Naomi Ruth's Story

We were introduced to Melissa Dean in our 26th week of pregnancy after our child was diagnosed with a fatal chromosome abnormality. We were encouraged by our doctor to drop out of all Birth Prep Classes. This being our first pregnancy, we needed help! Melissa was happy to work with us despite Naomi Ruth’s prognosis of death. We picked Melissa from several doulas we were corresponding with because she could say the words “death” and “dying”. The mention of infant death sent most into a rant of philosophical and metaphysical babble that was not useful. We needed someone real. Someone stable, grounded, intelligent, and in touch with the realities of life (and death).

From the start, Melissa was real. We immediately liked her humorous and confident yet humble disposition. During the next 14 weeks, she often checked in on us; calling to see if she could help us in any way. Being new to California, this was much appreciated. She provided us with books on birthing alternatives and never once tried to talk us out of our decisions (we wanted an epidural - a decision not all doulas can respect.) After one pre-natal appointment, our blood pressure was higher than normal and panic broke out. Melissa provided us with alternative ways to lower our blood pressure, helping us to avoid a (ridiculous) doctor-recommended early induction.

When labor started, Melissa was a calming presence amid the bustling seven+ family members there to witness the birth. Her natural authority (surely from being the oldest of her siblings AND the mother of four) and articulate understanding of labor, allowed my husband, sisters, girlfriend, mom, dad, brother and cousins to relax (something NOT natural to my family) and enjoy the ride! It was important to us to labor at home as long as possible, so we did, with Melissa’s help, for 60+ hours. Her interpretation of what my body needed (when to rest/when to move) was right on. When I was feeling queasy, she suggested eating something. When contractions slowed, she provided tincture. When my back hurt, she facilitated pelvic thrusts to insure Naomi was slipping into the correct position. When labor got really painful, she provided relief with hip squeezes.

Melissa also allowed herself some rest during the three-day ordeal. Granted, not much. But allowing herself any rest at all assured us she was not there to be a hero or an over-extended Super Doula. She was there to let God do His thing and simply assist. She allowed my family members to take over timing the contractions, rubbing my back, squeezing my butt, etc. This was appreciated by all of us as - my family thrives on rallying around one in need. She quickly recognized this and was soon facilitating the whole group with ease.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, we had dilated to 5cm. After hearing so many stories of friends being sent home from the hospital in early labor, we were so relieved when we were immediately admitted. What a feeling of success! Without Melissa, we would have certainly gone in days too early. In the hospital, it was Melissa who explained the hurried comments of the nurses and doctors. During the pushing, it was Melissa whom I understood amid the torrent of breathing instructions. When Naomi Ruth came and (four hours later) went to heaven, it was Melissa who showed us how to bathe our precious baby. Freshly bathed and silky soft, it was Melissa who presented us with the love of our life, our first child, Naomi Ruth.

Our daughter brought us many gifts – one of the best being Melissa Dean. Melissa shared in the most memorable event of our lives and we wouldn’t have chosen anyone else. She and her family are today honorary members of ours. We’ve delighted in getting to know her darling and ever-so-pleasant children as well as her generous and amiable husband. An ambitious, compassionate, endearing woman; Melissa is passionate about her work as doula and mother. She comes with our highest praises and recommendation. You, too, would be honored to employ her services.

Rikki & Stefan Boehmer (and the whole Pageler clan)The Family of Naomi Ruth born 9/04

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Read about Naomi's new sibling to be!