Ryan Starling Photo

Ryan Starling

Starlight Birth Services

Website: http://starlightbirthservices.wordpress.com

Phone: (757) 707-7359

Birth Fee: $650 to $900

Fee Details: 3 part payment plan available. If finances are a concern, please do not let this prevent you from hiring a doula. Please contact me and I will work with you to make an arrangement we are all comfortable with.

Birth Doula Experience: 11 years and 315 births attended

Doula Training

  • DONA International, October 2007
Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 1

Attends hospital births? Some Hospitals
DePaul, Obici, Maryview, and others dependent on travel, etc.
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
DePaul Midwifery Center
Attends home births? Any Home Birth

Other Relevant Certifications

  • Neonatal Resuscitation Certified (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Former ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) Chapter Leader; ToLabor Trained

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Clients on bed rest
  • Domestic Violence
  • Expected stillbirth
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • High risk
  • Home Birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Multiples
  • Over 40
  • Plus size mothers
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Prematurity
  • Single parents
  • Survivors of Previous Life Trauma
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth
  • Women and Families of Color

Special Services Offered

  • Babywearing education
  • Childbirth Education Services
  • Cloth diapering education
  • Military famiies
  • Reduced rates for women considering adoption
  • Surrogates and intended parents

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Former Chapter Director for Birth Matters Tidewater for several years (completed my last term in 2014); former ICAN Chapter Leader for 2 years; teacher for VBAC and Cesarean class; Postpartum Support Virginia trained; DONA Certified for 6 years; ToLabor trained; homebirth apprentice working toward licensure through the PEP process.

Languages spoken: English, some Spanish

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Portsmouth, VA
Travel Range: 30 Miles

Client Testimonials for Ryan Starling

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Doula Sam Mahon

I am a repeat client, and mentee doula for Ryan!  After the birth of my second baby she inspired me to follow my passion to become a doula! She has was my rock during birth and aided me in laboring at home as long as possible before heading into the hospitaL which is what I wanted her to do! At the hospital, she facilitated positions and helped me achieve my first non medicated natural vaginal birth!  Her skill is nothing short of amazing, and I am so lucky to have her as a mentor in this profession!  Thanks Ryan!!!

Posted 10/18/2014

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tina forshey

I had an amazing birth experience in 2011 with Heather. my husband and I were so very grateful for her knowledge, support, and character. She helped up leading up to our birth to understand and be prepared for our sons arrival. She was there every step of the way and helped guide us and eased our comfort when our journey ended in a C Section ( after laboring to 9 Cm). She was amazing. I would recomend her highly and with much confidence that she is nothing short of amazing. Couldn't imagine our sons birth without her being part of it!

Posted 5/7/2014

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Casey Reed

What I appreciated most about Heather was how her approach and level of involvement was completely dependent upon what we wanted.  We had a few questions here and there leading up to the labor, but what Heather's role would be really began to emerge and take shape once the labor started.  I kept referring to her throughout early labor to help identify and understand where we were at, how far we had to go, and perhaps most imporantly how far we had come. 

I loved that she was available to be reached via phone calls or texts during the early stages of labor, and then obviously she met us at our house and traveled to the Midwifery Center with us once active labor began.  Having her at our house really gave us peace of mind  knowing when to go to the hospital with confidence, as we wanted to labor at home as long as possible. 

Then once we were at the hospital she was able to be supportive and present, fulfilling some physical needs (ice water, cool rags on my face, words of encouragement) without being obtrusive into the very special moment that my husband and I were sharing, bringing our little baby girl into the world.  I could easily get a sense for how much respect she had for my body and the fact that it knew what it was doing in birthing this child.  She was simply there as a support, supplement, and advocate.

Our baby girl is now 8 days old, and Heather has also proven a GREAT resource in the first week of parenthood as we have learned to breastfeed, tried to get some sleep, and understand this new little human that we have been charged with loving and caring for.

I would highly reccomend Heather's doula services to any other expecting moms and dads, and we would like to hire her again for the birth of our next child - if both she and my husband and I are still in the area.

Posted 5/9/2013

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samantha slaon

 Heather was a total blessing in disguise.  I was actually in a different state moving 500 miles at 7 months pregnant, with not a friend or family member in the area.  She was there for me from the beginning suggesting the best place to give birth based on my preferences.  When I got to the area we met and it was a great match!  My husband also loved her, and had an instant trust with her.  I called after every appt and during every ache and pain, and she was always available and happy to help! When it was game day, she came when I called observed my labor made suggestions and was very good at being not presently present.  She helped me labor at home, and at the hospital, and continued to support me even when things went a route that I didn't plan for them to go.  She was with us from 3am until 6pm which was the delivery of my son.  I would hire her again and again!  She also helped post partum when I was having breast feeding issues.  Hiring her was the best thing we ever did!  When she couldn't help, she referred us to the best providers in the areas.  Not only did we hire a professional labor support, we made a life long friend!!! 

Posted 2/26/2013

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Anne Shell

This was my second birth, but first time having a Doula walk me through the childbirth process, and also my first time going through the entire laboring process at home and having a natural birth with no pain medications! I was determined to accomplish these things, and simply could not have done it without Heather's constant comfort and support, especially during the time that she was inside my home, guiding me through contractions and breathing. Her voice and touch were so soothing, but at the same time she would use a more stern tone to let me know that the way I was breathing or moaning was not beneficial to me. She was extremely encouraging, and eliminated all of my fears. Giving birth in a military hospital, we were worried they would not allow me to follow my natural birth plan, but when we got to the hospital I was able to climb up on the bed on my hands and knees, not get hooked up to anything, and just push my baby out! Heather was instrumental in getting me out of the house and to the hospital at exactly the right time. I got to the hospital at 9 centimeters dilated and gave birth 30 minutes later! Everything Heather did for me and my family was absolute perfection. I truly believe that I could not have completed my labor and birth plans without her presence! Thank you Heather!!!

Posted 12/3/2012

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Cara Busscher

I met Heather after experiencing my first C section.  She helped teach me about VBACs and when I found out I was pregnant with my second child I almost immediately hired her.  Throughout my pregnancy I had lots of questions.  Heather was always willing to find the answers or point me in the right direction if she didn't have them (which wasn't very often).  I felt very prepared as my pregnancy went on.  Unfortunately I ended up with another C section without any labor, but Heather was still very supportive.  She came to the hospital and comforted me since she knew how disappointed I was.  She was there to sit with my Mom while I was in surgery and then be with me in recovery while my husband went to be with our little girl.  Heather stayed for a couple hours to help me once the baby came with breastfeeding and just making sure I was ok.  Although my birth did not turn out the way I wanted, Heather was a great source of support and comfort. 

Posted 8/22/2012

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Amanda Creeley

 Heather Edwards is one word ... AMAZING! I had a complicated pregnancy due to gd. She was RIGHT there thru the hole thing! She answered ALL my husband and mines questions (even if some of them were a little crazy) She was up front and honest! She even listened to my hysterical crying on more then one occasion due to harsh things said to me about how my pregnancy was progressing. My husband and I were very short on money, due to the fact we werent in the best finical situation (ie being young and no careers) and I am VERY thankful Heather worked with us instead of saying theres the door sorry paymeny is payment. I couldn't have asked for a better doula!!! She spent the hole weekend with us trying to get labor started since my water was trickling out. She also kept an AMAZING detailed list of step by step thru my delivery and I am SO thankful for that since everything is kind of fuzzy to me. I would deff hire her again! You can't find a more perfect douala! You are crazy if you don't hire her! <3

Posted 8/21/2012

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Gloria Miles

My first birth was the "typical" experience: pitocin augmentation, IV, continuous monitoring, AROM and then the epidural. It wasn't a horrible birth, but it really made me feel like there *had* to be something better. The more research I did, the more I realized that natural birth was safer and better. Of course, the number one piece of advice that comes with going natural is either stay home or hire a doula. Since I was active duty at the time, we could not afford to take on the out of pocket expense to give birth at home with a midwife. Therefore, we went on a search for a doula.

My husband was a little wary of having a stranger come in to "just hold my hand." However, during our first meeting, she put him completely at ease and after the birth, he was sooooo happy to have had her. He gushed about hiring a doula to every expectant friend we had from then on. :)  

During my labor, she was wonderful and when that moment came during labor (transition!) where I felt like I couldn't handle anything anymore, she was quick to be right there, urging me on and supporting me. She gave me that last little push of confidence that made me realize that I was already doing it. If I were to get pregnant again, she would be one of the first people I called! I would recommend Heather to everyone. 

Posted 8/21/2012

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Kristi Shantz

Heather Edwards was the difference between allowing myself to get caught up in the anxiety and fear of birth, and having faith in myself to have the natural birth experience that I wanted. While going through transition I was absolutely out of my mind. With Heather's help, I went from, "take me to the hospital now! I want an epidural and c-section" to blissfully sitting in my own candle-lit bedroom, while Heather massaged my hands with essential oils and helped me through one contraction at a time. She stayed with me the whole time. I know without a doubt that if Heather had not been there, I would not have been able to have the resolve to stick to my natural birth plan. She was available to me before, during, and after the baby was born, and she is great friend to this day. Any woman would be blessed to have Heather help her through her birth. Heather is kind, patient, and soothing, and everything I needed and more during my birth experience.

Posted 8/21/2012

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Courtnie Thorsen

My Husband and I first met Heather in May of 2008, while I was expecting our 3rd child. I had heard great things about having a Doula to help facilitate a "natural" birth- something I very much desired. From our first meeting, we hit it off! She put us both at ease, answering our many questions with poise and professionalism. My husband was very pleased to hear that she was not there to replace him, but to help him help me. She stayed in constant contact with me- at my request until I gave birth in October of that year. She was WONDERFUL in helping to calm my fears, and give birth just the way I had hoped. We called her again when we learned we were expecting our 4th child in August of 2011. I very recently gave birth in May 2012, and again Heather was everything I needed her to be. She was there for BOTH my Husband and I from the beginning of labor until well after my baby's birth. Her calm encouragement meant EVERYTHING in helping me have my drug free birth again! We are done having children, but Heather is now a life long friend. I can not say enough good things about this wonderful Doula! Thank YOU Heather!

Posted 8/21/2012

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Melanie

Heather was wonderful during my induction.  She stuck by my side and offered any advice she could to help with pain and comfort.  She was by far the best choice I could have made. Thank you, Heather!

Posted 8/21/2012

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Liz Tarrats

Just wanted to express my thoughts of what I feel about her I am currently 32 weeks along I hired her my last pregnancy which was exactly 1 year ago and she missed my labor because my baby was premature at 33 weeks. Because of my early labor last time she hired a backup for her vacation in August since I am due in September she thought I might go into labor and she wanted be sure she had done one I made my first payment as soon as she found backup I made my 2 nd payment at 30 weeks before her trip n I told her I would make my final payment at 35 when she would return from her trip. The day before her trip I am 32 weeks and she Facebook messages me didn't even call me she messages me to tell me her and Gloria backup doula decided to refund my money back and not be my doula because she felt uncomfortable with my husband since I stated on my second payment to her that I was paying her this time not him she assumed he was not ob board was her words when not once in our 32 weeks did she mention anything about him. So I told her that was very unprofessional and she said it was not. Not once during this pregnancy did she call me to see how I was doing nor did she bring her materials I asked to borrow to our meeting I asked to borrow books from her library. It was her choice to let me go at this time she so brought up past that at my previouse birth my husband didn't talk to her when she arrived 5 minutes after my son was born of course he didn't we just had a premature baby and were very scared and fact she didn't show up was worse. I just don't think she had a reason to refund my money she didn't even Apologize how does she think i can hire someone else in next couple weeks and now at 32 weeks am confused and scared at my 2nd attempt to hire a doula and have a natural birth and it's not going happen now I wish from start I would have hired one of the other 3 doulas I interviewed they would have been more professional. (Response by Heather E below).

Posted 8/21/2012

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Kim James

The next two posts are Heather Edwards' response to Liz Tarrats' testimonial. -Kim James, Owner and Operator of DoulaMatch.net

Posted 8/20/2012

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Heather Edwards

I would first like to say that I am sorry that my back-up and I were not able to meet this client's needs. We do hope she finds what she needs and that this third birth is empowering. When this client delivered her second baby, I didn't "not show up." I was laboring with a 41-week mom and she was pre-term and therefore, I was not on-call yet. I did offer to try to find back-up, but the client expressed that the staff at the hospital told her she was not in labor - that she was just "very uncomfortable" and would like to me to come sit with her. Over a couple hours, my laboring mom slowed down and assured me it was fine to go home. I drove straight to the hospital instead. The baby beat me in the room by ONE minute. After the dust settled and the NICU team took the baby, I asked several times if there were questions or concerns they had about the birth, the NICU, etc. While I understand this was a shock, her husband actively turned away from me, crossing his arms in silence. I felt very uncomfortable, and when I asked about her husband at our postpartum visit, she said he just wanted to know why I wasn't there. Her husband also did not attend that postpartum visit, where she brought up not wanting to pay because I "missed" the birth. I agreed to 2/3 of her discounted fee despite prenatal work, coming to the hospital, and a postpartum visit. With her third pregnancy, she called me right away, but did not hire me until very late in her pregnancy, stating from the start that she had to see if her husband would be okay hiring a doula again. I let her know on several occasions that I was planning a vacation that coincided with the time frame for both of her previous pre-term deliveries, and still, she did not secure my services. Shortly after I booked my trip, she called to book me. We agreed a back-up was crucial, but because my trip was for two weeks, this back-up situation was unique and required a lot of negotiating and financial arranging on my part.

Posted 8/2/2012

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Heather Edwards

We met all together - client, husband, myself, back-up. Not once did the client's husband talk to either myself or the back-up despite multiple attempts to engage him. Less than 30 minutes into the meeting, he walked out, no explanation offered. He came back as we were wrapping up, asking if we were done yet; he did not address myself or the back-up, only his wife.The couple and I worked out a payment plan, which involved me paying a flat fee to the back-up to have her on-call for the two weeks I would be gone. A week before my vacation, the client was still behind in the agreed upon alternate payment schedule. I informed the client that due to the unusual nature of our agreement, I had to have payment to pay the back-up before I left, as we previously agreed. She stated that she was struggling to come up with funds because her husband did not want to pay for my/our services. Her check arrived on Monday, with me slated to leave early Wednesday morning. I chatted with the back-up that same day (Monday) to keep her abreast of the situation and asked how she was feeling. At that point, it became obvious that we were both uncomfortable and felt the husband did not want either of us there. I did contact the client via Facebook because that seemed to be her chosen method of communication. In hind sight, I should have called her, and for that, I apologize. I was not comfortable asking a back-up to potentially attend a birth I, myself, was also not comfortable attending. As for not providing materials she requested, this client lives 45 minutes away. I do not feel part of my job is delivering items from my lending library. After reviewing my service contract, it says only that "access to my lending library" is part of my services, but nothing about delivering them. I am very sorry this client feels negatively about her experience with me. I do feel that my and my back-up's discomfort is also worth taking into account.

Posted 8/1/2012

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Morgan Boyd

In our search for a doula, we were looking for knowledge, encouragement, and tranquility, without condescension.  I didn't want my husband to feel unnecessary or overshadowed.  We wanted a natural birth in a military hospital and someone who was familiar with that.  We also wanted to labor at home for as long as possible.  I had done a lot of reading and we had taken classes, but I knew when it was "go" time, things could be easily forgotten.  I also worried that, in the moment, I might waiver in my trust of natural birth or be so determined that I wouldn't listen to the doctor's concerns.  

My husband wasn't initially sold on having a doula, but after meeting Heather, he was onboard.  She was everything we could have hoped for during my pregnancy, birth, and after.  She coached my husband over the phone, she came to the house and labored with me, and then was invaluable at the hospital.  One of the most important things she did (besides telling us when it was time to go to the hospital) was reassure me I was already "doing it," when I would say, "I don't know if I can do this."  At the hospital, I was able to discuss the doctor's desire to break my water with her.  I decided against it, as I had already started pushing, and one push later, my water broke.  About twenty minutes later, our daughter was born.  

I truly believe having Heather as our doula was instrumental in having the birth we wanted.  We can't thank her enough for helping us have such a wonderful experience!

 

Posted 9/30/2011

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Aimee Sirna

Heather Edwards supported me during my VBAC in May 2011.  This was my second baby and first experience with unmedicated birth.  Heather was available throughout my pregnancy to answer questions and share expertise.  She was particularly helpful with providing information regarding VBACs and giving me the confidence to stand behind my VBAC decision when interacting with my provider.  Around my due date, Heather was ready to drop anything to be with me, and when not available, Heather arranged for a back-up doula.  Heather is very gentle, understanding, and supportive.  Having her as a doula helped to make my birth successful, as she was with me every moment for the most difficult parts of my labor.  After the birth, she stayed until I was comfortable and secure with my recovery plans and nursing.  One of the things that I liked most about Heather is that she has a lot of experience, both with her own births and client births.  If I choose to have more children, I will immediately call Heather to secure her as my doula! 

Posted 6/29/2011

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Laurie Callis

In one word, my experience with Heather was: great! 

I chose Heather late in my pregnancy due to a military relocation and a hesitant husband.  I was lucky to find such a great doula free on my due date!  From the first telephone conversation she put me at ease and made the informal "interview" easy since it was like talking to a friend.  Once my husband met her his fears were put to rest because Heather was very knowledgable and explained how her role bolsetered his, not replaced. 

Over the next few weeks I emailed Heather with multiple questions, mostly regarding things that don't typically fall in the doula arena.  But she went above and beyond what was required and answered my many questions without hesitation. 

Finally, when the big day rolled around, Heather arrived with all the professionalism, stoicism, calmness and knowledge you expect from someone you need to rely on in such a situation.  Her presence alone was extremely calming due to her composure and her gentle reminders on how best to relax and deal with contractions were invaluable.  Had she not been there to persuade us it was probably a good time to begin our trek to the hospital our daughter might have been born at home!  And the fan, the fan after pushing was awesome!!

Even after her official role as doula ended, Heather continues to be a great resource and friend.  I'm lucky to have had her at my birth. 

Posted 2/1/2011

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Ashley Pickrell

Heather was fantastic! Being a military spouse, I had no family here to help me through the journey of pregnancy, labor and delivery. She was there from the beginning of my pregnancy and answered every one of my questions, putting my mind at ease. I wanted a natural delivery, without drugs or an episiotomy, and I was afraid the doctors at the military hospital would push me to take pain medications or do an episiotomy without my consent. She helped put together a birth plan, and even made a home visit, to make sure that I got the birth experience I wanted. On the day I gave birth the labor happened so quickly that we were forced to call 911. She was on the phone, coaching me through the contractions and helping me stay calm as I went through the labor process. Provided we are still in the area when baby #2 comes I will definitely hire her again.

Posted 2/1/2011

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Gina Benavides

Our experience with Heather Edwards as our Doula was amazing!  We were a perfect match from the start, and we look forward to having her at our next birth. She provided priceless support during labor, and even 3 months postpartum, continues to give us advice and friendship. She provided us with a written birth story (a timeline of our labor), and wonderful pictures of our birth. It was my first birth, and her supportive words and presence helped me through every contraction. She helped us have the natural, non-medicated birth experience that we were dreaming of. We are so thanful to have found her. 

Posted 2/1/2011

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Dawn Decker

My experience with Heather Edwards was amazing. I had several false starts and she never once seemed upset that I would pull her away from her family. She was always extremely understanding and sweet. She always answered any question or concern that I might have with the upmost respect. When I had to be induced due to going over my due date, she helped me understand that although this may not have been the birth I had wanted that I still had control. She stated with me throughout my whole labor and never once complained about how long the induction was taking. When things became stressful, she was the calming voice that pulled me back. When I was no longer able to bear the pain and got an epidural, her care never faltered. She still supported me. I would have Heather at my next birth. She is an extremely generous person and I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a birth doula.

Posted 7/24/2010

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Stephanie Rochefort

 Heather was my doula for two of my three births. My first son was a c-section which is a very long and involved story. After a c-section it is difficult to get a doctor to allow you to have a unmedicated vaginal delivery. I successfully delivered both my second and third son vaginally with Heather as my doula. Heather was such a comfort and help to me both in my labors and with any concerns or questions I had. And if she didn't know the answer she pointed me in the right direction. She also was invaluable in helping my husband to feel more at ease. I don' t know what I would have done with out her. She is a wonderful doula. She is knowledgeable, caring, experienced, and comforting. I knew that if there was anything I needed while in labor I could count on Heather to make it happen if it were possible. Anytime I needed ice, a warm or cool compress, a hand to hold, or an encouraging word she was right there. If I decide to have another baby I will definitely be hiring Heather to be my doula again. 

Posted 5/13/2010

Birth Availability for Ryan Starling

= Available. Calendar last updated: 12/1/2018 5:27:13 AM