In efforts to live a more wholehearted life, one where I am kinder to myself and others, I have been awkwardly practicing being authentic and intentionally vulnerable for years. Brene Brown writes in her book, Daring Greatly, “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” The trouble with self-acceptance, for me, was learning how to live a life that wasn't driven by a quest to "fix" myself.
The climb to a place of unshakable self-worth happened (and is happening) throughout my pregnancy, labor, birth and taking ownership in my role as a Mama.
After 3 years of negative pregnancy tests, I was feeling very disconnected from my body. It didn’t work. I couldn’t trust it and I was constantly fighting against it.
I found myself in an Endocrinologist's office in Chicago with a diagnosis of PCOS. 2 months later I was pregnant.
I was amazed at the process of pregnancy and birth but was still fighting old ways of thinking. Could my body really do this?! I knew I needed support. I surrounded myself with other Mamas who fully engaged with their birth experiences. I created a birthing preparation practice unique to my birthing needs that included components of The Bradley Method & HypnoBabies. The more effort and intention I put into preparing my mind and body for an unmedicated birth experience, the more I started to believe that I COULD do this. And I did.
My journey, though unique and special to me, isn’t all that uncommon. It was a journey of learning to trust my body and myself and it was also a turning point for both my self-confidence and my career. I have been in the social work field since 2004 helping women and teens discover their autonomy while embarking on their individual paths towards radical self-acceptance. Through my own empowering birth experience I was able to see a new purpose for myself—one of supporting women through their unique journeys into and throughout Motherhood/Parenthood.
Other "About Me" details include: This year will mark 10 years of marriage to my best friend and our daughter, whom we lovingly call "Kay Kay Pie" is 5. I have a BA from the University of Tulsa and am on the path towards IBCLC.
I have walked the path myself, and with many others, and am a trusted guide and resource for you along the way. I inform you of what the trail ahead may bring and help you pack your bag in preparation.
We walk side by side and you describe the scenery of your travels. I offer support as you and your partner navigate unexpected terrain and when your footing slips or you lose your way I give you my hand, steady you and get you back on track.
If you get overwhelmed at the peak of the climb, I'm right there to help you dig deep for power and strength you've never tapped into before. I will be there to hold you, support you and cheer you on as you push past your perceived limits to reach your destination.
Once there, my presence remains but instead of walking beside I fall back a few strides-- in and out of sight but always accessible.
Amy was wonderful. I knew when I got pregnant that I wanted an unmedicated birth and I wanted a doula. My husband was reluctant at first but after baby was born, he said it was the best decision we ever made. She provided tips and tools during my pregnancy to prepare for labor. When she arrived at the hospital, she immediately got to work, helping me on the birth ball among other things to keep labor progressing. After being awake for two days and laboring for 30 hours, I felt like giving up. Amy reminded me of what I wanted and helped me dig deep to find the strength I didn't know I had to keep going. She not only supported me but also my husband. She even came back to the hospital the next day to help with breastfeeding. We are forever thankful for her and will recommend her to everyone we know.
Thank you, for giving me the education and encouragement I needed to practice the innate art of nursing. It might seem simple for some, but after a failed nursing attempt with my first these moments are all the more cherished. I never knew nursing could be such a beautiful, life giving (to both involved) experience.
Amy was an amazing doula! She assisted me in having such a wonderful, hospital-based birth. She supported my wishes and decisions 100%. She also helped me tremendously when I was struggling with breastfeeding, and she is the reason I didn't give up. Thanks to Amy's help and support, my baby is still exclusively breastfed at almost 3 months old, which is something I never imagined I would be able to do following bilateral breast surgery. In addition, Amy helped me postpartum with cloth diapering, baby wearing, and housekeeping. I am constantly recommending Amy to my friends who are expecting.
I cannot say enough good about my experience with Amy. She was so calming, kind and professional. I was determined to have a specific kind of birth, but I was extremely nervous. Amy was absolutely key to my success. I honestly don't think I could have had the birth I did without her. She calmed me and helped me be centered throughout the entire process. She answered my many, many questions, walked me through all of my choices, was prepared with several options for achieving my dream and offered me more support than I ever expected (but was SO grateful to have!). I didn't have or desire a strict birth plan and she worked beautifully with my go-with-it-as-it-comes mindset. She offered help in writing a birth plan if I wanted it, but was totally respectful of my less structured approach. Even though I'd never met her and just found her through Google, I felt like I had a good friend by my side. When it came time for the birth, she was a joy to have with me (and was excellent at working with my husband, too).
Towards the end of my delivery, when the baby got stuck, she was invaluable at helping me get through my toughest time. I don't know what I'd have done without her. She was completely amazing and I wish every mama got the chance to have her as their doula. She's a blessing!
I didn't think I needed a doula for my second child, but I hired Amy anyway and I am SO GLAD I did. My first birth was unmedicated and at a birth center, and this time I wanted something different.
I decided to have #2 in a hospital and to likely get an epidural. I knew how much I loved having a doula the first time, but justifying the expense of a doula knowing that the hospital and epidural would cost more than #1 was challenging. In my mind, I was asking "what on earth would a doula do that my husband and the nurse couldn't do." Well let me tell you some of the countless things that Amy did for us.
1- I had extreme anxiety during my pregnancy regarding delivery and Amy gave me multiple tools to manage it and helped me calm down when I was freaking out. THIS WAS HUGE! Even if she hadn't been there for the birth, this alone would have been worth it!
2- She helped me hone my birth bag items to things I would legitimately use, which is super helpful when you haven't been a hospital pt before (I'm even a Nurse, but I was clueless in this area).
3- She gave me suggestions on how to relax and work with my body during early labor, and she arrived as soon as I needed her to be here with us.
4- When I was admitted to the hospital, she gave me suggestions regarding positions and things I could do to encourage labor to progress while staying present, like walking, dancing, sitting on toilet backwards, and so many more. I thought he nurses would do this, but not all do. These are all things I thought I could do myself, but in the moment, my mind seemed blank and it was helpful to have such a calm "guide".
5- She helped me decide when and if I wanted medication for pain. She made sure I was informed of my options and the risks associated with them, and advocated for me once I made my decision. I felt NO JUDGEMENT about this decision to get an epidural, which took a big load off my shoulders.
6- During the tense moments when the Nurses ran into the room telling me to turn over because baby was having decels, she helped me use breathing and meditation to stay present and positive.
7- When my baby was stuck on my hip and the epidural wasn't touching the pain, she helped work with my body by breathing while she rocked my hips back and forth....I swear that this rocking was what encouraged my baby to dislodge from my pelvis because not long after she started the rocking did I feel the strongest urge to push. This is something I never would have thought to ask my husband to do, and the nurses were not about to do it, either. Baby ended up being 10lb10oz and I was stuck at 10cm with no urge to push for a long time, all the while baby was having periodic decels. I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that I would have needed a c/s if baby hadn’t moved off my pelvis.
8- When the NICU nurses were telling me that they had to take my baby to the NICU because he wasn't keeping his oxygen levels up high enough, she gave me the courage to ask for him to be placed on my chest. After going on my chest, his SPO2 instantly bumped up 7 points to a perfect level and stayed there. He never had to leave me.
9- She took stellar pictures of my husband and I with the baby. We treasure these photos.
10- She gave me some awesome nursing pointers for our first latch. I'm still nursing my two year old, but apparently I had forgotten that newborns don't latch themselves quite like a big kid. I was surprised how little nursing assistance I received in the hospital, so I really appreciated her tips.
Ultimately, Baby #2 gave me a birth experience that made me feel powerful and proud, and I know that Amy is a big part of why. It has even helped heal some of the emotional scars left from #1. If you think you are planning on a hospital birth or planning on getting an epidural, I would highly recommend having a doula by your side. It was a fantastic investment.
I can't thank Amy enough for her guidance, support, encouragement and just being an easy person to connect with!
This was going to be my second baby so I contemplated do I really need a doula?
My husband was a great support system but encouraged me to at least meet with one. I stumbled across Amy's profile and felt like I needed to meet her. Within minutes we knew she was exactly what our family needed. She makes you feel so comfortable. You can tell she has a huge heart and was very knowledgable. I couldn't believe how many little things I'd forgotten since my last birth. Amy gave me tips, encouragement, and the resources I needed to have my baby natural, which was exactly what I wanted. She never made me feel weird asking all of those crazy questions that come up during your pregnancy and labor.
Amy is wonderful at what she does and we are grateful to have had her be apart of our birth story.
We were so glad to have Amy help us during our first baby's birth! Her calmness and knowledge encouraged us to have the birth experience we were looking forward to. She was attentive and available to any questions before and after the birth, as well. And her hip squeezes were awesome! We would recommend Amy as a doula!
I had Amy encapsulate my placenta in the fall of 2015. My husband insisted. I had postpartum depression after having our first baby, so we wanted to do our best to help my mind and body prepare AND heal from having our baby. We decided to purchase the tincture, salve and cord keepsake package. My birth went great, I had a small tear so I used the salve and it was like magic! I have a long history of healing slowly, in fact, I had a complete episiotomy with my first birth and dealt with scar tissue pain for two years until after our second child was born.
In January 2016 I had surgery to remove the overabundance of scar tissue I had accumulated in my perineum two years prior. I didn't touch any of the creams they prescribed, instead I used the placenta salve. My Doctor was shocked by how quickly and properly I was healing, with zero complications. With my painful scar tissue history, we were all amazed.
Would it be cheesy to say harvesting my placenta was one of the best things I have ever done? Maybe... But if it's true, why not shout it from the cyber rooftops?
Everyone kept saying how brave I was to have a placenta smoothie after my homebirth, but I'm telling you- it was delicious!
After 20 hours of labor and zero food within that time... Hunger hit me like a ton of bricks when Sam was finally Earthside. My Doula called Amy, the amazing placenta magician, as soon as my baby came out and placenta was about to be delivered. Amy was at my house in what felt like minutes with a blender, fruits, yogurt, veggies and got to work making my smoothie. She took just a thumbnail sized piece of placenta and added it to the delicious recipe that we agreed upon before my delivery. Amy is super communicative and wanted to make sure I was going to like how the smoothie turned out.
I slurped that puppy down- believe me! It was the perfect post delivery boost. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Amy also did a fantastic job encapsulating my placenta. My pills were at my house within 24 hours with instructions and even the sweetest little umbilical cord keepsake! It made this new mama tear up.
Amy was amazing! My labor was very quick and she still made it just in time. I had the smoothie and it was delicious, I definitely recommend it! The encapsulation pills helped with mood swings and all those emotions. I would recommend Amy to any new expecting momma.