My name is Raelene Kovaciny. My husband and I met in Mankato, Minn., where we are now raising our six children. Our first four babies were born at the hospital and our fifth and sixth were born at home. I had a doula with all my births.
As one of the most experienced doulas in southern Minnesota, I offer knowledgeable, trained support for your physical and emotional needs and can serve as a valuable information resource throughout your pregnancy and birth.
I have been trained by both Doulas of North America (DONA) and Birth Arts International (BAI). I have attended over 200 births in 11 years at hospitals, clinics, birth centers, and homes, including numerous repeat clients, and have experience with C-sections, VBACs, water birth, and more. In addition, I have taught childbirth education and breastfeeding classes in the community for about nine years.
I am devoted to what I now know is my life's calling: I have a passion to help women feel supported and empowered by their childbirth because I believe that a woman's birth experience can play a significant part in shaping her as a mother. I experienced firsthand how beneficial a positive attitude and strong support network can be during labor and delivery.
I want all women to have the birth experience they desire, to help them look within themselves and see that they have all the makings of a healthy labor however they choose. I will support her through any kind of birth she chooses or needs because all women, regardless of the birthing method used, deserve to feel supported. I will give her the tools she needs to make informed decisions through her pregnancy and support her emotionally and physically during her birth using a variety of techniques.
Pregnancy and labor can be scary because of the unknown, but it doesn’t have to be. When you surround yourself with solid support, lots of knowledge about the birth process, and a "Can Do" attitude, you have all the makings of a pregnancy and labor you can be happy about. We all have the right to feel respected, in control, and empowered through our labor and birth at home or in a birth center or hospital. I want to help facilitate your wishes so that you and your partner can be confident throughout the process because giving birth is such a miraculous thing.
"Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers. Strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strengths."— Barbara Katz Rothman
At a prenatal visit with you and your support person, typically around 35-36 weeks, we will discuss your beliefs, wishes, and concerns about labor and birth. If you choose to have a birth plan, I can help in writing it. We'll talk about what you would like my role to be during your labor and delivery.
After our meeting, I will be "on call" until the birth of your baby. You can call at any time of the day or night with questions and keep me posted on your weekly doctor appointments. Once you feel like you are in labor and would like me to be with you, and/or have decided to head to the hospital, you call me and I'll meet you there or at your home, wherever you are choosing to deliver.
I offer optional one-on-one childbirth classes to clients and others. I'll meet with you and your partner for an in-depth look at what you need to know about the process of labor and delivery, tailored to you!
During your labor and birth, I will support you physically and emotionally and provide continuous support using comfort measures, encouragement, and positioning. We will work together using breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, positional changes, water therapy and other methods to address comfort issues. Whether your labor is 37 minutes or 37 hours(!), I will stay with you the entire time, unlike nurses and doctors who have other patients to tend to, shift changes, etc.
During the labor, I take notes on when your labor started, when your water broke, how far you were dilated at your checks, when you started pushing, and other details. With that information, I will later write you a birth story. This can be really nice to have since a lot is lost or forgotten during the business of labor and delivery. They are fun to read on the birthdays of your child.
I can also take pictures or video if you would like that. They can be as up close and personal or as "family friendly" as you wish. :) If you want pictures/video taken it is really nice to have someone designated to do this so your partner can be more involved in the process and not view the entire birth from behind a lens.
After the baby is born, I'll stay with you for about 2 hours to help initiate breastfeeding, take family pictures, and answer any questions you may have. Once things start settling down, I will leave so you can have that very special bonding time as a new family.
I will either visit you one more time before you leave the hospital, or I can do a post-partum home visit within the first 2 weeks after delivery. I am generally available after the baby is born to answer any questions you may have, and point you in the direction of available post-partum resources when you need help.
Past clients who have requested birth photos should contact me for gallery login information.