Sarah Paksima Photo

Sarah Paksima

DC Birth Doulas, LLC

Washington, DC Service range 40 miles

(301) 338-8143

htttp://dcbirthdoulas.com

Birth Fee

$1000 to $1500

Birth Fee

$1000 to $1500


Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula

Birth Doula Experience

40 years and 1121 births attended


Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of practice: Group practice with shared call schedule

Clients per month: 30 to 50

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
We have experience supporting families at George Washington (GW) University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, We do not attend births in Virginia at this time.

Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
We have experience at the Family Health and Birth Center.

Attends home births? Any Home Birth


College Education

BA/BS

MA/MS


Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Sarah Paksima- Founder and Board Member: Birth Kuwait, Lamaze Peer Facilitator Program

Fee Details

When you sign a contract with DC Birth Doulas, you hire a team of experienced doulas. You have an opportunity to get to know all of the doulas on your team through the monthly Meet the Doulas event, emails, and phone calls. One of the doulas from your team will meet you in your home for a prenatal visit. Depending on the on-call schedule, this same doula or a different doula will provide you with full labor support and immediate postpartum assistance with breastfeeding in the hospital. You will also receive a postpartum visit at your home by the doula that attended your birth. Please attend one of our monthly Meet the Doula events to learn more about how DC Birth Doulas can support your upcoming birth. Read more about us on Yelp https://www.yelp.com/biz/dc-birth-doulas-washington-2?osq=dc+birth+doulas

Washington, DC Service range 40 miles

Certifications for Sarah Paksima

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Sarah Paksima

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Katie Pick

1/31/2018

Working with the Doulas was one of the best decisions we made. My husband was skeptical as to why a doula would be necessary even after the "Meet the Doulas" event, but signed on because I was so interested. However, after our in home meeting with Casey that included her thoughtfully posed questions and insights on our chosen hospital, OB-GYN, and more, that yielded information than we were expecting, my husband totally understood the rationale for partnering with a doula. Casey was the perfect reminder that "you don't know what you don't know" and as first time parents, helped put us at ease about owning our experience. When my 40 week OB-GYN appointment resulted in the decision to be induced, Casey was immediately responsive and made time to go through each part of the induction process, helping us go back to my doctor armed with some additional questions.

At the last minute, due to a family emergency, Casey was unable to join us as our doula. She was apologetic and let us know as we were checking in for our induction that Jen would be taking over. Anticipating that the last minute change in plans might cause anxiety, Jen reached out to us right away and  put us at ease with her calm demeanor and gentle reassurance. 

My induction was unsuccessful and we had to make the difficult decision of moving forward with a c-section. I could not have moved forward with that decision without Jen's counsel. My husband wasn't sure how to support me and my emotional response to moving from a vaginal delivery to a c-section. Jen asked all of the right questions, gave me permission to feel and process the emotions I had surrounding the change in plans, and knew when to step up as an advocate with the doctor and when to allow my husband and I space to process. Jen was wonderful and the reason that our unexpected birth story ended up being the perfect birth story for us. We could not be more grateful! 

Andrea Schirokauer

1/5/2018

 

I was somewhat on the fence about the need for a doula-- I delivered at GW, where the philosophy is to keep things as natural as medically possible, and I was open to getting an epidural if needed. I did not envision the doula's role as going so much beyond pain management... until Casey, and later Jen Finn came along and turned labor and delivery into such an amazing, powerful experience.

From the moment I contacted Casey with my first labor-related questions, she was extremely present and made herself available to us 150%. I started having contractions Monday but only went into active labor by Thursday am. This meant countless calls and texts with Casey, who provided excellent advice and tips to keep things moving along while still at home. At the hospital, she spent an entire 24 hours with us, and adapted to our needs flawlessly (going from unmedicated to getting an epidural) and made the whole experience that much more wonderful and fun! (she even brought string lights to dress up the room!)

Jen Finn was also incredible and spent the last 7 or so hours with us, walking us through the actual delivery and providing much needed reassurance that things were going smoothly. Four weeks after giving birth to our son, we still keep in touch with them and receive much appreciated advice on the many (and often-times complicated) changes happening in our lives as we adjust to our baby. Their compassion, commitment, and dedication not just to each client but to what it means to be a doula, are simply outstanding.

Please do not hesitate for one moment to hire these ladies!!

  

Liz Palka

12/12/2017

This review is for DC Birth Doulas II and Casey! A more detailed version can be found on Yelp.

I went back and forth on whether I should hire a doula. I knew I wanted one with us for our birth, but didn't know if we could afford the extra cost. After having a long talk with one of the doulas on the phone, and attending the birth workshop, I finally decided to hire DC Birth Doulas II around week 32-33 of my pregnancy.

And boy, is it a good thing we signed on with DC Birth Doulas because our birth DID NOT go according to plan. We had an awesome prenatal visit with Jen G. at our apartment. She was warm, relatable and put our minds at ease. What none of us could predict is that my water would unexpectedly break 4 days later at 34 weeks 6 days gestation - while my husband was out of the country for work! Enter Casey!

Casey made it to the hospital fast and it was as if a longtime friend was walking through the door. During my high stress birth where my baby was coming 5 weeks early and my husband was a LONG plane ride away, she managed to keep me calm, comfortable and laughing. She helped me navigate the hospital experience like walking the halls during contractions, explaining different procedures and supported me physically and emotionally. She was a godsend. Not to mention, the nursing staff loved Casey and was very impressed by her.

Despite being nearly fully dilated and wanting a natural birth, I ended up getting the epidural because of the baby's painful positioning. Casey supported my decision and after the birth validated why I made the right choice, which is something a new mom needs after having a stressful, painful birth. Having Casey there with me was invaluable.

In the end, my husband missed the birth by about five hours. I am OK with it because of the beautiful experience Casey helped create for me with the birth of our daughter. Plus, she's been available for me by text/phone ever since.

Natalie Levine

12/6/2017

Hiring DC Birth Doulas was one of the best decisions I made regarding the delivery of my daughter. I had a very long and intense labor and I know my husband and I couldn't have made it through as well without Lindsey and Mary with us. They supported both of us in so many ways - they helped us make decisions about my care, supported us both mentally and very physically, and supported us postpartum at the hospital and a few days later. I would highly recommend the practice to anyone, particularly first time parents who may not know much about labor and delivery, may have strong preferences for their labor and delivery, or anyone who needs additional physical and emotional support. 

Mariana Health Coach

12/4/2017

DC Birth Doulas was one of the best decisions we made for that big day. They are all really helpful, trustworthy and know a lot. We felt really confident of having them as part of our team. They are very responsive no matter if it is an emergency or not and are always willing to help and accomodate to your own personal needs. I wouldnt think of anyone else form my special day. 

 

Maggie Stahl Wells

12/1/2017

My husband and I found the DC Birth Doulas through a recommendation from one of his coworkers, and decided to work with the DCBC after attending one of their info sessions for the birth of our first child.  A month or so after we signed on, I was diagnosed with cholestasis, which meant that I would have to be induced at 37 weeks, and our dreams of an intervention-free, natural birth would not come to fruition.  At our home visit with Sarah, she was so helpful as we emotionally came to terms with this realization.  

My induction was long and difficult, lasting nearly 4 days.  Sarah and Lindsay took turns supporting my husband and I the entire time.  I can say with confidence that I would not have made it through those 4 days without their support.  They were kind, encouraging, knowledgable, supportive of our wishes, and knew when to advocate for us to hospital staff when we were too tired to do so ourselves.  Their abundance of techniques helped me make it through 4 days of induction, which resulted in our daughter being born vaginally as we had hoped.  Though this process was hard work, it was also anxiety-free, which I attribute wholly to the fact that we knew we were in good hands with our doulas.

I cannot imagine having a baby without the support of such wonderful doulas, and my husband and I absolutely recommend DCBD to anyone who is soon to be welcoming a baby into the world.   

Madeline Magnusson

11/20/2017

I am a first time mother who gave birth three weeks ago. DC Birth Doulas is amazing. I worked with Jen F. I cannot reccomend her enough. She was amazing and so helpful. As a first time mother, I was very nervous about pregnancy, and the prospect of giving birth. Jen eased my worries throughout my pregnancy. Every question I had was answered quickly and thoughtfully. She was always easily reachable by email or phone. She made me feel calm and secure about my birth plan when she came for the first home visit.

When I believed i was going into labor, she was there by my side. When I was told I was not there just yet, she spent hours with me at my house guiding me through the contractions and teaching my husband and I the best ways to get me to the point that I needed to be. It made such a confusing experience easy and manageable.  She checked in regularly until I went into active labor two days later. 

I had a 19 hour labor. Jen got my husband and I through it. She guided me through contractions I never thought I could manage. She translated the medical language I did not understand. More importantly, she was the push I needed to get my daughter out. Near the end I was struggling to push, and was told I had the possibility of a c-section. It was the last thing I wanted. Jen was able to create the ideal birthing positioning and experience that I would have not known to ask for, along with the encouragement I needed to make it happen. 

She stayed with me after to make sure my baby took to breastfeeding well. I felt so supported and taken care of. It was really an incredible experience and I will be looking to DC Birth Doulas when I have my second. 

Emily Feltren

10/31/2017

My husband and I used DCBD for the birth of my daughter in Aug. 2015 and most recently again in Oct. 2017. As second-time parents, we felt more comfortable and confident through pregnancy and our second daughter's birth and may not have *needed* the Doulas in the same way as we had in 2015, but we are eternally grateful for the support of DCBD this time around. We chose to use DCBD II (an option that wasn't available in 2015). We met with Casey for our prenatal visit and connected with her well. She's funny, knowledgeable, and kind. During pregnancy, we ran into a few questions and concerns and Casey was great at responding to our emails and concerns. 

At 38 weeks, my water broke in the middle of the night. Jen F. was the doula on call. Although we had attended the Meet the Doulas event, we hadn't had the opportunity to meet Jen (I think she was attending a birth during the event!), and didn't meet her until I was on a stretcher being wheeled to a delivery room.  While one might think this would make for an awkward first meeting, it really wasn't. Jen was a friendly and supportive presence for us - even though we had never met her before! I had really wanted an epidural for this birth, but things moved much too fast. Jen was an awesome support to have in the room. She was a calming presence and reassuring extra set of hands as I moved through an intense labor. After my daughter was born, she stayed in the room for just the right amount of time, and seemed to sense the right time to leave us so that my husband and I could bond with our newest family member. During my postpartum visit with Jen, I shared some health concerns I was having and she encouraged me to contact my OB. I did so, and I've kept her in the loop about my progress. 

I highly recommend DCBD to new and experienced parents. If you can afford it, the monetary investment pays for itself through all the extra support during and after pregnancy!

Jacqueline Tutalo

10/24/2017

We had the best experience with Lindsey Uhrig and DC Birth Doulas. Lindsey was available to us before during and after the birth of our first son, Luca. I truly felt that we were treated with an extra special touch of care at the hospital. I thought Lindsey was a great coach who was able to keep me calm and keep everyone else feeling that they were a part of this miracle.  I have amazing memories of this day, due to Lindsey.  I can honestly say that this was the best thing that I did for myself during my pregnancy. I cannot recommend their services enough. 

Jessica Dankert

9/27/2017

[A more detailed version of this review is on Yelp]
I wanted to write this review because we deliberated a lot over hiring a doula for our baby’s birth, and it ultimately ended up being one of the best decisions we made. We worked with the DC Birth Doulas II group, and specifically with Jen F. for our birth and pre- and post-natal visits. We ultimately got a doula so we’d have someone present who knew the drill of labor and delivery, could answer our questions and provide perspective. From the first conversation with Jen F. at our prenatal visit, we immediately felt at ease about our decision to sign on with DCBDII. We were impressed already, but she really exceeded our expectations at the birth itself. I think this job requires a special personality and temperament, and we couldn’t have imagined a better fit. I think the DCBD doulas as a group are very mindful of understanding clients’ needs and expectations and responding appropriately to meet the need. Jen struck the perfect balance of being involved and providing essential support, while working with my husband and helping him provide effective support as well. Another benefit was just the consistency of having her there as we cycled through multiple shifts of nurses and doctors. We had taken birth classes, however I think we would have been kind of lost and clueless without her—there’s really no substitute for having someone there who’s trained, knowledgeable about what to do, and has been through the experience before. Jen in particular really went above and beyond in helping see us through to the conclusion of delivery.  Also, we appreciated that the involvement with DCBDII isn’t just a doula showing up for labor & delivery, rather what felt more like ongoing support—with workshops, email/phone contact, and pre/post visits. We found them very responsive, even providing helpful information on related topics.

Marisa Silveira

8/23/2017

We used Amy Ard's former doula group at the birth of our first child and we can't say enough good things about her and her colleague at the time. When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I knew right away we'd be hiring Amy's current group, the DC Birth Doulas. I had a very complicated and traumatic delivery the first time. I'm so glad I reached out to Amy at the very beginning of my second pregnancy. She helped me make some important decisions and find the support I needed to work through my feelings about my last experience. I chose to deliver with the midwives at Washington Hospital Center. The doula that came to my prenatal visit was Lindsey Uhrig, who was extremely warm and friendly. She was on call on the big day and provided crucial support during my very fast and intense labor (less than 3 hours of painful contractions). I chose to have an unmedicated birth and it was fantastic, but I cannot imagine what it would have been like without Lindsey (and the student doula she called in with my permission) in the delivery room. Lindsey provided emotional and physical support and kept my husband and I calm the entire time, even when someone from Anesthesia came in strongly recommending an epidural after learning about my previous complications. Lindsey has also been wonderful in the weeks following the birth of my daughter. During my pregnancy, I also had the opportunity to interact a lot with Elizabeth Schrader who, in addition to being a doula with the DC Birth Doulas, is an excellent prenatal massage therapist. I had several massage sessions with her during my pregnancy and I am confident they helped me relax and prepare my body for the delivery. Overall, my husband and I couldn't be happier with the service provided by the DC Birth Doulas!

Marisa Silveira

8/23/2017

We used Amy Ard's former doula group at the birth of our first child and we can't say enough good things about her and her colleague at the time. When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I knew right away we'd be hiring Amy's current group, the DC Birth Doulas. I had a very complicated and traumatic delivery the first time. I'm so glad I reached out to Amy at the very beginning of my second pregnancy. She helped me make some important decisions and find the support I needed to work through my feelings about my last experience. I chose to deliver with the midwives at Washington Hospital Center. The doula that came to my prenatal visit was Lindsey Uhrig, who was extremely warm and friendly. She was on call on the big day and provided crucial support during my very fast and intense labor (less than 3 hours of painful contractions). I chose to have an unmedicated birth and it was fantastic, but I cannot imagine what it would have been like without Lindsey (and the student doula she called in with my permission) in the delivery room. Lindsey provided emotional and physical support and kept my husband and I calm the entire time, even when someone from Anesthesia came in strongly recommending an epidural after learning about my previous complications. Lindsey has also been wonderful in the weeks following the birth of my daughter. During my pregnancy, I also had the opportunity to interact a lot with Elizabeth Schrader who, in addition to being a doula with the DC Birth Doulas, is an excellent prenatal massage therapist. I had several massage sessions with her during my pregnancy and I am confident they helped me relax and prepare my body for the delivery. Overall, my husband and I couldn't be happier with the service provided by the DC Birth Doulas!

Radhika Mohan

7/31/2017

We hired D.C. Birth Doula's for the birth of our first daughter. Lindsay was a great advocate for me with my family and in the hospital, where I was attempting natural childbirth. She helped me navigate medical choices and challenging family dynamics with ease, professionalism, and calmness. During such an important time, it's essential to have someone advocating for you and that's what she did, not to mention delivering my baby in the way I wanted!

Jessica Moran

6/20/2017

I was very happy with the prenatal support from Lindsey and the labor & postnatal support from Mary.

Lindsey really took her time and talked through all of our concerns and questions. For my husband especially, that visit was a turning point and helped him picture what birth was going to be like, and feel less anxious about it. I already knew Lindsey from yoga class, but it was really fun talking with her in her capacity as a doula, specifically about our concerns.

Mary was a wonderful, calming presence throughout labor and delivery, for me, my husband and my mom. It was great how she would explain what was going on, answer questions, remind me to breathe and relax my face, suggest other techniques, etc. She made sure we all ate after the birth, and had everything we needed. Navigating everything without her would have been way more stressful! And at the post-natal visit she again answered tons of questions and made sure we were all doing well.

Lori Metcalf

6/7/2017

I had a DC Birth Doula present at both of my births, and I highly recommend both having a doula and this doula group. 

For my 1st birth, Amy's calming and experienced presence was so crucial. She was with us from the beginning of labor; first on the phone, then coming to our house to help us decide when to go to the hospital, and then being with us through the whole labor experience. Amy knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth, but that I was also nervous about the pain and knowing when it would be the right time to request an epidural if I wanted it. I felt calmer knowing she would help us navigate the process. During labor, she taught me the techniques I needed to breathe through the contractions and when I was tired and my energy was fading, having her beside me and talking me through them kept me going. Having Amy not only helped me manage the pain, but because of her expertise and support, it was an empowering experience for me. Amy also helped us with breastfeeding and made sure we were settled in before leaving the hospital.

For my 2nd birth, hiring a doula was a definite. At this time, Amy was working with the DC Doulas team. My labor began in a different way because I needed to be induced this time. Again, I received great phone support from several of the doulas leading up to and during the inducement process, and when it was time for active labor, Sarah was so critical for helping me through the more painful contractions that I had this time around. Having to be induced made my second birth longer, harder and more painful, so Sarah's support was essential to help me manage the contractions. My husband and my sister were also very happy that Sarah was there to guide us all through this intense event.

I can't imagine going through either of my births without my doulas - they were such a key part of the births and I would highly recommend this team. 

Vera Krimnus

4/18/2017

The best things about having 50+ hour labor is that I had the joy of working with three wonderful doulas in this practice. My husband and I were not really sure about the whole doula thing in the first place but we are SO glad that we worked with DC Birth Doulas. Sara's presence from the first moment was calming and comfortable. She has a range of techniques to help with contractions (letting my husband both be fully involved and get a break when he needed it). She thought of everything and was ready to help in whatever way possible. Elizabeth came in after 30 hours into labor which I am sure can't be easy. She works magic with her hands (and is a licensed massage therapist) and helped us to ask all the right questions so that we felt comfortable with our medical decisions without ever being intrusive or pushy. Amy got to join us for the birth of our daughter. She made sure that everything was right post birth and didn't leave until we were happily settled in recovery. She knew what to think about and even took amazing photos right post birth that we wouldn't ever had thought to. My husband and I had also taken a birth class in the past and thought she was a great educator and not preachy on any one approach to birth. In short, the DC Birth Doulas are all amazing supports and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. They can connect you to me if you'd like to talk in more detail

Carla McGarvey

3/12/2017

We had a wonderful experience with DC Birth Doulas. Initially we went to a meet the doulas event to see if we were comfortabel with all of the doulas, which we were. We liked DC Birth Doulas because of the on-call type system they have, we knew we would get a doula for our birth who was well rested (as well-rested as they can be getting summmoned in the night) and that that doula would be able to stay with us through the duration of labor -- no matter how long it took.

We took a birth class with Sarah, Amy did our prenatal visit and Mary ended up being on call and attended the birth.  All were great, but we have a special place in our heart for Mary.  We have often commented about how different, not in a good way, labor would have been without Mary.  She was a constant, calming presence during the labor.  She knew the hospital and some of the nursing staff. Sometimes I felt like Mary could read my mind during labor.  Just as I was thinking some negative thought ("this is terrible, they are all lying about how well I am doing") Mary would say something that would reassure me and calm me down. Mary helped both my husband and I understand what was going on and she is the one who suggested I might be fully dialated and ready to push (I was).  I recommend having a doula to everyone-- the nursing staff change and are busy caring for multiple patients, doctors come in for a second, and spouses and partners need a break and some help too. I especially would recommend Mary and DC Birth Doulas to anyone. 

Karen Chandler

3/10/2017

Jen from DCBD II was my doula for the birth of my daughter, and I could not have been more grateful for her support.  I am a single mom by choice, so I did not have a partner to assist me in the delivery.  Jen came to my home as soon as I told her I was in labor, and she even drove me to the hospital in my car.  Knowing she would come to my home and take me to the hospital at the right time gave me huge piece of mind.  My labor was just over 24 hours from start to finish, so Jen was with me for a marathon session.  The physical and emotional support she gave was so important, and I give her a lot of credit for maintaining a positive birth experience for me.  Shortly after the birth, she even came to my home to make sure I was doing ok with the transition to motherhood (and gave me a much-needed nap!).  Because i was going into my birth without a partner, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to have a doula by my side.  What I didn't know was just how much better it would make my experience.  Thank you to DC Birth Doulas!! 

Kelli Brown

2/16/2017

After attending Meet the Doulas, we signed on to be a client with DC Birth Doulas. Our initial meeting with Elizabeth went really well, and we felt confident in our birth wishes. Sarah was the doula who attended the labor and delivery of our precious daughter Addison. As a woman going through labor for the first time, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a doula to guide you and your partner through the process. Sarah was instrumental. She was the best asset I could have imagined, talking me through the toughest parts, coaching my breathing and pushing, even getting dinner for us as we bonded with our new baby. I would highly recommend DC Birth Doulas. No matter how you want your birth to go, they will be a great support system and do everything they can to help (including literally holding you up while pushing!).

Whitney Treichler

2/16/2017

We were impressed with DC Birth Doulas from start to finish. We attended the “Meet the Doulas” event where we were introduced to the team and learned about their expertise and approach to L&D. We knew right away that they matched what we were looking for. Sarah was our contact through the process. She supported us when we were given some unsettling news (it turned out to be ok), provided advice for some not-so-fun pregnancy symptoms, met with us to discuss the birth plan and then was our doula during birth. We cannot say enough good things about her presence during L&D. Her soothing words, massage techniques and advice proved to be invaluable. She then met with us afterward to help with breastfeeding.

We highly recommend DC Birth Doulas to anyone who is looking for support before, during and after delivery.

Rachel Peric

12/14/2016

Finding someone to support you in the most important moment of your life is a weighty decision and it can be hard to know what you are really looking for.  From the moment I first spoke with the doulas at DC Birth Doulas, i knew I had found it - and that feeling continued to be validated throughout the whole experience.  Their awesome combination of knowledgable but flexible, compassionate, caring, responsive and completely there for you, even before you really understand what it is you need.  Their childbirth class was really helpful and offered a great combination of tools that my husband and I found really useful.  i had interactions with all of the doulas in the practice, and found each to be wonderful.   Sarah Paksima was who ultimately helped me bring my daughter into the world, and at every moment, I kept thinking to myself, 'what would I have done without her?'  She was truly wonderful, and along with some great nurses at GW Hospital, helped me and my husband to feel like we were superheroes.  That's the kind of empowering support you want to have and which every mom deserves to have.  I feel so fortunate to have found DC Birth Doulas and recommend them unconditionally.

Rebecca Knoche

10/28/2016

My husband and I had a great experience with DC Birth Doulas. Before the birth, our doula walked us through our plans and made us feel much more confident and prepared for labor. During labor, our doula was a calming, comforting and encouraging presence. I had a difficult labor; I had wanted to have a natural delivery, but after hours of intense pain and no progress, our doula supported me in my decision to have an epidural, which meant a lot. Soon afterward our precious daughter was born. I was so thankful to have our doula there to help me through the whole process and welcome our baby into the world. I would highly recommend DC Birth Doulas.

Kate Kelly

6/17/2016

I had a really fantastic experience with the DC Birth Doulas group.  They were quick to respond to email and phone calls and professional from start to finish.  I felt comfortable with the entire team (and prepared for the pending birth) through: attending the 'meet the doulas' session; participating in a day-long childbirth class; and the at-home visit to discuss a birth plan.

When I did go into labor, Sara Baum was a great coach/partner/support system throughout the 16 hours we were at the hospital together.  Knowing my wishes for a natural birth, she helped make sure we secured a room with a tub, and she helped me with tactics to experience (and make the most of) contractions.  She was able to read the room and my labor experience perfectly, being hands on when the situation called for it and in the background when that was more appropriate ... and all without me having to explicate what I thought I needed.  

During times when I was doubting myself, Sara knew how to tap into new reserves - and also when it made sense to suggest connecting with the midwife or advocating for me with the nurses.  I felt like she was a great champion for me and my husband throughout. In the end, I was fortunate to have a natural birth with a healthy baby.

Finally, Sara was great about checking in with me after the birth, both via phone and in person, to help me sort through the 'is this normal?' questions and provide support in those first few foggy days of a newborn.

Childbirth was an incredibly empowering experience, and I'm grateful for the role that the DC Birth Doulas played.  I'd recommend the practice to anyone.

Emily Livelli

6/9/2016

After having a doula present at the birth of our first child, we knew we wanted a doula with us for our second child, especially because I wanted to have a VBAC.  The entire DC Birth Doulas group was terrific - we knew Amy from our first son's birth, and I felt supported by all of the women.  From email questions to many conversations the day labor started, everything leading up to the birth was terrific.  Mary took a lot of time getting to know us and our preferences at our prenatal visit, and she was incredibly quick to respond to any questions, always with thoughtful responses.  When I went into labor, I got to talk with both Mary and Amy, and Amy was with us for the long haul - 18 hours of labor and she never once looked tired.

What is remarkable about this group is their non-judgemental, joyful approach to every situation.  Nurses and doctors respect them, and it felt like having a very dear friend with us the entire way.  Amy gently offered options throughout labor, helping me sort through everything the doctors and nurses were saying, and with her guidance, I had a tremendously empowering VBAC experience.  I would recommend DC Birth Doulas to anyone!

Carmen Quizon

6/8/2016

After a difficult (and doula free) delivery and recovery with my first baby, I knew I wanted a doula for my second. DC Birth Doulas were the right fit. As a team they shared resources during my pregnancy to help me prepare as best as possible for the birth, which included finally processing my first birth experience. At every step they were compassionate and skilled; even just attending an information session gave me the confidence I needed to seek out the birth for which I hoped. My medical care providers were thrilled with my doula choice too.


While I labored at home throughout the day, Sara Baum and I checked in via phone and text frequently. She arrived shortly after I told her I was ready for assistance, and the timing was perfect. After checking in on me, Sara knew exactly when to head for the hospital. Even small things she weighed in on made a big difference, such as what to keep handy in the car and how to handle parking at the hospital on a Saturday evening.


Sara was exactly what I needed in a doula. Her people skills allowed her to step in and offer guidance when I needed it, yet she never hovered or became too assertive. It turned out what I needed most was her emotional support; looking me in the eye to calm my fear and offering words of confidence to keep me going. That being said, she also anticipated my needs of physical support, water, juice, pillow adjustments, a cool washcloth, and more. After the (thankfully uncomplicated) birth of my daughter, Sara remarked on how cool and calm my husband had remained. That was in no small part because Sara’s work took a lot of pressure off of him, freeing him to engage in supporting the birth without distraction. They made a great team!

Géraldine GUILLEVIC

5/27/2016

When I moved to the DC area from California, I was pregnant with my third child. I didn't know anyone here and therefore I decided to work with DC doulas. They have been so helpful during the entire pregnancy and after, always responding to my emails and phone calls very promptly, giving me the best advice and info for any question that I had.
I didn't have an easy delivery at the end, but thank to Sara's presence, things were much easier. Sara has been like the sister I never had. She was there, kind and loving and leading me through each step with patience and respect.
These women are fairies!

Jason Hawke

5/27/2016

We really appreciated DC Birth Doulas. We were first introduced to them at a Saturday birthing clinic where we got lots of great information about the birthing process. Our labor was three days long and the Doulas sent a 'backup' doula so that we would have continous and supportive care. We really appreciated their care and would highly recommend them to anybody else looking for a doula.

Maria Arsenova

5/26/2016

After the birth of my precious daughter, I cannot say enough great things about DC Birth Doulas group. From the first introductory meeting, I had a very positive feeling about this group. I was not necessarily convinced of how helpful birth doulas would be, but I personally liked all doulas and decided to give it a shot. Once we signed the contrcat, my husband and I felt we needed a little bit more help and counseling.  DC birth doulas made sure we had all of our pressing questions covered (which was so helpful). If you are a new parent to be and you don't have any experience with babies, just talking to someone experienced is of great great help. Few references that we were given we totally used and found them valuable. When it came to the delivery, here is where I finally realized how incredibly awesome it was to have a birth doula. During the delivery, no one really steps up to provide you with needed guidance, instruction, breathing technique, etc. Doctors check up on you, sure. Husband really feels for you. But really, when it comes to it, the one person who I personally found to be so so helpful was our birth doula. Her presence and help made birth so much more manageable. I cannot describe it well enough. Needless to say, if I ever have more kids, I would without a single doubt will go to the DC Birth Doulas!

Ashleigh Sewell

5/25/2016

My partner and I hired DC Birth Doulas to help me through my first pregnancy and labor & delivery.

I ended up having a fairly easy pregnancy after the point that I had contracted them, so I did not make use of much of the pre-natal support and advice that they include in their services. I was starting to worry that we had paid a pretty decent sum of money for a service that I wasn't using fully... However, in the end, it turned out to be TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Even though I ended up having a super quick labor and delivery and had great midwives, I am so happy that we had the support and experience of Sarah in the delivery room. She helped my partner to be involved even though it was chaos at the hospital (No breaks between my contractions... Why, Mother Nature??). She also was a great at giving me pep talks and strategies to work through the pain. I ended up being able to give birth without the use of pain medications, which was my hope and "plan" going in. Immediately after the delivery, it was so nice getting help with getting a good latch right away, getting cleaned up, and decompressing a little. The morning following I realized I had a perfect, tight ponytail - it's the little things, and I know my partner never would have thought to do that for me (or been able to do it) :)

I think working with DC Birth Doulas was the right choice for me because I am extremely happy with the help that they gave during labor & delivery, and I realize looking back that, even though I did not use much of the pre-natal support offered, it gave me peace of mind to know that I could have.

Now, I get to hang out with the coolest baby all day!

Jen Becker

5/2/2016

     I was well aware when hiring DC Birth Doulas that labor never goes as planned. I had two babies without a doula and opted for an epidural with each - even though I really wanted to give birth without pain medication. My husband tried but had no idea how to comfort me during labor and the nursing staff was there to make sure the baby and I were healthy, not fulling my desired birth plan. So when I found I was unexpectedly expecting #3, I researched doulas and found DC Birth Doulas through a coworker.
     My birth plan was only "no epidural!" Amy helped me achieve that. It was so nice to have such amazing support and so much experience with me during labor and delivery. She offered peppermint oil to help with nausea and even though I normally don't prefer that smell, it worked like a charm. I now love peppermint aroma! I also love that I did finally have the labor I'd always wanted and discovered just how tough I really am! Best of all, she helped me bring my beautiful baby boy into the world (literally because the doctor didn't make it there in time, though the less than fantastic nurse arrived just in time to catch him).
     I cannot say enough about them or how great their support was. My husband didn't agree with my decision until he witnessed a doula in action. He admitted how wonderful it was to have Amy's support and how cool is was to see a natural labor and delivery. He said having a doula also helped him relax knowing someone with her level of experience was in the room the whole time with us.
     I wholeheartedly recommend them!

 

Jacqueline Dobranski

4/26/2016

My experience with Amy Ard of DC Birth Doulas was exceptional. I had a very difficult hospital experience and her advocacy and wisdom saved me from an early induction. They tried to induce me 2 weeks and 3 days early due to a bloodwork abnormality, and after 48 hours of failed induction, she advocated to get me home! She then attended my labor a week later when my water broke, and helped me to work through a traumatic experience that ended in an emergency C-section. When I finally got home a few days later, I had severe post-partum anxiety - a total shock to me and my family since my first son was a blissful home birth 6 years earlier. She came to my bedside that night and literally stayed up with me all night, held my baby, and helped me make it through the first of many traumatic sleepless nights, as I was unable to sleep even when my baby slept. She helped me to find a night nurse/post-partum doula and encouraged me to seek professional help. She has checked in with me and through it all been so compassionate, professional, and gone above and beyond my expectations. I can't recommend DC Birth Doulas highly enough - they are wonderful. 

Jennifer Olsen

1/2/2016

I hired DC Birth Doulas based on their many good reviews and after speaking with Amy Ard. This was my second time using a doula so I had some idea what to expect and what I was looking for. What I received was better than my expectations! I had a very scary, quick labor initally when I was only 27 weeks pregnant. I had literally hired the doulas 1 week prior when I went into labor. I called Sara Baum on a Sunday afternoon, 3 months before she was expecting a call from me. I later found out that they had vacation during that time and had no births scheduled at all. Well none of that mattered. Sara beat my husband to the hospital. From the moment she arrived, I loved her. She was calm, positive, and I felt like I was talking to my best friend even though I didn't know her at all prior. She kept me grounded and in the moment. She supported me when I had to have an epidural even though it wasn't in my birth plan to slow down my preterm labor. She empowered my husband to ask questions and talked through with me how I was feeling. In a non pushy way, she helped me to understand my own feelings and concerns and to be my own advocate. After the birth, she checked in on me almost daily as I adjusted to my son's NICU stay. Now, 6 months later, she still checks in. She's is clearly a doula because she loves it and she is truly good person who cares. I recommend her whole heartedly and if I do have another child, there is no one else I'd want by my side.

Jenny Petrow

10/2/2015

I hired DC birth doulas for my second baby. Amy attended the birth and she was exactly what I needed--a calm, reassuring and supportive presence providing emotional and physical support during a 14+-hour unmedicated labor. The midwife was attending to other births for much of the time so I was especially grateful for Amy's support. I also felt totally comfortable going to her with questions and concerns, both before and after the birth, and appreciated that both the doulas that I met with (Amy and Sara B) respected my choices without a hint of judgment. I would recommend DC Birth Doulas to anyone planning any kind of birth. They are awesome!

Mary Laura Calhoun

9/29/2015

We cannot say enough good things about our experience with DC Birth Doulas. We had hoped for an unmedicated birth, but at about 31 weeks I presented with high blood pressure, which meant at least an induction. At our prenatal visit, Sarah Paksima helped us think through how to make it as close to what we wanted as possible. When the day came and it turned out I would have an emergency c-section even before induction, Sara Baum came as soon as we called. We had imagined a doula would support me through painful contractions with counter pressure and other comfort measures. Instead, Sara turned into the most thoughtful and skillful grief counselor and recovery nurse. She kept my husband calm when I was in surgery. When I came out, she helped me breast feed for the first time and stayed with us all day. If we do this again, we'll definitely hire DC Birth Doulas.

Emily Feltren

9/29/2015

Hiring DC Birth Doulas was one of the best decisions we made for our pregnancy. We hired them early in our pregnancy, around 12 weeks, because we knew we'd benefit from extra support along the way. We emailed them several times during the pregnancy when questions or issues came up, including when we weren't happy with our OB practice and when we needed guidance about advice we were getting from our OB. They helped us work through questions we had and gave us advice to help us figure out how to advocate for ourselves.
We emailed mostly with Sara Baum during our pregnancy and met with Sara for our birth plan meeting. We felt very comfortable with her.

Since Sara was most familiar to us, we were a little nervous about having Amy or Sarah P. attend our birth, solely because we didn't know them as well (we had met them at the meet the doulas event just before we hired them). But our concerns were immediately assuaged as soon as we started working with Amy, who was on call for our birth. I called Amy several times when I thought I was having contractions, and she was calm and gave me great advice to help me figure out what was going on with my body and baby.

Amy is a huge part of the reason my husband and I are so happy with our birth experience. Amy was knowledgeable, calm, and attentive. She translated information from the nurses and doctors, explained what the monitors were saying, helped us both by getting us water, allowing my husband to get something to eat, etc. And she was incredibly helpful during contractions. I had originally wanted to try a natural birth, but by 6 cm I was seriously questioning whether I could continue without medication. Amy was able to help me remain calm and make the decision to request an epidural - and I am 100% confident that was the right decision for me. I would highly recommend hiring DC Birth Doulas. If we're lucky enough to get pregnant again, they'll be among the first people we call!

 

Stephanie Shep

9/21/2015

We used DC Birth Doulas for the preparation and birth of our first child and could not have been happier. Amy Ard was our Doula during birth and she was everything we had hoped for. She was attentive, caring, knowledgeable and my advocate every step of the way. Amy was there to answer any question and provide me with feedback without any judgement or pushing in one direction or another. I felt that Amy understood the type of birth I wanted and was very supportive of my wants and needs. During more stressful moments of the labor Amy was very calm and attentive, watching the monitor for the baby’s heart beat closely while keeping me calm by talking with me. My husband and Mother blended seamlessly with Amy and she was extremely respectful of the special role I wanted each party to play in my labor. After delivery Amy helped us have a successful breastfeeding experience, something I really wanted and was very happy to have had.


Prior to birth we attended the “meet the doulas” event, which served as a very educational and helpful introduction to the services of a doula and birth in general. We took the Childbirth class as well, which was very helpful and informative. I felt I had a solid understanding of what labor would be like, and my partner and I both had tools and techniques to use throughout labor afterwards. My husband would both highly recommend their services! This was definitely the best choice for our family.


Thank you Amy, Sarah and Sara!

jordan zappala

7/4/2015

We feel so incredibly lucky to have found Amy, Sara and Sarah.  We got to interact with all three at various points - from the intro session, the childbirth class, the intake interview and finally our actual birth - and we kept switching back and forth as to which we'd like to have at our birth (a sign to us that all 3 were equally wonderful.)  

But brass tacks: these women know their stuff.  They do not have agendas - your desired birth is their desired birth.  We ended up with Amy for our birth (our first) and without a doubt we couldn't have done it without her.  (sidenote: we were lucky enough to have a doula-in-training there as well, Michaela, so we felt doubly cared for).  Truly though, without Amy's steadiness and steadfastness, I would have caved and screamed for drugs, and generally had a much more anxious experience.  She calmly guided me through the right exercises to speed labor, the right positions to encourage my water to break, and of course as many comfort measures as a drug-free birth allows.  She was an amazing presence for my wife as well, who was much better able to help me get through the process rather than worrying about whether something was normal, etc.  Amy's aid encouraged our partnership, rather than detract from it. 

She was amazing once our babe was born as well, helping her to the breast to nurse and easing us into our recovery room.  She (and Michaela) never once acted like they'd been up without a break for 12 hours, with us from 9 pm until 11am the next day.  

In sum: hire these women immediately.  They are just wonderful.  

Siobhan McCabe

6/22/2015

After doing a lot of searching, my husband and I finally settled on going with DC Birth Doulas for the birth of our son. We attended their Meet the Doulas session and knew they were right for us. They struck the perfect balance of encouraging a natural birth while being realistic enough to know that things won't always go as planned. I ended up having some complications that caused me to be induced and be on bed rest in the hospital. Throughout this process I was in constant text and phone communication with the doula on call (with Sarah or Amy filling in the blanks that the doctors were to busy to), until I was moved to LDR at which point Amy came in person. Amy stayed with my husband and I overnight through a long and difficult labor, and Amy coached me through pushing. Amy's coaching was so effective that the doctor had to tell me to stop pushing because I was one push away from delivering and he wasn't ready yet! Amy's gentle care and guidance helped us through a very challenging and at times scary labor. My husband and I agree that hiring a doula, specifically DC Birth Doulas, was the best decision we could have made. We can't recommend Amy and DC Birth Doulas enough! 

Laura Basford

6/18/2015

We had a wonderful experience with Amy Ard at our c-section birth. We had hoped to have a natural vaginal birth but our baby was breech. Amy supported us through the unsuccessful external version procedure and was there to provide us with excellent assistance getting started with breastfeeding right after the birth.  She was a wealth of knowledge about our hospital (Shady Grove), the version process, the c-section process and breastfeeding. She asked thoughtful questions of the nurses and hospital staff and generally made the unpleasant version procedure a lot less intimidating. We highly recommend Amy and the DC Doulas.

Bill Grimaldi

6/7/2015

i'm writing this review on behalf of my wife and I, who worked with DC Birth Doulas for the birth of our first son in April.

We found all of the doulas to be professional and courteous during the meet and greet session, but we worked primarily with Sara Baum.

From the beginning, Sara was very responsive to our needs. She answered emails about a variety of topics - from working out logistical details to finding pregnancy-safe massage oils - immediately. When she came to our house for the pre-labor visit, she was very personable and gave us confidence in our ability to work as a team throughout labor.

Because of unforeseen medical circumstances, my wife was not able to do an unmedicated labor as initially planned. Sara was incredibly reassuring that we were making the best decision with the information that we had; she then helped us through a joyful and successful labor and delivery process. We were very happy to have her there with us!

After delivery, Sara stayed with us and answered our (many) questions. Even after that day, Sara came to our home, answered questions via email, and gave us any information or referrals that we needed. Her professional standing in the field and her kind, personable nature have helped her to become connected to even more great resources that we have been using since our son was born.

Honestly, we couldn't say enough good things about Sara and DC Birth Doulas! If we have another child we will certainly work with them again.

Elizabeth Tripodi

6/3/2015

We had the pleasure of having both Sarah Paksima and Sara Baum of DC Birth Doulas during the labor and delivery process at GW. Sarah Paksima endured over 30 hours of labor with us at the hospital and provided the support and positive energy that my husband and I needed. Put simply, she was amazing- experienced, focused, supportive, loving, and committed. She was truly a gift to our experience. Despite a long and arduous labor, Sarah remained in high spirits and helped to make the process enjoyable. In hindsight, my husband has commented to anyone who would listen that he could not have done this without her. I completely echo this sentiment. It felt so natural and so right having her there.

We also has the pleasure or working with Sara Baum during the actual delivery. Things went a bit off the rails after a long labor. The calming energy and support she provided at an otherwise tense and scary time were remarkable. She was calm, focused, and loving. I will never forget her holding my hand, especially when I saw fear in my husband's eyes. She had just come from another birth, and I never got a hint that she was tired. She was fully committed to being there. Again, we don't know how we would have done it without her, honestly.

Finally, we worked with Amy on our prenatal visit, and corresponded with her throughout the end of my pregnancy. She was always accessible and more than happy to answer any questions. Moreover, she was experienced and knowledgeable, offering comfort during stressful times, advice during confusing times, and humor at exactly the right moments. I truly enjoyed every communication with her. She really made a connection with us and was a true support to both me and my husband.

In short, I cannot recommend these women highly enough. They are professional, supportive, experienced, client-focused, and compassionate. I cannot imagine a better choice for expecting mothers.

Sarah Bryner

5/31/2015

My husband and I were DC Birth Doula clients for the birth of our son in May 2015. We chose this particular group because we wanted a group who would be supportive of us regardless of how our birth happened without pushing us into any one "preferred" birth outcome. The practice rotates between Amy, Sara and Sarah, and the doula who ends up with you at delivery is mostly based on their schedules.  I ended up with Sarah Paksima, who was amazing.  She showed up at the hospital at around 12:30am (I had been induced earlier that day, but only recently had started feeling strong contractions) and helped me through active labor by rubbing my back.  Since I had been induced, I was hooked up to monitors and that limited my mobility, but Sarah was able to help me relax in spite of that.  I also had gone through several days of a failed induction earlier that week and she was an accessible and knowledgeable presence via text, which I hadn't really been anticipating.

Ultimately, I ended up with an epidural and an instrument delivery.  Sarah was great at helping me push through the epidural, and was also just a supportive presence to talk to and ask questions of during the rest of my labor.  And, after my son was finally born, she helped me with breastfeeding and showed me how to get a good latch.  Regarding the epidural, I had gone into this not wanting one, but after hours and hours of no progress, both Sarah and the midwife who was on call at the time thought that the epidural made sense.  It was nice not to feel judged or like a failure when I made that decision.

With DC Birth Doulas, you get a "pre" meeting (they come to your house; Amy did mine and was awesome), you get the doula with you during whatever part of labor you need them for, and you get an hour-long follow up.  The follow-up was actually really helpful.

If I were to have another kid in DC, I'd choose them again in a heartbeat.

Lindsay Dreyer

5/18/2015

I absolutely got the birth experience I was hoping for with DC Birth Doulas and specifically Amy Ard. From the orientation night to post-partum visit, it was great having them on our team. This was our first child and I had no idea what to expect. These ladies were there to answer any questions I had and assuage my fears. During the delivery Amy was a great coach for me and my husband. Thank you for taking such good care of us before, during and after delivery! We will absolutely be back for baby #2!

Allison McMillan

5/18/2015

Originally, my husband and I weren't sure if we wanted a doula and debated having a family member act as a doula instead of hiring an experienced person. I am so incredibly happy that we didn't go that route and that we worked with DC Birth Doulas. They were absolutely incredible. Throughout my pregnancy, Sarah, Sara, and Amy were incredibly helpful providing insight and support and answering questions quickly when I had them. I was also able to borrow a bunch of books from their lending library that helped me prepare for childbirth and caring for a newborn.

I went into labor about a week late. It was a fairly long, difficult labor. Sara B. was on the phone with me from the very beginning. As the pregnancy progressed, she came to my house and helped my husband and I make a plan of action for continuing to cope with the pain at home and when to go to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital, she helped navigate what was going on, supported my husband and helped me tremendously. I'm not sure I would have gotten through a natural birth without her!!

Finally, Sara was very supportive after I gave birth. I experienced a few challenges in the week following the birth and Sara was constantly checking in, providing encouragement, and really helped build my confidence as a new mother. I am so grateful for DC Birth Doulas and would definitely work with them again and recommend them to anyone. 

bianca perez-finlelstein

4/28/2015

DC doulas were an invaluable part of my labor experience. They are an amazing team! In the months leading up to birth they were available by phone and email and offered great advice and tips for managing the birthing process. I was in labor for 38 hours and my doula was by my side through it all... she even endured TWO sleepless nights with me to help me through a very long and difficult labor. Although the birth did not happen as I had hoped (was trying to avoid pain meds), 30 hours into labor Sara helped me reach my decision to take the epidural and made me feel like I did not fail in any way. As hard as it was for me to change my birth plan, it was absolutely the right decision for me and my baby - and I am so glad Sara was there to help me feel good about my decision. 

I had the opportunity to interact with all three doulas before my birth and I honestly think highly of all of them. But having had Sara by my side for those 38 hours - I can attest that she is an angel. My husband and I were so grateful to have her!

 

Kristen Hamilton

4/26/2015

My daughter was born on January 9th, 2015, and I was extremely happy to have DC Birth Doula Amy Ard by my side at Sibley.  My labor had moved along more quickly than anticipated, so by the time I got to the hospital it was time to start pushing.  I felt a bit overwhelmed at the thought of an unmedicated birth.  Amy came in and immediately provided support and comfort. Within the first five seconds she switched off a light that had been shining in my eyes- I didn't even realize it had been annoying me!  She and the nurses worked with me on positioning.  Once in place, she stood on one side and my husband on the other, and they each provided me with physical support for the two and a half hours of pushing that ensued.  My husband was reassured by her guidance and was an active participant.  I really felt like we were a team of three, getting the job done, along with the medical staff.  Amyoffered me water and leg massages in between pushes, and kept me well informed as to what was going on, which was important to me.  Due to meconium release in the womb, once delivered, my baby was immediately whisked away to the other side of the room for cleaning and treatment.  At that point I was so happy and full of peace (thank you hormones) that I didn't mind, but Amy was keeping an eye on the time and grew concerned that they had her away from me for too long, unnecessarily.  She advocated (via my husband) for her to be returned to me as quickly as possible for nursing. She assisted with the first latch.  She then gave us time to be a family on our own and was a huge help in getting our things together and settled into the recovery room.  She provided support and advice in the days that followed as well.

My experience was wonderful, and though most of that credit goes to the baby herself, I have to say Amy was a big part of it as well!   

Sara Handy

4/22/2015

My husband and I became interested in hiring a doula after one of our close friends had to make a tough call about an emergency c-section. We were first time parents and I was hoping for an unmedicated birth. We attended a “Meet the doulas” event last fall and were completely hooked. The doula’s were down to earth and non judgemental. We hired them that day. It was so empowering to know we had the doulas as a resource while I was pregnant, during and after the birth process. We had our pre-natal meeting with Amy Ard. She knew what questions to ask us to help make our birth experience the best experience it could be.  My baby was breech and the doulas helped me figure out things to try to flip her over including positioning I could use and contacts for massage/chiropractor/acupuncture. I ended up going into labor 5 weeks early. My baby was still breech and I had to have a c-section, something that I was trying so hard to avoid. Amy Ard was the doula on call that night. I was immensely grateful for her calm demeanor and her knowledge. Having Amy there, even with a c-section, was invaluable. When I called my Mom to tell her I was going into surgery she commented later that I was so calm (not a particularly normal state for me). I credit Amy and my husband with that imparting that calmness. Amy could gently explain several things that were going on that would have been scary for me. She massaged my feet before I went into surgery. Because Amy was there, my husband could go with our newly born child while Amy stayed with me for the rest of the surgery. Instead of frustration and fear, my experience was one of joy and excitement. And it didn’t end there. The doulas responded to one panicked email after we got home with kind reassurance, to be sure that we felt comfortable with our new baby.  We will hire them again the instant we know we are pregnant if we have another child.

Yochi Dreazen

4/13/2015

We enjoyed every aspect of working with Sara Baum and found that her knowledge, kindness, and level of experience made the most intense moments of our lives far less stressful than they'd otherwise have been. She knew when to step in and be more actively supportive and when to step back and allow us to work together by ourselves. She also had a very good rapport with the medical staff, which helped ensure that my wife and I felt like we understood all options and were being given the shared advice of every caregivers there. Most importantly, it was clear that Sara cared about us as more than just clients. We would recommend her and her colleagues enthusiastically. 

Emily Afzal

4/13/2015

I had a fantastic experience with DC birth doulas and highly recommend them.

I went into my pregnancy with the full intent of having a natural, unmedicated birth but learned around 37 weeks that I would have to have a c-section because my baby was in breech position and stubbornly unwilling to flip.  I was devastated about this and reached out to the dc birth doulas team to simply notify them of the change to my birth plan.  During the final weeks of my pregnancy I spoke with Amy multiple times - both leading up to an ECV procedure (attempt to flip the baby manually) where she talked me through what to expect based on other clients with whom she had worked.  After the ECV was unsuccessful and it was confirmed that a c-section would be necessary, she helped me think through some of the logistics of the c-section and educated me a bit on my options, specifically in the context that attempting a VBAC with future pregnancies was important to me.

I wound up going into labor naturally before the c-section and had about 5 hours of contractions.  Sarah P. was present for the hours leading up to the surgery, during which time she did a fantastic job of helping to relieve my pain and also ease my anxiety about the procedure.  While I believe it's atypical for a planned c-section patient to have a doula present, I would have still signed on with the DC birth doulas team had I known at the beginning of my pregnancy that the outcome would be a c-section. 

Sarah was an incredibly comforting presence to have there with me throughout such an anxiety-inducing event, and she did a fantastic job of keeping my husband involved in the process and making us both feel at ease.  We were joking around and laughing far more than I ever expected going into a surgery I was so fearful of.

I will definitely be reaching out to dc birth doulas for my next pregnancies and cannot recommend them highly enough. 

Lana Lunskaya

4/3/2015

We had a wonderful experience with dc birth doulas.   We chose them after meeting and talking with a number of other doulas.  We loved that there was three of them and that we would not have to worry about an unknown backup.  In fact,  my labor lasted three days and we interacted with all three of them.  The transition from one to the other was seemLess.  In the end,  I credit them with helping me get the uneducated birth experience I was seEking.  Their service is worth every penny.  All three are wonderful commission's human beings,    a quality often lacking in the medical professionals who wor in labor and delivery and one which is very necessary during labor.  I would highly recommend these ladies.  

Sara Mills-Knapp

3/28/2015

I had an incredibly challenging labor and delivery (almost 40 hours, 4 hours of pushing and finally a c-section) and while it was not how I pictured it or what I would have wanted, with Sarah P as my doula I felt that my interests were well represented and my husband and I felt supported to make challenging decisions in the moment. We could not have done it without her. Her calm, constant and reassuring presence, strong support and great comforting techniques and ideas got us through many hours of unmedicated back labor. And she was incredibly supportive when it came time to decide to go for the epidural. She maintained a respectuful and productive relationship with all of the midwives, nurses and eventually OBs that were involved. I have never felt closer to a what was essentially a stranger in such an intimate setting, that is truly a gift and a great quality in a doula.

All the DC Birth Doulas have these qualities and I would have felt very comfortable with any of them at my birth. I can't recommend them highly enough- professional, considerate and kind. 

Danielle O'Steen

3/20/2015

We had the pleasure of working with Sara Baum for both our prenatal visit and our birth, and she was spectacular. She brought the perfect energy to our birth, and kept me focused when I needed it the most. She seemed to know what I needed at every stage and was enthusiastically by my side throughout the entire process. Though it was far from easy, I'm thrilled at the outcome of my son's birth—it was exactly what we had planned for—and I know Sara was an incredibly important part of making that happen. My husband was also thankful for her support and for bringing needed expertise to the entire process! 

Tania St-Laurent

1/28/2015

we were very happy with our birth experience. Those 3 girls know how to guide you true the whole process and we felt supported. Their passion and dedication made us feel secure. They are present and care abt you. It was nice to have someone who knows what is going on and can give you some advices. 

Sarabeth Zemel

1/25/2015

My husband and I decided late in the game (36 weeks!) to try to get a doula for the birth of our first child. A friend had used one of the DC Birth Doulas (Sara Baum) for the birth of her second child and suggested I look into the group. We didn’t consider another doula/group, but I really have no regrets—DC Birth Doulas was fantastic.

The group’s approach to providing support was exactly in line with what we were looking for. Although I wanted to go for a natural childbirth, I knew that I might have to consider medical interventions or medications that hoped to not have to use—and that was OK with me. The group also seemed very flexible and did not have a rigid “natural childbirth or nothing” philosophy—which I was a bit concerned about as my husband and I considered whether to use a doula.

I now can’t imagine going through labor and delivery without a doula—the care and support I received from the hospital staff and providers was extremely limited. As first time parents, my husband and I would have been lost without a doula! The doula who supported us during my labor and delivery was Sarah Paksima. We had numerous calls with Sarah throughout early labor and prior to going to the hospital. I didn’t feel like I needed her as I labored at home, but I’m sure she would have been there had we needed her. She joined us at the hospital, where Sarah provided comfort measures directly to me, and also gave my husband suggestions and techniques for helping me get through active labor (about 7 or 8 hours). She helped us get through the first breastfeeding session after our baby’s birth. She also came to our house for a postpartum visit and helped us with breastfeeding issues (my main concern at the time). If you’re new to the doula concept, it may seem like steep fee to hire one, but I really can’t reiterate how much we feel that this was money extremely well spent.

Birth Availability for Sarah Paksima

= Available. Calendar last updated: 02-20-2020