About my birth doula services...
"Like any first time mother I was scared of giving birth. Meeting with Wanda in advance calmed my fears because she taught me what to expect regarding teh stages and phases of labour (there was a lot my mum couldn't remember!) and made me confident by teaching me about the options and choices I would have. I was always open to medication, but was able to have a natural birth because I was prepared for the rhythms of pain and knew how to prepare my mind. Wanda's calming and protective presence in the Labour room helped my husband and I have a very positive birth experience. She made us feel safe and in control. I recommend working with her to every mum-to-be!"
-J & C, Truro, NS
"Wanda, We can't thank you enough for all the help and support you gave us before, during and after Clara's arrival. I was so scared about labour and delivery- I didn't think I could do it- but your confidence in me gave me the strength to persevere. Being new parents is sometimes more difficult than we ever imagined, but again,
your confidence in us and your support has helped us get through on the toughest days."
-Angelina & Charles, Halifax, NS
“This was one incredible journey! We could have never had the same experience without your compassionate support. I will forever remember these days filled with love & gratitude, for everything has truly been a gift. And I will cherish the days we spent together bringing our little Odin into the world.
Thank you for your wisdom and gentle presence throughout!”
-Jennifer & Dwayne, Bedford, NS
"We are so happy Wanda was with us during pregnancy and labour. She was a source of constant support and knowledge. In addition to drawing on the latest research during the pregnancy, she was a calm presence throughout the labour, always thinking about our comfort while building up our confidence.
We are so grateful she was with us each step of the way."
-Caroline & Kaelan, Halifax, NS
“I had an amazing experience I had with Wanda as my Doula. If I had to sum up my entire experience with her in one sentence in would be; One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was quite nervous about and had no knowledge of birth when Wanda first started working with me. I found her warm and nurturing approach very comforting and she taught me what to expect during labor what how to handle the many different scenarios that may occur. Wanda prepared me as much as possible for the ‘big’ day. I could relax knowing she was always just a phone call away. When the day of my labor finally arrived Wanda was with me every step of the way, offering comfort techniques and positive feedback for both me and my husband. I was a lot less stressed knowing that someone was looking out for my best interest. Wanda was very gracious and sensitive to my needs during labor and after the birth. I truly credit Wanda’s involvement in my birth to the fact that I had minimal recovery time and breastfeeding got off to such a great start. If you are fortunate enough to have her as your doula, relax and rest assured that you are in good hands.”
-Maggie, Halifax, NS
Jolyn (aka nurturedmom) describes her experience of having me as her doula on her blog:
"Choosing a Doula is a very special and important decision to make. We met with several lovely Doula's and when we met with Wanda we knew instantly that she was the right fit for us, we just clicked. Wanda is extremely kind, informed and giving. She was always available for any questions and concerns we may have, made us feel relaxed and provided us with knowledge that was empowering. Expecting our first child was exciting and there was so much that was unknown to us about the birth process. The prenatal sessions with Wanda allowed us to have peace of mind we needed to feel prepared for the beautiful Birth Day of our child. During the labour and birth of our son, Wanda was always by our side. She was so organized and attentive and both my husband and I felt cared for. She worked well with hospital staff and was a voice for us when we were too occupied to think straight. She supported us every step of the way. The birth of our son, as with any birth, was not a straight forward process. Wanda helped us too always feel a part of this incredible journey and the surprise turns it took. She ensured that we were always kept informed so that we all felt safe. She documented our amazing day with a specially written Birth story and took memorable photos for us to treasure. She kept in touch and checked in afterward to see how breastfeeding was going and how she could help out. I know that too this day we can reach out to Wanda with any childcare questions we may have. We feel very blessed to have had Wanda as our Doula and would highly recommend her to anyone preparing for their own birth experience. "
-Lisa & Steven, Halifax, NS
"When I told my family that I was hiring a Doula, they were HORRIFIED! 'Drugs are free, why on earth would you pay someone to not let you take them?' Yes, I admit, with my first child, I sampled every drug available. I still spent an agonising 34 hours at the hospital... treated like a bug under glass! Regardless of what my family thought, I was determined that this was not going to happen again! Wanda came to our house a few weeks before I was due, and we tried out different techniques for relaxation, and pain management. We got to know one another, and we discussed the type of birth experience that I was hoping to have. When I went into labour, I kept her up to date with what was going on by texting. She came to my house when the contractions started to get difficult for me to handle by my self. She helped me relax, which made most of the pain go away, so that the contractions were only uncomfortable! She went with us to the hospital, and never left my side. She talked to me, and encouraged me, and when I thought that I couldn’t do it, she convinced me that I could! 4 hours after arriving at the hospital, I got to “catch” by own baby girl, as I gave birth to her! How AWSOME is that?! So if you are looking for a great birth experience, take it from me, drugs are not the answer, Wanda is! As much as she hates me to say it, I couldn’t have done it without her!"
-Annie & Dean, Dartmouth, NS
"I've had the pleasure of seeing Wanda in action both as a labouring mom and a support person. Both times I can't imagine having done it without her. She is calm, focusing and never forgets the little things that can make such a difference in a tumultuous situation. Her willingness to listen and chat about nothing took my mind off a long labour and made it feel more like we had a good friend over to visit. When things were stressful she took my concerns (which were fairly groundless) seriously while still reassuring me that everything was fine. She was excellent at remembering my wishes and helping me repeat them to medical staff and making sure that I was heard and respected. As a support person it was fantastic to watch Wanda skillfully follow what the labouring woman wanted. She never took over, it never felt like she was trying to be the boss. Yet she was always there, and you knew it. I would (and do!) recommend Wanda to every pregnant woman. I personally won't step foot in the hospital without a doula, and Wanda would be my first choice. All doula's seem to have one aspect of birth that gives them passion. For Wanda it is getting every mother the respect she deserves. She starts by setting the example. We love Wanda. :)"
-Sarah & Kyle, Lower Sackville, NS
"I'm really happy with our last minute decision to ask you to be involved with my labour and delivery. You were right there when I needed your support! I really liked how you didn't ask what I needed/wanted and just went ahead and did it; gave me water, supported my back, etc and also dealt with speaking to the doctors and nurses! (I couldn't really communicate!) Kris, my parents, and I all agreed that having you there with us definitely made my labour and delivery a better experience! Thank you so much for everything you've done and the continuous support you're giving us."
-Lauren Galbraith, East Hants
"Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the support and confidence Wanda gave my husband and I before, during and after the birth of our second child. After a difficult birth experience with my first child my
From our first meeting, Wanda made me feel at ease, she supported my birth goals, helped my husband and I write our birth plan and provided us the tools to enter labour feeling more prepared. My husband felt more involved in my labour because he was armed with knowledge and the techniques to better support me. Wanda has a calm and comforting approach that made me feel relaxed and empowered, I had an amazing birth experience, one in which Wanda was invaluable."
-Melissa Barnett, Kentville, NS
"I always knew that I wanted to seek the help of a doula when I would become pregnant. The question was always who?... We first heard of Wanda through a recommendation from another health care professional and we decided to call her when we found out we were expecting. When we first met her, our visit was wonderful with all of our questions answered and we knew she was going to be our doula. My pregnancy was not at all what my husband and I initially thought it was going to be. For one, we were expecting twins! We were very excited but nervous as it was considered a high risk pregnancy and at 21 weeks I was put on bed rest for an increase risk of preterm labour. Meeting with Wanda throughout our pregnancy was beyond helpful as my husband and I were both very nervous about the unknown and how to prepare for the birth as it was potentially not going to be typical one! This is why we were so greatful to Wanda. She was wonderful about meeting our needs as the pregnancy went on. We had to discussed all options of delivery along with possible NICU stay and breatfeeding difficulties I may have. She was always very kind, patient and had a lot of information in order to help and guide us for any of these potential circumstances. She would bring us lots of articles, references and reading material to help my husband and I be more informed and feel more ready. She gave us the power by giving us knowledge without ever forcing ideas or opinions on us. With a high risk pregnancy, that's exactly what we needed. Through the stress of this pregnancy, I felt that she was our sounding board, our rock, our advocate. We discussed with her our birth plan knowing full well that it may not even be possible with the type of pregnancy that I had, but I always felt that she was going to do everything she could during the birth to help out in any way to make me feel that my needs were being listened to and met. And that she did... The birth was a beautiful experience. My labour was exactly how I had hoped with the help of my husband and Wanda by my side. I knew the birth was going to be in an operating room, but to labour in a birthing room, in a comfortable environment was one thing I know was possible with her help. Wanda has a very calming presence, never intrusive. She was supportive to me and to my husband, always giving him suggestions on how to help me through. Once in the operating room, she was still by our side and as the time came to greet my two favorite guys, she captured the most beautiful, memorable pictures. We now have these amazing shots of their births which we will cherish forever! In conclusion, my husband and I are so pleased that we decided to have Wanda as our birthing doula. We are beyond happy with how she helped us through the hard times during our pregnancy, listened to our needs and did everything to give us the experience we wanted. She is knowledgeable, kind, attentive and caring, and simply put, a wonderful Doula!"
-Véronique, Happy mother of twin boys Cade and Didier :)
"I believe that hiring a doula made all the difference. Having Wanda there made the experience less worrisome, and more relaxed. It was helpful to have a well informed individual who knew our wishes for birth and was on our side during the whole process. It was nice to have someone we could trust... We will definitely be hiring her again in the future and will be recommending her to all of our pregnant friends and family. My partner was much more relaxed when Wanda was present. He stated that it was nice to have her there."
-N&K, Halifax, NS
"Tracy: Wanda was a very important and integral part of my birth experience - I feel I truly achieved the birth I hoped for, regardless of the late transfer to the hospital. The prenatal education also prepared both of us for the challenge ahead, while instilling confidence in my ability to achieve a normal childbirth. Throughout the labour, Wanda had a supportive and encouraging presence in our home. She knew what to offer when, and when to be quiet. The confidence she created was empowering! It's difficult for me to say how Henry's birth story would have turned out with out Wanda, but I can say that it was absolutely perfect! James seriously could not have done it with out Wanda. She really allowed him to be the best support husband he could be, which was very important to us as a family. He was comfortable giving her orders, which she received gracefully. / James: Wanda was always there when I needed her - we were often reaching for the same thing at the same time, so we were quite in sync. She was very good at predicting my needs. She was very comforting and reassuring in my most anxious hour (hospital ride). Looking back I felt incredibly supported by everyone on my birth team. I feel you all worked together to give me exactly what I needed (or didn't need). It was not a room of egos, it was a room of selfless woman. Wanda exceeded our expectations - she was incredibly sensitive to our needs before, during and after birth."
-Tracy & James, Halifax, NS
"I had Wanda as my Doula and when I would mention that people would ask 'is that like a midwife???' No. Wanda was the person who calmed my anxieties, helped me finalize my birth plan, supported Mike and I through my birth without an epidural, took Wills 1st family photos upon entering the world, talked me through correcting Wills latch which has lead to us breast feeding for 9 months and we're still going strong. Wanda was the one who stood beside me protectively while Will and I had skin to skin for close to 2 hrs after birth- less someone try to remove him. Wanda also wrote a beautiful birth story for us- including pieces I had forgotten such as singing the 'Winnie the Pooh' song when he was minutes old and started to cry, something I used to do when my teenage brother was a baby. She also came and stayed with Will for 4hrs so I could sleep when he was a week old and both Mike and my Mom had to work backshifts. What did my Doula do? All the 'non-medical' things that helped me grow into Mommy hood."
- Jennifer Tucker- Johnston, Salmon River, NS
"When I was pregnant with my first child, I did not give any thought to finding birth support. I was fit, had a great pregnancy, and I was convinced that I could easily do what thousands of women do every day – give birth. I ended up having an emergency C-Section that left me powerless and a bit sad. During labor, I felt I knew nothing and was unprepared. It was not so much the C-Section itself that made me feel that way but the feeling of not having done everything I could no matter what the outcome.
When I found out that I was pregnant again, I was determined to have the support of a doula this time. I wanted to attempt a VBAC.
I came across Wanda’s name a few times during my research. My husband and I met her for a ‘no obligation visit’ kind of last minute at an airport hotel just hours before our family vacation trip. After the meeting, my husband and I nodded at each other agreeing that Wanda would be the one for us. She was not only warm, welcoming, and very positive but also shared our passion for rugby – there would be much to talk about during labor to distract me from contraction pain. On my journey to birth, Wanda supported me and took away my fears during our meetings with her incredible knowledge, experience, and advice but also through always showing me that she believed in me.
Our son, Timo, was a VBAC.
One of the first things I said to Wanda after Timo was born was that there was no way I could have done it without her. Looking back, I know that I was not exaggerating at all. I had quite an intense labor and a difficult birth with some complications. I think Wanda was the only one that believed in me and in my strength continuously, from our first meetings to Timo’s birth. She was a powerful force on my side that always reminded me of my own abilities. With her calm but strong and assuring nature Wanda made me feel safe the entire time – and that was what I really needed, what made me strong. It was what I unfortunately had not experienced during giving birth for the first time. Wanda’s support during labour had an amazing effect as my husband just started following Wanda’s lead and together they were an amazing team helping me through labor and birth. I never felt that I was alone because I wasn’t. I remember a moment when I was pushing, getting really exhausted from my contractions that came with great force and no time in between to rest. I looked at Wanda in defeat, shaking my head saying that I was so exhausted and did not think I could keep going. Wanda assured me that I was doing great and that I had made very good progress, and that very soon I would hold my precious baby boy in my arms. I kept going.
I will never forget the moment when Timo was born. I cannot describe the feeling, there are no words for it. In the end, even though happy that I had a VBAC it did not matter to me how he was born. I would have been fine with another C-Section if it had to be one to keep him safe. However, this time I just wanted to have reassurance that I did everything I could, I wanted to feel prepared and empowered – and I did. Wanda was able to take some beautiful pictures of those first precious moments with us and Timo. We keep looking at them over and over.
Giving birth is one of the most memorable moments of life. You want people there with you that support you, make you feel comfortable and safe. I am forever grateful that Wanda was part of our journey. Should we decide to have a third child, I would want Wanda to be there with us again. Thank you so very much!"
-Cynthia, Jason & Timo
More kind words specific to clients experiences with Graceful Beginnings Birth Services Infant Massage classes or Childbirth Preparation Classes.