You Deserve A Doula. You Deserve A Back Up Too. Part VI.

This is part six of our back up doula series. Over the past months, we have introduced you to each of our back up doulas. We hope you have enjoyed getting to know them.

(Did you miss Part IPart II, Part IIIPart IV or Part V?)


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                             Spending Time with Our Back Up Doulas

                            Spending Time with Our Back Up Doulas

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We recognize that one of the reasons that people hire a doula for their birth is for continuity of care. In other words – you’re banking on a familiar face being by your side the day your baby is born.

We would love to be able to guarantee that we will be at your birth, and while we make every effort to ensure that we are, it would be irresponsible of us not to make arrangements for the possibility that we may not be.

Sometimes there are events entirely beyond our control (an illness, an injury, two babies at once) that mean we can’t be your person on your day, as planned. That is why we have carefully chosen some of the best doulas in Calgary to step in for us if we can’t be there on your day.

Still, you may be wondering what it’s actually like to have a back up doula attend your birth.

Here is what some of the clients within our collective had to share about their experience with a back up doula.


Primary doula: Megan Boone
Back up doula: AJ Hadfield
Clients: Julie and Malcolm

Megan was with us for 98% of our birth but had to leave in the final few hours before birth. It had been 36 hours of labour and Megan needed to get home to her kids to relieve her husband. Our back-up doula for the final few hours of labour (and birth and first feeding) was AJ.

Megan gave us a couple hours advanced notice that she may need to leave and that a back up doula would be coming in.

We were sad that Megan was going to miss the arrival of our child. Megan had been with us through all of the process and we felt bad that she had to miss the best part! We were not concerned or worried, as Megan had done a very good job reassuring us that we would be well taken care of.

[When AJ arrived] she was calm and assertive. She gave Malcolm a big hug, and stepped right into place. She immediately told us that she had been prepped by Megan on what was important in our birth experience.

AJ was incredible in facilitating our son’s first breastfeed! AJ asked Julie for permission, then helped Julie get our son feeding literally one minute after birth. This was so amazing, humbling, and appreciated. She took care of packing up our placenta and putting it on ice. She did this with confidence and professionalism.

[We really appreciated being] prepped by Megan several weeks before labour.  She shared her list of back up doulas, including their contact info and bios, and noted that she had confidence in all of them.
— Julie and Malcolm

Primary doula: Bethany Galster
Back up doula: Christine Jennings
Clients: Lora and Dean

[Back up doulas] hadn’t crossed our mind, to be honest. We were so focused on the baby. We were expecting a preemie and trying to do everything we could to keep our little man in my belly, so our mind was elsewhere!

About a month and a half before our baby boy came, Beth mentioned she would be out of town for a few days. My due date wasn’t until September but she let us know regardless and said if we weren’t comfortable with her being away, or having a back up, that she would stay. She gave us the option.

We both trusted Beth entirely, so we said, of course, no problem and we knew she’d choose the best backup for us and our situation.

We knew a couple days before labour that we’d have Christine with us instead of Beth. We thought my water was leaking and went to the hospital, but instead of finding out there was a leak (which there wasn’t), we were told I was already 5cms dilated. We knew our little man would be coming very soon!

I wasn’t worried at all. Neither was my husband. We knew Beth had informed Christine on our situation (my high risk pregnancy and the possibility of baby coming early). We connected so well with Beth that we knew she’d leave us in perfect hands.

We were very excited and actually had a few days to let it sink in that we’d have Christine with us instead. I was dilated for three or four days before contractions started so it mentally prepared us!

Christine had the most calming presence. My labour happened extremely fast. From contractions starting to baby being born, it was a total of three hours. The moment she walked in we both felt relief knowing she was there to help us through everything that was about to be thrown our way.

She also made it just in time, since it only took two hours from when my water broke to baby arriving. It was quite nerve wracking for me since it was all happening so fast! She was so calm and collected, knew exactly what to do and jumped into action, helping me AND my husband!

She made sure we were all hydrated, helped me with pain (I had a natural delivery), helped my husband stay focused and healthy (he got quite weak at one point haha), and I loved that she stayed and chatted with me afterwards, helped me breastfeed and made sure we were all set before leaving.
— Lora and Dean

Primary doula: AJ Hadfield
Back up doula: Megan Boone
Clients: Kathie and Chris

I took it really hard at first [realizing we would have a back up] - blame it on the hormones! I was crying and almost hyperventilating! It was likely because my daughter was overdue and I just wanted to have her safely delivered.

I realized that those first hours and days at home were the most important for having support and we asked for a back up that would be there at the birth and the first two nights before AJ was back. That is when we were introduced to Megan and we are so happy with how everything turned out.

We believe that everything happens for a reason and we had the best of both worlds having both Megan and AJ to support us! We truly couldn’t have done it without them and we are forever thankful for them and their help.
— Kathie
Megan took us under her wing on the first day back at home. We were beyond tired and she called us out!!! She said “You two have to sleep and I’ll take everything on from here.” I remember fading away into a deep sleep knowing that Megan had the helm which left Kathie so thankful. We woke up a few hours later to folded laundry and a hot meal! Megan was a godsend.
— Chris
She was truly amazing and is such a kind and gentle person. It was tough meeting her at first during labor but things were moving quickly and I already had support from a wonderful nurse at Foothills and my husband. Megan’s added support helped with breathing techniques and with capturing stunning pictures of our daughter as she was born!!
— Kathie

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Did you have a back up doula attend your birth? Share your experience in the comments below.


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Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth DoulaBirthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.

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Rachel Parris

Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.