Tulsa woman makes supporting families her business

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 10/02/2019, 4:58 PM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(TULSA, Okla.) After less than stellar experiences with the birth of her first two children, Kirsty Ray knew something big had been missing both times.  “With my first I was alone and clueless and just went in and had a baby,” Ray said. “With my second I had all of my family, all of my husband’s family, lots of friends, so much support. Looking back at both births, I weirdly felt more supported in the first one when I was all alone.” Ray said, despite the best intentions of family and friends, no one was trained to give advice, or even asked what she wanted. And someone was always getting their feelings hurt.   “I learned what a doula was after my second birth, and aside from immediately realizing what was missing from my own births, I realized I was reading a description of myself,” Ray said. “I knew I was reading about my career and jumped right in.” Now Ray owns Tulsa Family Doulas, after purchasing the company from the previous owner earlier this year. “It definitely has it's aspects that are harder to handle, but overall it's an amazing job to have,” Ray said. “I love the flexibility and being able to run with new ideas.” Medical experts agree, doulas have been proven to improve the childbirth experience. Studies have found expecting moms who had a doula were four times less likely to have a low birth weight baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and more likely to breastfeed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3647727/), along with decreased chances of cesarean section, length of labor, and requests for pain medication (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12917986). Those expecting a bundle of joy also expect a nurse to stick around with them for most of the childbirth, but that is typically not the case. Another study found new mothers believed 53% of their nurse’s time  would be spent offering support, but in reality only 6–10% of the nurse’s time was spent that way: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1523-536x.2001.00052.x That, Ray said, is what really sets them apart. Not only do their five certified doulas offer support before and after birth, they are there for the entire childbirth itself. So what exactly is a doula? Ray compares it to having a wedding planner, only instead of having a wedding, you’re having a baby. A doula knows all the options for everything birth-related, whether you have an exact vision of your childbirth experience or absolutely no idea. “Our goal is that you come out feeling confident and like you made your own decisions,” Ray said. “I think I initially thought doulas were only for people who wanted a natural birth and who also had midwives,” Tulsa Family Doulas client Tonya Sanders said. “It was a new thought to me that I could have a doula assist with our birth even if I was all for using modern medicine, such as epidurals.” Ray was there when Sanders and her husband, Andy, welcomed their daughter Makenzie into the world nine months ago. “Having a doula just kind of put us a bit at ease,” Sanders said. “There was someone available to answer questions whenever we had them. Even right when she first got there, there was all these sirens going off and someone was coding. Which was super scary and she was like, ‘I’ve never seen that before in my life- It’s not going to happen to you’.” Andy Sanders told VNN having a doula meant having an advocate for the childbirth they wanted. He said Kirsty empowered them, and reminded them they had options. “You kind of have to know how the process works, and when to ask for things,” Sanders said. “Having her there that day especially as a first time father was very comforting, as well. I’m supposed to be there for my wife, I’m supposed to be doing these very supportive things and my brain is trying to take it all in. All this emotional stuff is going on. Kirsty coached Tonya through the whole birthing process. And I’m just freaking out. So it was very valuable to have her, emotionally. She’s been there. She’s not scared of the moment.”   Birth support packages start at $1100. Bundles of additional hours are also available. They mainly serve Tulsa and its surrounding areas, but have traveled as far as Kansas and Arkansas for their clients.  In addition to doula services, the company offers group classes and lactation support on site. Classes start at $75. Ray told VNN some clients have had success with getting reimbursed from their health insurance company, but it isn't common. Still, she said, the price for a doula is well worth it. “This goes back to the wedding planner example,” Ray said. “Your wedding is one of the biggest days of your life and the average person spends around $30,000. How much bigger of a deal is your birth? Take your classes, hire your birth doula, hire your postpartum doula! This is the birth of your baby and the beginning of the rest of your parenting journey; you want this to be a good experience.” Tulsa Family Doulas currently shares an office with Thrive Chiropractic at 51st and Harvard, but is looking to expand into a full-fledged pregnancy resource center soon. For more information, visit www.tulsafamilydoulas.com This has been a VNN Sponsored News Story. For more information, email BHarlow@VerifiedNews.Network


This story has no comments yet