Barefoot Birth has grown a doula crew, this past January! Brandi Morales and Vanessa Kekuewa have joined forces and have been working in a partnership, supporting clients, and each other, for a little over half a year now. Vanessa and Brandi skipped formal introductions as they knew each other growing up, and attended grade school together! Skip ahead to 2018, Charlie Rae Young (Midwife, owner of Barefoot Birth, and Community Roots Collective) held a doula training and guess who took the training?! Yep, Vanessa Kekuewa! Since then, they have reconnected, while discussing all things birthy! Their new partnership comes with some pretty awesome perks!
This partnership means double the support! Brandi and Vanessa attend all prenatal visits together. There is no feeling of one doula knowing more about you and your family, versus the other. This also means, there is a second set of ears listening, while another doula’s experiences support you! Attending visits together often feels like hanging out with your best birth friends. Vanessa and Brandi get to know you, your partner, and family; while discussing your goals, fears, and the excitement for your upcoming birth! They help instill realistic expectations of pregnancy, labor, the 4th trimester, and parenthood. Both doulas live by the phrase, “Once your doula, always your doula”. We often see past clients at Community Roots Collective; attending one of our many support groups, classes, or playgroups. It is a blessing to see you in this new season of your life, as well as, seeing your little one grow leaps and bounds each week!
In pregnancy and early labor, this doula duo will help determine when to go to your birth location, suggest comfort techniques, and communicate with you and your support squad - to aid them in assisting you. Once the decision has been made to head to your birth location (or call your homebirth midwife), Brandi or Vanessa will come join you there. This is one of the main differences in a doula team vs. solo doula practice. It is also, one of the biggest perks! It may seem daunting that the single doula you decided will be there, from the beginning, may not be the one to attend your birth. However, the reality is that there’s never a guarantee your chosen doula will attend, even in a solo doula practice. Often, parents can feel “dooped” if their chosen doula has to use a back up for their birth. This can can happen due to an overlap in clients in labor, sickness, or an unfortunate circumstance such as injury or death of a family member. Maybe you’ve met their back up and were able to gauge ahead of time if you like them or not. More often than not, you would assume, and have faith, your chosen doula would be there. Having a doula team allows you to be confident that whether it’s Vanessa or Brandi, you will be receiving support from a well rested doula (who knows you), your partner, your birth plan, and can recall those important conversations that occurred prenatally. A traditional back up doula would not know that history.
Depending on Brandi and Vanessa’s schedules/availability, they sometimes have the honor of both being there for you at your birth! If you are one of the lucky ones (insert sarcasm), that has a ”marathon birth”, you’ll definitely see both their faces! For example, you might start out with Brandi and twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours later (when everyone’s loosing steam), Vanessa will come join you and your partner! There will be no half asleep, exhausted doula continuing on with you. Brandi will get some much needed rest, possibly coming back to join everyone for the delivery. Having a doula benefits the birthing person. It allows your partner to be supported in labor. A doula will remind you both to hydrate, nourish, and rest. With a doula team in those looooooong births, the second doula can relieve the first. That doula will bring new energy, allowing your partner to take a real nap nearby! Instead of an exhausted doula, and partner taking turns. A burned out support team may not give the birthing person 100% of themselves, due to exhaustion or the feeling of comfort to rest. More often than not, the other person, is just as exhausted as the doula supporting you. A doula partnership benefits everyone on the birth team in different ways.
Other than the above mentioned perks, this partnership supports you and your partner, each other as doulas; as women, as friends. Birth work comes with amazing, beautiful moments. There can be hard times too. Brandi and Vanessa can count on each other emotionally, and share 100% of the information with each other. No leaving out names or particular details, as they would need to, if chatting with someone outside of the contracted parties. Doulas are not held to HIPPA guidelines by law. Professionally we do not share personal information with parties outside of Barefoot Birth. Burn out, in birth work, is an all too common occurrence. By working in a partnership, Vanessa and Brandi, can still have vacations with their families, celebrate birthdays, or go to a special event. There are no worries for their families to miss out on important events. Doulas often tell parents how essential a village is. All too often, we ourselves, forgo the same. We are so fortunate to be able to be that for each other and to be a part of the Barefoot Birth family! Team work really does make the dream work! We look forward to this new year of change, partnership, and growth!