Lesley & Mike
A thank you seems so insignificant for what you helped us accomplish. We honestly couldn't have done it without your coaching and guidance. You knew just what to say or do at the perfect moment, making [our daughter's] birth an incredible experience and memory for us both. Words cannot convey our awe and gratitude.
Christina and Dan
Can we reserve you for all future children, arrival dates TBD? It was so amazing having you with us for [our son's] birth. You made us feel safe in an unfamiliar environment, and relaxed during what can be an intimidating experience. You were the greatest and it was a blessing to have you with us. Until baby #2!
I hired Tara for my second pregnancy even though I thought there was some chance I might have a cesarean. Her communication was outstanding throughout the experience and she often reached out when I was too tired or busy and provided helpful resources and ideas both for my pregnancy as well as my delivery. She was on call for labor pains a week before I had my daughter and ended up being there for what ended up to be a 41 week cesarean as well. She provided emotional, physical and logistical help at the hospital including a set of beautiful first photos. I cannot speak highly enough of my experience.
Katy and William
I cannot say enough good about Tara Olson or the experience of working with her as our doula.
Tara is extremely knowledgeable, and her expertise made my wife and me feel much more confident as we headed towards our due date. Tara recommended valuable resources that were succinct enough that we actually used them, so we ourselves were well-educated. Then, in our meetings during the months before the due date, she answered our remaining questions clearly and elaborated on the most important ways we could prepare for a healthy labor.
During the delivery, Tara gave so much comfort to my wife. Tara seemed to know exactly how to aid her through difficult contractions. The physical aids she provided, including Tara’s direct touch, plus some birthing accessories, were strong but not painfully strong—because my wife has a pain disorder, that’s a vital and difficult balance to strike. She also talked my wife through contractions beautifully, offering encouragement and strength while acknowledging how difficult things were.
But it was Tara’s personality, just as much as her knowledge and technical competence, that made our experience with her a special one. Tara has an unaffected openness that lets her “be herself”—warm, interested, fun, grateful—in a way that prompts everyone nearby to feel comfortable being themselves too. That was certainly the case for my wife and me during our pre-birth meetings with Tara. Also, during slack times on the day of the delivery, Tara engaged each of our family members in friendly discussion. That is, Tara gave some of herself to everyone in the family, and everyone’s day was happier for it.
Tara will prioritize you, not a political agenda, ... As with other political issues, some people seemed primarily interested in promoting their viewpoint when the question of epidurals, induction, and abdominal birth came up during my wife’s pregnancy. Most people in our lives, too savvy or polite to overtly advocate, just sat quietly, tolerating the idea that someone in the room might disagree with them but unable to mask their strong preference on how my wife should deliver. Indeed, now that the birth is done, most people in our lives can’t help but convey their wish that it had been either more or less medicalized.
Only Tara was really, genuinely, unwaveringly supportive of how my wife proceeded through issues of medicalization. To be sure, she was able to provide facts and explain options to help guide my wife’s choices. But Tara is open and confident enough that she can prioritize you, not a preexisting agenda.
In addition to providing knowledge and comfort on the day of the birth, Tara took many photographs that we totally treasure. They’re not artificially bright or saccharine like many wedding or baby photos, nor are they awkwardly posed like many family portraits. They’re spontaneous, often serious, sometimes joyful—all beautifully authentic, uncomplicatedly moving.
I recommend Tara’s doula services, but what I especially recommend is Tara herself. I’m not just glad Tara was able to help make the birth experience a positive one for my wife. I’m glad my daughter was born into a room made warm by Tara’s depth of humanity.
Tara has been with me for three births. She is dependable, flexible and supportive. She gave my husband the tools he needed to support and encourage me during our first natural birth, rolled with the near literal punches during our second (I threw a pillow at her during pushing, she laughed it off) and kept cool and encouraging when things got scary during our third, a surprise breech. It's difficult to put into words the feelings you have for someone who has loved you through such a deep, transformative and soulful time like birth. Love and gratitude just don't seem to cover it. She is just awesome, in the fullest sense of that word.
Tara joined my husband and me on our third birth. Having Tara with us to be our advocate while the doctors and nurses were asking questions helped give Chris and me the ability to focus just on birthing our daughter. She believed in our ability to have the natural birth we desired, and that belief guided us through the entire experience. After the birth my husband told me he never wants to have another baby without Tara as our doula. Tara is without a doubt someone who will listen, love, and guide you to the best possible birth outcome for you and your sweet new baby.
I can not imagine my the birth of my son without Tara by my and my wife's side.
As a husband and father, there are three specific aspects of Tara's involvement in the birth of my son that I want to highlight.
1) Tara wanted my wife to have full autonomy in a great birth experience. Tara didn't have a prescription or plan she recommended we follow. She asked us what we wanted, how we envisioned different scenarios playing out, and how we'd react to changes along the way. She never tried to force her personal opinions or idea of the perfect birth on my wife.
The best example of how Tara listened to and advocated for my wife is her support of my wife's change in decision to get an epidural. From the beginning, my wife wanted an unmedicated child birth, and the underlying goal of the birth plan my wife and Tara composed was to avoid unnecessary medical intervention. But after dilating a centimeter an hour for five hours, my wife decided she wanted an epidural. Tara never challenged, doubted, or second-guessed her; instead, Tara asked my wife and the physicians pointed questions, and when my wife confirmed the decision, Tara could not have been more supportive. After the epidural was placed, Tara worked my wife through different positions to ensure labor would progress.
I believe my wife enjoyed the second-half of her labor and birthing process not only because of the epidural but because she knew she had my and Tara's unequivocal support.
2) Tara is extremely knowledgable as a doula and comfortable in her role along the other medical staff. She asked the nurses and other providers questions I wouldn't have thought of in ways that were non-confrontational. I am a surgical physician, and even with my professional knowledge of medicine in general and the birthing process, I leaned completely on Tara for her expertise.
She knows many hospitals in the Washington, DC Metro Area well because she's visited the hospitals, met with nurses and midwives, and learned their individual culture and nuances. When we met Tara, my wife was planning to deliver at a different hospital. After learning my wife's vision for her birth process, Tara encouraged us to consider changing to another hospital she felt would better support that vision.
3) Tara perfectly walked the line of hired consultant and trustworthy friend. Our interactions were warm and friendly while also professional and courteous. Tara's visits were structured and centered on my wife, and she checked in over email up until the delivery, but she also did the little things that showed me she cared about us beyond the role of a client, like taking photos during and offering to get us food immediately after the delivery.
In summary, I would unequivocally recommend Tara to a friend, and if my wife and I decide to have another child, I'd want no one else by my side.
My husband and I were on the fence about having a doula but I knew that as a first time mom I was nervous about the birth process, and I also knew that I wanted to have an unmedicated birth. I did some research and spoke with a few doulas over the phone. We immeidately felt at ease around Tara. Her philosophy was in line with what we were looking for - she valued collaboration with hospital staff (you don't want someone who will alleniate the staff!), yet she very much believes in doing whatever she can to ensure that her clients are educated about each decision made in their care.
She did two prenatal visits with us which were so helpful at making sure we felt prepared. She has a lot of techniques for managing labor and provided "homework" for me to implement over the weeks leading up to labor focused on affirmations and meditation. She was really great at also bringing things for my husband so that he could prepare for his role. She also checked in with me via email as I got closer to my due date, and was really responsive to emails I would send with questions about my symptoms and concerns.
When I actually went into labor it was unlike anything I had been preparing myself for. Labor was very fast and intense - by the time I got to the hospital I knew I wanted the epidural after all. Tara was respectful and supportive of my decision, and she was so helpful in facilitating the rest of labor by encouraging me to get into different positions to help the baby's movement.
Another benefit of having her around was that she took photos and video of the birth - we now treasure these photos and would certainly not have had them otherwise. I think photography alone justifies her fee! She helped me with breastfeeding after birth and during post partum visits. I can't imagine NOT having her as part of my experience. She is warm, kind, knowledgeable, and personable. We couldn't be happier with our birth experience and recommend her without reservation.
Tara was invaluable during my pregnancy and birth! She perfectly complemented the care of my healthcare provider by serving as an additional resource and wealth of knowledge. Tara met with my husband and I prior to the birth to discuss a birth plan and, since we were first time parents, to educate us on the birth process and what to expect. She was very responsive throughout pregnancy when I had questions and always put us at ease. When I went into labor, Tara gave me some tips to cope with contractions while she traveled to my house. She helped us transition to the hospital and once there was hands on for the entire labor and delivery. I was in a lot of pain with strong back labor but Tara coached me through each contraction and helped me to focus and relax. She was also great in helping my husband with ways to be helpful to me. Thanks to Tara I never felt fearful or out of control during labor as she helped to keep my mind occupied and advocated for me. Post partum, Tara followed up with more visits to make sure we felt supported as new parents.
In summary, having Tara by our side during this experience was truly a one of the best decisions we made! I wholeheartedly recommend her.
We are still in the hospital, but I have to write to say that having Tara be our doula made our birth. She was great right away and made me instantly feel comfortable. She was knowledgable, prepared, and kind. She listened to me throughout my extremely long labor--36 hours--and never once left my side. I also loved and appreciated that she took pictures afterwards of Zach cutting the cord and us as a new family. Her experience was unmatched and I highly recommend her to anyone.
I am-because of her and the GW Midwifes- a successful VBAC patient and if anyone is looking for a doula who is great in the area, I would again say that Tara would be a wonderful match.
I couldn't endorse Tara as a Doula any more emphatically -- she was exactly what we were looking for in terms of a calm, caring, knowledgeable source of support during labor. ... Tara's pre-natal coaching helped me identify & address my fears, relax and prepare for labor. ... She was as helpful for my husband as she was for me during the process and again in her post partum follow-up. ... Any expectant mother would be in extremely competent hands with Tara as a Doula.
Tara's work with us was nothing less than outstanding! Prior to selecting her as our doula, we conducted phone interviews of six candidates and then met Tara face-to-face and decided to go with her. We were very lucky we did so. My wife's labor turned out to be a very long one at 33 hours, with a quick delivery at the end. Tara was a trouper throughout, staying with us through the entire time and doing shifts with me supporting my wife physically during her contractions. When we all realized that my wife's dilation was not going to move past 7 cm, Tara supported us through talking with the doctors and asking all of the needed questions regarding the use of an epidural and any medications needed to get my wife to full dilation. We feel that the timing was right for when we finally did go with the epidural and medication to induce the birth; had we tried it at the beginning, we feel that the full dilation may not have happened, and my wife may have required c-section. Fortunately, with Tara's coaching and steadfast reliability before, throughout, and after the birth, my wife delivered vaginally and we are now nursing a very cute, growing little girl.
A few more things about Tara's performance: We went into labor 7 days earlier than the expected delivery date, which for our first baby was a surprise. Everyone had told us that the first baby is usually late, and one doula we interviewed had even told us that she wouldn't be able to be there on the expected date but not to worry because the baby would be late anyway. It turned out that my wife went into labor only three days after we met Tara, and she dropped everything she had going on to be with us for the whole period. She also followed up with excellent recommendations on breastfeeding and baby care. No one could go wrong working with this doula.
We are so glad that we had Tara assist us for the birth of our last two children. She is down to earth, easy to work with, and flexible. ... She was helpful in talking to me softly and reminding me to stay calm and refocus. ... Both times we forgot to have our camera with us in the delivery room, and it was nice to have someone there to take pictures right away, make sure I had warm socks, etc. We strongly recommend her.
Thank you for the incredible help you have been throughout long labor and the birth of [our baby]. We really could not have expected such a difficult labor, or such amazing devotion to us on your part.
I was 39 weeks when we discovered baby had turned and was breech, Tara was very helpful in sharing a website, spinningbabies.com, and by providing suggestions on how to help baby turn. After a couple days of forward leaning inversions, baby turned and I was able to deliver him naturally at 40 wks 5 days. Tara was a great listener and very supportive.
You made a world of difference with helping me through my final stages of pregnancy and labor! Thank you so much for your sound advice and knowledge!
We cannot thank you enough for assisting at our birth. You did everything I wanted a doula to do for me, and [my husband] was so glad you were there. You really made him a better support system too.