Emily & Ben
I gave birth in December 2019. My husband and I could not be more pleased with our incredible doula, Rachelle. She is everything we were looking for - informed, supportive, evidence-based, and reliable. Plus, she has a great sense of humor and is just an overall awesome person! And Susie and Lauren are incredible as well - wonderful support and advice during the group prenatal meetups, the new postpartum group, and on the phone. My labor went very quickly, skyrocketing from zero to transition in two hours. Even our midwife hadn't told us to come to the hospital yet, but as we spoke (or in my case, grunted) to Susie over the phone, she knew it was time. So, calmly but clearly, she suggested we get going. We hung up and did just that. Meanwhile, Susie called Rachelle, who was on her way to our house, worried that we might end up doing this at home. When we got in touch, Rachelle just turned around and headed to the hospital instead. She met us at the doors and got me inside while Ben parked. I was so deep into labor at this point, I truly do not think I could have made it through triage without her. Every time I could stop and rest on a bed/chair, she was already providing great counterpressure, while helping me communicate with the nurses. She was by my side through the ER, up to the alternative birthing center (Women and Infant's ABC), through all the final labor and pushing, and afterwards for quite a while. She had the best counterpressure and so many helpful words, coaching, and calming for both me and my husband. He could focus on holding me and seeing his son for the first time (and even get a bite to eat after). We now tell everyone to hire a doula! For my whole birth experience, I felt like I was in good hands and with someone who understood how I wanted to labor and how to help me do that. We cannot thank Rachelle and all the Bellwether Doulas enough for empowering us through the difficult stages of late pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. We love them!
My partner and I have been so very lucky to have the support of these three dedicated women in our lives! Lauren supported us through the birth of our son; she was a steady, calm, sensitive, and reassuring presence all the way from pregnancy through postpartum, and she made all the difference. She seems to intuitively know when to step in to offer suggestions or support and when to step back and provide space. I felt truly listened to, held, and cared for, and my husband did, as well. Lauren, Rachelle, and Susie all do a fantastic job of helping women to access our own, innate strength as we navigate birth and motherhood. They also help partners to feel valued, useful, and involved. We love all three of them.
My wife and I came to Rhode Island when I was five or six months pregnant and we didn't have much of a local support network. We first met Susie, and then the rest of the team, and we are so grateful we did. Lauren and Rachelle attended the birth, which was unexpected in a number of ways (I had to be induced, our baby came early, etc.) and they were wonderful. Lauren stayed with us through a very long night of labor and well into the next afternoon, and she was incredibly supportive. Rachelle then took over for the birth, and then stayed for nearly five hours after our son was born as I had several complications. She was an incredible advocate for us and for our son, and she didn't leave until the various interventions were over and we felt comfortable. Once we returned home, Lauren provided invaluable support with postpartum and lactation issues. If we ever were to have another baby I wish we could return to Providence just so that we could have the Bellwether Doulas again. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
I had Susie and Rachelle as my doulas, and they were wonderful. They were there for me when we received hard news at week 39 and continued to be there during the long labor and postpartum period. Both Susie and Rachelle guided me through many positions, offered hip squeezes, and were able to keep me informed of all of my options and their pros/cons throughout the labor. I was very scared and physically sick during my emergency c-section, and Susie was able to be there with me. She stayed with me after my husband had to go be with the baby. She also made sure that the baby had a good latch and that I was doing well before she left the hospital. Both women were completely supportive of all my choices and really made a difficult birth experience much better. I was delighted when they brought over a newspaper from my daughter's birthday during a postpartum visit and when they emailed me my birth timeline. I definitely couldn't remember all of those details myself, and I treasure having that! I'm already excited to work with these doulas again for my next baby.
Kate and Mike
We came to Rachelle and the team late in our pregnancy, but we are so glad we found them! After taking their prenatal workshop we began to rethink our care providers. Their insight into the care community really helped us find a doctor who truly met our values. We realized having a doula would be an important element of consistency in an unpredictable process.
Rachelle and Susie were so responsive and attentive throughout our delivery. Despite many unexpected changes, they helped us focus on what was important and advocate for ourselves when possible. Even though we had to divert from our birth plan in some ways, we still had an incredible experience and a healthy family. The doulas were a key part of our birth team and I couldn't imagine doing it without them!
I can’t recommend Rachelle and Susie enough. They were professional and organized, but also have incredibly calming and comforting demeanors which were so critical during my labor. Their years of practice is evident, and they make your birth an incredibly empowering experience (even if birth doesn’t go as planned).
They’re an amazing group of women. The monthly meetings offered were great to be surrounded by mindful doulas and other pregnant women. My labor and delivery was especially difficult with my husband being away and some complications. Rachelle and Hailey were amazing and advocated for me. They were able to ground me when I felt overwhelmed. I’m so glad I found this tribe of doulas. ♥?
Rachelle was an amazing doula, she was always quick to respond to my nervous first time mom questions. She was incredibly helpful when I couldn't find a Dr./Midwife I liked she made several great recommendations. I could not reccomend Rachelle highly enough, she advocated for me, worked incredibly hard (she was with us for 24 hours on delivery day) she not only helped me so much during labor and delivery but she was also very helpful to my husband. We can't imagine labor and delivery (and pregnancy) without her. She made my (long and hard) labor and delivery an incredible and beautiful experience. She will be one of my first calls next pregnancy!
From a father's point of view, I cannot say use the word 'easy' with pregnancy, but the guidance and support during the process took us from what could be a chaotic stressful mess, to a systematic, informed and dare I say 'routine' experience. We felt like we had rehearsed the dance weeks and months in advance and in our case, there were no surprises.
I don't think I can express how important it is to have a professional by your side that has solely your best interest in mind. It totally allowed us the ability to focus solely on the job at hand and be completely present in the childbirth experience. Selfishly, as a new father, I didn't have to play the role of Mr. Know-it-all or Mr. Fix It for situations that were brand knew to both of us. For all of that and more I am most grateful and appreciative. The term "lucky" seems wholly inadequate. I'm not particularly religious, but one has to acknowledge when the universe allows "angels" in your life to guide you through challenges. This was definitely one of those times, not to mention the ability to also beautifully capture all those precious moments on camera."
Ten Things We Love(d) about our doula:
1) She has two kids. So she's been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
2) She is upbeat and the right amount of bossy. I needed a "big sister" to coach us on the birth of our second son. She nailed it!
3) She did what she said she would do. I appreciated her decisiveness and follow-through.
4) She was accommodating. We started a little late in the game of a doula search. My husband's schedule was/is crazy (I mean, life happens, right?). She had flexibility and great problem solving skills.
5) She is knowledgeable and passionate. Every subject broached, Rachelle had info and a recommended course of action. If she didn't know the answer she would find it.
6) She "let/encouraged" us to labor in the lobby of the hospital. True story. That was a big deal for me at that point in time.
7) She is fun. We laughed and joked pretty much up until transition. Not an impossibility, my friends!
8) She is creative. See #6. When something was unique she improvised. Let's be honest. "Everything" about Labor is unique, right? Thinking on her feet = Rachelle's specialty!
9) She gives the best hip squeezes ever! If you don't know what those are, you should. Even if a doula does nothing but hip squeezes, you win!
10) She gives the best hip squeezes ever! She coached my husband to do them pretty well, however, I would have to say hers were better (he has other perfections ;).
Rachelle empowered us to have a beautiful, candid birth. We have that as a wonderful memory and life-accomplishment! Thanks, Rachelle
We would have been lost, frightened and anxious without you. Your calming presence meant more that we can ever express. Your knowledge, skills and techniques helped alleviate some of the most pain I’ve ever endured. Your constant support was incredibly reassuring and appreciated especially when I felt like I hit a wall and couldn’t go on. The atmosphere you helped create was one that I could only have dreamed of. From the soothing lights around the bathtub to the aromatherapy to the dim lights in the room, it was truly a peaceful place to bring Jacob into this world (it looked just like my dream board from group). We all truly appreciated your guidance and how you taught the ones I love the most how to best care for me. You were always right there, but made sure my family were the ones first in line helping me. I know they appreciated that so much! We all appreciate you and the many ways you have helped and still do help us. Thank you for coming to our house and for helping relieve some of my back labor with spinning babies and hip squeezes. Thank you for helping us get ready for the hospital and following literally right behind us the whole way. Literally from the beginning of when my contractions really picked up at home, through admittance, into the birthing room, through delivery and even post delivery, you were right there providing the calmness we so desperately needed. Thank you for everything you do! It takes a special soul to do what you do and to do it so well. We are forever grateful for you kindness, friendship and warmth!
Hiring a doula was part of my VBAC plan, and I honestly can’t tell you how grateful I am for this team of women. My VBAC attempt unfortunately ended in a repeat C, but that was only after Rachelle and Susie utilized every strategy/technique they’re trained in to help get baby in a better position. Although I didn’t get the birth I wanted, the experience was very healing nonetheless. These women empowered me, supported me, and encouraged me, and for that I am forever grateful.
Birth is a messy experience. Not just physically, but in an emotional and psychological sense too. Even though people have been giving birth since the dawn of time it is still very confusing for most men, and women too. Emotions run very high, exhaustion is always in the back of your mind and your basic human needs like eating and resting, have to be put aside. On top of that you will be bombarded with medical jargon, will have family members to juggle and finally a screaming partner who you would do anything to take the pain away from.
Having someone there is one of the best decisions my wife and I made concerning our birth. Our doula helped us to understand all aspects of our birthing experience. She helped us to control our emotions, to control our families, and to manage the pain and discomfort. She helped us to understand all of the medical information we had to deal with.
Some people might feel that having yet another person in the room along with the family and medical staff could be one person too many. But at no point did either of us feel that our doula was in the way or being intrusive. In all honestly we could not have done this with out her. I would highly recommend her to anyone.