

There is no way I can put into words what it meant to my husband and I to have Annette as our doula. This was our first birth and it was a difficult one. The labor lasted for 37 hours, including 6 hours of pushing. It was my goal not to have an epidural or end up as a c-section. With Annette’s help, we succeeded! We have often described her as the angel without wings who quietly provided care, love, and encouragement exactly when and where it was needed. She stayed right by my side through the entire ordeal. This was a huge relief to my husband because they were able to relieve each other for bathroom breaks or to run out to get ice chips and popsicles for me!

She was an excellent sounding board when we had to make decisions as complications arose that we weren’t expecting. Having been through labor herself so many times, she could speak not only from a medical perspective (she’s an RN as well), but from personal experience. Her sound advice helped guide us through to the best route imagineable given the circumstances. She was never intrusive, but rather the perfect support team member.

My husband has often stated that there is no monetary amount that you could value Annette’s doula services at. Her genuine compassion, loyalty, and care are invaluable in the birth room. Neither of us think that she charges enough! We would hire her ten times over again and if number two comes along, we intend to do just that! – Linda, Custer, SD

I would highly recommend hiring Annette! When we first met her, we could tell she had a kind, sweet spirit, and was very knowledgeable. This was the birth of our first child, and she was so ENCOURAGING and helped us write up our birth plan. She checked in with my husband and me leading up to delivery, many times.
We gave her a call when contractions were beginning to be more frequent, and she answered some questions we had. She told us she was ready whenever we wanted her to help. We went to the hospital, and gave her a call shortly after.
Annette was so selfless, she helped us through my long labor and she didn’t even take a break. Annette was totally committed to us for somewhere around 16 hours, and she helped making that time fly by. She gave counter pressure on my back all through the night and into the morning. She used aromatherapy/essential oils and helped me stay relaxed. We dimmed the lights when we could, and she helped me stay comfortable and kept me hydrated. We enjoyed visiting with her in between contractions.
Post-partum, she has been available to answer questions, and has emailed just to say hello and see how things are going. We really appreciate that.
Every step of the way Annette was there to help, and I would recommend her for any family in any walk of life. Whether it is your first child, or third, her skills and expertise would certainly make labor better. -Lacy, Gordon, NE

The support and caring Annette provided during before, during and after the birth of our daughter was invaluable. During our time labor at home she had many valuable suggestions and help put my husband at ease in his support role. When we went to the hospital and things took an unexpected turn she helped us evaluate our options and continued to comfort and help us. For almost 48 continuous hours she helped care for our family, providing a calm presence and wisdom at every turn. After our delivery she has continued to check in with us, making sure to answer any questions and continuing to be there for us. I would highly recommend Annette. Her experience as not only a doula, but a mother and care provider truly make her a shining star! -Rochelle, Rapid City, SD

Annette was a fantastic Doula!  She was perfect for me!  During the very early morning hours (1:00am) when I began contractions, Annette was very easy to get a hold of and she was ready to come to my side when I needed her.  Once she was with me, the best way to describe my experience is to say that it was just like having my mother next to me…in the most positive sense!  She knew when to rub my head, shoulders or back without me telling her and she also knew when to stop without me telling her.  Her presence was very comforting for both me and my husband.  When things got more difficult, she gave me quiet assurances and encouragement.  She also knew when it was time to suggest I try another position.  She was never forceful or overbearing.  She had a quiet confidence and made gentle suggestions.

Post delivery, Annette continued to give me support.  She stayed to help me get situated with my new little one.  A couple weeks later she did a home visit to make sure everything was going smoothly.  I struggled a bit with post partum depression and I also had milk supply issues.  Annette kept checking up on me via texting/email and continued giving me helpful advice to deal with these issues.

Overall, Annette did an amazing job.  She was exactly what I needed and I’m so greatful to have had her at my side!  -Anah, Rapid City, SD

My husband and I were extremely blessed to have Annette at the birth of our first child! After our first meeting with Annette, we knew we’d be in good hands; the fact that she is a mom of 12 kids and is an RN in pediatrics & postpartum at the hospital helped solidify our decision to hire her as our doula.

Annette was a great resource whenever we had questions, fears, or concerns. She was always ready to help or to offer encouragement. She was especially helpful during the last few weeks of pregnancy in helping us determine when “warning signs” of labor were real. We live 2.5 hours from our chosen doctor/hospital, so naturally we had concerns about makinig it to the hospital in time, yet not too early either. Annette stayed in close contact with us when we suspected contractions were the “real deal”, & it was Annette’s expertise that convinced us to leave for the hospital when we did. We were so thankful for her advice!

Annette came to the hospital exactly when we asked her to come. She served us in any way we needed – both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Her presence was reassuring to us, & her demeanor and tone of voice were very calming. She spent a lot of time massaging my back with essential oils while I sat on a birth ball; she ran a tub of water for me; she called the nurses each time I thought I was ready to push or needed other nursing services; she held my legs during pushing; she got me drinks and snacks when I needed them. We were especially grateful to have Annette at the birth because she was able to help me labor while my husband rested periodically. (He had worked a long day and wasn’t able to get any sleep before we had to leave for the hospital.)

Lastly, Annette assured us of her prayers almost everytime we e-mailed, and we were so blessed to have that support, too! We were extremely pleased with Annette’s services & support, and we’d gladly recommend her to anyone looking for a doula. -Penny G., Gillette, WY