Excerpt from a forum on mothering.com in which a pregnant mother was searching for suggestions for a Doula in RI. Here is part of the conversation...

The post: "A friend of mine needs your help. She has decided she wants a doula, but can't find the right fit. In her words she wants someone "gray and crunchy". I think she's fallen in love with Ina May and wants someone with a lot of experience and very natural in their approach. Any suggestions? TIA!"

The response: "My doula wasn't grey, but definitely au natural. I had her for my no-intervention ABC birth and she rocked. Not Ina May, but a younger, hip version. Look up "Soft Touch Doula" online for contact info. Her name is Jess Fuss."

Dear Jessica,
I wanted to write and thank you for the amazing gift that you gave to our family as our Doula. You were present for labor and birth, and you provided suggestions and hands on help that got me through an 
almost 24 hour unmedicated labor. But even more than that, you were present in our lives during my pregnancy, when you provided emotional 
support, offered practical information and gave us the feeling of well- being we needed to prepare for and visualize the birth of our son. 
My VBAC was the most powerful, fulfilling, thrilling and tender moment of 
my life. I will never forget the warmth and care that allowed me to 
follow the process of birth down the path that was right for my body 
and for my family. 
Thank you for supporting our decisions and for reminding us of our goals. Thank you for guiding me through my birthing experience as a fellow woman who has experienced it for 
herself, and for reminding me of the strength of the women who have come before us and who have done the same. 
You sent me a card after we first met that said "Trust Birth" on the front. I did hang it up 
where I could see it every day - and I did trust birth. You instilled feelings of reassurance, empowerment and respect for the birth process and for our right to make choices and have those choices respected. You have touched our lives deeply, and I will be forever grateful that we chose you to be our doula.  Thank you Jessica

Sincerely and with Love,
Sheri, Sean, Emma and Finnegan

Testimonial from a Mother of Twins whom I supported through her 40 hours of labor:

When I found out I was having twins, I knew I needed a doula. All of the hype around this "high risk" pregnancy made me sure that we needed someone on our sides helping to protect my, and my husbands, experience of the birth of our first children. We saw Jess on a low day of my pregnancy when we'd decided at 18 wks to change docs but we weren't sure what to do. Jess talked us through all our options and actually got me in touch with a new doc directly over email. Needless to say we hired her! Through the rest of my pregnancy Jess was a quiet support for me. Always there in the back of my mind when fears or in securities about the birth arose. 

Of course my birth wasn't what I expected. I had to be induced and I couldn't rely on many of the methods I'd planned to use to manage but I never felt frightened. Jess offered us so much love and support - being gentle when I needed it and pushing ever so slightly when the time was right. It was a long labor and Jess stuck with us when everyone was operating on no sleep and crummy coffee!  My docs were also extra ordinary but having Jess there and through the pregnancy really allowed my husband and I to have the birth experience that we are so proud of. Pls excuse typos - written while tandem nursing! ;) 

Jess is warm, funny, and intelligent as well as compassionate and strong. She has a way of making you feel cared for and supported emotionally while also giving you the feeling she would step up in defense of you and your birth plan if need be, even if that meant she would have to be "tough" with the doctors and nurses. She was incredibly supportive without being intrusive and she has a way of making you feel as if you can trust her without doubt. She was kind and caring but at the same time she never let me give up or feel sorry for myself. I wanted to give up so many times throughout my long (42 hours!) labor and Jess wouldn't let me! She worked hard to make sure I kept going. I went into the hospital wanting a completely natural birth using hypnobirthing, but in the end I had to have a cesarian birth which was very hard for me to come to terms with. Jess was compassionate and empathic with this turn of events while also encouraging me to let go of the expectations I had for myself and my baby's birth and welcome what the universe had in mind. This was such a blessing!  I never once felt as if I was "less than" or that I hadn't tried hard enough because throughout the entire process Jess was there telling me how amazing I was and how lucky my daughter was to have me as a mom. She made me feel SO proud! Jess was my angel throughout a very long, very trying labor and delivery! She was with me for over 30 hours straight through with nothing longer than a bathroom break and she didn't sleep the entire time! I have nothing but praises for Jess. If we have another baby we will definitely ask her to be our doula again. If you decide to hire Jess, you, your partner, and your baby will be blessed to have her!
-Rebecca M.

From a Father I helped:

I am no stranger to the birthing process. Due to doctor error, the birth of our first child left my son permanently disabled and left us with an unexpected education. Needless to say, we were extremely nervous about the process of birthing our second child. We vowed that we would do things differently and did our homework. We decided that it would be in our best interest to hire a doula to coach my wife through the process.
Jessica was a great help. She is extremely professional, loving and compassionate. She helped us stay calm and relaxed as the peaks and valleys of labor progressed. My wife doesn’t think she could have lasted as long as she did without her help. Thanks to her support, the birth of our second son went from being extremely difficult to a calm & healing experience. Emotionally we could not have handled the process without her. If we are ever blessed with another child, she will be among the first people we call.

-Ron B.

Taunton, MA

Our second son was born happy and healthy.

My husband and I had recently asked Jess to be our doula when I went into labor at 33 weeks, and we're so glad we had! Despite not having had the opportunity to have our pre-birth meetings with her, we felt that she knew exactly what we needed. She was at the hospital almost immediately after we contacted her. I was a mess, completely thrown off by the early and unexpected timing of my labor and impending delivery. I will never forget how kindly yet firmly Jess spoke to me in those crucial moments. It was her words and presence that allowed me to transform from sobbing to pronouncing, "I'm going to push this baby out!" She is the reason we have photos of our baby's birth (we were so unprepared, and things happened so quickly that we didn't even have a camera), and I believe she is the reason that I look back on the experience without an ounce of disappointment or feeling that I wish it had gone differently. She was instrumental in getting our baby to be placed on my belly, which was one of the few wishes I had established for the birth up until that time and which took gentle persistence in the "high risk" circumstance. She was also extremely helpful in synthesizing the experience afterwards and supporting me and the role I played in the birth. My husband was exactly the partner I needed, evolving in his role with her guidance and encouragement. Overall, Jess brought a sense of calm and the utmost support to a hectic and scary time, transforming the situation into a focused, exciting, and positive birth.
Laura D.

I ended up using Jess through a recommendation from my midwife. I had planned a home birth, and my midwife suggested we also hire her two doulas/assistants to attend the birth. We didn't have a chance to meet Jess until I was actually in labor. She came over to my house in the middle of the night to be there for the birth of my second daughter. I'd never met her before, but was completely at ease with her. She was a calming, gentle, kind presence. She was there for me but was also careful to give me my space and let me do my own thing. After my daughter was born, Jess jumped into action with blankets, towels, and helping hands. It was such a celebration, and Jess felt like an old family friend there to help us celebrate. It was so wonderful to meet someone I felt like I'd known forever! Jess helped us get settled in bed, talked and laughed with our family, cleaned up everything from the birth, and then disappeared into the night. I can't say enough good things about Jess--she was truly a wonderful doula and friend on the night of my daughter's birth, and we were so lucky to have her there!
-Emily H.

From a most wonderful mom whom I've had the privilege of supporting through two very different births:

As I have said before, I am not sure how you thank someone for birthing your babies with you  It is one of those experiences where words are insufficient.  And  I think that is the case this pregnancy/laobr more than the last.  This labor was the challenge of my life.  I feel like i relied on you immensely this time - showing me how to breathe, kicking my ass when i needed it, mourning my unexpected roadblocks.

I've also said how everyone needs a doula-but that is not just for your first birth.  Every birth is a new surprise, but the need for extra support is constant.  and regardless of having the best husband on the planet, you really need the support of a woman in birth.  Its just one of those things. 

Your presence mattered to much to me  I truly can't thank you enough.  It will always be my example of the best ways that women care for one another.
- Kerri U.

Why do you need a doula?  Simply becuase giving birth requires a lot of support!  It is a process that requires someone beyond your spouse/partner.  You need a support person for your support person!  During our 40 hour birth, I needed all the care and attention I could get. 

Why do you want Jess? Because she is the right woman, with the right sense of respect, kindness and expertise to get you through your birth.

Even though I had an epidural after a very short period of contractions, I'm so thankful to have had Jessica there. A lot of people think that the nurses will be there for you, but most times they are just there for medical help. A doula like Jessica is essential for anyone who wants to have a calm and happy birth experience. I'm not a mushy person, and was a little wary about a doula being a little too "new age" for me, but Jessica is just the sweetest, down to earth, always willing to help person and I'm so glad she was there for Zoey's birth.
-Anna B.

My Daughter Jillian gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby.  As soon as Jillian and her husband Joe found out that they were expecting a baby, they began to plan for his/her birth.  They attended Bradley birthing classes and researched and read everything they could find to plan the type of natural birth experience that they would like to have.  I was thrilled when my daughter asked me to be an assistant coach.  After a few months, Jillian told me that she also wanted to have a Doula attend the birth.  I had never heard of a Doula, and I didn't quite understand the role of a Doula.  I trusted Jillian's judgement.  She is very intelligent and always researches and puts lots of thought into her decision making. 

Jillians water broke before she went into labor.  It was a very long day of waiting before she began to have contractions.  By evening, Jillian was experiencing stronger contractions. Joe called Jessica in the evening.  Jessica spent all night with us.  Jillian's plan was to  labor at home for as long as possible, and then deliver at the ABC at Women and Infants.

As we went through this long evening of labor, I began to understand how wonderful it is to have a Doula present.  Jillian labored with grace and beauty.  She listened to her body, and responded naturally with each new phase.  It was amazing!  You could feel the transfer of strength she received from her loving husband.  She instinctively took strength from each of us, Joe, myself and Jessica.  She seemed to know exactly what she needed from each of us.  Jessica took the anxiety of the unknown out of the experience.  She was very familiar with the protocols of the hospital.  She would softly explain what could happen next, and the different options Jillian would have to deal with each new situation.  I know that Jessica was a comforting presence for Jillian and Joe, but she was also a wonderful comforting presence for me. 

Jessica added this layer of warm, comforting reassurance that I can imagine a baby must feel when he is swaddled.

I understand now the meaning of a Doula.  I am so thankful to have been part of the beautiful birth of my grandson, and also very thankful to have shared it with Jessica.

-From the Mother of a woman I supported through childbirth

I still remember it was around 11pm that I called Jessica in November 2006. I told her that I think I might be in labor, I’ll go to the hospital first, and if I found out anything I’ll call her. Jessica lives 45 minutes away, and she came to the hospital to be by my side right away without me calling. I didn’t have a short labor. My labor was 28 hours long. Jessica stayed by my side encouraging me, and telling me what a great job I was doing.

If it wasn’t for her, I think my labor would feel like forever. I’m glad that I had a Doula for my delivery, and I’m very glad that the Doula was Jessica.

Diane Wong

Having a Doula is a Wonderful Thing!

When my wife approached me and said that she wanted to have a Doula, the first thing that popped into my head was: What is a Doula and how much is it going to cost?

Fortunately for me and my wife we soon found out that having Jessica as our Doula was one of the best decisions that we made during my wife’s pregnancy and subsequent delivery.

When I first met Jessica I instantly could tell that she was a kind and loving individual who is sincerely committed to her profession. Jessica’s support of my wife during the months leading up to and during the delivery was outstanding. She definitely went well above the call of duty to ensure that our delivery experience was one of the best. Jessica helped us stick with our birth plan and provided extra care for my wife during those difficult times of hard labor. In all honesty I don’t know how we could have managed without her. I would highly recommend her services to all expecting parents, especially first timers. Her level of knowledge, care and love will make the birthing experience great for everyone involved. Jessica’s loving nature greatly reduced all the anxieties that come along with having a baby. Having Jessica as our Doula was a wonderful experience and I am thankful that we had her services during our daughter’s birth.


Tom Hernandez

Working with Jess was an amazing experience.  My wife and I had a long labor; Jess was there every step of the way with support.  As a husband going through the birth process, I could not imagine doing it without Jess's help.  She was phenomenal.
-Derek Michael

I had planned for a natural birth for our daughter, Zoe. This being our first child, I had no idea how difficult it would be. Having Jessica as our doula was like having a walking, talking reference guide for the whole pregnancy, birth and after care. I couldn’t have had this baby naturally without her encouragement to both myself and my husband. Jessica went beyond the call of duty and exceeded our expectations of what was required in a doula. She was caring, kind and obviously well educated in all areas of the child birth process.
-Deborah Hernandez

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