We had such a wonderful experience working with Maria for the birth of our first child. As transplants to the PNW, we didn't have much of a support system here and decided early in our pregnancy to hire a doula. From our first meeting, Maria was such a valuable resource and trusted friend to us guiding us through all of the decisions we would have to make. She always provided thoughtful perspective and gave us with information to do our own research to make the best decisions for our family. We felt so prepared going into the hospital once my water broke because of all of the preparation work we did with Maria and her counterpart Sherilee. Unfortunately, we went into labor at the same time as another one of Maria's clients. While she was already actively working with them, she was texting us and supporting us constantly until she could make it to the hospital. She even sent her Doula back up to keep us company and be our advocate while we waited for her arrival. When she walked into the hospital room, both of us felt so relieved to have her by our side. She was in integral part of our birth team and had magical ways of helping us through the pain and tough contractions. When our labor presented unforseen issues, Maria was the first calming voice helping us make decisions along the way. Having the reassurance of her there with us, knowing she only had our best interests in mind was so incredible. She continued to support us virtually after the birth due to COVID19 restrictions. Having her to facetime / text / call with all of our new parent questions and concerns was a deep relief as we tried to navigate our new life. She is a wonderful Doula and I would recommend her services to anyone regardless of your birth plan or situation. If we decide to expand our family, our first call would be to Maria to make sure she's part of our birth team again.
We are so grateful to have had Maria as our doula for the birth of our first. I started out completely uneducated about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and had no idea the extensive education a doula could offer, nor the support and friendship we'd receive in the postpartum period either. For our prenatal sessions, she sat with us for HOURS as we asked questions and I processed my needs for trauma-informed care, and she really helped me find confidence in my ability to give birth. I ended up really refining my desires for birth, eventually opting for an out of hospital, natural plan, but when complications arose before delivery and I had to be induced, Maria was by our side for four days until my son was successfully born vaginally (that could not have happened without her support--I wouldn't have lasted as long as I did). Maria has been a vital resource for finding lactation support when my son wouldn't latch and struggled with weight gain, as well as helping me connect with other new moms through a virtual support group. We love her, are SO grateful for her, and really hope she can be there for the next baby too!
Maria was essential to the gentle birth of our 2nd son. My husband and I can both attest to Maria's expertise and ability to provide wonderful support during my pregnancy, labor, and post partum. For this pregnancy I wanted someone to provide calming guidance to facilitate another unmedicated birth. I was especially anxious about the transition and pushing stages, which caused me the most difficulty during my first birth. After sharing my fears with Maria, she was able to help me process the past birth and illuminate me on why I experienced certain things during transition. Maria's instruction was invaluable in educating us with the stages of labor, childbirth, and postpartum. She also provided numerous resources that I found useful for preparing myself physically, mentally and spiritually. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19 hospital restrictions, Maria was limited to a virtual presence. When my water broke and labor began in the middle of the night, Maria was immediately available via FaceTime. At first, I was worried about the virtual experience, but it worked out wonderfully. She listened closely to my contractions and provided the necessary support between the surges to give me confidence. At the hospital, my husband set up his iPad and Maria was present for the entire birth. I still felt her presence and she was able to offer guidance. I had a dream labor and delivery. After the birth, Maria continued to offer suggestions and advocate for our birth plan. Since the birth, Maria has checked in every day to see how we are doing, answer any questions, and continue to provide support. We are so happy with hiring Maria as our doula, and would highly recommend her as a virtual doula. During the unprecedented times surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, pregnant mothers need the extra support to navigate the unknowns. Maria played a vital role in helping us stay calm, reassured, and prepared for our new healthy baby boy.
My husband and I hired Maria for help with the birth of our first son. We had recently moved to Portland and the idea of using a doula was new to us, but we quickly realized how valuable someone like Maria could be for us since we didn't have any family in the area.
The first three meetings with Maria were very informative and helpful in making us feel prepared. It was nice to have all of the data and information to make informed decisions. She also had a plethora of books and materials that we were able to borrow from.
We had a hospital birth that ended up taking 60+ hours. Maria stayed by our side to help ensure our comfort and confidence throughout the unfamiliar experience. When things got uncomfortable, she instructed new positions and techniques, used her TENS unit, and provided words of encouragement and confidence.
I truly believe that without Maria, during the 60-hour labor I would have been pressured into having an undesired c-section. We will be forever grateful to Maria for her kindness and knowledge during that scary time in our lives. Maria also came by the hospital post-birth to check-in and provide breastfeeding support. Overall, we highly recommend Maria as a doula!!
Maria was invaluable to me and my partner in preparing for our hospital birth and helping us to stick to an unmedicated birth plan. Her experience and knowledge were what we initially appreciated most and it shined through our 15 hour labor and birth (plus my water breaking 20 hours before the onset of labor). I most appreciated her hands on style and calm presence through active labor. She also helped my partner to take breaks and modeled supports he could help with. When my baby had turned posterior during labor, she led the team of nurses along with the midwife to use spinning babies positions and techniques to turn him and it worked!! Maria is so wise and knowledgeable, we felt we were in good hands the entire time. I recommend everyone hire a doula, and Maria if you can!
Our experience with Maria Armstrong as Doula
We were first time parents, and chose to use a doula, as one of our friends had a good experience.
After looking at several candidate resumes, we narrowed down to 3 that we would interview. Maria came across as a very strong candidate, both because she seemed caring, and had the experience of raising several children. In the end, we chose Maria, because we felt comfortable working with her the most.
Before the birth, Maria came to our house 3 times. It was very reassuring to review the upcoming steps we would have to go through with someone with experience, and Maria was both patient and good at explaining. She also lent us training materials, which came in handy.
When the birth started, at 1am in the morning, Maria answered the phone immediately, and met us at the hospital about the same time we were admitted. During the birth process, Maria was extremely helpful in terms of helping me (the future mom) to manage pain, helping both of us navigate through the birth plan, and most importantly helping us manage the really stressful process of having prolonged “pushing” process during the labor. Without Maria, I would have relented to using pain killer/deviating from my birth plan.
Throughout the entire birth process, Maria was at our side, filled with energy, and was caring and professional. After the birth was finished, she provided some pictures and explained in details what had been happening. During the postpartum recovery, Maria visited our house once more to check upon us including our newborn; very thoughtfully, she brought useful handouts, tons of advice about breastfeeding/postpartum exercises etc., as well as blends of herbs to speed up my recovery.
All in all, we would strongly recommend Maria to anyone giving birth.
I hired Maria for the birth of my second baby. The labor and delivery for my first baby was very long, challenging, exhausting, and ended in an unplanned cesarean that left me feeling disappointed and defeated to say the least. I didn't realize going into it just how unprepared I was until after my baby was born. I knew once I was pregnant again that I'd greatly benefit from hiring someone with experience and expertise- a source of support that I didn't have the first time around. In other words, hiring a doula would be the best resource if I wanted to have the successful VBAC I'd been longing for since my previous birth. I attended ICAN meetings and heard about Baby Nest's doulas here in Vancouver. Immediately upon meeting Maria, I knew I didn't need to look any further. She has a calm, understanding, and kind presence while also being confident and assertive- exactly what I needed! It was so reassuring to have her guidance throughout pregnancy, and she was truly a miracle worker during my labor. She advocated for me as if she could read my mind- knowing exactly what I needed (including my husband!). I credit my successful and empowering unmedicated VBAC to Maria's support, wisdom, and beautiful way of instilling of confidence in me. I found strength I didn't know I have, and Maria is the reason why.
I enlisted the help of a Doula for my third child. My first two were c-sections, so my hope was to get as much support as possible for the Pregnancy leading up to labor and through the labor experience. There’s no guarantee for Tolac‘s, so a Doula that is more supportive on the front end of labor is extremely important, since the largest hurdle starts there for profiles like mine. Although my labor experience did not result in a vaginal birth, when present, Maria was most helpful and skilled during the intense pain of labor. Maria’s personality and calm disposition is a pleasure to be around. Maria is also very knowledgable in her craft, so seeking a deeper understanding of labor concerns was always addressed.
Maria is a fantastic doula. We decided to have her at our birth because of her warm, yet direct personality. I respond well to direction in a caring environment. Maria guided us through the whole birth process beforehand. We talked about different scenarios and how we could work positively together. She not only included my husband, but gave him the confidence to be a solid birth partner.
I called her at 11:00pm the night my water broke and she met us at the hospital when we arrived. She was able to explain everything that happened during my 6 hour birth to put me and my husband at ease and normalize feelings. She reminded my husband to take a break and take care of himself. And while he did, she stepped in to care for me.
Her communication is clear and constant. Her kind and respectful heart was exactly what I needed to feel safe and comfortable. Absolutely, I’d hire her again!
Maria is truly a unicorn! She is a friend, mother, and professional all in one lovely package. I had one of those pregnancies that seemed like one issue after another, and Maria was always ready with an answer, a solution, and/or lots of support. She was amazing during my labor, which ultimately resulted in a cesarean. Maria made sure I tried absolutely everything before agreeing to surgery, and when I finally was ready to agree to cesarean, she reassured me that it was the safest and best option at that point. Bonus points- every single nurse and doctor I had said that Maria was the best doula they had ever met! They literally could not stop talking about how much they all loved her, and of course we agree. :-)
I had a list of doulas to interview but when my husband and I interviewed Maria, we both agreed that we wanted her to be part of our family’s birth experience. I wanted someone who had experience with birth trauma because I had anxiety from my first birth and some hospital related trauma. Maria provided evidence based information during our prenatal visits which helped me feel more confident about my choices for a more natural experience. I was able to go into labor and labor for a while naturally, which was my utmost desire. Maria anticipated things I would appreciate and was prepared to meet those needs during the labor. We had built so much trust that when things did not go as expected during the labor and I needed a c-section, I continued to feel confident and supported. I was given time and space to process and grieve throughout the delivery which helped with my recovery process, both physically and emotionally. I also appreciated how she was able to communicate with my husband, allowing him to know how to be so much more supportive and involved. I am so glad we chose Maria and I definitely recommend her as a doula. This birth ended up being more involved than my first birth but having Maria there made a world of difference in helping me be less anxious about everything and having the peace I need to enjoy motherhood all over again.
With Maria by my side, I was able to have the natural birth I had hoped for. Not only did she provide me with tons of information before the birth about my options and ways to cope, she encouraged me to keep going during labor and provided me with all of the things I needed to keep me comforatble. She was also able to help and encourage my husband and help him help me as well as give him breaks because the labor was so long. Because she was there for me, my birth experience was much easier. I would encourage anyone to seek her help for this very special moment.
I was planning a hospital birth after two planned homebirth and one that was born accidentally at home and then transferred to the hospital. I was very nervous about birthing in the hospital. I had also had a doula with a previous birth that, while she did advocate for me, I felt she was overly antagonistic toward the hospital staff after a transfer and it made me anxious. I chose Maria because I knew she was able to firmly advocate for me while still maintaining a good atmosphere with the staff. I was so glad I made this decision! My birth was fast, and Maria stayed right by my side and knew just how to help, with pressure points and cool cloths and support. I also had some post-birth complications and it was wonderful to have an extra set of hands, either helping with baby, with nursing, or helping me through procedures. She was kind and professional at all times. Maria made everything more comfortable, less stressful, and less scary, for both my husband and me, and I would certainly choose to have her with us again!
I had an amazing experience with Maria as my doula. I looked into many doulas, but I wanted someone who was very experience not just attending births, but giving birth herself. I also, didnt think I'd feel comfortable with a doula of my own age (20's) for me a more experienced nuturing and maternal person was what I was looking for. Maria was incredibly flexible with our schedule and we liked her immediately at the meet and greet. She was very thoughtful and kind. We ended up having our baby 3 weeks early and she was able to shift her schedule to attend our birth even though it was unexpected. We were very impressed with her knowledge and resources. She gave us so much info we didn't feel the need of a birth class. She had hand outs on labor, labor positions, acupressure points etc. And came to the birth with herbs, aromatherapy, homeopathy, tens unit machine etc. She was incredibly supportive and helped my husband find massage and pressure points to support me. My baby ended up in a difficult position and I was stuck for hours in transition. Maria helped us through it and we did some homeopathy which ended up helping my body and the baby resolve the problem. I also felt incredibly supported after the birth with breastfeeding help, palcental encapsulation, sitz baths and lots of advice including recommendations of chirporactor, cranisacral practitioner and homeopathy to help with breastfeeding issues etc. I highly recommend maria and am happy to have her as a continuing source of support and resources.
Maria made sure that my hospital birth was the birth I wanted- she not only emotionally supported me and my husband throughout my 45 hour labor, she continously advocated for me with hospital staff and made sure that my birth plan was respected. She also saved my stalled labor by calling in a skilled acupuncture provider who got my labor started back up right away! I feel strongly that I would not have had the successful and positive water birth experience I had if not for Maria's amazing assistance.
As first time parents determined to labor naturally, my husband and I decided to use a doula. After interviewing multiple candidates, we decided on Maria. Though she had attended a limited number of births, her personal experience with delivering her own four children naturally at home (one unassisted), her extensive knowledge and clear dedication and interest in the birth experience, and her even-keeled calming nature convinced us that she was the right choice.
Maria was an invaluable resource throughout my pregnancy, and during my approximately 15 hour labor! In the very early stages, she walked with me and provided support, allowing my husband to rest. As labor progressed, I experienced a great deal of back pain, and for about 10 hours straight, she applied pressure to my lower back, freeing my husband to support me in other ways. In addition to applying pressure, she made gentle suggestions about switching position, the use of water/the tub, and most importantly, provided a strong, comforting and knowledgable presence during the time I needed it most. One of the most difficult things about labor for me, was not knowing what to expect, how much more intense the pain would get, and how much longer it would be. Maria was able to provide exactly the kind of help and support I needed both emotionally and physically during each stage of labor, and both my husband and I positive that she greatly contributed my being able to have the amazing natural birth we were hoping for.
Maria Armstrong was such a huge help during the labor and birth of my son, just a little over three weeks ago. My labor was fast, and I was worried no one from my birth team would make it in time for my son's arrival (we had a planned home birth). Maria was the first one to arrive-- incredible! For the rest of my labor, she proved to be just as responsive to my needs, even when they were non-verbally communicated.
Clearly, birth is a passion of Maria's; she is an experienced "birther" herself, and really gleans a lot of intuitive knowledge and expertise from her own experiences, in addition to her own (extensive!) personal studies. She is a joy to talk with, very personable and compassionate! She is a wealth of wonderful information, and yet never ever pressures or forces anything on you. I've learned so much from her, even during my third pregnancy!
Maria's soothing touch during those tough, intense contractions were so very helpful. She really made labor a lot easier! She even showed my husband some pressure points so he could be help relieve some of my pain, too, which I thought was VERY generous of her!
This was my first time using a doula. During my first two births, I never felt I needed one (I did not know Maria at the time!). But when Maria approached me about being my doula this time around, I thought I'd give it a shot! I'm sure glad I did, too! Her presence was calming and non-intrusive, yet she knew when to step in and help. I'm so thankful that Maria was a part of our beautiful birth experience; I would use her again, without a doubt. I sincerely hope you have a chance to meet Maria and see for yourself what a fabulous, friendly and lovely doula she is.
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