Ms. Kirke is gorgeous, with high cheekbones, a yoga instructor’s body, and long brown bed-head locks. More than just pretty, she’s sexy. Which could perhaps present certain problems. In the era of Jude Law and the nanny, most women would prefer their doulas as asexual as possible. What could be worse than watching your S.O. bond tearfully with another woman while a baby tears your private area apart?
“The thought of having a gorgeous supermodel within even ten feet of me while I am at most naked and vulnerable was truly terrifying,” admitted Molly Guy, owner of trendy downtown bridal showroom Stone Fox Bride. “But I heard nothing but amazing things across the board from all my friends who delivered babies with her.” The minute they met, she added, “all the fear and anxiety I had about childbirth disappeared as Domino gently but firmly began to guide me through the whole wild Brooklyn baby world.”
“Domino exudes hyper-sexuality,” according to her client-turned-roommate-turned-disciple Jessy Brodsky, a 25-year-old grad school student and artist. But it’s a good thing! “She’s just so at ease with herself, and it shows with her being able to get physical with women. When you’re giving birth, a woman is naked, there’s a lot of touching going on. You have to be able to lose that conscious hold of yourself and get into this almost animalistic state. And Domino is just able to bring you there…to literally open up.”
It makes sense. Sex, pregnancy, birth…it’s all part of the same messy cycle. Even in the antiseptic, impersonal environment of a hospital, most of which do not have the time or resources to cater to individual birthing choices (unless you are Beyoncé) Ms. Kirke has been described as “showering you with love.”
Maybe that’s why, only two years into her new career, she was vetting approximately five phone calls a day from potential clients.
“She’s had to start turning people down, referring them to other doulas at the Carriage House, because she’s in such high demand,” noted a mother lucky enough to have gotten in before the Domino craze.
Ms. Kirke demurred when asked about her popularity. “Pregnant women are very intuitive on what they like and don’t like,” was all she’d say.
She did not have a doula for her son’s birth, and afterward realized how essential a non-medical professional was for women going through childbirth. “I just believe pregnant women need a familiar face, someone who isn’t related to them who they may have all this emotional past with, to be there, just for them, during the birth,” she explained for why she gave up her musical career for the new gig.
It’s also lucrative: For her services, she charges up to $1,500, and averages about five “assists” a month. A quick search confirmed that this is about going rate. But to hear it from the fans of Ms. Kirke’s work, she’s worth every penny.
“I thought doulas were just some hokey-pokey witchcraft thing,” said Monica Guckes, a 35-year-old musician/bartender from Brooklyn who had her baby with Ms. Kirke’s support last year. Ms. Guckes was initially hesitant about spending the extra cash for an already pricey life choice. Plus, as she said, “I already had the perfect partner…why was I going to pay an extra $1,500 to have someone there in the hospital room holding my hand?”
But during her 28-hour labor for her son Alerick Hayes Ashby, Ms. Guckes was glad she’d gone with with her intuition and hired Ms. Kirke. “She knew my body better than I did. She was totally in-tune to my natural rhythm…like a really good musician. She’s just got this ‘best friend from high school’ feel about her,” Ms. Guckes gushed.
Though she has assisted in home births, Ms. Kirke said the majority of her clients had their babies in medical facilities. Depending on who was on call, she said, doulas were treated by hospital staff members like either a helpful hand or an unnecessary inconvenience.
Ms. Guckes saw it differently.
“Hospitals hate doulas,” she said, “because a doula’s job is to know your rights as a patient. A lot of times the doctors want you out of there, and they’ll induce labor with Pitocin just to ‘get things going.’
“I was able to avoid all that pain and being drugged out because of Domino.”
Besides meeting clients several times before the birth itself, Ms. Kirke said she stayed with mothers for two hours after the baby was born to deal with postpartum pain, and typically saw the mother two or three times after they left the hospital to help with everything from breastfeeding to babysitting. She was currently studying to become a midwife as well.
“I’ve just always loved babies, even when I was a baby,” Ms. Kirke smiled.
With that, Indigo opened its eyes for a moment, yawned, and fell immediately back to sleep. It was time to go…Ms. Kirke’s friends would be wanting their baby returned soon. Although it looked quite happy where it was.