Clients I accompanied as a Doula.

Successful VBAC.
Vera is an American lady that had lived in Guatemala for several years when she found me. She already had a little daughter that was born in Guatemala via c-section. She found out that the cesarean that was performed on her was unnecessary and was determined to experience a natural birth this time around; however, she was afraid that her son would not pass through the birth canal until the very end of her birth. It was a fear installed in her by the previous doctor that told her that her pelvis was too narrow to bear children. You can only imagine her surprised and joyful exclamation, “I can’t believe I did it!” when her son was born. Everyone around her was crying from happiness. Listen to what Vera thinks about her experience in this video:

~ Vera Saulino, Guatemala

Fleeing a Cesarean.
To avoid a cesarean by changing your doctor just before the birth day – yes, it is possible. The birth of Yana Cherenkova is the most unexpected birth in my practice. When I met Yana for the first time, she was already in the hospital’s emergency section. Super fast, great, natural birth! Read what she says about what a piece of luck she has got with her Russian doula, and how she avoided a cesarean and gave birth naturally:

“Hi. My name is Yana. I’m Russian, and I married a Guatemalan. I had given birth to my first son five years ago in Russia, and it was a natural birth in the hospital. When my husband and I moved to Guatemala, I was pregnant with my second son. I was considering having a home birth as I wanted a gentle birth. But when we moved to Guatemala, I did not know where I could find any midwives or doulas. My mother-in-law recommended me her gynecologist. When we saw this gynecologist for the first time, we told him that I want a natural birth, and we do not want any interventions like stimulations, episiotomy, or puncture of the amniotic sac. I have done it once, and I believed I could do it again. The doctor told me he is supporting me in this choice. However, things started falling into a different course. It looked like my baby had a twist of the cord around the neck (by the way, it is not a reason for a c-section), and I had some problems with platelets. I asked him if I could invite a doula to my birth, but he said he only works with his team and does not support the idea of home birth, working with doulas or midwives. I accepted it as a fact at this point. But then the worst news came just a week before my due date. The doctor told me that if I don’t give birth by my due date: right at 40 weeks and not a day later, he will operate me. I didn’t answer anything to him. However, when we left his office, I told my husband that I would never return to this doctor again.

I was wondering what can I do. At that moment, I saw that some Russian doula was living in Mexico. I asked her if she could give me any advice on finding a doctor pro-natural birth in Guatemala. I don’t even know what I was hoping for. Mexico and Guatemala are not even the same countries. Imagine my surprise when she told me that there is a Russian doula living in Guatemala, and her name is Katerina Baranova (Morin). I wrote to Katerina, and she recommended me to contact three different pro-natural birth doctors. I contacted all of them, and suddenly I felt I had all the pieces the puzzle. I realized I have a team – I want to give birth with doctor Linda Valencia, doula Katerina Morin and my husband in the hospital El Pilar. The funny thing is that we were supposed to meet Linda and Katerina on Wednesday but on Tuesday, I woke up with contractions that seemed to be the beginning of the labor. I called both Linda and Katerina to ask if they would assist me in birth if we have a baby that night, and they both confirmed they would. And indeed, my contractions became stronger and closer to each other, and we went to the hospital that night. So I met both my doula and doctor for the first time when I was in the hospital’s emergency room, in the contractions so intense, almost ready to push.

Katerina came with a big smile on her face and started helping me almost immediately. She helped me to get into more comfortable positions and pressed in some special points on my back to help me during every contraction to alleviate the pain. It was not long, and we had to go to the birthing room, which is also an operation room in Guatemala. I was so happy I had Katerina with me. It was very important to me that I could speak my mother tongue at the final stages of birth when I felt like I was in a cloud and could barely speak, nevermind translate myself into a foreign language. She helped me communicate my desires and needs to the nurses and the doctor, she took photos and videos and was there even when a doctor had to stitch me a bit after birth. I found that stitching was even more painful than the birth itself, and I held Katerina’s hand so tight while she tried to calm me down with her gentle voice. I was so happy I trusted myself with this decision. And I would like to tell all the women: listen to your inner voice, even if what it says seems crazy to others at first. When I told my husband that we are going to give birth with Linda and Katerina, he was in shock. He asked me if I’m sure that I want to give birth with people that I have never met in my life. But I had this gut feeling that that was exactly what is right for us. I’m glad that my husband trusted my intuition. And after the birth he told me how he loved the team I chose to be with us this day, how nice doctor Linda was, and how supportive our doula Katerina was. We loved our experience. Thank you, Katerina, for your great work. We feel that it is your passion and devotion. Even the fact that we signed the contract and paid you for your services only after the baby was born says a lot about how much you care about people. Dear ladies, trust your intuition and contact Katerina if you are in doubt. She will teach you many useful things.”

~ Yana Cherenkova, Guatemala

Yana Cherenkova

Emergency Caesarean.
When I met Ana for the first time, she was full of fear. Only 2 or 3 meetings and I saw a profound transformation in her. When I met her at the birth center she was handling her contractions like a fearless gorgeous goddess… I was in awe watching her and her partner that really embodied all the tips I gave them in preparation for ecstatic birth. So much tenderness, love, joy… She even laughed amid a quite challenging time of transition! Supporting them through her long labor was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, the labor had to finish in a cesarian. I drove to the hospital with them and were the last to leave their sight that night, making sure that they are fine and their baby boy found his way to momma’s milk. You can read below what Ana thought about my support:

“I would like to thank you Katerina for being part of my little angels’ birth ceremony. You gave me all the tools that helped me overcome my fears, your support during the labor was priceless making me more confident and comfortable all the time. I do not have words to say how thankful I am, you were my angel, God bless your work!!”

~ Ana Franco, Guatemala

Ana Franco