"My husband and I were unsure if we wanted a doula at first. This being our first child, we had this thought that we wanted to be fully "in it" together -- for my husband to be the "head coach" and for me to be the "MVP" of this birthing experience. What we didn't realize, and what became clear after meeting Jessica and Mary Etna, is that we were gearing up for him to be the head coach of a sport he'd never seen, and for me to be the MVP of a sport I'd never played! Working with Jessica
and Mary Etna allowed us to get the skills and training we needed for us to be fully "in it" together in a more effective and productive way. Through the prenatal visit, they gave us the tools we needed to successfully manage early labor at home before getting to the hospital. We used every trick they taught us, including breathing techniques, counter-pressure and positioning. It meant that we could stay at home much longer than we probably would have which was the most comfortable
part of our labor experience. Jessica met us at our birthing center and was a crucial support person throughout my active labor and pushing. She helped calm me down when my breathing became frantic, reminding me to "let go" of contractions as they passed and helped coach my husband so he could be a more effective partner and support as well. I can't imagine the birth experience without their role. I wish every woman in the world could work with doulas as thoughtful, sensitive, supportive and knowledgeable as Jessica and Mary Etna."
" We chose Mary Etna as our doula because of her calm nature and her medical and science background. She was such an asset to us before the birth, at the birth, and after. At our prenatal visits, she brought a wealth of information that helped me feel more prepared about the choices I would have to make in the hospital. We had several conversations with Mary Etna prior to the birth related to a scare partway through my pregnancy as well as the induction that the doctors ended up doing at term. When it came time for the birth, Mary Etna was present and available whenever we wanted her by our side. She ended up staying with us in the hospital for practically a day until our new baby girl was born. I can't imagine my birth without having Mary Etna there. She was such a comfort to me - bringing things like a hot pillow or getting cool rags when I felt nauseous. I'm sure my partner would've thought to do some of these things and would've certainly done them had I asked, but Mary Etna was doing them before I even thought of it. This allowed my partner and I to really glide through the birthing process. She was so knowledgeable along the way and a great comfort to my partner who could really be present for the birth and by my side. At the end she had the honor of holding the mirror so I could see as my baby girl was born into this world. I'm so glad we chose to have a doula. We don't have any family in the area, and it was so wonderful to have her to count on with the added bonus that she had unbiased support and was a pillar of strength."
"Doula Mary Etna was so wonderful! She really knew what she was doing. She was calm and encouraging and saw us through a long sleepless labor with tireless compassion. It is really important to have someone you know right there with you to help through one of the most rewarding, yet bewildering, experiences of your life."
"My husband and I agreed to use a doula in my second pregnancy after experiencing a somewhat traumatic first birth (28 hours in labor, medical interventions at the end). I wanted to avoid feeling like procedures were being “done to me” in labor, rather than having a voice in the medical management, while my husband recognized that he could use additional support from someone with more experience in childbirth. Mary Etna fulfilled both of these wishes, and more, in her work with us leading up to and during my labor. She was extremely calm, warm, knowledgeable and professional, and we felt much more prepared to enter the hospital this second time around after our two prenatal meetings. We both loved the fact that she was able to provide us with evidence-based information about the pros and cons of different medical interventions, so we could think through informed choices ahead of time. The type of information we got from her complemented information received during regular prenatal appointments with a midwife. At the end of my pregnancy, the emotional support Mary Etna provided by phone and email when I was 3 days overdue was immensely encouraging, and helped me to wait it out and let the baby arrive when he was ready. In the end, my labor was very short (5 hours), very intense, but generally very peaceful! My son had an unmedicated birth, and I felt incredibly empowered during and after the process, largely because of the preparation we had all done beforehand. My husband remarked in retrospect that he would have liked to have had Mary Etna be involved in our first birth too! We would both highly recommend Mary Etna to anyone contemplating hiring a doula."
"My husband and I decided early on in our pregnancy that we would like to have a doula present at the birth of our daughter to provide both of us with the support necessary to deliver a healthy baby. Mary Etna provided exactly that. During our prenatal visits she took the time to understand both my husband and my personalities, our individual concerns and our goals and hopes. By the time labor started and we were headed to the center both my husband and I were calm. We were excited and looking forward to the work ahead before welcoming our daughter. Mary's presence during my labor was subtle. She guided me when needed but she primarily created the space for my husband to comfort and aid me. She gave both of us confidence. During transition and the final stages of labor her support was invaluable. Our progression to that point developed a trust in her coaching that was crucial in the end stages. Looking back on our experience now I feel I had the best team present at our daughters birth. We were lucky. Looking forward you can't always plan who delivers your baby but you can plan for who is by your side through the whole labor encouraging you and reminding you that your body can do it. I would ask Mary Etna again for her support at our next child's birth and would highly recommend her to others."
"I originally found Mary Etna online during a Google search. This was my third and last baby and I really wanted to try a natural childbirth this time around and the thought of having a doula, I really felt like I could accomplish that goal. My husband and I met Mary Etna at a park in Blacksburg to discuss details and even though we lived in Roanoke she met with us at our home to practice breathing and laboring positions. We chose to deliver at NRV hospital and Mary Etna met us there when it was time to have my baby. I honestly don't think I could've achieved a natural childbirth without her. She was such a big help and followed my body's natural rhythms with each contraction. She even bought me snacks just in case I forgot to bring mine (which I did forget). She coached me through the whole thing and after a few hours I thought I wanted to throw in the towel and get an epidural during the transition phase but she reassured me and again gave me the confidence that I needed right at that moment. A few minutes later my beautiful 8lbs 2oz daughter, Annabelle Gracelyn was born! I did it! I had my natural childbirth and not only was I proud of myself but my Marine husband was proud of me too! The look in his eyes was priceless. Having my husband there was wonderful and he was very helpful but having a doula with you that really knows what she's doing is a real treat. I highly recommend her to everyone and if you don't know much about doulas please give her a call because she's very educated on everything you need to know about the subject."
"Mary Etna has a calming presence that helped me immensely throughout my labor. She was quiet when I needed silence and she was there to support me vocally when I couldn't speak. She was great at making suggestions to help me get through the pain without making me feel what I "should" or "should not" do. She helped me feel informed to make the best choices, but didn't push me in any way. Overall, having her there to support me was amazing. I am so thankful she was at my birth. I could not have gotten through it without her!"
"I had an absolutely positive experience with Mary Etna. She is incredibly knowledgeable about everything childbirth and postpartum related. I felt confident in making decisions at the hospital because I was well informed from my discussions with her, as well as the resources and articles she referred me to.
She is extremely kind and patient and stayed with me throughout the duration of my very long labor. She knew when I needed her but never got in the way. She was also helpful to my husband by guiding him through the process in addition to me.
I loved our birth classes -- I learned a tremendous amount and I was well informed going into labor because of the classes. And she was very helpful during the postpartum visit and sent me articles for further information on my questions.
I highly recommend her to anyone searching for a doula, and I wouldn't hesitate to use her again.
Thank you for a positive birth experience! "