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Considering a doula? Two Upstate moms share their experiences

Two Upstate moms share the advantages they discovered in hiring a doula for their birth, although it wasn’t necessarily covered by insurance.

Adriana Brooks of Greenville first found her doula online. When the same doula she discovered online was mentioned to her later that day by a friend, it seemed meant to be.

Brooks said her doula, “supported me mentally, emotionally and physically” and provided a calm and positive atmosphere for her birth.

When Brooks started labor, her doula arrived at her house and immediately began massaging her back. The doula also did birthing exercises with her, allowing Brooks’ husband to pack and get ready for the hospital. Her doula advised the correct time to leave for the hospital.

When they arrived, the doula helped unpack the room and create a comfortable environment. She also taught Brooks’ husband how to provide supportive care during the birth experience.

While the doctor was in and out of the room a few times quickly, “my doula was by my side through the whole birth offering positivity, peace and strength,” Brooks said.

Brooks’ doula, Jen Conway, is unique in that she is what is known as a “doula-tag.”

“A doula-tag is a photographer and doula all in one,” Brooks said. “I had always imagined having my first birth photographed but never really new there was a term for it or if it was even a popular thing.”

Ella Bobrek of Spartanburg used a doula for her home birth five months ago. For her first child, Bobrek’s mother, an experienced maternity nurse and lactation consultant, acted as doula. Because Bobrek’s mom wasn’t available for her second birth, she hired a doula.

To choose a doula, she contacted several, interviewed two and finally chose the one with whom she felt the best personal connection.

Bobrek appreciated emotional support from someone who was objective.

“They are someone to call when you're not sure whether you should contact your OB or your midwife,” Bobrek said. “I called Christine (my doula) at two in the morning when I was in labor because my labor was so light and easy this time that I wasn't really sure if I should call (my midwife).”

Fully dilated at 3:30 a.m. when the doula and midwife arrived, Bobrek appreciated “they were there and supporting me while my husband was mostly minding the two-year-old.”

Local doula Julie Byers suggests two local online resources for pregnant women interested in doulas’ services. Upstate Birth Network, an official chapter of BirthNetwork National, a 501c3 nonprofit organization has a website at Professional Doulas of the Upstate provides a list of experienced doulas with information about a doula’s typical services.