Mandolin Restivo-Walsh Photo

Mandolin Restivo-Walsh

Brainy Birth

Website: http://www.brainybirth.com

Phone: 862-596-1569

Birth Fee: $1425 to $1725

Postpartum Rate: $40 to $45

Birth Doula Experience: 5 years and 50 births attended

Postpartum Doula Experience: 2 years and 20 families served

Birth Doula Certifications

  • Stillbirthday - Certified Birth and Bereavement Doula

Doula Training

  • DONA International, January 2016
Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 0 to 2 births and 1 postpartum families

Postpartum limits/restrictions: None
Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
I regularly attend births at Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital, George Washington University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center. As a childbirth educator, I teach classes at Mary Washington Hospital and Stafford Hospital as well as teach classes with Momease who serves GW, Sibley, WHC, INOVA Fairfax and Alexandria. I am extremely familiar with births at any of these locations.
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
I have experience working with the local birth centers including Birth Care in Alexandria and NOVA Natural Birth Center.
Attends home births? Any Home Birth
I gave birth at home to my own son with CNM's in New York City. I do not attend unassisted births (births with no midwife or OB present).

Childbirth Education Certifications

  • Lamaze International
  • Birth Languages Founder

Breastfeeding Certifications

  • Certified Lactation Counselor (The Center for Breastfeeding)

Other Relevant Certifications

  • American Heart Association BLS (Basic Life Support) Certification
  • Rebozo Certification (Gena Kirby)

College Education

  • MA/MS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Addiction Recovery
  • Cesarean birth
  • Domestic Violence
  • Expected stillbirth
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • Home Birth
  • Induced and high medical technology labor & birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Over 40
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Prematurity
  • Single parents
  • Special needs babies
  • Survivors of Previous Life Trauma
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Teens
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth

Special Services Offered

  • American Red Cross First Aid and CPR
  • Aromatherapy
  • Baby-led weaning
  • Bereavement doula (pregnancy & infant loss)
  • Birth counseling for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Breastfeeding Consultant Services
  • Elimination communication education
  • Miscarriage Support (Before, During or After)
  • Parenting consulting
  • Sleep Educator
  • Stillbirthday Bereavement Doula

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

I bring to my work 15 years of experience as a sexual abuse/assault and domestic violence crisis counselor which greatly informs my work as a childbirth educator and doula. I have been a reproductive justice advocate for over 10 years. Working at the policy and local levels to ensure access to choices in childbirth, breastfeeding rights, and the right of mothers to parent children. I have hosted many educational events including lectures with Ina May Gaskin. I am the a co-founder of the Birth Languages Childbirth Method.

Languages spoken: English

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Stafford, VA
Travel Range: 35 Miles
Travel comments/restrictions: I serve from Washington D.C. to Fredericksburg

Certifications for Mandolin Restivo-Walsh

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Client Testimonials for Mandolin Restivo-Walsh

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Ali Dean

Mandy was my doula for the birth of our second child. After a disappointing experience with my first birth I had a lot of fears and concerns preparing for this birth. Mandy was so helpful in our preparation. She met with us and even let us try out her rebozo. We talked a few different times about my fears, and she really helped me feel supported and that I had one more person to advocate for me. Because of this I felt confident to labor at home before going to the hospital. When we did go in Mandy was a calming presence and normalized everything I was feeling. It was so empowering to have such a positive birth experience. It really was a healing experience after what I experienced before. She was so helpful with getting breastfeeding started especially since I had gestational diabetes and my baby needed supplements for health reasons. She made it so that my husband and I could focus on our baby, and made sure we had whatever we needed. I am so grateful for having her be a part of the experience. If we had another baby I would totally ask her to be our doula again. 

Posted 5/12/2017

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Diana Larkin

I had read that women who have a doula are much more likely to have a VBAC than those who don't. I am so happy that I found Mandy. She was wonderful! She was very responsive to texts and emails, and she explained everything well. She provided in-home childbirth classes. When I went into labor, she reassured me. My water broke the mmorning of 1/21/17; when we went to the hospital 12 hours later, I hadn't dilated at all. The doctor pushed for a c-section, but I didn't want one. It was so nice to have Mandy in my corner supporting my decisions. I had a foley bulb placed. That was intense, to say the least. Mandy held my hand during that process, and she provided physical support, such as rubbing my back, throughout the time I was there. She would also tell me what sorts of things to expect, and I found that to be incredibly helpful. Mandy held my dead leg (one side of the epidural was way too strong) while I was pushing. I didn't like it sliding around during the rest time between contractions, and Mandy was very careful not to let that happen. She always listened to me and tried to do what I wanted to the best of her ability. My husband was happy to have Mandy there too because she was able to help him to help me. This was his first child, and while he's fluent in English, he's not a native speaker. He needed Mandy's support too. Mandy helped shape a potentially traumatic experience into my beautiful VBAC birth story, and I love her for that. Mandy's help didn't stop there, though. She was so supportive with breast feeding and after care too. I thought that I had BF down because I nursed my son for 2.5 years. Wrong. This baby had a tongue tie and some other issues. Mandy helped so much. She called in reinforcements to help me immediately, when she was in a class and I was crying. How did she know I was crying? She was texting me and calling me on her breaks to make sure that I was okay. Mandy really calmed my PP worries and helped me achieve my goals.

Posted 4/30/2017

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Julia Skapik

We met Mandy as our instructor for our childbirth class and found her to be knowledgeable, supportive and enthusiastic. We asked Mandy to be our doula and she was checking in regularly with us when I found out my baby was breech. She provided some helpful suggestions for trying to turn the baby but we had no success. After a failed ecv, I became really depressed about having to have a c section. Mandy kept in touch with me on a nearly daily basis while I was struggling and even came to my house one night yo talk with me and my husband about it. While I did end up with a scheduled c section 5 days after my due date, Mandy was a real help with my pregnancy and I am so glad we had her support!

Posted 4/17/2017

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Page Castrodale

Simply put, I can't imagine what our birth would have looked like without Mandy. After two medicated births and one with a lot of intervention that left me with guilt and anxiety around labor and delivery, I was so hopeful that this experience would be different. Mandy made me feel empowered and confident. She immediately put me and my husband at ease and the moment she walked in the room when I was in labor, I felt so much peace. Even my husband, who was a little hesitant about the idea of a doula, talks about how amazing it all was. She was professional, kind and reassuring and had such a calming presence. I can't recommend her enough.

Posted 3/4/2017

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Michelle Jones

My husband and I had a great sense of relief after our initial meeting with Mandy. Being first time parents and never having witnessed a birth, we both felt some nervousness about not knowing what to expect. In our first consultation, Mandy compared her role to that of sherpa. While I, like a hiker, would be the one doing the majority the work, her goal was to be at our side throughout the journey and to use her experience to guide us along the way. After talking through the many benefits of having a doula, my husband and I felt certain that with Mandy, we'd be in good hands during the birth of our daughter.

Simply put, Mandy gave me the confidence I so greatly needed during pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum. In uncharted territory, she was there to reassure me, which ultimately helped to lessen the pain of labor. Her calm and knowledgable presence throughout the day/night helped me remain relaxed and focused.

We especially appreciated that Mandy stayed with us in the room during the times that the doctors and nurses were away. For us, her constant support was reassuring and even provided my husband a short break to eat and rest during my lengthy labor. I'm sure my case tested Mandy's stamina, but she continued to provide the same quality care and attentiveness into the wee hours of the morning. During delivery, she made sure to let me know when I was pushing correctly and coached me through any changes I needed to make.

Mandy took some of our little girl's first photos -- these moments would have been lost without her there to capture them. A couple weeks after her birth, we met again and she helped me cope with my emotions after learning I had to supplement breastfeeding with formula.

Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, or whether you want an unmedicated birth or an epidural, Mandy will help guide you through one of the most challenging, yet magical moments of your life!

Posted 2/15/2017

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Drea Braxmeier

I am happy to recommend Mandy without hesitation. I knew from the first time I spoke with her that I wanted her, and her incredibly calming demeanor, to be with us in the delivery room. We met three times prior to my son's birth. As first time parents, she answered all of our crazy questions, lead us through a variety of exercises that we could use during labor, and spent time getting to know us and our personalities. 

In the last few weeks prior to my induction (due to pre-eclampsia), Mandy and I texted nearly daily and she was able to give me helpful advice and tips to stay safe and comfortable. Although I had hoped for a drug-free birth, the induction and quick progression led me to get an epidural. Mandy was very supportive of my decision and she also helped advocate for me when there were some issues getting in the epidural. Additionally, she helped keep me calm when the baby's heart rate dropped after I got the epidural (apparently very common!). 

Before we started pushing, Mandy was awesome about reassuring me that I'll be able to handle it. She made sure I knew what I was doing and was by my side the entire time. After our son was born, she stayed with me while I got stitched and cleaned up, giving me support and care while my husband was able to stay by our son's side (as he dealt with some breathing issues immediately following birth). 

I will definitely use Mandy again next time around!

Posted 8/8/2016

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Neeru Paharia

We had a great experience with Mandy as our doula! She is extremely knowledgable and what I liked especially about Mandy is that she encouraged whatever we wanted and really has an open mind. She's also really smart and also knows all the research behind pregnancy and birthing. So I think she can answer questions and advise more objectively. She was also amazing during the birth helping me through every contraction and supporting us both! I would definitely go with Mandy again! 

Posted 8/6/2016

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Briar Misemer

There seems to be no words to truly say how grateful and thankful I am to have had Mandy by my side during my really long labor. She was amazing support for me and my husband. When I first contacted her over the phone I knew right away that we connected. She was a soothing presence in a time of uncertainty. Being a first time mom it was nice to know I had another person I could bounce my questions and concerns off. She was great at giving advice and backing it up with information just in case I wanted more understanding. With having gestational diabetes we weren't sure if I was gonna be able to labor on my own or if I would have to be induced. Having taken the Bradley classes I was so scared of the possibility of being induced. Mandy helped me realize that it is not as scary as they make it out to be especially for my condition if I truly did not labor on my own. I highly recommend Mandy if you are looking for a local Doula.

Posted 7/26/2016

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Sara Ortu

Mandy is a wonderful doula and my husband and I were so thankful to have her be a part of our baby's birth.  We met Mandy when she was the teacher for our childbirth education class and we quickly learned how knowledgeable she was and appreciated her calm and supportive attitude.  We decided we wanted to have an unmedicated birth and knew that having a doula's support would increase the chances of us successfully having this.  Mandy met us at the hospital and was a fantastic support, both for me and helping my husband know how to support me as well.  Thankfully we had a wonderful experience and were able to have an unmedicated birth.  Mandy is a wonderful person and we would highly recommend her!

Posted 6/22/2016

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Jill Laiacona

Both of my births were beautiful, but I have Mandy to thank for helping make my second birth everything my husband and I hoped for and more. When we learned we were expecting our daughter, we wanted her birth to be smoother than our son's birth, which resulted in a weeklong NICU stay. But we didn't know what we could do to make her birth a calmer and more peaceful experience until we met Mandy in the middle of my third trimester.

When we met to discuss our birth plan, Mandy listened thoughtfully as I expressed my feelings. I was glad I had an epidural with my son's birth, but this time I wanted to learn labor techniques to help me cope with the pain and to see how far I could get before resorting to medication. I appreciated that Mandy said she would support me no matter how I chose to birth and she offered great suggestions on how to make me more comfortable.

Mandy was the first person I called when I went into labor at 36.5 weeks. She was there the entire time throughout our short and sweet natural birth (3.5 hours!), suggesting labor positions, helping my husband use massage and counterpressure during my contractions, bringing me washcloths with lavender and clary sage oil to calm me as I labored in the shower, feeding me snacks and keeping me hydrated, encouraging me as I pushed, and taking photos as my husband and I bonded with our daughter and I nursed her for the first time. Our daughter had to be monitored briefly due to low temperature and low blood sugar, and Mandy attended to me and my postpartum needs while my husband stayed with our baby. Finally, she checked in with us regularly throughout our hospital stay and over the next few weeks as we got settled at home.

We found Mandy to be warm, sensitive, empathetic, effective, knowledgeable, and kind. We are happy to call Mandy both our doula and our friend after having her share in one of the most beautiful and intimate experiences we will ever have. 

Posted 5/7/2016

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stephanie carter

I was really worried about what labor would be like. My plan was to get an epidural & just get it over with. My husband refused to read the dad books & wanted to just wing it. We were not enjoying what should have been a special time. Our first meeting with Mandy turned everything around. She was engaging, kind & knowledgeable. She opened my husbands’ eyes to the decisions we needed to make & provided research so we could make those decisions. He was so into the meeting that he hired Mandy on the spot! We finally started connecting over the pregnancy. I worried having a doula would further disconnect us but it was the opposite, Mandy really worked to engage him & provide us with things we could do together. It was about us as a family with Mandy as our facilitator. Mandy gave us materials that made me feel so confident in what I was doing! She never pushed us towards any one way of doing things & we decided on an un-medicated hospital birth. I had gone from terrified of the pain to feeling like my body was made for this! It was freeing to feel like I could actually do this. As weeks dragged on, Mandy was always just a phone call or text away. She listened to me vent & provided help where she could. She was patient with questions & had us try a lot of laboring techniques to see what might work. Mandy was there for 27 hours helping me in both big & small ways. Once we were at the hospital, nothing went as planned. My OB was out of town, I was dilating slowly and I was getting really tired. After all that prep, I ended up with a random doc, getting an epidural after 21 hours & nearly had to use forceps. But because we had gone over different scenarios previously we knew what we wanted & my husband was able to be my voice while I labored. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing we did. And my husband was everything that I wanted in a birth partner & I know I owe his confidence to Mandy’s influence!

Posted 4/27/2016

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Julie Starch

My experience with Mandolin (Mandy) was absolutely wonderful and I hope to be able to use her again in the future! When I was 9 weeks pregnant my husband found out he would be deploying soon missing most of my pregnancy and the first few months of our child's life. As a soon to be first time mom I was nervous to be going through this journey semi by myself. I started looking into all my options for hospital births, birthing centers, doulas, and many styles of birthing classes to see what would work for me. After much research I decided that I wanted to have our child at birthing center where doulas were provided, and to do birthing classes with Mandy. Her style follows many of the Bradley methods but she also listens to her clients needs and tailors the classes to them.


Since my husband was not able to attend any of the classes I thought I wouldn’t have a partner to practice any of the techniques with- wrong. Mandy was always my partner helping me whenever I needed it and showing me different techniques I could do by myself. Not only was she great at teaching me the birthing class basics but she would go in depth to anything I had questions on and she would always go the extra mile with the little things that helped in a big way. Examples: I was supper stressed out from work so she would defuse essential oils during class to help me relax. I ended up with gestational diabetes so she made sure there was a healthy snack option during our classes, and lots of water! I also had a lot of pain in my hips throughout my pregnancy so Mandy would take the last 10 minutes of class to use rebozo exercises and counter pressures (a nice massage) to help alleviate my hip pains.

 

Thank you Mandy for being such a wonderful teacher!

Posted 2/23/2016

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Jonathan Burke

What can we say? Mandy was EVERYTHING and more we could have wanted in a birth assistant! This was my wife's first child, and there are so many questions, and there are so many unknowns... Mandy was there to walk us through the process, educate us prior, and provided superior service, and was literally a phone call away anytime we needed her. She is knowledgeable, effective, reliable and intimately concerned with every thing you need to know. She was there to assist from the moment we went to the hospital until after the baby was settled in with us, and then she followed up with us just like she had promised. She coached my wife through the difficult stage of breast feeding, and was supportive when we had to switch to formula due to difficulties. Mandy is the one you want on your team!

Posted 1/31/2016

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Malorie Calhoun

Mandy was amazing! We were so thankful to have her during the entire labor and delivery, especially when nothing went according to our birth plan! It was so nice to have someone there who was not a doctor to help explain things to us, and help us anticipate what was going to happen next.  She brought an extremely calming presence to the room, and definitely helped me and my husband keep our heads when we had to make certain decisions. If I had to do it all over again, I would want her there everytime! 

Posted 7/17/2015

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Rebecca Bridges

We couldn’t have been happier with our choice to enlist Mandy’s services for the birth of our son. Her presence before, during, and after the event were invaluable and undoubtedly helped ensure that we had a great experience. If you are looking for high-quality childbirth education and doula services, look no further than Mandy and her team at Connected Birth!

Posted 7/10/2015

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Alexis Harvey

When our midwives told us we had to take a birth class in order to use the birthing center we found Mandy and took her class. She was a fantastic instructor and we spent many weeks preparing to be a team going into labor. We knew that Mandy was a doula too and we asked her to be our doula IF we were transferred to the hospital, we figured we wouldn't need a doula in the birthing center. How wrong we were. As it happened we were transferred to the hospital early in my labor so we called Mandy, who like a hero, rushed up to Maryland to be with us. I labored for a very long and difficult 36 hours. Mandy did things that no one else would have thought of, she helped herself to more pillows, blankets, andtowls when I needed them. She reminded my wife and I of different positions that could be more comfortable to labor in, helped me find comfort in the shower, she raided the comfort station at will to keep me hydrated and as nourished as possible. Her presence gave my Wife and my Mom time to rest in shifts because it was a pretty physical day for them too. In the last 2 hours before my baby was born I dilated from 4 to 10 cm, neither my Wife or my Mom thought I was ready to push and were trying to stop me from pushing. Mandy had the presence of mind to get a Nurse to call the midwife because she knew the baby was coming. After my baby was born there was a frenzy of activity in my room, multiple nurses, my wife and my mom were all working excitedly over the baby, and there I was exhausted and alone except for Mandy, who gently fed, soothed, and encouraged me. Her philosophy is that everyone in the room is there for the baby, but the Doula is there for the mother. Mandy helped us figure out how to nurse, let us know what to expect over the next 2 days, and checked in on us when we got home. Mandy is worth her weight in gold, and I would want her in the room for every birth. Now I tell everyone 'Get a doula for your birth, get mine!'

Posted 4/22/2015

Birth Availability for Mandolin Restivo-Walsh

= Available. Calendar last updated: 10/17/2017 12:14:27 PM

Postpartum Availability for Mandolin Restivo-Walsh

= Available. Calendar last updated: 10/17/2017 12:14:27 PM