Why You Need a Doula – with Tina Sconhoft

November 28, 2023

Maren [00:00:07]:

What a gift to have our guest, Tina Sconhoft, on today’s podcast. Tina is a wife, mother, grandma, and a practicing doula with over 18 years experience who also owns her own business. In today’s episode, You’ll learn why you want a doula as part of your birthing team. 

They can add so much positivity to your birth experience, both during the labor and delivery stages, as well as in postpartum. You’ll learn about the techniques she uses plus what to look for when you’re making this big decision of hiring a doula.

You know me, I’m always about calling out those red flags. I’m not biased because she was my own personal doula, but because she truly is the best. You’re gonna learn so much from her and feel confident in your decision to add a doula to your birthing team.

Okay. Let’s dive in. 

You’re in for a special treat today because you get to hear from Tina. She’s now my friend, but she is my personal doula. Like, seriously, could not have made it through my childbirth without my guru here, and I’m just so blessed for you all to learn from her. And we’re gonna dive into so many different things today.

But first, Tina, welcome to the podcast. Thank you.

Tina [00:01:47]:

Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.

Maren [00:01:49]:

Why don’t we explain to people what a doula is first? Because it’s definitely hitting the scene and people are becoming a little more familiar, but I do think there are some people that are like, wait. What is this? 

And, you know, what’s the difference between this and a midwife and all that. So why don’t you kinda give a lowdown on what a doula is, and then we’ll dive into why you’ve decided to become 1.

Tina [00:02:13]:

Yeah. So doulas, if you think of someone as your not only your like a little trick in your back pocket, you know, so we know all of the information. We can help you with decision making, evidence based information, which is huge. And then sort of kind of guiding moms throughout their pregnancy, Their birth and then the postpartum period after the baby comes.

Maren [00:02:42]:

Right. And I think that that’s so important. We always stress about pregnancy and, obviously, labor and delivery, but focusing on having that person when you’re in that postpartum period. So Yeah. What led you to this? Because, Obviously, everyone has a story. Everyone has a why.

How Tina’s Personal Experience Led Her to Become a Doula

Tina [00:03:03]:

Yes. Oh, wow. So, I am the oldest of four kids. And, my dad was a Vietnam Vet. He was always sick. Mom was running around taking care of the littles, but I was always sort of helping her. I was kind of like, when I look back on it now, like, mom’s postpartum doula, you know, without even knowing it.

And so that kind of led me to actually becoming a teenage mother myself. I found myself pregnant at the age of 16 and had a pretty traumatic birth. I was pretty much ridiculed, embarrassed in school, and it was really a tough time for me during my pregnancy. 

At 16, I went to the hospital to have my baby, and had a midwife. She ended up giving me an unnecessary episiotomy, which took me about nine months to recover from. You know, being 16, I knew nothing about childbirth. I knew nothing about birth options. I knew nothing about positioning.

Nothing. And so that really, led me to, you know, thinking about, wow, what are some options out there for women? You know, what can I do to make a difference so that, you know, regardless of your age, you should be able to have options, and you should be able to feel as if your voice is heard during your birth. So that’s kind of what led me to my end now.

Maren [00:04:54]:

You and Mandy, my midwife… You obviously are friends with, you have very similar stories. Young moms, you know, caretakers, like, come from a big family, and just, it left a lasting impact on both of you. For sure. This is what you were meant to do. Now you mentioned age. 

Because I think, you know, that obviously, I can’t speak to your story, but I can also speak to the opposite end of the spectrum where now you’re a geriatric pregnancy and how they treat you. Right? Like, they act like you’re broken. So having that support system in place truly is every single age from one end of the spectrum to another. That’s true. I think it’s so wild.

Tina [00:06:01]:

Yeah. It’s true.

Maren [00:06:03]:

We talked about, obviously, you being my guru and my doula, and I had a midwife. But do you also work with standard care doctors as well? I think the audience should probably know that because I think sometimes a couple things. 

1, financially they have to make a decision, right, which route they’re gonna go. Sometimes there’s limited to no accessibility to a midwife. You know, sometimes that can happen and or you could be in my personal situation where I had a midwife, but COVID rules.

I could only have so many in one room, so when push came to shove, obviously, it was my husband and Tina. But, also, I think regardless of the number. 

Because Mandy wasn’t associated with the hospital, she wouldn’t have been permitted. So right. Can you kinda speak to that, how you work with different doctors, different midwifery practices, etcetera.

Doulas Can Work With Different Health Care Providers

Tina [00:07:08]:

Yeah. So I’ve been a doula for 18 years, so I know a lot of doctors, midwives in the community, great nurse practitioners that work in OB GYN, doulas can be super beneficial, you know, we work alongside doctors. You know, we’re not there to, you know, butt heads or anything. 

We’re there for the client. We’re there for these families to help them with decision making and changing positions and, You know, that’s the thing. I think there is sort of, the thought is, well, doulas, they only go to home births. You know, they only go to birth centers, but that’s really not true. I’d say about 90% of my clients and families are hospital births.

So that tells you how many families out there really want that extra support.

Maren [00:08:03]:

For sure. And, you know, I think a lot of times when you’re a first time parent, you wanna have these people put in place. But, also, I think there’s a lot to be said about even if it’s your 2nd or 3rd time. Like, it’s not the type of situation where I believe that, oh, I did it once, I know what to do. 

Like, I got this. Right? You have a lot of repeat customers, if you will.

Having A Close Relationship With Your Doula Is Important

Tina [00:08:34]:

I have 18 year olds walking around right now, so it’s really neat. That being said, typically, when I work with a family, I will have subsequent babies with them. We become family, you know, and friends like you and I.

So, yeah, once you have a doula, a lot of times, the families will say, wow. I just, you know, I knew I could do it because I always want moms to know that regardless of having me there or not, they could do it. 

Our bodies are created for this. So it’s just the thing is having me there just kind of adds to that, you know. It’s not like they weren’t going to do it without me because they were. 

So I always want my moms and dads to know that you were a team together ultimately and you just added me to the mix to make sure that your voice was heard, to make sure that you had that immediate skin to skin with your baby, to make sure that If you didn’t want vitamin k shot, you didn’t get that for your baby, you know.

So really the doula is just there as a third person to really just make sure that your needs are met.

The Importance of Doulas:
“I always want moms to know that regardless of having me there or not, they could do it. Our bodies are created for this.”

Maren’s Personal Experience of a Challenging Labor and The Importance of a Doula

Maren [00:09:45]:

For sure. I mean and that definitely happened in our situation because I had the baby in the hospital, which wasn’t plan that, you know, what I had planned for the birthing center, and, you know, this is a whole team of people with the exception of Nick and Tina, who didn’t know me. 

They didn’t know me from Adam and they didn’t know what my preferences were, but because we came in with our list, right, so to speak, literally and figuratively, like, I made sure it was on the whiteboard.

Tina [00:10:18]:

Yeah. You did.

Maren [00:10:20]:

But there were times because Tina was so in tune with what I wanted, When things started to go a different direction. With Heisman, the student, right, because that was one of my birth preferences. 

I didn’t want a student, you know, basically learning from me. I understand they all have to learn somewhere, but sorry, homie, it’s not gonna be with me and my baby. And, obviously, I had certain preferences when it came to, not taking the Rhogam shot. 

So delivering the placenta was also very important to me on how that process went. So, literally, I remember locking eyes with you.

And you’re looking at me like something’s happening that like I’ll step in for you like I got, but I need your attention, right, one second.

And we locked eyes and and you spoke up for me literally, not just figuratively, literally, you spoke up for me because the baby was already on my chest. So, Yeah. You know, I really want people to understand that when we say a doula’s advocating for you, they’re truly advocating for you.

Now can you give people kind of a rundown on the process of getting to know now, obviously, You know, 2nd time around, unless someone’s going totally rogue on their decisions, maybe they have more informed consent, yada yada yada. 

But, like, someone very intense like me. You know I’m not wavering with my decisions. Right? I was already one direction, so you kinda would know going into it.

But, say, as a new parent, kinda lay out what the process is like leading up to labor and delivery and learning your clients’ wants and needs.

Prenatal Meeting and Birthing Preferences to Labor and Delivery with a Doula

Tina [00:12:09]:

So typically, we meet, just to make sure we’re a good fit, you know, that you feel good, I feel good. And so after that, depending on what options families want, typically, we have at least a prenatal meeting together just to kinda see what are your birth preferences, you know. 

And if you could have the ideal birth, what would that look like to you? You’ve never done this before, potentially. And so, we discuss that. We decide which option fits that family’s needs, and then we talk maybe once a week, sometimes. 

Sometimes, I have clients texting me every day. I’m pretty much on call all the time. And then after that, I’m there for the labor delivery.

I try to stay for at least an hour or more after the birth and then follow-up with some postpartum care if needed.

Maren [00:13:04]:

So aside from the coaching piece, you know, and working through we we don’t call it pain. Right? What did you keep telling me? Like, Maren, take out that word pain.

Tina [00:13:15]:

Yes. It’s only pressure.

Maren [00:13:17]:

It’s only pressure. Right? Exactly. So we work through that together, but why don’t you give the listeners an idea of some of the methods that you use to help with, you know, the labor pains, if you will. Yes.

Tina [00:13:32]:

I try to encourage my mom to think of it more as pressure because if you think pain, it’s pain. But if you think of this as just pressure waves bringing my baby down, the uterus is working with your body. You’re working with your body. You’re a team. 

So I try to do acupressure, massage, and counter pressure on your hips. I use essential oils. A lot of times, the different scents can help at different phases of labor.

For instance, Clary Sage is very beneficial for helping the contractions to stay consistent rather than using Pitocin.

You know, for moms that are nausea nauseous, they might feel like, you know, they’re about to throw up. I whip out that peppermint. Lot of times the peppermint is gonna steer away from, you know, the actual vomiting part of it, you know, with labor that can sometimes occur. So, yeah, lots of fun tools along with the birth ball, peanut ball. Yeah.

Maren [00:14:36]:

And what I mean, we snuck this in, but as far as we compare giving birth to running a marathon. I actually posted today on social media because this past weekend, while we’re recording this, was the New York City Marathon.

And I thought this was so interesting. I saw this. It says that research shows pregnancy requires the same physical endurance as a 40 week marathon.

Tina [00:15:04]:

I love that. See that?

Maren [00:15:06]:

And a lot of times, you and I both know that they did this to me. They put this on the whiteboard. They said diet ice chips. Thanks, Chuck. Now as someone who’s had major surgery before, I know what that means. 

So I called them out on it. So we had ideas about what to bring. So why don’t you give an idea of what you tell your moms to kinda bring to give them sustenance as they’re going through this journey.

The Importance of Eating During Labor:
“Yeah. So I always say pack some coconut water, honey sticks. Because if you’re feeling weak or tired or you just you just can’t you feel like you can’t anymore, That honey stick can really make a difference. I also like a good, you know, protein bar, something that’s going to sustain you.”
~Tina

Tina [00:15:35]:

You know, you think about starving the body during labor, and studies actually show that it’s more beneficial for a mom to eat during labor than remove food from her diet. So, you know, after a while, your tummy, everything will shut down usually around transition time where you won’t really want to eat anyway.

But let’s just let that happen naturally, you know, rather than removing food from the mom in the most important stage, which is getting from 1 centimeter to active labor.

Maren [00:16:23]:

Right. And I definitely had those things, and we were sneaking them. And then at one point, the nurse looked at me, and she saw it. She, like, kinda gave me a wink, like, it’s okay. And I’ll never forget one of the other things that I don’t remember if it was you or Mandy or maybe both of you had recommended was bone broth, bringing bone broth because of the protein and its warmth. 

And not maybe necessarily while you’re laboring and dillium, but, like, right after for sustenance. And my mom and I were so diligent, and we packed my bag to go.

I would listen. Everyone who listens to the podcast and follows me on social media understands I’m very type A, so I had my bags packed because I didn’t know when this baby was coming. And I packed a bowl and a spoon. Now mind you, when I went into the hospital, I didn’t know that I was staying. 

I was just sent there by my midwife because my blood pressure was out of control. She wanted them to do all kinds of tests, and she’s like, listen. If you don’t need to stay, they’ll let you leave.

Maren [00:17:26]:

Well, long story short, I was admitted that night. Yeah. And Nick had to go home. He had to get the car seat, right? Can’t leave without a car seat, and he got the diaper bag and some clothes for himself. And I remember saying to him when he got there and I’m going through the bag, I said, where’s the bowl and the spoon? 

And he looked at me and he said, oh, like, I thought you kinda like lost it and like put that randomly in there. I didn’t know that was like part of the deal. And I was like, oh, no. That was what was supposed to be in there.

But anyway, I love all of those tips. And when you mentioned the transition period and moving the baby down. If there is one thing I can tell you as someone who had a natural birth I will never forget that feeling. It was wild. Mhmm.

Absolutely wild. And I dare say listen. I know it’s pressure. It’s extreme pressure, but I remember that feeling more than anything, more than any contraction or whatever because you know better. Like, a, you have more children than I do, and, b, you’ve been through more births. But can you explain what is going on when that is happening and the difference between that and the contraction?

Tina [00:18:55]:

Yeah. So the baby is actually moving down in the pelvis. So there’s different stations. So it starts at, you know, 3, 2, 1, 0 station. So when you get to 8 to 10 centimeters, the baby is so low in the pelvis and the baby can almost if we leave mom and baby alone, The baby will literally just expel themselves out. Basically, push through the cervix. There’s a great video. I saw it today.

I might actually post it. Mom showed up at the hospital. She’s ready to deliver. The nurse is putting her gloves on slowly. The dad kinda gently opens mom’s leg mom’s legs and the baby just kinda pops out. 

The ejection force is real and the baby will do that. And so for you, you actually feel if you have no epidural, no narcotics, No nothing. You’re actually going to feel your baby move down and out and expel themselves out of here.

So that’s where some of that deep breathing comes in, right, where you have to really gauge that pressure because the baby’s pressing down on your perineum. You feel Oh, yes. That stretching, that burning sensation. Right? Uh-huh.

Maren [00:20:07]:

And I remember literally saying, I don’t know if I can do this anymore. And then it from that moment, like, it felt so long. It felt so, so long. And I remember saying to you afterwards, I said, you know, how fast did that go from the time my water broke to the time that she was born, and I remember you telling me it was something crazy, like, around 30 minutes. 

It was fast. Yeah. Right? But to me, I mean, I must have blacked out. Like, it felt like I did it forever, you know? And then next thing you know, I remember you and Nick saying like, Come on. You got this. And then all of a sudden, I was like, alright. We’re ready to push. But that feeling, y’all, if that doesn’t, like, give you an idea of working together as a team 

You and your baby. You and your doula too because you knew what was happening and I just remember you saying blow out the candle, Maren. Blow out the candle.

? A doula is there to support and advocate for the parents during childbirth. Tina’s expertise in acupressure, massage, and essential oils helps alleviate labor pains and keeps moms calm and focused.

Tina [00:21:08]:

That’s right. That’s right. Because you don’t want to forcefully push. That’s the difference too with having an epidural. And I’m not against it. I’m not that doula that’s going to say, oh, you can’t have an epidural. That’s not what you wanted. I will try to encourage you and remind you

Of your birth preferences if you chose that, you know, and you didn’t want an epidural to begin with. But without an epidural, and you had Pitocin, you know, you’re really going to feel that intensity. 

You know, and, yeah, probably painful for you, you know, because I’m sorry, but the pitocin contractions, they are on another level. They are. And I’d say most of my moms end up getting an epidural when they have Pitocin. You know, it is harder to manage the contractions. It’s harder to manage them because you don’t get a lot of breaks in between. 

Maren [00:22:05]:

I definitely didn’t feel like there was a break because you get the contractions. Yes. And then after the contraction, the baby’s supposed to move down. Right? So it was just like this. I was almost, at some point, praying for the contraction because it was less than feeling the baby move down to a certain extent, but everything was intense because of, obviously, the pitocin. 

And in talking with my girlfriend who had the same experience Just last week. She said I remember she said to me, Maren, I literally was making these guttural animal noises. I didn’t even know it came at me.

Maren [00:22:42]:

I said, girl, yes. Like, I understand. I feel you. I did the same thing. Like, I get it. You know? Preach. But, yeah, the woman’s body is wild.

Tina [00:22:57]:

It really is. And then you have these beautiful little people. Right? And then we do it again.

Maren [00:23:03]:

And give people an idea so postpartum care, you know, could be so many things. Right? And maybe as your family grows, there are more needs that need to be met as well, why don’t you explain what you particularly offer?

Postpartum Care and Meeting the Needs of the Family

Tina [00:23:25]:

Yes. So we do a little bit of everything. So not only do we do a lot of education, Childbirth education classes, baby care classes, but I also like to talk about the 4th trimester a lot with my families because It doesn’t just stop at the birth. 

It really doesn’t. You know, there’s a whole another three months after you’ve had your baby where your hormones are changing. Life is adjusting into something different. And so we really try to be there for those families, especially mom, because there’s quite a bit of challenges that can occur after that time.

So that can look like coming into the home maybe an hour a day. Sometimes it’s overnight care where we’re there from 10 o’clock at night until 6:00 in the morning, spending the night with our families, either bringing the baby into mom so that she can breastfeed, and then we’ll take the baby back if she’d like so that she can get some sleep. 

So we try to cater to the family’s needs in whatever capacity that they are at that stage during the postpartum period.

Maren [00:24:30]:

For sure, because especially as a first time parent, and if you don’t have family near you or conversely too, if it’s it It doesn’t necessarily have to be your 1st child, but it could be the 2nd. We always joke about this, that an estimate due to date is just that. It’s estimated, mommy. Like, you do not know when that baby is coming. 

And if you don’t have family around and, say, you have a toddler at home or something like that, and all of a sudden you go into labor, then what? You know, if your family is away and maybe you don’t, maybe you are a stay at home parent or whatever, you don’t have normal, you know, steady childcare, what happens? 

So it’s amazing to have that resource where A, either someone can come in and help and watch said toddler and or in the interim, dads with toddler, but you have your doula. Right? As your partner.

One of the things that we personally went through, is obviously, things didn’t go the way that We anticipated. So I ended up on Pitocin, which it’s funny enough. One of my dearest friends, She had to be induced. It was just one of those situations. When she called me, you know, two hours after the baby was born and told me what happened, it was the same story. She’s like, it was so intense. She’s like, I didn’t there wasn’t even have time for an epidural. Like, it was just go go go.

And I was like, oh my gosh. This sounds all too familiar. Yeah. But, You know, there were definitely points in the transition period where I started to question whether or not I can do this? Yes. And, obviously, we were way past epidural at that point. Yes. We were. But, You know, as a doula, how do you make sure? 

How a Doula Can Help You Stay True To Your Birthing Preferences During Labor

I know what you do, but why don’t you explain to the listener? How do you make sure that that mom is staying true to what you know that you’ve discussed as the birth preferences and and, obviously, the encouragement level too because sometimes, as you know, like, things can get crazy and you know, you can as the birthing, you know, mom right there Yeah. 

You can want to deviate from said plan because you’re so crazy with all these emotions and whatnot. So how do you help keep moms in check because you know deep down what they want?

Tina [00:27:11]:

Which happens a lot. You know, once you shift from okay active labor which is really 5, 6 centimeters to transition, which is 8 to 10 centimeters. A lot happens during that time. And sometimes moms, they wanna pivot. They’re like, okay. What was I thinking?

And sometimes it takes a lot for me to really just look at them and say, you got this. You are so close. Your body knows what to do. This is just for now. This is just temporary. 

And you can do anything for just a minute. And so when I can get them to that place of calm, and a lot of times it’s just look at me, look in my eyes. 

They get there and they dig deep and they realize, wow, I’ve come this far. I can do this. And we do, and we have incredible babies.

Maren [00:28:05]:

It’s true. It’s true. Sometimes fast and scary. Yeah. And that’s the thing is, like, I tried to tell all of my girlfriends who are first time moms. I tried to tell them, listen. I don’t I don’t wish pitocin labor on anyone. Okay? But in my head, I’m like, if I can do that…

Because you know, it’s intense, obviously, Then you can do anything. And the thing is the moment that baby comes out, it’s boom. Immediate relief. Like Yes. It’s so crazy.

Tina [00:28:44]:

I’ll never forget your face when that baby came out on your chest and Just we have a pic there’s a picture I think we posted and you just it’s like relief, joy and just this incredible, like, wow. I did that. And it just brings me so much joy, You know? Like, that’s what this is about.

Maren [00:29:11]:

Exactly. Now one of the things that I want people to understand too is, you know, and I get it. Sometimes people are trying to, you know, circumvent the system and call themselves a doula even though they might not necessarily be. 

But why don’t you educate everyone on your true certification. Because I remember when we were in our situation, They kinda started to give a little pushback because they kinda thought you were my pal. And I was like, oh, no.

No. She’s certified and she literally was just here last week with another mom. So why don’t you give them an idea of what your certification entails and what goes into it?

Tina Sconhoft’s Certification and the Experience of Being A Doula

Tina [00:29:57]:

So years ago, I studied with Donut International, which is a huge certification organization and I love them. But then I switched certifications, and now I’m with Birth Arts International and have been for a bit. Both are really great organizations. 

I really think that if you’re choosing a doula, not that you have to have a ton of birth experience. No. You really don’t need to have a lot of experience but it is helpful to have that certification, to know that, okay, I’ve read, you know, the books. I’ve done what I need to do. I’ve had a bit of experience to know that, okay, this is what birth is about.

You know, some of it is Important. And so I worked hard for my certification and I really value that. So I think that if you are wanting to hire a birth doula, it should be someone that is certified with at least 5 or 6 births under her belt, you know, so that she has an idea how to navigate the system, how to navigate birth work. There’s a lot that goes into it for sure.

Maren [00:31:05]:

Now one of the things that We had talked about is…. And this does come with truly getting to know your doula. Because if right now, you never had a baby before, spoiler alert, this is literally the most vulnerable time of your life.

In so many ways, like, obviously, it’s a very emotional and private event between, you know, you and, you know, the father of your child, if they happen to be there or if you have a parent there, yada yada yada or best friend, but, ultimately, you know, anything can happen. Like, you could be naked. You could go… I remember the doctor was like, don’t worry. You didn’t go to the bathroom. You know, like…

And so having a dual there and making sure that y’all click is super important. Absolutely. But I remember you telling me that there are some folks out there that there are red flags. These are some things that I would definitely seek more information on if said doula is doing x y z. And can you speak to that a bit?

Red Flags and Factors To Consider When Choosing a Doula

Tina [00:32:28]:

Well, you know, There are some doulas out there. You know, again, 18 years I’ve been doing this. So I know a lot of the doulas in the community. And this besides our community, just, you know, in other states. And if a doula is putting her values on your birth, and she is sort of bullying a little bit.

You know, her narrative on the birth, and your preferences, then that’s a huge red flag. You know, you don’t want that. It won’t work. And once you get into the birth, you’ll want her to leave, you know. 

And I’ve I’ve heard of that happening before and so you wanna make sure that this is the person that is on the same team as you that has your back. You know, like, this is your ride or die in birth. Right.

And so it’s important to really make sure that you’re on the same page.

Maren [00:33:33]:

And I remember you telling me that you’ve seen this happen before where sometimes they can push the limits. Right? Like, whether it’s maybe the baby’s, not changing positions. Right? Yeah. Or in a situation like mine, you know, my midwife straight up said, listen. Like, It’s just not safe for you to have the baby here, and

I need you to be okay, and I need this baby okay. And Yes. End of the day, Mandy is very transparent. She’s like, also, like, this is my business, and I’m not gonna put my whole business online, you know, just to say that you had the baby in a birthing center.

Tina [00:34:19]:

Sometimes you have to pivot. Yeah. You have to. Right? You have to be able to say, okay. You trust your doula. Right? Of course, you trust Nick. He’s your husband.

But he’s also there trying to process and navigate the birth as well and He doesn’t he may not know the medical where the doula should know. She should know some of the medical and what’s going on. And so in your situation, the safest place for you to be was the hospital.

Now, obviously, this is a network, right, like a crunchy network where you’re, you know, making all these connections. And what have you found within this? Like, I, you know, I’ve preach it that I met everyone through you. Right? Whether it was my midwife, my photographer. Right? So how does, you know Mhmm. 

How does that come into play too? Because I feel like it makes lives for the moms a little bit easier once they know that’s I’m gonna say that there’s less work involved, but, like, the research, so to speak, can be kinda done for them like, hey. I’ve worked with so and so for x amount of years. You know? Mhmm. I think this might be a good fit.:

So how has networking Really helped expand your brand, so to speak.

Tina [00:35:49]:

Yeah. Networking is huge. I really love how I do have those relationships with doctors and midwives in the community. I just met with a midwife yesterday and we just sat and chatted about how we can get more families out there to really trust their bodies enough to know that It’s okay to have a home birth. It’s okay to have a birthing center birth. It’s okay to have a hospital birth. 

I think we really need to get that out more because there is a little bit of fear there that what if something goes wrong like we talked about and so this particular midwife is really wanting to spread the word a little bit so I wanna help her with that.

And then there are some doctors out there that, sorry, but they had big time agendas during COVID and everything. I had a business for 16 years and, without getting into too much detail there, I had to shift gears and I had to say, look, that is not who I am. That is not what I’m about. And, I refuse to, you know, gaslight these moms and make them believe something that’s not true.

And so, yeah, that was huge for me.

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Maren [00:37:04]:

And that’s what sold me on you. Right? Because you had to remember in the beginning, I was living in New York. So for the listeners, I was still in New York, and I knew I was moving to Florida. And I knew regardless that I wanted a doula, and, honestly, like, Tina was my first you know, I kinda emailed a few, but she was my 1st point of contact on the phone. 

And I’m the type of person that I don’t kick tires, like, when I know I know. And I remember Tina saying to me at one point, Are you sure this is your 1st birth? Because, like, you know the answers to a lot of these questions already.

Tina [00:37:46]:

Wow. You were amazing.

Maren [00:37:48]:

The thing was and I can appreciate that you were feeling me out too. And when I had mentioned because that was the thing. I didn’t at that point in time, I didn’t know truly about, like, the birthing center. So if you haven’t heard my story, I pivoted to a birthing center and my midwife because of an experience. 

You know, listen to some of my other podcast episodes if you wanna learn more about it. But I remember talking about a particular one that I had heard, right, from, you know, a friend of a friend. Like, oh, you, you know, you should go see so and so at, you know, OB and this. And I remember you saying to me, Maren, you know, I wanna be transparent with you.

Like, I’ll be able to help you literally until you’re admitted in the hospital, then I’m gonna have to say goodbye to you. And first, I was like, what? And then I really connected the dots, and I was like, well, shoot. 

If she has to say goodbye to me because her values don’t align with it, and my values don’t align with it, and my husband’s don’t. Right? And then I started to learn more and more that my husband wasn’t gonna be allowed to come to any of the visits because, you know, of their rules. And I was like, okay, not for anything.

This is the first rodeo. I want my husband at these appointments. And so, anyway, obviously, I ended up pivoting, but I think that it is so important to be steadfast with your values.

Maren [00:39:14]:

And I believe that you know what? You don’t have to work with everyone either, and that’s probably the beauty of what you get to do. And owning your own business is that the moms you work with, it’s because you wanna work with them. That’s right.

Tina [00:39:29]:

That’s exactly right. I get to choose. And they get to choose.

Maren [00:39:34]:

Now when hiring a doula, obviously, life can happen. Right? And like you said, you’re on call. So I guess my question to you is and for the listener so that they have an understanding standing, and and and have expectations as well, because I think it’s very important to be transparent, you know, with your moms and vice versa, the doula should be transparent with you because anything can happen.

You know, these are people too. Doulas have their own lives and families. The birth photographers do.

The midwives do. And, you know, obviously, you create these relationships with people, but sometimes stuff happens. And so if I were, you know, a new mom and I was doing some research on a doula. What are some expectations I should have when it comes to the doula being available, being that person in there. Right?

Like, can you kinda lay it out so people understand that you’re gonna do the best you can, but sometimes Yes. It just doesn’t work out. Right.

And then what do you do when it doesn’t work out?

Tina [00:41:26]:

Yeah. And that’s extremely rare. I mean, I could probably count on one hand in 18 years, you know, where I’ve not been able to attend the birth. There were some births, obviously, during COVID. 

But during that time, what I would do is go to their homes and labor with them as long as I could and then send them to the hospital. You know, I just couldn’t support them at the hospital. That being said, I mean, occasionally, I’ll get the funny text at, you know, 2 in the morning. Hey, Tina. I think I ate something. You know, what do you think? 

Because we’re the first to go. You know, it’s not the doctor, the midwife, it’s I need to reach out to Tina. She’s my doula. So that’s kinda neat. But, yeah, sometimes it’s a good thing to have free time where I can shut my phone off for a little while. 

So I try to take calls mostly during the day. Unless there’s an emergency, I might look at my phone and say, oh, she’s not in labor.

I’ll just answer that later. So not a ton of expectations. I’m definitely that doula that is so flexible, you know, and I just want all my families to feel supported.

[Maren] 

but you only take a certain amount of clients…

[Tina] 

I do take about three to four clients a month, sometimes less. I remember last November, I had seven clients, and I didn’t miss one of them. So it’s extremely rare that a mom will go into labor on the same day. That was a lot.

I try not to do that because I really wanna give you my undivided attention, and I don’t wanna miss a birth. So try to average about three to four births a month.

Maren [00:43:11]:

Right. And then, I guess, because how do you, like, how do you spread that out, so to speak? Right? So, like, say you You know? Because it wouldn’t just be if someone’s, like, I’m making this up. Like, say someone was due on July 24th, but then you had another mom due on August 3rd. Like, yeah, it’s different months, but at the same time, it’s within a week. Sometimes that can get a little wild.

Tina [00:43:40]:

Yeah. That has happened before. And, fortunately, I haven’t had it’s just

Tina [00:43:48]:

Just God. But, yeah, it does happen where sometimes they’re due close to the same Time range. But, you know, usually I’m pretty good with that. I do have backup doulas. I have a great team.

Maren [00:44:01]:

That’s what I was gonna say.

Tina [00:44:02]:

Yes. We have a great team. I have two other doulas that work with me. I have several postpartum doulas. So if that were to happen, I do have a backup that could be there for the birth.

Maren [00:44:14]:

And do you make sure that your moms maybe have you know, like, they kinda get to know that person a little bit so it’s not just a random stranger who’s showing up.

Tina [00:44:25]:

Sometimes if they want that. You know, if there’s any indication that I might miss the birth or that it’s getting close to another birth, then I’ll let my client know, hey, you know, you might wanna meet so and so. 

Just to make sure that, you know, you’re on the same page, that you feel comfortable with her. But usually only if the client wants that. It’s not like a standard where I say, okay. I’m going to have you meet my other backup doula.

Maren [00:44:54]:

Gotcha. I think that’s important for people to know about Yeah. Just like the expectations because we do the best we can.

Tina [00:45:04]:

Right. We are only women.

Maren [00:45:07]:

We are human. Exactly.

Tina [00:45:08]:

There was a recent one when I was sick, really sick. I had a fever and everything and just wasn’t feeling good. And I did have to miss the birth that wasn’t too long ago, about 2 months ago. So I was able to kinda pivot, navigate that a little bit, and then offer some postpartum care, with the mom as well. You know? So it always works out.

Maren [00:45:31]:

Because with the postpartum care, I’d love for you to speak to this as well. You know, obviously, we had some issues with the tongue tie. But just like the knowledge that you have with breastfeeding and all that, can you give them an idea of how that can be an asset, you know, in your tool belt to have someone to call because it’s scary.

“The Importance of Postpartum Care:
I think every family should at least have an hour or 2, if not more, of postpartum care with a doula.”

This is your little human forever. So when a mom comes home, they just think they know, but they have no idea. It’s okay. If I can get in there and I can help some of our families who are standoffish and they’re like, you know, come over for your visit and everything, but I think we wanna try to manage on our own a bit. 

Then we might get the call two to three days later and we might come in and just help them with basic things, you know. The baby’s maybe just latching on the nipple, Not on the entire area. So mom’s got cracked bleeding nipples or the baby’s maybe not pooping and peeing, you know, and not failure to thrive but kinda because now the baby’s not getting enough from mom. 

So the doula knows these things and she can really kinda say, hey, let’s see what’s going on and see if we need more. Maybe we need to get a pediatrician involved or your midwife. A lot of times, the midwife can really come in and say, I think something’s going on here. 

Let’s see what else we can do. So yeah, the doula’s really good for that. Postpartum care, I think, is invaluable. I think every family should at least have An hour or two, if not more, of postpartum care with a doula.

Maren [00:47:14]:

For sure, because what I want those who maybe have not had their 1st child, to understand is that when you’re going through standard care, they literally let you sign out of the hospital. Yes. And it says, you know, see you in 6 weeks. 

Tina [00:47:32]:

You’re like, wait. What?

Maren [00:47:33]:

Good luck. You know? It’s like, what? And if you’ve never done it before that’s really scary. And then, god forbid, there is some sort of issue Right. That maybe you didn’t encounter your 1st child.

And then if you know, you do with your 2nd, at least you have these people in your corner to help you Right. And that you can call on.

Tina [00:47:59]:

It’s true.

Maren [00:47:59]:

Because I can tell you as someone who went through the first half with standard care with, mind you, a doctor that I had been seeing for 17 years. So it’s not like I didn’t know her. But if I had a question, I couldn’t exactly call her, right, and ask her or text her. 

Whereas, when I had this more intimate team of people with a doula, with a midwifery practice, it was just different. It felt I was, a, I felt more comfortable, and, b, there was more accessibility.

Tina [00:48:37]:

That’s right.

Maren [00:48:38]:

You were available. Yeah.

Tina [00:48:40]:

And so is your midwife.

Maren [00:48:41]:

That’s true.

Tina [00:48:42]:

You know, she was I mean, after I remember when your little one was born, yes, I mean, the crying, you know, what are the cries mean? What’s going on? What am I doing wrong? You know, not necessarily that you are doing something wrong, but is there something that I’m missing? Because, again, you had never done this before, you know, and so Having that team was important for you for sure.

Maren [00:49:06]:

And, you know, to your point, there was something wrong. And we as new parents felt it in our gut, that this cry sounds a lot different. It sounds Uncomfortable. And sure enough, she was dehydrated. She had a 2nd degree tongue tie, all the things. All the things.

But, you know, they sent me home with my sheet of paper from the hospital, like, call 911 if it’s an emergency. Oh, thank you. Thanks. Because I didn’t learn that when I was, like, 5. You know…

Well, What is where can people learn from you? Because you’ve been diving more into social media. I’m very proud of you.

Tina [00:49:56]:

Trying. It’s Oh, my favorite. I’m trying.

Maren [00:50:00]:

I know. I know. But where ‘s the best resource? Now, obviously, you are located in South Florida, which by the way, I wanted to ask you about because this is just a site. Well, it’s not really a sidebar. It’s kinda part of my questions here is that I have heard and I’ve had friends that have gone through this about a virtual doula. Mhmm. Have you heard of this before? Yes.

Tina [00:50:29]:

So virtual doula services, we do offer those as well. And it

Maren [00:50:33]:

Oh, you do?

Tina [00:50:34]:

Yes. I

Maren [00:50:34]:

didn’t know you did that.

Tina [00:50:35]:

Yes.

Maren [00:50:35]:

See, I’m just very selfish and need you all to myself. You do. So in person but okay, so can you plan, what that’s about because listen y’all, now that I know Tina does virtual, you need to get on this because

There’s no one better. Go ahead.

Virtual Doula Support Provides Education and Assistance Remotely

Tina [00:50:50]:

Awesome. So virtual doula support is really great for families that want the education. They want the support. They want that person they can just pick up the phone and say, hey, can you tell me what this is? What do you think about that? 

And even during labor and delivery where we are actually either on an iPhone or helping them with breathing techniques and things like that, but they can’t actually have us live in person for one reason or another. 

Sometimes it’s finances, you know, virtual doula support is, It’s a good price point, you know, for those families that they want a doula, but they’re not sure they necessarily want that in person support. So we do offer that. I even have families that I was the doula for the 1st or second baby. They’ve moved out of state.

They still want me, but they want to know that they can call me or text me anytime and that I could at least walk them through the early stages of labor while they’re at home. So yeah.

Maren [00:51:52]:

Wow. Virtual support team. I didn;t know you did that, and I I think that’s so freaking cool. Aw. And I’m telling everyone who listens to this

Tina [00:51:59]:

Thank you.

Maren [00:52:01]:

So now where can people find you?

Tina [00:52:05]:

So I am in South Florida. They can find me at birthday doulas of south florida .com. And, yeah. All my information on there. My Instagram saying birthday to live in South Florida and also Facebook. Not on Facebook that much, but, yeah, that’s where you can find me.

Maren [00:52:28]:

Oh my gosh. Well, I definitely recommend that everyone go find you. And now that you have this virtual option, seriously, y’all have no excuse because she’s just fantastic. She truly is, and I’m very grateful for you. 

I remember and I’m gonna hold you to this. I remember I said to you because you’re so good at what you do that, you know, initially, you were like, hey, I don’t know, I’m in this space where I don’t know how many new families I’m taking on, blah blah blah blah, and you are building your team, and now you have this team, which is amazing yeah.

Because I think that’s so cool that they’re learning from you. I think that’s so important to who your doula is learning from? Right? Because, obviously, those values are gonna be passed down. And I remember you said, but, Maren, don’t worry. 

You had me once if you ever need me again because I was in. I was grandfathered in. I was like, I’m holding you to that. I don’t know what it is, but I’m holding you to it.

Tina [00:53:33]:

I will always figure out for you, hon.

Maren [00:53:37]:

But I’m, I’m just so glad that people have this accessibility now, and it’s huge for you. It’s great for these families, and that’s amazing. So I hope that someone listening to this truly truly reaches out to you because I promise you, folks, you will not be disappointed. 

Want to learn more from Tina when it comes to prenatal, birth & postpartum care, including virtual services? Be sure to follow her on IG @birthdaydoulasofsfl or on her website.

Tina Sconhoft - BIRTHday Doulas of South Florida

Tina Sconhoft

Tina’s life took an unexpected turn when she found herself immersed in the challenges of teenage motherhood. At the tender age of 16, she experienced a pregnancy that was filled with hardship and ridicule from her peers.

With limited knowledge about childbirth and birth options, she faced a traumatic birth that left her emotionally scarred. The midwife’s unnecessary episiotomy resulted in a nine-month recovery period, during which Tina yearned for a better understanding of the birthing process and proper positioning techniques.


If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

Mom's guide to healing

Free Guide

This guide will give you the resources & products I personally use with discount codes, and the exact protocols used for both me and my baby when we have been sick. 

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

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