A beautiful home birth

My family is blessed to have Patti Crawford in our lives. She is an amazing doula and friend. We met her through the area ICAN group and she was with us through a pregnancy loss in late 2008. When I got pregnant again in 2010, I couldn't wait to ask her to be our doula again. We chose Patti because we could see her faith in God shine through in her life and doula work.

Our family planned a homebirth with local midwives and I met with Patti to talk about the birth a few times throughout the pregnancy. We waited with great anticipation for what we knew would be a beautiful birth. At the time, my Mom was living with us while receiving cancer treatment. Just before Christmas when my water broke, Mom was in the hospital a few hours away and was dying. I felt so torn about not being able to be with her, but Patti was such a support and God used her to minister to us with her presence, her prayers, her calm spirit and her faith in God's ultimate design for my daughter's birth. She helped me to be able to focus on the gift of birth that God was giving our family at Christmas time, even as my Mom was passing. What a sacred experience!

Contractions came and went for a few days before active labor started and Patti was always just a call away. She spent two nights at our home and stayed in close communication before I went into labor. Once active labor finally began, Patti was by my side the whole time as I labored standing up in our bedroom and in the water birth tub. Her peaceful presence reinforced my faith and confidence in God, my body and the birth process. I knew that she was there for whatever I needed. She brought me water, helped me get comfortable in the birthing tub and poured warm water over my back in between contractions, which was especially soothing since I had back labor.

Patti was a joyful part of the worshipful experience as Lily was born into the water in the comfort of my own home just a few hours and an easy labor later.  She used our camera to take pictures of the experience that we will always treasure, especially since we did not get any photos of the birth of our 3-year-old son. What a gift!

My husband also appreciated Patti's presence as someone who knew how to support me. When I was in labor with my son in the hospital back in 2007, we did not have a doula at the hospital with us and he felt the pressure to stay by my side every second. He did not feel free to run to the bathroom or grab a meal when he was hungry, especially since my birth was filled with interventions. With Patti at our homebirth, my husband felt free to put my older son to bed, eat meals and deal with some emergency logistics and family while my Mom was in the hospital. Patti's support left him free to tend to his own needs so that he could be strong, healthy and an amazing support to me without becoming overly stressed or fatigued. That has made such a difference for our family during the postpartum period.

After Lily's birth, Patti has also been an amazing presence. She came and spent time with me at the house, played with my older son and helped with things around the house so that I could rest and bond with my new baby. When I was so tired I couldn't see straight, Patti was there. She ministered to us during the most joyful and sorrowful part of my life as I experienced the new life of my daughter and the death of my Mom at Christmas. My family is eternally grateful to her for being in our lives.

Any family would be blessed to have Patti as a doula during the birth and/or postpartum period. She is extremely intuitive, perceptive and sensitive. Patti has great knowledge about the birth process and her presence inspires an atmosphere of calm and confidence. She is amazing at working with and communicating with midwives and providing doula support in a home environment. She allows the process to unfold according to God's will and seems to always know when to step in and provide support and suggestions as needed

Anne Kinsey.