A little about me…

Hi! I’m Deanna, mom of 9 and grandmother of 1 so far and I’m a Doula.

1. Why did you decide to become a doula?
I have always believed that knowledge and support can help every family through the process of pregnancy and birth. After watching how my own daughter was ‘left behind’ in her own birth experience by all of the misinformation she was given by friends and family, and the lack of forthcoming information from her medical team, I knew I wanted better for her next time…and better for every mom. You don’t know what you don’t know, and sadly, that opens you up to believing wrong information from others, even experienced moms, and you simply don’t know what to ask your medical team. You get left behind.

2. What are your hobbies, passions, diversions, etc.?
I am a long time homemaker and mother, focusing most of my life and hobbies around family. I sew, work with yarn, garden, bake and create meals from scratch, homeschool, and continue to pursue personal studies of my own through a love of reading. Besides doula work, I am also working to enhance my knowledge of natural healing and plant-based medicines through herbal studies.
3. What is your philosophy about birth?
Women are strong, capable beings. I believe birth has become so medicalized and impersonal that many women have lost their sense of strength in their ability.  Pregnancy is not a disease to be treated, it is a process to absorb and to welcome.

4. A little something about your personal life
I obviously have a passion for birth…I have 9 biological babies of my own. My husband and I have a small homestead full of children and animals where we have homeschooled for going on 19 years. Our current project at home is dog rescues. I simply can’t turn down the opportunity to be around babies, lol.

5. What specialties, unique qualities do you have that might make someone want to hire you specifically?
As a mom myself I understand the ups and downs of pregnancy and birth. I can relate to the first-time mom as she journeys into motherhood, as well as to the mom wondering how to manage a newborn with toddlers and other siblings already at home. I have a variety of personal birth experiences of my own…from unplanned pregnancies to emergency cesarean sections to VBACs to high risk issues, and both medicated and natural births. I have suffered through the birth and loss of our daughter at 26 weeks gestation and subsequently aided our hospital in helping high risk moms and those suffering losses by sharing in bereavement support.  As a grandmother now, I take an interest in sharing my own knowledge along with evidence-based information so that every mom can have access to their own best birth experience.

As a grandmother now, I take an interest in sharing my own knowledge along with evidence-based information so that every mom can have access to their own best birth experience.  As a doula I am there to support you, the birthing family, by helping you know what you don’t know, by sharing evidence-based articles and techniques that will ease your anxieties and empower you to become even more confident with your labor and with your journey into parenthood.

We will work together to find which comfort measures are best suited for you, whether you choose a natural birth, one with pain medications, or even a cesarean section. This is YOUR birth and regardless of the methods you choose, we will work together and make it the best experience for you.

 

I look forward to meeting with you and discussing how a Doula can benefit your birth experience. Call today to schedule your free consultation!

 

Blessings,

Deanna

 

 

 

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The Baby Boom

Of course, this is still relatively early in the year as well as early in my certification process, but I would call talking to 3 potential clients a baby boom 🙂

What exactly are my Birth Services? I am going thru the necessary certification to become a Labor Doula…and a Postpartum Doula…and a Bereavement Doula.

As a Labor Doula…

  • Meet with you and your partner to discuss your needs and desires for labor, birth and postpartum; help define and understand your expectations, provide you with informational, emotional, and physical support and encouragement, as well as some useful, practical tools for your labor and birth.
  • Birth Preferences assistance to help you clarify your desires for birth and explain the options available to you
  • Share some resources to encourage your own learning, such as books, videos, websites, and more, regarding pregnancy, labor and delivery, baby care, and motherhood.
  • I am there with you as long as you need me, providing continuous support to both you and your partner for the duration of your labor and birth…whether this lasts 3 hours or 3 days!
  • I can help you with that Golden Hour immediately following your child’s birth, helping you establish your relationship, initial breastfeeding support, bonding, etc.
  • We will share 2 postpartum visits to celebrate your baby’s arrival, answer any questions or address any concerns you have as you start your journey to motherhood for the first time or even the 5th time.
  • Unlimited phone, text, or email support to share information and answer questions during your pregnancy and early labor.

As a Postpartum Doula…

  •  4 visits (more if you’d like) to help encourage and maintain breastfeeding, ask questions, address your concerns about issues of motherhood, etc
  • Unlimited phone, text, email support for a full 6 weeks postpartum period
  • Emotional and physical support for your recovery
  • I can help you with light housekeeping, meal prep, sibling care, etc. to help your get into your new routine
  • Assistance with newborn care (bathing, feeding, diapering, comfort measures, etc)
  • How to recognize signs of postpartum depression
  • traditional methods of birth recovery

As a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Doula, I will be there with you for you to lean on, to cry on, and to talk to about the grief process involved with losing a child at any stage during pregnancy or early life. I have walked that path myself, knowing ahead of time what our outcome would be, waiting for that final day to arrive, having to say goodbye and find a way to gather mementos of her brief life, then begin to learn to process all the feelings of grief we go thru. I want to be there to help other parents during this season of their lives.

How much does a Doula cost?

There has been a great deal of discussion as to how much a doula charges and what the fees are for. I found a great article by another blogger, detailing typical client fees and how she arrives at her amount, what it’s used for, etc. I’ll share it here, though I have yet to really determine a fee structure of my own. I want to make myself available to ALL potential clients, regardless of whether they can pay or not, but of course, I would also like to be compensated for the educational costs, the materials and supplies used, and so on.  My ultimate plan is to offer a sliding scale, and of course, bartering for services. Most people tend to view free as being not very valuable and will often place more importance, more worth, on something they pay for, even if the amount is small. In our area, bartering is also perceived as having more ‘worth’ than free services. It will take a while for me to find that perfect zone, where I can make some money and provide the services I want, having the material needs to make it a practical venture, etc. There is a lot of time, research, printing and other needs in creating any business and a Doula is no different.

 

Here’s that breakdown…

A Breakdown of a Doula's Fees - Why Doulas Charge What they Do

Let’s just break down one of my Houston doula packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy and Labor Package

    • Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours
    • Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours
    • Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
    • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
    • 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date –

Can you really put a time on that?

  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours
  • Pictures of labor and birth with my camera as well as yours
  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours

With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients.  If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re at 28 hours.

Travel

The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way.  These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.

  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $53.75

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
  • Credit Card or Paypal Fees (if you accept this form of payment – Thanks Robin!) – Approximately 2%-3%

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 36 hours
  • Childcare – $100
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $54
  • Misc – $15

Let’s do the Math

Remember the Taxes

Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Thank you, Susan, for reminding me!

This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.

Doula Fee –  $400
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $221
Approximately $6.14 per hour (not even minimum wage) – $53.20 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $500
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $321
Approximately $8.92 per hour – $66.50 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $600
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $421
Approximately $11.69 per hour – $79.80 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $700
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $521
Approximately $14.47 per hour – $93.10 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $800
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $621
Approximately $17.25 per hour – $106.40 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $900
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $721
Approximately $20.03 per hour – $119.70 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $1,000
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $821
Approximately $22.81 per hour – $133.00 Self Employment Tax

Again, this is based on my time and expenses.  Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time.  This is all approximations.

In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget?  Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team.  Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!