doula in springfield-branson mo with pregnant mother and father

Doula Rebecca Block doing relaxation techniques with pregnant mother & father during childbirth education class. Image Credit: Lacy Tomlinson

How many births have you been to?

  • The total number of births I’ve attended is 42 as of January 2017.  They have been a mix of hospital, birth center, and home births.  I’ve had a lot of natural births in various locations (home, hospital, birth centers). I’ve also had a few moms with medicated & caesarean births (although I wasn’t allowed in the OR for the actual birth part). My total includes some of my birth photography clients, for whom I am often an emotional support or “runner” at home births (getting mom snacks, handing towels to the midwife or holding a light for her, etc.) I am happy to provide a list of statistics at our free consultation so you can decide if I’m the right doula for you.

Are you certified?  By whom?  For how long?

  • I was certified through DONA International as of April 2013. I had begun to attend births as an observer/photographer in 2009 and began official training through them in June 2011. I also took an extended postpartum workshop through them in December 2013. I let my DONA membership/certification expire in 2016 and began the paperwork and testing to transfer my membership/certification to CAPPA.
  • I’m also currently going through science coursework and logging hours with breastfeeding moms, which will qualify for requirements to take the exam to become a IBCLC in a few years. I’ve already completed the 90-hour breastfeeding-specific course required for that test.

Why did you become a doula?

  • Too long of a story to type here!  :-)  Please see this section

Do you have a backup doula?

  • I arrange a backup doula for each paid birth I attend in case of sickness, family emergency, or if I was attending at another birth.  I have several options for backup doulas, and who I would pair you with depends on which doula is available around your due date.
  • All are experienced women with similar, easy-going personalities and professional attitudes.  So if you like me and you generally get along with other people, you should like them! If you would like to meet her before your birth, you are welcome to arrange a meeting with her.
  • I pay my backup doulas if they end up attending a birth; my clients do not have to pay extra for her.  So far, I have used a backup doula once in the middle of a three-day-long birth (it was so long that I was able to rest and then come back for the birth, which we then finished out together as a double doula team), and once when a client went very ‘overdue’ right before we had a temporary military move to Mississippi.

How many clients do you take a month?

  • I usually take 1-2 clients each month.  That total is a combination of doula clients & birth photography clients. If I am booked I will refer you to some other doulas that I know & trust.

When do you join me in labor?  Where?

  • Whenever you feel like you need the extra support.  Usually this is around active labor for most people.  Officially that is considered to be 4cm (although some hospitals are moving towards making that 6cm). Practically speaking, centimeters can vary wildly so I tell my clients to call me when it starts to get hard for you to talk through a contraction & hard to focus on other tasks.  For mothers without additional support persons (ie: no partner, mother, sister, friend, etc. to accompany you in labor) you may definitely call me earlier.  I can join you wherever you would like: home, hospital, or birth center.  There may be an extra mileage fee for locations beyond 40 miles round trip from my home.  (I do not attend births that are not assisted by professionally trained & certified caregivers due to liability reasons.)

How long after the baby is born do you stay?

  • With hospital births, I may stay about 1.5-3 hrs post-partum.  I like to stay until the mother is breastfeeding well or has adequate support from a good nurse.
  • If breastfeeding issues are present and it’s during a time when IBCLCs at the hospital are not there, I will help you come up with a plan to get off to a good start (because eventually I will need to sleep and see my family!). I will be available to you overnight via text so you will still have someone besides your nurse for support and questions.
  • Additionally, we will do a follow-up post-partum meeting in the first few days after birth, where we will talk about your feelings about how your birth went, see how breastfeeding is going, and review additional resources as necessary. I like to check in around 2 weeks as well (sometimes later if you’re doing well and have lots of family support), then followup at 3-4 weeks via phone or email just in case there are any problems you may need help with.

What is your philosophy about birth?

  • In short, I firmly believe that the way birth is handled in most parts of the world is NOT the way God intended.  His daughters deserve the utmost respect, love, and encouragement during one of the most amazing thing they can do – take part in the creation of life, a reflection of Him who created us!
  • I believe in supporting the whole family to draw them closer together through the birth of their new baby.  I strive to include, help, and encourage dads (or other support partners) as long as they are willing to participate.
  • While my faith is a big part of why I do this work, I am happy to work with families of any faith or background.  I love pregnant mommas no matter who they are!

How do you feel about working with couples who choose epidurals and other interventions?

  • I make no judgments on your worth as a parent based on your birth decisions. I fully recognize that birth doesn’t always go as planned, and you have every right to change your mind. I’ve had several clients decide to get epidurals in the middle, or plan on them ahead of time. They still hire me because it makes them feel more at peace about the entire process (and because I can hopefully help them get further along before getting one, lessening the risk of stalling out!). I’m not going to think you’re a bad person or less of a woman if you get one.  I will, however, make sure you are well-educated on the side effects of your medication decisions, but I always strive to do so in love.  I want you to be supported no matter what you decide to have during your pregnancy & birth.
  • Here is an example of what I would do if you change your mind about pain medications during labor.

What happens if we need a c-section?

  • In our prenatal meetings, we will talk about your preferences if this situation arises.  Usually only one person will be allowed in the operating room, whomever the mom chooses.  Usually the couple feels best if dad goes along with the baby in case of a separation between mother & baby (ex: if baby needs to go to NICU right away).  Separation does not always occur after a caesarean or vaginal birth, but it does happen sometimes & it helps to be prepared with a plan. The fee remains the same for unexpected or planned cesarean births, as does the prenatal and postpartum care. The amount of time and energy spent as a doula is the same (or more) as a vaginal birth, but just looks different.

How does your payment schedule work?

  • $250 of the birth doula fee needs to be paid as a retainer for your estimated due date, or you may pay in full.  The remaining amount is due prior to 36 weeks.  If you would like to set up a payment plan, you can spread out your payments as you wish over the course of your pregnancy, finishing up by 36 weeks. If the bill is not paid by 36 weeks, you may want to use Paypal to complete it (and you may qualify for their “6-months interest free payments” option).
  • Last-minute clients (after 36 weeks) must pay in full. However, I strongly recommend hiring prior to 36 weeks if possible to ensure availability, and so we have adequate time to chat & go over your plans.  That said, it’s never too late to check…I was once hired the night before a scheduled induction!

I really value what you do & I really want YOU to be my doula, but my budget is already tight. What can I do to make your services work more easily into my budget?

  1. We can set up a payment schedule. Some ways people have done it in the past have been seven months of $100 each month, or 4 months of $175 each month. However it fits into your monthly budget is fine, but payment should be completed by 36 weeks. Some ways people have done this before is to set up automatic bill pay through their bank, or I have sent them a Paypal invoice and they set a reminder on their calendar to pay it on a certain date each month.
  2. I am happy to barter hard work for partial payment of doula services (up to $100 off).  I am usually in need of housekeeping help around the time I have other births or if my husband has to be out of town for something ($20/hr).
  3. I can set up a your own personalized page on my website with a link for your friends and family to purchase gift certificates in any amount that can be credited towards your bill. The retainer fee must be paid by you first before I can set up the personalized gifting page. Any amount not given by your family & friends must be paid by you.
  4. If you feel like you just need the in-person birth preparation but your husband or partner is willing to be really hands-on, a “Comfort Techniques” class ($75) or “Doula On Call” service ($100) are some low-cost, high-value options that may work for you instead of having a doula physically attend your birth. Pair these with a breastfeeding help/postpartum visit for the best care package. ($250 for all three) With this package, my TENS unit & training on how to utilize it will be available to you as well, as long as a full-paying client doesn’t need it (it would be rare for births to overlap). Please contact me for more info on these services.