I came to know Tami after the birth of my daughter. When I became pregnant again, I began to talk with Tami about pregnancy and birth and eventually decided to ask her to be our doula. It is possibly the best decision I have made as a parent. While my daughter’s birth went reasonably well, I ended up getting an epidural and needing a vacuum to birth my baby. I also had tearing that resulted in postpartum complications. I didn’t regret anything but I had a feeling the experience of childbirth could be better. After birthing my son with Tami’s help, I know it can be enjoyable! I feel blessed to have had an amazing, completely natural birth. Below is my story of the preparation Tami gave me and the subsequent birth she helped me to have.
I am a yoga teacher and before my daughter’s birth I read some material on labor and birth but mostly trusted my instincts to guide me through. I had a doula but didn’t meet with her until we went to the hospital. With my son, I knew I needed to better prepare myself for the intensity so that I could do a better job drawing on my strengths. This is where Tami’s help was most noticeable. She and I met often, usually once a week for the last months. One of her main concerns was to find out how I thought, what was important to me, what were my strengths and weaknesses, and how did I deal with difficult things. All of this was to help me learn where and how to draw my own strength and how she could best support me during my labor.
For me, movement and a grounded connection to the earth is very important. Because of this, Tami helped me focus on movement both before and during birth that would be best for me and the baby, especially in terms of helping the baby position well in my pelvis (in order to avoid another vacuum!).
I felt confident in the weeks leading into my second birth that I knew what I should be doing and that the baby was happy. As Tami and I talked, she helped me understand things about my life that made me scared during my first birth. Getting to spend time thinking about this helped to prepare me for the intensity of my son’s birth. Another thing Tami did with me was visualization. We tried a few different images and then one began to resonate with me. Whenever I would have “practice” contractions, I would practice a certain visualization that Tami helped me discover that made me feel strong, centered, and directed. This visualization became the critical guiding element for me during my labor.
The other thing Tami offered in preparation was education about what actually happens during labor, delivery, and after. I came to understand much more completely how the hormones affect and support natural labor. I also learned about standard practices in the hospital and felt empowered to make my own decisions during labor. That confidence was so wonderful during the sometimes uncertain feelings during labor.
Finally, Tami helped to prepare my husband. He was present at my daughter’s birth but was not directly doing anything during my contractions. Tami helped us determine a way that my husband could help me during my second birth. It turned out that my husband was critical to me both in maintaining the best position during contractions but also in his close presence. Tami helped him be the necessary central piece of my labor support system.
After all the preparation, there was a time - about a week before my son’s birth - when I felt ready. Tami saw this too and just began to support me, knowing our time was near. She helped me to understand that the whole week was actually early labor. She helped me be confident that my baby would come in his own time. Finally, labor started in earnest and Tami came to my house. We had a great morning moving through contractions while my daughter played, helped us walk or sway, and asked questions. My mother was in the background watching in amazement since her birth experiences were very different. From the moment she arrived, Tami helped through each contraction. We used movement as we planned, Tami provided massage, and she and my husband gradually created a protective sense of space for me to do what I needed to do. Tami helped me keep the labor moving by walking stairs and reminded me of my visualization when necessary. I found that visualization and focus actually made the pain lessen!
When labor began to intensify even more, I decided it was time to head to the hospital. Tami went with us of course and helped get us settled back into a good labor rhythm in the hospital. By then I knew how disruptive that move to the hospital can be to good labor progression but Tami helped us stay on track. Of course, things got more intense. I didn’t speak but I thought about all the things Tami had taught me and was able to tap into the strength I needed at the most critical point. She helped me to trust in my own body, labor, and baby that the birth was going to go well. I found that even when I hit the very hard place that in my daughter’s labor brought me to ask for pain medication, I felt confident and in fact even stronger when I knew it wasn’t necessary this time. The things Tami taught me helped me be confident when I felt I needed to birth my baby in a position and style that was unusual for the hospital staff (half kneeling and not holding my breath!).
Finally I birthed my son – 10lbs 13oz! I never could have done it without Tami. Tami helped us through the hours following (when I did receive pain medication for my repairs). My husband was able to give our son his first bath and bond with him until I was ready to return from being stitched and nurse my new baby. I was able to fall in love with my son so instantly and I believe the natural birth was a huge part of that. I’ve never been happier in my life. My husband and I both thank Tami for helping us have such an amazing experience.
I know every birth is different and every mother is different in what she wants, believes, and needs from her birth experience. I was always impressed by how Tami listened to me and catered her preparations to my needs. I heard stories of other births very different from mine where Tami had helped those women find what they needed in order to have the birth they wanted. Tami’s beliefs about the natural development of labor mean that she is continually and endlessly available, regardless of how long a preparation takes. Her stamina gives you stamina! She gives as much as is needed – there is no limit or timeframe other than the natural course of your labor. Tami has a special spirit and is truly a blessing to have as a partner before, during, and after birth. I can’t recommend her more.
Tami – Honestly, I don’t know how to thank you enough. All the time and thought and energy you put in to help me prepare and go through Jevan’s birth – it made all the difference. I feel very proud of myself and so joyful about his birth. I know I couldn’t have done it without you. There were, of course, some very hard moments, but I was able to think about what you had taught me and change those moments from fearful to powerful. The work you do is amazing and I hope all women can someday experience childbirth the way you see it. It is truly miraculous and life-creating for all involved.
Thank you – Jenna & Ben