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Alec and Jill's Story:
Birth is an incredible event that you spend 9 months preparing for. Yet, even the best laid plans are subject to change when the moment arrives. In the intensity of labor, we needed flexibility to overcome unexpected challenges without sacrificing commitment to our foundational preferences. Only an expert care giver can navigate such a fine balance. Merrie is the rare expert who can do so. During labor, Merrie had a bottomless "bag of tricks" to relieve pain, soothe aches, and calm nerves. She was exceptionally patient and encouraging throughout the whole experience. Above all, she demonstrated remarkable intuition and sensitivity to the level of care we needed at any given moment. As such, we were unsurprised when hospital staff praised Merrie's cooperative attitude and skillful care to us after the birth was complete.In the end, we felt as though we'd done more than simply hire a labor coach, we'd made a good friend. We are supremely grateful to Merrie for her service to our family.
Liz and Brandon's story:
I had Merrie as my doula at both of my children's births. Having her there made for a fantastic experience! During my pregnancy I researched so much about the birthing experience, but Merrie always brought more knowledge and resources to me. Even with an amazing husband and excellent midwife, Merrie as my doula filled a very special and important role. She was the voice of reason and understanding when my discomfort in labor took over. She even alternated with my husband in hours of squeezing my hips together to relieve painful sensations during labor. Brandon got exhausted before she even came close! She is strong physically to be able to attend to the mother's physical needs during labor, but most importantly she is emotionally and mentally strong. Merrie has a special gift of being able to adapt to her patients' needs and as a result is a talented and compassionate doula. She respects and honors the birthing process, and her commitment to her practice is evident. Every woman would be lucky to have Merrie by her side through labor and birth. She was a joy to celebrate it with, and I will definitely have her back for my future births!
From a father's perspective, having Merrie present at the birth of both my children was a godsend. Her ability to provide the support and encouragement needed without interfering with the special bonding we experienced with our sons was amazing. Each birth brought with it a unique set of circumstances for which Merrie was well prepared. I felt more comfortable having her there to 1) ensure the safety of my wife and child, and
2) make sure the birth plan was followed with exactness, when possible. Because of Merrie's help, Liz's labor and recovery went very smoothly. Best of all, she made my job as a supporting husband easier. In fact, she made me look good!
Becky & Matt's story:
During the 9 months of preparation for the birthing process I knew exactly what would end up happening in labor. I had the image of what the media has forced on us to what labor is like. I expected that at some point during labor I would scream my head off, beg for relief from the pain and get strapped down to the bed and I would just deal with things as they happened. I did however have the "ideal" plan of what I wanted to do which was: no pain relief, I would do everything exactly as my body saw fit, and I would make it through just fine. I didn't actually think that my "ideal" plan would work until I met Merrie. We clicked instantly. I wanted her there in the room with me no matter what. We talked about my "ideal" plan and she said we could do it. During the actual labor, Merrie was my rock! She was there for me and guided me through different laboring positions to help keep me occupied during contractions. She breathed with me and kept me focused on the task at hand. My labor progressed very quickly because I allowed my body to do what it can do naturally. Merrie talked me through it and helped me know when to rest, when to grunt, and when make the natural instinctual sounds that needed to happen. I made it through labor medication free, even with an induction. It can be done and that is because I had the right coach there guiding me through the process. My husband asked her many questions during labor and she educated him on what I as going through to help easy his worries. I am so thankful for the knowledge that Merrie has to help guide me through the most beautiful and intense experience that I have ever been through. And I am so thankful for the kindness and friendship I have with her and look forward to working with her again in the future when the time comes! Merrie is AWESOME!
Katie and Ilija's story:
Merrie's presence at my first baby's birth was invaluable. We were transferred from a birth center to a hospital for minor complications. She brought food, drinks, a birthing ball, and lots of support, encouragement, and love. We didn't have any family in town during the birth, so it was amazingly helpful to have another set of hands around. She also had a lot of great ideas to help smooth the rough patches of labor. The most important thing for me, though, was how she was so aware of certain hospital routines I wanted to avoid, and how she made that known to the nursing staff. She was my advocate when they wanted to do certain things I didn't feel comfortable with. It was great to be able to be in labor-land with my sweetheart and know that someone could intercept potential hospital problems. Thank you so much Merrie. You felt like my warm, cozy protective shield against the sterility of the hospital, which is so important in such a vulnerable moment as birth. Even though my birth didn't go exactly as I would have liked, it definitely was better because you were there.
Looking back over the pregnancy and birth of our first child, I cannot imagine what it would have been like if we had not found Merrie. I stumbled upon her website when I was looking for a childbirth class, and what I ended finding was not only a teacher and doula, but more importantly a kind and supportive friend.
The childbirth class was always the highlight of my week. Getting together with other couples and going through the same experiences was nothing but incredible. I still keep in touch with the friends we made in the class today. Merrie is an excellent teacher and covered a wealth of pregnancy and babycare knowledge with grace and humor. Her lessons made me feel excited and empowered as an expectant mother.
As our doula, Merrie was with us for more than 15 hours of labor. With her support, I was able to go through almost 9 hours of active labor without pain medicine. Eventually, I did choose medication and our son was born via c-section, and Merrie was there as a source of encouragement and assurance.
Katie and Issac's story:
It was just perfect to have someone there at my birth who was neutral, and who wasn't related to me, so I could relax and feel like I could do or say anything. Merrie really helped me in early labor dealing with contraction pain and telling me it was okay to make noise, and that it was okay to just go with the flow of labor. She always had something new, either to distract me with or a new way to help me cope with my baby's birth. When I was in the hospital, it really made a difference for my husband to be able to get some sleep while she stayed by my side, rubbing lavender oil on my forehead to soothe me. Every time I thought I couldn't take anymore pain she was there helping me shift into a new position or trying something different. She made me feel like everything I was feeling and doing was natural, and that I could do it! With her presence I gained the strength and support that I needed to say no to an epidural and let my son's birth take it's own course. Going through the labor with Merrie make me feel like I could do it again in my future births. She gave me the confidence and knowledge that childbirth is a natural, beautiful thing, and I could experience labor as it should be. Thank you so much, Merrie!
Sara and Justin's story:
When I got pregnant, I hadn't thought much about what kind of birth I wanted to have. As Merrie began telling me about her birth experiences, I was astonished at her passion for, and knowledge about birth. She began to inform me about all of the birthing options that are available today, and she recommended several books for me to read. As I read these books and continued to talk to Merrie about birth, I began to formulate a birth plan that I became extremely passionate about. I decided I wanted to have a natural birth, and Merrie continued to support me in this decision throughout my pregnancy. I went to her for my questions and concerns surrounding birth, and she helped me tremendously. Her encouragement gave me the confidence I needed to go through with my birth plan. Unfortunately, I gave birth in a month Merrie was unable to take any clients, but she acted as my "phone doula". After I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl naturally, I called Merrie almost immediately. She shared in my joy and excitement. I am so glad I had Merrie's help throughout my pregnancy and delivery. I could not have done it without her!
Meghan and John:
Merrie Anderson rocks! What an awesome birth experience. Thanks for all your experience, wisdom, and support!
Jen and Tom:
Merrie was a godsend, my angel whispering in my ear. Her physical and emotional support was invaluable during my long and difficult labor that ended well -- no drugs, no epidural.