Candice was an indespensible member of our team

VBAC baby girl Abbotford Hospital Stages Birth Photography

My wife and I first heard about doulas while attending a pre-natal class. After the class, my wife mentioned that she might like to look into hiring a doula.

At first, I was a bit put-off by the idea. I thought that having a doula would somehow take away from my experience as a father in the delivery room that a doula would somehow “get in the way”. My wife did some research into what exactly doulas do, and then explained to me that they are not there to get in the way, but to support us. I wanted my wife to be happy, so I agreed to look into it with her. Plus, I liked the idea of having an impartial third party along — my wife’s sister had their mom in the delivery room with her and her husband, and it caused some conflicts.

Being a software developer, I felt it was important to find someone who had a well-functioning, professional-looking website. Candice was the only doula we researched that met these criteria, and we also got a good feeling from reading the content on her site. I agreed to meet with her, and my wife set it all up.

Inside my own head, I had this image of what I thought a doula should be like — and I have to admit that she wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I did my best to push that notion aside and look at things objectively, and I quickly learned that she was the best choice for us. After she left, my wife and I spent some time discussing everything that transpired during the visit and decided that we would hire her. My wife was somewhere around 30 weeks pregnant at the time.

Over the next several weeks, anytime we needed more information about something or had questions, we were able to text/email Candice, and she would respond in a timely manner to help us make informed decisions. When my wife went into labour at 1:30am, we sent a text to Candice and she replied almost immediately. When we told her that we needed her, she immediately got out of bed and drove to our house! She was able to help keep my wife calm, relaxed, and comfortable while I ran around packing stuff into the car and getting the cat situated, which was totally awesome. I was even able to cook breakfast for everyone before we left for the hospital which gave us the starting energy we needed for the 24 hours of labour that would ensue. During labour, I was right up front with my wife most of the time, holding her hand. Candice would get stuff for us (including food/water) or take turns massaging my wife, or help my wife find comfortable birthing positions –whatever needed to be done. And when I needed a break, Candice would step up to the front with my wife so that I was able to sit down in a chair and relax fora few minutes / eat something. About 18 hours into the labour, having Candice there I was able to step out to the waiting room where my wife’s family had been waiting all day. They were excited to see me and hear first-hand that everything was okay! Unfortunately we had a doctor that was constantly trying to push interventions (unnecessarily!) on my wife even though she made it clear she wanted a natural birth. Just having Candice there going through it with us and answering our questions, and having that extra witness to what we were telling the doctor, gave us the strength we needed to stick to the plan. When the baby was finally born, Candice took a picture of the first skin-on-skin contact and hung out with us for a few minutes before heading home. She would normally stay for a while after the delivery, but she had been with us for over 24 hours without sleep and we also were tired and wanted to sleep, so we agreed to send her home.|

Looking back on the experience, Candice was an indispensable member of our team and neither my wife nor I could imagine going through it without her. I’m originally from the U.S., where having a baby costs tens of thousands of dollars. Some of my buddies down there talk about how they are “still paying off” their now-teenage kids. Since the wonderful healthcare here in Canada allows us to have children without getting a lien placed on everything we own, the relatively small cost of hiring Candice was well worth it. In fact, we’ve already discussed hiring her again if we should decide to have another kid! ”

— Father