I cannot say enough about how wonderful Dara is. This was our second time using Dara as our doula and it was (again) the best decision we could have made for the birth of our 2nd son. She was there every step of the way informing us of so many knowledgeable tips and tricks for labor.
We had some hiccups throughout this pregnancy and she was constantly there to help guide us. Our baby boy was Breech and possibly growth restricted, leading us to have a scheduled external cephalic version with an induction to follow. After finding out this news Dara was always checking in to comfort and educate us more on these procedures. Her support was crucial the entire pregnancy as well as during labor.
With her guidance, I was successfully able to deliver my son unmedicated. We applied the breathing techniques and counter pressure she taught us and I can say I would not have been prepared or had the same outcome without her. She has grown into a great friend and I feel very lucky to have had her as my doula.
Having Dara as our birth doula completely enriched our experience and helped us feel confident and prepared for the delivery of our daughter. At our 1st meeting, it was clear to us that Dara was professional and organized. My husband and I marveled over the personalized binder that she prepared for us in advance. Additionally, we found her prenatal visits extremely beneficial for our preparation. She took her time providing information at each visit and even took time to provide resources to questions we had along the way.
The most impactful benefit for us choosing a doula was having help preparing and honoring our birth plan. Dara put together a perfect, easy to read document that even my nurses and doctor complimented. Due to health reasons, I had to be induced before my due date. Cervical ripening and induction is long process and Dara was there the entire time helping me manage through my painful contractions using the techniques she taught me previously. She also helped provide balance to my husband who could then take breaks to rest and eat.
Dara made me feel empowered to intelligently question and discuss actions with the nurses and doctors. One example is how after 24 hours of labor, and not being allowed to eat during and with little progress, Dara told me that I could ask to temporarily stop the induction and ask for dinner and a shower. I had no idea I could even request this and was delighted when the doctor complied.
At the end I made a decision to deviate from some of the actions on my original birth plan. I appreciate that Dara reminded me of my original plan but fully supported all of my decisions. If it weren’t for her I know we would not have felt so confident and also may not have had the experience we wanted. Dara stayed through the delivery of our daughter and will forever be part of our family.
We decided to get a Doula because being our first child, we wanted to be as informed as possible to avoid unnecessary medical intervention. We did not know what to expect since no one we knew had used a doula before. Our expectations were exceeded beyond measure. From the educational meetings to her applying counter-pressure techniques during our 40 hour, unmedicated (!!!) labor, Dara was incredible and absolutely indispensable. We will definitely hire Dara again if we have a second child!
Dara is incredible, and was the perfect support for the birth of our second child. From our first meeting, she was very easy to talk with and provided great educational materials, helping us go into this birth more prepared than our first. This proved critical, since at 37 weeks, the baby was breech and flipped every few days (variable lay). Dara was a great sounding board for thinking through all of the info the medical team threw at me, as well as ideas for naturally turning a breech baby (including a rec for a great chiropractor).
I was scheduled for a manual version and induction at 39 weeks. When we were admitted at the hospital, the baby was head down, but since they did not know where he would be day-to-day and could be risky if I went into spontaneous labor, they encouraged me to stay and start with gentler/non-medicinal forms of induction.
We called Dara about 12 hours in, and she stuck with us for the next 24 hours! She jumped right in, providing me direct comfort and coaching my husband. She encouraged lots of movement and changing of positions, and we spent lots of time walking the halls together with easy conversation that lightened things up when contractions stalled out. After about 30 hours of early labor, unable to advance with natural induction, we started with a small dosage of Pitocin. Things progressed fairly quickly from there and with Dara’s help and my husband, I labored those final hours in upright/squatting positions with a calm and intense focus. Dara was a comforting presence throughout. She encouraged a kneeling position for pushing, which felt incredibly natural.
Our beautiful baby boy arrived just after midnight. No pain meds. No stitches. Recovery has been very smooth. Although I had hoped for laboring mostly at home and having no medical interventions, I think that I was able to go into the hospital more empowered and still really own my birth in the end – and Dara was a huge part of making that possible!
Dara is truly an amazing doula, dependable, knowledgeable, personable and supportive. I am so glad we chose her to be our doula. I learned so much from her about the process of birthing and my options that I was unaware of before. She was very supportive during my pregnancy, labor and postpartum. She helped me to be less afraid going into the labor experience, especially being that it was my first baby. She educated me on what to expect to prepare, gave me tips to get through during labor, light massage, coaching and breathing techniques to get through contractions. She was very attentive to my needs and I was so grateful to have someone there who had my best interest at heart. My husband and I would recommend her with no hesitation.
We're so glad we had Dara as our doula for our first child! She gave us confidence to advocate for our birth preferences throughout a long and slow-progressing labor. On one occasion one of the hospital doctors that spoke to us stated simply that Ashleigh's plan was not a good idea. After the doctor left the room Dara was able to soften the blow for Ashleigh and help us talk through a plan that ultimately was successful and took our preferences into account. Later, a nurse said something upsetting and Dara quickly pointed out this person used fear tactics to explain what to expect; this became more and more clear throughout her shift, and it was so helpful to have that frame when she spoke, so as to not become overwhelmed by her words.
Because Dara was there Ryan was able to take breaks to eat and rest so he could be ready to step back in better than before. There were times when no amount of physical contact or positive reinforcement from Ryan would help, but if it was coming from Dara, Ashleigh was able to push through some of the tougher points of the long labor.
She struck the perfect balance of offering ideas when we were stuck, staying in the background as support for Ryan, allowing him to really shine as a birth partner, and encouraging Ashleigh when she became discouraged.
Dara was professional, kind, caring, and surprised us by both being physically engaged in the birth itself and taking countless pictures and priceless videos of those moments. We will certainly call upon her again if we are lucky enough to have a second child!
Dara was an amazing doula. I couldn't imagine having more children without her by my side! I hired Dara to assist with the birth of my 4th child. Two of my children were born via cesarean and I desperately wanted to have a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC). My OB was not supportive of this, but did advise that I could have a vaginal birth after cesarean if I came to the hospital "ready to push." So I sought out Dara to provide support to me while I labored at home. There is no way I would have been able to get my TOLAC without her.
Dara was friendly, resourceful, reliable, honest and confident. She had a calming demeanor, but was assertive when necessary. Above all, she was dedicated to fully supporting me in any way possible. She stuck it out with me for over 24 hours, helping me with breathing and optimal positioning as well as making sure I was resting and staying hydrated. My comfort was always her top priority. At times when I wanted to give up, she encouraged me to focus and center my attention back to my goal. When signs arose that I was heading into transition, she didn't hesitate to let me know she felt it was time for me to be evaluated at the hospital despite my hesitation and fear.
Dara was also quite helpful in preparing and coaching my husband through the laboring process. She was approachable and made my husband feel comfortable and confident in his ability to support me through it all. She provided us with tons of reading materials, videos and other information during our prenatal visits and she followed up with us after the visits to discuss any questions or concerns we had.
In summary, I highly recommend Dara as a birth doula and am forever indebted to her for her support and services. The birth of a child is an indescribable experience that often does not play out as one would wish. Hiring Dara as my doula ensured that my needs and wishes were respected and met.
Working with Dara truly made the birth of our first child a smooth and memorable experience. We opted for her birth doula services, and later opted to add lactation consultation as well. All of our interactions were informative, professional and comforting. She answered all of our questions prior to the birth of our daughter with grace and understanding. She was especially helpful in explaining and demonstrating how she would support dad in supporting mom during the entire process.
During labor Dara was crucial! She provided us with a sense of calm, but also authority over how our birth experience was going to go. She had all of the little things that we forgot in the moment. She provided a fan, applied chapstick, tied up mama’s hair, and reminded us to hydrate and breathe. We could not have had our natural birth without her! After our daughter was born, we both marveled at how close we felt to Dara, she truly felt like a part of our family! When we decide on baby number 2, we definitely hope to have Dara support us again!
We loved having Dara as our doula! She was wonderful, and we 100% recommend her. I especially appreciated that she conducted two pre-natal visits - the first was really just to get to know each other and understand our hopes for our birth and go through our preferences, and the second visit we practiced some actual labor and birthing positions and breathing exercises, which I found really helpful and reassuring. My husband and I were able to practice these later, and it was empowering to feel like we could prepare some ahead of time (as much as one can).
One thing she said that stayed with me was that she didn't want me to be trying or experiencing something during labor for the first time (other than labor itself). She was also willing to and suggested including our four-year-old daughter in the second visit (as much as was appropriate), and I really appreciated that suggestion. This was helpful for our daughter to feel a bit more involved and educated about the process.
The day of our birth, Dara was available by text and phone as we decided to leave for the hospital, and she joined us at the hospital once I was admitted. Throughout the day she was always available, a steady but not invasive presence, as my husband and mom were also involved in the birth. She offered helpful suggestions and necessary relief, and she was a source of knowledge and calm when things got more intense. I have distinct memories of her calm voice reminding me to breathe during the toughest of contractions.
She offered counterpressure and other reliefs (including cold cloths and pressure techniques to help me focus), and she was receptive and not offended when I said "No", especially when I started experiencing severe pain from back labor and any pressure on my back was terribly uncomfortable. She reminded me to drink and eat, pee and generally took great care to keep me focused and as rested as possible.
When my labor stalled and the midwife recommended I get an epidural so I could rest, Dara offered her professional feedback and reflected my preferences back to me. When I eventually had to have an emergency c-section, again she was there comforting me and reassuring me that we, in fact, had done everything we could to achieve the birth I so wished for, but eventually couldn't have. She was also there in recovery to congratulate us on the birth of our son and to assure us that we had been true to our birth vision despite the complications that arose. All in all, she stayed with us in the hospital for close to 16 hours, I believe, and it was a pleasure to have her join us in this huge moment in our lives.
Our post-partum visit was also very special, as we debriefed the labor process and my son's birth and were able to process it together - my mom and husband were present for the post-partum visit, so it was special to have our little team of four together again to reflect on what was one of the most significant days of my life. Dara offered her encouragement and feedback and was wonderful in affirming our process throughout. She remains available to me, and I plan on keeping her updated with our son's progress. We are so appreciative of her involvement in our birth story and are happy to recommend her for yours!
When my wife told me she wanted to try a natural labor, I thought she was nuts. Why would anyone want to go through that “suffering” when an epidural is available. After some research I quickly learned I was mistaken and child birth does not have to be like what you see in the movies. My wife found Dara and after our initial meeting, we knew she would be an amazing fit for us. We felt she had a presence about her that would make us feel calm, comfortable, and safe during birth.
She was always available for any questions and concerns and she explained everything in detail of what we would experience.
I remember mentioning many times that I just feel so much more prepared. I can’t imagine going to the hospital blind with no knowledge and believe everyone should have a doula. She provided us with techniques and strategies on how to manage discomfort during labor and step by step details of our stay at the hospital and what would happen before and after labor. But most importantly, she made you feel cared for and in safe hands.
We were aware from the beginning that Dara would be returning from vacation a day prior to our due date and there was a chance she could miss the birth. Unfortunately my wife went into labor a day before Dara was home, but we were provided with a backup doula far in advance.
Due to all the information and knowledge Dara provided, my wife was still able to deliver our baby naturally. It was an amazing experience and we can’t thank her enough! She also has been there for questions and comfort post-delivery. She has not only been an excellence source of support, but has also turned into a great friend!
Upon meeting Dara, my husband and I were blown away by her tranquil composure. Her voice and demeanor were so settling and assuring we knew she’d be the perfect fit for our journey. From that point on Dara has been nothing sort of that. She has provided us with such sound advice and amazing knowledge from birth to postpartum.
Her education of comfort measures and positioning were so reassuring that natural birth can be a pleasurable experience and subsided many of my fears. Although we weren’t able to have Dara present during our birth (we were fully aware this could be a possibility due to an already planned family vacation for her) and ended up with a back-up doula (she had set up for us before hand) we are so grateful for our experience with her.
Since delivering, Dara has been nothing short of a blessing. She has been there every step of the way even when she was away.
She has been the best support with breastfeeding and has given us such piece of mind as we navigate parenthood. I cannot thank her enough for all of the love and support she’s provided our family and would recommend her time and time again.
I knew from the moment I found out that I was pregnant that I wanted a doula. As an African American woman, I have read about the challenges we face in childbirth and knew that having a doula by my side would calm me and give me the support I needed for the labor and delivery experience that I wanted and that would be the best for me and my child.
I wanted someone there to help guide me through my pregnancy in the most natural way possible, but also someone who wasn’t judgmental if I decided, or if the universe decided, on other plans. Dara was exactly who we needed to guide us through the expected and unexpected of our labor and delivery and I am grateful for the role she played in the most special time in our lives.
She was a “sister-friend” who easily connected with my fiancé and I, and felt like a member of our family. She was a knowledgeable birth coach who gave us tips and tools to prepare my body, mind and spirit as we prepared for labor and delivery. She was a listening ear, support system and calming presence when everything about my labor and delivery unexpectedly led us to a c section. During postpartum support she was extremely helpful, kind, caring and funny exactly when we needed her to be.
We will be forever grateful for all she has done for our family and will most certainly stay connected to her and have her in our lives if we are blessed to have another child.
My experience with Dara as my Doula was great. She was supportive from beginning to end. She was consistent with reaching out during appointments. She made sure I had no questions unanswered. I was in labor for over 12 hrs and she kept me calm and relaxed during my contractions. She allowed me follow my birth plan of giving a natural birth to be fulfilled, even when I wanted to give up. Dara encouraged me to keep pushing and I did. I delivered a healthy baby girl March 23rd at 5:17am with no rips or tears. I can say because of the support of my Doula and her helping me and my husband through labor, things went smoother and less stressful.
Dara the Birth Doula
Serving The South Jersey Area
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