From my very first pregnancy, I knew I was hooked on birth! I simply loved eating up every bit of information I could get my hands on, and learning about the miracle that was taking place within my body. And when the time finally came for my little one to arrive, some of the first words out of my mouth after he emerged were, "Oh, that was amazing! I could do that again!!" And in truth, I could - again, and again, and again! Whether it be through the births of my own babies, or joining my clients or family members in the births of theirs, I knew then that birth was something I wanted to be a part of for a very long time.
My second baby arrived via a beautiful home birth, and this showed me that both birthing in the hospital and delivering at home with the support of a midwife could be wonderful experiences. A few short weeks later, I had the privilege of supporting my sister through the birth of her first at a birth center, and again, found new things to appreciate about the journey!
It wasn't long after that that I found myself being approached by other family members and close friends who were asking me to support them at their births, and it was my sincere pleasure to say yes! I took that opportunity to get trained through DONA International, and have thoroughly enjoyed serving families in both the Southern CA and Northern CA areas since that time.
I have witnessed hospital births, home births, birth center births, c-section deliveries, and successful VBAC's!
I had my third baby here in Redding, born in the lovely claw-footed tub of my midwife, with just she & my husband by my side. And finally, my fourth baby came into my arms in the peaceful setting of a birth tub in my own living room with my midwife looking on and my doula Tracey Dahlen by my side, completing our family with two boys and two girls!
All of these experiences have shown me that each birth is different, and each one is special and unique. So, I have learned, is every family that I work with. They each have certain things that they are hoping for, and a certain way that they have dreamed their birth will go. And every single time, it has been an honor to see them through that, and be there with them to welcome their beautiful baby when the time arrives!
Here's a little bit more about what I do:
With each one of my clients, I offer 2-3 Prenatal Visits, during which time we get to know each other, they share about their hopes and expectations for their birth, and we spend some time preparing by practicing relaxation methods, comfort measures, labor and birth positions, and breathing techniques. Sometimes an additional appointment is needed to develop a specific birth plan. Once the client goes into labor, I am there when she needs me to support her for the duration of her birth, and then for 1-2 hours postpartum as she gets settled with her new baby, and establishes breastfeeding. I offer direction and encouragement in this area, if needed, and then head home once the new little family is resting and recovering nicely. My services conclude with a postpartum visit at the client's home, during which we talk about their birth, process any things that might have gone differently than they expected, and make sure that both mommy and baby are doing well physically and emotionally.
I have found that each mom needs support in different ways, and I find myself constantly adjusting what I do to meet those needs. But what I offer to every single mom is my love and encouragement, an optimistic viewpoint, a strong pair of arms to hold them when they need it, massage them where it hurts, offer them counter pressure when it's needed, or merely point daddy in the way that he should go, so that HE can be their primary support.
I also love employing the use of essential oils in serving my clients - whether it be throughout their pregnancy, during their birth, or in their postpartum period. I continue to learn of their many benefits, and have seen, firsthand, the powerful effects they have had on laboring moms in relieving discomfort, bringing peace and relaxation, or even energizing them for the hard work of pushing. I think it's a wonderful thing that God has given us such amazing natural remedies, and it's a gift that I'm glad to add to the work of my hands in giving birthing women the best experience possible!
So, if you are expecting a baby, whether it be your first, your 5th, or your last, please consider choosing me to be your doula. It would be my pleasure to be a part of that very special team.
Grace and Peace to you in the fullest,