Bellwether Doulas Photo

Bellwether Doulas

Rachelle, Susie, Lauren and Hailey

Providence, RI Service range 30 miles Can travel further if mileage is paid.

(773) 218-1661

http://www.rachellefriesen.com

Birth Fee

$1000 to $1200

Birth Fee

$1000 to $1200


Birth Doula Certifications

  • Hypnobabies - Certified Hypno-Doula

Birth Doula Experience

7 years and 120 births attended


Doula Training

  • The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options & Resources (toLabor), January 2013

Type of practice: Group practice with shared call schedule

Clients per month: 1 to 4

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals

Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers

Attends home births? Some Home Births
Those attended by certified midwives.


College Education

BA/BS


Special Services Offered

  • Abortion support
  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Baby-led weaning
  • Babywearing education
  • Childbirth education services
  • Cloth diapering education
  • Lactation consultant/counselor services
  • Military families support
  • Miscarriage support
  • Mother blessing celebrations
  • Parenting consulting
  • Placenta encapsulation
  • Pregnancy, birth and/or newborn photography
  • Reduced rates for women considering adoption
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)
  • TENS units rental
  • Therapist or counselor

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Doulas of Rhode Island Members Birth Talk RI Founders Mothering the Mother Support Group Host Doulas of Richmond Member Birth Talk Richmond, VA

Fee Details

We love birth and think it can be a fun, funny, and transformative experience with the right mindset and guidance. We are a team of professional birth doulas, a GentleBirth Workshop instructor, a Hypnobabies Hypnodoula, a birth photographer, a Certified Lactation Counselor, a placenta encapsulator and postpartum doulas. It is our pleasure to help transition families into parenthood with education, physical and emotional support for both partners, and a sense of humor. If you need payment plans or potentially a reduced fee please contact me. Please visit our website to learn more about us, our birth philosophy and services. We are happy to meet or chat on the phone with any potential clients to make sure the fit is right for all parties. We also offer prenatal and postpartum group support meetups.

Providence, RI Service range 30 miles Can travel further if mileage is paid.

Certifications for Bellwether Doulas

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Bellwether Doulas

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Rebecca

8/31/2020

A good friend of ours had recommended Rachelle as a doula. We didn't have a conversation with her until two weeks before my due date, but when we did, we had one of those "Oh, yeah, THIS is what we want" moments. She was totally on our wavelength -- straightforward, practical, a good listener, lots of experience navigating the system we were in (Lifespan / Women & Infants). We really enjoyed and benefited from the three meetings we attended before our daughter was born.

The most important part, though, was how amazing Lauren, Hailey, and Rachelle were during labor and delivery. I had to be induced about a week and a half after my due date, and after a somewhat scary prenatal visit, Lauren was absolutely amazing giving us a rational perspective, talking us down, encouraging us to have a real meal and stay calm before the challenges ahead. Rachelle was the one there for most of labor & birth and she was exactly the coach I needed. I felt supported and firmly guided based on what she knew we'd discussed about our preferences, but not judged when I said or did one thing or another. I have no idea how it would have gone without them and I do not want to think about it.

Emily & Ben

4/1/2020

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!

Emily

2/24/2020

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.

Kate

2/17/2020

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.

Molly D.

2/11/2020

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

2/9/2020

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!

Sarah Killeen

2/6/2020

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). 

Carolina Brooks

2/6/2020

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. ♥?

Katelyn Caddell

3/14/2018

Rachelle's group prenatal meetings & GentleBirth workshop were the best thing my partner & I did in our preparation for our natural, drug free birth. We learned so much & felt more than prepared, we felt excited to birth. With her help & brain training via GentleBirth, there really was no fear or stress- only empowerment through fact-based knowledge. During birth, it was like having a best friend with the wisdom of many births under her belt to help coordinate the myriad of decisions to be made & to help my husband & I feel strong & focused.

Unfortunately we lost our son but Rachelle was there with an abundance of resources, support & love which is still ongoing. The photos of our son she took are invaluable. She has helped in such an intimate way that to say she goes above & beyond is an understatement. We plan to have Rachelle be a part of all our birthing experiences & you should too. They say it takes a village & this is the best community to join as you venture into parenthood.

Ruth Wartenberg

11/24/2017

My boyfriend and I cannot say enough about the care we received from Rachelle. She was there from the moment I got to the hospital and stayed until my uterine hemorrhage was under control. She provided us with wonderful emotional support. She knew so many different tricks to help me cope with contractions and re-position the baby. I did not have a doula for the birth of my five year old daughter.  The difference between the two births is astounding.

Rachelle also visited us at home post-partum to make sure everyone was doing well. I consider her to be a friend.

Angela Nichole

11/22/2017

I would not have gotten my VBAC if it was not for Rachelle’s knowledge,techniques and patience! i went into labor a month earlier and despite her very full schedule, she was there for me throughout my very lengthy labor! Rachelle also offers many educational opportunities to help educate expecting parents, which are super helpful & informative. I feel so lucky to have had her as a part of my birth team. She guided me with provider choice, was up on the latest research, and knew lots of tips and tricks to help as I labored for what seemed like forever! Hands down, the best doula in my opinion If I have any more babiesI want her there! 

Amy Forbes

11/21/2017

My experience with Rachelle was unforgettable. Her knowledge and calmness allowed me to have a positive and healthy birth. Attending the workshops and visualizing what was ahead was very helpful.  These first steps helped make birth feel more familiar to a first time mom. Also, having her familiar face at the hospital was reassuring that my birth plan was already going as “planned”. When we‘re ready for number two, Rachelle will be getting another call!

Rachel Pelisson

5/7/2017

I can't say enough about how amazing Rachelle is as a doula (and as a human in general!). When I met Rachelle, I immediately knew I wanted to work with her. I chose Rachelle, because she has a no BS approach. She gives direct, straight forward answers to all my questions based on sound scientific evidence and her own extensive experience. (I found some other doulas to be a bit too wishy washy and vague in an effort to respect individual wishes. Rachelle just gave me answers, which I liked!) She is also very well respected and has a great relationship with Dr's Morton & Magee at Landmark Hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, Rachelle made sure that everything in my birth plan was implemented. She was hands on throughout the entirety of my labor (literally put counter pressure on my hips through every contraction for hours and hours). I'm not sure how I would have gotten through labor without her. She was my advocate and supporter both physically & mentally. I was in labor for about 20hrs (first baby), used a tub and nitrous oxide, but otherwise had a natural birth of a 8# 13oz baby at 41 weeks + 1 day. I couldn't have asked for my birth to go any better and I'm certain that Rachelle's support was a HUGE contributor to my success.
As a bonus...Rachelle did our birth photos and they are worth every single penny!! They captured so many powerful moments that I'm so grateful I will have for a lifetime. A spouse or family member could never have captured all those moments. Absolutely get birth photos!!!

Colleen Connolly

2/3/2017

Rachelle helped guide our family to the pregnancy and birth experience we wanted.  We met her late in our pregnancy, and after just one meeting, she had recommendations that changed the course of the rest of our pregnancy (and birth). With her support, we not only had the courage to change practitioners, but we were also introduced to a midwife practice and hospital that felt right for us. (We adore the staff at both our practice and the hospital - and for them alone, we are incredibly grateful to Rachelle). With Rachelle, I had felt we'd tapped into this supportive and personalized community that had been missing since day 1. Rachelle is a wealth of knowledge, resources and connections, which she generously shares. Her down-to-earth,  relaxed (yet firm when needed) style is exactly what our family needed. We always trusted that she'd be candid with us; that she sincerely wanted to ensure we experienced the birth our way; and that she'd advocate for us along the way. We were lucky to find a doula who cared so much! Thank you, Rachelle!

Betty Heppner

10/2/2016

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! 

Natasha Southworth

6/28/2016

It was really by chance that my husband and I ended up attending a meet-and-greet for Doulas of Rhode Island (we live in MA) but I'm so thankful we did! Right away we were excited to find out that Rachelle was trained in Hypnobabies. We used many of those techniques for the birth of our first daughter and hoped to try again. At that meeting, Rachelle was engaging, knowledgable and full of positive energy - we decided she would be the one to help us welcome our second daughter and see us through a VBAC. I'm THRILLED we chose her and am incredibly thankful she assisted with Lucy's birth, which turned out to be the experience I had always wanted.

Rachelle was fantastic during my prenatal visits - drove 45 min. to our home - and supplied us with information, encouragement and just the right amount of relaxed birth chit chat to make us feel at ease and well cared for. Throughout our time together, Rachelle followed my lead and made me feel empowered to try for a VBAC. When I found out my baby was transverse, Rachelle did not miss a beat, she immediately showed me Baby Spinning positions to help turn the baby and recommended an amazing chiropractor. She even attended my ECV appointment and cheered during the ultrasound when we found out I didn't need the version. During those unnerving moments when labor began, Rachelle was there for me, on the phone helping me determine if this was the real thing or not. When I arrived at the hospital she practically carried me from the front seat, whisked me away to triage and from then on was by my side working as a team with my husband. I am thankful for every ice pack, counter pressure, oil massage and words of encouragement. She helped boost my confidence to continue without an epidural and when the time was right she told me, "reach down and grab your baby" - an experience like no other. I will always be grateful for those words. Rachelle is a wonderful doula and I whole heartedly recommend her!

Susan Krzyzek

4/14/2016

Rachelle was extremely knowledgeable about the labor process, delivery, and post partum course.  My goal was to stay at home as long as possible and go to the hospital as close as possible to delivery.  With Rachelle's expertise this was possible.  I delivered within t he hour.   With her and my OB Dr. Morton's guidance I was able to deliver my first baby with no pain meds.  They both made it possible.  Rachelle, also is not only a caring doula but, an amazing birth photographer.  She presented me with our "birth story" that was absolutely stunning.  The photos made family and friends cry that's how gorgeous the album came out.  Choose Rachelle for an unforgettable and positive birth experience.  You and your family will not be disappointed.

Stephanie Hague

4/12/2016

Rachelle was such an amazing resource and support for us as we welcomed our first child in March. Her first 2 prenatal visits, emails and texts were so helpful and reassuring, and helped us prepare for our the unpreparable, welcoming a child!
She was there with us during a 50+ hour labor, meeting us at triage in the middle of the night, coming back to our house with us and then returning later again 12 hours later. Having her to support my husband and me was irreplaceable. I highly recommend Rachelle to anyone, regardless of the birth you are planning or expecting. She made the whole experience more comfortable, supported, informed and overall pleasant.

Victoria Templer Rotkow

2/5/2016

I could not have done by first childbirth experience without Rachelle. With her help i was able to have a completely natural childbirth. My husband was hesitant at first because he likes to be in control, but she helped him learn how to help me (e.g. how to push on my lower back during contractions) so that he felt a part of the process. Otherwise I think he would have been scared by the whole process and would not have known what to do. For our personailities, she worked well because she is strong and not shy. I wanted someone to tell me what to do for making myself be more comfortable. She guided me perfectly, but was not forceful in anyway. I cannot say more good things about her personality, experience, professionalism, and compassion. Reserve her early though, because she books up fast!

Morgan Jones

2/4/2016

When I became pregnant I knew I'd want extra support through the process...start to finish. Not becuase I'm weak or uneducated, but becuase I knew I'd greatly benefit from another empowering, supportive female figure by my side. Rachelle was just that and more. Not only is she affordable, available, and 100% forthcoming about who she is and what she can offer, she is also intellegent, non-judgemental, and just really cool. She provided stellar guidance to both my husband and myself as first timers, and eased our minds through lots of ups and downs. By sharing first hand experiences, helpful links and articles, and one-on-one support on various occasions, she really stood up to her role as a pregnancy/labor/birth coach and advocate. When I finally went in to have my babe, she was there the whole way through. I owe SO MUCH of my success to her, even though my labor didn't quite go to plan (as they often don't). My baby was posterior and not engaging, so I wasn't fully dilating as I should have been. Rachelle practiced specific methods to open my hips/pelvis and get that baby to turn and drop. She did and I dilated to 10! I truly believe that without her, I wouldn't have gotten there. She pushed me and aided me in all the right ways. I ended up with a C-sec after many hrs of labor and 2 hrs of pushing, but she did not let me believe for a second that I was a failure. She made a point to tell me my pushing was very effective and that I should opt for a VBAC next time around. I'm not sure I was able to tell her how much that meant to me and how strong it made me feel after experiencing a labor/birth that was pretty much opposite of what I thought it'd be. My doula was a great support to my hubs through the whole crazy process as well, which I am totally grateful for. A huge plus - Rachelle is a talented birth photographer! If I had to do it again, there's nothing I would change. Rachelle is an amazing doula and person and I highly recommend her to any momma-to-be.

Abygail Ollila

1/25/2016

I would highly recommend Rachelleas a doula. From the moment I met her, it felt like we were old friends. She is a very warm, easy going and genuinely happy person. Despite having two kids herself and several births around the same time as mine, she never wavered in her support and ability to be where I needed her, when I needed her - with a smile on her face.

I had an amazing birth and I owe it all to Rachelle. I didn't even know there was a Birthing Center in RI until I met her! She led me to the hospital and doctor that I ended up choosing and it made all the difference throughout the entire pregnancy and birth.  

I practiced Hypnobirthing and Rachelle, being trained in this technique, was able to answer all of my questions and keep me on track with the program during my pregnancy. She also did an amazing job of making everyone at the birth aware of the techniques, so that I could focus on and have the space to do what I needed to do during my birthing.

I will admit I was a bit nervous about having someone in my community who I hardly knew be a part of such an intimate part of my life. What if I something CRAZY happened and I couldn't face her again?! LOL. Rachelle assured me many times that she could handle ANYTHING. Nothing too out of the ordinary happened and now I consider her a friend!

I couldn't thank her enough for everything - she is an amazing person!

Gwyneth Jones Preu

1/25/2016

Rachelle was so helpful as we prepared for our birth, providing encouragement and information.  I appreciated being able to call or text her with questions leading up to the birth.  When we called Rachelle about being in labor she came to our home quickly and was with us at the hospital through the birth and providing support afterwards.  Habing Rachelle as a doula helped us feel more informed and prepared for the birth experience!

Jessica Medeiros

1/24/2016

Having a baby is scary! I have to say, however, that having Rachelle by our side made it seem less so. Imagine peering out into this dark abyss of uncertainty, and then Rachelle shows up with a flashlight and a calm confidence that lets you know that things are going to be okay, even if they don't go according to your extremely detailed plan.


Prior to the birth of our son, Maxwell on January 4, she provided us with a ton of useful resources and information during our prenatal visits, and was super supportive during our endless three days of early labor. She helped me do some stretches and poses to help the labor progress, and then checked in periodically in a way that was not obtrusive or stressful. During labor, she was an awesome coach, gently advising Phil on how to support me, requesting cold compresses and straws from the nursing staff, giving killer hip squeezes, and providing much-welcomed encouragement to me as I labored and pushed.


Postpartum, it was great to know that I could reach out to Rachelle anytime with questions, especially about breastfeeding, which was/is a major struggle (we're just shy of three weeks in, so I'm cautiously optimistic that things are improving). Lastly, we've only seen a few of our birth photos, but the ones that we have seen make me want to cry- I'm so happy that we went with the photography package, and would highly recommend going for it. You will end up getting to experience such amazing moments that you will otherwise never remember (at least I would say this is probably true for any laboring moms...I feel like I was totally tunnel vision and was not truly aware of what was happening).


Lots of love to Rachelle- thanks for being there through such an intense, awesome, terrifying, beautiful experience!

Brooke Werley

1/24/2016

We were pleased as punch with Rachelle. She has a very calm, reassuring presence, and we felt at home from our first meeting.

She answered all of the questions we didn't know to ask and helped my husband and I maintain the confidence to enter into parenthood through a beautiful birth experience. Even though we had more than our share of complications arise during labor and delivery, she was an experienced voice, supporting and informing on all of the decisions I was making that were off-plan, helping us to feel ok with several unplanned interventions.

Rachelle made it very clear that she was available to answer any questions during my pregnancy and postpartum. She is especially passionate about building a community around childbirth and parenthood and we are so happy we found her to help bring our little boy into the world.

 

Briana Taylor

12/19/2015

Rachelle is amazing. One of the first things my husband and I said to each other after the birth of our son was, “Rachelle is a rock star.” We had never been through it before and really wanted someone that would tell me what to do (suggestions on positions, etc) and tell my husband what to do to support me. Rachelle, however, was so much more than that. At our prenatal visits she shared all of the information she had (which was a lot) on pregnancy and labor, plus things I hadn’t even thought about. She made sure that we had our birth plan ready to go way in advance and how to prep our friends and family for our wishes after the birth. I was sad at our postpartum visit because I knew it was the end of our journey together for now, but I know we’ll be seeing her again.

I can’t imagine experiencing childbirth without Rachelle and highly recommend her to anyone looking for a supportive birthing experience.

Christine Berg

6/15/2015

Rachelle was the perfect doula for our family.  I was so thankful to have her by our side before, during, and after the birth of our daughter.  From the very beginning Rachelle put us at ease.  We met with her twice before my labor.  She provided all of the resources that we needed before the birth: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, placenta encapsulation, labor tools and education, what to expect during labor...everything. 

During the labor and birth, she was by our side, offering words of wisdom and  encouragement.  She was always two steps ahead, predicting what we would need and what to expect.  She tirelessly provided counter-pressure hip squeezes for me.  I can't imagine my labor without this - it really helped alleviate a lot of the back pain I was feeling.  She offered me cool cloths, sips of water, back rubs, and allowed for my husband to go grab a bite to eat amidst the long labor.  She held my hand during those long pushes, cheering me on when I needed it, but also knowing when I needed a moment of quiet.  Rachelle hung in there with us for many hours, late into the night, somehow remaining energized and ever-ready.

After my daughter's birth, Rachelle came to our rescue yet again.  Several days postpartum, sleep-deprived and hormonal, Rachelle came to our house late in the evening to help me when my milk came in (and boy, did it come in).  I was having a hard time with breastfeeding, and she was able to give me some tips, encourage me, and provide much-needed emotional support.

Rachelle was invaluable to us, in so many ways.  She also captured some amazing moments on her camera for us - photos that we will always cherish of the arrival of our daughter.  We recommend her most highly!  

Megan Zemke

4/21/2014

I am so so happy that we hired Rachelle to be our doula! Having Rachelle was like having a knowledgeable, calming big sister who knew a lot about the process of pregnancy and childbirth to guide me. Whenever I had a question or a doubt, I knew I could call Rachelle and she would give me her best recommendations! During her visits she set my husband and I at ease about the entire birthing process, from what to expect to what my husband could do to help me relax. when our big moment came (early and completely unexpectedly) she was there immediately, and helped my daughter and I get the perfect latch to start us on a great breastfeeding relationship! She was worth her weight in gold from the moment we hired her!

We also hired Rachelle to do hospital pictures for is and I'm so glad we did! Her talent and eye clearly shows as she captured some of the most precious moments of our lives. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to have Rachelle capture these memories!

 

Megn Zemke

 

Suzy Gourley

4/11/2014

Rachelle was amazing.  She was available to answer all our questions leading up to the birth of our son and during the postpartum period (sometimes texting late at night).  She offered us great resources on everything we needed to know as well as encouraging words.  During the birth, Rachelle was instrumental in helping us navigate the tough decisions.  She was with us during the 24 hours of labor, both at home and at the hospital, offering physical and emotional support the whole time.  Rachelle took some wonderful photos as well, ones we will cherish forever.  We are so grateful to have had her with us through it all.  

Lindsay Jones

9/30/2013

From the first meeting with Rachelle, my husband and I felt comfortable and reassured. I loved when she said she would be there to support me... but also there to help my husband support me... which was important to me. Several prenatal meetings with her really eased my mind, she helped me develop my birth plan, and prepare both of us mentally and emotionally for the birth. She offered resources on breastfeeding, pediatricians, cloth diapering, post-partum information, and anything else we needed. She was always available through text, email, and phone calls (even when not technically in the "on call" period). 

When I went into labor, I knew I wanted to stay at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. At one point, I started to feel panicked, and although we had originally planned on Rachelle meeting us at the hospital, we asked her to come to the house (at midnight). She came quickly and helped us pack up and even drove us to the hospital. After a few more hours of labor and about 2 hours of pushing, our baby boy arrived. I was able to have the natural labor and birth I wanted ... and I cannot imagine going through the experience without Rachelle. She was so supportive -- helping with changing positions, massage, relieving my husband for breaks, hip squeezes (lots of those!). She also took amazing pictures that we will cherish forever. She has remained available after the birth, checking on all of us and offering advice and reassurance -- so important in the post-partum period and very helpful for a first-time mom like myself.  

I know that I will definitely have Rachelle as part of our birth team if/when we have another baby. We would recommend her to anyone and everyone looking for a doula! 

Ryan Pupa

6/17/2013

Rachelle helped my wife and I with the birth of our first child at MCV in June 2013, and both of us cannot imagine the experience without her. Even before the birth, we always found that we were comforted and more informed after each of her prenatal visits.

From the very first time we met her, she was warm and easy-going - exactly what you need in a doula. She was an amazing resource of tips and ideas, and for nervous first time parents, she helped to calm our nerves and set our expectations. Along with the help of Bradley classes and the pro-natural birth labor and delivery unit/midwives at MCV, we felt fully prepared and supported by a great team to help with a natural birth for our daughter.

During our long, difficult labor, Rachelle was absolutely vital to help keep us calm and focused. As I was the partner/coach for the birth, she was especially helpful to make me most effective for wife - helping soothe my nerves so that I could be there for her entirely. We were all sleep-deprived and tired, and somehow Rachelle was still upbeat and supportive throughout the entire process. When we hit some really difficult decisions very late in the labor, Rachelle was so important to give some perspective and insight as to our choices, without pushing in any direction. While we weren't able to have a natural childbirth due to complications, we were able to avoid a C-section, in no small part thanks to Rachelle's help.

We now have a beautiful, healthy girl, as well as a new friend in Rachelle. When the time comes for our next child, we will absolutely include Rachelle as part of our birth team!

Scott Thow

6/10/2013

Baby testimonial - Baby Isla

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.

Amanda Paige

5/15/2013

I met Rachelle at a birth group when I was nearly 38 weeks pregnant.  She provided me with great resources although she was unavailabe for my due date.  After learning that I was high risk and would have to deliver that weekend, I immediately text her, hoping she could reach out to other doulas.  She actually met me that night and agreed to work with us!  I was so relieved to have her support when I felt like my birth plan was falling apart. 

We were able to naturally induce my labor with the support of my midwife, avoiding pitocin and epidural!  Rachelle stayed with us through a grueling 15 hours of labor, coaching not only me but my boyfriend as well.  After discovering that I would need a c-section due to the baby's positioning, I was devastated.  Rachelle truly helped me handle all of the unexpected challenges surrounding my son's birth.  

Since birth, she has provided ongoing support and resouces.  Her post-partum visit, texts and emails have helped me cope with the challenges from birth and those surrounding new motherhood.  We remain in contact and thanks to her I have joined great groups in Richmond.

Hiring a doula turned out to be the most valuable resource throughout my pregnancy.  After interviewing 4 others, finding one that we actually clicked with at such a critical time was such a blessing.  Rachelle is intuitive and down-to-earth.  She exceeded our expetations and she obviously loves her work.  I would recommend her to anyone seeking support during or after pregnancy.  

Kate Rowe

4/22/2013

I was unsure about hiring a stranger to be in the room for my birth at St. Francis but Rachelle makes it impossible to feel anything but comfortable. 

I think it gave my husband a huge relief to know that she was there for breaks for him to grab something to eat or keep the family updated. She definitely kept me at ease during the entire birth, starting before I even made it to the hospital. Her experience and birth knowledge was exactly what we needed.

In addition, she took amazing birth photographs of our son and our family after the birth!

I couldn't have chosen a better person to share this important experience with!

Birth Availability for Bellwether Doulas

= Available. Calendar last updated: 09-22-2020