“What’s a doula?” “How much?!” These were my initial thoughts when my pregnant girlfriend, nearing the one-month mark, proposed the use of a doula. “What do they do?” was my next thought, followed by a brief Google search and a crash-course given by Wikipedia—where all laymen go to unburden their ignorance. Self-admittedly I knew absolutely nothing about the functions of a doula and, as parenthood loomed large in my mind, I thought about how having a doula present in our lives prior to, during, and after the birth seemed to detract from the importance of the father’s presence during these life altering moments.  Setting all my unsubstantiated judgments and ignorant proclivities aside, I sat down to meet with Lee. Lee is, not was, our doula. Lee will forever be our doula. Lee is deeply knowledgeable, which provided both myself and my girlfriend great comfort. She is very personable, which helps shatter any hang-ups you may have when discussing an awkward subject matter such as involuntary defecation during birth. Lee is caring, thoughtful, insightful, compassionate, nurturing, and a whole host of other adjectives used to describe a good human being. Lee, our doula, is wonderful. Leading up to the birth we met with Lee on three separate occasions. We discussed various things such as pain, coping techniques for pain, fears, hopes, general and specific goals which we wished to uphold through our birth plan, among other things. Within the first five minutes of speaking to Lee during that initial visit I was sold, and I will tell you why: she actually engaged me in conversation. After having been to numerous appointments throughout the first few weeks of our pregnancy I quickly learned that within these doctor’s offices I was nothing more than an apparition. Lee, conversely, asked my opinion and earnestly cared about my answer. “How are you feeling about all of this?” “Do you have any expectations?” “What are the things you find most frightening about this?” All of it! I was so thankful someone had finally asked. During the birth Lee was superb. She interceded at all the right moments and otherwise remained removed yet attentive, giving myself and my girlfriend a comfortable space for us to focus. Nearing the twelve-hour mark, I was in need of a break and Lee, sensitive to my fatigue, reassured me that taking a break is not a form of abandonment. I took my five minutes. Lee didn’t miss a beat. Our baby girl, Ellington, was born a healthy 6lbs., 1oz., and Lee remained present until she knew all things were taken care of. Soon after the birth I came over and hugged Lee: “Thank you.” I have never meant those words more. This is the first testimonial I have ever had to write. Hopefully, in the scant few words above, I have done some justice to the importance our doula played in the nine months leading up to, and the weeks that followed our birth. I have never met another doula, yet, somehow, I know, Lee is the benchmark. There are few things in life which are affordable yet priceless, a Doula is truly one of those things. And although we paid for the services of a doula, we earned the friendship of an exceptional person. Lee is, not was, our doula.

Chris C.