To Create Systemic Change in Hospital Birth for Everyone, Everywhere!
Our collective experience of knowing the need for more support in hospital birthing began long before we even dreamt of our venture.
Before I even knew what a doula was, I instinctively knew I wanted and needed a trusted woman for additional support in my hospital labor. I created the role by asking a trusted massage therapist to be there for me. I even constructed a solid birth plan before it was in fashion and decades later it would still hold up today! I know that less fear results in more love and I am driven to help create this for every expectant parent and baby!
In preparing for my own births, despite being as proactive and knowledgeable as I could be and fortunate enough to possess every possible privilege laboring in a popular suburban hospital, I faced serious life-threatening situations in 2 of my 3 hospital births. The fact that they were preventable complications, and I simply wasn't listened to, set me on my course to improve hospital birth. I had hoped things would have improved over the last 2 decades, but unfortunately as a hospital doula I see that nothing could be further from the truth. I am compelled to improve hospital births for everyone, everywhere!
How Did We Become Business Partners?
Ever have one of those experiences where everything falls into place in ways that are so inexplicable and synchronistic that it's difficult to deny there isn't a larger force at work? The amount and frequency of the "signs" we received that we were meant to work together would be comical in any other context. We felt there simply couldn't have been any other explanation other than we were brought together to serve the hearts and minds of expectant parents everywhere to elevate their hospital birth experiences. We are compelled to be there for YOU!
After years of searching high and low for that unicorn of a doula who aligned with my passion for hospital birth, I felt like lightning struck when this perfect person showed up at my door for a doula training workshop. I literally gasped when I saw Marnie and her beaming smile, dressed professionally, hostess gift in tow. I saw her heart and passion for helping others immediately.
I was looking for a mission centered career change when a common acquaintance had suggested that I show up to a doula training being held at Lisa's house. More than one person had independently recommended that I'd make a great doula but it made very little sense at the time as I was in a completely different profession! But show up I did. I stayed long after the group had gone home and Lisa & I began talks immediately about the possibility of becoming business partners. At every juncture there were uncanny commonalities in our lives and a constant barrage of signs that we were indeed on the right track and meant to be going forward together.
Doula Workshop - Must Love Dogs!
Over many meetings with Lisa's life sustaining cups of coffee and Marnie's Canadian cups of tea, writing on giant post-it notes stuck to a wall, we talked about everything! It was at one of these many meetings that Lisa passed a not to Marnie. Without skipping a beat, Marnie wrote back on the note and the rest is history!
We even have similar handwriting!
A potential deal breaker would have been if our dogs didn't get along...but they LOVE each other!
A Different Kind Of Doula:
THE HOSPITAL DOULA!
Our Big Idea - We chose to break ranks with other doulas and be the different doulas! We're modern doulas that specialize in providing service to those planning to birth in the hospital setting. We've seen that those individuals need the MOST support! Many in the doula community consider a Hospital Doula to be an oxymoron with doulas often in an adversarial relationship with the hospital staff. Our very presence can inherently be a statement that the care or support the hospital is giving is simply not enough. But we saw ourselves working WITH the hospital team. There's a way with respect and dignity that we can work together. We know that nurses are overlooked, have multiple responsibilities to their superiors, hospital policy and the obstetricians on call. They are overrun with charting responsibilities all while trying to keep you and your baby safe throughout labor.
Our first meet & greet together with a potential client!
One of our marathon births!
More FACTS Less "CRUNCH":
There has always been lots of support for the "crunchy" birth experience if you were willing or able to give birth at home or a birth center. It's also not representative of the 98.5% of people who give birth in the hospital setting by necessity, choice, or compromise.
Lisa, a doula for over a decade, longed for a likeminded professional willing to cater to this group of people who really needed more information. She became an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor to impart real information and not just opinion! Marnie, with a background in the dental field knew that preparing her patients with evidence based knowledge and education was key to decreasing their fear and having a better overall experience!
Our LOGO & THE HOSPITAL DOULAS CIRCLE is Born:
Brainstorming about a direction and logo, Lisa noticed Marnie's choice of elephant décor commenting on a soulful piece that was made by her daughter back in her school aged days. It spoke to both of us as Marnie recalled Lisa's choice of elephant décor in her home as well!
WHY THE ELEPHANT AS OUR LOGO MADE SENSE!
We both loved elephants and how they symbolize strength, wisdom, family, and admired their ability to feel and show strong emotion in life, in death and every moment in between.
They have the longest pregnancies of any animal, lasting 22 months.
Sealing the deal was the fact that elephants are one of the only animals that seek out the comfort and protection of other female elephants when laboring.
Female elephants instinctively form a protective circle around the potentially vulnerable birthing elephant, encouraging her and celebrating the birth with triumphant trumpeting and even tears of joy.
Our Hospital Doulas Circle exists to encourage, support, pass down vital wisdom, knowledge and celebrate YOU and your journey to a hospital birth where you feel prepared, confident, and empowered to advocate for yourself.
The Golden Baby Elephant signifies the Gold Standard of Care that we both bonded over early in our partnership. We're the kind of ladies who don't do anything halfway. If we're going to do something it has to be the very best! That's what we would expect, and we know it's what our clients DESERVE.
In January 2020 we had our first photo shoot and put the finishing touches on our website. We were ready to roll with a doula agency model for in-person certified hospital doula services.
We launched The Hospital Doulas & Associates in January of 2020...Hmmmm in a matter of weeks we never could have imagined that we would not be ALLOWED in the hospital with our clients! Our big idea was going bust...Or was it?
Our business meetings during the height of Covid-19
PIVOT WE DID!
We immediately offered our clients refunds but all of them chose to keep us on in a virtual capacity. We upped the preparation and knowledge we provided which turned out to be a gamechanger! We Facetimes and messaged throughout their labors and every single one of them was completely satisfied. Even more importantly, we found that they did incredibly well on their own!
They were elated to have advocated for themselves and made educated decisions, leaving them with no regrets and an incredibly intimate experience as a couple. That's when we realized that a comprehensive online preparation of our clients may be the way to reach MANY more expectant parents and make a systemic improvement in hospital births which had always been our mission!
Even with the agency model, training and employing other doulas under us, we had been frustrated by how very few people we could help, when in our hearts we wanted to help millions! We immediately pivoted to virtual care and shifted our focus to creating the perfect online evidence based information, classes and Zoom support! The Hospital Childbirth Preparation Masterclass was born!
Happy Clients with or without a doula present after our Gold Standard of Online Hospital Prenatal Preparation!
Sunny Days are Here Again...
Our Business Meetings have evolved in sunny Florida
Behind the Scenes - Getting Camera Ready to Create Vital Online Content -
Fulfilling our mission of creating Systemic Improvement in Hospital Birth, One Couple at a Time! (Yes, in case you were wondering, COVID also brought the opportunity for Lisa to "slay the silver" and rock that hair!)
They helped me understand my options, feel prepared and very knowledgeable going into birthing my baby. They are THE BEST!! I highly recommend their services to a new or experienced mom getting ready for labor. They helped us achieve our desired births- calm, positive and respectful.
Prepare for birth with Marnie and Lisa. It’s a no brainer. I'd like to offer a view from the father's perspective. I needed them probably more than my wife did! Hire them not just for the mom to be, but for the dad to be also. Worth every single penny. You won't regret it!
Having prenatal sessions with them virtually, when so many other things were canceled, helped us feel supported, understood, connected, safe, and less anxious. They helped us develop our ability to advocate for ourselves and made suggestions that were pivotal to our birthing process.