doula, serenitybirth.com, prenatal yoga, yogaworks, midwife… mostly, birth and joy! After a few years on sabbatical from doula-ing, I am proud to announce “I’M BACK!” I needed the time away as I reorganized and settled myself through a personal and painful transformation of my own. Believe me, it pained me each and every time I turned away a mama who asked me to join her and her hubby through their journey for labor and delivery.

Now, I am back and fully present and ready to Sherpa expecting couples through the birth process again. I think, like most Birth Workers, the images and memories of the births we attend are so clear and forever stamped in our minds and hearts. I can walk into my local café in Hermosa Beach and likely bump into one of my many Yoga Mamas and/or birth clients! The shriek of excitement never fails. Then the second burst of “Omigod!” when I see their babies now running in soccer jerseys and pony-tails. I say, “she’s in 3rd grade, already? Really?!” And I have no doubt their mamas remember me as much as I remember them.

Here are some of my vivid memories that still inspire me today and reignite my philosophy and passion to TRUST BIRTH:

  • The mama who said to me when she hired me, “Just so you know, I AM getting an epidural!” During her first birth, she spent most of the time dancing in labor! I was her doula again, as she birthed her second baby, also naturally.
  • Supporting a mama after nearly 3 days of prodromal labor followed by induction…then when she was finally 10 cm dilated and the urge to push temporarily absent, I encouraged her to just sing in between contractions. And boy did she sing! Even a long labor like that did not compel me to quit my job as a doula.

It was when she sang the song, The Prayer by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli that the entire birth room was in tears, including the nurse! A few more contractions and she pushed her baby out while in the all-fours position, without pain medication.

  • I remember the couple that was bullied by their doctor into a Cesarean Section simply because after 14 hours, “it had been too long.” After hearing all the scare tactics and requesting Informed Consent, the daddy said to the doctor on the telephone, “We are refusing a Cesarean,” then hung up the phone. The birth room was quiet as we silently prayed and offered encouragement to the mama. The epidural was also turned down. Her doctor waited, on stand-by, in the doctor’s lounge. This mother pushed her baby out just 3 hours later!
  • frank breech baby, Dr. Stuart Fischbein, natural birth, vaginal breech delliveryWhat about the home birth transfer due to a Frank Breech baby (baby position head up)? The majority of these cases are automatic C-Sections, right? I have to admit, I was terrified, excited, nervous, all at once. I focused on guiding my client to stare at my finger and ‘blow feathers’ in order to resist the strong urge to push prematurely. What was striking to me was to witness how calm and steady the hospital staff and Dr. Stuart Fischbein were as he methodically and gently delivered the baby’s bottom, then legs, out came the arms and finally the head! The most INCREDIBLE birth to be a witness at! Ah-mazing! Oh, did I mention this Yoga Mama was un-medicated?! #Badass
  • The Hypnobirthing mama who looked so serene and peaceful in labor only to let out a few bearing-down grunts on the toilet. It was very obvious to me that her baby was very near. It was 3:45 pm and we needed to drive all the way from Manhattan Beach to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica. There was no way I was going to load them up in their car! A few minutes later, with 9-1-1 on the way, the dad prepared for the possibility of having to deliver his own baby! Once the baby’s head was out and the body was emerging he asked me, “Now what?”

I simply said, “Now catch it like a slippery football.” It was an unexpected homebirth. I placed warm, dry towels and a blanket over the mama and her baby (something I learned when I assisted midwife, Mary Lou O’Brien). The paramedics arrived to cut the cord and all was well.

  • The beautiful sight of daddy holding his baby boy and the baby grasping his pinky, as the doctors completed closing mom’s abdomen after the surgical birth. I sat and comforted my client and she sniffed a cotton ball with a few drops of lavender essential oil. I lovingly cupped her head with my palms and showered her with Reiki healing.
  • And then the mama who insisted on standing on the hospital bed, holding on to the birth bar. I loved that her doctor, Dr. Donna Richey, had no problem delivering her baby in this standing-up position. Talk about Stand and Deliver!

birth doula, prenatal yoga, Patricia Anaya, midwife, Dr. Fischbein, natural childbirthThese are just a pinch of the many memories I have that serve to remind me of the very necessary and important role a doula plays as an informational, emotional, and physical support during labor and delivery. I love that I am there, to witness women as they move through the transforming Sacred Rite of Passage and the look of awe and joy as their birth partners also tear up and celebrate birth!

Of all the jobs I have ever had (not counting being a mother myself, of course) being a childbirth educator, yoga teacher, and birth doula has felt the MOST like this is precisely what God put me on Earth to do. Natural births, VBACs, Cesarean, Premies, and 10.12 lbs babies…I was meant to be a Birth Doula. That is one thing I know for sure.

Wishing you lots of love and peace on your upcoming Labor of Love!