Amy Lavelle, Ph.D., CPD  Photo

Amy Lavelle, Ph.D., CPD

My Birth LLC

Website: www.mybirthrva.com

Phone: (804) 564-4302

Birth Fee: $600 to $900

Fee Details: My fee includes two prenatal visits, support during labor, birth, and 1-2 hours following the birth, and 2 postpartum visits. The first prenatal visit will be held in a centering style group setting with other parents. The second prenatal will be a private one on one with you, your partner and me. Also included is unlimited support via telephone, text, and email. I am "on call" and guarantee availability for the two weeks prior to your due date until you deliver your baby. The fee for home birth and birth center support is $600. This support includes one home prenatal visit, support for the entirety of your birth, and one postpartum visit in home. The fee for repeat clients is $700. Guaranteed experienced back-up doulas available. Enrollment in any MyBirth childbirth education class is discounted 10% with doula contract.

Birth Doula Experience: 6 years and 70 births attended

Birth Doula Certifications

  • toLabor - Certified Professional Birth Doula

Doula Training

  • The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options & Resources (toLabor), January 2011
Type of Practice: Partnership with 2 or more doulas

Clients per Month: 1 to 3

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
The rate for birth center birth support is $600. This fee includes one in-home prenatal visit, support at your birth, and one in-home postpartum visit.
Attends home births? Any Home Birth
The rate for home birth support is $600. This fee includes one in-home prenatal visit, support at your birth, and one in-home postpartum visit.

Childbirth Education Certifications

  • MyBirth

Other Relevant Certifications

  • CPR Certified - Red Cross
  • Trained in prenatal, birth, and postpartum acupressure, breastfeeding education and rebozo

College Education

  • PhD

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Adoption
  • Cesarean birth
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • High risk
  • Home Birth
  • Induced and high medical technology labor & birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Over 40
  • Plus size mothers
  • Prematurity
  • Relinquishing mothers
  • Single parents
  • Special needs babies
  • Teens
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth

Special Services Offered

  • Abortion Support
  • Acupressure and/or acupuncture in labor
  • Aromatherapy
  • Babywearing education
  • Cloth diapering education
  • Military famiies
  • Mother blessing celebrations
  • Reduced rates for women considering adoption
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Ph.D. in Human and Molecular Genetics; Co-founder and owner MyBirth; Instructor, MyBirth Childbirth Education full series, refresher, nutrition; Richmond Doulas Chair - 2011-2014; Birth Matters VA volunteer - 2011-2014

Languages spoken: English

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Richmond, VA
Travel Range: 15 Miles

Certifications for Amy Lavelle, Ph.D., CPD

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Amy Lavelle, Ph.D., CPD

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Patrick Gantz

Amy Lavelle was my rock during my wife's and my birthing experience. She brought me calm and confidence. Knowing that Amy was OUR advocate - always aligned with our best interests and not beholden to hospital protocals, etc. - I really came to rely on her perspectives and advice.

Our birthing experience was a swirl of unforeseen events and uncertainty, but with Amy at our side it was an amazing experience that I wouldn't change for the world.

My wife and I engaged Amy's Doula practice because we wanted to prepare for a natural birth, and the informative one-on-one sessions and classes provided by the practice helped us understand the process, our options and our preferences. Amy and her colleagues are extremely RESEARCH-BASED which assuaged any fears of this professional researcher that he would be awash in feel-goodery without basis.  Nor did the practice present "natural, unmedicated childbirth" as the only acceptable outcome.  There were teas and scented oils and granola, but there were also facts and critical interpretations of studies.  We were provideed information without judgement so that we could feel empowered to make choices that would craft the experience we wanted.

Now, in our case, nothing went according to plan. Our last ultrasound revealed very low fluid levels, necessitating immediate hospitalization to induce labor.  Our "birth plan" was out the window from moment one. And over the course of four days, my wife endured just about every intervention she'd expected to avoid, from having to wear the gown to pitocin and frequent cervical checks. Thankfully we had Amy beside us for every step into this undesired territory.  We also had amazing midwives and nurses and OBs and yadda yadda, but Amy was the ONE person I knew was ONLY thinking about us (not scheduling or professional liability). Her expertise and demeanor were invaluable; I can't imagine having done it without her.

Posted 4/13/2017

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Sarah Oliveira

I found out I was pregnant within a week of moving from Upstate Ny to VA and knew that I would only be in VA for a month after my baby was due. Right from the start I knew I would need as much support as I could get especially because I really wanted a low intervention birth for my first baby. From the first time I met Amy, I felt so connected. My backgeound is in the sciences and nursing and so having someone who believes so strongly in evidence based research sealed the deal for me. Throughout my pregnancy Amy was able to recommend great community resources for me and suggestions to alleviate my aches and pains. She kept me up to date with any potential conflicts in schedules and always had a back-up plan. My labor came on pretty quickly but Amy was available and attentive. She was an exceptional resource for my spouse who was going through this for the first time as well and helped to keep us both calm and relaxed as much as possible. Everything went perfectly and I'd like to think Amy had a lot to do with it, especially because we felt prepared having her with us. Postpartum she has remained an excellent resource and feels like part of my family. I am so sad that I won't be in the area if we decide to ever have another child because I would love to have her by my side! However, I would gladly recommend her to anyone interested in having the extra support! 

Posted 4/3/2017

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Sarah Oliveira

I found out I was pregnant within a week of moving from Upstate Ny to VA and knew that I would only be in VA for a month after my baby was due. Right from the start I knew I would need as much support as I could get especially because I really wanted a low intervention birth for my first baby. From the first time I met Amy, I felt so connected. My backgeound is in the sciences and nursing and so having someone who believes so strongly in evidence based research sealed the deal for me. Throughout my pregnancy Amy was able to recommend great community resources for me and suggestions to alleviate my aches and pains. She kept me up to date with any potential conflicts in schedules and always had a back-up plan. My labor came on pretty quickly but Amy was available and attentive. She was an exceptional resource for my spouse who was going through this for the first time as well and helped to keep us both calm and relaxed as much as possible. Everything went perfectly and I'd like to think Amy had a lot to do with it, especially because we felt prepared having her with us. Postpartum she has remained an excellent resource and feels like part of my family. I am so sad that I won't be in the area if we decide to ever have another child because I would love to have her by my side! However, I would gladly recommend her to anyone interested in having the extra support! 

Posted 3/25/2017

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Sarah Oliveira

I found out I was pregnant within a week of moving from Upstate Ny to VA and knew that I would only be in VA for a month after my baby was due. Right from the start I knew I would need as much support as I could get especially because I really wanted a low intervention birth for my first baby. From the first time I met Amy, I felt so connected. My backgeound is in the sciences and nursing and so having someone who believes so strongly in evidence based research sealed the deal for me. Throughout my pregnancy Amy was able to recommend great community resources for me and suggestions to alleviate my aches and pains. She kept me up to date with any potential conflicts in schedules and always had a back-up plan. My labor came on pretty quickly but Amy was available and attentive. She was an exceptional resource for my spouse who was going through this for the first time as well and helped to keep us both calm and relaxed as much as possible. Everything went perfectly and I'd like to think Amy had a lot to do with it, especially because we felt prepared having her with us. Postpartum she has remained an excellent resource and feels like part of my family. I am so sad that I won't be in the area if we decide to ever have another child because I would love to have her by my side! However, I would gladly recommend her to anyone interested in having the extra support! 

Posted 3/25/2017

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marisa day

I am so grateful to have had Amy as our doula. She was informed, calm and always quick to respond with text messages or emails when I had any questions or concerns. I loved her laid back and direct way of dealing with a very nervous, sometimes frantic me. I completely trusted her and felt supported 100%

After 2 days of podromal labor, Amy suggested I try to Miles Circut and it worked! Soon after I went into labor!  She was so great at supporting me through what felt like a very quick and intense labor. I distinctly remembering being told it was time to push and having a massive freakout, exclaiming that I couldn't do it! Amy calmly and directly told me I was already doing it and with her supporting all of us (me, my husband and baby) I was able to have a natural childbirth!

Even when Rose was sent to the NICU for a few days, Amy came back to the hospital and helped us with breastfeeding (which was SOOOOOOO helpful) and constantly checked in via text.  She is an incredibly special person and we are so grateful for the big role she played in welcoming our sweet girl to the world.

P.S. All the MyBirth ladies and their services are excellent. Recommend 100%!

 

Posted 11/3/2016

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Sarah Wilde

Amy was fantastic. She was a great resource for us leading up to the birth, and an advocate during the process. She was a calm steady source of reassurance, even as labor dragged on for 30+ hours, providing suggestions and encouragement. I changed the birth plan on the fly, and she never wavered in her support. After the birth, she visited us at home, and once again had some great tips and advice for getting through those first tough, wonderful days. I felt so much more confident having her with me through this process! I would absolutely have Amy by my side again. 

Posted 9/14/2016

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Julianne Guillard

Amy--and everyone in her group, MyBirth--was fantastic throughout our birth process. By the time we hired Amy, we had met with several doulas but had yet to commit to one. We just hadn't found the right fit. Both my husband and I really responded to Amy's unique background; she has a PhD in genetics but approaches her doula practice from a holistic, low-intervention perspective. 

From our first meeting, I really felt as if Amy was supportive of my agency. I did not feel pressured to have a certain kind of birth, at a certain place, or with certain practitioners. She served as a well-researched sounding board, support system, and advocate before, during, and after our son's birth. 

I had a nearly 30 hour labor. Well into hour 20-something, the doctor on-call suggested an epidural to help me relax and bring down our baby into an optimal position. I was having difficulty making decisions and was unsure if this was the best course of action. Was I cheating by getting pain relief? Was I going to harm my baby? Will I panic not being able to feel my legs? Amy seconded the doctor's opinion and gave me the confidence I needed to get the epidural. I got some rest and woke up ready to push and meet our baby. 

We're now a happy, healthy family of three. I can't believe that our baby is nearly 5 months old. I absolutely know that the confident, healthy birth I had was due in part to Amy. While much of the labor is a blur, I clearly remember the constant eye contact and cool, aromatic washcloths from Amy. From my partner's perspective, he, too felt empowered and more confident having another advocate and supportive person throughout the birth process. If you're on the fence about doula support--do it! It will be one of the best decisions you will make. 

Posted 5/31/2016

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Brigette Thomas

Having Amy as our doula truly allowed us to have the birth experience we wanted.  She is incrediby kind and caring and was always available to answer questions, even after birth.  When we had questions, she provided evidence-based information and allowed us to decide what was best for us. Our daughter was breech up until the day I went into labor and Amy was a wonderful source of knowledge and reassurance, helping us navigate the many baby-flipping techniques and explaining the version procedure to us when the baby would not flip on her own. Knowing what to expect and hearing first-hand experience relieved a lot of my anxiety. During labor, Amy provided calm, encouraging support and enabled me to relax because I knew she was there to advocate for us. Most importantly, she supported my partner and gave him guidance so that he could be my main support person. Having my partner be actively involved was a gift to both of us. We are so happy to have had Amy as our doula and highly recommend her.

Posted 4/5/2016

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Tricia Ruppert

I am not sure where to start, as there are so many great things that come to mind when I think of my experience with having Amy as our doula. After taking some Bradley Method classes in preparation for our first child, we decided to not have a doula present. That was a big mistake, that we learned from! When I got pregnant the second time, it was the first thing I knew we wanted to experience! The moment I met Amy, i knew she would be a great fit. She was an awesome listener and super responsive to all the questions I had... and helped me with things I hadn't even thought of yet.  Amy responded quickly to any texts or emails i sent and it was nice to be able to really depend on her. When it came time for the actual "DAY"... Amy was like Superwoman! My husband has said multiple times... "Thank God we had Amy"... and I coudn't agree more! She was able to anticipate my needs and was extremely supportive during the entire experience. She believed in me, even when I wasn't sure if I believed in myself. When things got crazy and the nurses and midwives were not in agreement, she was the "calm" that I needed. She didn't lose her composure and kept me sane during the craziness. She was the emotional and physical support I needed during my labor and birth and I am so happy to have had her there!

Posted 3/10/2016

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shannon reaves

I am so very glad we partnered with Amy for the birth of our first baby. Amy’s knowledge of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period and the education she provided us was empowering. She provided the tools I needed to face birth without fear. Whenever I reflect back on the birth of our son, I hear Amy’s calm voice guiding me through the pain of transition contractions and explaining to me what my body was doing to help our baby arrive. The information she provided on the postpartum period allowed me to feel supported as I began the cray journey of caring for a newborn. I can’t imagine going through this process without Amy on my team!

Posted 2/16/2016

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Elise Benoit

Our first child was born December 16th, 2015 after 4 days of hard prodromal labor. Amy was beyond helpful throughout the whole process. Amy came over one night when we thought it was time and stayed with us...just to find out that the baby wasn't quite ready to come. She answered texts and calls immediately and kept us sane when things were hard. She was kind, funny and firm when she needed to be. When labor was hardest, she reassured me that I could do it and that everything was normal (things you need to hear in the throws of transition). She even brought twinkle lights and a special aromatherapy scent to the hospital. I felt like Amy was part of the family when our baby boy was born, she was truly excited for us. She even answered questions about breastfeeding those first few hard days after we got home. Having a doula was so beneficial for us as first time parents. Even with childbirth classes, it was Amy who helped us process the information and who we turned to with questions during labor. When we're ready for our second child, there is no one else I will call (if she'll have us again). 

Posted 2/3/2016

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Carrie Mootz

Amy attended my first son's birth in June 2013. Although we planned for a natural birth, my son was breach and we ended up needing a cesarean to deliver him. Amy was supportive and helpful throughout my first birth and I knew I would need her for my second attempt at a natural vaginal birth. I was right.
During my labor, Amy was calm and supportive. She was a constant presence; she didn't leave my side the entire time (12 hours!!!). Amy was a shoulder to lean on, a hand to grab when I was in pain and a face to look to for support. I kept saying "I can't do this" and she replied "you are doing it", which helped me keep going. My main fear during my labor was that it would somehow endanger the baby and I depended on Amy for reassurance that me and the baby were safe. Amy's vast knowledge and experience helped me feel comfortable and allowed me to conquer my fears during labor. I am so very happy with the result; A perfectly healthy big baby boy born via a natural vaginal birth after a cesarean!

Posted 11/17/2015

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Kristie Melson Wells

My husband and I were fortunate enough to work with Amy for both of our son's deliveries. Amy is an excellent source of knowledge, support, encouragment, and care. She guided us through our options with labor, delivery, and even post-delivery options such as timing of certain interventions. She not only provided general information, but also included artilces and research so that we could make the most informed choice possible.

Amy also continued to answer questions throughout the post partum period which was a great source of support for me (mama).

I would highly recommend Amy to any family looking to hire a doula.

Posted 10/27/2015

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Gretchen Friday

My husband and I loved having Amy as our doula at the birth of our first child. We would recommend her to anybody seeking support for a natural birth (or otherwise). Amy is a kind, open-minded and personable individual who made us feel at ease every step of the way. I was in labor for 23 hours, and she was a steady source of support and motivation -- over the phone at 2AM, at my home (where I labored for the first 13 hours) and at the hospital. Amy is very professional, yet working with her feels like working with an old friend. We can't speak highly enough of her!

Posted 10/26/2015

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Ananda Amstadter Freeman

My husband and I absolutely loved working with Amy as our doula. She met with us numerous times prior to the birth and assisted us in learning all about the labor and delivery process. She is very knowledgeable and nonjudgmental. If she does not know the answer to a question she will find it for you. Amy has a doctoral degree in a scientific field, and I appreciated that she was very evidence-based and up on the literature on birth practices. This scientific side of her personality is balanced with her calm, in touch, and empathetic demeanor. She was an amazing support in the prenatal time, and she was indispensable during the birth of our son. Amy helped make our birth plan possible. She was calm, supportive, and encouraging. I had a long labor, with back labor, and her help was critical to my comfort, as well as my husband's. We would recommend Amy to our friends and family who are pregnant. She was a critical part of our birth team and we would hire her again in a heartbeat.

Posted 5/11/2015

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Heather J

As first time parents, my husband and I were incredibly pleased with Amy as our doula. She made us feel very comfortable with her knowledge and experience during our initial meeting. We had a subsequent meeting to discuss the birth process and our tentative birth plan. I ended up being hospitalized early, and even though she had another birth occurring during the same period, she was in touch with us via phone during my 1st induction attempt (she had a back-up doula ready to be at the hospital too). She was able to make it to the hospital later on for my 2nd induction attempt and helped me to manage pain through labor. We feel so blessed that Amy was able to help us though the delivery. Her presence allowed my husband to nap or get something to eat. She also was a calm presence in the delivery room (amidst the nervous husband and busy nurses/doctor). We would 100% recommend Amy to anyone else getting ready to have a baby.

Posted 7/9/2014

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Bethany Matheson

This was our second time utilizing Amy's services. Both this birth and our last were Natural Childbirths. For this birth I was in labor for 16 hours and Amy was again a critical part of our team. She stayed up all night with my husband and me as we labored. Some of the tools Amy used during my labor were essential oils to focus my attention during strong contractions; she performed a shoulder massage to help my labor along, and suggestion of positions to help the baby move down. Amy walked the halls of the hospital for hours with us to keep my contractions going. She provided information regarding interventions and the antibiotics I was given. Amy also provided unique and amazing emotional support when I was in transition (read: picking my wet, naked, crying a** off the floor). Amy always provided us with a "we are doing it" affirmation, especially when things were tough at the end of our labor. We will definitely use Amy again for our next birth! We couldn't have done it without her.

Posted 6/20/2014

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Cathy Efird

I initially hired Amy because of how knowledgeable she was and because she did not seem to feel there was one right way to have a great birth experience. This open-mindedness was very important to me and my husband.

Amy and I were just starting to discuss setting up our pre-natal appointments when I went into labor six weeks early. Even though the situation was completely unexpected and (I later found out) she had plans that day, she came to the hospital very quickly to be with us for the birth of our daughter. 

Amy was a reassuring and positive presence during the birth. She was always telling me what I needed to hear which was that I was doing just what I was supposed to be doing.

Even with the early surprise of our daughter, we were able to have the birth experience we wanted. And that definitely included having Amy there with us!

Posted 6/19/2014

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Blair Gilchrist

Amy was an absolute pleasure to work with.  As first time parents, my husband and I were clueless around the birth process and Amy helped put us both at ease.  I learned so much during my meetings with Amy and she was so great at the hospital throughout my labor and delivery.  I would highly reccomend Amy and am so thankful for having her to coach us through this new experience!

Posted 6/16/2014

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Lakshmi Atri

We had great experience preparing for our second baby.  A huge part of our preparation was working with Amy.  She helped us know what to expect.  During the delivery she helped me focus when I thought I reached my breaking point.  And after we brought our little bundle of love home, Amy offered so much support and advice with breast feeding.  I know she would be a valuable and helpful birth partner for any expectant couple.

Posted 12/6/2013

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Kristie Melson Wells

Working with Amy was truly a great experience! We were pregnant with our first child and realized how little we knew about the birthing process and that being (basically) alone in the delivery room without any prior experience was a bit anxiety provoking.

Amy came to our home for two pre-natal appointments to provide information about: birthing process, positions to use during birth, breastfeeding and more. She then made a last visit for a post-natal appointment. Amy made us feel comfortable, never rushed, and answered all of our questions no matter how "big" or "small". She also made herself available via phone, email or text and always responded quickly.

When we went into labor, Amy was supportive while letting us take control. She joined us at the hospital as soon as I felt I needed to be there. My husband and I had previously made our birth plan after meeting with Amy and taking some classes. Once our plan was set (knowing we also had to be flexible given all the unknowns) we felt completely supported by Amy; not because she agreed with all our choices (honestly I don't know if she did nor not, which I think is a sign of a GREAT Doula), but becasue they were our choices and she supported us to navigate the birth experience as we wished.

We welcomed our little boy into the world 5 weeks ago and could not imagine going through the birth with out Amy. Throughout the entire labor (about 28 hours!) she was able to support my husband in supporting me, naturally seemed to know when to offer ideas for comfort measures (positions, movement, breathing), and when to let me think on my own. Her presence and voice were confident and supportive, never nagging or militant.

We are very thankful to have had Amy as a part of our birth process.

*We had ASL interpreters present for the delivery as my husband is Deaf and Amy worked with my husband and the interpreters with great ease and competence!*

 

Posted 12/3/2013

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Carrie Mootz

Amy was an absolutely amazing doula; she has a passion for pregnancy and childbirth. Amy has an excitement for other people's pregnancies which can be especially helpful to a hot, tired, and swollen pregnant woman.

She was extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of my pregnancy and the options for my delivery. Over the many months leading up to my due date she was always approachable and available to answer questions. At the beginning, I had reservations about my care provider and she helped me switch to a practice where I was more comfortable. Amy also shared articles and books with me about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.

I had some complications in the 41st week of pregnancy and Amy was there every step of the way. The baby was determined to be breech and although, I had planned for a natural birth, a version was attempted and a cesarean section was required. Amy was encouraging and reassuring throughout the long day leading to the surgery. Amy stayed with me and my husband and I am so thankful for her calming presence in the many hours before the procedure. She took pictures for us during the surgery and stayed long after until both myself and the baby were stable and cozy.

Since the birth Amy has checked on me and my son and provided helpful postpartum materials. Amy is open minded, accepting, kind, caring and extremely informed about birth options. I hold Amy in the highest regard and would recommend her to anyone looking for a doula.

Posted 9/6/2013

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jonti simmons

We are so happy that Amy was able to be a part of our daughter's birth. She was a resource to us from the time we chose her as our doula, answering pregnancy questions that arose and pointing us in the right directions. This was our first pregnancy, and we wanted a doula who had a sense of humor, knowledge, and a calming presence - Amy was the perfect fit! She provided two prenatal visits, at our home, and made us feel very at ease with what was to come. She encouraged my husband to play a major role in the birth, and he had the tools he needed to do so. My labor was very short, but she arrived at our house and very calmly guided us through the process. I felt like I needed someone to tell me it was okay and time to go to the hospital, and she was that voice of reason. When we arrived, everything happened very quickly but Amy was so supportive and reassuring that I felt very secure. It was a wonderful birth and the entire experience was very empowering, thanks to the help of a great birth team. She stayed with us in the hospital to ensure that we were comfortable and that baby had a good latch. She also came to visit us once we were home from the hospital to check in and answer any questions we had. We're so thankful for all her help, especially in the hospital after the birth!

Posted 9/2/2013

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Sara Fields

My husband and I are so thankful that we got to work with Amy.  Not only was she a wealth of knowledge, but she was also incredibly supportive every step of the way.  Though we had a less than planned (or desired for that matter) birth experience, Amy gave us exactly what we needed in the moments that we needed it.  Having her there made the difference. 

Posted 8/25/2013

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Bethany Matheson

Amy provided excellent physical and emotional support to both my husband and myself during our birth. When I went into labor, she entered our home and it was like a wave of calm swept through the house. She was able to step right in, make herself at home, and focus my husband and myself at the same time. She was quietly assertive with us and directed our actions to get us where we needed to be. She calmed me down so I could focus on my contractions. At the hospital Amy took turns with my husband helping me focus and she stayed by our side the entire birth. Amy is incredibly patient and I felt genuinely cared for.  

Posted 1/24/2013

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