Jae-Lyn Stuckel- How having a doula helped her feel empowered and supported.

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When my husband and I looked into doula services, we didn’t know exactly what we were signing up for but I looked forward to having support during the birth of our first baby. I was nervous about what labour would feel like, but I knew that I wanted to be at home as long as possible. When we met with Sara and Martha, who was the back up doula, they were full of information and answered our questions and concerns thoughtfully without judgment.

The birth story of our daughter is a long one as I was in labour for 30 hours before she finally made her appearance. I began my contractions before midnight, and Martha arrived a couple of hours later once they were 4 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. During the entire portion of the contractions that I had at home, she and my husband helped me stay relaxed and focused on my breathing.

Looking back now, it was such a relief that I never had to go through the back contractions by myself. When my husband was packing up the car or getting me water, Martha was there to do hip squeezes which were tremendously helpful and she was encouraging during the entire process. Once we talked about going into the hospital, she was supportive about when I felt it was time to go in. We ended up being sent home too because I was only 3 cm, and again we got into the groove at home in a more comfortable place to breathe and relax through the contractions. I spent that time lying in bed, and getting up and trying positions that were recommended by Martha. When we went back in, I was grateful to have Martha with me in the back seat while my husband drove. Upon arrival for the second time, I opted for an epidural because I felt I was too fatigued and not coping with the contractions after having labored for 15 hours. This was a difficult decision but I felt well informed and that it was what was right for me and Martha was very supportive.

I felt a lot of relief, and by 6 pm Martha was relieved by Sara who brought with her a calm energy and was able to help me change positions to help get our baby lower and into a good position so that I could start pushing. A few hours later, just before 5 am our baby was born vaginally but assisted with suction. Just like in our birth plan, our baby was immediately placed on my chest and we had an amazing 2 hours of skin to skin after birth. After all of that hard work, this was a moment I’ll never forget, and I have to give credit to the wonderful and supportive team I had with me for getting me through the difficult parts.

Looking back now, from the beginning—from planning our birth experience, through labour, and all the way to the follow up meeting a week later—our doulas were amazing. Having them there gave me the courage and information I needed to write our birth plan, they helped me find the inner strength needed to work through each contraction and helped to process the experience by talking about it afterwards. Sara was only a text away when I had questions about the pregnancy, and Martha has also made herself available to answer any questions about breastfeeding during the early weeks of our little girl’s life.

I am very happy we were able to have Family First Doula Service involved and that my husband and I shared this experience with two incredibly knowledgeable and passionate women. In the end, having them has helped me to feel empowered and supported during this time as I adjust to my role as a mom, and I am forever grateful to have had them during this journey.

– Jae-Lyn Stuckel