From Jennifer: When Ana reached out to me in January 2020 I was so excited to support her for her first pregnancy. We had met years earlier at a local improv theater and used to go head-to-head at improv cage matches – it was funny to think about how through that original connection we had now arrived at this beautifully unexpected place. We had our first prenatal meeting in February before the stay at home orders were implemented, but we soon realized things were going to be quite different than we’d originally planned. Our second prenatal was via Zoom and I did my best to “take off my doula cape” and put it on her husband so he felt confident and prepared to support Ana without me there in person to support them both.
As it turned out when Ana arrived at the hospital her husband wasn’t allowed to join in her in triage so all she had was me in her ears for the next 3 hours. Ana was AMAZING. She kept her breathing deep and even and was definitely in the zone. Throughout this time, I continued texting her husband to keep him updated to what was going on and kept giving her verbal encouragement through each contraction. In those 3 hours Ana dilated from 4 cm to 9 cm!! It was incredible. Once in a room, I was there via FaceTime for the duration of the birth and felt like I was part of the birth team. I had the perfect angle to see everything and was even able to take some incredible photos when baby Nolan was born. Although I regretted not being there in person I felt like on some energetic level I was there; looking back on it my memory puts me in the room. I’m so happy that Ana and her husband agreed to virtual support! It was a great experience.
From Ana: I was 35 weeks pregnant when news of the Corona Virus had spread into the US. It was during the first few weeks when news of NYC hospitals weren’t letting anyone except the mother into the hospital, so I was concerned. I asked my obgyn about having a doula in the room, but was denied. Jennifer and I immediately set up a new game plan and decided that we would be in touch through facetime once I was admitted into triage.
I was in early labor for over 24 hours before I was admitted into triage. When we pulled up to the hospital, my husband and I were stunned to find out that he was no longer allowed to enter with me. They had literally just changed the policy that day. He was understandably very upset, but I told him it would be ok. I was relieved when they told us he would be allowed once I was in the L&D room. Jennifer and I had discussed that situation like this could happen, so I felt prepared to be physically alone.
I can honestly say, I do not know if I would have had such a positive experience if Jennifer wasn’t part of the process. It’s a bit scary to be alone when feeling the pain of contractions and not knowing what to expect next. Having Jennifer in my ear (I couldn’t hold up the phone to facetime during contractions) coaching me and guiding me through breathing was so helpful and comforting. I didn’t feel alone at all. Even in moments of silence, I felt so much comfort knowing she was still listening and there for me. Since my husband wasn’t allowed inside, she was also super helpful in keeping him in the loop and letting him know the moment I was being sent to delivery.
Once I was in the delivery room, my husband joined me and was able to set up my phone holder so that Jennifer could see us in the delivery room. The nurses and midwife were very open to Jennifer “being there” and they all worked well together. The 3 of us even meditated before I started pushing which is a memory I will always appreciate.
From start to finish, I had a fantastic experience giving birth to Nolan. We will always be grateful for Jennifer’s service and love that she had such a positive impact on our special day.