Labor Doula Instructors
PERSONALIZED DOULA SERVICESCarolyn Alexander
When I was in labor with my son, I was unaware that a labor doula was an option for moms in labor. By default, my sister, who had delivered her sons by planned cesarean section, was appointed as my support person. She was unaware of how to assist me with an unmedicated birth. I felt like the hospital nursing staff was very unsupportive which resulted in feelings of fear and anxiety. Although my son’s birth was wonderful, I learned a great deal about the wonders of birth and the value of a “good” support team. My decision to become a Labor Doula is very personal as a result of my own birth story and my goal as a doula is to support expecting moms and partners in achieving a successful birth.As a childbirth educator and labor doula, I teach that birth is a process! I am aware of the stages of labor and provide several comfort measures, relaxation techniques, and acupressure during labor. Most importantly, I want my clients to be aware of ‘informed consent’ regarding any medical and non-medical procedures. I’m there to support moms and partners with my knowledge as a doula and years of experience working with hospital staff, OBs and midwives. I completed my labor doula training with Dona in 2009 and recertification 2017. In the last seven years, I’ve attended over 270 births (VBACS, 95% Vaginal delivery rate) and have taught over 1000 expecting parents in childbirth classes. I’m certified in Rebozo techniques and am a certified Breastfeeding and Lamaze trained educator. I’ve assisted deliveries at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, George Washington University Hospital, Inova Alexandria, Inova Fairfax, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Ft Belvoir Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital. I welcome the opportunity to work with you and your partner and to attend your baby’s birth.
I am a mother of four boisterous children of my own. My experience with my own labors is what fueled my passion to become a doula. In my family, we enjoy a tradition of women supporting other women throughout their labor. I enjoyed the benefits of my experienced family members doing the same for me through my first three births. When it came time for me to deliver my fourth child, all of my family members experienced in childbirth were traveling. There was just my husband and I. He was very supportive, but I deeply missed the element of support that my experienced family members offered. The labor was harder in an emotional way that manifested itself physically for me. It was my fourth labor that enlightened me to what a doula is and the very real benefits of having one. Following my fourth labor, I felt a deep conviction that the presence of seasoned labor support aside from the partner, the physician, or the nurse was a real need. I desired to be there for others as they labor a new life into the world.
While pursuing my certification through DONA International, I began to build my knowledge base through community work at the Rockville Pregnancy Center and the Holy Cross Hospital Teen Program, as well as helping clients in the Special Ops Doula program. As a certified doula, I believe in educating women with the knowledge they need in order to feel empowered to make informed decisions pertaining to their care before, during and after labor. I draw on my professional training, knowledge and experience to offer the support that best suits each family. I provide reassurance and perspective to you (and your partner), make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, soothing touch, positioning and other techniques for comfort. Over the years, I have done labors in hospitals all over the Washington, DC metropolitan area including Inova Fair Oaks, George Washington University Hospital, Sibley Memorial, Washington Hospital Center, Holy Cross Hospital (Silver Spring and Germantown), Washington Adventist, Shady Grove Adventist, Frederick Memorial, Anne Arundel Medical Center, St. Joseph Medical Center, and the Special Beginnings Birth Center. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or the hospital.
Hi! I’m Jamie and I can’t wait to meet you! I’m a mom to twin girls and a labradoodle named Barklie (first born). I also have a goofball of a husband who brought two cats with him. We live in a little town at the very tippy top of Loudoun County called Lovettsville. When I’m not teaching our at a birth, I love to knit, cycle, and build websites.My love for birth began while I was pregnant with my girls. I realized how much there was to learn and how little we are taught about birth in our everyday lives. It became clear to me how important it is to educate yourself but also how important it is to have educated people around you who are there just for you during your birth.
So, after having my girls, I decided to go into childbirth education and doula work to help more parents discover their confidence and inner strength. I feel strongly in facilitating the opportunities for parents to work together during labor. It can be such a magical time for you and your partner and giving you space to become parents together brings me great joy.I have been teaching Lamaze classes for the past three years and am the current Board President of the Lamaze DC Chapter. I also teach new educators and provide mentorship to those starting out. I have been trained and have worked as a postpartum doula and have also taken trainings in birth doula work, advanced birth comfort measures, breastfeeding support, safe formula preparation, birth and newborn biology and physiology, high-risk birth support, belly binding, and infant sleep coaching. I love continuing to learn and passing that knowledge on to expecting parents and other educators. I took my DONA birth doula training in June 2018 and am currently working towards my certification. I have attended 3 births (all vaginal, 1 medicated, 2 non-medicated) and need 2 more to gain my certification. I think having a doula with a personality and style that matches or compliments yours is incredibly important. I’m not an overly “crunchy” person. I have a good sense of humor and a non-judgmental attitude towards people’s preferences during their birth. I like using a rebozo, verbal affirmations, and normalizing language. If your partner is present and you’d like them to be involved, I enjoy facilitating their involvement and helping them be your primary source of comfort during labor while I work on helping you in other ways. I can’t wait to meet you and hear all about the desires for your birth!
My doula passion began in 1997 during the birth of my first child when we quickly realized my partner was going to miss our first birth. A Doula was gifted to me on the way to the hospital where she met me. I learned very quickly that without her I would have been scared and alone. She didn’t know me at all, yet she knew so much along every step of the way. She never left my side and gave everything she had to me…a stranger…to better my story and guide me to see what she already knew was in me. Strength. Confidence. Ability. I knew, as I looked into her eyes moments before the birth that “doula” was a calling for my life purpose.
I believe that all mothers deserve to be pampered, loved, and cared for – not only by their main support person – but also by the reassurance, comfort, and encouragement of someone not intimately connected to them who is well educated in labor, birth, and postpartum care. This can help ease the birth process and postpartum time for all members of the family as they learn to connect with themselves, their partners, and their new baby. I have served families since 1997 with education both hands on and by my lending library. I started attending births regularly in 2013 and have now attended over 40 births. I am trained in: Childbirth Education, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulation, Belly casting, Acupressure for Labor and Birth, and Bengkung Belly binding. I am Certified in Gena Kirby Rebozo, Gail Tully Spinning Babies, and Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC).Each client and each birth deserve and will receive the very best I have to offer as I continue to educated and grow myself in many areas of the birthing world. My husband and I have been married 19 years and we have 3 children we love supporting as they grow and learn to define who they are and what passions drive them to growth. We also help to raise a sweet girl who has been in our lives since she was a newborn.
When I worked as a nurse in the Netherlands, I served patients in both, the Labor & Delivery and Mother-Baby Units. At the end of my nurse career I worked as an ICU/ Cardiac Care Nurse but was always most fascinated about birth work. We as a family lived (besides the Netherlands) in Georgia (Tbilisi) and Tanzania. Since 2016, we’ve been based in Bethesda for my husband’s work. My own birth & postpartum experiences, my fascination for birth work and the lack of the right support in the USA, made me follow my dream to become a birth & postpartum doula.
My personal 3 birth experiences were all very different. The first one was an induction with all possible interventions – I wish I had some more guidance and support from a professional at that time. I felt kind of lost and I had no clue what was going on. Our second baby was a natural hospital birth. With the third one, I knew what to do: she was a home birth. I had a wonderful postpartum doula right after the birth at home. The right care made that period a positive and memorable experience for us.
As a certified birth doula, I have supported over 50 births. Besides that, I am a postpartum doula and a former nurse. I have completed training in: Spinning babies; Easier childbirth with fetal positioning; Adult, child and baby First Aid/CPR/AED; Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders; Working with Anxious Clients; When Survivor’s Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women; and Integrative Resuscitation of the Newborn.
In this country the birth of your baby and postpartum care can be really challenging. Nurses have more patients to take care of. Doctors run in and out and you have to survive alone with your partner. Especially if it’s your first baby, everything can be very overwhelming. You have no clue what’s happening or what’s considered normal. A doula can be the perfect guide. I am a person who likes to make a difference for others. I hope to make a difference for you!
TEAM DOULA SERVICES
Vanessa Hanible I am a Birth & Postpartum Doula. My first experience with childbirth was in 2013, helping my cousin labor until 9cm before she had an unplanned cesarean section. I felt that my cousin was not given the time needed to birth her baby vaginally. That experience taught me the importance of women having proper education and support to feel empowered during pregnancy and birth. I have attended 11 births (cesarean, medicated and un-medicated vaginal births). I have attended births at Washington Hospital Center, Georgetown, Providence, and Holy Cross Hospitals. I believe that childbirth is a powerful and transformative experience and I enjoy watching mothers become empowered birthing their babies. Vanessa graduated from Tennessee State University with a Degree in Public Health. She trained through Mamatoto Village in the Fall of 2015 as a labor/postpartum doula, and breastfeeding coach. Since becoming a doula she has trained on Perinatal Mood Disorders & Anxiety and led childbirth, breastfeeding and newborn care classes for over 50 parents.
Pregnancy is a transformative process and among the greatest life experiences. By witnessing the ways women embrace, embody and harness their power to rise into their greatest potential, I was inspired to become a birth doula and support women to feel empowered, heard and cared for in every step. I believe there is room for compassion, respect, and calm in every birth. Infusing love into every action is her deepest calling to service.
Through the lens of yoga and mindfulness, I empower clients to be informed and active participants in their birth experience while growing in confidence as parents. I am known to create a calm and nonjudgmental environment for mothers to walk their unique birth journey feeling well-informed and supported. By weaving breath work, centering tools and comfort measures, I support mothers to believe in the power of their intuitive body and view each step as a part of a greater whole. I am a certified birth doula, lactation counselor and prenatal yoga teacher with experience in all settings (i.e. home birth, hospital and birth centers). I view birth as part of a wider continuum of care; thus, I also incorporate nutrition tips, breastfeeding best practices, postpartum self-care and the psycho-emotional aspects of the process. I consider it a deep honor to accompany families through this journey and contribute in some small way to the collective uplifting of mothers.I have been a doula for about three years and consistently take on 2-3 births a month. I have experience in the following settings: Virginia Hospital Center, INOVA Fair Oaks, INOVA Fairfax, INOVA Alexandria, Washington Hospital Center, Holy Cross Hospital, Shady Grove Hospital, George Washington Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital, Birth Care Alexandria, Special Beginnings Birth Center, and home births.
When I am not doula-ing I work in international development focusing on gender equity issues as well as maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition in low income countries. In my free time, I can be found practicing yoga, volunteering in her community and dreaming of a lush veggie garden and a mountain top meditation.
I’ve been a doula with Momease for about two years. I began my formal doula training in Costa Rica at Centro Ashé through the Birth Well International. There, I learned the basic principles of being a doula. By working with Ms. Carolyn, I’ve been able to gain invaluable hands-on experience aiding mother’s through birth. Each labor has fueled my desire to master effective techniques and comfort measures for moms. Thus, I have delved into the usage of Mexican rebozo techniques, aromatherapy, Spinning Babies® techniques, acupressure, and massage. I’m inspired by the birthing process and want to offer stability, comfort, hope and strength to families planning to bring another life into this world. My primary goal is to aid moms in connecting with their own sacredness during birth. I encourage. I massage. I sing. I sway. I soothe. I calm.
I have a background in herbalism which I use to aid women both prenatally and postpartum. I also offer postpartum vaginal steaming and would love to expand my postpartum services to in-home care. Most excitingly, I recently enrolled in the Midwives College of Utah and am looking forward to expanding my capacities as a birth companion and baby catcher.
Taiwo I Ajao [also known as “Tia”] –Postpartum Doula and Baby Care Basics Instructor
I began my journey as a Birth Companions Doula during my Nursing program at The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 2014. My final doula experience landed me a job as a Mother-Baby Nurse. I served at several Baltimore-Area Hospitals and became certified in Maternal-Newborn Nursing. I have a keen interest in research & evidence-based practice, which stems from my master’s training from The George Washington University School of Public Health.
I am currently a Medical Case Manager for babies who enter the foster care system in Baltimore City due to neglect, abuse, violence, and other serious issues. I lead a non-profit that addresses the health, safety & well-being of women, their children and the communities that support them. My husband and I also partner on a project called Hello Baby Events: an innovative perinatal education initiative which we believe is a great way to prepare entire family networks for a new baby. We have 2 wonderful boys of our own.
I believe that babies should be hushed, but not their mamas. Women’s Health is maximized when we find our voices and approach our own wellness proactively. I am proud to be a 2018 AWHONN Millennial Ambassador, a role that has empowered me to make an impact among my colleagues. I am a student of The Lamaze Childbirth Education Certification Program and am scheduled to take my exam in November 2018.
I enjoy writing stories and crafting pretty little things. I’m the Author of “Adunni Dares to Dream” a creative biography about my parents’ legacy, which inspires me to Dare to Dream every day.
STUDENT DOULA SERVICES</
Ria Freeman The gift of coming from a large family (being one of seven sisters and four brothers), has given me the experience of working with younger children and helping my mom through her pregnancies. I always enjoyed helping my mother put her shoes on, massaging her back when it ached, and being her prenatal yoga buddy. Fast forward ten years later and I’ve now completed the DONA Birth Doula workshop and am working on becoming certified. I decided to join this field of work because I want to support moms during the birthing journey. I think it makes the mom feel special when she has extra support by her side. I’ve had the opportunity to support a few moms so far and have completed multiple workshops which include rebozo, childbirth education, and spinning babies. These workshops have helped me understand the multiple stages of birth and how to use different techniques such as double hip squeeze, acupressure, shaking the apples for back pain, manteada, sifting and many other comfort measures to help each mom. Outside of my birth work, I am a college student majoring in Mass Communications. I spend my free time modeling, boxing, volunteering to feed the homeless, helping with the nonprofit my youngest sister founded and practicing mixed martial arts. I look forward to being a student doula for Momease and taking more classes to expand my learning.
Frances Devanbu I am a student labor doula with Momease! I grew up in Davis, California and recently moved to DC to work at the National Institute of Health. I first got excited about birth work while in school for engineering. I am really passionate about working to improve tools that pregnant women and new mothers need to support and care for their babies. This led me to work in the NICU and labor floors of the Women and Infants Hospital in Rhode Island (WIHRI). My first project in the NICU was working towards making transitioning out of the NICU less traumatic for families. This is where I fell in love with working with new parents and their babies and developed a passion for reproductive justice. During my time at WIHRI, I saw how sometimes the systems surrounding birth, are optimized for hospital efficiency, not parents or babies. I also saw how the calm and educated presence of a good doula can help families have the experience they want. As a doula, I want to create a space where parents can ask questions, have agency over their birthing experience, and make choices that work for them. When I’m not working with Momease I’m biking, hiking, making stuffed animals, and exploring DC with my girlfriend. I am getting certified through CAPPA as a labor doula, and can’t wait to continue learning and expanding my skills so that parents can have the tools they need to bring their healthy babies home!
Lauren Scheiderer I am a student doula with Momease. I have been fascinated with birth and its transformative powers since I was very young. As I’ve gotten older, my interest has solidified through reading about the history of childbirth and how practices and beliefs have changed over time. In October of 2018, I completed training as a birth doula with Amy Bookwalter, whose class taught me the essentials of comfort measures during labor and techniques for emotional support. I hope that through being a doula, I can have a positive impact on new families and help them achieve their goals for birth. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I recognize that having compassionate support is critically important to a positive birth experience. I hope to encourage and empower all people and their partners before, during, and after labor. In addition to being a doula, I am a student at George Mason University studying Sociology and History. I have a passion for animals – I own 15 pet mice! I also love to paint, cook, and garden. I look forward to meeting you!