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Hello and welcome to Meaningful Beginnings!  My name is Claudia Parris and I am a DONA International certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, based in the Princeton area in NJ.  My doula services cover Central NJ and Bucks County. I look forward to joining you in creating precious lifelong memories before, during and after birth, and together bringing deeper meaning into the beginning of this new phase in your life!

My philosophy

A new phase in life can make us feel vulnerable, anxious, and insecure. We tend to question what lies ahead. Whether this is your first baby or a new addition to your family, I believe that at this time you are laying the foundation of your new “home-life” upon which you will continue to build in the coming years. Your birth experience and the early months of parenthood can have significant impact on you and your child. Through non-judgmental care, loving compassion, and encouragement, I will assist you be better prepared, develop a peaceful inner strength that will carry you beyond your birthing experience, and help you make your own well informed decisions. I will feel deeply honored to walk alongside you throughout this exciting time in your life, and by doing so help you become more confident and relaxed for your continued journey as a parent.

“She is the DOULA you want to have during your labor and delivery… She is the best! Very professional and loves what she does.” Audrone S.

“…With great care and affection, Claudia assisted with helping keep me focused on my breathing, in a positive mental state and trying various positions to navigate through contractions.  Claudia was great!…” Kristina

Thank you so much, Claudia. We are very thankful that we found each other and walked this path together. You have a very special gift. We have been talking about you to every one here. Our gynecologist was very impressed as well …. She mentioned how naturally you stepped in when necessary and stepped out when not needed. You are the best!” ……. And after the postpartum visit: “Thank you Claudia. It is priceless for me to see J. so happy and healthy after the delivery. Thank you for your help!” Hugo M.S.

“…we have agreed that we could not have had such a beautiful birth experience without you.. I remember the hospital staff saying what a great job you did …My labor experience is yet another proof that doulas make a huge difference in the length and the quality of labor.” Daria P.

“Having you as our doula was the best choice we could have made – you are the best doula, thank you so much!!” Aparna R.

Claudia, There are no words of gratitude that can express our feelings for you as our Doula – you are tied to us forever! Thank you for helping bring our family together. We love you ~ Patrick & Maren & baby J.

after an additional prenatal visit: “… thank you again for coming by today.  I have to say I have not felt this relaxed in months :)” Rupal V.

… “Thank you Claudia, you came highly recommended and didn’t Disappoint!” Ashley-O.-F.

“….She was an incredible support to us during this time and she helped us make our daughter’s delivery special and fulfilling to us…”I would highly recommend Claudia …  What stands out to me was the patience and kindness she showed us.  She went above and beyond our expectations ……” Jane B. 

“It was my first baby and Claudia was just what a first time mommy needed. The calmness and supportive nature not only on the night of delivery but throughout the latter stages of pregnancy was extremely helpful and beneficial for us….” Bella

“Claudia was very supportive and connected very well with the patient. She was very calm and reassuring and helped to decrease the patient’s anxiety.” 5/5 rating, attending nurse, Hopewell Capital Health

“As a husband, I found it particularly helpful to have Claudia with us during labor and delivery. …… I found it extremely helpful as a father to have a doula present during labor and delivery. Without Claudia, my anxiety would have been apparent to my wife, which would have made her nervous…..” Andrew. F.

Claudia is an outstanding doula. I know I would not have had the wonderful birthing experience that I did without her!” Liz F.

“Great labor support! ” 5/5 rating, attending midwife, Princeton Hospital

 The entirety of these testimonials and more are found on the testimonial page 🙂

 

 

 

About

From very early on I loved helping my neighbors in Austria with their babies and little children. I babysat whenever I could. In my mid-teenage years, I moved to Vienna where I trained as a kindergarten teacher and worked with babies and young children. Later I had the privilege to live and work in various countries and continents, married an Englishman and was blessed with two boys. Since 2003 my husband and I have raised our sons here in New Jersey and call it home. I continued my education and earned a master’s degree in pastoral counseling and worked with adults and youth for six years. My passion for babies and my love of helping people, combined with my training and  counseling skills led me to become a doula. It is my desire to support expectant moms and dads during pregnancy, labor and the early stages of parenthood in order to alleviate stress and anxiety during this unique time in their lives. The birth of a child is truly a miraculous event. My expertise helps parents to have meaningful and memorable experiences as they embark on their journey to parenthood.

Experience and continued Education:

1983 graduated as a kindergarten teacher in Austria and worked with babies and older children for 5 years

1988 au-pair for a year in a family with 4 children, England

1997 – now: raised my two boys; led two moms and toddler groups

2008:  BA Clinical Pastoral Counseling, Calvary Theological Seminary, USA

2010: MA Clinical Pastoral Counseling, Cornerstone University, USA – followed by 6 years  counseling experience

2009-10: assistant at University-NOW Day Nursery, Princeton NJ

2012-14: caring for a friend’s baby/toddler

2016: DONA Birth Doula Training (Birth Doula Workshop & Childbirth class)

January 2017: DONA Breastfeeding course

2017: attended Hypnobirthing classes

July 2017: DONA Postpartum Doula Training

summer 2017: online DONA virtual conference

August 2017: attended “Spinning Babies” workshop by Gail Tully

Oct 10th 2017: CD(DONA) – DONA – birth doula certification

Nov 2017: attended the “Symposium for Physiologic birth” (How to help families get Evidence Based Care; Increasing access to Evidence Based Maternity Care options in NJ; Waterbirth; Home Birth Transfers”)

Jan 2018: CPR/BLS certification (American Heart Association)

June 2018: “Using TENS in Labor” workshop by Penny Bussell-Stansfield

July 2018: “Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss” 15 hour online training and certificate – Amy Wright Glenn

August 2018:  PCD(DONA) – DONA-postpartum doula certification

October 2018:  Blossoming Bellies Workshop ” Creating Space: Pelvic Bodywork, Fetal Positioning, and the Use of Rebozo” by Brittany McCollum

October 2018: online DONA virtual conference

November 2018:  “Breastleeping” an online seminar by James McKenna

Nov 2018: “What happens if she screens positive for postpartum depression?”  webinar by Nancy Byatt, Harvard Health

Jan 2019: started volunteering at UNITE perinatal bereavement meetings through the Princeton Hospital

March 2019: “The art of holding perinatal women in distress” intensive postgraduate Postpartum-depression training by Karen Kleiman, The Postpartum Stress Center

April 2019: presentation: “Does Breastfeeding Protect Maternal Mental Health? The Role of Oxytocin and Stress” by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA.

Sept. 2019: “A day to study” lactation techniques, breast/nipple conditions, maternal challenges etc.  with Kay Hoover and Carmen Baker

Languages:

Fluent in English and German; conversational in French

Hospital experience:

Princeton/Plainsboro,  Capital Health,  Doylestown,  Abington,  Morristown,  The Overlook Summit NJ,  St. Peter’s New Brunswick,  Community Medical Center Toms River, Saint Barnabas,  Virtua Hospital Vorhees, Hunterdon Medical Center, RWJ New Brunswick, Holy Redeemer, Christiana 

In case your hospital isn’t on the list, I am always happy to support births at the  hospital of your choice and will try my best to tour the hospital prior to your due date.

Homebirths:

I thoroughly enjoy home births – supporting moms and partners alongside experienced midwives in the comfort of their own home!

Testimonials

“We found Claudia through research and the recommendations of several of our friends. Alicia specifically wanted the support of someone with a background in counseling or therapy, as most of her fears with the labor were associated with a challenging life as a child. We couldn’t be happier with our experience – Claudia went above and beyond our expectations. Her truly loving demeanor and ability to distill knowledge in a meaningful and supportive way made all the difference. While every labor is different, Alicia was able to achieve the birth experience she desired and received the invaluable blessing of facing and using all of the inner mental, emotional, and physical strength it takes to deliver a child. Because of Claudia, Colton was able to focus solely on being a comforting voice without the stress of guiding Alicia through a process that was equally daunting for both of us. Claudia was more family than our own biological relatives to us during the preparation, labor, and delivery of our child. We can’t say enough good things about her, and look forward to reaching out to her again when our second child is on the way. ” Alicia & Colton      Posted 9/13/2019

“Claudia is truly an angel sent from the heavens. She offers a peaceful, calming, and serene presence and was with us each step of the way leading up to the delivery, during delivery and post delivery. She is extremely knowledgeable, professional, and a pure joy to be around. She made me not only feel extremely comfortable and cared for but also just a loving and wonderful soul. I honestly can’t imagine giving birth to my daugther without her encouragement, support, and her advocating for my needs. I highly recommend and will be using her if we decide to have another. ” Erin B. Posted 7/8/2019

My wife and I hired Claudia as a postpartum doula and we are so grateful for everything she did for us and our son. We are first time parents and not only did she take very good care of our baby but she also helped us build our confidence as new parents. She is kind, warm hearted, professional and a very good listener.  She made sure we felt at ease, helped us learn the skills we’d need to take care of our baby, and also allowed us to get some much needed sleep when she stayed overnights. She is truly a gem and we would recommend her to anyone looking for a doula.”  Raj and Sona     posted 5/29/2019

 

Our family is so grateful to have connected with Claudia through DoulaMatch.  She is an exceptionally kind, caring person and a wonderful doula! At our pre-birth meetings, Claudia was so patient in answering all my questions. She took as much time as I needed, and she had great recommendations for daily exercises from her training in Spinning Babies as well as recipes and such. She helped me understand what I could expect during labor as well as processes at the hospital I would be delivering at, and she even knew some of the different OBs and midwives there.  My husband and I had prepared for childbirth taking HypnoBirthing classes, and we were pleased that Claudia also had taken HypnoBirthing classes herself and was able to help us prepare and use what we had learned.

I developed pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks and was sent right to the hospital to be induced. I phoned Claudia and she came to the hospital that evening and was there with us each of the three days until my son was born. She knew what to say to encourage me when I was mentally weary from the constant monitoring and medications.  She even jumped right in when the nurses weren’t around (and even when they were!) helping me with trips to the bathroom and such.  When labor finally started, she was a HUGE help for me to stay calm and focused throughout my unmediated labor and help me manage the pain with positions, visualizations and her knowledgeable and comforting words.

After our son was born, her follow up postpartum visit helped me get comfortable with breastfeeding, using my breast pump, and caring for our newborn.  She was able to connect me with a great lactation consultant too. Later when I was re-admitted to the hospital due to continued high blood pressure, Claudia visited me and lifted my spirits. Her caring heart for people shines through all the time. Thank you so much, Claudia!”  Robin   Posted 5/28/2019

 

         Claudia is a tremendous person. Even in our first meeting, we were very comfortable with her and knew she would be able to help us have the empowering and informed birth experience we hoped for. She is sooooo extremely generous. Due to how a number of unusual circumstances aligned, we had a long labor that stretched into a third day and ended with an unplanned c-section. Claudia was there every day, only going home for a few hours to sleep the first night as we all tried to get some rest. She had me doing positions to encourage labor and helped me through it all. When she came back to our apartment the second day, she walked right over to me and gave me a hug that I didn’t know I needed, but it was an amazing uplift to keep going.

In the hospital she was a tremendous comfort to my husband as I went to the OR. Then she waited until our son was born and nursing before she left. A few weeks later she visited us at home with additional support and kindness. It’s very difficult to write this testimonial— how do you put into words how wonderful it was to have Claudia’s support? I’m not sure this writing even begins to express our gratitude to Claudia.” With much love, Corey, Dickie, and Jonas     Posted 5/24/2019

 

“I cannot believe that the powers that be let two randos, who know nothing about birth and children like me and my husband, have a baby. That is why we are eternally grateful for Claudia Parris, the doula of my dreams. Claudia is the best. She really takes the time to get to know her clients, establish trust, and understand their preferences to accommodate needs for this life-changing event. Additionally, Claudia is extremely knowledgeable about the birth process and all things newborns. During meetings before birth, she explains labor and newborn care with great patience. And during actual labor, she is just so useful and helpful in addition to being a calming presence during a totally chaotic and overwhelming experience. She follows up afterwards as well and makes sure that new moms are getting the care they need. I do not know what we would have done without Claudia. She was a game changer. She is so kind, easy to get along with, and really cares about her clients. She frankly went above and beyond any of our expectations and even picked up diapers for us on a grocery run she was taking! There are not enough superlatives to describe our experience with her. I cannot recommend her enough.”  Meghan O. Posted 4/18/2019

“Words cannot describe Claudia’s warm, caring, positive nature. Claudia is strongly maternal and the type of woman you know you can trust immediately. She worked with us as we prepared for birth and spent time getting to know us. Her knowledge and experience helped ease my fears as a first time mom. She checked in with me regularly in the weeks leading up to the birth of my son, calming the storm of emotions that comes with passing one’s due date. She always seemed to know exactly what to say. Claudia is calm and supportive. She helped me to achieve a non-medicated birth and was flexible when surprises happened. Claudia is incredibly perceptive. During labor, I was not able to speak much, yet she always knew exactly what I needed. She quietly helped direct my husband in how to support me during labor. Some of my strongest memories of my labor are times when Claudia was right by my side – creating a guided imagery, recognizing when I was starting to panic, offering hydration when it was the last thing on my mind, even pulling a little fan out of her bag as I started sweating! Claudia’s love and selflessness are palpable when you are in her presence. I am so thankful for her guidance and support in making my birth experience a positive one. Every woman deserves a doula and Claudia is the very best.” Kristen L. Posted 4/8/2019

Claudia was invaluable to our family as we prepared for our daughter’s birth and during labor and delivery. She truly took the time to get to know me and my fears, hopes, and needs. I was trying for my second VBAC and really wanted someone who would compassionately, intelligently, and enthusiastically support my hopes for delivery. As the days ticked by up to and then past my due date, Claudia provided regular encouragement, advice, and prayers. When I finally went in to labor, she supported me through contractions and calmed me when the baby started experiencing distress.  When my doctors decided a quick C-section was important for my daughter’s safety, she stayed with me and encouraged me right up until I left for the operating room. She then stayed with me for several hours during recovery to help me cope with the medication side effects, nurse and bond with my daughter, and process my experience. I truly cannot imagine what I would have done without her! She became a precious friend and I could not recommend her more highly!!” Karen K. 2/19/19

“Childbirth and life right after it is a difficult and vulnerable (though also beautiful) period, and I was lucky enough (and blessed enough) to find Claudia for support during this period. Claudia was my postpartum doula but also was a source of guidance during late pregnancy as well. Her warmth is tangible and her knowledge and intuition about taking care of newborns is apparent. Her encouragement helped to lessen my self-doubt, and she is very perceptive, catching on to my worries and comprehending my questions. I always felt like she was on the same wavelength as me. It is clear that she sees childbirth and the welcoming of new life as more than just a phyiscal, medical phenomenon and more than just a chore and obstacle to get through. She sees the beauty in these things and is also helpful on a practical level–teaching me simple but important things like how to hold the baby to relieve stomach pain and how to breastfeed in a way that’s comfortable to mom and baby. I am so glad that Claudia was my doula–she helped to complete and make more memorable and joyful my experience of becoming a mother. “ Nura H.    Posted 2/9/2019

“Claudia is absolutely wonderful at what she does! Claudia is encouraging and beyond helpful. She is very perceptive of the mood throughout labor and responds to that beautifully with the appropriate encouragement or exercises…whatever is most needed! Claudia is a very thoughtful and caring doula, and I greatly enjoyed my experience with her. ” Ashley H.     Posted 2/8/201

“Claudia was my doula for my second born child. I didn’t have a doula for my first birth, but I wish I had Claudia with me then! I went into rapid labor around 5am and she was available right away over the phone to help coach me through contractions, reminding me to breathe and use the visualization of my favorite place. This helped me get through the 30 min drive to the hospital since the contractions were so close together. My husband was able to focus on driving while I labored in the car. Claudia was at the entrance of the hospital when we arrived and continued to coach me and remind me to drink fluids through the rest of the labor. My labor progressed well and with her encouragement and providing counter-pressure, I felt very supported. I delivered around 8:30am with my nurse midwife present and Claudia continued to provide support for me and my husband as I snuggled with my new baby boy. She took fantastic photos of my labor and the baby and I seconds after delivery so we could enjoy the moment. Thanks so much Claudia! I would definitely recommend Claudia as a doula!” Arielle B. 1/26/19

“Claudia was such a pleasure to work with. She took me on under super short notice with no problem. She made my stress levels so much lower leading up to, during labor and delivery. I would recommend her 100x over. It was like having another family member in the room. Thank you so much for being a part of Austin’s birth. ♥️♥️” Rachel R. Dec 2018

“What a wonderful birth experience we had with Claudia as doula.  We met with Claudia on numerous occasions in the months leading up to the birth.  She has a calm and soothing way about her and made an instant connection with our 3 year old son.  On the day of the home birth, Claudia was an immediately calming influence as I progressed into active labor very quickly.  With great care and affection, Claudia assisted with helping keep me focused on my breathing, in a positive mental state and trying various positions to navigate through contractions.  Claudia was great! Should we choose to have another child, I would absolutely want Claudia as my doula again and recommend her (without any reservations) to expecting moms considering a doula. Thanks Claudia!”    Kristina  Sept. 2018

“Claudia was everything I imagined and more. She was with me for nearly 30 hours and was amazing, caring, knowledgeable, intelligent and even funny. She enhanced my birthing and labor experience and I will never forget her. We loved her!” Andrea N. P. August 2018

“Claudia is wonderful! She was our postpartum doula for almost 4 months. Not only was she helpful to us, she made her way into our hearts and we consider her family. We will miss her very much. All new mamas out there who are lucky enough to have Claudia’s help won’t be disappointed. She is warm, loving, patient, knowledgeable and so good with both newborns and toddlers, as well as the mammas and the papas.” Jillian W. Posted 8/27/2018

My family and I had the pleasure of working with Claudia when we were looking for a doula for my first pregnancy. Claudia’s experience and calm, caring friendship helped us prepare for birth and made the experience a hundred times smoother. Once my daughter was born, we again needed some help with a couple of overnights; my daughter was on a particular feeding schedule and we needed someone we could blindly trust to feed her the necessary quantities at the right times. We again leaned on Claudia for support, and she took care of the baby as if she were her own. My daughter slept peacefully and didn’t even notice that it wasn’t one of her parents feeding her. Claudia is an amazing doula and we feel forever indebted for all of her help and guidance!” Priscilla A.  July 2018

“The short version: Having Claudia Parris as our doula was one of the smartest decisions we made surrounding our daughter’s birth. My husband and I would both HIGHLY recommend working with her. You won’t regret it!

The long version: I very much wanted to have a non-medicated, natural birth and heard from friends that working with a doula could help make that more feasible. They were right. If it wasn’t for Claudia and her pre-labor guidance, deep knowledge of pain management techniques, and incredibly soothing presence, I know I would have needed an epidural to make it through my 22 hour labor. And Claudia was not only a huge help to me on our big day, she also helped my husband a great deal by showing him how to help relieve my pain when he could and help him cope when it was hard to see me in such distress. I felt so supported by both of them the whole time – they really became a dream team!

Claudia also has a great instinct for how to best support both mother and father throughout the day. We’d joke sometimes, cry others, but no matter what I knew she always had my (and baby’s) best interests at heart. If I would’ve needed the epidural, I know she would’ve fully supported my decision (we spoke about that before working togeher), as she cares most about making sure mom and baby are able to properly bond at the end of the day, however you get there. And she took notes throughout the day so she could write up a beautiful birth story for us and baby to have. It’s such a special document. If I concieve again, Claudia will be one of the first people I call. She’s our doula (and dear friend) for life!” Mackenzie B.    Posted 6/3/2018

„I always wanted to have a natural birth as I believe that our bodies are meant to endure this process. Unfortunately my first pregnancy ended up in a C-section due to breech presentation. This time around for my second pregnancy, I wanted to have a natural VBAC. I distinctly remember our first meeting with Claudia in the coffee shop of Target. She came out as a very warm and soft person who really wants to understand you so that she can help you in all possible way. After our meeting, both me and my husband felt that she will be a good doula in our VBAC journey. My labor was a tough labor lasting for 3 nights. For the first 2 nights I had prodormal labor where contractions were intense but only 10-15 minutes apart. So clearly hospital didnt admit me. I called Claudia at 1am in the morning unable to cope up with the contractions and she came to my home right away without any hesitance. She helped me so much with different positions and helping me with pain management. I was unable to cope up with the pain but claudia’s presence made it possible. She constantly encouraged me and supported me through out. Due to her help, I progressed in my contractions and finally was admitted to the hospital at 5 cm. Even in the hospital, she constantly encouraged me and supported my husband. I had a really long labor due to the positioning of my child. There were times when I was giving up, but claudia was constantly there for me and kept me going. Finally when I delivered my daughter through a successful drug free VBAC, I was in tears and my heart was full of gratitude for people around me especially Claudia for helping me in this journey throughout. Both me and and my husband felt that having her as our doula was the best decision we made in our VBAC journey. Claudia gave such personalized care to me that during my 6 week postpartum checkup even my midwife mentioned that how wonderful she was as a doula. I highly recommend her as a doula. She is wonderful.“ Aparna R.  Posted 5/24/2018

My husband and I want to thank from the bottoms of our hearts to Claudia. She is the DOULA you want to have during your labor and delivery. I wouldn’t have done it without her, or like she said my birth would’ve been different. I truly believe so.
We decided to hire doula pretty late, I was 36 weeks pregnant. Our families live abroad and we realized that we needed extra support. Claudia was the first one on my list, then I called her I knew right away that she is the one. She is warm, calm, carring, knowledgible person with beautiful accent and good sense of humor which is super important for us. She agreed to help us, even though she lived an hour away. We met once after our conversation over the phone to go through my birth plan and all the details, whenever I had any questions or concerns I called her or texted she always helped me. Then the big day came, I called Claudia, she came over to our house, showed me great poses during contractions to ease the pain, gave me back massages, used her Mexican towel on my belly, instructed my husband what to do, we actually were having a good time. Finally my water broke and she said it’s time to go to the hospital. Then we got to the hospital it’s only 10 mins away, doctor checked me and asked how many kids I had. I said this is my first one, they were in shock – I was 9cm dilated!!!!! I’m so happy we stayed home for so long, without Claudia being there with us we probably would be at the hospital way earlier. She made me feel very comfortable and just knew what to do, when and what to say. And then time for pushing came, she was there for me. She hugged me, hold my hand, talked nice things in my ear that I wouldn’t think about the pain. It was like having my mom next to me. She stayed with us after the baby was born, wanted to make sure we were OK. She is the best! Very professional and loves what she does. Thank you Claudia! Audrone, Shay and baby Emilija Posted 4/21/2018

Writing words here can not do justice to our experience with Claudia. She joined our family the day we returned from a 5 day stay at the hospital with our 3 week old newborn who contracted RSV and struggled to breathe properly— while we were somewhat uneasy with someone we didn’t know watching our son at such a critical time, we were fully exhausted from many sleepless nights and knew we needed the help. The instant she walked in our door, she brought such a sense of calm that eased our minds during one of the scariest moments in our lives. That sense of calm carried over into each additional visit. She would do the overnight shift to allow us the occasional break, as this was our third child! It was our most anticipated night or nights each week! Moreover, she truly cared about our son, which was always evident in her dealings with him. 

Her open and honest communication allowed for easy scheduling, helpful tips and most importantly, allowed us to rest comfortably. We highly recommend using her for any of your doula needs- and certainly will be should we decide to go for number 4!” Melissa L. Posted Doulamatch 4/2/2018

“Claudia, you are incredible at what you do – it is definitely your calling. We couldn’t sing your praises any more than we do…” Melissa L.

“Claudia came to us highly recommended from our OB and as soon as we met her, we knew that we didn’t have to interview other doulas. She helped us with each stage of the pregnancy: assisting us in our preparations for birth, being a calming and reassuring presence when I went into labor, and supporting us after birth as well.

Claudia strikes the right balance between being professional and a friend. She was extremely informative and helped us understand what to expect at different phases of the pregnancy journey. She creates a very calm and approachable environment which allowed us to develop a well informed birth plan. From a husbands perspective, she helped alleviate the pressure of what to do during birth which allowed my husband to focus on my needs. Through this journey, Claudia went from being a doula to part of our family.

I’ll always remember how well she was able to alleviate my back pain during labor, and how she knew exactly what to say when my doubts arose. She took the time to really get to know me and my husband.  She’s dedicated, reliable, experienced, and loves what she does. It really doesn’t get better than this!” Krishna & Rupal

“As a midwife, I want all of my clients to have the birth they dream of. Claudia was a strong yet gentle force, providing support and encouragement and holding space so beautifully for a laboring mama who did finally get the home, water-birth she dreamed of!  Claudia quickly became a seamless member of the birth team and I hope to work with her in the future.  I would wholeheartedly recommend Claudia to anyone in search of a doula.”                 Liz Clarkson

   

Dear Claudia, where do I begin? How about with a word of thanks from me and my husband? As we reflected on a birth of our daughter Lyra this past Tuesday (November 28th), we have agreed that we could not have had such a beautiful birth experience without you.

As you know, I always thought that my pain threshold was not very high (perhaps I need to give myself more credit). I prepared myself for the worst: a never-ending journey filled with unbearable pain, followed by an emergency c-section. What I wanted, however, was a vaginal delivery with short labor and somewhat manageable pain. That is exactly what I got and I thank you for it.

When I think back to that evening, I realize that your presence and knowledge supported me as I coped with pain. By using various techniques and helping me establish the necessary mind-body connection, the pain was manageable and the labor was short. Certainly, the contractions were painful but, again, the key word here is manageable.

As I further reflect on my birth experience, I am grateful for the little things you did to help me: a touch of lavender oil, a wet towel, making me sip on water, even counting to 10 during the pushing stage. Visualizations, relaxing into pain as opposed to constricting, reminding me to take deep breaths as opposed to holding my breath-all those techniques were invaluable during labor. They may sound hokey or silly but I assure you-they made a huge difference. I can’t tell you how happy I was with how fast my labor progressed (5:30PM – to the hospital, 10:26PM the baby was born). I remember the hospital staff saying what a great job you did-I literally walked into the hospital at 8cm dilated!

I also want your potential clients to know the work that goes into being a doula. Just the planning stage alone is critical. Thank you for meeting with me two times before labor and getting to know me and my wishes for my labor and delivery. Being a doula takes tremendous dedication and selflessness. Your work ethic personifies what it really means to be a doula.

I think every mother deserves to have a doula like you. My labor experience is yet another proof that doulas make a huge difference in the length and the quality of labor.” Daria P.

Postpartum only: “Claudia was a lifesaver. My husband and I were in desperate need of some  sleep, so she came to our home to do the overnight shift for our 7 week old son.  Each night I felt confident going to bed and not worrying about leaving him with her. Each morning she recapped the night with me and offered suggestions which were very helpful.  She took great care of him and showed such interest in his well-being. We are forever grateful for her help during this journey.” Amy W.

Claudia was my doula for the recent birth of my son—and she was totally and completely worth the investment. She came with high recommendations from my midwife, and she did not disappoint. She learned about me, my husband, and us as a couple in depth to be able to provide the support we needed during labor, as well as knowledge about pregnancy, birth, and early childcare. She was there when I called her at 4am on the way to the hospital and for the next 14 hours was caring, attentive, supportive, and brilliant. When I was having back-to-back contractions her hugs were about the only thing that made me feel better (seriously, they reminded me of my mom!), and she found amazing ways for my husband to be able to help (including having him crawl into the bed with me to hold me when I was reaching a low point). My husband is normally unsteady when it comes to anything medical but Claudia helped to prepare and support him so that he could be an amazing birth partner as well, and by the end he was so involved and doing things he never thought he would (e.g., watching the crowning, cutting the cord). It’s amazing how someone I literally have been with 4 times felt so close to me during such a raw, emotional, and vulnerable time, but I can’t imagine having gone through labor without Claudia. Claudia brings that beautiful combination of genuine warmth and caring along with clear knowledge about the science of birth that I was looking for. I would hire her again in a second for any future births!” Katie R.

I can’t imagine this birth without Claudia!
Pre-birth she provided us as first time parents with great education and exercises to build our confidence. She helped me process my fears and was so generous with her time and support. During the birth, she was incredible – comforting me as a mom, helping me through a tough labor, and making my husband the best coach I could have had.
No one should do this without a doula! Claudia was a champion for everything we wanted and helped put all parts of the process into perspective – before, during and after. Claudia is kind, funny, smart, compassionate and clearly on a deeply felt mission to support families during this time. She obviously loves what she does. She was a true gift to us and we’re so grateful.” Maren

“When the doula I had hired was out of town for our (unexpected) early birth, Claudia stepped in and hit a home run. She was caring, sensitive, and connected immediately with me and my family. She was right by my side the entire time, encouraging me to try different labor positions and reaffirming my desire to have the birth experience that was right for me. She was supportive with each and every decision without judgement. She wrote a beautiful letter detailing the events of that day and night that I will cherish.  Since the birth, Claudia has remained supportive and goes out of her way to help connect me with resources to thrive in the postpartum period.” Megan M. 

“I was introduced to Claudia as a back-up in case my doula would still be out of the country when my baby arrived.  As it turned out, my baby came early and I was so thankful Claudia was a part of our special day!  Claudia is warm, knowledgeable and passionate about being a doula and truly “mothering the mother.”  She was a great support through my labor and especially post partum when I really needed it most.  I consider myself lucky to have met Claudia and strongly recommend her to anyone looking for a caring, compassionate doula!” Victoria L.

We are second time parents in a quest for a positive birth experience for our second baby. We had out first little girl 18 months ago and we were less than happy with a few aspects of the delivery: mainly the support/guidance we received from the nursing staff, the results we got with the epidural, and the lack of transparency from the medical professionals during the whole process. With our second little one, we had the opportunity to do things a little different. After a lot of extra reading online and talking to families and professionals in our area we decided to give a go to a few new things: obviously we changed gynecologist and hospital, but in addition we decided to learn hypnobirthing and having a doula (Claudia). Our feedback to everyone after working with Claudia would be: you WANT Claudia in your corner. It does not matter how easy or hard your pregnancy or delivery are, Claudia will make them better. She came home twice during the pregnancy and gave us a ton of practical advice and exercises we rehearsed throughout the pregnancy. On the day of the delivery she was with us at the hospital by the time we were checking in at 3:30 am. She was reassuring, communicated clearly, effectively, and was also very familiar with hypnobirthing and all aspects of the delivery process (baby’s position within the belly, things to do during the labor to progress appropriately and what feelings the mom could expect were some of the highlights). Claudia was knowledgeable, and had an excellent sense for when she had to step in and help, and when to step out and let us just have our space. Even our gynecologist commented on how helpful and intuitive Claudia was. My husband and I are both really thankful that we found Claudia to help us down this process. We have had a wonderful experience this time around. Claudia has a true gift to make birthing an enjoyable, positive experience.” Hugo M.S.

“My husband and I we’re given advice to have a doula during our pregnancy experience because of issues during our first pregnancy; were so glad we did! Claudia was wonderful with everything! We couldn’t have asked for better support. she taught us things we could do to be comfortable at home, ways to cope with pain, and how to have a peaceful environment! I would recommend anyone to have her caring nature and knowledge during this very delicate process! Thank you Claudia, you came highly recommended and didn’t Disappoint!” Ashley-O.-F.

                     “Claudia supported my husband and I throughout the prepartion for and delivery of our first child.  She was an incredible support to us during this time and she helped us make our daughter’s delivery special and fulfilling to us.  During our second and third trimester, Claudia got to know us and our labor preferences and then she worked with us in our home to help us prepare for labor and taught us various coping techniques that we utilized during labor.  She would check in with me regularly to see how I was doing and she was there for me whenever I had questions.  Claudia was a great asset to us during my labor, which ended up being difficult due to the baby’s position. She was respectful of our medical team while still being a supportive counselor to both my husband and myself.  I would highly recommend Claudia to anyone looking for a supportive and loving doula.  What stands out to me was the patience and kindness she showed us.  She went above and beyond our expectaitons and she cared for us so well that we felt as though we were her family members.” Jane B.

                              

Everyone should have a doula. Claudia went above and beyond to help me after I was “discharged” from the hospital in the beginning of labor for being only 2 cm!” I ❤Claudia” Natalie V.

You are the wonderful doula who stayed with my children and supported them through all this time! I can’t thank you enough!” new grandma

                  “My husband and I felt that having a medication free, natural delivery would be best for our baby. Claudia worked with both of us before delivery to help her understand what pregnancy exercises and natural pain management tecniques would work best for us. She is well-versed in spinning babies, ribozo, and natural labor induction methods.  Upon arriving at the hospital for an induction a week after my due date, I was nervous, but Claudia put me at ease and reminded me that I was capable of having the natural birth we hoped for. During labor and delivery Claudia was calm and encouraging. When my contractions became very intense, she suggested various positions to make me more comfortable. She also stayed with us and followed my progress the entire time.  I felt safe and at ease with her there as there were long periods of time in which the nurses and my midwife were not present.  I know that without Claudia’s unwaivering support and encouragement, I would not have been able to have the successful medication free natural delivery that I did. My husband and I are forever grateful for all of her time, effort, love, and nurturing. We would highly recommend Claudia to any mom and/or couple navigating the birthing process. Meaningful beginnings helped our family have the birth we hoped and planned for. Avery, Andrew, and I can’t thank Claudia enough for the wonderful experience we had! We love you!”                                                            Liz & Andrew

                                                                                  “As a husband, I found it particularly helpful to have Claudia with us during labor and delivery. As a new parent, although we took birthing classes, nothing can prepare you for what labor will actually be like. I found it extremely helpful as a father to have a doula present during labor and delivery. Without Claudia, my anxiety would have been apparent to my wife, which would have made her nervous. It was reassuring to know that my wife’s pain was normal and Claudia helped me help my wife with various relaxation methods to help my wife know that I was supporting her.”  Andrew

                                                                             “It was my first baby and Claudia was just what a first time mommy needed. The calmness and supportive nature not only on the night of delivery but throughout the latter stages of pregnancy was extremely helpful and beneficial for us. Sometimes becoming new parents can be a daunting experience, but it should not be and Claudia constantly reminded us of this.
You were my friend, my confidant and there was one moment in particular in the delivery room where you were just like a mother to me. The pain was very intense and the doctor said not to push and only you could give me what i needed, the assurance that i can make it through and not push. You kept reminding me of how strong of a person I am and all I’ve been through and that I could make it through this and to finally be holding my beautiful baby girl. You are officially a part of our little family. We love you!”
Love always
Bella, Austin, and baby Holly

Thank you so much! I don’t know how she would have gotten through this without you!” new grandma

Well done, Doula (Claudia)! You have a great connection with the patient. She listens to you and works well with you! Great job!” attending anesthesiologist Capital Health Hopewell

Claudia was very supportive and connected very well with the patient. She was very calm and reassuring and helped to decrease the patient’s anxiety.” 5/5 rating, attending nurse, Hopewell Capital Health

Services

My Birth Doula services include

  • One free, introductory meeting at a coffee shop to get to know each other and see if I am a good match for your family, needs and personality
  • Once you hire me, I will be available for phone calls and emails during business hours in case you have questions or concerns
  • I will meet with you at least twice before the birth (2 hours each)  to help you develop a birth plan, work on personalized relaxation and comfort techniques, go over labor positions,  aspects of newborn behavior/ needs, questions etc.
  • From week 37-42 I will be on call (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • At the beginning of labor, I will support you on the phone and will join you either at home or your birthplace as soon as you feel the need for me to join you
  • I will continuously support you/and your partner throughout the labor and birth process no matter how long it will take
  • I will help you with getting breastfeeding started (if that is your choice) and understanding your baby’s first cues
  • I will stay with you for 1 or 2 hours after your precious baby’s birth or until you are both settled and well on the road to recovery
  • I will do one postpartum visit around 2-3 weeks after the birth to go over your birth and to make sure you are both doing well. I will keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression and will most certainly enjoy your baby!!
  • I will also continue to be available for any questions, concerns or professional referrals and resources for 6 weeks after the birth.

The fee for my Birth Doula Services is $1000.  A retainer fee of  $500 will be due when you sign the contract, the remaining $500 will be due at your second prenatal meeting ( around week 35- 37 of your pregnancy).

I’m committed to supporting all moms who would like a doula and will offer a discount  according to specific need or special circumstances.

Additional prenatal visits to help mom relax and be better prepared Combining all the comfort techniques & labor positions with relaxation/ breathing/ gentle birthing /yoga  like methods that I tailor specifically to the individual needs of the mom  so that she can enter into that same relaxation mode easily during labor                                       cost: $35 an hour

My Postpartum Doula services include:

  • One free, introductory meeting at a coffee shop to get to know each other and see if I am a good match for your family, needs and personality
  • guidance, tips and help with all aspects of newborn care, including newborn behavior, feeding clues, breast/bottle feeding, bathing, sleep etc.
  • helping you gain a new way of balance and normalcy during this time of big transition through emotional and hands on support
  • helping you understand and respond to your newborn’s clues and needs (physically and emotionally) and thereby deepening your mutual bonding
  • “mothering the mother” – offering you well needed rest to better recover and adjust to your new role as a mom
  • calm, nurturing and non judgmental companionship
  • facilitating you to find your own parenting style
  • help with laundry, meal preparation, shopping and household organization
  • loving attention for the siblings to help them adjust better to the new family situation
  • daytime (3 hours minimum),  occasional overnight care (10pm-6am)

The fees for my Postpartum Doula Services are:

  • $30* per hour (3 hours min.) – *$35 from Jan. 2020 onwards
  • $240* occasional overnight (10pm-6am) – *$280 from Jan. 2020 onwards