A woman who is trained to support another woman during childbirth and who may provide support the the family after the baby is born.
You've researched and found the best midwife or doctor for your pregnancy, so why would you need a doula? A doula supports the journey of pregnancy and birth from time of hire to the postpartum time and beyond. The doula's focus through the entire relationship is the needs of the mother and partner, mentally, physically, and emotionally. No matter what you envision, a doula is proven to ease the process of your baby's birth.
My husband (partner) is my left hand and my doula is my right." – from Doulas Making a Difference
My husband and I are so grateful to Hilary for her support throughout our pregnancy and during the birth of our sweet baby Mary! I found Hilary through doulamatch.net and was drawn to her focus on yoga. After emailing her (she is very responsive), she invited me to her prenatal yoga class. Not only is Hilary a wonderful, challenging yoga instructor, but the weekly class itself provided a rewarding support network- some of the women in the class are now dear friends of mine.
Outside of yoga class, Hilary was good at checking in with me- either because the pregnancy reached a milestone or because she could sense that I needed it. She always had great advice and reminded me of questions that I might want to discuss with the midwives. Hilary helped us flesh out the type of birth we wanted to have and supported our plans completely. By the time Mary's due date came around, I felt empowered to have an unmedicated birth (Hilary is supportive of other types of births as well- her focus is on making sure the choice is an educated one). However, if something had come up requiring medical intervention, I can't imagine not having her there to help work through that curveball.
When Mary went past her due date, Hilary was there with support as the days ticked on. When it was finally time for labor, she was constantly in touch with my husband and responded quickly when things progressed faster than anticipated. I cannot overstate what a relief it was to have her by my side.
Mary's birth would not have been the same without Hilary- being a birth doula is truly what she is meant to do. Do not hesitate to hire her!
It's been nearly three months since Hilary sat with me in my bathroom, helping me work through my strong contractions. It's been nearly three months, but I remember it like it was yesterday, and I trully believe that my birth story would not have been as great without her support.
I met Hilary as a student at her prenatal yoga classes, and after one class, I was hooked. At that point, I wasn't even sure I wanted a doula, but I was moved by how great I felt during and after that yoga session. In her class, I was able to work as hard as my body wanted to work. She helped us listen to ourselves, and I never once felt out of place, whether it was a day when I was doing all of the "easy" modifications or the day when I was on the "advanced" spectrum of the yoga postures. We practiced moving with our breath and she helped us to relax, to smile, through the challenges. It was perfect.
Hilary is fantastic at connecting with you and bringing out of you the strength you already have. It goes without saying that she is knowledgeable at what she does, and that she is a wonderful resource. It goes without saying that she is strong and can do amazing counter-pressure massage at the right point in labor. However, what was so special for me is that she enabled me to trust myself and my body through labor. With her, I was not worried or tense, my mind was not preoccupied with any unnecessaary thoughts.
Hilary helped my labor for about two hours at home and when we arrived at the hospital, I was complete and ready to push. My first child, my son, was born two hours later. Fully unmedicated, no intervention birth.
Yes, I'm strong. Yes, I had a great medical team with VCU midwives. But, I couldn't have done it without Hilary! Thank you!!
Not only was Hilary’s prenatal yoga class the best weekly gift that I gave to myself during my pregnancy, it was also the most useful tool that I used to prepare myself for my unmedicated labor, both physically and mentally. Of all the prenatal yoga classes that I have attended, hers was the most physically demanding workout (if I wanted it to be). Yet, it was also the most relaxing and rejuvenating part of my week. With the help of Hilary’s calm, encouraging, down-to-earth tone, I found myself surpassing what I thought I could do physically, week after week. After over a decade of sporadic yoga practice, through her class, I really learned the incredible power of my own breath, the realness of “mind over matter”, and my own tremendous strength when I set my mind to something. I also attribute my rapid recovery to my prenatal yoga practice.
Her class is also a great place to meet other mamas and to learn through other mamas’ experiences.
As our prenatal doula, Hilary really helped my husband and I flesh out our birth plan, and to think through and make informed prenatal, birth, and post-partum decisions, all of which helped me achieve not only the unmedicated birth that I wanted (of a beautiful, healthy, 9 lb. 3 oz. boy!), but also one of the best/happiest experiences of our lives. We had a wonderful post-partum visit with Hilary at our home (she brought useful resources, tips, and a nourishing meal). I highly recommend her services.
Hilary provided wonderful support for us for the birth of our daughter in May 2015. My husband and I chose Hilary because she was cheerful, caring, upbeat and confident -- all attributes we thought we'd want with us in the delivery room. We didn't realize how much she'd also help in preparation, during early labor at home, and after delivery!
We built a relationship with Hilary through the standard preparatory meetings, but also through weekly prenatal yoga classes. As a yogi, having someone speak the same yoga language of 'breathing through discomfort' and 'listening to your body' seemed helpful. And the weekly classes provided not only a great outlet for me, but also a good opportunity for Hilary and me to get to know each other better in the months before the birth.
During the prep visits, Hilary helped my husband and me think through/articulate our vision for the birth. She also got a good feel for how best to help us, including how to help my husband be the best partner possible during the main event. He had been concerned that a doula might 'replace' him or irritate him by somehow suggesting he was doing things wrong.
I don't remember much about actual labor other than barking orders about water temperature and more ice cold cloths for my head, but Hilary was steady and calming, skillfully brushing aside my "I can't do this..." cries with reassuring and confident "you ARE doing this!". My husband says, "she was very good at working with me to meet your needs" -- strong praise considering his earlier concerns -- and he noted that at times those 'needs' required more than one person's hands/patience, so they were able trade off or work together to develop a sort-of assembly line of cold towels, for example.
After delivery, Hilary checked on us, offering useful resources, tips, and a delicious meal. We would highly recommend her. She was knowledgeable, accessible, and reliable. She proved invaluable during our delivery.
I hired Hilary when I found out my husband had army training two weeks before my due date. I felt like I needed guidance if I went into labor while he was gone. As it turns out, baby came much earlier, as I was induced three weeks early. I needed Hilary even more during the induction than I realized! Hilary constantly thought several steps ahead and thought of questions I needed to ask before I even realized I needed that information. She gave me questions to ask my doctors and found resources to help me through very specific complications. She helped guide me through a pregnancy that became more and more high-risk as time went on. Neither my husband nor I know what we would have done had I not had her to guide me through induction and birth. the birth I had hoped for ended up taking the better part of a week. Hilary was there
through every step. She guided me through pain management, allowing me to use resources like epidurals and other medications at the most effective time. I likely would have ended up in a Caesarian section had she not encouraged me through birth. She gave me specific tools like coaching, breathing techniques, aroma therapy, massage, and information about the entire induction process. One of everyone's favorite Hilary contributions was the strands of Christmas lights that she hung up when I first arrived at the hospital. All the nurses and doctors remarked how peaceful it made our room. Things are still hazy for me, but her presence shines through my memories of this incredible life event. Lastly my husband would say to all husbands, "you want her there!"
When Hilary first asked me what kind of birth I wanted, I said, "I want to feel safe." Hilary arrived at my house at 7 AM on what would be my son’s birth day. My eyes were closed, but I knew she was there because I felt her cool hands on my back. Her touch was filled with wisdom and strength and experience. I felt safe, like my mother was there with me. As part of her strategy to keep me feeling safe, Hilary encouraged me to labor at home as long as possible. She put sticky notes over the clocks in our house--another effort to keep me feeling secure. I was on my own and my baby’s clock and didn’t need to be concerned with anything else.
At the hospital, Hilary hung my mantras over the tub and strung Christmas lights around the sink. She helped me have the labor I wanted, suggesting comfort measures and calmly encouraging me. Her voice was always at the perfect volume. A few times, she noted tension in my body that I wasn’t even aware of and helped me relax into it. I was impressed by how much she noticed and how intuitive she was--like she had known me my whole life.
I had a few conscious thoughts during birth: One was that I couldn’t have possibly done this without Hilary--the birth, the labor, the pregnancy. She had answered my every email and text with good information. She had called to check in. She had shared suggestions for dealing with the terrible cold I caught at the end of my pregnancy. She had connected with me every Saturday at yoga. She had made my husband feel calm, knowledgeable, important. She had supported my birth plan and stayed by my side while respecting and helping to preserve the safety and privacy I had asked for.
We are tremendously grateful for Hilary, and would strongly recommend her to couples looking for a knowledgeable, experienced, and loving doula.
Hilary Scribner was an amazing asset for Lulu and I during our first birth for our beautiful daughter. Our labor experience was long and with her helpful insights as well as great relationship with the VCU Midwives, our experience became much easier. I relied on and trusted Hilary's knowledge and am glad we did. If we had to do it over again, we would definitely hire Hilary again and would recommend her to other couples considering a doula. Many thanks Hilary!!
Because of Hilary, I was able to have the birth that I wanted. Half way through my second pregnancy, I decided to have a VBAC. The emergency c-section I had with my first son was traumatic and left me nervous and depressed. I was determined to remain positive and take control of what factors I could to avoid the same with my second birth. I scrutinized my doctor on VBAC's to make sure we were of the same mind and prepared my body by attending regular yoga classes.
It was there that I met Hilary. As my yoga instructor, Hilary helped me rediscover my own strength. I left each class invigorated, powerful, and optimistic. I didn't have a doula for my first birth, but my husband and I decided that we wanted support and Hilary was the natural choice. She proved her value many times over when, a week before my due date, my doctor told me that she was going away and her team was not on board with my birth plan. I was in shock - memories of my first birth flooded my mind and I was completely deflated. Hilary did not miss a beat when I relayed the bad news: she suggested I switch doctors. I was terrified. My son was due to arrive in a week and I was walking away from the doctor who had been with me the prior nine months. But what was clear to Hilary, and what I knew deep down, was that I was too shaken by the turn of events to maintain my confidence and that we needed to regain control of the situation. Hilary contacted every midwife, doctor, and doula she knew. Less than an hour later, I was contacted by a doctor who invited me to see him that day.
A week later, I had an amazing VBAC at the new hospital. I was surrounded by people who trusted me and my decisions and whose caring hands supported me in the two-hour whirlwind that the delivery turned out to be. Hilary was a constant reminder of how strong I am. Her voice kept me grounded that day and her faith in my ability to birth my son was the reason my experience was so beautiful. Thank you, Hilary.
We are so glad we hired Hilary to be our doula for the birth of our first child. Hilary was very generous with the time she was willing to spend with us in our pre-natal appointments - educating us on our provider, hospital, and birth options and helping us prioritize what was important to us. We used all of the information she provided to stay strong through labor and delivery and understand that the pain I was feeling wasn't meant to be scary but that it indicated progress. Hilary was also extremely helpful in the first few weeks post partum - she brought a delicious meal for the visit and helped track down breastfeeding resources when I had oversupply issues when our daughter was 4 weeks old. She was a joy to work with, we were well taken care of, and we were so grateful for her to be such an integral part of the birth of our first baby.
After having our first baby, my husband and I agreed that having Hilary as our doula was one of our best decisions. She not only advocated for my choices, but she was a necessary support for my husband. She was exactly the loving and encouraging hands and voice that we needed. Her services helped us to have the birth experience we desired.
Hilary was an invaluable resource for me when my first child was born this year. She was constantly available whenever I had questions, concerns, or just needed someone to talk to during my pregnancy. Her prenatal counseling and information made me feel extremely confident when labor began, as well as throughout the birth. Thanks to Hilary, I knew exactly what to expect and felt that her preparation allowed me to be much more relaxed than I would have been otherwise. I ended up having a very smooth labor and delivery, and Hilary's guidance before and during the birth definitely contributed greatly. She helped me achieve the birth that I wanted. I can't recommend Hilary Scribner's services enough.
We were gifted with Hilary's calmness, kindness and support during the labor and birth of our little boy Mateo. When Hilary arrived she offered relief and sense that everything was going to be ok. Hilary was incredibly attentive to our needs and fully present. She also worked well with the other members of our birth team. I highly recommend her services and would be honored to have her at another birth if we decide to have another child.
Birth is not only about making babies. It's about making mothers; strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and believe in their inner strength."
Barbara Katz Rothman