My experience with Brandie started when I was 39 weeks pregnant. I had tossed around the idea of having a natural childbirth all of my pregnancy but was too scared to commit to it. I was in fear of all the pain I would be in. Until one day, I decided to look up doulas in my area. Brandie's name was the first one I saw so I thought, "I'll just email her and see what happens." To my surprise, she called me within an hour of writing that email. She was so sweet and easy to talk to. I asked her if it would be too late to have her help, and she said absolutely not! She suggested that I read a book on natural childbirth. For the next couple days, I was hooked on that book and researching everything I could about going natural.
She came out to our house that next week to meet my husband and I and I felt an instant connection with her. I felt very comfortable, and that's not normal for me!!! She took me through some relaxation exercises; and to my surprise, I was able to really relax. After our first meeting I had the confidence and the determination that with her help, I could do this!!! Brandie would call and check on me every week which was so nice. I was getting discouraged cause I thought, this being our third child, she would come early. She had other plans, and Brandie reassured me that she will come when she's ready, that God has a perfect plan for her. She was right! At 41 weeks, I called Brandie early in the morning and said I think today's the day!! Brandie met us at the hospital and within 2 hours our baby girl came.
I know that I couldn't have had her naturally without Brandie by my side. She kept me calm and relaxed the whole time. She gave me confidence in myself that I didn't know I had. I recommend anyone who is thinking about going natural to have Brandie by your side. She is truly an angel and someone who I will hold dear to my heart.
- Angie Stevenson
My husband and I interviewed several doulas. When we met Brandie, I felt an immediate connection. She had a quiet confidence about her and the right blend of talking and listening. Brandie's care went beyond our two prenatal visits and attending our birth. She took the time to really get to know us and establish a solid relationship. As our relationship progressed, I was thankful for Brandie's availability. Whenever I had questions or concerns, she responded promptly, whether through e-mail, phone calls, or text messages. By the time of our birth, I felt a close kinship to Brandie. Through our long labor and delivery, Brandie's presence was a source of peace. She was perceptive to my needs, whether I needed physical touch, words of encouragement, or relaxation and imagery techniques. When the pushing was intense, I felt like I had a personal cheerleader by my side, supporting me every step of the way. Brandie was an invaluable part of our birth team and I can't imagine what it would have been like without her. We are so thankful for her!
- Miranda McLean
For the birth of our second child, Mike and I knew we wanted things to be different than with the first. With our daughter, I had been induced at just over 40 weeks which led to more medical intervention than I ever dreamed. To have a natural birth would be a different kind of challenge though. And though he had been there in every way I needed him the first time, I knew I would need more emotionally from my husband with a natural birth.
When we interviewed Brandie, I just had the right feeling about her. She had a peaceful, respectful and warm presence. I knew that I wanted her to be our birthing support. Getting to know her over the following several weeks was smooth and as pleasant as I had hoped.
When the day came that our baby was on the way, Brandie got to the birthing center first. She was prepared with my calming oils and ready to step in wherever she was needed. When my labor really started rising in intensity, I needed to hold Mike's hand or look into his eyes for encouragement to get me through. During those times, Brandie provided counter pressure on my back, a fan when I was so overheated, a trash can when I felt nauseous, and overall, trusted, knowledgeable and feminine advocacy when Mike and I were caught up in the emotion of everything. Her presence was calming but empowering. Her actions helped relieve discomfort. She took the pressure off of Mike to have to be "errand boy" and instead, he could be the emotional support that I needed. By having Brandie there with us, it allowed for Mike to be a part of the emotional experience. And when my son was born, after we settled in, nursing was off to a good start, and I had gotten a bit to eat, Brandie quietly said goodbye and left Mike and me to absorb our newest little family member.
We were able to have the birth experience that I feel everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy. I believe women are powerful during the birthing of their children. It isn't that I couldn't have done it without Brandie, but having her there helped me believe that I absolutely could.
- Sarah Mayfield
Choosing Brandie as our doula was the best decision I made while pregnant. Once I decided on a natural, drug-free birth, I decided to hire an experienced doula to help my husband and I through our first pregnancy/delivery. When I met Brandie I immediately felt a bond and knew she was the perfect fit for our family. Brandie went above and beyond in every way possible! She is so kind, compassionate, and caring. She has a very positive attitude but is also laid back and calm, which is needed in the ups and downs of pregnancy and labor. I knew I wanted to have a natural birth but was scared and fearful of the pain. She encouraged and taught me to have faith in myself and trust the process.
We met with her several times at our house to go over questions, birth plans, labor strategies and coping, etc. She even gave me an essential oil foot massage at one of the visits! She was always available by phone or text to answer any questions I had (and very prompt at returning calls and texts). She even attended one of my doctor’s appointments with me.
She labored at home with us before going to the hospital. We even took a walk while I was in labor. Brandie walked our dog, while my husband helped me through contractions. Brandie helped throughout the whole labor by doing counter pressure, suggesting different positions, providing relief for my husband, and encouraging me through the toughest parts of labor.
After I delivered, she helped me with some breastfeeding difficulties. She did a postpartum follow-up and brought me a CD with amazing pictures she took during labor and delivery (I didn't even know she has taken them so it was an amazing surprise)! In addition, she wrote out our entire birth story down to the exact times and quotes of things we said. I have no idea how she remembered everything so perfectly. Yet another unexpected surprise from her! It was so meaningful to hear the birth through her encouraging eyes. I cried when I read it and will cherish it always.
At first my husband was hesitate to spend the money, but after only the second time meeting with her he couldn't believe we weren't paying her more. She not only gave me the confidence and knowledge for a successful natural delivery, but also my husband. They worked as a great team through the entire labor.
I truly feel like Brandie is a family member. I couldn't imagine the experience without her. She helped to make my son’s birthday the best experience I could possibly imagine. I will definitely be calling her up next time I’m pregnant!
- Emily Ostertag
I wanted to share my point of view as the husband to what Brandie has meant to my wife and I, and our son. When my wife told me she was considering hiring a Doula for our delivery, I had to google what a Doula was. At first I was apprehensive of hiring a Doula, because we didn’t know of any friends that had used one, that could share their experience. The more we read online, the more I warmed up to the idea. My wife created a list of a few Doula’s and we set up meetings. As soon as we met with Brandie I knew our search was over. Going into the search, I had very few expectations of what role a Doula would actually play in the delivery. Looking back on the entire delivery experience, from planning to the actual birth I couldn’t have pictured Brandie not being there.
Brandie’s knowledge and experience the birthing process helped us prepare for the big day. Going over labor pain relief techniques and positions, pressure points, and relaxation techniques helped me understand my role as the husband. I feel like I learned more from our meetings with Brandie than I did reading, watching videos, and even taking the birthing class. She even helped us draw up a birth plan, and went over the entire thing with us, walking through every possible scenario.
When delivery day finally arrived, my wife and I were ready. We were able to labor at home, and Brandie was able to join us at home on call. She actually offered to come over sooner, but we felt our pre-labor was going really well. When Brandie arrived we decided to take a walk, since my wife is a very active person and wanted to stay active throughout labor. Brandie walked our dog, while my wife and I waddled ahead of her, hand-in-hand, occasionally taking breaks to use the “slow dance” technique during a contraction.
During the walk, and once we arrived home, Brandie would occasionally offer little reminders, or suggestions on different laboring positions that might help relieve my wife’s pain. Brandie’s experience in this area was so helpful, not only for my wife – but having her there freed me up to focus on my wife during the whole process. I can’t emphasize enough how important she was, in allowing me to focus on my wife, be in the moment with her and absorb every subtle nuance of the day. If Brandie had left us once we started packing up to leave for the hospital, I would have been incredibly grateful for the service she provided us and recommended her to all of our family and friends – but her care and service gets even better…
Once contractions started getting stronger, we packed up and went to the hospital – again Brandie made a very stressful transition from home to hospital a breeze.
At the hospital she helped to get us situated and continued to offer pointers here and there to me and my wife, and my mother-in-law, who joined in the fun. My wife was going for an all-natural labor, and was having ‘back labor’ pains, so Brandie helped to get us into the whirlpool tub, and turned a bland cookie-cutter hospital bathroom into a spa, with lights, and scents, and relaxing music.
Her calming and encouraging presence was a major influence on my wife and I, especially as labor got more and more painful. It was difficult for me to watch my wife in pain – so Brandie’s reassurances and knowledge of the delivery process were extra comforting. Plus she was prepared…prepared for EVERYTHING. Wife having an ache or a cramp in a certain position, and Brandie had a solution. Our exercise ball at home was too squishy, and Brandie ran to the car and got hers. I’m starting to think now that had it been necessary to jump out of an airplane to help re-position the baby for a more comfortable labor, Brandie would have revealed that she had her pilot’s license, and had a Cessna lined up with parachutes packed.
During the entire labor, my mother-in-law, Brandie, and me were applying pressure points on my wife’s hips and back, which was helping her cope with the pain of ‘back labor’. Every single contraction for over eight hours, two of us were pushing, and one of us was supporting my wife’s upper body, letting her hang around our necks taking the pressure off her torso. We were a team and Brandie was our comforting, encouraging, and reassuring leader.
When our baby boy finally arrived, my wife was exhausted, as was her support team. Brandie’s work wasn’t finished, however. As it turns out she had been taking photos and documenting the entire day for us. As soon as we got home from the hospital, Brandie provided us with a cd of all the photos she had taken throughout labor, along with a written story of our birth – such an emotional and thorough documentation. Reading it allowed my wife and I to experience the joy all over again – even parts we would have forgotten due to the intensity of the day. Brandie even remembered little quotes and things I was telling my wife during delivery. It was amazing. Brandie now feels like a part of our family. During birth I recall thinking that the way Brandie and my wife were interacting was like they’d known each other their entire lives, like Brandie was my wife’s Aunt or God-mother.
I’m so grateful for Brandie and my wife for considering a Doula, then for finding her. Oh, and as I’m typing this up, Brandie is planning to stop by just to check up on the three of us! Best money we spent. Brandie will definitely be there for our next baby
- Brock Ostertag
We are so grateful to have had Jamie be such an integral, essential piece of our birth process! I feel so fortunate to have been made aware and educated on the choices that exist for a mom-to-be ̶ so many of my friends were not and their experiences weren’t as positive. Jamie was a great resource in helping us acknowledge our fears and concerns we had surrounding the process. She gave us great advice along the way to help us be prepared and led the way to the cherished birth experience we had. I am confident our experience would not have been as amazing as it was had Jamie not been there. We cannot thank her enough for making such a life-altering experience such a positive one for us.
- Margaret H.
At 37 weeks along we decided we needed a doula and interviewed Jamie. We instantly had a connection with her. How could you not connect with such a sweet, kindhearted person! We were so grateful for her to accept us with such short notice and over the Christmas holiday! Jamie helped me get through early labor at my home with frequent calls to check up on me and with ideas for reducing the pain from contractions. She was a great support at the hospital as well. Jame helped get me through the pain without any pain meds and I'm not sure my husband or I would have stayed so calm without her. I would not change my birth experience for anything and much of that is because of Jamie. She was there not only for me but also for my husband. We plan to ask her to help us when we decide to have Baby #2!
- Dalyn N.
Jamie provided judgment free support by educating us, helping us set expectations about pregnancy and labor, and answering questions even now that my baby is 3 months old. Having Jamie in the delivery room was the best decision because, unlike the nurses at the hospital, she was there to concentrate on our needs exclusively. Her love and attention made all the difference in my labor process. I have never felt more supported than I felt with my husband and Jamie by my side.
- Marlese W.
Early on in pregnancy we excitedly decided to have our baby at a birth center (au naturel), but at the same time, we were a little overwhelmed by that. We, very late in the game, decided to look into hiring a doula. We sent online inquires to several different doulas and Jamie happened to be the first to reply...same evening! We set up a time to meet together and immediately feel in love with her personality (a perfect blend of calming and energizing) and didn't see a need to meet with anyone else. Jamie was an excellent resource for us; she was extremely helpful by providing research on various topics, but also in providing physical aides to encourage positive pregnancy, labor and delivery experiences. Knowing that she was available to us calmed my nerves as a new mom choosing to have a natural birth experience. Jamie helped my husband and I both to feel very empowered throughout the whole process. During the birth, she exuded a calming energy while also being a strong encourager to both my husband and myself. At times she was obviously present and other times she was selflessly working behind the scenes to ensure smooth transitions and a successful delivery experience. My husband and I would both recommend Jamie to anyone looking for a doula to accompany them through their pregnancy and beyond.
-Ben, Kelsey, and Addi
When I found out I was pregnant, my joy was mixed with stark fears. I was overwhelmed with love for the life growing inside me, but I often found myself awake at night worrying about the tasks my body needed to successfully perform to bring that child into the world. I had never developed confidence in myself when it came to anything physical. I have never been athletic, and my low pain tolerance is notorious in my family. Immediately I began joking about birth and pregnancy to mask or make light of my insecurities. "They can give me an epidural any day now," I quipped when I was just thirteen weeks along. I longed to be strong and able, but I was so afraid.
A coworker of mine and his wife used Jamie's services to prepare for their daughter's birth, and he told me even the first meetings with the doula did great things for his wife's peace of mind. I set up a meeting with Jamie very soon after hearing how she was helping my friends!
The most surprising change that Jamie contributed to my life was a real joy in both pregnancy and thinking about birth. Early on she encouraged me to "dream about" my baby's birth story. The readings she lent me equipped me with so many delightful stories of birth and motherhood! I realized it wasn't always a story of panic and horror. My husband and I discussed what we hoped the birthing day(s) would look like, and I unconsciously relaxed and planned with a new sense of excitement. Jamie had given my husband concrete ways he could help me bring our baby boy into the world, and we often wondered together what it would be like. It was a neat time.
The weeks before Owen came, I became someone who always felt like I was in labor! I was so thankful that Jamie was patient and encouraging as I sent her multiple texts listing off my various laboring symptoms. She was always excited to hear what was going on, even though I didn't actually go into labor until over a week after my first symptoms! It was also great to have someone so knowledgeable to talk to without getting our whole family on edge and scrutinizing my every ache and pain. I am a private person, so not feeling like I needed to talk to anyone besides Jamie was a big relief.
The day my son arrived will always be a golden one in my memory. I really did spend it exactly as I had "dreamed" of spending it... I am so glad Jamie encouraged me to list things I wanted to do during early labor! I cooked some of my favorite foods, cycled through some relaxing exercises Jamie had taught me and spent busy time in my garden. I didnt know for sure if I was in labor, because I felt very relaxed and I kept busy.
After many hours at home and a phone conversation with Jamie, my husband and I decided it was time to go to the hospital. When I was checked in triage, the nurses were shocked. I was already dilated to a nine! Jamie arrived quickly afterward and her presence was very steady and calming for my husband and me. She gave simple instructions and encouragements and helped me stay focused on surrendering to the work my body was doing. Looking back on it, I realize that I had never been so "in the moment" in my life! It was very intense, but I never panicked. I know this would not have been the case without Jamie's guidance in the weeks before labor, and her presence next to me during the birth. She is such a strong and calm person. I will never forget when it came time to push and Jamie said, "curl around your baby." I did, and suddenly I felt him leave my womb and enter the world! Even in that miraculous moment I remember thinking, "wow, that really worked!" My husband leaned in and told me I was the toughest person he had ever known. I don't know why, but that was the very best thing he could have ever said in that moment. I still think about it when I marvel at my glorious "mom body." (I am not kidding! I now love this body and am so thankful for it!)
Jamie's care didn't stop after the birth was over! My baby's entry into the world included a sizable tear and recovery took several weeks. Jamie checked in often and brought me multiple deliveries of heavenly "padcicles" and other supplies for recovery. She also helped my husband and me process our experience in the hospital and encouraged me to take my time recovering. I am so thankful we utilized Jamie's expertise in our birth journey. It was a transformative experience that altered not only our family by bringing out sweet boy into the world, but also changed how I understood my mental and physical strengths. Her guidance and support before, during and after the birth were the key ingredient in this remarkable journey. Thank you, Jamie!
- Hannah L.
Jamie was a vital part of our birth experience. My husband and I felt a positive connection with her from our first meeting. We were immediately drawn to her warm, peaceful and fun energy. She helped us prepare for the unmedicated birth which I desired. When I became two weeks overdue an induction was inevitable. I was scared and under-prepared for what would happen. Jamie explained what we could expect with the induction process and put our minds at ease.
During the birth she used techniques that helped with pain management and helped my husband understand how to help me during labor. They worked as a team to keep me comfortable and calm. It was awesome having someone in my corner amidst the changing nurses and doctors rotating in and out of my room. I felt safe with having her there. She was also able to give my husband a rest when he needed it. She helped him out as much as she helped me! Jamie stayed with us the entire time until after our beautiful daughter was born (and it took a pretty long time!)
Jamie went above and beyond our expectations. Her guidance before and during the birth was invaluable. Hiring a doula was an amazing choice for us. We can't recommend Jamie highly enough!
-Laurel and Jeff P.
My husband and I were elated when we found out I was pregnant. My excitement of adding to our family turned to fear and anxiousness when I thought about the birth process. Hospitals can be scary places and doctors can be intimidating with their lingo. I felt overwhelmed with decisions after meeting with a Maternity Counselor (provided by my job). There were so many things to think about. At that point, I had hoped to have a natural birth, but I wasn’t sure if I was mentally strong enough to do that. I was also intimidated with all the things that could “go wrong” when you are opting to do a natural birth (stalled labor, being “overdue”, etc.) My husband and I discussed getting a doula for several months. Finally, we decided we would meet a few people and see what we thought about it once we met them. We called a few Doulas in the KC area and met with Jamie that week.
My husband and I immediately loved her. One thing that was important to us was why was the doula a doula? Now, months later, I don’t remember her exact response. I do remember the exuberance she had when discussing this topic. We could tell that she had a strong desire to help women feel empowered during this time in their life. She was clearly excited to be a part of the birth process and help nurture woman (and husbands too) through the birth process and the post-partum stages, as well. She immediately put my husband and me at ease about the medical side of birth. She helped us believe that we do have choices about the birth process. After we met Jamie, there was no doubt that we wanted a Doula and we wanted Jamie to be our Doula!
During follow-up meetings, she gave us pointers as to discussions with our OB/GYN that can be touchy or tricky surrounding our birth plan. She asked clarifying questions related to our birth plan, so that we understood what our choices meant. She gave me exercises and meditations to practice and was readily available through the pregnancy for any questions or concerns I had.
During the labor process, Jamie was responsive via phone as my husband and I labored at home. I was hesitant to pull the trigger to have her come over because I didn’t want to waste her time if it was false labor or if I ended laboring for a long time. She sensed that she was needed and headed over anyway, thankfully. She was only at home with us for a short period before we headed to the hospital. I distinctly remember Jamie’s positive affirmations during labor. Her verbal and physical support kept me headed in the right direction and kept me focused on seeing our little baby. I, without a doubt, felt like I could do this.
We were blessed to be able to follow our birth plan and I believe that Jamie was an integral part of that success. Jamie’s support didn’t stop there. She helped me, a first time mom, with so many questions and concerns immediately after birth to weeks later. Overall, we couldn’t have made a better choice; we are thankful and blessed to have found Jamie!
Tina & Jamie B.