Joanna’s capable hands

She has always been calm, even when faced with an emergency. Joanna doesn’t rattle easily. She makes well thought out decisions…I believe Joanna will be a good listener to you. She will do her best to support you and not hesitate to speak up if a situation arises where you need a voice on your side!

My Name is Gayla Beverley and I have given birth twice. I have supported my sisters at 3 of their births, 2 at hospital and 1 at home with a midwife. The memories of our labor and deliveries are memories that are never forgotten. Like many women my age (62) my first delivery was in a hospital, with the Doctor completely in control, even though my husband and I had a birth plan and had prepared via Lamaze. Lasting 7 hours my birth included an IV, my waters broken before labor had really gotten going, pitocin and an episiotomy before her head even crowned. My husband was in the delivery room with me but was asked to go get a bite to eat while they stitched me up. Once in my room I got a call from Scott and the hospital would not allow him back into my room as visiting hours were over, we had only had a few minutes together to enjoy our beautiful 7lb 7oz daughter together, none of which were we alone. I can only imagine how things would have been different if we had the benefits of a Doula.

5 years later in 1982 we finally conceived our 2nd child and we knew we wanted a different birth experience. Early on we enlisted 2 midwives and began our journey towards a birth our way, in our home surrounded by family and friends. A local doctor backed up our midwives and I visited him 3 times during my pregnancy. We went a week over our due date, walked all around our house using our own birth singing sounds during contractions, took a shower, got my daughter off to school. I labored several hours until my waters naturally broke and after just a few pushes there he came! All 9 lb 4 ounces of our beautiful boy! We were surrounded by my parents, my sister and a close friend. My midwives were amazing and allowed me to do my job with little interference. Neither my husband or my baby were whisked out of my room and we basked in the warmth of our newest family member.

You might ask what does this have to do with having a Doula? In the next few years after my home birth, the government started making it very hard on midwives. It became almost impossible for the lay midwives to continue serving women in our area. Doctors virtually stopped backing up the lay midwives. The trend shifted to CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife. However, these midwives were only allowed to deliver in hospitals. It was difficult for women during this period of time, even with the best of birth plans, we are at our most vulnerable, even with our husband present it is easy to be swayed away from our plan without someone speaking up for us. Usher in the era of the Doula. A woman who is trained to encourage and assist another woman during childbirth. A woman who will support the family. A woman who will be the voice at a vulnerable time. I believe I would have had a completely different birth experience in 1977 if a Doula had been present during my labor and delivery.

 

I met Joanna when she was 16 years old. We attended the same church and I needed someone to stay with my daughter Amy for 3 hours every Wednesday night while I attended AWANA. My daughter Amy is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. She needs total care and supervision. She is not able to walk alone and needs assistance in all areas of her personal care. Each Wednesday Joanna would hang out with Amy, she would help Amy to the toilet, get her ready for bed, including putting on a night diaper, give Amy her night time medication and tuck her into bed for the night.

Amy LOVED Joanna! I noticed Joanna to be compassionate and caring, she was mature and trustworthy. What started as a weekly evening melded into other evenings, then an overnight, then an occasional weekend. Joanna was a God send for our family. Suddenly my husband and I could have a “date night”, imagine how great it was for us to be able to get away for an overnight, knowing Amy was in Joanna’s capable hands.

My husband and I are Amy’s primary caregivers. Joanna was finished with High School and was getting ready to begin college. She had become our primary respite worker. For the first time my husband and I were able to go away for more than just a weekend. We are very choosy regarding Amy’s care and we had complete confidence in Joanna.

We have watched Joanna grow up, watched her find a wonderful husband, rejoiced when their first baby was born. During all this time Joanna continued to give respite care to Amy. Joanna and Joshua moved away, and have had 2 more sweet baby girls but Amy has never forgotten her and I know Joanna still loves Amy. We still keep in touch and I feel like the Johnson 5 are a part of my family.

Being a Doula is right up Joanna’s alley! Joanna values family and has a close relationship with her parents, her 3 sisters as well as with Joshua’s family. She has always been calm, even when faced with an emergency. Joanna doesn’t rattle easily. She makes well thought out decisions. She handles her household and 3 rowdy little girls with ease. She has complete support from her husband! This is the definition of the Doula I would want by my side! I believe Joanna will be a good listener to you. She will do her best to support you and not hesitate to speak up if a situation arises where you need a voice on your side!

 

 

 

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