...still get emotional at every birth (even if I try to keep my tears to myself)...
...cannot fall asleep without a spy novel or legal thriller on my kindle...
...knit to keep my sanity...a lot...like, A LOT
...still dream of studying midwifery in this life because...birth and babies!
It feels as if I have always been a nurturer; a big sister to my siblings, a confidante for my friends, a source of knowledge for my students, a mother to my own children. The right way to explain this eludes me, but I feel as if I have been practicing my whole life to become a doula.
In 2001, I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts and spent almost a decade as a Montessori preschool teacher, Head of School, and business owner. As our family began to grow, I decided to stay home for my hardest and most rewarding job yet...motherhood!
Throughout my own pregnancies, births, postpartum periods, and parenting experiences, I have run the gamut.
When the time came that I was ready to become a mother myself, my husband and I struggled for years to conceive. Infertility can be devastating to any relationship, but, eventually, we were able to become pregnant with our eldest daughter, Stella. After conception, it was an uncomplicated pregnancy; I was able to labor well and achieve the physiological birth that I so badly wanted; breastfeeding came easily to us both thankfully. My pregnancy with Stella, as well as her birth and infancy, encouraged me to research and discover the things that were valuable to me as a mother. I joined the La Leche League, learned to cloth diaper, honed my skills in baby-wearing, sought the assistance of compatible caregivers in the medical field, and realized the utmost importance of mothering the mother.
Hoping to continue with that amazing first experience, we became pregnant with our second daughter, Hazel. As anyone familiar with parenthood will say, nothing can be expected. We had issues with a heart calcification, group strep b, pitocin, and postpartum depression and anxiety. After all of the interventions were over, I was still able to labor and birth without pain medication and have a beautiful breastfeeding relationship. But, this one, people...this one was hard.
Our miracle baby (conceived without any intervention!) came to us when I was 37 years old and in the midst of a family move across the country. She was the surprise of a lifetime and such a blessing to our family! I decided that for my last pregnancy I was FINALLY going to find MYSELF the birth doula that I had always wanted. Alyssa was a wonderful confidante and guide throughout my pregnancy, especially without any family or friends in our new home state. I had a brief issue with gestational diabetes, but otherwise had another wonderful pregnancy and a beautiful, empowering, physiological birth to our third daughter, Olive Elise.
Finally, a time came when I was able to bring all of my experiences, resources, and knowledge to the work of birth and families.
I have been attending births in an unofficial capacity since 2007, and as a DONA trained (soon to be fully certified) since 2017. I have experience in hospital birth as an assistant and unit coordinator on our local Women & Infants unit, served as a doula in over 50 births, with my local homebirth midwife in an assistant’s capacity, and with more than 20 families in their postpartum journey. Personally, I have over 7 years of breastfeeding experience, in addition to being a member of the La Leche League and assisting my clients in their breastfeeding careers. With my second pregnancy, I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety; through this experience I became passionate that all mothers be heard and educate themselves about the normal moods and reactions to new motherhood.
I look forward to listening to birthing people of all shapes and sizes: all the little details of pregnancy, each individual birth preference, every unique joy or concern. I would be honored to be even the smallest part of your beautiful family story.