Your Utah Doulas is an exciting new partnership between doulas, Maura Mendenhall and Kasaundra Trout! We are genuinely thrilled to be working together to bring professional birthing support to Utah County families. To read our bios, click here and here.
By way of a getting-to-know you of sorts, we have decided to answer some questions you might have about us. So pull out a blanket and a cup of deliciousness, because we're about to become fast friends!
How did you two meet?
Kasaundra: Maura and I met at “Doula Thanksgiving” hosted by Lauralyn Curtis. That was 2 years ago, right?
Maura: Yeah, that was two years ago! It’s kinda crazy how fast time has flown by. So much has happened in the last couple years and I’m really glad you were there to share it with me!
Why the partnership?
Maura: Kasaundra and I saw a need for a greater presence of birth services in Utah County. There are a lot of great doulas to choose from, but we offer something unique. We offer a partnership where women and their families have the choice to have two experienced, trained and certified doulas advocating for them and assisting them through their journey. We came together to give women a place to be goddesses in their own stories; to show their strength and beauty. Our partnership is the only one of it’s kind in our area and we are confident we will be able to support families in many capacities from birth services to placenta encapsulation, belly binding, and an array of classes. This is a good thing for our community!
Kasaundra: There’s also a personal side to this. Maura and I saw in each other the type of doula who could hold that sacred space for women. Our personalities mesh well and we have become the best of friends. I trust her to care for families the way I would, and vice versa. We first talked about a partnership a year ago. It took us a while to open up shop because we both wanted to be in the right place at the right time. It’s really exciting to finally have that time be now!
What is the funniest thing that’s happened at a birth?
Kasaundra: Oh. Have I got a story for you. I was a newly minted doula working with a team of doulas at an IMC water birth. I kept leaning over the tub to do hip squeezes while the mother coped through her expansions. At some point, I stood up to readjust my position and realized that my chest felt very heavy. My bra had soaked in all that water! We were all laughing as I squeezed the water back out into the tub. It was the most undignified way for me to learn about proper clothing for birth work. But let me tell you, I most definitely never forgot that lesson.
Maura: Let’s see. I was helping a client through her induction at the hospital. She was getting ready to start doing practice pushes before her doctor arrived. I was holding one of her legs and reminding her to take deep breaths. Her nurse was doing some charting on the computer behind me when all of a sudden the mom’s water broke! It was all of a sudden like everything went into slow motion as I saw water spraying up towards me. In the nick of time I moved out of the line of fire! The water bypassed me and sprayed all over the nurse behind me!
What made you decide to be a doula?
Maura: I decided to become a doula when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I had experienced a traumatic birth with my oldest and vowed to never be in that place again. I did lots of research about natural birth and came across the word “doula” in a book I was reading. My husband and I decided to hire a doula for our upcoming birth and upon meeting her, I knew I would love to be a doula myself. About four months after giving birth, I started my training through DONA at Salt Lake Community College.
Kasaundra: It’s cool to see how many of us get our start from planning our own births. I got interested in becoming a doula while preparing for my VBAC. The nurse for that birth was incredible and got down into the waves with me to breathe through them. She made a huge impact on my birth experience. After that, I signed up for my first training and started planning my future. It’s been more than I could have ever dreamt it would be. I’ve had the best of clients, friends, and experiences along this journey.
What is your favorite memory of the other?
Kasaundra: Right now, it would have to be the time Maura brought her kids over for the day and helped me get my house ready to sell. My husband was out of town and I was really overwhelmed by the amount of work that had to get done. Maura showed up and spent the day helping me paint. We laughed, talked, listened to music, corralled our kids, and sent you home waaaaay too late.
Maura: I would say some of my favorite times together are when we wander a store looking at everything. I also really enjoyed going to your house and helping out. Our kids play so well together so it’s really easy going and laid back whenever we’re together. It’s such a good time to unwind and recharge.
What advice do you have for a mother preparing for her first birth?
Maura: There are a few things that I would suggest. Take a childbirth education class with your support person or spouse. Interview care providers to find the one that fits you the best. Hire a doula to be apart of your birth team.
Kasaundra: I agree with everything Maura said. Those three factors are the greatest indicators of an empowered birth. I would also add to cut yourself some slack. Every woman who has ever given birth has had to do it once for the first time. No one became a pro overnight. Keep your mind open and trust your instincts.