"After having three vaginal births with failed epidurals and various complications, I decided that I wanted to have a natural delivery for my fourth child. Dana equipped my husband and me with the knowledge prior to labor that made us feel confident and comfortable with our decision to have a natural birth. She encouraged me to stand up for what I wanted in a delivery and I was able to form a very effective and detailed birth plan thanks to her encouragement and resources. As far as the delivery was concerned, Dana was very helpful in allowing my husband and me to cope with the pain by using various labor techniques, positions, and breathing exercises. Without her, labor and delivery would have not been a pleasant experience. I am so thankful for my decision to choose a natural birth and having Dana as our doula. I wish that I would have chosen this option for all four deliveries! Her postpartum follow up has been very supportive and wonderful! Although this was our last baby, having Dana as a doula makes me want to have another one! "

-Kelly

Hendersonville, TN

"The bottom line: If you are having a baby, you will not regret hiring Dana to be your doula. She's smart, knowledgeable, compassionate and so encouraging.  If you are in a position to work with her, do it!  She is there to take the extra stress off of you and your partner, and that is an incredible gift to new parents.  Should my husband and I have another baby, I would want her to be there with us again.  She's the caring, supportive, unsinkable person that you need at your side.  Even (or especially when) things go off plan, she helps you deal with that and stay focused.

 

Deciding on a Doula

I didn't know much about Doula services when I got pregnant. I knew generally what it was, but thought this was something strictly for a non-medicated natural birth and I didn't know if that was something that I wanted or not.  

 

This was my first pregnancy, I was nervous about the delivery and (being a little bit of a nerd) I began doing some research on what I could do to reduce my risk of c-section. I was convinced that hiring a doula would be a good thing after reading an article from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on safe prevention of cesareans.  The article observed that having a professional support person provides a significant reduction in c-section rates.   After that, I began interviewing doulas and ultimately found Dana.  I am so glad I did!

 

When I'd discussed doulas with various people prior to working with Dana, people said things like "you only need a doula if your husband isn't supportive" or "that's what the L&D nurses are for".  Knowing what I do today, I couldn't disagree with those comments more!!!  My husband is very supportive, but having a baby is a major event - it's stressful for both partners and having Dana there made a huge difference for both of us in the amount of stress we had to bear.  Afterward, my husband said, "wow, I get it now.  It was totally worth it to have her there!". 

 

In regards to the second objection I heard, I would say that while the L&D nurses are there to check on you, take vitals and ensure your medical care is managed, they are not there to support you during the other 98% of the time when you are just working through your labor.  Honestly, that is a time you are going to need some support!

 

Having a doula turned out to be a good thing for us, but having Dana specifically was a GREAT thing.  

Pre-natal meetings

It was late in my pregnancy when I started looking around for a Doula (34 weeks), but not too late!  Man, we did not know how much we were getting when we decided to work with Dana.  While we would have had more opportunity to meet and get to know each other if we'd started earlier, I'd still encourage anyone thinking about getting doula support to reach out to Dana, even if it's right before delivery. We were able to have two meetings prior to delivery, which gave us a chance to get to know Dana and us to start thinking over how we would like to handle any of the situations that could come up.  It was a time to ask questions, do some planning (and then contingency planning) and get comfortable with everything we were about to encounter.  One of the things that I really appreciated about Dana was that she was very committed to helping you have the kind of birth that you want, medicated or not.  I was concerned a doula would push for "all natural" more than I wanted, but Dana had no personal agenda at all.   She was ready and able to answer questions and would genuinely support you in any decision and provide whatever information or resources that she could in order to help you make an educated choice. 

Delivery

Due to health issues, I ended up being induced at 37 weeks.  For whatever reason (induction, I would guess) rather than a linear progression of labor, things were pretty calm for a while and I was able to breathe through the contractions without too much pain.  Then we hit a point of incredible and sudden intensity in the contractions with no time in between.  Dana had said to call her when we needed her -  when we called and let her know we were ready for her to join us, she was able to give me some positions to try to ease the pain of back labor before she headed our way.   Per our plan, when I couldn't take it anymore, I called for an epidural.  Dana arrived and it was such a relief to have her there.  While the epidural helped with the pain we still had a sense of "overwhelm" and uncertainty, which Dana really helped to dispel as soon as she arrived.  She was part of our team the whole day - she used pressure points on my feet to help stop with the shivering that the epidural caused.  She frequently helped me change positions in bed, came over just to chat and just generally offered support for the entire day I was in labor.  The whole tone of the day changed with her on our team...it wasn't just me and my husband figuring out what to do alone anymore.  I'm so glad she was there with us.  Dana was with us for about 15 or 16 hours.  She tirelessly encouraged me and my husband and she literally held one of my legs for 3.5 hours while I pushed.  In the intensity of the delivery, I didn't realize that Dana had actually been able to capture a quick photo and video of my newly born daughter (from a very discreet view above my shoulders!) which was a wonderful and cherished surprise.   Dana was a great resource for us the entire time that we were together; when medical staff presented us with options or decisions, Dana did not join the conversations, but she would share what she saw as pros and cons if we asked.  She did a great job of providing non-medical support, knowing where to be, and being thoughtful and accommodating to everyone.  After she'd left for the night, a few of the L&D nurses commented to me how helpful it had been to have her present as well. She was so knowledgeable one of the L&D nurses asked if Dana was a former L&D nurse.   

I wish you other mamas-to-be the very best, and encourage you to reach out to Dana early in your pregnancy if you can!  She was excellent to work with and is really gifted in getting you through an intense time!"

-Kristen

Goodlettsville, TN

"As first time parents, my husband and I had no idea what to expect during my pregnancy let alone the labor and delivery process. We decided to get a doula to help educate us on the process and give us some tips and tricks for making the labor and delivery as pleasant as it could be. Dana did all this and so much more.

During my pregnancy, she would constantly check on me to make sure everything was going okay. Anytime I had a question or needed someone to calm my nerves, I knew I could text her and she would be there for me. She prepped us for each stage by giving us advice and several different checklists. This greatly helped us so we could know what to expect and gave us different things to do at each step to help with a smoother pregnancy and eventually delivery.

During the labor, she had a way of bringing this calming peace to the room that allowed me to be able to let go of the tension and be present in the moment. She had different positions for me to get in to keep baby moving that helped the labor go faster than it would have gone. She seemed to know what I needed before I knew I needed it.

During the delivery, she was so encouraging and helpful. Little things that she did like wiping my forehead with a cool towel and counting me through each push helped so much. There was so much going on at that point that I feel like she helped me focus and stay calm and in the moment.

I know without her help and encouragement, my pregnancy, labor, and delivery would not have been as smooth as they were. She prepared us physically and mentally. I feel like Dana is so much more than a doula to us, she has become a friend. I appreciate everything she has done for us so much."

-Gabriel

Gallatin, TN

"As first time parents hoping for a natural birth, we mostly hired a doula to be a coach and supporter during labor. Dana did a phenomenal job supporting us during the labor and delivery of our son; additionally, she supported us before and after the labor and played a huge role in having a positive pregnancy and birthing experience. We highly recommend hiring a doula and using Dana.

From the first time we met with Dana, we both felt confident that she would play the role that we were looking for in our doula as a coach for dad and encourager of us both. She definitely fit into this role during labor as she communicated well with everyone in the room during our labor. Her knowledge was extremely impressive as she helped us to prepare for our birth and also during and after the labor. One thing that stood out to me as a first-time mom was Dana’s confidence in her expertise while being extremely approachable. I felt comfortable asking her any questions prenatal, postpartum and during the labor. Labor was messy and vulnerable, but I knew I could fully trust Dana during those moments in my life.

As a first-time dad, my husband appreciated Dana’s encouragement and support of him while giving her professional expertise and guidance. He immediately connected with Dana and very much enjoyed working with her. Dana was intentional about including him in all of our interactions and also supported him individually before, during and after labor. While Dana was critical to the delivery of our son she also did many little things such as capture some amazing photos during his birth and help us settle into our room after his arrival. We couldn’t be more grateful to have worked with Dana and to have birthed a healthy son into the world with her assistance."

-Erika

Franklin, TN

"As a first time dad, I just want to say that having Dana to help us through this process has been absolutely amazing. We went to a 12 week birth class, and I really felt like I had a lot of the knowledge I needed for us to have a natural birth. That may have been true, but Dana added something else...experience. When my wife's contractions became almost unbearable, Dana was there to suggest position changes and help her move. This allowed me to be solely focused on my wife. 

Like I said, we planned on a natural birth; however, our experience was different. We had to do an epidural, pitocin, and ultimately had to have a C-section. I would have assumed that a doula would not have been as much help for a medicated birth, but that could not have been more wrong. She helped us to make calm, informed decisions and never offered her opinion unless it was solicited (and it was...constantly). Dana has the stance that this is our birth, and these our decisions--she is just there to help out and make sure mom and baby stay happy and healthy. 

When we got home our little girl was struggling to breastfeed. Dana immediately starting reaching out to her lactation consultant contacts and in short order helped us get someone to our home to help us out. Before, during, and after Dana was so helpful. Nothing went according to plan, but it was comforting to know that we could rely on Dana. That consistency allowed us to remain grounded and successfully welcome our beautiful little girl into the world. 

Above all else, we genuinely like Dana as a person. She's easy going, dependable, and compassionate. If you're looking for a doula, then look no further. If you're thinking a doula is not right for you, I would still give Dana a call and talk to her."

-Kyle

Hendersonville, TN

"I'm happy to say that Dana is not only an amazing doula, but also a friend we made during our time with her. From the moment you speak with Dana, it's like chatting with someone that you've known for years. She has the unique ability to connect with you on a personal level and make you feel comfortable, supported, and in good hands. My husband first mentioned hiring a doula when he learned he would be traveling for work around the time of our second daughter’s birth. He didn't want me to be alone since our families live in other states. We weren’t considering natural birth, but were only seeking a support person to be with me at the hospital. My husband’s friend recommended Dana after having a phenomenal experience themselves, and we decided to give her a call. This was my second pregnancy, and I spent most of my time keeping up with a toddler instead of keeping up with the latest baby news and preparation like the first time around. Our first child was born at 36 weeks, so at the 35-week mark when we called Dana, I felt unprepared, overwhelmed, and simply exhausted. I had an epidural with my first child, so the thought of having my second all natural seemed like a lofty goal; something I'd like to do, but didn't seem achievable since the due date was right around the corner and I didn’t take a Lamaze or Bradley Method course. When Dana met with us, we knew we made the right choice in bringing her on board to help us welcome our baby into the world. Dana is knowledgeable on all aspects of the birthing process and offers information without projecting certain beliefs or bias in your birth plan. She listens and supports your decisions while being an advocate to help that plan become reality. When Dana left our house after our first meeting, I felt at ease. I felt empowered. And my husband knew I was in good hands if he was able to be there for the birth or not. Dana respected my go-with-the-flow plan to probably have another epidural or possibly try natural birth. Over the next few weeks, Dana was just a text or call away for any questions I had, to give updates, and check in on me. She came by the house to show me some stretches when I was past my due date. She supported our decision to wait and was a wealth of knowledge when the doctors tried repeatedly to set up an induction when I was just past 39 weeks (letting our baby go full term was important to us since we had a preemie the first time around.) I went into labor 10 days past my due date. In the short time since I met Dana, I was empowered and motivated to give natural birth a try. I trusted the process, and Dana was there for support, reassurance, and comfort along the way. It was like she knew when I needed to laugh during labor, when I needed encouragement during a quick transition after my water broke, and was a source of strength when it was go-time for delivery. My sweet baby girl was brought into the world naturally. I achieved a feat that just a few weeks ago only seemed like a dream out of reach. We couldn’t have done it without Dana. She was an essential part of our team and family. Dana was so sweet to stop by and visit with us at home after the birth. She genuinely cares about her clients and values family. She truly is a gem with a heart of gold. She is a friend. If you’re having a baby, bring Dana on board. I know we will when we decide to expand our family in the future."

-Chelsey

Hendersonville, TN

"Dana Fuqua is excellent. I recently had my first child (2/21) and was really looking to have a natural birth at the hospital. We were able to meet before agreeing to work together, at our first encounter she felt like an instant friend, very caring and devoted to her work, i instantly knew she was who I wanted to help me through one of the toughest challenges I would face. We had 2 in-home meetings to discuss our plans for delivery but also ways to help ease labor or prepare your body (exercises/positions).

Labor day rolls around, I called her when i was ready for some extra help(10 hours into labor), she then spent the next 30 hours with us, through a very difficult labor. She was beyond encouraging, never making decisions for me, but also a voice of reason and calm when tough choices needed to be made. We continued to change positions to combat what she believed to be malposition, and after having the OB called in due to decels, it was confirmed the baby was trying to come down ear first. She stood by my side the entire time, encouraged my husband and mother to help where they could and was there when we welcomed our surprise daughter (team green) into this world. She was there by my side as my daughter was then taken to the nursery for breathing troubles. After my daughter got transferred to another hospital with a NICU she continued to check in on us daily.

Again, I cannot say how thankful I am for Dana throughout pregnancy, labor and post labor, not only for me but for my family, she supported my nervous husband who in the end watched her being delivered and cut the cord that he never anticipated to do. She is truly a friend and I will certainly be calling her again when we are ready to add to our family or recommending her to any friends who are looking for support during labor/delivery."​

-Rebecca

Springfield, TN

"After a forced and unpleasant induction with our first, our goal for our second was to let things be as natural as possible. I knew the biggest key to achieving the birth that I wanted was to find a doula. Before we even met for our interview Dana offered to chat on the phone a bit so we could get to know each other. I hung up after an hour and told my husband "she's the one!". It was so helpful to have Dana there in the weeks leading up to my due date keeping me focused on what I wanted for this birth. I ended up going a week past due with baby having yet to drop. Dana came over one night and helped me do all sorts of exercises and positions to get him to descend and it worked: my water broke the next morning! After 7 hours at the hospital I hadn't made any progress and baby still hadn't descended any more than when we had arrived. Dana knew something must have been preventing him from dropping so she went to work putting me in all sorts of different positions. Shortly after, things became intense fast! I 100% believe that the reason I went from 3cm to 10cm in an hour and a half was because of Dana and her expertise! Without her I'm sure it would have taken all night. On top of the technical stuff she was also so calm, comforting and encouraging. Instead of being scared when things got so intense that fast, we felt very sure that everything that was happening was normal. The truest testament to how important Dana was to our birth was my husband saying "Everyone should have a doula! She was worth every penny, in fact I think we should have paid her more. Most people think a doula is just for the mom but I think it's just as crucial for the dad." He went from having anxiety and panic attacks after our first birth, to feeling happy and in awe of the miracle of birth after our second. If you're on the fence about needing a doula, let us sway you to make the investment. It's more than worth it. Especially Dana, she's the very best in town!!"

-Kristen

Madison, TN

"I can not begin to say enough wonderful things about Dana. As first time parents, we had some fears about the labor and delivery process and achieving the delivery we wanted. In preparing for childbirth, my husband said he was sure that he could support me through labor himself. As the time got closer though I told him I felt like we really needed to look into hiring a doula.

From the moment I met Dana, I knew we were making the right decision in asking her to be with us during our birth. After our son was born, my husband said having her with us was the best decision we made. I feel that without Dana we wouldn't have accomplished the natural birth that we wanted and had prepared for. She was such a huge support before, during, and after having our son. She has a way of knowing exactly what you need when you need it! I can only pray that Dana will be a part of our birthing experiences in the future."

-Mallory

Nashville, TN

"When I decided to have a natural birth, my husband and I had not planned on having anyone else in the room. I’m so glad we changed our minds. We had never considered a doula but looking back now I can’t imagine the experience without her. The knowledge and training and the nurturing that seems to come so natural to her. At first we weren’t sure what to expect from a doula. Now having gone through the entire process we see what a difference it makes. Not only did she help educate us on what to expect leading up to the delivery, but the delivery itself, and also postpartum and breastfeeding help. Being first time parents is pretty terrifying. We were very nervous about the labor and delivery having never experienced it. Labor can last for several hours and even days in our case. Having Dana there allowed my husband to be able to take a break when needed and we looked to her for comfort through the long haul. It truly made all the difference in the world. After having Dana as our doula, it opened our eyes to what all a doula actually can do to help. I would highly recommend Dana to anyone."

-Leslie

Gallatin, TN

"Words can't express how special it was to have you be a part of one of the most special days of our lives. Your presence helped everything so much.  Your love and support leading up to the birth was also very comforting.  I think you have found a gift and I hope it continues to grow.  Please know how memorable you helped make Miriam's arrival.  We are forever grateful."

-Tiffany

Columbia, TN

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