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Why I Decided to Have a Doula

Jan 9 2020
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Check out this patient testimonial about her experience using a Bon Secours doula during pregnancy and childbirth.

For me, the choice of having a doula attending during childbirth was a very easy choice to make.

When I became pregnant, it was my first pregnancy. I was an older mom and it seemed almost every other day there was an article or study speaking about the mortality rate of minority mothers in the U.S. Since I was not sure who would be at my side when the time came, I decided it would be in my best interest to ensure at least one person would be there, even if I had to pay to have them there. I felt the need to hedge my bets so to speak.

My immediate family lives overseas, and it would take at least one or two days before they could get to me in case of an emergency. While I have some wonderful friends here, everyone I knew had plans to be away during the month of December. Even though my baby was not due until January 21, I had a feeling the little one would be making an early appearance during the Christmas season. And he surely did!

Bon Secours had an informational class that introduced the doulas they had on staff and gave details about the aid they can provide. After attending, I was convinced this would be the right choice for me and scheduled to meet with one of the doulas. Kim Nowokunski (pictured above) was assigned to me and in the weeks prior to childbirth. She became my confidant. I became very comfortable with the thought of her being “my person” during what would turn out to be a very scary time.

At 35 weeks, my blood pressure started to spike.

My doctor told me if they were not able to stabilize it, they would take the baby at week 37. At the start of week 36, my blood pressure was all over the place and I was admitted to the hospital. Kim was there for me throughout. She came with a bag full of the items of her trade. She held my hand, rubbed my back, and was just there for me. Sometimes she just sat quietly but I was always aware she was there.

The decision was made to induce and after receiving the second shot, things started to happen very quickly. A lot during that period is a blur for me due to the medication I had to be on. One thing I do remember is looking up and seeing Kim there with me. She was a comfort and strength for me.

Originally, I had been opposed to having an epidural, but it was not a firm opposition since this was my first time and I didn’t know how I would react to the pain. Kim recommended using an exercise ball and it was great advice. By the time I started wavering and wanted to have an epidural, I was fully dilated and it was time to give birth.

I was able to deliver naturally and thankfully, my baby boy was delivered, healthy and screaming loudly! I had to remain in the hospital for two days after birth, to ensure my baby was meeting all criteria and that my blood pressure was stabilizing. Kim visited me during that period and would sit with me for a bit.

Afterwards, Kim sent us all the pictures she had taken during the birth. I had known she would be taking pictures but was so preoccupied (understandably so) that I had not noticed when she had taken them. I’m so grateful for those pictures as they capture all the moments that I missed.

Having a doula was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I feel like I ended up with not only a great experience but also a wonderful friend for life. Kim is someone whom I can call on for advice at any time. Since my experience, I’ve recommended doulas to all my friends who are pregnant. I would definitely make that choice again if I had to.

Learn more about the maternity and birthing care services offered at Bon Secours.


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