Dara DeSoto,CD(DONA)(HCHD) Photo

Dara DeSoto,CD(DONA)(HCHD)

Dara The Doula

Website: http://www.darathedoula.com/

Phone: 858-699-2710

Birth Fee: $1200 to $1600

Fee Details: Pay $600 of fee at signing of contract and full payment due at or before 38 weeks. Payment plans available at request.

Birth Doula Experience: 6 years and 200 births attended

Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula
  • Hypnobabies - Certified Hypno-Doula

Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of Practice: Partnership with 1 other doula

Clients per Month: 3 to 6

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
I have supported mom's at Best Start San Diego, Babies In Bloom Birth Center, Balboa Naval Medical Hospital, South Coast Midwifery, Beach Cities Midwifery, Orange Coast Memorial Fountain Valley, Kaiser Irvine, Kaiser San Diego, Kaiser Anaheim, Kaiser Downey, Saddleback Memorial Laguna Hills, Mission Hospital, Mission Hospital Birth Center, Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, Orange County Global Medical Center Santa Ana, Scripps Encinitas, Scripps La Jolla, Scripps Mercy Hillcrest, St. Josephs Anaheim, St. Jude Fullerton, Long Beach Memorial, Palomar Medical Center Poway, UCSD Jacobs Medical Birth Center,UCSD Jacobs Medical Labor and Delivery, Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women and Children and Pomerado Hospital Birth Center, Sharp Grossmont San Diego, Rancho Springs Medical Center Murrieta
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
I am familiar with the service, support and well woman care at a variety of Birth Centers.
Attends home births? Any Home Birth
I have supported many mothers in the choice of a home birth with CNM's and/or CPM's as their attending care providers.

Childbirth Education Certifications

  • CAPPA trained postpartum doula

Breastfeeding Certifications

  • Certified Lactation Educator Counselor (University of California San Diego)
  • CLEC, Breastfeeding support and personal experience, Lactation Education Counselor training at UCSD

Other Relevant Certifications

  • American Heart Association BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification
  • CPR Certified - Red Cross
  • Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner
  • Neoantal-Adult CPR and BLS Certified

College Education

  • BA/BS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Adoption
  • Cesarean birth
  • Clients on bed rest
  • Expected stillbirth
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • High risk
  • Home Birth
  • Induced and high medical technology labor & birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Multiples
  • Over 40
  • Plus size mothers
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Prematurity
  • Single parents
  • Spanish Speaking
  • Survivors of Previous Life Trauma
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Teens
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth
  • Women and Families of Color

Special Services Offered

  • Abortion Support
  • Aromatherapy
  • Military famiies
  • Miscarriage Support (Before, During or After)
  • Parenting consulting
  • Satellite Doula (For remote and rural clients)
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Volunteer Birth doula for special circumstances

Languages spoken: English, some spanish

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Oceanside, CA
Travel Range: 55 Miles

Certifications for Dara DeSoto,CD(DONA)(HCHD)

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Dara DeSoto,CD(DONA)(HCHD)

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johanna neumann

I highly recommend Dara as both a birth doula and lactation consultant. Her assistance was invaluable at such a vulnerable moment in my life. During my lengthy 30 hour labor, Dara offered insight, knowledge, comfort and helped to relieve my stress. She even showed up the following day in postpartum to see how my husband, baby and I were doing. I really appreciate all that you did for us.

Posted 11/29/2018

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Ann Marie Mantey

Dara is amazing! The birth of my son was beautiful because of Dara's expertise, warmth, encouragement and presence. As soon as I met her for our initial meeting, I knew that I wanted her to be a part of our birth team. Her warmth and positive energy radiate and both my husband and I felt so comfortable and supported by her. She is a great communicator and helped us prepare for our birth and provided insight when I went passed my expected due date. Her many trainings in Hypnobabies and Spinning Babies helped me to get the baby into an optimal position for birth and there are no words for how integral she was at our birth. We were both so relieved when she arrived at the hospital and gently and confidently guided me into positions to move me through labor. She worked beautifully with the nurses and midwife and created a warm, safe space in the delivery room. Our seasoned midwife was so impressed with Dara, her knowledge and ability to navigate the birth, that she asked for her contact information so that she could refer her to other pregnant mamas. Dara took stunning pictures and videos of the birth and the golden hour that followed and I was delighted when I came across them on my phone a few days later and could process the beauty of his birth through those images. Dara also was an amazing support for breastfeeding and her hands on approach has helped to make breastfeeding my son a success. My husband and I are both health care professionals and we needed Dara to help us navigate the process as first time parents. We feel overwhelmed with gratitude and hope that everyone has a Dara to guide them through the journey of welcoming a baby into the world. She truly is amazing.

Posted 11/29/2018

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Donna Priddie

Dara is the absolute sweetest, most amazing doula you could ask for. This is my second birth using Dara and she recently joined with Joy to form a partnership. (Joy is equally as amazing!) after using Dara for our first birth there was no way I was doing it the second time without her. She was the second person I told I was pregnant. We stayed in touch throughout the early parts of my pregnancy and then around 25 weeks both Dara and Joy came to our house for a pre meeting. We discussed our birth plan and any concerns and then they showed us some exercises to do to make sure babys position was good!

Once I went into labor I called Joy (it was 4am) and she gave me some suggestions for comfort. Once it was time to go to the hospital it was about 6 AM. Dara met us there. From then on she was with me every step of the way. She massages, offers positions, and helps guide you through the birth process. The nurses even commented on how active and involved she was. She literally was massaging me the entire time. Dara is the real deal and I 100% recommend her. If we have a 3rd, I wouldn’t do it without her! 

After baby is born and you return home, Dara visits you for a postnatal appt. she helps with everything from breastfeeding to baby wearing, whatever you need!

Posted 11/28/2018

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Kim Richards

Not long after conceiving, I realized how little support we were getting from our health provider, so we immediately sought out resources in our community. We knew we were going to have our baby in a hospital, and this being our first child, it was important to us to have consistency of support and education throughout the pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. Joy and Dara were exactly who we were looking for – kind, compassionate and knowledgeable birth doulas. They were our birth doulas and provided childbirth education classes, so we got to know them really well in preparation for the big day. We felt prepared and ready to move through the process knowing that they’d be there for us every step of the way. Their support and care throughout the labor and delivery was incredible. We couldn’t have had the birth experience we envisioned without them!

Posted 11/14/2018

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Gaby Castañeda

My partner and I had the fortune of having Dara as our birth doula in September. Before the birth of our little one, we worked with Dara & Joy to put together our birth preferences and learn about the birth process. From the time I met Dara over FaceTime I felt that she was professional, knowledgable, and very serene. She was always available with answers and suggestions to questions we had while pregnant and I felt sure that I had the best team possible for my first birth. Dara was an angel on my baby's birthday. I tell people now that all I did during labor was breathe because Dara coached us through each position change, made sure I was eating & drinking and kept the mood in the hospital room as homey and tranquil as possible. I had the best birth experience one could have in a hospital setting and owe it all to Dara's wonderful doula chops. She is amazing and I am forever grateful.

Posted 11/8/2018

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Lauren Lentz

Dara is a phenomenal Doula! From the first day we met, I knew she was a wonderful match for me. It’s very obvious (right off the bat) that she comes with a lot of knowledge and experience. She had great suggestions in regards to any question I asked (and I asked many ??), and always eased my worried mind with her positive outlook. 

When the actual day to give birth arrived, she went above and beyond. Dara is just the perfect amount of assertive and nurturing and I know it’s just what I needed. She pulled out every comfort measure and made sure I was staying fed and hydrated throughout her time with me. I can say with 100% confidence, that I would have been lost without her support during my birth. 

Some may worry that their significant other wouldn’t play as much of a roll while having a doula near by, but I found it to be quite the opposite. Dara encouraged my husband to be involved (and even hands on) where he could and made him feel more confident while in the delivery room. When he had his own set of fears, she allowed him to talk through them and listened with an emphatic ear. He was so glad that she was there for both of us.

The days following my labor, she checked in to make sure my son and I were doing well. She even came and supported me with lactation advice when things got off to a tough start. When I needed further advice in regards to my own recovery, she offered suggestions and reffered me to specialists that I should talk to.  7 weeks later, she still checks in with me here and there to see how we are doing. Dara has a way of always making you feel valued and appreciated.

My hope is that Dara will join me during my next birthing experience, if I should be so lucky to have another.  I have reffered her to many people and will continue to do so. I truly believe she is one of the best in the business! 

Posted 11/1/2018

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Angeli Tarsadia Reddy

Hands down best decision my husband and I made while planning for our birth. 

My husband and I knew, after our first meeting with Dara that she was one of those people who had found her true calling in life. Dara is rockstar birth doula and overall amazing person. Not only is she incredibly knowledgeable and intuitive but she has this knack for creating a safe and comfortable space all while being your strongest advocate in the room. 

Throughout my pregnancy, labor and now postpartum she has responded promptly to all my emails, calls, and texts. She even had great referrals for additional services like pregnancy massage, acupuncture and a postpartum doula. Additionally, she came to my house for a one-on-one breastfeeding classes after my birth.

My plan was for a natural birth and Dara helped me accomplish that and more. Its hard to put into words how amazing she was in helping us achieve our goals. I felt supported and safe every step of the way. When labor started (at home) Dara coached my husband through the necessary steps and when we got to the hospital, Dara swiftly took over and labor progressed incredibly quickly (4.5 hours from the minute Dara stepped into the room to delivery baby). Dara massaged me thru the contraction pain, recommended positions to help my labor progress, and made sure I stayed hydrated and as comfortable as possible. She also gave me multiple postive affirmations that helped get us to 9.5cm without any medication. When it came time to push, it only lasted for 15 minutes which was definitely a direct correlation to Dara's work. 

Overall, Dara provided so much love and care in the process and looking back I am so grateful to have found someone who guided me through this incredible experience. 

Posted 10/11/2018

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Frances Ramirez

I'm still in awe/shock on my recent birthing experience. I'm beyond cloud nine! All thanks to God and my supportive, loving birthing team: my husband and Dara. I'm truly blessed to have been able to have Dara by my side. I honestly believe that if it wasn't for her, I would have ended up with a 3rd c-section. She helped me accomplish a successful VBA2C! It was the most intense and incredible birth journey. I would have never imagined having a 46 hour labor and delivery with my 3rd child. 39 of those hours all natural, as that was the goal. I have never been so vulnerable and tired, which resulted in giving in to an epidural. I know right? So close yet so far. I look back and have no regrets. With Dara by my side, I would do it all over again. Her soothing, calm voice, gentle, comforting touch and knowledge reassured me I can do it. She helped me stay focused during the most difficult moments. If we decide to go for round 4, there's no doubt I'll be calling Dara asap.

Posted 10/7/2018

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Laura Drangmeister

Vast in her knowledge, intuitive in her wisdom, healing with her touch, fiercely protective of a mother’s birth space, pure love and compassion in her heart, Dara embodies all of these and more. I will be forever grateful for her support on our birthing journey.

My highest hopes were for an unmedicated VBAC with our daughter (our son was breech and required a cesarean birth). From prenatal visits, positioning and preparation tips, to lovely and helpful client ebooks, I felt supported and encouraged each step of the way. And when labor began, progressed more quickly than anyone realized, and we had to deliver in the OR (no other rooms were available), Dara supported me in the most heart-centered, beautiful way I could ever have imagined. My birth experience was healing, full of love, and I have so much gratitude to Dara for guiding me along the way.

Posted 9/12/2018

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Miranda Naylor

Dara is just the best!! I am so grateful to her for her loving support during my long difficult labor. Nothing went to plan and we ended up having to make some huge changes in our birth plan and go to emergency C-section. my husband and I couldn’t have handled all of this without Dara. She was so sweet and loving yet tough and motivating. Her knowledge and confidence will releave any anxiety. You can fully trust in her. I can’t recommend Dara enough! we love you Dara!

Posted 9/6/2018

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Danielle Nowicki

With Dara's expertese and guidance, we were able to bring our daughter into the world in the way that we had hoped.

Dara was able to motivate and coach me thru contractions, but was also there to nurture me and be gentle during times when that is what I needed. She is extremely knowledagble about the birth process and getting the baby to move down into the birth canal. With her guidance I was able to release tension and allow my baby to move down in the perfect way.

Our birth experience would have never been the same without Dara as our doula, we are forever grateful for her kindness and expertise!

I would hire Dara again in a heartbeat.

 

 

Posted 8/13/2018

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Kara Kempff

I had the privilege of having Dara as my doula for the pregnancy and birth of my first child. Dara was invaluable throughout my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period. Being a first time mom, I had so many questions ranging from baby products to labor preparation-Dara was always there to advise and give reassurance. Dara makes sure to develop and nourish a relationship with you and your husband/partner leading up to your birth. Dara also met me when I was a few weeks from my due date to go on a walk and spend some time together. I always appreciated how she gave non-biased answers to questions I posed, and received the thoughts and difficult decisions my husband and I were juggling without judgment. She listened with empathy, and gave thoughtful responses, encouraging us to trust our instincts and values. When I went into labor, Dara provided sound emotional support and helpful tips throughout the day. When it came time to meet us at the birth center, she was so fast she beat us there (my labor progressed very quickly so there was no time for her to come to our home). There really aren't adequate words to describe how invaluable she was throughout my labor. I arrived at the birth center in transition and was seriously doubting myself. Dara provided the emotional and spiritual support I so needed, covering me in prayer (we discussed our religious preferences beforehand and shared we were Christian and wanted prayer during our birth). She also provided amazing physical support, giving me fluids and snacks in between contractions, massaging me; placing cold compresses on my head. She anticipated my needs and met them even when I was too exhausted to think of or ask for what I needed. I was able to have the unmedicated water birth I so wanted. She massaged my feet as I rested in bed with my baby, brought us food, and encouraged us. We are forever grateful for Dara! She really is the "human epidural" and I don't plan to give birth again without her! 

Posted 7/27/2018

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Adrianne Hirsh

My husband and I have been calling Dara our "birth angel" and hiring her was probably the best decision we made during our planning for our birth. We were hoping to have a Hypnobabies natural birth and we originally found Dara based on her certification as a Hypnodoula. We loved Dara's relaxed, confident attitude and knew that her calm energy would be best for our birth. She was available to us via text and phone call in the days leading up to labor, and she had great referrals for additional services like acupuncture. She even offered to come to my home and give a one-on-one breastfeeding class in lieu of the second in-person meeting. It was so helpful and I think it contributed significantly to my successful breastfeeding relationship with my baby. I ended up being induced and having a very long, complicated labor that ended in an emergency c-section. This was something we were completely unprepared for and I think we would have been totally lost if Dara had not been there. She helped my husband to feel useful and stay calm during some more stressful moments. She brought me comfort through use of aromatherapy and her knowledge of positioning. She was there to massage my feet and hips when things were uncomfortable, and that alone was incredibly reassuring. Birth is an incredibly vulnerable experience, and Dara helped me to feel at ease (even during the pushing stage). She was judgement-free despite the fact that I ended up having many unplanned interventions, uncluding medication for pain management. She just went above and beyond in so many different ways. She stayed through the c-section and was in the recovery room to help facilitate breast feeding. Afterwards, we received many compliments from nurses and our OB on how wonderful she was. Our doctor said, "You guys have a great doula...most of them leave immediately when a c-section is required''. If you are considering hiring Dara, my advice is to DO IT! We are so thankful that we did. 

Posted 7/18/2018

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NATALIE SOLINSKY

What a great pleasure it was to experience one of life's most beautiful and dramatic blessings, the birth of our second sweet daughter. Dara is a very reliable and supportive friend who can be strong when you need her to and is gentle and kind. She is spirtually encouraging and offered emotional support continuously through my whole labor. In labor, we become completely vulnerable and it can be difficult to express or even know what is needed in each moment. I was told by many friends that my second birth would be so much easier, but it was much more trying than my first.

I am so glad we chose Dara as our Doula. Dara knew how to direct my husband and I gently and humbly with much care. She made made me feel like I was doing an incredible job, even though my labor was so intense, and she knew what positions were best to speed up labor and keep me focused. She is steady and brings a calming and secure atmosphere.

My mother, who had eight natural childbirths and also sat through the birth of fifteen of her eighteen grandchildren was also present at the birth. She said that Dara was one of the most caring Doulas she had ever seen. She was greatly impressed by her knowledge and ability to direct in ease, even when I was my most exhausted and feeling my weakest. I thank the Lord for her. She is a treasure and someone I would choose again without a second thought.

Without even saying a word, Dara was my confort and the exact cheerleader my husband and I both needed. We made the best decision by choosing her as our Doula. She can't be everyone's Doula, but your truly blessed if you can get her as your Doula!

Posted 7/17/2018

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Jill Olday

What a long overdue testimonial. First, Dara, thank you for being there from start to finish - all 64 hours.

To start, Dara met with me and my husband in person to establish a connection. We instantly agreed that we wanted to move forward with Dara as our doula. Once the contract was signed, we scheduled another in person visit to further go over our goals for childbirth, fears, hopes, expectations, etc. What a sense of calm she brought to this first time mama. Once labor began, Dara was there every step of the way by phone and until she arrived at the hospital arming us with information related to our circumstances to make our own decisions about the birth of our son. Once she arrived to the hospital, while I was in a great deal of pain at times, I still noticed and was surprised at how much she fit inside her bag! She got started immediately creating a calming environment, as I desired, with scents, lights, nutrition as I was able to take, bands and movement aids to assist my body in maneuvering. She's really got it down. The doctor and nurses commented that they enjoyed coming in my room because of the atmosphere. She was also really great in communicating with the hospital staff and providing encouragement to my husband and ways for him to help. As for me, she offered kind but firm suggestions on what was productive for my labor, and encouraged me to stay away from what was not. She offered advice on my condition and gave me honest answers in a nurturing, yet professional way. Once baby was finally born, Dara stayed at least an hour and made sure I was recovering well. She reminded me of what a warrior I was and how great I did. What an experience. As a first time mom, I would have probably ended up with a C section without Dara in my corner. Thank you!

Posted 7/17/2018

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Ashley Washburn

Dara was a fantastic doula. This was our second child and she took the time to discuss my first pregnancy/delivery and address the concerns I had and things I wanted to do differently this time. At our meeting she gave us so many tips and exercises to do to help prepare my body for delivery and she made me feel at ease. She was available for any questions I had towards the end of pregnancy and always had helpful advice.

I went into labor in the middle of the night and she was available and returned all my calls within minutes and gave great guidance on how I was progressing. Upon meeting us at the hospital she stepped right in and immediately got to work helping me get more comfortable and work through contractions. I had a very quick delivery and she was incredibly supportive the entire time. She stayed with us after our son was born until everything was done. I had some post-delivery complications and she never left my side.

After we finally got to recovery our midwife stopped by to see me and made a point to tell me how great Dara was to work with and how we were lucky to have such wonderful support for the delivery of our son. I would recommend Dara to any friends or family looking for a doula. 

Posted 7/11/2018

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Hailey Libby

It is tough to put into words just how amazing Dara is and what an incredible part she played in our journey.  From our prenatal visits to the arrival of our little one and even postpartum, her support, guidance and encouragement were unparalleled.  My husband and I knew we wanted a Doula as we had heard of the positive impact they would have on our birth experience, but we didn't know exactly what that meant.  During our visits, Dara provided amazing, judgement free advice and had answers to all of our questions (and believe me, there were tons). She assisted us in choosing the best birth center for our family and had great feedback on our birth plans. She provided me so much comfort throughout a time that can be so overwhelming.  Our goal was to have an unmedicated birth and she played an integral part in this becoming a reality.  Through our long labor, she provided us with the tools necessary to stay focused and on track whie also making us feel comfortable with everything that was happening and what we still had to expect.  She came prepared and always had such a positive energy. I highly, highly recommend Dara as she will bring a presence to your birth that will make your experience amazing.

 

 

Posted 6/4/2018

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Kellie Petrie

It’s hard to put into words how valuable Dara was to have as my Doula. I interviewed a few doula’s but Dara was the most professional. She is extremely knowledgeable, reliable, & has this strength & warmth to her. I trusted her immediately. Throughout she has responded promptly to all my emails, calls, & text. Knowing she was in my corner supporting me eased my anxiety. I was able to have the natural birth I wanted & I feel it was possible because of her. She encouraged me to labor at home as long as possible & I was able to do so with her suggestions on how to manage the pain. Once at the hospital she knew where to apply pressure to my body to help me get through contractions…the difference was amazing! She suggested what breathe when I was lost, what positions when I grew uncomfortable, but most of all she made me feel safe. I was so close when I got to the hospital that we left our hospital bag in the car. Dara had come prepared with everything I needed. She brought music, essential oils, & honey sticks for energy. She helped my husband who had been worried he wouldn’t be able to be in the room by making suggestions on how he could support me. My husband had been very hesitant about the fact I wanted a doula until the delivery room. Once we got to recovery he said to me that she was incredible & that it was worth every penny having her there. That from him was a HUGE compliment! Once I was home from the hospital Dara came to visit and helped make me feel comfortable w/ a baby in my home by creating a breastfeeding nest, teaching me how to swaddle, & how to use the moby carrier. I can’t say enough how much I appreciated having her help me through this experience. Since then she has checked in and been available to any questions that have come up. She really listened to me & what was important to me for the birth. I am so grateful that I was able to have her as my doula.

Posted 5/22/2018

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Jennifer St. John

Dara is an actual angel! I cannot stop talking about how wonderful she is (I just gave birth 5 days ago 5/11/2018). I truly believe that without Dara as my birth doula I would not be feeling this good now postpartum, or had such positive memories looking back to my birth experience 5 days ago. This was my second vaginal birth, and with my first (two years ago) i did not have a doula. I had thought that the hospital nurses would guide me through birth and encourage and take care of my needs. That is not the case! Nurses have a lot of technical and medical responsibilities and so what I experienced was a lot of unknown, scared, painful, highly medicated, forceps and so on.So with my next pregnancy I knew I needed more support for myself and my husband to have a better birth (one to be proud of and one to look back on fondly!)

Rigot away I knew Dara was the perfect fit for me because of her sweet, caring, gentle nature.  But also her KNOWLEDGE about the labor and delivery process was so key. She knows all of the right elements/ positions to help you labor, handle contractions, move the baby down and dialate. When Dara arrived at the hospital I was asleep/resting with the start of mild pitocin contractions. She immediately came in the room, and changed the mood. She set up spa like music, lowered the lights, candles, essential oils, and massaged my feet and legs and back for what seemed like hours. She was so in tune with what I was going through at every step of the way. It was tranquil and peaceful. Once my contractions amped up she was right there with me, suggesting and supporting every position, keeping me nourished/hydrated. She was talkative when I felt like talking, she was quiet when I was sleepy. She was STRONG and thoughtful when I was pushing for 3 hours and did everything in her power to keep me comfortable (massage/position changes.) I am forever grateful to Dara for what she did for me and my husband, and my almost 10lb healthy baby!

Posted 5/16/2018

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Lindsay Sharp Cavanagh

I cannot imagine what pregnancy, my labor, and postpartum would have been like without Dara. She was so great from start to finish. During pregnancy she was a wealth of knowledge and was great at managing all my questions as well as my anxieties. I really felt like I was prepared for everything and I have her to thank for much of that. In terms of my actual labor, she was a lifesaver. I believe my doctors were so impressed with her that they all backed off and she was the only person coaching me and my husband. She made the environment exactly what I wanted, she helped me deal with my back labor, and helped my husband support me in ways that he may not have known otherwise. Most importantly, she spoke to me in a way that made me feel more confident and knew how to get me back on track when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore. I was able to have the natural, unmedicated birth that I had been planning for and I credit her for helping me to get there. I can say it would not have happened without her. In addition, I had a third degree tear that needed to be repaired in the operating room and she helped me to hand express milk before I left as well as helped my husband have the best postnatal time with our new daughter when I was not able to. Finally, when I returned she fed me lunch and really made us feel comfortable. My husband and I both said that Dara was the best decision we made for the birth of our first child and I recommend her without any reservations whatsoever. She is fantastic!

Posted 5/14/2018

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Kristi Alexander

Dara is truly a gift from God and I will be forever grateful for her role in the birth of my son! She has a very gentle, nurturing spirit that makes you feel comfortable and safe during a vulnerable time. She is also extremely knowledgeable and supportive. Throughout my entire birthing experience, Dara remained by my side, her expertise and my natural instincts working in harmony. She anticipated my every need, helping me remain strong both mentally and physically in my passage to motherhood. Dara had a very calming presence and an amazing ability to refocus me when I felt overpowered by my body; thus, allowing me to regain my composure and confidence. She played a crucial role in my ability to have a natural, unmedicated birth. Whether it was a relaxing massage, recommending a different labor position, kind words of encouragement, or the offering of a small snack and sip of water to nourish my body, she was diligent in supporting me. She never interfered or neglected my husband’s role either. Rather she assisted him in ways to better support me and remain an active participant throughout the process which will be forever memorable to us both. Above all, Dara always remained respectful, compassionate and genuine. She is a true healer and I highly recommend her.

Posted 4/4/2018

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Diana Stillwagen

I was referred to Dara by a friend who'd hired her as their Doula and had nothing but great things to say. From the moment my husband and I met Dara, we knew she was right for us and for our birth journey. Dara is a beautiful person who radiates kindness, positivity, joy, high energy, and wisdom. She is relatable and authentic - something that sets her apart from the rest. She made our birth experience the ideal that we envisioned while we prepared to welcome our first baby. Throughout my pregnancy Dara was available as a resource, a counselor, and a friend for any questions or concerns I had. She offered exercises and resources that in hindsight were essential to having such a positive experience. Dara met with us four times - the initial free consultation when we first met her, the second time was with my husband and I in our home to discuss birth concerns/fears/plans, the third time was just she and I and it was closer to my due date. We met on the beach and had a lovely walk while we talked about final plans before labor and prepping for baby to come home, and the last time was after our son was born. She came to our home again to check in with us and baby. She offered us essential breastfeeding tips and showed us how to assemble our baby wrap carriers. It was quite an amazing sight to see her meet our baby boy after she'd attended his birth. During labor, Dara never left my side. That in itself was immensley comforting. She advocated for me when the hospital wanted to intervene with methods that weren't part of our birth plan. She used natural calming and pain management techniques. She helped me into positions that I believe set up our baby for the optimal birthing position. I pushed for under an hour and remained intact - no tearing or episiotomy. Dara was my guiding light through it all. My husband and I are grateful she came into our lives to help bring our son's life into this world. She will always have a special place in our family's hearts.

Posted 2/20/2018

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Jamie Smith

It's hard for me to put into words how much Dara meant to my husband and I during my pregnancy and birth of my son. From the moment I spoke with her on the phone early on, I knew she was extremely knowledgable in her practice as a birth Doula. I was having concerns about things my care provider was telling me and she comforted me right off the bat and made me feel so much better. She educated me which in turn helped me navigate my pregnancy and labor with my doctor the way I wanted. Dara's advice and recommendations are always unbiased and when you ask her about anything, she will always gives a well-educated and easy to understand answer. It helped making the best decisions for myself and my baby so easy!
I experienced an almost 40 hour pre-labor and Dara created a soothing and comforting environment in my home that made each contraction more manageable. She knew all of the best positions to lay in, where to massage me to help ease my discomfort and how to help me move through each pain. She also helped my husband to get involved and help comfort me as well. She was truly an angel! During my actual labor, she coached me (and my husband) through each push and made sure I was comfortable, hydrated and satiated. I can't even begin to imagine what my labor would've been without Dara!!

Posted 2/15/2018

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Lynette Leighton

My husband and I had an incredible birth assisted by Dara! My husband was deployed through about 8 months of the pregnancy, so having Dara's support was an absolute necessity. She provided me with a wealth of information and resources from the start, and offered objective guidance throughout my pregnancy whenever I provided her with updates or presented her with questions. On the actual day-of, my husband and I put our trust completely in Dara's care, and we are already looking forward to having her attend future births! Dara made sure we were both comfortable and safe throughout L&D, kept us hydrated, helped us make progress during L&D, and continued taking care of us postpartum. I followed through on all of Dara's recommendations prior to and during L&D, and found all of her recommendations to be helpful/valuable in maintaining my and the baby's health. We used Hypnobabies for our birth, and Dara was/is amazing in providing the type of support necessary to maintain the optimal environments at home and in the hospital to maintain focus from start to finish. I also appreciated how attentive she was to my nutrition throughout labor - making sure I was hydrated, and my energy levels were maintained throughout this intense time. After our baby arrived, she needed some minor medical attention; my husband said the decision to leave me and go with the baby was made very easy since he saw Dara by my side and trusted I would be taken care of by her until he could be with me again. Having Dara present eased my husband's nerves during a critical time, and that alone has all the value in the world! My husband was so very well supported by Dara; he loved how active we all were, constantly moving and trying different positions while making great progress. Though I've only experienced one birth (and our first), I have no doubt that Dara is as great as they come! We absolutely love Dara, and are extremely blessed to have her in our lives!

Posted 2/9/2018

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Nitasha Rimar

My review of Dara is based on my perspective as a physician familiar with the medical system, yet needing help to ensure a natural unmedicated birth in a hospital. I feel so blessed to have found Dara and can’t imagine choosing any other doula. She helped arm me with the tools and knowledge to shorten labor and have an easier delivery. She was there by my side in my most difficult moments and I strongly believe it’s because of her I had such a beautiful birth experience! Thank you Dara, will highly recommend you to family, friends and my medical colleagues 

Posted 1/24/2018

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Christina Trego

So glad to have meet Dara! This was my second pregnancy and I had enough negative experiences with my first birth (failed epidurals,  getting induced, pushing laying on my back, migraines, 2 blood patches, etc.) that I knew I wanted things to be different. My husband and I read several books, educated ourselves in the birthing process (even though I am an ED RN.) We read lots of pros to having an unmedicated birth and how we should really find a good doula. Dara was awesome. When she came to visit the first time she was very pleasant, friendly, assertive, and knowledgeable. She is open to many types of births and really made sure that I understood she was only there for me. She was my advocate. She was also there for my husband, who I wanted to be my main supporter.Day of delivery at 40 weeks, Dara was on the phone with us and texting us after my water broke. She gave us encouraging calls and texts and suggested different expercises and ways to get labor started naturally. We called her once at the hospital when contractions started to become strong and regular, she was there in less than 30 min. She came ready! She had a bag full of tools and coaching aids. She was professional with staff and got down on her knees to see how I was. To help labor progess along she had many different techniques to help move our back down and out. Although it was very painful personally she kept me moving onto the next exercise. She kept reasuring me I was doing a great job and also helped my husband to best support me. Towards the end I started to give in ans ask for pain medication but Dara was not deteried. She helped me greatly during the transition phase into pushing and held my hand and rested with me during the contrations and pushing stage. Baby finally came! Dara stayed with us after helping pack our own bags, take picutes, and praying with us upon request. I can say so much more but I am limited on here. We would highly recommend her to any mother to be!

Posted 12/15/2017

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Catherine Hayter

Our family was so thankful to have found Dara. We chose her based on the many testimonials provided here and, then, our first getting-to-know-each-other meeting. She is warm and kind, but also assertive and confident - - traits that serve her well during delivery. She was very flexible, coming to our home and easy-going with our older two boys. (We had to bring them to our appointments with her!) Overall, she helped me realize my ideal birth. I wanted an all-natural birth and I was a VBAC. I delivered in about six hours of active labor and less than a half hour of pushing. I owe much of the success of this birth to her timely and expertise coaching. She knew how to move the labor along and help it progress (my last labor would not progress and I was in early labor for four days!)and she was by my side as soon as I felt I needed her. My husband worked well with her, too, and she was good at sharing the job of supporting me with him. This was our last birth, and our best one! Thank you, Dara.

Posted 11/25/2017

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Carly Tenery

Dara was my chosen Doula for my at home water birth. I’m having a hard time expressing not only my gratitude but what and how much she did for me leading up to my birth and the day of. I could not have made it through our special day without her. She came over to the house as soon as I felt that I needed her and was by my side for nearly 24 hours. Not only did she suggest ways to help progress my labor along but she also made me feel comfortable and safe. She is truly an amazing woman and I feel so fortunate to have met her. I can’t wait for my second baby so I can experience this with Dara again. I love her and would highly recommend her to anyone searching for a Doula.

Posted 11/17/2017

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Trisha Andreini Orozco

Dara is not only an amazing doula but a beautiful soul as well. I was having a hard time finding a doula I connected with after moving here. Luckily a friend of mine recommended Dara and I knew within minutes of meeting her that I wanted her to be my doula. She is so supportive and positive, and the type of person you feel comfortable with immediately. Dara helped me through my pregnancy, always providing great articles and tips for anything I had questions about. She was my support system through labor and helped me achieve the natural birth I wanted. I adore her and highly recommend her to anyone in need of a doula.

Posted 11/8/2017

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Diane Place

It feels like words will never be enough to communicate how lucky we were to have Dara for the birth of our daughter. From the minute we met Dara I felt at ease with her as if I’d known her forever. Even our toddler leaving after the meeting commented on her being a “nice lady.” The resources Dara provided were excellent as was her ability to work with my personal style and preferences. She was incredibly accomadating and come baby time, she arrived as discussed to help with some of early labor. Dara did a wonderful job of helping both me get through the contractions and allowing my husband to relax and focus on just supporting me instead of worrying about timing or if he might miss something going wrong. I honestly credit being able to birth without an epidural this time to her fantastic skills as a doula. If she is available for your birth I would suggest booking her as quickly as you can. 

Posted 11/4/2017

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Elizabeth Brink

My wife and I (husband writing) interviewed a few doulas, but when we met Dara we knew we found the right one to help bring our beautiful Kaylin into the world. Our spiritual views aligned, but it was her soft, kind-loving heart that really won us over. Her experience was reassuring as well. Up to labor, Dara was always a phone call or text away to help us with any questions/concerns we had. Every conversation, whether it be a phone call or face to face, she was so encouraging. Labor can be unpredictable, and although I felt prepared and somewhat confident from taking the Bradley Method course, Dara was the helping hand and support that both my wife and I needed during labor. Our labor nurse at the hospital said in her 7 yrs of deliveries, Dara was the greatest Doula she has ever worked with. She also stated that our birth was the most inspirational one she has been part of. Looking back, my wife and I feel so blessed to have had Dara as part of our birth team. We weren’t sure what labor/birth was gonna look like, but the experience was so much better with Daras love and support. Thank you Dara!

Posted 10/26/2017

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Elizabeth Brink

My wife and I (husband writing) interviewed a few doulas, but when we met Dara we knew we found the right one to help bring our beautiful Kaylin into the world. Our spiritual views aligned, but it was her soft, kind-loving heart that really won us over. Her experience was reassuring as well. Up to labor, Dara was always a phone call or text away to help us with any questions/concerns we had. Every conversation, whether it be a phone call or face to face, she was so encouraging. Labor can be unpredictable, and although I felt prepared and somewhat confident from taking the Bradley Method course, Dara was the helping hand and support that both my wife and I needed during labor. Our labor nurse at the hospital said in her 7 yrs of deliveries, Dara was the greatest Doula she has ever worked with. She also stated that our birth was the most inspirational one she has been part of. Looking back, my wife and I feel so blessed to have had Dara as part of our birth team. We weren’t sure what labor/birth was gonna look like, but the experience was so much better with Daras love and support. Thank you Dara!

Posted 10/26/2017

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Katie Green

My husband and I are forever grateful that we found Dara to support us during the birth of our daughter!  Dara's calm, encouraging and supportive nature were immediately evident upon meeting her.  She is incredibly knowledgabele about pregnancy, birth and postpartum issues.  She was a great resource throughout my pregnancy, offering many great suggestions for staying healthy and active and getting my body ready for a natural, drug free delivery.  She provided continuous support in the week before my daughter's birth, as I went through several days of "false labor".  Once at the hospital, Dara helped create and maintain a calm, peaceful and relaxing environment.  She helped me stay focused and positive and gave my husband lots of ideas for how to best support me.  She was reassuring and informative as labor progressed.  She was friendly and helpful with the nursing staff and several nurses commented on what an incredible doula she was!  They couldn't stop complimenting her! Dara's support did not stop at the hospital- she continued to check in on us in the weeks following birth, making sure we were handling the transition well and offering valuable guidance and resources.  She is amazing!  We are so glad we chose to have Dara be a part of our daughter's birth!  We consider her a dear friend and can't wait to include her in the births of our future children.  

Posted 10/11/2017

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Kristin Sandy

Dara was amazing throughout the entire experience!! From the moment my husband and I met her we knew she was the right fit for us. Dara has a strong motherly presence, and instant calming effect. She is very knowledgeable and we felt like we could completely trust her to guide us through the birthing process. When I started labor we were in phone contact until I felt like things were progresssing and I asked her to come to our house. She started by helping me relax and giving me massages in different positions. Then we went for a little walk, and later she helped my husband and I labor together. When I felt ready to go to the hospital she followed us. Although our birth preferences were originally very natural with no interventions, during labor things changed a lot. Dara helped guide us through each option and decision until we felt ready to make choices. The hospital introduced a lot of obstacles and unfortunately after 48 hours of labor I had to have a Csection, which I really had never imagined could happen. Dara supported me physically, mentally, & emotionally, and my husband and I truly believe we could not have survived the experience without her! She was so great about knowing exactly what I needed, and also helping get my husband involved. She is still supportive postpartum and I feel very lucky to have made this bond with her! We will definitely be calling her again for baby #2!!! 

Posted 9/28/2017

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Ginny Quick

Working with Dara was a true gift. When we first met her, she made us feel safe and confident in the birth we wanted to have. As we went through our pregnancy, she was there checking in every step of the way, providing resources, information and support. Her encouragement kept me going when I had doubts and she really helped me to overcome my fears about labor. We ended up going into labor at 9pm on a Saturday, and Dara insisted that we call her every hour through the night to keep her updated. My contractions were very close together and I was feeling afraid and not sure what to do or when to go the hospital. Dara’s expertise during active labor, helped us to stay at home as long as possible and we really appreciated her for giving us that gift. When it was time to go to the hospital, she didn’t skip a beat, making our room feel comfortable and homey. When the midwife informed us that our son was posterior, Dara knew exactly what exercises to do to get him to turn. These exercises were extremely painful and difficult, but because of the trust we had built throughout my pregnancy, I knew I could follow her voice. One of our biggest accomplishments during labor was successfully flipping our son around to deliver him. When it was time to push, it ended up taking 3 hours, which was more then I thought I would ever be able to do. Dara was right there in my ear telling me “You can do this!” She really provided us the extra love and support we needed. We thank God Dara was there for our first birth and pregnancy journey. We plan on using her for all of our births to come as we grow our family. Thank you Dara.

Posted 9/14/2017

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Whitney Card

Dara is absolutely amazing. My husband and I could not have asked for a better support and help through the labor of our first child. She is positive, encouraging, and kind, and she KNOWS HER STUFF. The resources and help she provided to me during my pregnancy were every bit as valuable as her support during labor, and I can confidently say that having her as a member of our birth team was a big part of why it ended up being such an amazing experience. 

Aside from just being my doula, Dara has become a friend to me and I would absolutely hire her again in a heartbeat. 

Posted 9/12/2017

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Danielle Leblang

We used Dara for the birth of our second child.  I was able to have a natural childbirth with our first child, and I wanted to repeat the experience with our second if possible.  When we met Dara, we immediately clicked with her friendly, calm and genuine personality.  After we hired her, she was always responsive to questions we had and provided tons of valuable resources and articles based on topics we asked her about.  When it came time for the birth, Dara met us at the hospital because labor progressed relatively quickly from when true contractions started.  She immediately jumped into gear at the hospital and seemed to know exactly what I needed in terms of relaxation/pain management techniques throughout the entire labor.  She worked seamlessly with the nurses and doctors (and my husband!) and helped me achieve my goal of a natural childbirth!  We loved Dara and could not be happier with our experience.  She made the entire labor more manageable and was extremely intuitive in knowing what I needed along the way.  We highly recommend Dara for anyone looking for an extremely caring and experienced doula!

Posted 8/23/2017

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Amanda Zintsmaster

Dara was amazing! I attempted a vbac last month and long story short was unsuccessful and required a repeat c section, but I honestly still can't picture doing it without Dara. She made the space more comfortable while laboring and was an absolute wizard with pain relieving techniquiws. My husband was amazed as well, and very thankful she was there. Dara was the most wonderful support I could have asked for. I was concerned that she might feel negatively about a few of my decisions (ended up asking for episural and giving in to c section after pushing for 3 plus hours) but she was supportive all along the way. It's like she knows when you need encouragement and knows when you need someone to just support you. She is truly gifted and I can't imagine a better doula. We are so thankful for her part in our birth process. I urge anyone looking for a doula to just meet with Dara, you will absolutely be impressed. I believe people who do this kind of work have a true gift for it, and Dara is most certainly one of those people. 

Posted 8/6/2017

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Stephanie C. Kaiser

I had my daughter in May 2017. When I first met with Dara she was warm, caring and knowledgeable. She was very helpful in helping my husband and I prepare of labor and birth. When it was time to have my daughter Dara was with me every step of the way. Dara was so supportive and calm throughout my labor and my husband and I felt completely at ease knowing that she was with us. When I have my next baby I will definitely be calling her again!

Posted 8/1/2017

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Nina Porten

Let me start by saying that I am sure that my review will not do justice to the support Dara provided as our doula. During my pregnancy, Dara took the time to meet with us and review our birth goals and values. She was very thorough in making sure she conveyed her understanding of what we wanted out of our birth experience. I felt that she really listened and knew intuitively how to respond in a way that made me feel comfortable and able to relax knowing that she was already putting into motion the things we needed to be successful. 

When my water began leaking prior to my due date, Dara was able to provide us with helpful information so that we were able to make infomed choices on what actions to take. When I eventually checked into the hospital and was faced with the possibility of an induction, I called Dara. She came immediately and provided calming conversation, massage, aromatherapy, and further guidance on how to move labor forward. Dara was a miracle worker with the nursing staff.  I couldn't believe how well she was able to work with the nurses and how her interactions positively impacted our experience with them.  By morning I was in active labor with her support. From there, she skillfully guided my husband and I through the entire birthing process.  Dara was able to lead us through a completely unmedicated birth as first time parents and help us reach all of our birthing goals.

Postpartum, Dara continuously checked in on us to ensure that things were going well, and we had the resources we needed.  I really appreciated knowing I could reach out to her during such a transitional time. 

I can't recommend Dara enough, particularly if you are looking to acheive an unmedicated birth.  Dara's peaceful personality and extensive experience leading the birthing process are a true Gift.  Not only is she a expert doula, Dara is a light to those around her.  

Posted 6/5/2017

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Dione M.

This woman is amazing and I will forever be grateful for the unmedicated birth that she helped me achieve. From the moment I met Dara she was supportive of everything that I wanted for my birth. After having an emergency cesarean for my first, I felt I needed to have an unmedicated VBAC. We had just moved from Colorado to California and I would be giving birth at a military hospital. I knew I needed support from someone who would be involved the whole time.
Throughout the short time that she was with us the care and emotional support that she gave helped me through some difficult moments. The midwife that I had was pressuring me to be induced at 41 weeks. This is what happened with my first. Dara reminded me that I had a choice and to go for what I felt comfortable with. Additionally, my little one was in the OP position. Dara provided several exercises to turn baby. She also provided wonderful referrals to chiropractors and acupuncturists to aid in achieving the relaxation and adjustments to help further the progress. They worked. By my 41 week checkup baby had turned and was in position.
Once labor kicked in her support was unwavering. She came to my house and helped me labor at home till I was ready to go to the hospital. Upon check in I was 5-6 cm. Dara continued her support by keeping me hydrated, reminding me to breath and helped with positions during contractions. Her soft kind words and the relaxed environment she fostered made me comfortable during the labor process. When I felt that I could not handle labor anymore, her techniques had brought baby down far enough to start pushing.

I gave birth to a beautiful little girl at 3:52 in the morning. The birth was a successful unmedicated VBAC and Dara helped me through the whole process step by step. This woman is worth everything when it comes to having the care and support that is needed for birth. I recommend her 100% and with every bit of my heart. She is remarkable.

Posted 4/5/2017

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Carol S. Dawidowicz

I feel so fortunate to have had Dara's support and caring guidance during my labor with my second child. 

From the moment I called her to report labor signs to the moments after birth when she helped calm my shaking legs and celebrate the birth of our son, she was attentive, kind, and extremley helpful.

Dara came to the hospital prepared with things to enhance the environment (lights, aromatherapy) and create a successful labor experience. She knew what tools to suggest to help me manage an unmedicated labor and birth.

I can't say enough positive things about Dara-- she is calm, reassuring, kind and skillful. She helped me attain my goal of a natural and peaceful birth.

I am grateful for her and I know she has helped and will help many other women and their partners.

 

 

 

 

Posted 3/31/2017

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Tara Lynn

 There probably is not much I can add in my review about Dara, since she is so beloved by everyone who has ever worked with her! She is an incredibly kind hearted, sincere individual with a tremendous love in her heart for people and the work she does.   Dara was my Doula for the birth of my second child at Pomerado Hospital in Poway.  This woman has a tremendous arsenal of techniques and ideas to help throughout the birthing process!  In my case, an induction was required and Dara had a number of tools she used to coach me through every contraction, which I do believe allowed me  progress much quicker than I would have otherwise.   In addition to being very knowledgeable on all facets of childbirth, she has a wonderful way with people and knows how to be very non-intrusive  yet at the same time is a reassuring presence during childbirth and will offer suggestions and gentle direction to keep you focused.   It is rare to find someone who really listens to what you are saying and applies it, but Dara is one such a rare individual. She took to heart everything I talked about in terms of the things that I wanted during my childbirth and How she could support me.  Dara is a delightful, warm personality and was such an incredible support to me and my husband during the birth of our son.  I cannot say enough about her abilities and personality!  Thank you so much Dara, and God bless you for all the wonderful help you give to so many!

Posted 3/6/2017

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Donna Priddie

Dara was more than i could have ever asked for! She is kind, passionate, and extremely knowledgeable. We met a twice prior to my birth to discuss our wishes for the day and what was important to us. Dara came armed with endless knowledge to help us. We learned about pain med options, what birth was "really" like, and many tips for early labor. This opened my eyes to so many things I didn't know prior to having my first baby. Dara always had my (and the baby)'s best interest at heart and she provided information, but most importantly 110% supported whatever decision my husband and I made. 

After my due date, Dara prepared information on induction for me to help me communicate with the doctors. On day 41+4 I went into labor. I called Dara at 3:30am and she was right there with me the rest of the journey. She offered positions and exercises for me to do in this early stage of labor to help me progress & deal with the pain. Once I was ready to go to the hospital 8 hours later I was already 5.5cm dilated! Dara met us there (she will meet u whenever you are ready). Dara massaged me thru the contraction pain, recommended positions to help my labor progress, made sure I stayed hydrated and as comfortable as possible. Thru all the pain and work, she was right there by my side. Baby was positioning perfectly and things were moving! When it came time to push, it only lasted for 45 minutes which I think is a direct coorolation to Dara's work to get that baby ready! We delivered a heathly baby boy at 12:49am! 

Dara 100% supported us the entire process. The nurses at Mary birch were in awe of how great Dara was and there was a buzz around the labor and delivery floor of this "amazing doula". We never felt alone. I can't imagine my birth story any other way! Thank you Dara!

Afterwards she comes for a post partum visit to help with breastfeeding and steal some baby snuggles! I would 100% recommend Dara! 

Posted 1/28/2017

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Alexandra Weber

We are so blessed to have found Dara to be our birth doula. With my high blood pressure, an OP baby with lots of subsequent back labor, and other complications, Dara’s role in our delivery was absolutely vital and led to an experience that we wouldn’t have changed for the world. She coached us to try different exercises during contractions to turn the baby that were really difficult, but Dara didn’t let us give up – she pushed us to commit to ten contractions and then take a break. In the end, our efforts paid off - our baby amazingly rotated to the ideal position just before being born. She was a constant source of positive energy and emotional support. I never doubted that she truly cared or meant every encouraging word she said. My husband said that without her he couldn't have done what he did - stay present and active throughout a difficult labor, never losing confidence in his role. Her unfailing ideas and suggestions for him enabled him to fulfill that role to the utmost. I couldn’t agree more with him - we could not have done it without her. Towards the end I was ready to give up – but Dara helped me make it through without any intervention or drugs until we achieved our goal of a completely natural delivery - complications and all! There were so many little things that made her stand out - she came early and set up our room with Christmas lights and a lavender essential oil diffuser, she made sure I was hydrated and well fed - up until spoon-feeding me minutes after the delivery - she even visited us in the hospital after delivery to make sure I was recuperating after some post-delivery complications. Her care and support was felt throughout the entire process. Her expertise as a lactation consultant was also vital during some initial challenges with breastfeeding. That and so many other things make Dara the perfect partner for anyone in their journey towards parenthood. I can’t recommend her enough!

Posted 11/4/2016

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Chariane Forrey

Dara is an amazing doula and friend.  She met with me twice before my birth, was present for the birth, and then had one postpartum visit. She was almost always instantly available by phone, facebook, and email.  She provided resources for chiropractic care and lactation  consultants and recommended natural remedies to increase my iron levels, herbs to ease other pregnancy discomforts, and stretches to get my baby in the best position for birth.  These are the "checklist" items that Dara does that everyone should look for when searching for a doula.

But Dara provides much more than a "checklist."  She was a constant encourager and a true support person of peace.  Whenever I felt concerned about something my body was doing in late pregnancy, she reminded me gently that "my body was progressing beautifully" and was doing everything it was supposed to do to prepare for birth.  She eased worries by reminding me that my body knew how to give birth and my baby knew when he was ready to come out.  She texted to check in on me about every week in the last month.  When we discussed whether or not I should get an epidural, she honored whatever choice I decided to make.  Dara is one who believes that a mother knows her body best, should feel safe during pregnancy and at peace, and a mother should be empowered to make well-informed choices, whatever that choice may be.  During labor and delivery, she was calm, encouraging, and positive to both me, the hospital staff, and my husband and family.  After delivery, she was soothing and stayed until I was in the recovery room.  She spoke with the hospital staff in a respectful and calm manner but in a way that relayed any of my concerns.  I could not have asked for a better birth experience and doula.

 

 

 

Posted 7/29/2016

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Meredith Chase

Dara is an incredible doula. We used her for the births of both of our sons (2014; 2016). She is incredibly professional, knowledgeable, and experienced, all while being calm, warm and peaceful.  My first labor experience was a very challenging one--I labored for over two days and ended up having to be on petocin. Dara brought so much support to that birth! My goal was to remain unmedicated through that labor and avoid a C-Section.  With my husband's support and Dara's guidance, I was able to remain unmedicated and deliver my son vaginally! It was a marathon that most likely would have ended in a C-Section if not for Dara.  My second birth was significantly shorter, and with Dara by our sides once again, I delivered my son at home, vaginally and without medication. Dara encouraged us through the whole labor process and provided positions/movement to open my pelvis and also encourage the baby into optimal positions for delivery. My son was a surprise sunny-side-up delivery and the midwife noted that it was likely that the specific movements Dara had us to during labor got my son into the best possible position for delivery and cut pushing time to much shorter than is typical for posterior facing babies. (Thank you, Dara!!!) If you want someone who will work closely with you and your partner to achieve your goals for labor, someone with experience and knowledge to handle even the toughest of labor situations, and someone who will be there to support and encourage not run the show, then Dara is your lady! She will do her best to help you birth the way that you want to birth, and will be respectful, kind, caring and genuine through the whole process. I highly recommend Dara DeSoto!

Posted 6/30/2016

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Jynafer Castillo

 We found Dara via a referral from our midwife Lisa Marie Sanchez of sacredjourneymidwifery   We had reached out to and interviewed a few others before finding her at about 32 weeks.  Luckily we were able to make a connection with her and feel comfortable together right away  because he went into labor early at 37 weeks   We previously weren't 100% convinced  we would need a Doula after all of the education we had;  we ended up being so glad to have Dara with us at 42 hours of labor including 36 at home.  I'm very cerebral  and my husband is very action oriented - Dara  was able to support and guide each of us Along the way.  I absolutely trust her along the way and she helped me to make some key decisions at the hospital. We are very thankful to have had Dara as part of our birth team and intend to have her with us at our next birth. 

Posted 5/15/2016

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Emily Outhier

I fear I can never do enough justice in writing to communicate the influence of Dara through my labor and delivery experience! Weeks after giving birth for the very first time, it's still the influence I can't stop talking about with friends and family. Undoubtedly my experience would have been extremely different without Dara's presence. After intense research, I was hoping for a natural birth in the hospital. Two weeks overdue, and my regular doula unavailable, Dara slipped in to the process with warmth and assurance that astounded me. I can say with confidence that I would have succombed to an epidural without her influence. I was faced with an unsupportive nurse after the shift change who made me feel like natural labor was not attainable. Through Dara's presence, a combination of support, experience, guidance and comfort, I discovered the capabilities I didn't know I had. There was only the moment I was in, and her unbroken eye contact when extra strength was needed. She made the space mine, she kept hospital staff at the distance I needed whenever possible, and her expertise even impressed the same staff. Many of the nurses present inquired about Dara during my recovery period- they had never seen her equal! And even my unsupportive nurse completely changed her tone by the time I delivered, echoing Dara's peaceful support and impressed at the fast progression, unassisted by the standard medical interventions. I always wondered how my tone would be as I focused on the task of labor. Dara means what she says when she speaks of peace. I've never seen labor depicted as peaceful- yet that was precisely my experience. There was so much positive energy in that room! My husband supported me through the entire process, guided by Dara in how to offer the most help. Due to her influence, his apprehensions surrounding watching me endure pain melted away. He was able to be comfortable, assured by Dara that everything was in control, progressing, and positive.

Posted 5/4/2016

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Rana Shbib

Meeting Dara was a huge blessing in my life. My sister had hired Dara for the birth of her son last year and I just knew when the day would come when I would be pregnant with my second baby, that Dara was going to be a part of it. Fast forward almost a year later I found out the exciting news that we were expecting and I called Dara right away when I was 7 weeks pregnant. We met a few weeks later and she was so positive and encouraging that I can try for a vbac, she believed in me so much and that made all the difference. My whole pregnancy I felt Dara's support, she would check in on me and send me such valuable information through articles. I felt so calm and confident about my upcoming delivery and I really owe most of it to her guidance and support. When I went almost 2 weeks past my due date Dara never failed to keep me going and encourage me that I can do this. When I went into labor on my own finally, I was able to withstand all the pressure waves without any pain meds all because of Dara's support. It was very empowering for me and something I will never forget. Even though, due to circumstances out of anyone's control I had to have a repeat c section, it felt so good to know that I absolutely gave it my all and tried my best because of all the preparation and advice she helped along the way. Right until the very end, when my baby was finally in my arms, Dara was there all along and it made my birth experience such a beautiful one. Dara is gentle, calm, loving and just an incredible person whom I now consider part of our family. 

Posted 3/26/2016

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Rana Shbib

Meeting Dara was a huge blessing in my life. My sister had hired Dara for the birth of her son last year and I just knew when the day would come when I would be pregnant with my second baby, that Dara was going to be a part of it. Fast forward almost a year later I found out the exciting news that we were expecting and I called Dara right away when I was 7 weeks pregnant. We met a few weeks later and she was so positive and encouraging that I can try for a vbac, she believed in me so much and that made all the difference. My whole pregnancy I felt Dara's support, she would check in on me and send me such valuable information through articles. I felt so calm and confident about my upcoming delivery and I really owe most of it to her guidance and support. When I went almost 2 weeks past my due date Dara never failed to keep me going and encourage me that I can do this. When I went into labor on my own finally, I was able to withstand all the pressure waves without any pain meds all because of Dara's support. It was very empowering for me and something I will never forget. Even though, due to circumstances out of anyone's control I had to have a repeat c section, it felt so good to know that I absolutely gave it my all and tried my best because of all the preparation and advice she helped along the way. Right until the very end, when my baby was finally in my arms, Dara was there all along and it made my birth experience such a beautiful one. Dara is gentle, calm, loving and just an incredible person whom I now consider part of our family. 

Posted 3/26/2016

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Kayla Younglove

Our birth experience would have looked and felt much different without Dara. From the time my water broke to delivery was about 20hrs. This was our first baby and we went in wanting a natural birth. Coincidentally, the day our baby girl arrived was supposed to be our first scheduled prenatal visit with Dara. We hadn't even formally exchanged ir contract/payment yet! Reluctantly, I text Dara once labor started to let her know I was 3 weeks early and wondered if she would still be available. Fortunately, she was! We called her to come as I was beginning what I suspect was active labor. She arrived just in time! Her calming touch, reassuring voice and practical advice for helping me manage pain made a huge difference in the outcome of our birth. Of course, I came to that point of not knowing if I could endure the pain and finish what we started naturally, but she knew just what to say and ultimately, we did it! For having not spent much time together prior to our birth, it felt so comfortable having her there. I was nervous to  be so vulnerable, and naked! in front of someone else, but my fears went out the door with her. We chose Dara because  we sensed a motherly wisdom and affection about her. She gave me peace and prayed with us. She is a total professional and her love for what she does is evident.  Im forever grateful for the role she played in our little Isla's birth. I can look back and be proud of our birth because of Dara's help. I would not hesitate to recommend her, as long as its not during  next birth because we will need her! :) 

Posted 1/20/2016

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Luisa Testai

I have the best experience ever with Dara. When I was looking for a doula I felt a conexion and really good feelings with her and I was completly right about it. 

I wanted a VBAC and she helped my dream come true. Actually she was essencial to make it happen. I could not have done without her. She took care not just of my but of my entire family. Besides me, my husband, my mom and my mother in law (they came from Brazil to be with us during my son's birth) were in the room and she was very attentious with them. She was "active" but at same time respecting their roles during labor and birth. 

Dara didn't let me forget what I was capable of. She helped me with every contraction in my 19 hours labor and also in the breaks between contractions too. She fed me, she kept me hidrated, she kept my energy high, she encourage me to walk and exercise even when i thought i could not do it. I had to take the epidural after 9 hours labor and with her support I found strenght to keep my legs moving enough to exercise with the ball, on all fours in my bed for almost 4 hours. That helped open my cervix and helped with dilation too.

My family said she was my guardian angel and I have to agree! I got my so dreamed VBAC with a 9.9lb and 22 inches baby. Dara is now part of my lifetime history and I thank her forever for this.

Even the nurses from Hoag told me they had never seen any doula like Dara. They wanted to thank her for everything she'd done for me and for them.   

I already recomended Dara for two other friends. I don't know how many more kids I'm still gonna have but I'm sure I want her always by my side!!!

Eternal gratitude for her! 

Posted 10/20/2015

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Louise Chang

Dara was our doula for the birth of our second daughter, and we couldn't have been more happy with our decision. She was kind, loving and supportive throughout the whole process, beginning with several home visits before the big day. Mommy had some larger health issues and we had to switch from a planned birth at a birthing center to a high risk birth at a hospital, and Dara was there every step of the way -- emotionally and physically. She even brought by a delicious and healthy dinner for us one evening, which was completely unexpected but entirely welcomed.

On the day of the birth, I texted her throughout what I now know was active labor (oops) until it was too much for me to communicate any longer, although I did let her know that we were on our way to the hospital. Dara drove all the way from San Diego to be at my side when I gave birth to our daughter. I could feel my body relax when I heard her whispering in my ear all the love and kindness she had to offer. She was there and held my hand as the doctor physically removed my retained placenta from my body (painful), and she was there to give my husband orange juice as he almost passed out from the strain and stress of the day (sorry honey!). She rubbed my back for what seemed like forever and helped us transfer into our shared recovery room, and I think also to our private room, and she was back to visit me in the hospital before I was discharged.

If anyone is considering a doula for birth (which I highly recommend), I would definitely recommend Dara for a doula. This will be our last child, but if I had to do it again, I would ask Dara to be our doula. She is more than wonderful, incredible, amazing, loving and supportive. She is an incredible person to have in your life -- we are still in touch, and I am sure we will be for years to come. 

xoxoxo

Posted 9/24/2015

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Mrunalini Joshi

My husband and I welcomed our baby boy in June 2015. It was an experience we will never forget as first time parents. It's every couple's hope to have the most natural, safe, and promising childbirth experience and having a doula by your side enriches this experience altogether! We feel so blessed to have had Dara as our doula. She is a powerhouse of knowledge and catered to all my concerns through my pregnancy and delivery. She is respectful of your birth plan and will go the extra mile to make sure you have the most amazing birth experience.  Her positivity is contagious and her encouragement helped me stay confident and focused throughout my labor. Dara has a calming presence which is exactly what I needed as I transitioned through labor. She stayed with us through my entire labor and delivery (even took a selfie with our baby boy right after he was born!) making me feel at home at the hospital setting. She suggested different positions to speed labor and aid dilation. My baby was head down but was in a slightly tilted position. Dara suggested different positions using a bean ball and several hip extension techniques to help the baby get into the right position. She coached my husband to assist me through these simple yet effective exercises, which was great. She tirelessly worked with us through the night providing physical and emotional comfort. She gave us valuable information during labor that helped us make the right choices and kept our spirits uplifted. The hospital staff applauded her efforts and recognized her as the best doula that they had ever worked with. She is truly the best! They say childbirth is one of the most important event in one’s life but at the same time the most uncertain, filled with unforeseeable changes. Dara was our only constant during this beautiful, unforgettable event of our lives. We are extremely thankful for her support and look forward to teaming up with her for baby #2!

 

Posted 9/11/2015

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Jacqueline Blankenship

Dara was such a gift from God to us for our labor and birth experience of our second daughter! During the weeks leading up to birth, Dara was a consistent source of encouragement, reassurance, and wisdom. On the day of labor, Dara met us at our birth center as soon as we got there and was so helpful, attentive, and encouraging throughout the night. She intuitively knew what was needed to help me feel relaxed and stayed right by my side the entire time. She empowered my husband by showing him how to be most helpful and taught us different positions to encourage labor to progress. Dara gave me constant physical support amd comfort through counter pressure, massage, essential oils, and keeping me well hydrated and fed. Her gentle, knowing, and maternal touch was so comforting! I couldn't imagine our birth experience without Dara... She really helped guide us through the process and brought such a sense of joy and peace to the experience. We are so thankful for her!!! -Jackie and Craig Blankenship 

Posted 8/21/2015

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Jessica Denbo

Dara was the best doula we could possibly have had. She has a calming and supportive presence and when we met her we were comfortable with her immediately. She went above and beyond; not only was she an incredibly skilled and attentive doula during our labor, she was also one of the greatest sources of strength and support to our family throughout our time in the NICU following the birth of our daughter. We gave birth at home but unexpectedly had to transfer to the hospital immediately after birth, and our baby was in the NICU for 16 days. Dara came with us to the hospital the night our baby was born, as well as several other times while we were there. She also came to visit us once we were home from the hospital. She was so supportive throughout our time in the NICU, praying with us and helping us to process the experience.

Dara was incredibly intuitive, attentive, and nurturing throughout my entire labor. She came to our house in the middle of the night, as soon as I went into labor. She helped me with laboring positions, used rebozo techniques, provided aromatherapy in order to make me as comfortable as possible, and she constantly made sure I was hydrated and nourished. She took care of everything so that my husband could be by my side the entire time, and she worked wonderfully with my husband, mother, and midwife. Dara provided a sense of calmness throughout the process and her encouragement helped me to feel confident in my ability to labor.

Dara is one of the kindest and most caring people I have ever known. Not only was she an amazing doula, she has also become a wonderful friend. We are so thankful to her and are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Posted 7/3/2015

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Melissa Weaver

My husband and I can't say enough good about Dara. She is warm, gentle, and intuitive and tirelessly served me in my 56 hour labor. She gave us valuable information through both my pregnancy and labor. She had a way to comfort and help me every step of the way, suggesting an acupuncturist to speed my labor and help my nausea, and various positions that helped me break my water and dialate further. Her suggestions regarding medical interventions most likely kept me from getting a c-section, which was a huge goal of mine. The love and service she showed me is something my husband and I will never forget. My labor was difficult, with nearly constant nausea and vomiting, and even when the nurse seemed unsure, Dara did not hesitate to care for me and put me at ease when I was completely vulnerable and overwhelmed. By the time our son arrived I can honestly say Dara felt like family. Her sweet spirit and example of service is unforgettable and I know she will bless any family she is a doula for. 

Posted 6/28/2015

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tania shbib

Dara was an excellent doula. She was kind, compassionate and knowledgable. She is open and accepting of all birth plans and really works with you to achieve your plan without placing too much pressure on you if you decide to deviate from it. She was the best addition to my birthing experience and it would not have been the same without her. Excellent doula!

Posted 5/6/2015

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sarah lubna neyaz

Dara radiates positivity, warmth and kindness. She is someone who you instantly feel comfortable with and is a source of strength and comfort...She made me feel not only comfortable and calm during my first pregnancy and birth experience, but helped with pain management, created a peaceful environment in a hospital setting, even fed me, supported me mentally, physically and emotionally and my husband as well. I can’t imagine what my pregnancy, labor and delivery would have been like without her! Not only did she support us during labor she often sent helpful notes and articles my way during pregnancy and also postpartum, she is always a phone call/text/email away. During the time of labor she used aromatherapy, massages, several different positions, rebozo techniques, positivity & encouragement, hot pads, cool rags - you name it, her bag of tricks, soothing words and calming presence were plentiful and tremendously helpful! We were able to have such a positive and beautiful experience during it all and we owe it to Dara. She supported all my decisions and encouraged me 100% of the way, not only that but made me feel empowered as well. My husband and I are so grateful and lucky to have found her as our doula and highly recommend her - we cannot thank her enough! She’s amazing!!!

Posted 5/2/2015

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Noah Asher Golden

Dara gives 100% of herself. She has an amazing warmth and a strong presence. She is giving and generous with her time and energy. We had a very long labor and Dara was available to support us every step of the way. She is kind and completely dedicated to helping support the labor and birth process. She has an array of varied tools and skills including aromatherapy, hands-on techniques, position and activity recommendations, verbal encouragement, and nutritional support. She also developed an amazing rapport with not only me but my husband as well, who felt extremely grateful for her skill and expertise. She really goes above and beyond, helping to create the most healthy and supportive environment possible. We strongly recommend Dara. She is a wonderful, giving, enthusiastic, positive and mature person and an overall wonderful doula.

Posted 4/23/2015

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Carolina Guajardo

Dara was our Doula for the birth of our son in Dec 2014. Dara was very kind when we first met her and was very warm when meeting with us before the birth. She was always available to answer questions (we didn't have very many before the birth).

On the day of our son's birth, Dara responded to all our messages and calls promptly and arrived to our house when we needed her.

Once she arrived at the house around 4 pm, she created an atmosphere that was calming and supportive of active labor (e.g. aromatherapy, light changes, water/coconut water, straw for the water-which made a huge difference on my drinking!). She let my husband rest for a bit which was what we needed at that moment, and she was actively trying to get myself comfortable. She changed the mood from anxiety/excitement to calm excitement that was  what I needed to make the labor progress. She helped me feel comfortable physically by using massages and suggesting different positions. She was suggesting things in a calm non-invasive way that was very nice. She also kept my mind busy by talking to me but also let me focus on my labor.

Once we got to the hospital, she created the same calm atmosphere in the labor room and was available for us the entire time we were there. She put the same aromatherapy that she used in the house (even the doctor was impressed). She did massages and suggested new possitions when our baby decided to get stuck and not to drop. She also answered our questions when the doctor suggested more invasive approach. Our son had to be born via C-section, but Dara was with us and supproted us morally until he was born the next day, and she continued to stay until my husband came out from the OR about 1.5 hours after birth. Not a minute before. 

She supported us after and responded questions we had, and gave us a beautiful birth story written for my son.

We recommend Dara for her kindness and warm approach to labor

 

Posted 3/11/2015

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Sarah Robblee

As my husband Benjamin posted about our experience with Dara, she was amazing. My labor ended up being a long 62 hours and throughout all of it, Dara supported, advised, and encouraged us in the most helpful ways possible. She was up all night with us at the birthing center through the most painful part of labor and then came with us when I was transferred to the hospital. At the hospital, the nurses put me on Pitocin, and after hours on Pitocin, with the possibility of a necessary C-section looming, the nurses encouraged me to get an epidural. This was not part of our birth plan, but nothing else had been either, and Dara offered advice and encouragement when we asked for it and was very supportive in all the decisions we had to make.

In addition to the emotional support, Dara provided physical and spiritual support as well. Her essential oils helped relieve some of my nausea, her massages definitely decreased the amount of pain I was having, and her suggested positions for sitting and lying down were relieving as well. Dara also took the time to pray with us. Not knowing that we are Christians, she asked if we'd like her to pray for us, and we were very thankful for her support in this way. Her faith was incredibly encouraging and uplifting. 

In the middle of it all and looking back on it now, I'm not sure how I would have done it without her. She and my husband worked very well together, especially for her having never met our family before. The day after our sweet daughter was born, Dara came and visited us in the hospital, despite her busy schedule. For our future births, whether at home or in a hospital, we'll definitely want to be working with Dara again. She was an incredible blessing and she's a true gem. 

Posted 2/17/2015

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kallie dovel

My husband and I were so grateful for Dara DeSoto to be apart of our birthing process. Our daughter's birth did not go according to plan from the very beginning; but Dara was there with us to help us make knowledgeable decisions that would align with our birth plan even through the obsticles. Dara created a peaceful and calm environment by providing essential oils and music. She continually massaged and encouraged me to use different positions to help the birth progress. Dara and my husband were a complete team, she would encourage him on what to do and take over when he got tired. This allowed for my husband and I to connect on a level we could not have without her. For that reason it was the most beautiful event of my life. The love that Dara showed to our family was beyond anything I could have asked for. She was present physically and emotionally in every moment and was constantly supporting us in prayer, something that was really important to us. I will be calling her for every birth we have; there is no way I would do it without her support and guidance. 

Posted 1/29/2015

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Benjamin Robblee

Our baby came unexpectedly 4 weeks early while we were still trying to find a doula. Our midwife called Dara several hours after my wife went into labor. Dara dropped everything she had going and was to the birthing center in less than an hour of receiving the call. We had never met Dara before she came to help us with the delivery but during the time she spent with us she won our hearts completely. Dara tirelessly encouraged my wife, tactfully coached and encouraged me, and helped us figure out how to handle a stressful transition to a hospital when a transfer from the birthing center became necessary. Throughout the entire labor Dara's knowledge, care, encouragement, and tireless coaching was a blessing we could not have dreamed of. I highly recommend Dara to anyone looking for a doula. My wife and I will go to no one else for our future deliveries!

Posted 1/21/2015

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Charles Lee

My wife Sandra was diagnosed with ALS(Lou Gehrig's Disease) in October of 2010, she passed away in June 2013. She had progressively gotten worse throughout her struggle with the disease, and eventually became homebound the latter two years. We have three young boys aged 7,5, and 3 and I work fulltime at Seacoast Grace Church in Cypress, CA. During those two years, Dara DeSoto was part of our incredible volunteer caregiving team made up of our church congregation members. She was a vital part of that caregiving team, and came to our house 1-2 times a week. Her punctuality, caring, and service were second to none. She is extremely capable of childcare for all ages, boy or girl; as well as house upkeeping(cleaning, laundry, cooking). Whenever she was there, our house was always kept in order and the boys and Sandra were well taken care of. Dara also watched and cared over Sandra during her battle with the disease. She is one of the most reliable and trustowrthy people I know of. I would recommend her to anyone or any family in a heartbeat.

 

Sincerely yours,

Charles Lee

Posted 1/9/2015

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Lishawn Lalonde

Dara has an amazing way of making you feel comfortable in the most difficult or painful times . She has great wisdom on natural remedies and easily walks you thru how to use and do these techniques that seem to come so natural as she guides you thru :) I am amazed on how she just walks in and knows your needs without you asking her !! There were times when I was in so much pain or discomfort I did not have the strength or know what I needed but she did it was such a comfort !! I'm so thankful and appreciate when people know there gifts and can use them in such an amazing way to help others !! I hope anyone who needs comfort and guidance before or after birth has the amazing oppurtunity to have Dara the Doula on there side !!  A greatful patient , Lishawn Lalonde

Posted 1/6/2015

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Jenny McGee

Dara Desoto was a tremendous support and comfort during and after my pregnancies. She offered very practical and easy solutions which taught me how to breast-feed, ways to hold my colicy baby and strategies to care for myself. I was clueless with what to do with certain things like when my breasts painfully engorged with milk. Also, my son was very colicky and she was able to offer advice and her expertise on how to handle the crazy stags in our lives. Dara is a person of integrity, strength, faith and wisdom. I would recommend her expertise, experience and accompaniment to anyone.

Posted 1/6/2015

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Lisa Smith

When it comes to her clients, Dara is in it for the long haul.  She is comitted to their well being, both, physically and emotionally.  Her concern is not just for the mother but the entire family unit.  Dara is capable in every way and can be trusted to keep her client's and client's family's best interest front and center even when it comes at a cost to herself.  

Posted 1/6/2015

Birth Availability for Dara DeSoto,CD(DONA)(HCHD)

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