Type of Doula and focus of care: Birth & postpartum services for any and all members of the Ithaca community.
General structure of Doula services:
Birth Package: No two birth packages are the same. I strive to make my services responsive and flexible to your individual needs. That being said, a birth package typically includes:
3 Prenatal visits: These visits are a great opportunity to discuss your birth preferences, develop an understanding of how we can work together throughout your labor, and explore any questions or concerns you may have. I offer a free initial consult so you can get to know me, discuss your questions, your pregnancy, and your vision for this transition in your life. The second prenatal visit is an opportunity for me to get to know you; as well as an opportunity to identify what you need to feel prepared for birth, and link you with childbirth education resources. The third visit is an opportunity to prepare you emotionally and educationally for your birthing experience, finalize your birth plan, and to make sure you feel prepared for the postpartum period.
Birth support: As your birth doula you can reach out at any time. Starting at 37 weeks I provide 24/7 on call support. Meaning I’m ready to meet you at the hospital or home, to provide physical, emotional and informational support through the labor and delivery process.
3 postpartum visits: Postpartum care is all about you settling into your home and new life with your little one. In general, I provide a first day, third day, and 5-7 day visit. This care generally involves answering questions about newborn care, feeding, physical and emotional recovery, and referrals to community practitioners. Beyond that I offer household support such as running errands, laundry, dishes, etc.
Postpartum care: I provide hourly postpartum care as needed, beyond the initial 3 visits included in the birth package. It’s important to remember that as much as your newborn requires careful care and attention; so do birthing parents and partners! Thus I offer overnight, as well as day time postpartum support.
Why are you a Doula? My passion is, and always has been, in watching families thrive. I believe in comprehensive and continuous care…That a strong foundation of support from one’s community is what every family deserves. Birth and childrearing is a process. One which is ever-changing; and requires time, care, flexibility and focus. I became a doula to sit with and support you as you find your power, and your process. To simply be there with information, confidence, and care.
I learned about the joy of providing this unconditional support in my years of work with infants and young children. However, I found myself increasingly called to caring for parents. It became clear that support and care of the child, could not be separated from caring for and supporting parents. I went on to study at Hampshire College where my major was shaped around my passion for working with families. With Hampshire’s “make your own major” approach I studied infant cognition, early literacy and maternal health. Ultimately my thesis focused on physiological responses to support and connection, and community systems for increasing access to postpartum care. I moved to Ithaca a year ago where this learning has continued as I’ve become immersed in this community and the incredible group of women which make up the doula collective.
I became a doula to advocate for individual health care needs and decisions. To provide a safe and supported environment that allows for individual decision making and time to asses varying approaches. To provide support for birth partners and communication with additional family members to ensure that care is mother-centered. And to facilitate ease in transitions for the entire family.
Other Projects: Birth Prep: As your doula my goal is to support you in feeling prepared for welcoming a little one into your life and your home. This preparation can look like making a birth plans, talking about fears, excitements, and desires. But in the last few weeks it can also look like deep cleaning your house, organizing baby clothes, sibling care, installing the car seat etc. Sometimes its nice to have a little structured time beyond prenatal visits, and a helping hand, to tackle those projects you’ve been meaning to get to. This also gives us time to work beside one another, and get to know each other in a comprehensive way. This time can be whatever you want it to be.
Sibling support: My work with families began a decade ago as a nanny. I have an educational background in infant cognition, early literacy, and early childhood education. So that being said feel free to reach out for child care at any point in your journey. I am also available as a “sibling doula” as someone who is on call for sibling care during labor.
Testimonial: "Right from the very first phone call we felt that Natalie’s warm, enthusiastic yet calming personality would be a great fit for us. That proved to be true right up until the last home visit, when she watched our new baby boy so we could do some much needed housework.
Having a baby during the Covid-19 pandemic was a challenge, to say the least, but Natalie adapted and did everything she could to help us through despite the new hospital policy (due to the virus) not allowing her in the delivery room. She took our Facetime call at midnight when we were about to push, and her bright, optimistic energy was just what we needed at the time as she cheered us on from her home. It meant a lot to know she was rooting for us, and all of the well-researched reading materials and advice she gave us beforehand were super helpful, ensuring that we were well-educated throughout the pregnancy and going into delivery.
Natalie’s multiple visits during pregnancy and afterwards were a pleasure, and she was always professional, supportive and easy to talk to, helping to make the experience of having our first baby go relatively smoothly, even with our unique set of challenges."
-Patrick and Jaime Hughes (and Weston Hughes)
Training/Certification: Postpartum Doula Certification Program (Warm Welcome Birth, 2017); Birth Doula Certification Program (Warm Welcome Birth, 2018); Bachelor's degree in Family Studies ( Hampshire College, 2018); Certified Personal Trainer (National Association For Sports Medicine, 2020); Infant and Adult CPR & AED ( American Red Cross, 2020).
Birth package: $750 until January 2021. This includes labor aids such as teas, water, essential oils, lavender wrap, birthing ball, massage cream, sitz bath salts, and comfort foods for birth.