What is a doula? As a doula, I assist people in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I have received my education from Bastyr University’s Simkin Center and Evergreen Perinatal. I draw on my knowledge and education to provide emotional support and physical comfort as needed. I assist you with communication with the staff to ensure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning, and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you — not for your caregiver, hospital, or birth center.
Choosing a doula. I offer a no-obligation “meet and greet” where we can get together and see if our styles are a good fit. After we have committed to working together, and I have received a signed contract and retainer (see fee section below), I prefer to meet with you and your partner at least once before labor to become acquainted, to explore and discuss your priorities and any fears or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. I will want to become familiar with your birth plan, including your preferences regarding management options and the use of pain medications. I also want to know your own best way of coping with pain and fatigue, and how you and your partner foresee working together.
After you hire me, I am available 24 hours a day by either phone or email to answer any questions or discuss concerns you may have. I have resources available and can offer you suggestions and materials that you may find useful. At the minimum, checking in after each doctor/midwife appointment is a good routine to establish. I will meet with you 1–3 times prenatally and 1–2 times after the birth in addition to labor support. If you prefer additional meetings, I will gladly oblige at no extra cost. I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. I usually need at least 60–90 minutes to get to you from the time you ask me to come. We will also decide where to meet — at your home, the hospital, or the birth center. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I will remain with you throughout your labor and birth. I will usually remain with you for one to three after birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together. I can also help with initial breast/chestfeeding. I will continue to be available for phone/email contact to answer questions about the birth or your baby. I will usually contact you by phone every day after your baby is born until I see you, and that visit usually occurs sometime between day 3 and 5 postbirth. In the postpartum visit I can assist with lactation and newborn care, discuss your birth, and make any appropriate referrals. An optional second postpartum visit is your choice.
What I don't do:
Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and other. I am there to provide only physical comfort, emotional support, and advocacy.
Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
Speak to the staff instead of you regarding matters where decisions are made. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will speak on your behalf to the clinical staff.
Failure to provide services. I will make every effort to provide the services described here. Sometimes this is impossible (for example, with a rapid labor). If my failure to attend your birth is due to my error, there will be no charge for my services and I will refund the retaining fee. If it is due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, such as rapid labor, the full fee is due as stated in this contract. If you choose not to call me for labor support, the full fee is due as stated in this contract, for I will have turned away other potential clients in order to fulfill my commitment to you.
If an induction or Cesarean is planned for your birth, I respectfully request that you coordinate the scheduling with my schedule. Of course, when you go into spontaneous labor, I will cancel any other commitments I may have to be with you, but if it will be scheduled, I appreciate being able to work around my schedule.
Included in my services are babywearing techniques and education. I can provide hands-on tutorials for you in which you will try different carriers/wraps/slings and learn how to use them properly.
Fees. The fee for the services described above is $1800.00. Fees are to be paid as follows: (1) $450.00 as a nonrefundable retainer fee when you hire me as your doula. (2) The remaining $1350.00 is due at the final prenatal appointment. I am happy to provide receipts for you to submit for reimbursement from HAS/FSA and/or insurance. It is my commitment to provide services to any family in need of them. I am willing to discuss an alternative financial arrangement if the one outlined above is not feasible for you. I/We have read this letter describing the doula’s services and agree that it reflects the discussion we had with her.
All information shared between client and doula is confidential.
signed client – doula contract received!