-Doulable Birth, because the birth you want is doulable!​​

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Detail your services

You may be wondering...How many clients have I had?

I have been privileged to attend over 250 births as of October 2019.

While  that sounds like a lot of moms/dads/babies, if you average that number out over 11 years, you can see I usually have a good amount of time  between births.  I book my clients by due week, so I always have a  buffer zone between clients.  That means no more than 1 client per week,  4 clients per month (maximum!).  Of course, mother nature and your baby will  decide when your labor begins, so I have a backup doula.

I'm  lucky to have attended births at over 43 hospitals and 5 birth centers  in two different states, with over 100 doctors and with 28 different  midwives (mostly hospital based CNMs at the various Kaiser locations).   This gives me an enormous advantage because I've seen so many different  ways of doing the same thing!   I've attended inductions and spontaneous  labors, seen epidurals and natural births, watched babies born into  water and by cesarean section, I even caught one myself when I arrived to mom's house and baby came soon thereafter!  I've helped teenagers, single moms,  surrogates, lesbians, gay dads with a surrogate, couples who struggled with infertility,  recovering addicts, military families - you name it, I've probably  worked with that before, too!

What is my training?  Am I certified?

Yes, I  am a certified HypnoDoula, trained to assist moms using Childbirth  Hypnosis.  I also completed a Doula Internship through South Coast Midwifery.

I'm trained and I got certified by both CAPPA and DONA (I  let those go, since I was only paying their fees to show up on their  websites, but the sites were clunky and old and hard to navigate - ugh,  the worst!), the leading doula certifying organizations in the United  States. 

All of my certifications required me to attend several  continuing education trainings each year, which I dutifully did for years and years until I  realized that getting to go to births with different doctors and  midwives at different hospitals was the experience I needed to help my  clients. 

Training courses I have attended include:

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) (1 afternoon)

Low Milk Supply (1 day training); trainer Diana West's book, Making More Milk
HypnoBirthing for parents (The Mongan Method) (4 evenings)
The Bradley Method (12 evenings classes)
Stemming the Tide of Formula Supplementation (1 day)
Hypnobabies HypnoDoula Training (1 day)
Hypnobirthing Doula Training (1 day)
CAPPA Childbirth Educator Training (3 days)
CAPPA Lactation Educator Training (3 days)
DONA Labor Doula Training (2 days)
CAPPA Labor Doula Training (2 days)
Spinning Babies (1 day) with Gail Tully, homebirth midwife
CAPPA Annual Conference (3 days)
DONA Advanced Doula Skills (2 days)
DoTerra Essential Oils Basics (2 hours)
Peer-to-Peer Breastfeeding (3 days)

Every now and again I train other doulas on pregnant women's medical rights, since I am a recovering lawyer! True story.

Does certification matter?

The  part of it that makes sense to me is that I have agreed as part of my  certification that I will not exceed the scope of practice of a doula: a  non-medical support person who does not make decisions for the mother.   I believe in the limits of my work and hope to be a valued member of  your non-medical support team.  I can't take your temperature or  prescribe an aspirin, and I certainly can't perform vaginal exams or  monitor a baby's heart beat.


When would I be joining you during labor?

When  you ask me to join you.  Some moms want support at home, some moms want  me to meet them at the hospital.  It's a very personal decision.  It  depends on so many factors - how fast your contractions get up to speed  (if they start out at every 6 minutes, or they start out every 30  minutes), whether your partner is being useful to you, whether your baby  is facing up or down (sunny side up, or OP, occiput posterior),  etc.  There is no wrong time to ask me to join you in labor.  Studies  show that early support is better than too late.  I have never  understood other doulas and their "rules" for when you can call them.   Aren't you paying me to support you during your birth?  You might need  my emotional support from the very beginning!

Which labor-coping techniques do I think tend to be the most helpful?

It depends on the mom, and the position of the baby.  Some things that usually help:

  • Massage
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Baths and showers
  • Changing positions, using props (birth balls, birthing stools)
  • Hypnosis, guided imagery (I highly recommend a hypnosis for childbirth class or homestudy course)
  • Vocalizing/verbalizing (sighing, moaning)
  • Deep pressure on your low back and hips (I know some pressure points, not a lot, but some)
  • Epidural (sometimes an epidural is the answer to everything!)


The most important thing is to keep trying until we find out what works for you!


How would I work with and involve your partner?

My  job is to help your partner be the best partner possible.  I will guide  your partner to support you, comfort you, and reassure you.  I will  coach both of you through this amazing time.  We will meet together to  figure out how to help your partner recognize your needs during birth,  and discuss some ways to meet those needs.  If there is anything your  partner cannot handle (needles, blood, etc.), I will make sure to  mention when those things are likely to occur so there are no surprises.   Since I'll be taking photographs, your partner will be IN your birth  photos, instead of behind the camera.  A whispered suggestion here or  there can make a world of difference in letting your partner know how to  help you at each stage of your birth.

How does hiring me work?

Ideally,  we should schedule a short Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp chat or phone call first, and  if that goes well, schedule an in-home interview, my home or your  home.  Once you both decide to hire me, call me to let me know and then  fill out my contract and send it to me with a deposit for half of my  fee.  The rest of my fee is due two weeks before your due date.  You can  decide later if you want me to encapsulate your placenta for you.

Once  we know we are working together, we will schedule at least 2 meetings to go over  your birth wishes and be sure you are ready for birth and  breastfeeding.  You will fill out some questionnaires for me to help me  get to know you better, and we will stay in touch during your  pregnancy.  I ask you to call me after doctor/midwife appointments and  let me know how things are going.  Once we are in your due window (one  week before and one week after your due date), I'll promise to stay  nearby in case you need me (that's two hours away, since I need some  prep time to get ready, make coffee, and to drive to your side!).  Once  you think you are in labor, you decide when you need me to come to your  side. 

How do I feel about the use of pain medication during labor?

I loved my epidural!  On  the other hand, some moms hire me specifically to help them achieve an  all natural birth.  If that's your goal, I have a huge bag of tricks to  help you cope.  I have a lot of experience with drug-free births because  I was born and raised in a hippie commune (true story!), but I  personally had an epidural and I'm skilled at helping you give birth  vaginally even with an epidural.  I maintain records of every birth I've  attended and I am happy to share the information I calculated:  54%  occurred without an epidural.   So you see, the choice is really up to  you.

Many moms hire me planning on an epidural, and that is  great!  I will still meet you at home and help you know when your labor  has progressed to the point you can get admitted to the hospital and get  your epidural.  Many first time moms come into the hospital triage unit  and get turned away because they aren't in "enough" labor.  I can save  you that wasted trip, and later on I can help you get the baby into a  good position even while lying in bed by positioning your body so as to  help your baby pass through your pelvis.  My job as chief photographer  and head archivist is still very much in play during an epidural birth,  and I'm especially good at suggesting pushing positions to make use of  gravity even while you have an epidural in place!  Some moms think they  won't need a doula if they use an epidural, but does an epidural answer  questions or talk you through difficult situations?  No, it does not!   Also, your nurse will not stay with you continuously until you start  pushing, and your doctor won't come until you are probably close to  done.  The epidural will take care of your physical sensations, but it  won't necessarily help keep you calm about anything else that is  happening.  An epidural does not take photographs so that your birth partner can be in them!

What matters is whatever matters to YOU.  If you want  to delay the epidural, skip it, or get it right away, what matters to me  is what matters to you.  Wasn't the whole point of the feminist  movement the idea that each woman gets to decide for herself?  

Why did I become a doula?

I  started my professional life as an attorney for children in foster  care, and then did their adoptions if they couldn't go home to their  birth parents.  I suffered a miscarriage while working and felt very  strongly that once I got pregnant again I was going to quit this very  painful work with traumatized families and children.

When I got  pregnant the second time I looked into having the healthiest birth, and  discovered doulas!  Of course, I hired a doula for my birth.  My baby  arrived persistent occiput posterior (sunny side up) and had the cord  wrapped around his neck twice, and we joke that it took a long time for  that cord to stretch long enough to let him out!   My doula's presence  at the hospital helped me avoid a c-section despite 32 hours of  labor.  I would have asked the staff to "do something, anything!" long  before pushing because I was tired and hurting.  My doula had me walking  the halls, taking showers, and changing positions to keep my labor  going - and keep me distracted!  Those simple things really work!

I  was fine laboring at home, but at the hospital, it would have been very  hard to cope and relax and negotiate with staff and work the hospital  bed (you need a degree in civil engineering!!) and find the pillows,  pillowcases, blankets, etc. while dealing with contractions.  My doula  made it all happen without me or my husband having to worry about  it.  She stood beside the shower with me so she could hold the water  nozzle on my back, and my husband could hold the hand with the IV up and  out of the water....for TWO HOURS.  

When I couldn't take the pain any more (back labor is very difficult to cope with), I asked for an epidural, and my doula never left my side.  She  was there when I went to sleep, and when I woke up.  She never "judged  me"!  Her face told me everything that I needed to know at that point.   She believed in me enough to make my own decision and she made it seem  like a very wise choice and let me know I was doing alright and  everything would be okay, and it was.  I pushed and pushed and pushed  and she never told me I was doing it wrong, or acted like I wasn't going  to be able to do this.  

She kept looking at me like I was  going to make it work, and I did.  Partly because she made me believe I  could.  It was a transformative experience.  Now, I am hired to believe  in your ability to give birth, and that’s what I do.   I have never  looked back on my life as a lawyer and regretted changing jobs - my work  remains the same.  I work with families in a time of great need, same  as before.  The setting may have changed a little bit (hospitals instead  of courts), but the rules are the same - find out what your client  wants and try to get it for them.  Believe in them.  Trust them.  And  advocate for their wishes at every opportunity.  Politely.  But firmly.

Funny  story: because of my birth experience, my best friend decided to become  a doula after spending most of my labor with me and getting kicked out  of my birthing suite to accommodate our doula.  My best friend loved  doula work so much, she invited me to join her at a training a year  later.  I loved that training so much I left behind my fancy (and  expensive!) law degree and joined the ranks of women helping women in  this remarkable rite of passage.  Now I'm a doula focusing on the whole  family, and believing they can have the birth they want.  It's doulable!

What is placenta encapsulation?

I  offer placenta encapsulation as an additional service for both my own  clients and other mamas who contact me in advance to get on my  calendar.  All hospitals will dispose of your placenta immediately after  your birth, so if you are planning to have this done you MUST tell me  before I leave your birth so I can arrange with the staff to have you  sign a form to release your placenta to me.

Encapsulation is  basically dehydrating and then crushing your placenta, and placing the  resulting fine powder into medical grade capsules, which can be taken  during your postpartum recovery period to aid in mood stabilization and  milk supply.  

Of course there is research available on the  benefits of encapsulation, but almost all of it was done on animal  subjects... I'm most impressed with the stories of women giving birth a  second time, who decided to try placenta encapsulation to see if they  could have a better postpartum experience.  Those moms have told me they  felt much better, and wish they had known about encapsulation the first  time!

I think it's wonderful this option exists for women who  are interested, and I'm pleased to be able to provide it.  I use  flavored, colored capsules so you neither SEE nor TASTE anything  unpleasant.  :) 

Even  if the only benefit is the placebo effect, that's a good reason to try  to have a happier postpartum period!  The placebo effect can give you up  to 10% better results!

Doulable Birth  © 2013  |  Privacy Po

Doulas reduce cesarean rates, epidural use, duration of labor, and increase breastfeeding rates.

If a doula were a drug it would be unethical not to use it.

The researchers who first studied doula care versus standard care in hospitals said that if doulas were a drug it would be unethical not to use it on laboring women.