mommy testimonials

twin skin to skin copy
Surrogate twins & their biological mother

“Hiring a Doula was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. If you are looking to have an unmedicated birth, I would never suggest doing this without a doula. I’ve had 4 children and the one birth with a doula was my most cherished one. When I began looking into a doula, services, and cost, I wasn’t sure it was for us. But after the initial phone call I knew I wanted her in my corner. She was extremely nice, straighforward, and we were able to joke with her and be relaxed like we had known her for years. I knew I needed someone who would stand up for us at the hospital, keep me focused, and make sure my husband was as involved as he wanted to be. Maren made all this happen. She met with us two times before the baby came, and after 36 weeks was there for me whenever, even if it was just for emotional support. I found this invaluable.

Maren was supportive in every sense of the word. Maren has a way that allows you to feel comfortable, loved, important, and STRONG. She doesn’t leave you with an option of feeling inadequate.

I doubted myself a bit but Maren told me I could, made me tell her I COULD, and this allowed my body to realize I COULD. Maren came over when my contractions were 20 min apart. Thinking labor was hours away, Maren had tricks up her sleeve and within an hour, my contractions were 5 min apart. She distracted me the whole time with laughter, counterpressures, massage, and a feeling of safety. She was gentle when reminding me to breathe or relax my face. At the hospital, she held my hand and supported my every need while contracting and pushing.

After birth she stayed until I was ready to move rooms. All this allowed for my husband to be there emotionally for me. He didn’t have to worry that I was in pain or how he could stop the pain. Maren was also the only one who had brains enough to take some pictures! Maren will always be a part of my daughters history, and for that I am deeply thankful. I love you Maren! A million times, thank you.”

— Annisa, mom

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“Maren was an invaluable member of our birth team and helped us to have the birth experience that we were looking for.  She was able to help us find the answers to any questions we had and helped us know what questions to ask our midwife throughout the pregnancy, as well as during the labor process.  She made sure that we were aware of many of the major decisions we could potentially have to make during the labor experience during childbirth and beyond and was great at asking questions to help me figure out what I wanted out of my birth experience.  I really appreciated the top ten list she had me make so my husband and I had a chance to figure out what was really important to us and allowed us to easily communicate that to those that were helping with the delivery at the hospital.  The labor process was much longer and different that anyone had expected it to be;

Maren was excellent at thinking on her feet and helping to keep labor progressing.  She was a great emotional support and really listened to what I wanted.

She supported me in whatever decisions I made and did all she could to make things happen the way I wanted.  I appreciated that my husband was able to focus more on the birth and not worry about me as much.  We would love to have her with us again at our next birth!”

–Athena, mom

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“I never thought I would use a doula, because I thought they only attended “all natural” births.  However, having Maren Bench be our doula turned out to be one of the best parts of my labor and delivery process!

She came to our home a few times the month before and got us to discuss what our expectations and hopes would be for labor and birth.  This really helped us feel like we had a plan of what we wanted – with the idea that we would also go with the flow.

When I went into labor, I called and Maren came to our home at 3 am and helped me through back labor for several hours.  She helped me remember different relaxation techniques, try different positions, rubbed my back, and even helped my husband know what to do to be helpful.

I believe that this help she gave me helped me stay at home a little longer and progress more quickly through labor, so that when I went to the hospital, I was already dilated to 5 cm and 80% effaced.

The back labor was really painful, so I asked for an epidural. Of course the nurse anesthetist took about 45 minutes to get there. During that time, Maren helped me labor in the deep hospital tub, and by the time I got out, I was dilated to 8 cm!

Maren had helped me get through transition! My husband was amazed that I wasn’t screaming – Maren helped me with visualization, oils, words to focus on, and deep breathing.

I was told that I could have gone on without an epidural, but once I made that decision, Maren was my advocate and let the nurses know that I still wanted it. Everyone said I was doing so well, but emotionally at that point I felt like I was just holding on until I could get the pain relief.  So I was relieved when I got the epidural and got to rest a bit!

When I started pushing, she gave really helpful instructions of what to push and what to relaxe – I only had to push for about 40 minutes! Thank you!!”

–Anna, mom

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“History: I’ve had 4 pregnancies and 5 live births.  2 pregnancies with no medication, 1 with epidural, and the last pregnancy was twins with no medication.  This last pregnancy was the birth Maren helped with. I should’ve done it before!

Compassion:  Maren has the utmost compassion.  I was a surrogate for the pregnancy she helped me through.  So, Maren was not only a support to me, but a support to the mother and father of these children AND to my husband as well.  It was a large group to care for.  Maren has lost a child of her own to still birth.  One of the twins had a 2 vessel cord which put him at risk for spontaneous stillbirth late in the pregnancy.  She was able to comfort my fears of not being able to deliver 2 healthy babies.

Education:  I pretty much knew most of the material Maren was presenting, but the mother had no knowledge of anything regarding childbirth.  Maren was able to give her a brief childbirth education class.  And it had to be brief, as the parents were coming from over seas.  The mother was so nervous and very fearful of so many unknowns and Maren was able to calm that.

Experience: Maren’s help in so many other births helped her have a totally practiced hand in my birth. Maren was able to utilize her skills to address our very unique situation.  Her practiced hand guided me to push on at the very end when I wanted to be done.

 I remember tearfully saying to her, “I don’t want to do it again.”  And she found the way to urge me on.  She kept my husband involved every step of the way.  He never once felt like a 5th wheel.  And that was important to me and to him.

If I ever do get pregnant again, Maren will get the call as soon as I test positive!”  -Angie, mom

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“At my birth, Maren teamed up with another doula during my labor. Wow, was it ever helpful having her there! I wouldn’t have had my birth any other way.

Maren was a great addition to our birth team. She was always right there and helped throughout the entire time. I felt more confident having her there and supporting me.

She was always willing to get whatever we needed at different times throughout the labor process. She helped to relive pain during contractions, was willing to get ice buckets, use oils, helped me breathe, and so on! I remember during pushing she helped me breathe and to help get the baby oxygen. That was probably one of the biggest things that helped me was having help to breathe. I remember Maren also being very helpful during pushing.

Without having a doula at my birth, I don’t think I would have been able to stay calm (at least as calm as I could) and make it through with breathing also. I am convinced that a doula should be part of every birth, no matter the birth plan. Having Maren there was also helpful to my husband. It was our first birth so he didn’t really know what to expect. He was given so much help as well.

Maren came to visit us the next day at the hospital. Maren has a warm personality and was willing to help our family in many ways. I felt comfortable the entire time having Maren there…which was important to me. If you are looking for a great birth experience and support, Maren is a wonderful doula!

–Emily, mom

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My experience with Maren was not planned or even discussed, as she was the backup doula. I was a little nervous because I had never met her and was already in the hospital being induced, but I knew I could trust her to help me. She immediately calmed me because she talked openly as I started experiencing contractions.

I was being induced last minute four weeks early due to hypertension and preeclamptic symptoms–which made it even harder to stay calm because it was not in the plan. I had also been practicing Hypnobirthing so I knew what I needed to do to relax, but in the moment I was having a hard time doing so. That’s where Maren was the absolute most help in making my laboring process wonderful. As the contractions would come, she could tell when I tensed up even though I was trying to relax, and she would just touch my shoulder or stroke my leg and remind me to relax, breathe, and find whatever sense I needed to to get through it. She also guided me to “welcome” my contractions and then tell them goodbye.

Maren stayed by my side from 10:30pm on Friday until 5 pm on Saturday after I gave birth. She was my solid foundation (my husband was wonderful but did not know what I was feeling like she did) and taught me other ways to help my body through contractions because I was unmedicated.

Maren kept the environment unstressful. We joked between contractions, talked about everything; she knew when I needed it quiet, helped guide my husband in helping me, and held my hand during the worst of it.

She even held my hand during my stitches after because my husband was with the baby in NICU.

What I loved even more was that she encouraged me not to give up when I was exhausted and just wanted a C-section. She knew I would have regretted it and I would never regret going through the birth process that I did. Maren forced her way into my mind as it was shutting down (I went from 4cm to 10cm in 20 minutes) and kept me strong. I will always have a doula!!!

-Hannah, mom

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Without any close friends or family nearby I knew that for our first baby I wanted to have someone there who could help my husband and I through the process. I had a vague idea of what a doula did and convinced my husband that it was something we should look into.

We met with a couple of doulas and Maren stood out with her calm, confident, and fun personality. It was clear right away that she was the one for us! She also introduced us to an amazing birthing class led by several doulas, so that when my water broke at 38 weeks we were as prepared as we could be. Labor moved pretty fast for it being my first and with Maren on one side and my husband on my other side, I really could not have cared less who else was in the room. They were the only ones I needed.

We had an unmedicated hospital birth with an OB and I really don’t think it could have possbily gone any better. Maren helped me through nausea and vomiting, which was awful, but we got through it. Maren has a wide range of comfort measures in her bag and brain and was amazing at reminding me to drink water and breathe for my baby when I started breathing too fast or shallow.

The worst part of the whole process was when I wasn’t quite dilated to a 10 yet and my whole body wanted me to push. Maren was the only voice I paid any attention to at that point, she helped me breathe through those contractions until I was dilated enough to push. She stayed with us for several hours after our baby was born to make sure we were settling in and came by the house the next week.

For those first couple of weeks she checked in several times to make sure we were doing alright. It was really comforting to know that if we did need help, she was right there with all kinds of resources.

We struggled with breastfeeding in that first week and Maren came through with loads of resources that helped me figure out what I needed to do to be successful. Maren was key to our birthing experience and I’m so thankful that we found her!

-Meladi, mom

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This was my first home birth and I knew would need good support to go through with it. my husband was very supportive, but he was also nervous to have a home birth, and a knew a doula would be helpful to both of us.

When we met with Maren my husband and I liked her right away, and we decided to go for it! My labor started very unexpectedly when my water Broke at 4 in the morning 3 weeks early! I called Maren and she  answered right away. Said she would head right over.  Because I did not expect my baby to come three weeks early I was very nervous and did not feel at all ready.

She was so understanding and helped calm all my fears and helped me focus on what was important!

Once active labor started she was amazing at helping me relax and breath. she never left my side when I needed her, and she got me through the hard stuff. She was such an amazing example to my husband as well and he started to pick up exactly how to help me best. by the time it came time to push he was my rock! I am so so greatful for Maren’s service! I was so blessed to have a beautiful and peaceful  home birth experience that would not have been the same without her! Thank you so much Maren!

-Alicia, Mother

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Maren was an amazing part of the team that helped my husband and I at the birth of our third child.

Maren was the backup for my first doula and I had never met her prior to going into labor at 38 weeks, but I immediately felt comfortable with her when we met at the hospital.

Everything about how this labor progressed was unexpected compared to my previous labors, all of which I had been relatively short and I had been able to do completely unmedicated. I very much appreciated Maren’s knowledge and humor as she supported me during those anxiety filled first hours and beyond. Maren left no stone unturned to help me in any way she could. Even after my first doula arrived after the first 18 hours of labor, Maren stayed and they worked together to try and help troubleshoot a labor that had become increasingly difficult (GBS positive, baby not engaged and waters already broken).

Maren’s presence was a huge comfort to me as I had to make decisions about interventions I had not wanted or planned on. After my first doula relieved Maren of her duties, Maren asked if she could come back to be a support at the actual birth (36 hours after it had all started!) which my husband I thought was really sweet and a true testament to how bonded my support team was to us. We were happy to have her come back for that, we felt incredibly blessed to have had her be a part of our birth experience. We had never used a doula prior to this birth, and afterwards I immediately regretted not having that support when my older two children were born. It made the biggest difference in helping me feel empowered througout the process, even though it hadn’t gone how I envisioned it initially.

By far my most difficult labor, it just might be my favorite because of all the love and support I felt from our doulas. I would recommend Maren to any family looking for a doula, we’d use her again for sure if we decide to have another baby :)

-Jocelyn, Mother