Our experience with Ellen as our doula was truly a godsend. At our initial meeting, we felt a deep connection with her. We felt comforted by her ability to empathetically listen to our story, and seek to know us as a couple and growing family. As first time parents, Ellen offered encouragement and reassurance to our many questions. She also gave us exercises, strategies and resources to prepare us for the big day.
By the time we went into labor, I had established a meaningful relationship with her, like that of a mother and daughter, which helped ease my anxieties. It was especially meaningful to have this type of presence, since during the pandemic we could not have any other family members join our birth. Throughout my long, unmedicated labor, Ellen offered back rubs, hips squeezes, made sure I was well nourished, and coached my husband to be the supportive partner I needed. As a person who doesn't normally ask for help, it was such a relief knowing her hand was there to squeeze and she would be with me during each contraction as I yelled, "Ellen hips!"
Beyond being an incredible comforter, Ellen was an important advocate for us, especially during times of confusion or when we were feeling discouraged by the the length of our labor. Knowing our birth plan and preferences, she helped us speak up for our needs.
Finally, knowing our values, motivations, and spirituality, Ellen helped us call upon these things and dig deep in the hardest moments of pushing when I felt like giving up. Reflecting back on our birth story, we believe without Ellen's presence our whole experience may have felt traumatic. However, Ellen brought us an immeasurable amount peace and helped us optimize our inner strength.
Ellen has continued to support us post birth with lacation and postpartum care suggestions and home visits. We are so grateful for Ellen and will forever consider her part of our family.
September 21, 2020