About Gaylea

McDoula owner, Gaylea (pronounced Gay-Lee) McDougal, CPM, this is who I am...

After undergraduate school at the University of Knoxville, I studied nursing on a master’s level at Vanderbilt University while enrolled in the Women’s Health Nurse Practioner’s Program, (a Masters Preparation program that includes clinical work in Psych, Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Rehabilitation and Medical-Surgical settings). After working in a variety of medical settings, I realized that my true passion was not the medicalization of childbirth, but rather the educational, support, advocacy and nurturing aspect. So I started my Doula practice in 2006 and certified (and recertified 3 years later) through Doulas of North America (DONA). In 2009, with a dear friend and fellow colleague, I co-created Alpha Childbirth, a unique Christ-centered childbirth series. This was the first of its kind in middle Tennessee and we were humbled to serve hundreds of families with this curriculum for over 5 years. At the end of 2013, I took what I had learned from Alpha, and listening to the needs of the community, created Roots Childbirth, a faith AND evidence-based childbirth curriculum that also embraces sustainability and the importance of community involvement across the lifespan. The Roots community includes an organic vegetable CSA, many events and workshops and homeschool enrichment classes. I am also the author of “Watering Dandelions,” a devotional that utilizes the Fruits of the Spirit to navigate through pregnancy and childbirth.

In 2015, after a 5 year very intensive apprenticeship, I completed the requirements through NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) and became a Certified Professional Midwife. I have attended over 500 births in a variety of settings including every hospital in Middle Tennessee. I have experience with homebirths, water births, multiples, VBACS (vaginal birth after cesarean), VBAC2, breech, and non-medicated births. In 2013 I was nominated for the "Women Impacting the Community" award given by the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce in the area of Healthcare for my work in childbirth advocacy, bringing awareness for safer childbirth practices into my community and providing resources for sustainable wellness. Although I no longer attend births as a doula, I still enjoy teaching and mentoring new doulas and helping to promote and elevate the doula role in our community.

Testimonials

I attempted a natural delivery without a doula with my son, Jonah, and it was extremely eventful and complicated, ending with an epidural, 3 hours of pushing, and a baby boy who wasn’t breathing at birth and required a stay in the NICU. All that to say, the confidence and bliss with which I approached my first birth was challenged when I was pregnant with my daughter, Eve, and I felt that I need the added support of a doula. Gaylea was the grace of God to me in so many ways! In the weeks prior to Eve’s delivery she spoke to my fear and helped rebuild a foundation of faith and trust within me. She was attentive to my emotional and spiritual needs as they surfaced. She consistently inspired, empowered and uplifted me! When labor began, she joined us at our home and offered lots of tools to relieve pain and ease discomfort. She introduced various positions, used a TENS unit on my lower back, massaged essential oils into my scalp and applied counter pressure when needed. I was greatly comforted by her expertise in the realm of women’s health. She had attended over 100 births prior to ours and was medically trained, so I trusted that she would be able to identify signs of complication if they were to arise and could adequately decipher when it was time to transfer to the hospital. Yet, the thing that stands out in my mind the most about Gaylea that day was the spirit of peace she carried. It radiated through her eyes and touch and words. She was patient, tender, and full of love. She had absolute trust and faith in the birth process and total confidence that God was lording over the birth of Eve. My labor and delivery was infiltrated with peace and joy and was entirely natural and uncomplicated. I felt no fear, only surrender to the power of God in my body. It was my dream come true in every way, and I’m confident that all that Gaylea invested in me- her counsel, comfort and support- monumentally contributed to the success of my experience!

Jessica Willis

Words will not do justice to the help that Gaylea McDougal offered to me throughout the pregnancy, labor, and delivery of our daughter. From the first time I met her at an introductory interview, I knew she was deeply invested in helping women achieve their desired birth. Throughout my pregnancy, from the first trimester until delivery, she answered my countless questions and calmed my many fears with encouragement and wisdom. Gaylea is a wealth of knowledge in all things pregnancy and childbirth related. She directed me to resources to read/study. She explained and offered options to help me become my own advocate for the birth I planned. Gaylea is an exceptional childbirth educator and teaches a beautiful curriculum called “Alpha Christian Childbirth.” My husband and I took her class, and I give her much credit for helping me stay low-risk and helping me understand what normal birth looks like. In labor and delivery, she supported me and my husband with various techniques (massage, aromatherapy, movement, prayer, and encouragement). With her help, I was able to achieve a beautiful, gentle birth. She also helped me with breastfeeding and offered invaluable wisdom in the early days when I felt unsure and emotional. We desired a doula that looked at birth through the eyes of Christ-- and we found her. I have said often since birthing my daughter that I would never want to do labor/delivery without Gaylea by my side! She is an excellent doula, and I feel blessed to call her a friend.

Katie Garrett