- Marsden Wagner
Such is the life of a doula, respecting the mother, empowering her, supporting their labor partner, and so much more. It is important work, helping bring a new life into this world, a responsibilty that SoDu Parents Posse member Ashley Rankin Collins cherishes as owner of Little Bee Birth Partner.
Ashley offers complete birth, postpartum and sibling doula services to families, and holds rebozo workshops for expecting couples and childbirth professionals throughout the Triangle and beyond. Her work is multi-faceted and her approach is holistic - simply making births better.
So who is a doula? The word "doula" (pronounced doo'-luh) comes from the Ancient Greek word δούλη, meaning a "woman who serves." But it was the landmark book "Mothering the Mother", that gave the word its current meaning - a doula is a person, usually a woman, who provides physical and emotional support to a woman and her family during labor, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
Why use a doula in your labor? Some of the proven benefits of birth doulas include:
* Reduction in the overall cesarean rate by 50%
* Reduction in the length of labor by 25%
* Reduced oxytocin use by 40%
* Reduction in the use of pain medication by 30%
* Reduction of forceps deliveries by 40%
* Reduction of requests for epidurals by 60%
"I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it's always been there, they just needed to tap into it." - John H. Kennell, MD
When you make the important decision to choose a doula, you can be confident that Little Bee Birth Partner is tried and trusted. Ashley has attended over 100 births as a doula and is DONA (Doulas of North America) certified. She has attended births at all the major Triangle Area hospitals and birth centers. Her birth doula services include "an initial (complementary) meeting where we'll get to know each other, up to two in-depth meetings where we'll discuss your birth plan and coping techniques for labor in detail, and one postpartum visit where we'll review your birth and address any issues you may be facing during your recovery. Also, I offer UNLIMITED phone, e-mail and text message communication throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period and will be on-call to you starting during your 38th week of pregnancy."
What is a rebozo? It is a colorful traditional Mexican shawl that is long enough to wrap around a woman's body. It acts as a tool for labor, used in assisting the mother into various positions for labor, comfort, or relaxation. Ashley has seen firsthand how the rebozo works as "an extension of a partner's hands as they support a laboring mother and now I offer a short class just for couples to learn how they might incorporate it into their birth story. During the workshop we learn new comfort measures for late pregnancy and birth, show partners ways they can support a mother for longer, by working stronger, and couples get time to share their needs/fears/hopes for birth. It's a wonderful workshop to take in addition to a traditional childbirth education class; or for second time parents who just want to refresh their memories and focus on their upcoming baby. The rebozo acts as a tangible metaphor for an expecting couple's preparation leading to birth, the hard work they put into the birthing process, and is a physical reminder of the collaboration between members of your birth team. Rebozo techniques give the dad or partner a way to use their hands in a powerful way for the laboring mother. They work smarter with the rebozo, which becomes their invitation to be involved in the birth of their child."
"Childbirth is an experience in a woman's life that holds the power to transform her forever. Passing through these powerful gates - in her own way - remembering all the generations of women who walk with her... She is never alone." - Suzanne Arms
"Ashley has been a life-saver or I should say mental-health saver these last few weeks that I have been adjusting to becoming a mother of two. She has gone above and beyond what I expected from my postpartum care, and I could not say enough good things about my experience. Ashley entertained my two year old so that I could nurse and bond with my newborn while also doing laundry, washing my leftover dishes, making snacks, and offering helpful tips on breastfeeding issues. When I needed some one-on-one time with my older son since he was feeling left out, she jumped right in with my newborn and kept him happy while also doing those tasks around the house that I could never get around to. She went with me on outings so that I didn't feel so overwhelmed with my two boys, and she made my re-entry into the outside world less scary. I was concerned that it would feel awkward having a stranger helping in my house, but Ashley made me feel so comfortable from the first day. My only regret with Ashley is that I didn't have her help with my first son!"
- Kellie, go
"We had a wonderful experience with Ashley. She was recommended by close friends, and we honestly weren't sure what to expect or what having a doula entailed. Leading up to the birth, she was an excellent resource for information and was very supportive throughout the pregnancy. But it was her presence at the actual birth that really sold us on having a doula-- she was present without being overbearing and offered many helpful suggestions for pain management. The labor was long, and she was truly with us the entire time. She empowered my husband to take an active role, and he found her presence to be an enormous help in navigating the process. Overall, it was just very comforting to have her there, particularly since this was a new experience for us. We will absolutely reach out to her for any future pregnancies and can't imagine going through a birth without her!"
"Ashley Collins is a rock star of a doula. I can't and don't want to imagine my birth experience without her."
Find more testimonials about Ashley and the positive impact Little Bee Birth Partner has made, go here.
Be sure to "like" and visit Little Bee Birth Partner's facebook page, which serves as a doula blog, where Ashley shares information about breastfeeding, labor misconceptions, links to beautiful galleries like those of siblings meeting their baby brother or sister for the first time, and multitudes of articles on the complexity and beauty of birth.
To rise above what we are accustomed to,
reach deeper inside ourselves than we are familiar with,
and to see not only what we are truly made of,
but the strength we can access in and through birth.”
– Marcie Macari
So if we are to transcend through labor as women, shouldn't we have someone trusted as our guide?
You can't find a more comforting and knowledgable guide than Little Bee Birth Partner
to help you get there.