As an added bonus, she took amazing photos of the first moments of life with our daughter which are a stunning reminder of that first magic hour. She wrote a lovely birth story, pulling all of the little details together so we can share them with our baby when she grows up – she noted small details we didn’t notice in the moment, for which we are so grateful. She was both a witness and an active partner in the labor and delivery. She helped the whole hospital-process feel like a personal journey and celebrated our child’s birth with us in a way that was both familial and respectful.
Shelia came highly recommended from a family member, and she was extraordinary. My pregnancy had a few hiccups, and Shelia was supportive throughout, always reaching out to see if I was okay, and to answer any questions I had. It was so nice to have someone invested in our pregnancy and to talk to when unexpected things happened in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
This being our first child, we didn’t know what exactly to expect once we were at the hospital. We didn’t realize that we would spend a large portion of labor in the birthing suite without any hospital staff in the room. The nurses were only a button away, but as first time parents it would have been very stressful to go through labor essentially by ourselves. Shelia was with us the entire time. Her calming presence and wealth of knowledge made the entire experience much more manageable.
Having her with us throughout labor and delivery was wonderful. We are so thankful that she was there to help us navigate a very different than planned, yet still wonderful and positive birth experience. We look forward to having Shelia with us again when we have another child, she is a remarkable doula.
Shelia attended the birth of our first child, and also gave us postpartum support (two visits along with answering countless questions by email and text). We don’t have any relatives in the area, and relied on her for both emotional support and knowledge. She has been invaluable in ensuring this huge moment in our lives has been as emotionally positive and stress-free as possible.
Shelia visited us twice before the birth and answered all our questions about pregnancy and labor. She is very easy to talk to as well as very knowledgeable and experienced. Labor caught us a little off-guard (water broke a few weeks early and labor needed to be induced); Shelia was very good at helping us get over our initial shell-shock and into a good frame of mind to tackle labor. She was instrumental in keeping my wife focused on her breathing and contractions – she was a rock for my wife and me, and just made us feel that everything was always under control. Labor and birth was such a postive experience for my wife and I, and I know it would have been much harder without Shelia. Finally, she has been so helpful to us postpartum, both in terms of knowledge, but also someone we could talk to to help reduce our anxiety and calm our fears.
What makes Shelia such a great doula is a combination of her warmth and her knowledge. She is extremely warm, friendly and emotionally available; you can tell that she truly cares about the families she works with and has their best interests at heart. Furthermore, she is very knowledgeable about pregnancy, labor and post-partum care – she answered countless questions and pointed us to valuable resouces. She’s also very straighforward and precise in her answers; we felt like we were getting the right amount of information in a very clear way. Finally, she has a strong personality and is able to make suggestions and take charge during labor, but also is able to take a backseat when things are going well.
Shelia has been more than a blessing to our family. We just gave birth to our second son, via VBAC. When we found out we were pregnancy again, we knew right away that we hoped for her assistance, especially given my long labor tines. Our first birth had not gone as planned, but the one saving grace of our experience, which ended up as an emergency c-section, was Shelia. She was calm, graceful and a stern advocate to help us get the best birth experience we could out of an unfortunate experience.
We knew from the beginning that we wanted a VBAC. Shelia provided us with numerous contacts and ideas to help us prepare for another labor. She had names of alternative providers who were VBAC friendly, and acupunturists. We worked hard to prepare my body for an optimal birth. If she didn’t have exprience with a practitioner we asked about, she would use her extensive network of doula friends to get answers for us.
We love that Shelia is always available for questions outside of our home visit sessions. She responded to our inquiries within a day or two. When in labor, she was able to get to us within an hour of our request for extra hands. She brought numerous props and ideas for helping baby position and labor to pickup. She is gentle with her suggestions, knowing my birth plan and allowed me to take charge when I felt the need. My husband appreciated having extra hands and assistance and respects Shelia’s knowledge and caring touch as well. Additionally, the nurses at the hospital thanked Shelia for her time and care and help with the birthing process.
To top it off, Shelia has a plethora of knowledge about breastfeeding which was a must for both my children. She was able to both help hands on after birth and in the following days, as well as help me find resources for an IBCLC in my area since both of my boys were tongue tied.
We highly recommend Shelia and will certainly use her again if we get pregnant with a #3!
We were very fortunate to be referred to Shelia Kandeler by Penny Simkin, leader of our Childbirth Education class, and our experience working with Shelia proved to be a singularly positive force during the many phases of my wife’s arduous and ultimately successful labor and delivery at Swedish Hospital.
To draw out the qualities, expertise, and actions of Shelia’s that most impressed us is no simple task … we feel so very fortunate that she possesses all of the skills one would want in a doula.
Shelia’s excellent communication skills, her organizational capacity and professionalism, were evident from our first e-mail and voicemail exchanges, as well as our prenatal meeting (increasing our confidence and reducing our fears as first-time parents). She was a terrific collaborator throughout, including during postpartum and with regard to breastfeeding consultations.
Her knowledge and experience as a doula, her ability to offer practical advice and to share both medical research and received wisdom with us, in addition to the quality of her personal perspectives and guidance relevant to the many questions and decisions we faced, were all simply outstanding.
During the process of labor itself, Shelia’s ability to offer advice and comfort measures, to be constantly present in both an emotional and physical capacity, and to help finesse some of our interactions with hospital staff added a dimension to our experience that we now know is critical … Shelia’s ability to ‘mother’ and nurture both of us, combined with her enthusiasm and sheer endurance, helped sustain us throughout.
Shelia’s abundant caring for us and for our newborn, her instincts as a coach, her obvious love for her work, and, yes, the excellent ‘birth story’ she wrote and that we look forward to sharing with our kid one day, have all made an impression on us. We could not recommend her work as a doula more highly!
Shelia was amazing. She played a crucial roll in the healthy birth of our baby boy. She is extremely personable, we felt connected to her the moment we met her. She was very communicative and reponsive throughout my pregnancy. She answered all of our questions and provided resources that made us more comfortable with the birthing process. On the day of our birth, she responded to my husbands calls very early in the morning and arrived at our home to assist the moment we felt we needed her. She came prepared with labor positions and helped make the labor process as comfortable as possible for my husband and me. During the birth at the hospital she was there every step of the way, helping my husband and myself cope, massaged, took pictures, and was an advocate for me.
Shelia wrote up our birth story as a letter to our son days after his birth. It was beautiful and something we’ll treasure. She also shared her pictures with us, and came over for an after birth home visit. She has checked in many times and is truly interested in our well being and knowing how our son is doing.
All this to say, Shelia is caring, confident, and very capable in what she does. We could not imagine our birth without her there. We would highly recommend her to our friends and look forward to working with her again with our future children.
My husband and I had the pleasure of meeting Shelia when she was auditing our birthing class. We got to know her over the 8 week course and knew at the end that she would be a great match for us as our doula. Shelia is very calm, caring, well-spoken, and knowledgable. Her knowledge spans from conception, pregnancy, labor and birth, to breastfeeding and infant/childcare. These traits, among many other positive ones, translate so perfectly into her being an excellent doula and made her a valuable resource before and after birth. She helped us create a clear, concise birth plan that we ended up being able to follow very closely.
I developed preeclampsia in my 37th week and was induced. My induction was quite long and arduous, so it was so amazing having her there as support and comfort not only for me but my husband. After my epidural things got pretty foggy for me as I was finally able to rest for the first time in days; Shelia stayed by my side and advocated for me when I was either resting or too tired to do so myself. Our birth was a really wonderful, positive experience and Shelia had a lot to do with that. In addition to her role as a support person, she took some VERY beautiful candid photos of our family after our son was born. We treasure these images so much and will so forever. She also wrote a timeline and birth story that we love to read and reflect upon.
After my son was born we discovered pretty quickly that he was having difficulty latching, which could have led to some serious breast feeding difficulties. At our first home visit after his birth she helped put us in touch with an amazing lactation consultant that helped us right away. And Shelia has continued to be a valuable resource of knowledge ever since.
As we prepared for our first child, we were unsure whether we needed a doula, but as the time drew nearer, we decided we needed the help. We had the very good fortune to work with Shelia Kandeler.
Shelia met with us twice prior to the labor, and was kind and competent from the very beginning. But you never know how someone will react in a stressful situation until you find yourself in that situation. My wife’s labor was difficult, long, and did not progress normally. Shelia was a rock for us throughout the entire experience. She provided emotional support, advice, and information. She also had a very good sense of when we needed help and when we needed space.
If we choose to have another child, we’ll definitely ask Shelia to work with us again. With luck, your experience of labor and delivery will be smoother than ours. Even in a relatively easy labor, you’ll be happy you hired Shelia. But should you find yourself having a labor experience that doesn’t go as you hoped, you’ll wonder how you ever could have done it without her. We highly recommend Shelia to anyone thinking about hiring a doula.
Shelia was the perfect doula for us! We knew after our first chat with her that she had the kind, nurturing spirit and experience that we were looking for. With her help, we were able to move labor along quickly at home and her support was unwavering when we arrived at the hospital. Shelia worked hard, guiding us through a difficult transition stage and always had a trick or technique to try to keep things moving. She was calming, patient, knowledgeable, and directing when necessary. Shelia’s postpartum support with breast feeding and general encouragement and kind words during the tough first few weeks at home has been extremely invaluable as well. We are grateful to have had her by our side and will be calling her again if our family continues to grow!
My husband and I went from being a bit skeptical about needing a doula to being huge doula advocates after our experience with Shelia! From our first meet and greet until our final visit several weeks after the birth of our daughter she was an incredible. During the prenatal period Shelia made sure she understood our wishes for the birth of our child so that she could best support what we wanted. With her constant physical and emotional support during my labor, I was able to have the pain medication-free birth experience I had wanted. Her calming reassurance and encouragement helped guide both my husband and I through the most incredible event of our lives. During the postnatal period she helped support breastfeeding and provided resources for the postnatal care and support that I needed. A huge bonus was the pictures she took of my husband and I bonding with our baby immediately after delivery and the birth story she wrote for us. When we decide we are ready for baby number two, Shelia will be one of our first phone calls!