©Rachelle Friesen:  all rights reserved.​

Ryann

I always knew I wanted the assistance and support of a doula for both myself and my husband. My search was an easy one once I met Rachelle. She's super easy to talk to, incredibly knowledgeable and just plain pleasant to be around. Despite my nerves, Rachelle consistently put me at ease. As a first time mom I had an idealistic way of how I wanted my pregnancy and delivery to transpire, and that consisted of no complications and a natural birth. Well, nature is unpredictable and so is your body's reaction to pregnancy. Lucky for myself and my husband that we found Rachelle. When my baby girl was persistently breech, Rachelle lended us spinning babies videos and came to our home to show us different positions that would encourage the baby to turn head down. Additionally, Rachelle attended our external version. She provided a calming environment and coached me through hypnobabies material to ease the discomfort. I had also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and Rachelle provided support with pre and postnatal diet expectations. 

In the end, Lydia decided that she was to be born via a belly birth. Rachelle checked in to the hospital with both myself and my husband. She accompanied me to the pre-op area and even lended her professional camera to my midwife for birth photographs in the OR. Immediately post-op, Rachelle was present once again to provide hands on breastfeeding support for me and my new baby girl. I received a visit from Rachelle during my hospital stay which also captured a cute image of myself, my mother, and sweet little Lydia. Rachelle's postnatal presence provided additional breastfeeding support and sage advice regarding care for both myself and husband in our new roles as parents. I constantly reflect on the advice that Rachelle provided to my new family. She is an invaluable resource who I would acquire again in a heartbeat. 

 

Thank you Rachelle. 

Kristen

I met Rachelle at the RI Doula night. Having never worked with a doula I had no idea what to expect but given my first birthing experience, I knew I wanted something different. After meeting with the other doula’s I felt most comfortable with Rachelle; her easy going personality with her knowledge coming through first. Her association with Hynobabies was intriguing and I wanted to learn more.

 

I had a plan for my birth, and of course things rarely go as planned. My waters broke and I wasn’t able to labor at home like I wanted to. After waiting 24 hours with no steady contractions, we all agreed it was best to go in. Rachelle stayed with us the whole time, roughly 16 hours! During this time, she suggested many alternatives to starting my contractions knowing my desire to have as much of a natural birth as possible. She interacted with the nurses asking questions, and really kept my desires in mind. She also kept us busy with changing the environment from walking the halls, using a birthing ball, or taking a shower. All the nurses who came into our room loved the atmosphere whether it was the Christmas lights dimly lit or the essence of lavender.

 

When it came time for our baby to be born, Rachelle was right next to me. She took such beautiful pictures and I am so happy to have our birthing documented. I highly recommend Rachelle!

Betty

Rachelle was an amazing doula, she was always quick to respond to my nervous first time mom questions. She was incredibly helpful when I couldn't find a Dr./Midwife I liked she made several great recommendations. I could not reccomend Rachelle highly enough, she advocated for me, worked incredibly hard (she was with us for 24 hours on delivery day) she not only helped me so much during labor and delivery but she was also very helpful to my husband. We can't imagine labor and delivery (and pregnancy) without her. She made my (long and hard) labor and delivery an incredible and beautiful experience. She will be one of my first calls next pregnancy! 

Posted 10/2/2016

Colleen

Rachelle helped guide our family to the pregnancy and birth experience we wanted.  We met her late in our pregnancy, and after just one meeting, she had recommendations that changed the course of the rest of our pregnancy (and birth). With her support, we not only had the courage to change practitioners, but we were also introduced to a midwife practice and hospital that felt right for us. (We adore the staff at both our practice and the hospital - and for them alone, we are incredibly grateful to Rachelle). With Rachelle, I had felt we'd tapped into this supportive and personalized community that had been missing since day 1. Rachelle is a wealth of knowledge, resources and connections, which she generously shares. Her down-to-earth,  relaxed (yet firm when needed) style is exactly what our family needed. We always trusted that she'd be candid with us; that she sincerely wanted to ensure we experienced the birth our way; and that she'd advocate for us along the way. We were lucky to find a doula who cared so much! Thank you, Rachelle!

Posted 2/3/2017

Rachel

I can't say enough about how amazing Rachelle is as a doula (and as a human in general!). When I met Rachelle, I immediately knew I wanted to work with her. I chose Rachelle, because she has a no BS approach. She gives direct, straight forward answers to all my questions based on sound scientific evidence and her own extensive experience. (I found some other doulas to be a bit too wishy washy and vague in an effort to respect individual wishes. Rachelle just gave me answers, which I liked!) She is also very well respected and has a great relationship with Dr's Morton & Magee at Landmark Hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, Rachelle made sure that everything in my birth plan was implemented. She was hands on throughout the entirety of my labor (literally put counter pressure on my hips through every contraction for hours and hours). I'm not sure how I would have gotten through labor without her. She was my advocate and supporter both physically & mentally. I was in labor for about 20hrs (first baby), used a tub and nitrous oxide, but otherwise had a natural birth of a 8# 13oz baby at 41 weeks + 1 day. I couldn't have asked for my birth to go any better and I'm certain that Rachelle's support was a HUGE contributor to my success.
As a bonus...Rachelle did our birth photos and they are worth every single penny!! They captured so many powerful moments that I'm so grateful I will have for a lifetime. A spouse or family member could never have captured all those moments. Absolutely get birth photos!!!

Posted 5/7/2017

Natasha

It was really by chance that my husband and I ended up attending a meet-and-greet for Doulas of Rhode Island (we live in MA) but I'm so thankful we did! Right away we were excited to find out that Rachelle was trained in Hypnobabies. We used many of those techniques for the birth of our first daughter and hoped to try again. At that meeting, Rachelle was engaging, knowledgable and full of positive energy - we decided she would be the one to help us welcome our second daughter and see us through a VBAC. I'm THRILLED we chose her and am incredibly thankful she assisted with Lucy's birth, which turned out to be the experience I had always wanted.

Rachelle was fantastic during my prenatal visits - drove 45 min. to our home - and supplied us with information, encouragement and just the right amount of relaxed birth chit chat to make us feel at ease and well cared for. Throughout our time together, Rachelle followed my lead and made me feel empowered to try for a VBAC. When I found out my baby was transverse, Rachelle did not miss a beat, she immediately showed me Baby Spinning positions to help turn the baby and recommended an amazing chiropractor. She even attended my ECV appointment and cheered during the ultrasound when we found out I didn't need the version. During those unnerving moments when labor began, Rachelle was there for me, on the phone helping me determine if this was the real thing or not. When I arrived at the hospital she practically carried me from the front seat, whisked me away to triage and from then on was by my side working as a team with my husband. I am thankful for every ice pack, counter pressure, oil massage and words of encouragement. She helped boost my confidence to continue without an epidural and when the time was right she told me, "reach down and grab your baby" - an experience like no other. I will always be grateful for those words. Rachelle is a wonderful doula and I whole heartedly recommend her!

 

Briana

"Rachelle is amazing. One of the first things my husband and I said to each other after the birth of our son was, “Rachelle is a rock star.” We had never been through it before and really wanted someone that would tell me what to do (suggestions on positions, etc) and tell my husband what to do to support me. Rachelle, however, was so much more than that. At our prenatal visits she shared all of the information she had (which was a lot) on pregnancy and labor, plus things I hadn’t even thought about. She made sure that we had our birth plan ready to go way in advance and how to prep our friends and family for our wishes after the birth. I was sad at our postpartum visit because I knew it was the end of our journey together for now, but I know we’ll be seeing her again. I can’t imagine experiencing childbirth without Rachelle and highly recommend her to anyone looking for a supportive birthing experience.."

 

Wilson

"One note about Rachelle, our doula. I have to give props where props are due. Rachelle helped us tremendously throughout this process, from the preparation, to the counsel, to the referrals to the in-person support, She was there for us every step of the way. From a father's point of view, I cannot say use the word 'easy' with pregnancy, but the guidance and support during the process took us from what could be a chaotic stressful mess, to a systematic, informed and dare I say 'routine' experience. We felt like we had rehearsed the dance weeks and months in advance and in our case, there were no surprises.

 

I don't think I can express how important it is to have a professional by your side that has solely your best interest in mind. It totally allowed us the ability to focus solely on the job at hand and be completely present in the childbirth experience. Selfishly, as a new father, I didn't have to play the role of Mr. Know-it-all or Mr. Fix It for situations that were brand knew to both of us. For all of that and more I am most grateful and appreciative. The term "lucky" seems wholly inadequate. I'm not particularly religious, but one has to acknowledge when the universe allows "angels" in your life to guide you through challenges. This was definitely one of those times, not to mention the ability to also beautifully capture all those precious moments on camera."

 

Christine

Rachelle was the perfect doula for our family.  I was so thankful to have her by our side before, during, and after the birth of our daughter.  From the very beginning Rachelle put us at ease.  We met with her twice before my labor.  She provided all of the resources that we needed before the birth: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, placenta encapsulation, labor tools and education, what to expect during labor...everything. 

 

During the labor and birth, she was by our side, offering words of wisdom and  encouragement.  She was always two steps ahead, predicting what we would need and what to expect.  She tirelessly provided counter-pressure hip squeezes for me.  I can't imagine my labor without this - it really helped alleviate a lot of the back pain I was feeling.  She offered me cool cloths, sips of water, back rubs, and allowed for my husband to go grab a bite to eat amidst the long labor.  She held my hand during those long pushes, cheering me on when I needed it, but also knowing when I needed a moment of quiet.  Rachelle hung in there with us for many hours, late into the night, somehow remaining energized and ever-ready.

 

After my daughter's birth, Rachelle came to our rescue yet again.  Several days postpartum, sleep-deprived and hormonal, Rachelle came to our house late in the evening to help me when my milk came in (and boy, did it come in).  I was having a hard time with breastfeeding, and she was able to give me some tips, encourage me, and provide much-needed emotional support.

 

Rachelle was invaluable to us, in so many ways.  She also captured some amazing moments on her camera for us - photos that we will always cherish of the arrival of our daughter.  We recommend her most highly!  

 

Wendy

Ten Things We Love(d) about Rachelle:
1) She has two kids. So she's been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
2) She is upbeat and the right amount of bossy. I needed a "big sister" to coach us on the birth of our second son. She nailed it!
3) She did what she said she would do. I appreciated her decisiveness and follow-through.
4) She was accommodating. We started a little late in the game of a doula search. My husband's schedule was/is crazy (I mean, life happens, right?). She had flexibility and great problem solving skills.
5) She is knowledgeable and passionate. Every subject broached, Rachelle had info and a recommended course of action. If she didn't know the answer she would find it.
6) She "let/encouraged" us to labor in the lobby of the hospital. True story. That was a big deal for me at that point in time.
7) She is fun. We laughed and joked pretty much up until transition. Not an impossibility, my friends!
8) She is creative. See #6. When something was unique she improvised. Let's be honest. "Everything" about Labor is unique, right? Thinking on her feet = Rachelle's specialty!
9) She gives the best hip squeezes ever! If you don't know what those are, you should. Even if a doula does nothing but hip squeezes, you win!
10) She gives the best hip squeezes ever! She coached my husband to do them pretty well, however, I would have to say hers were better (he has other perfections ;).
Rachelle empowered us to have a beautiful, candid birth. We have that as a wonderful memory and life-accomplishment! Thanks, Rachelle

Megan

I am so so happy that we hired Rachelle to be our doula! Having Rachelle was like having a knowledgeable, calming big sister who knew a lot about the process of pregnancy and childbirth to guide me. Whenever I had a question or a doubt, I knew I could call Rachelle and she would give me her best recommendations! During her visits she set my husband and I at ease about the entire birthing process, from what to expect to what my husband could do to help me relax. when our big moment came (early and completely unexpectedly) she was there immediately, and helped my daughter and I get the perfect latch to start us on a great breastfeeding relationship! She was worth her weight in gold from the moment we hired her!

 

We also hired Rachelle to do hospital pictures for is and I'm so glad we did! Her talent and eye clearly shows as she captured some of the most precious moments of our lives. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to have Rachelle capture these memories!

Lindsay

From the first meeting with Rachelle, my husband and I felt comfortable and reassured. I loved when she said she would be there to support me... but also there to help my husband support me... which was important to me. Several prenatal meetings with her really eased my mind, she helped me develop my birth plan, and prepare both of us mentally and emotionally for the birth. She offered resources on breastfeeding, pediatricians, cloth diapering, post-partum information, and anything else we needed. She was always available through text, email, and phone calls (even when not technically in the "on call" period). 

 

When I went into labor, I knew I wanted to stay at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. At one point, I started to feel panicked, and although we had originally planned on Rachelle meeting us at the hospital, we asked her to come to the house (at midnight). She came quickly and helped us pack up. After a few more hours of labor and about 2 hours of pushing, our baby boy arrived. I was able to have the natural labor and birth I wanted ... and I cannot imagine going through the experience without Rachelle. She was so supportive -- helping with changing positions, massage, relieving my husband for breaks, hip squeezes (lots of those!). She also took amazing pictures that we will cherish forever. She has remained available after the birth, checking on all of us and offering advice and reassurance -- so important in the post-partum period and very helpful for a first-time mom like myself.  

 

I know that I will definitely have Rachelle as part of our birth team if/when we have another baby. We would recommend her to anyone and everyone looking for a doula! 

 

Ryan

Rachelle helped my wife and I with the birth of our first child at MCV in June 2013, and both of us cannot imagine the experience without her. Even before the birth, we always found that we were comforted and more informed after each of her prenatal visits.

From the very first time we met her, she was warm and easy-going - exactly what you need in a doula. She was an amazing resource of tips and ideas, and for nervous first time parents, she helped to calm our nerves and set our expectations. Along with the help of Bradley classes and the pro-natural birth labor and delivery unit/midwives at MCV, we felt fully prepared and supported by a great team to help with a natural birth for our daughter.

 

During our long, difficult labor, Rachelle was absolutely vital to help keep us calm and focused. As I was the partner/coach for the birth, she was especially helpful to make me most effective for wife - helping soothe my nerves so that I could be there for her entirely. We were all sleep-deprived and tired, and somehow Rachelle was still upbeat and supportive throughout the entire process. When we hit some really difficult decisions very late in the labor, Rachelle was so important to give some perspective and insight as to our choices, without pushing in any direction. While we weren't able to have a natural childbirth due to complications, we were able to avoid a C-section, in no small part thanks to Rachelle's help.

 

We now have a beautiful, healthy girl, as well as a new friend in Rachelle. When the time comes for our next child, we will absolutely include Rachelle as part of our birth team!

Amanda

I met Rachelle at a birth group when I was nearly 38 weeks pregnant.  She provided me with great resources although she was unavailabe for my due date.  After learning that I was high risk and would have to deliver that weekend, I immediately text her, hoping she could reach out to other doulas.  She actually met me that night and agreed to work with us!  I was so relieved to have her support when I felt like my birth plan was falling apart. 

 

We were able to naturally induce my labor with the support of my midwife, avoiding pitocin and epidural!  Rachelle stayed with us through a grueling 15 hours of labor, coaching not only me but my boyfriend as well.  After discovering that I would need a c-section due to the baby's positioning, I was devastated.  Rachelle truly helped me handle all of the unexpected challenges surrounding my son's birth.

 

Since birth, she has provided ongoing support and resouces.  Her post-partum visit, texts and emails have helped me cope with the challenges from birth and those surrounding new motherhood.  We remain in contact and thanks to her I have joined great groups in Richmond.

 

Hiring a doula turned out to be the most valuable resource throughout my pregnancy.  After interviewing 4 others, finding one that we actually clicked with at such a critical time was such a blessing.  Rachelle is intuitive and down-to-earth.  She exceeded our expetations and she obviously loves her work.  I would recommend her to anyone seeking support during or after pregnancy.

Scott

Birth is a messy experience. Not just physically, but in an emotional and psychological sense too. Even though people have been giving birth since the dawn of time it is still very confusing for most men, and women too. Emotions run very high, exhaustion is always in the back of your mind and your basic human needs like eating and resting, have to be put aside. On top of that you will be bombarded with medical jargon, will have family members to juggle and finally a screaming partner who you would do anything to take the pain away from.

 

Having someone there is one of the best decisions my wife and I made concerning our birth. Our doula helped us to understand all aspects of our birthing experience. She helped us to control our emotions, to control our families, and to manage the pain and discomfort. She helped us to understand all of the medical information we had to deal with.

 

Some people might feel that having yet another person in the room along with the family and medical staff could be one person too many. But at no point did either of us feel that our doula was in the way or being intrusive. In all honestly we could not have done this with out her. I would highly recommend her to anyone.