When we first met Barb, I told my husband she was the perfect mix of professionalism and comfort. She has researched information and plenty of experience, but she also has this laid back, calm personality that made me feel like I could pee in front of her (which I was pretty sure I would end up doing by the end of labor).
During labor, Barb was with me the whole time, helping me walk the stairs, holding a fan, pushing on my back...When it came time to push, reminding me to tuck my chin, and (although this sounds cheesy) giving me her strength when I was out, reminding me I could do it when I felt very sure I couldn't. The midwives were also helpful, but they had medical stuff to do, as well as other patients to care for. I can't imagine if I had decided to go without a doula!
We ended up needing to go to the hospital for recovery care, and Barb went with us, even though she had been with us and away from her family for 17 hours at that point. She was with us throughout the whole experience, giving us her quiet support and calm guidance.
I can't express enough how glad I am that we had Barb as our partner in birth.