About Me

I am Valerie Rohde.  Wife to Doug and mommy to our precious son, Ryne Andrew.

My journey to becoming a doula began before I knew it had even started.  My husband and I had been married for a couple of years when we decided we wanted to try for a baby and we were both healthy and young and to our surprise we conceived within the first 2 months of trying after I stopped using the pill.  We learned of the pregnancy only 2 days after Thanksgiving that year.  We were elated!  Only to miscarry around Christmas and New Year’s.  The miscarriage was completed with a D&C since my body was not processing the miscarriage on its own after several more weeks of hoping and praying.  After the miscarriage my body went into a whirlwind of unbalanced hormones and after many months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive again, my husband and I embarked on our infertility journey and after many very un-romantic tests and procedures, doctor visits, praying, and researching we did conceive our son.  During my pregnancy I knew I wanted the very best for my body and my son, the new life we had worked so hard for, so being a biologist by schooling I began researching and asking questions.  During our infertility journey I became a part of an online support community that proved to be invaluable in our decision-making and really focused on the more natural side of birth and living.  I knew this was something I wanted to look into so I found Bradley Childbirth Classes and began searching for a doula on the Georgia Birth Network.  If you’ve read any of my blog, you know that I believe information is brilliant and a powerful tool and I found both the Bradley class and the Ga Birth Network to be some of the most powerful tools in my efforts to achieve a natural childbirth with our son.

I can’t say I really know what I expected of my birth other than my husband and I wanted to try to go as “natural” as possible.  My due date was September 17 so I fully expected to go until almost October so it was my surprise when I began having contractions at 37 weeks exactly.  I experienced back labor for 3 nights before going to Intown Midwifery to get checked and learned I was in fact in active labor, 6 cm, and fully effaced so we happily headed to Atlanta Medical Center to have a baby!  However, the rest of the birth didn’t go so easy.  We called our doula and she met us at the hospital shortly after we checked in around 10am on Wednesday.  Even though I was in active labor when we went in, it seemed that my body progressed much better in the comfort of my own home so it wasn’t until 8pm when the midwife suggested breaking my water to see if that would help speed things along.  From that point I did progress to 10cm but our son seemed to be in a difficult position and after 6 long hours of pushing in all different positions our son was born unmedicated, vaginally, with forceps assistance by our OB who immediately placed Ryne on my chest and we were able to take advantage of his quiet, alert hour and begin to bond as a family and breast feed right away.

In sharing this short version of my birth story, I tell it to emphasize the peace we have knowing we were prepared and armed with knowledge.  Obviously, as first time parents we had never experienced labor and birth before so we surrounded ourselves with a wonderful team of medical providers that we trusted, a doula to support us through the entire labor, and we created a flexible birth plan that was well thought out in advance so that we were all on the same page.  Was it the completely natural, unmedicated, uncomplicated birth I thought it would be?  No.  Do I second guess some of our choices and wonder “what if”?  Honestly, sometimes.  Is that okay?  Absolutely!  Most importantly, are we at peace with our birth experience?  Yes.  Your birth experience is a part of you and your family.  As women it is a defining moment in our lives when we go from being a woman to a mother.  Your birth experience will help shape who you are whether you realize it or not, and having a support system in place with providers you trust makes all the difference in your satisfaction with your birth experience as well as the care you receive before, during, and after your pregnancy.

My goal as your doula is to support you.  To advocate for you.  As your doula I cannot be your voice, but I can help provide a sense of support and encouragement so that you can confidently make decisions about your birth experience.  I am committed to imparting knowledge and wisdom from my own training and experiences as necessary to help you make the most informed decisions.  I am proud to say I also have the support of a large variety of doulas and mentor doulas and childbirth educators to turn to if you have a question I cannot answer.  The researcher in me will always help find answers to your questions and the teacher in me will explain them in a way you can understand.  I not only support mom in her birthing efforts, but dad, sometimes even more so, to be a confident birth partner and to feel proud of his support for his wife. It is by supporting the family unit as a whole that yields the greatest outcome for all of us.

I fully believe in maximum self-determination for your birth experience and want to fully support you so that you can have a brilliant beginning that you are at peace with for a lifetime.