Kelly was my doula for the birth of my second baby, Claire. Kelly enabled me to have exactly the birth experience I had hoped for, and I will always remember it as one of the most amazing days of my life.

When pregnant with my first baby I thought I was a well-informed patient - I had attended childbirth class at the hospital, read my pregnancy book, and sought my OB’s input on my birth choices. The birth experience was a classic “cascade of interventions”, beginning with an induction at 41 weeks and culminating with my baby being taken off to the NICU immediately after being born. She had to go to the NICU only because I had developed a fever during labor, and I’ve since learned that the fever was in all likelihood caused by my decision to have an epidural. Thankfully she was (and is) healthy, but I still feel really sad when I think about her spending most of her first couple days in the world in an isolette, rather than in my arms.

When my second baby was on the way, I really hoped for an uncomplicated birth where she could be placed on my chest right after delivery. I imagined that particular moment constantly! And while there are of course no guarantees, I knew there were steps I could take (in particular, not having an epidural) to improve the odds of it happening. But I had no idea how I would get through the pain of labor. I knew what a doula was, but the idea of inviting a “stranger” to join such an intimate experience felt weird to me. I attended a Meet the Doulas event, and even before speaking with Kelly one-on-one, I already felt that she wasn’t a “stranger”, and I knew that I wanted her to be my doula. When I look back on my experience with Kelly, three words to describe her come to mind – calm, confident, and maternal.

Calm – While still at home, my labor took a big leap forward all at once. It was the middle of the night and I felt completely panicked. Even my normally unflappable husband was anxious, so when Kelly arrived it was such a relief! Her presence made us feel like things were under control again. My contractions were only a few minutes apart, and she quickly but calmly got us heading toward the hospital (and reminded me to call my OB- somehow we had forgotten!). Having her with me for the car ride, admissions process, and the rest of labor made a huge difference in how I was able to handle things.

Confident – Kelly projects confidence about what she is doing, which put me at ease. I believe her confidence stems from knowledge and experience. She is very well versed on pregnancy, birth, and baby matters.  Kelly has attended many births so she is very familiar with all the seemingly crazy things that happen during labor. Also, at Baptist South she knew a lot of the nurses and was very familiar with the hospital’s procedures.

Maternal - Kelly has raised three children of her own and it shows. She has a very maternal vibe to her, and when I was feeling vulnerable during the birth process this was incredibly comforting. I felt reassured knowing she was taking good care of me.

The moments following Claire’s birth when I was holding her in my arms were wonderful beyond words, and I’ll always be grateful to Kelly for helping me get there!