“In this way, every birth is a natural birth: each of us is part of nature, not separate from it, and nature is always stunning in its variety. Your birth, then, is part of the natural world, however it unfolds.” — Lauralyn Curtis

You have read all the books. You are attending birthing classes. You have carefully selected every item that your new little one will encounter in the first six months of their life. You have the best route to the hospital planned with three alternates…

 …and shit will totally hit the fan when the best thing that ever happens to you changes every last thing in your life.

 There is something that will help, and it wasn’t on your shower registry.

 You need a doula.

“Why? I’m already prepared.”

“But”, you may be thinking, “my partner and I have gone to birthing classes and we have a plan for labor and delivery. My Mom (Auntie Sue, Sister Jane, Friend Carol) is going help out when I get home from the hospital. We don’t need some stranger in the delivery room or in our home, thankyouverymuch.” Well, mama, you may be right, and I hope everything goes totally according to plan, but you may ask around and find out how often everything goes according to plan where there is a baby involved.

“Honey, this is not mama’s first rodeo.”

Maybe this isn’t your first time, and your previous experiences with birth were not ideal, or even traumatic. This time could be different. With the gentle, quiet reassurance of a doula, you will be encouraged to trust your body and could have the kind of birth you always wanted.

“I’m just going to go to the hospital when it hurts and the doctor will figure it out.”

Or, perhaps you don’t have a birth plan, don’t know what one is, and may be thinking “uhm, my plan is to birth my kid!” Believe it or not, you have more say in how your baby comes into this world than you may have previously been told. This is the age of informed choice! Long gone are the days of our grandmothers who were strapped into stirrups, drugged into unconsciousness, and first saw their babies through the glass of the nursery.

Whatever the setting of your birth, the company of a trained birth companion can result in shorter labor times and less need for medical interventions like episiotomies and cesarean sections. These results have been found in numerous studies around the world.

“My partner and I don’t need any help. We are a strong couple and we’ve got this.”

Yes, you are! Loved ones are an invaluable resource during labor and delivery, but when someone we love is experiencing a series of intense sensations, we typically don’t feel calm and encouraged when those sensations come ever more frequently and become more intense. This is exactly the progression in normal labor.

In such a situation, a caring professional who is familiar with the sights and sounds of labor can provide a consistent, objective, soothing presence that can reassure mama and co. that the trials of labor will pass and soon baby will be in your arms. Doulas work with mama and her whole birthing team, collaborating all resources for mama’s comfort and family harmony.


“Well, we all got through the birth just fine and the hard part’s over, right?”

Once baby has landed, all eyes are on the newest member of the family, and sometimes mama’s needs get lost in the shuffle. Even the basics like staying hydrated and well-nourished can easily get put off when baby is hungry, too. And while it was a daily ritual until now, finding an opportunity to shower can be a challenge.

A doula asks first, “how are you?”, before asking about the baby. We know that when mama is at 100%, she can give her baby everything she needs, and isn’t that what we want for our children?

Give your family the gift of support and hire a doula today!


"So, how do I choose the right doula for me?"

I’m so glad you asked! The relationship between a mother and a doula is intimate, and mama’s intuition is a great tool to recruit for her selection. And yet, never underestimate the power of knowledge. Gathering information from various sources and exploring your options will put you in a position to feel rock solid about your birth team.

Go with your gut.

Right from the start, a good doula encourages feelings of confidence and trust within mama and her partner. If you don’t feel an immediate accord with this person, listen to your inner guide and evaluate where that feeling (or lack thereof) is coming from. This person will be with you at one of the most vulnerable and powerful times of your life, and you want to feel confident about your choice.

Do some research.

Like you don’t have enough to do already, amitrite? But, really, try to imagine yourself in the midst of labor with this woman sitting next to you. Do you think the tools she brings to the table will benefit you and your family? Does she seem like-minded to you and your partner? Would her offer to play the drums and light some incense really freak you out, or would you think it wildly inappropriate if she recited a Psalm or prayed a rosary for you? 

While a good doula will ask all of these questions ahead of time and you will work out a plan together that focuses on your preferences, not hers, you will probably want someone you share some things in common with.

Choose the best package.

Often doulas will bundle services together that can save you money and guarantee continuity of care. Typically, you will meet with a doula for an interview where you find out if you are a good match. Then, you’ll have a couple more meetings where you get to know each other better, create you birth plan, discuss comfort measures, and get creative about your vision for the best possible birth. You’ll be together for labor and delivery, of course, then a couple more visits to make sure mama and baby are comfortable at home.

But what else does she provide? Does she specialize in another area of mother/baby care? Is she certified in another perinatal area like pre/postnatal yoga? Does she offer extended postpartum doula services? Lactation consulting? Placenta encapsulation? It’s certainly important to choose the doula of your dreams with your heart and your head, but looking out for the best deal doesn’t hurt either. Finding a doula who can bring together many of the services you are looking for could deepen your relationship and improve your wellness outcomes.

When you do find the right birth companion, lock her down fast! She will be on call for you two weeks before and after your due date, so you want to get that slot before anyone else does. The journey you are on as a mother is unique, even if you go on to have many more little ones, no pregnancy and delivery will be quite like this one.

Honor yourself, your baby, and your growing family by choosing a doula.

You won’t regret it.


“Why would I choose you? What makes you different from the others?”

The events of your birth will challenge you beyond your current understanding of your ability to cope. You will grow and evolve to meet these challenges, before the very eyes of those fortunate enough to know you through this journey. I hold this process in deep reverence. It’s a rite of passage that prepares you for parenthood. I have no desire to rescue you from this process. 

My role is to use my skills to help you make the best use of your energy to meet the challenge. I believe in you and trust that you will do this. While I see myself as part of your team, ultimately this triumph will be yours.

I know that mothers have a keen intuition about how to best meet the needs of their own babies, and I trust that their bodies have wisdom that must be honored.

Unfortunately, it is often the case that well-intentioned people in the lives of mamas (especially new mamas), think their own opinions and experiences carry more weight than the intuition of mama, herself. With all of the preparation, anxiety, and sometimes fear, that mamas deal with as they anticipate baby’s arrival, these “suggestions” can be not only unwelcome, but a source of anxiety of their own.

As a doula, I am not in the business of telling mamas what to do! I hear your voice, support your plan, and enliven your wishes. The goals we co-create to maximize your wellness are my roadmap to success, not my own agenda.

I’m a mom, an eternal student, and a woman called to serve. I am passionate about supporting families as they grow, helping to provide a nourishing atmosphere from the roots to the shoots!

Create Your Perfect Mama Support Plan Today!

Step 1: Email or call to schedule an interview.

Step 2: Meet to build the Support Plan that meets your family’s needs.

Step 3: Enjoy the optimal conditions for family bonding and healing.                

Find your new family balance, with support.

There is an old saying, “doulas are born, not made”. I like to think that I’ve always been on the path that would lead me here, but there were some distinct signposts along the way.

The Business of Being Born

Many years ago, I saw Ricki Lake’s documentary film, The Business of Being Born, and I immediately knew I wanted to be involved in the movement to normalize pregnancy and birth. At the time, I didn’t know what that role would be, and life took me in a very different direction for a while, but when my partner and I made the decision to invite a brand-new human into our lives, I knew I wanted to have a midwife-attended home birth.

My first born

(heard in the voice of Sophia Petrillo) “Picture it: San Francisco, 2016, Michael Strahan had just left Live! With Kelly and Michael, and I was birthing my baby in a tub on my living room floor.”

I knew that I wanted to have my baby at home and that I would need to be attended by a midwife to do this safely. I interviewed several midwives and chose the one that I felt most confident about. She had no children of her own (a fact that has since changed {!!!}), but she was young and brilliant and I felt safe with her.

            denial

At our first official visit, she asked me if I had chosen my doula yet, and I said “oh, well my husband and I are quite well prepared, read all the books, ya see, and we don’t think we’ll need someone else.”

“Ah,” she said, “well, here’s why I strongly suggest hiring a doula”, and went on to explain to me that doctors and midwives are not birth companions, but medical professionals. They are busy evaluating readings taken by nurses and machines, primarily concerned with technical tasks, not comfort measures. She made very clear that I would need the support of a trained person to make the most of the experience.

            anger

I must admit, I was upset. First, I had just put down a significant chunk of change on this midwife, and now she was telling me I had to hire someone else?! Did she think my husband and I couldn’t do this together because this was our first time? Or did I seem particularly needy? I grudgingly took her list of suggested practitioners in the area and didn’t look at again for a while.

            bargaining

I did some research to independently verify if my midwife was right; short version, she was. But that didn’t stop me from having hours of conversation with my husband about comfort measures, massage, a birthing tub, herbs, candles, chants, animal sacrifice, was there any way we could get out of hiring a doula? According to all my books and sources, a doula was the clear choice.

I was angry that I was going to have to bring another stranger into my birthing process and disappointed that the beautiful fantasy I had of my man and I working together as a duo to “finish what we started” was crumbling. I did not want to hire a doula.

            depression

I halfheartedly started Googling around and found out very quickly that the kind of help we wanted was not going to come cheap, and many of the packages offered included things we were not interested in. I began to despair of ever finding a doula and almost gave up.

           acceptance

Then, like a ray of inspiring sunlight from above, I recalled the list my midwife gave to me! I scrabbled around in my purse and found it, a bit crumpled and greasy, but legible. Two of the three names on the list were out of our price range, but the third woman was new to the field and asked a price we could afford.

At last we met for an interview, and the dynamic between the three of us felt right. We signed a contract, she recommended some books for us to work with, and we scheduled our meetings.

Over the next couple of months, using the books and other resources from our newly hired doula, we came up with our birth plan, discussed comfort measures, dreamed of the perfect birth, and openly discussed our hopes and fears about the birth process and parenting.

When the big day arrived, she was right there, making sure I stayed hydrated, she fed me, communicated with the midwife, made food for my husband, massaged my feet, took our dog out to pee, talked with me about everything under the sun while I labored on the toilet, let me crush her hands to powder while I was in transition (an especially powerful time in labor), and was generally invaluable to us throughout the entire process.

The next day, she came back to check on us, made another meal, steeped some healing herbs to put in my squeeze bottle (an absolute necessity for post-delivery peeing), and chatted with us about the birth. She came back two other times to chat, see how I was feeling, how breastfeeding was progressing, and to bask in the love glow of a new mama and baby. She cleaned the kitchen, made a small meal, and attended to some other household things before we parted ways.

In hindsight, it was regrettable that I didn’t take up her offer to continue coming by for help, but I was a first-timer and had no idea how exhausted my husband and I would be for the next few weeks.

If we ever get the chance to bring another beautiful new soul into the world, trust and believe we will have a postpartum package arranged and on lock well in advance of the due date!

Infinity and Beyond!

Fast-forward to today, and I have found myself in a place where I can pick up this beautiful thread I put down many years ago, and finally weave it into the fabric of my life. Using my training from DONA (birth and postpartum), CLEC, Pam England, Jane Austin, Carole Osborne, and life experience, I am honored and humbled to offer myself as a support, guide, friend, and facilitator for people on the path to parenthood and families in expansion!

The facts of my child’s birth are sacred to me because it happened to me, not because it happened in my home or in the water. Birth is sacred wherever and however it happens. Whether a planned cesarean birth, a home birth, or while driving down the highway, the most important aspect is the respect and support the parents receive during the entire process. It would be my great privilege and sincere pleasure to serve you as birth companion, labor partner, doula. 

Birth Doula

  • Birth education is an essential part of preparation. I include up to 6 hours* of individualized, private birth education to meet your needs. Home birth families are welcomed and encouraged to attend my home birth specific group course, at no additional cost.
  • We will meet twice before the birth to plan and practice for the big day (or night, as is usually the case).
  • I am on-call for the “birth month”, two weeks before your estimated due date and two weeks after. I will attend you at home and at the hospital, leaving quietly when you and baby are settled-in.
  • Two aftercare sessions are included. Typically, I visit you the next day, either in hospital or at home, and another session at home after that.
  • As a CLEC I am trained to assist you to establish breastfeeding, troubleshoot common issues, and help get you in touch with other lactation resources, if necessary.
  • Additional postpartum packages may be purchased before or after baby’s arrival. Early booking is suggested to secure your spot.

This package is offered at $900, made payable in full before week 36. An initial deposit of $450 is required at the time of contract.

* If you have chosen to take 6 or more hours of childbirth education with your midwife, hospital, or other qualified childbirth educator, present your paid receipt and I will discount your package by $100.

Additional Services

Concierge Birth Education 

Pam England wrote that the most important thing a pregnant person needs to know is “What is it I need to know to give birth?” If it seems like the answer to that question is a question, you are absolutely right! Only you know what you need to give birth to this baby. At our free consultation, we can co-create the perfect birth education course for you, focusing on the information you want, not just what someone else thinks is good enough for you.

Whether you are scheduled for a planned cesarean birth or have just hired the midwife attending your home birth, we can tailor an education course to meet your individual needs.

Depending on breadth and depth of information desired, this service is offered between $200 and $300. 

Postpartum doula

Postpartum sessions are offered in the following packages, to be scheduled in at least 90* minute blocks:

12 hours $300

25 hours $550.00 

50 hours $1000 

Integrative Postpartum Wellness

The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, as well as Traditional Thai and Chinese Medicines have much to offer the healing environment of the postpartum period. Avail yourself of the expertise of Suzy Corgiat, SomaVeda Thai Yoga Therapist and Instructor, and Ashley Coatney, Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Integrative Health, to co-create the most nourishing diet for your body’s healing and your baby’s growth and development. Together, we create a shopping list and menu that I can prepare for you in your home as part of my regular postpartum doula service. A comprehensive, one-hour consultation with Ashley and Suzy, in the comfort and privacy of your home, is offered at $100. Appointments can be made through the Integrative Healing Retreat Center.

* For clients living outside the Fresno/Clovis area, sessions must be purchased and scheduled in at least 4 hour blocks. A travel fee of $50 per session will apply.

Prenatal and Mommy and Me Yoga Sessions

Small group, 90-minute yoga sessions can be arranged for you and some preggo buddies:

Individual                       $40

3-6 students                   $15

Once you’re ready and have the OK from your doctor or midwife, let’s get you back on the mat!

Mommy and Me yoga sessions are a great way to get to know your body again, and bond with your new little one. And, of course, it’s great to have your doula right there to help you comfort baby while you luxuriate in a yummy supported Savasana.

Mommy and Me yoga sessions

Individual                    $40

2-4 students                 $15 

Set Up Your Free Birth Support Consultation Today!