When we met Tina, my husband Scott and I knew instantly that she was the doula we wanted to be present during our labor. Her positive energy, openness, and intelligence made us feel completely at ease with her. We had no idea how valuable her insights and presence would be during our pregnancy as well. Between week 28 and 37 I was put on bed rest by my providers for signs of preterm labor. The first week was very difficult for me to mentally contend with. Fortunately for us, Tina has the gift of being able to remain present in each moment and sincerely listen to others, all the while offering guidance and support with her words. Our pregnancy continued to full term without further incidence. During this time Tina was also an amazing resource for information on the myriad of different birthing options, circumcision, breastfeeding, and parenting material of any kind that I asked for.
When my labor began it was fast and furious and Tina didn’t even have time to come to our house. My labor started at 11 pm and by midnight I was having hard contractions (or ‘expansions’ as we liked to call them) at about 3-4 minutes apart. She met us at the birthing center and immediately swung into gentle supportive action. She laid her calm reassuring hands on me and spoke softly about what was going on around me while the nurses were checking me and monitoring expansions. When we moved into the birthing room, Scott started filling the bathtub while Tina began organizing the room and putting up soft dim lights. She turned the room into a warm, quiet, safe-feeling haven. I was in the tub as it was filling and Scott was with me, looking only into my eyes, keeping me confident and focused on my breathing. I found the sound of the running water along with his voice very soothing and mesmerizing. After the tub was filled, the pressure and sensations intensified as my expansions got longer. Something was definitely happening. I felt the need to pee so we got out of the tub and went to the bathroom. When I sat down, I immediately felt the urge to push. Scott called the nurse in to check me, and she told me I could start pushing on my next expansion. I couldn’t believe it! Tina and Scott helped me to the labor support bar on the bed and I began pushing. Tina suggested that I “…let go of each expansion with a breath after they passed” and it was so easy to continue pushing that way. Before I knew it I was on the bed and ready to deliver our baby. Tina was on one side massaging my leg, foot and lower back and encouraging me. Scott was on my other side, supporting me, giving me water and telling me what he was seeing. As the baby’s head crowned Tina told me to focus on my midwife’s voice and advice. With one last long push and after just 4 hours of labor, Silven was born! It was the most amazing, empowering experience of my life.
After Silven was born, Tina stayed to continue nurturing and supporting us. She helped us with our first breastfeeding session, and with the move into our recovery room.
She came back to check on us later that day and to discuss different tests and procedures that would be offered. She came to our house when Silven was a few days old to make sure we were all doing well, and again about a month later. We have continued to stay in touch. Tina was an essential part of our happy birth experience, and is still a treasured friend.
Last photo: Silven, age 12 — 2021