Debra Shelden, Certified Doula Photo

Debra Shelden, Certified Doula

MotherWise Doula Services

Website: http://www.motherwisedoulaservices.com

Phone: (425) 681-0736

Birth Fee: $1800

Postpartum Rate: $40 to $45

Fee Details: Please visit my website for a full description about me, my services, my credentials, my fees.

Birth Doula Experience: 16 years and 600 births attended

Postpartum Doula Experience: 8 years

Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula

Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 1 to 4 births and 1 to 2 postpartum families

Postpartum limits/restrictions: 3 hour per day minimum
Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Attends home births? Any Home Birth
I attend home births within a 40 mile radius of my practice.

Childbirth Education Certifications

  • Childbirth Educator non-certified

Breastfeeding Certifications

  • Certified Lactation Educator (Evergreen Perinatal Education, LLC)
  • Certified Perinatal Support Group Facilitator

Other Relevant Certifications

  • CHBE – Certified Happiest Baby Educator
  • Support for Pregnant and Postpartum Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

College Education

  • BA/BS

Specialized training or previous experience

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

Special Services Offered

  • Antepartum doula
  • Birth counseling for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Miscarriage Support (Before, During or After)
  • Parenting consulting

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

Past PALS Doulas Board of Directors; Past REACHE (Regional Association for Childbirth Education) Board of Directors; Past Board member for Postpartum Support International, WA; Past WA State Representative for DONA International

Languages spoken: English

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Kirkland, WA
Travel Range: 30 Miles

Certifications for Debra Shelden, Certified Doula

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Debra Shelden, Certified Doula

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Olivia Vos

The moment Debra arrived during my labor, the entire atmosphere changed. I went from simply "coping" with the contractions to welcoming them, celebrating them, even laughing through them! Debra not only helped us with my 5-day prodromal labor so that I had enough energy that I was able to push my daughter into world (and avoid surgery!), but she also connected us with post-partum community resources that have given me "the village" every new mother needs to help normalize and support her through the newborn phase. I now have a group of 16 incredibly supportive women who I talk to every day as we help to normalize the ups and downs of parenthood for each other. Words cannot describe how envaluable this has been for my physical and emotional recovery. At one point post-partum when I was having a very rough week, Debra really went above and beyond by calling a family meeting to help get my partner back onto the same page. I truly appreciate everything she has done to support and guide the three of us into forming our new family. Guide, mentor, friend, Doula, I cannot imagine trying to get through this incredibly intense experience without Debra there for us every step of the way. I wish everyone could be fortunate to have Debra as their Doula.

Posted 12/22/2016

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Danielle Henry

My husband and I began searching for a doula to help support us in our wishes for an unmedicated birth of our son. I put together a list of key attributes and qualities I thought we needed – veteran doula, nurturer, motherly without being overbearing, direct, wise, calm, prepared, loving, gentle yet firm, and most importantly good energy. Four months prior to birth when we met Debra, I knew we’d found so much more than a doula and everything, plus more than we’d asked for in our wish list.

Debra helped guide us as we began to understand more about exactly what we wanted. From an guidance for an awesome birthing class to my very painful symphysis pubis dysfunction, Debra provided the perfect resources. She also nailed the smaller details like essential oils & acupuncture, all of which helped guide us down a path which ultimately led to the greatest birth experience I could have imagined.

I can’t stress enough Debra’s ability to adapt to our specific needs and allow us to work a husband and wife to welcome our son.

Posted 9/29/2016

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Stephanie Green

Debra Doula was an indispensable part of my labor team. I had an unexpectedly difficult labor. My husband and I had planned a natural birth in a birth center but risked out at 42 weeks. We opted to be medically induced in a hospital. We called Debra in twice when we had mistakenly thought I was going into labor. Each time she brought a positive and bright energy with her into our room. She spent an entire day with us doing exercises to induce labor naturally because she knew that was our original intent. When I finally went into labor it was only 3 hours so it was incredibly intense. Debra brought many different tools to help me get through the pain. Although I wanted to have a natural birth, the intensity of a medically induced birth caused me to panic. Debra sensed I was suffering and asked if I wanted relief and reassured me it was ok. Another request of mine was to ensure my husband was taken care of during the labor process. Debra made sure he had time to use the restroom, had water, and checked in with him throughout my labor. 

A few days after we came home from the hospital, Debra came and checked in on us. She taught me how to get a good latch with the baby with breastfeeding. I learned from her that a good latch isn't painful and breastfeeding has not been an issue for us. My son is now so hooked on breastfeeding he doesn't want to use a bottle or pacifier at all. 

She came and checked in on us again a few days ago. She showed us how our son was already mimicking our expressions and gave us good advice on how to introduce the bottle to him. 

In short, Debra Doula is knowledgeable, warm, and brought positivity into an otherwise stressful situation. Debra was an incredible asset in bringing my son into this world and we are so grateful we had her with us during this process.

Posted 8/19/2016

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Amanda Keller

I am so thankful we decided to hire a doula and were lucky enough to find Debra. I wanted someone that would help my husband help me and she did that and more. Before our birth, she was a great resource and sounding board for helping us decide our birth preferences and calm my fears and anxieties. During our meetings she was reassuring and really helped us relax and open up. I'm a nurse and while I wanted a more natural birth, it was important to me that my doula wasn't anti-medical establishment as I was seeing an OB and having a hospital delivery. From the beginning, she let me know that she was there for us regardless of the type of birth that we chose or was needed.

Debra was an invaluable member of my birth team/family. She brought confidence and calm to the room and she helped me to be in the moment. She no doubt played an important role in my ability to have a unmedicated birth despite needing several medical interventions. The next day, my OB was very complimentary and wanted her name so she could refer her to other patients. She recognized what a great asset she was and liked how well she worked with the medical team. I couldn't have been happier because my husband and I felt the same way! There are too many things to innumerate how she helped us, she was the background person helping with things you never even knew you needed (like the TENS unit)!

After delivery, Debra helped me focus on my baby and breastfeed while the nurses were focused on me. She stayed until I breastfed successfully and we were ready for her to go. The first post partum visit was a life saver for my breastfeeding as she helped to correct a latch issue which saved my nipples! Also, being able to go over the birth with her was so helpful in processing such an emotional event. She really feels like part of our family now and it's great knowing we can call if we ever need help!

Posted 12/12/2015

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Angela Pham

When my husband and I first met with debra for a consultation, I knew very quickly that I wanted her wisdom and confident spirit at my birth.  Debra provided the type of warmth and emotional connection that allowed me to trust in all her wisdom. When i was questioning my own strength, she reminded me of it! She is the perfect mix of strength and sweetness!

During labor, I was able to let go of worrying about how my husband would do seeing me in pain, because I knew debra would take care of his emotions. She beautifully honored the bond between us, and made certain we grew stronger as a couple thru the birth experience. I can't recommend her enough, it was like having someone apart of my family, at the birth. 

Posted 8/20/2015

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Carolyn Workman

Hiring Debra was one of the best decisions we made during pregnancy. We had a successful VBAC and Debra is a huge reason for the success. She was incredibly supportive during the pregnancy, checking in to see how I was doing, answering questions I had, and providing resources for me. I was nervous about the transition from being a family of three to becoming a family of four, and she had wonderful suggestions and resources to help ease into the transition.

 

During labor, she was a God-send, working tirelessly to support my husband and me. She helped with positioning and pain management during labor, made sure my husband and I both stayed hydrated and nourished, and was an amazing source of emotional support for the near 24 hours that she was with us. What I most appreciated was her ability to read me -- she was gentle and calm when I needed it and firm when I needed it. She worked well with the hospital staff and was a valuable part of our team. After delivery, she continued to support us, checking in to see how we were doing and answering questions when I called.

 

We would work with Debra again in a heartbeat and strongly recommend her to anyone considering hiring a doula.

Posted 8/2/2015

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Caitlin Hart

We had the most wonderful experience with Debra.  I knew from the moment I met her that she was the right presence to have at our delivery to make me feel safe and supported.  She paid close attention to my needs emotionally and physically, as well as my husbands, and made sure we both stayed positive and comfortable even through a challenging labor.  I don't know what we would have done without her!  In our pre-birth visits, she helped us prepare mentally for the things that we felt least prepared for, and at the end of my pregnancy I was just losing my mind and needed someone to center me on the most important things so I could relax about everything else.  During labor, she swooped in when we called her in the middle of the night and immediately helped me to stop be scared of pain and look at it positively as progress.  She helped me make a lot of progress at home so when I got to the hospital I was well on my way.  After giving birth, she felt like family visiting - warm and glowing with pride.  We were so overjoyed to have her, and she again paid attention to exactly what we needed help with and was able to give us useful tips for lactation and baby wearing.  I am certain that we will want to have Debra at the birth of our next child.

Posted 6/14/2015

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Jennifer Reed Schonberger

We chose Debra because above and beyond, she has experience, a great sense of dry humor, and the ability to give a mom courage in her own strength.

During our first twenty minute phone call Debra asked all the right questions. The first question is what kind of birth do you want, and do not want. I've had significant stays in the hospitals after car wrecks. My one largest fear was a C-Section.

Debra knew which hospitals are guaranteed to allow a doula and your partner in with you if you go to surgery. I immediately changed hospitals at the twenty-three week mark and contacted the midwifery department. She said that would be the best if I wanted to go without pain medication and lower the risk of a C-section.

Short story shorter, Debra leant me her scarf to wrap my baby in while we were at the loading zone of the hospital. The attending staff didn't even look at my birth plan! I credit the fast labor with two things Debra did, and my faith in myself:

Number one, Debra suggested we take a parenting class and schedule an in-person consult after our first class. I didn't even think to take a class until she suggested it. We took two to be safe. Mindful Birthing class at Swedish worked for me. I had no problem with the ice water exercise; the ability to put mind over matter is something I've learned.

Number two, Debra walked into the kitchen four hours after my water broke. She watched one contraction, and during the second she rocked my hips back and forth. He dropped. She was calm "Time to go to the hospital," she declared.

I guess that the time she spent attending my quick birth evens out for the three day births she has attended. I like Debra very much and highly recommend her.

My son slept through the night at the one month mark. I'm not sure I would have had the courage to go with my gut about co-sleeping unless Debra sent us handouts.

Posted 5/27/2015

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Jennifer Murray

Debra was our doula for the birth of our first child. She was great! I wanted a natural childbirth, and Debra (and my husband) helped me achieve it. I definitely had a positive birth experience, and Debra was a large part of it.

Debra was recommended to me by my midwives group. My husband and I met with her for an informal interview. She immediately put us at ease, and made the decision to hire her easy.

Her ability to put us at ease so quickly was instrumental during my labor. My labor was quick, and Debra deserves credit for helping create a very positive and safe atmosphere to hasten labor.

Thank you Debra!

Posted 3/11/2015

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Nirosha Wickremasinghe

I can't thank Debra enough for making my birth experience a magical one.  On the day of my labor, she calmly navigated my husband, parents, and me through a topsy-turvy (to say the least) delivery.  She was everything I imagined a doula to be and so much more... a skilled coach, encouraging friend, unbiased advocate, and calming presence.  She helped everyone in the room give me all the support I needed, exactly when I needed it, and in the way I needed it.  Because of her, I will always have a truly memorable and wonderful birth experience to look back on.  Thank you Debra!

Posted 9/3/2014

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Katherine Hazard Abraham

My husband and I loved working with Debra. Our personalities just sort of "clicked" from the beginning. We both felt like we could simply be ourselves around her. She was funny, understanding, and so easy to talk to. Debra took time before our daughter's birth to educate and inform us about what to expect, how to support one another (or really how my husband could support me), and how to communicate with one another. She asked us a number of really great questions. This allowed us to get to know her and for her to get to know us, making us all the more comfortable around her during birth. It also gave me a chance to learn some things about my husband, which I was not expecting but really loved.

During my labor she was calm and supportive both emotionally and physically. It was great to have her there to give us information when we needed it or to encourage my husband in his support of me. She was an endless source of information when we needed to try different positions to help the baby and me deal with labor. She clearly was my advocate, communicating well with the hospital staff so that I had all the resources that I needed.They seemed to enjoy working with her as well.

After the birth, she took time to visit with us to see how things were going. She provided some great suggestions for resources that I needed during the post-partum period. She also helped me to process some of the emotions that I was having about our birth. I can't imagine what our birth experience would have been like without Debra. She was truly amazing. 

Posted 8/21/2014

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Dee L N

I love Debra! Shes such an awesome doula. I'm a first time mom and as I went through this process, I had tons of questions. Debra patiently answered them, was there for me with lots of resources, reading material and people included. During my long labor, Debra was there with us the entire time, asking the right questions, helping me make important decisions, changing my positions to aid with the dilation and pushing.  I don't know what I would've done without her. She supported my hubby as we were going through this incredible process of having my son. I would highly recommend Debra. You need her in your corner as you undertake this journey. She's knowledgable, calm and genuinely cares to make sure your plans and wishes are honored. 

Posted 7/1/2014

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Renee Clarose

Debra was the fourth and last doula interview we scheduled. Due to her energy, warmth, and openness the meeting went noticeably different than the previous ones.  Debra was the only one to ask how our pregnancy was going and where we were from.  She was truly interested in us as individuals and as a couple and our hopes for our daughter.  

We had two prenatal visits where we got to know Debra and she helped us create a birth plan while reminding us to be flexible because babies do not follow plans or schedules!

When my labor started Debra was responsive to our texts throughout the day and into the night.  When it was GO TIME, Debra arrived at the hospital quickly despite short notice at 4 a.m.  My partner and Debra were the best team - massaging my back, applying cold compress, encouraging position change.  Our baby arrived two short hours later - naturally, as planned!

At our post-natal visits Debra's warmth and encouragement were much needed to boost our confidence - no, we did not need to buy a breastpump - we had a plan to breastfeed and it IS difficult but we should keep trying.  She showed me how to nurse lying in bed which made a tremendous difference.  I don't know that I would have been comfortable learning it (boobs out, in bed) from anyone else.  

Our nine month old daughter is thriving.  I look back on her birthday as a most perfect day.  Debra played a major part in helping us have the day that we had hoped for.  When we have another baby we will be asking Debra to be there for us again.

Posted 4/10/2014

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Sue Corcoran

Debra Shelden is more than a doula -- she is family. I can’t recommend her enough in assisting in your birth experience. I had never given birth before and was skeptical of the value add a doula would bring. I was so wrong. My husband and I interviewed several Doulas and felt a connection to Debra immediately. She is calm, helpful, and experienced! She helped us understand everything we would be going through, helped us write a birth plan and most importantly prepared us for how overwhelmingly emotional having a baby would be. Without Debra, I would never have had a natural birth. There were moments during the birth where I just looked at her and said “help me” and guess what? She did. She focused me, she got me through. And she took the most amazing photo of my baby being born! That alone was worth hiring her! After our baby was born, Debra helped us learn how to hold, burp, swaddle, you name it. I had no idea how much I would need a post partum Doula. In addition, I had trouble breastfeeding. Debra showed me approaches, and then she suggested that the baby was tongue tied. I didn’t want to hear this and tried to ignore Debra’s advice to get the baby looked at by a professional. Debra was patient with me and keep gently checking in and suggesting this to me (even though she wasn’t getting paid, Debra continued to check in!). Finally, I followed up and called the folks Debra recommended for the tongue tie problem. Sure enough, our baby was tongue tied. Our baby had her frenulum snipped and now eats like a champ. THANK YOU DEBRA! WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

Posted 3/4/2014

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Pracheeti Nagarkar

Debra was a tremendous support staying with us throughout our 36 hour labor: she provided endless massages during contractions and kept me focussed on relaxation. She has the physical capability to stay with a client and physically massage her for 20+ hours, God bless her strength and stamina! She helped my husband support me at every stage. She came with us to Evergreen hospital and calmly explained each procedure that was about to take place. She worked very effectively with the nursing staff and my midwife and OB. Debra encouraged my mother and husband to get rest when possible so that they could be rested to take care of the baby post delivery. Having Debra and my husband work together as a team, gave me the chance to have a normal delivery despite a very long labor. From our pre-natal visits right through to during labor, she remained supportive of my desire to have a drug free birth. While I did end up with the epidural after 28 hours, she never once brought it up, as per our birth plan. My husband and I will forever remain indebted to Debra for helping support us through the most ardous time in our lives as we welcomed our precious baby girl into this world. You rock Debra! Thank you.

Posted 11/20/2013

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Alex Mendez

 I found Debra to be a fantastic person from the first meet and greet, to the follow up visits post labor. As a doula she provided not only emotional support but lots of helpful information throughout the process. She is very knowledgeable in this field with vast experience and is well known in the birthing community. During the actual labor she was dedicated, nourishing and caring without being overbearing. If I have another child I would use Debra again. I honestly can't recommend her enough.

Posted 9/19/2013

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Molly Neitzel

i can't really ever express our gratitude to Debra for being there for us during the end of our pregnancy, my daughter's birth, and our first days together.  Debra's pre-birth visits are amazing, and really gave us a lot of comfort and even some relaxation around the idea of giving birth.  But I think the most important thing to get across about using a doula for those of you searching, is that having Debra with us during a c-section was invaluable.  We found out the evening before our daughter was born that i was going to need a c-section.  Debra was there with us at a doctor's appointment.  she stayed and helped us make decisions and get ourselves mentally and emotionally ready.  then she came back the next morning and was there for us during the whole experience.  while my husband was amazing, as soon as the baby was born, he was gone and busy with our daughter, right where i wanted him.  Debra was there for me, rubbing painful tension out of my neck and shoulders, and keeping me calm until our baby could be placed on my chest.  she helped me nurse on the operating table, while i was still being stitched up, and was just incredible.  

Debra was also incredible in her post-partum visits & support.  she was at our house within a matter of hours when my milk came in and breastfeeding got trickier.  she stayed for hours, coaching me, and my husband, on breastfeeding and what a good partner's role is.  she also gave us the happiest baby techniques, and helped us with some sleep tips before she left.  we love her and will call her again with any future pregnancies.  i would recommend Debra to ANYONE having a baby.

Posted 9/9/2013

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Jane Wong

My husband and I were so excited to experience the birth of our first child but at the same time anxious about the unknown and concenred "if we could do it on our own".  Our preference was to try to have the birth without intervention if not medically neccessary.  After reviewing many doula sites and doula webpages, we found Debra and were very comforted by her vast experience and knowledge.  I loved that she was so passionate about being part of such a wonderful experience in women's lives and just wanted to make it the best experience possible for the mother and father.  During our pre-birth sessions Debra was amazing at preparing us for the big day by explaining everything in a way we could comprehend and focusing on what a "normal" birth was.  She kept reminding us that my body was made to do the job on its own and I had everything I needed within me to pull through without intervention.  I loved that because of her thorough explanation of each of the stages I could mentally prepare for the birth and knew with each stage of birth I knew what was happening with my body was completely normal and natural.  

On the day of the birth everything moved so quickly and Debra was there quickly to be by our side.  My labor progressed fast and I remember focusing on Debra's voice and direction.  Her calmness was exactly what I needed during the most intense stages.  She kept reminding me that the intense transition period meant I was going to meet our baby girl soon.  Our baby girl came in 5 hours and we are happy we were able to make it through without any interventions.  

We were so happy to have had Debra with us through everything and can't imagine going through it on our own.  My husband says to everyone it was the best money ever spent and he couldn't ask for a better experience.  

The Malys

Posted 9/5/2013

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Victoria D'Alvia

I’ll start by mentioning, my husband and I were on the fence about hiring a Doula in the first place. We’re older than the typical first parents, and like to think we’re capable on our own. My approach was more practical(since I had no first-hand knowledge)–the Doula’s experience level was paramount. During my research I came across Debra’s profile. And I kept coming across her name-seemed meant to be. It should be noted that my husband is a fact/data driven guy, he entered this process with a healthy dose of skepticism about a Doula’s use. Debra was the 1st of 4 doulas we interviewed. Everything about her felt right, and she and my husband hit it off. After each subsequent interview, my husband would say, “she was nice but Debra’s the one”.

Our birth story, like so many, is not typical. But this is where it became obvious that Debra is particularly gifted at her craft. My husband and I felt totally supported through a difficult delivery. It was so comforting to have someone with her depth and breadth of birthing knowledge as well as skill with people. Debra was there but not intrusive–a true member of our family. I felt protected, I had a true advocate in what was simultaneously an exciting, challenging, joyous, mind-blowing experience.


When we were finally home, my husband said, “wow I can’t believe we even questioned having a Doula, talk about money well spent”. Debra’s care continued to be invaluable while I was learning the breastfeeding “dance” and struggling with adjusting to our new life. She’s been gentle, understanding, and when sleep deprivation and feelings of isolation were getting dangerous to my mental health, her support and problem-solving felt truly life-saving.

Debra is one of those lucky few who have found what they are meant to do. How fortunate for us and anyone else who gets to know her. She is a gem.

Posted 6/5/2013

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Andy Chien

Its been three years since the birth of our daughter (our second child), and we still remember Debra. Having Debra in the room made the delivery a more comfortable experience not only for my wife, but also for me. Debra made sure I was ready for the birth of our daughter as well! She gave me the confidence to be ready for things during the delivery, and she was a terrific support for my wife. We will always be thankful that we found her, and we would give her our highest recommendation. As I said above, we still think fondly about her three years later.

Posted 5/3/2013

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Lauren Simmons

When I became pregnant with my second child, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to hire Debra as our doula. She is amazing! Debra is full of helpful knowledge and she was always available to answer questions or give me direction before and after the birth of my children. Going back to my first pregnancy, I knew after meeting with her that she was the right fit for me. Trust your gut when hiring your doula! As we exchanged what I was looking for in a doula and what she had to offer as a doula, chills ran through my body. She described herself as a Sherpa, and a Sherpa she was as I moved through both journeys of giving birth. Having two birth experiences that were incredibly different, her presence for both was genuine and nourishing. Throughout the birth process, Debra kept me present and focused. When I continually wanted to run away from the pain, she helped me return to my center and literally open up! With her continual support and encouragement I was empowered and labored through the incredibly painful and beautiful experience of giving birth. I truly believe that because of her I can look back on these experiences positively and with pride. I have tremendous respect for the work she does. I highly recommend her to anyone in search of a doula.

Posted 1/29/2013

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Marsha Van Eaton

After the traumatic birth of my second child, I was certain I needed a doula for birth number three, so I started doing some interviews. It was clear from the beginning that Debra was the right person for me. I was scared and in a near panic about the upcoming birth, and I wanted someone with confidence and experience – Debra has both.

With my previous birth, all I remember is the intensity of the pain and how traumatizing it was…the rest is just a blur and a bad, horrible memory. But, this time, Debra made all the difference and I knew I had made the correct choice! The pain was just as bad and it had all the makings of a terrible birth experience when the baby’s shoulder got stuck and people started tugging and pushing and twisting me to get the baby out and even the doctor was in a panic. Debra was right there, in my face, keeping me calm and walking with me each step of the way!

Each stage of the birth is memorable because I was not alone in it…Debra was there to guide me through it. She was there for me in the weeks leading up to the birth…always just a phone call away, even in the middle of the night. She sat with me for HOURS as I waited in the hospital room for my husband to show up so we could begin the induction that was needed due to my health issues. She was the calm and confident guide throughout labor…helping me to know what I could do to reduce the risk of further medical interventions and cope with the pain. And, Debra has a sense of humor and is just a wonderful, comforting person to be around when you are going through something so difficult. She was there for me and me alone. It was truly awesome!

I do not EVER want to go through another birth without Debra there. She made all the difference and I am so grateful to God for bringing this amazing lady into my life at just the right time! 
 

Posted 12/31/2012

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Allison Pauli

We feel so fortunate to have found Debra. We didn't have a doula for the birth of our first child, and since we were planning to attempt a VBAC with our second child, we wanted some extra support and additional perspective. Debra provided both in quantity! Her caring, professional demeanor and depth of experience were incredibly reassuring and helpful, especially since my second pregnancy was much more difficult than my first. Debra also frequently supplied additional information or asked us questions that led us to consider things we hadn't thought about before. We ended up doing a C-section at 38 weeks due to fetal distress, and Debra's support was invaluable. She attended my doctor appointments when it became clear that the fetus wasn't thriving as expected, was in the OR with us when I delivered, came to the hospital numerous times (once quite late in the evening the day after the birth), and took care of me, my husband, and our newborn. Our three-year-old loved her, too. She was there for us whenever and however we needed her. She's a delightful person and a pleasure to work with, and I would highly recommend her.

Posted 9/26/2012

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Jessica Simmons

We hired Debra for the birth of our first child. The reason we decided to hire a doula was that I was going to try to give birth without the use of pain medications, and I thought my husband and I could both use the support, experience, and expertise that a doula could provide. I ended up having a long (3-day) labor, all back labor which was very painful. She came to our house when we needed her, and she helped us cope with the pain and also helped to assure my husband, who had never experienced this before, that my pain and vomiting were normal and really eased his mind. At the hospital, she knew when to step in and when to let me labor on my own. She also served as an advocate for us with the hospital staff, while at the same time working very well and collaborating with the nurses. In the end, although we’d hired her to be a help to both me and my husband, I think she was almost more of a help to him. Her attitude and demeanor are great, too – very loving and caring, but also no-nonsense when she needs to be. Debra was everything we hoped she would be, and contributed greatly to our experience giving birth to our daughter. I’d recommend her to anyone, especially someone trying to get through labor naturally.

Posted 9/13/2012

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Linda Hapgood

As we started preparing to have our first baby we really weren't sure whether or not we 'needed' a doula. However, on the recommendation of a friend we met with Debra and decided to go for it! In hindsight it was one of the best decisions we made. Debra was incredibly warm and supportive and helped us both before, during and after the birth of our beautiful daughter. It was like having a wise, experienced, non-judgemental 'mom' in your corner! 

Looking back at the time we spent together and the time Debra spent 'on call' it was definitely worth it.The true value of having someone help BOTH myself and my husband through such an intense experience cannot be measured in monetary terms.. without her I dont think we would have felt as confident in the decisions we made together in the delivery room, where our goal was to have as natural as birth as possible with minimal medical interventions.  She is also a trained lactation consultant who can provide help and support in those very important first few days of breastfeeding, in your home. It's such a different experience than going to the hospital for that support. We would not hesitate to recommend Debra to anyone that asks! :)

Linda & Matt -- Kenmore, WA

Posted 8/12/2012

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Helena Rizo

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend Debra as a doula. The birth of my son was an amazing experience, and Debra deserves a good chunk of the credit. I can’t imagine having gone through it without her. This was my first baby, and I had always hoped and planned to have a natural, drug-free childbirth. So we decided to hire a doula to help make that possible. I’m pretty picky by nature, and after looking at probably 20 websites for different doulas I was so relieved when I came across hers – I could tell that she would be a good fit. When we met with her she was so grounded and inspired such confidence that we were sold right away. When complications came up at 20 weeks and we were told we might need to deliver by caesarean, we thought we might not end up needing a doula after all. But Debra in her infinite wisdom wouldn’t let us go it alone – she stuck with us, and I am so glad she did! I ended up being able to have the natural birth I had wanted. Not only did she prepare us with information and good preparation beforehand, but during the birth she did an amazing job of keeping me grounded and focused. She exuded calm and confidence – exactly what I needed in the overwhelming moments of intense contractions – and she really helped keep me from feeling panicked. Without a doubt she played a major role in allowing me to make it through without even thinking about asking for an epidural. In addition, she helped my husband, my mom and my mother-in-law be involved effectively in the labor and birth, without feeling pressured or overwhelmed. If we decide to have another baby I definitely plan to have Debra there.

Posted 3/30/2012

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Karl Olson

 Debra was amazing! As first time parents, we knew what we wanted our birth experience to be, but had no idea how to get there. Debra made it possible. She supported us in having the birth that we wanted and never thrust an ideology upon us. Importantly, Debra never sugar coated anything either. She was honest about the challenges of childbirth, both physical and emotional, but she exuded confidence in my wife's ability to handle it. Before the birth, Debra brought up scenarios we hadn't anticipated and helped us prepare for the unexpected. After the birth, her help with soothing our daughter and breast feeding was wonderful. Of course, during the birth itself was when Debra's help became truly invaluable. As an anxious, first time father, Debra helped me help my wife and she kept me from crawling the walls in anxiety. She worked seemlessly with our midwives, knew when I needed a break and stepped in to help my wife when I could not. I couldn't imagine the birth of our daughter without her present and I cannot recommend her highly enough. Thank you Debra!

Posted 1/21/2012

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Darcy Hardy

Debra was God sent. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Debra. We opted to have a doula since it was our first child and we wanted someone who was knowledgable about birth other than a Doctor to be able to help us prepare and inform us of options when we needed to make choices. Her assistance before the birth was great. She provided me with suggested books, websites, etc. Plus when I had questions she was always happy to provide an answer and then followed up to see if the issue was resolved.

All of my laboring was done at the hospital. When Debra got to the hospital (not long after us) the nurse had me in bed and the contractions were far apart but painful. Debra immediately got me walking around (which felt good) and the labor quickly progressed. As labor progressed she assisted me into several different positions which helped me through each part of labor. Everytime I thought I couldn't do this any more, Debra helped me get through that contraction and gave me confidence to get through the next. Ultimately I had a healthy little boy only 5 hours after Debra arrived!!! I can say with 100% certainty, I would have never made it through the labor drug-free without Debra. And my husband and I are convince that our experience was much more relaxed and confortable because of our Doula.

After the birth, Debra came to our house twice and assisted with (or taught us) breastfeeding, swaddling, bathing, etc. All of her recommendations were wonderful. She really figured out who we were and what would work for our lives and our baby. I will consider Debra a friend for life and part of our family.

Posted 1/1/2012

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Darrah & Jason

Finding the right doula is a lot like finding the right mate. When you know, you know. That's how we felt when we met Debra. She was the right balance of knowledge, experience, warmth, and comfort - with a great sense of humor to boot! This was our first pregnancy. Both my husband and I found comfort in knowing that Debra would be there every step of the way. To say that we couldn't have done it without her is an understatement. Debra came to our house as soon as we needed her and guided me through the early stages of labor, listening to my needs and desires while gently guiding my husband to be the best birth partner he could be. She helped us make the right decisions for us once we got to the hospital and offered suggestions when we needed them. I labored for nearly 15 hours unmedicated and felt completely supported the entire way. She knew when I needed to stay exactly where I was and when to encourage me to find a new position. She followed my rhythms, yet stayed one step ahead of me all the time, anticipating my needs and those of my husband. When we had to have an emergency C-section, Debra was there with my husband the whole time they were prepping me, keeping him calm and strong despite the unknown. Her emotional support was crucial in getting us through the whole process from start to finish, and her knowledge of the birthing process took much of the fear out of it. What we didn't anticipate was how much support we'd need after the birth, and Debra went above and beyond to help us through the early days of parenthood. She gave us practical advice, from breast feeding tips to teaching us how to bathe our daughter, but more importantly she gave us the moral support we needed that let us know what we were experiencing was completely normal and that we were not alone. In the end, she was more than our doula. She was there at one of the most important, difficult and emotional times in our life, and we will always consider her part of the family.

Posted 12/20/2011

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Ashley Saidy

 After having an emergency c-section with my first child, I was very determined to try for a vbac with my second delivery.  I knew that my husband alone could not give me all the support and coaching I would need by himself so we decided to hire a doula.  Debra was recommended to me by my obgyn and from the first time we interviewed her, we knew she was the perfect person to support us and in helping us accomplish our goal for a vbac.  I felt an instanct connection with her and knew that I could trust her during my most vulnerable state.  She has tremendous knowledge in childbirth and has a very warm and caring personality.  I wanted to pursue a natural delivery with no pain medications and she was great at giving me the support and care I needed to accomplish this goal.  During my labor she was an excellent coach to me and support system to my husband. She knows exactly what you are feeling during different contractions and offers the right positioning and relaxation methods to help you get through the contractions.  I especially loved the TENS unit since I had back labor.  She delivers extroardinary motivation and energy to keep you going and not give up on what your goal is.  I am so greatful to her in helping me accomplish my birthplan of a pain free vbac.  My husband valued her support so much because he was able to stay calm and offer me the support that I needed from him.  We highly recommend Debra as your doula support system because of her experience, knowledge, and down to earth personalityt. You will not regret your decision on having her support you during one of your most important life experiences.  

Posted 10/10/2011

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Emily Sammet

Having a great desire to deliver my second child vbac (vaginal birth after cesaraen) and being told that I had a 50% chance of success rate from a obgyn consultation, I knew without a doubt that in order to have a successful vbac in a hospital setting, I needed the right support. Debra played an integral role in making this goal happen! I knew the minute I met her that she was the doula for the job! She brings warmth, a wealth of experience and resources, and a sense of humor to her work. During labor and delivery, she was an incredible birth coach that stood by my side knowing exactly what position I needed to be in and what breathing technique I should try. She also provided a sense of ease not only to me but to my husband as well.  She was able to help him anticipate my needs in a greater capacity. If you and your partner are contemplating whether or not to have a doula present, I highly recommend Debra! She was awesome and exceded are expectations.

Posted 9/19/2011

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Eliza Klett

When my husband first brought up the idea of having a Doula, I was unsure. This was our first pregnancy and I really wasn't sure how I wanted my birth experience to go other than I really wanted to avoid interventions. My husband did some research online and found Debra among a few others. I sent out the emails and she responded right away and we got an interview set up. During the interview, I felt at ease and extremely comfortable, I also felt that she would be truthful and wouldn't hold back any hard information if I needed to hear it.

We were able to meet Debra twice before labor and gained such valuable information in the comfort and privacy of own home. .When my labor finally arrived, Debra came to our home and was able to help us labor at home until we decided that it was time to go to the hospital, she was with us every step of the way, helping my husband and I make informed decisions as my labor went in the complete opposite direction of what I had hoped for. During the first 50 hours of unmedicated labor, she encouraged the movements that my body wanted to make, she was also able to talk me through the painful contractions, suggesting alternative positions. Each suggestion, each encouraging word helped make those hard hours seem to fly by. Debra not only took care of me, but also my husband.
When the hard decision was made to start with the interventions, Debra did not make it for us, she helped my husband and me come to that decision on our own. 10 hours, 2 epidurals, 1 spinal, and general anesthesia later, my beautiful baby girl was delivered safe and healthy. Even though, my birth experience was not what I had in mind, because of Debra, I would not change anything.

Debra was the best decision that we made when I came to the birth of our first child. She was absolutely worth every penny that we gave her. Debra is not just our doula, she became part of our family and will always be cherished.
 

Posted 7/5/2011

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Ed Andres

To all the expectant fathers out there:

How can I say enough about Debra? When we had our first child, we interviewed a lot of doulas. My wife was looking for the right spiritual connection, and we definitely felt that with Debra.

But as a father-to-be (and typical man), I was focused largely on qualifications. I knew my wife would be relying on me. Was I ready? Would I know what to do? The reality is, no matter how much you read or how many classes you take, you never know what the birth of your child will be like until you’re there. Even if it’s your second or third. Every delivery is unique.

Bottom line: I wanted a doula with experience — AND LOTS OF IT. I was drawn to Debra’s impeccable credentials and years of advanced training. She’s attended over 300 births. That’s significant. Think about it… when your wife is in labor, relying on you for support, you want someone beside you with as much knowledge and experience as possible.

Debra was truly that person. She offered guidance and a womanly calmness I could never possibly provide. She showed me how to hold my wife during contractions, knew numerous laboring positions, and gave endless emotional encouragement.

She was dedicated solely to our needs, nurturing my wife every step of the way. She even encouraged me to get a few hours sleep, so that I would be rested and ready to support my wife to the fullest during the final delivery. And after the baby was born, her knowledge in lactation was invaluable for teaching my wife to properly breast feed.

In the end, Debra’s knowledge and experience put me at ease, and I truly believe she brought my wife and I closer together, sharing in the magic of birth. Words can never express our love for her. When we had our second child, we didn’t think twice about having her there. She’s become more than a doula to us... she’s part of our family.
 

Posted 6/7/2011

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Carrie Ann Lawshe

My experience with Debra was an amazing one. I did not think that I wanted a Doula to begin with, but my husband asked me to just meet with her. From the first time she was in my house, i felt amazingly relaxed and well taken care of and I had not even contracted with her yet. Debra is very knowledgeable and very willing to support and share information with you. I hired her that same afternoon.


During my labor, she was instrumental to my peacefulness. she was able to walk me through breathing and movements as well as supporting the movements I had from a previous martial arts class. Combined with her help, the first 36 hours or so of my labor was very, and I say this with all seriousness, blissful, beautiful and moving. however, I ended up with some very painful back labor and Debra was able to walk me through it and ask the right questions to allow me to still be in control of the decisions regarding drugs and the hospital.


After 72 hours, my beautiful baby girl was born and I have to say, though a lot of my birth plan went out the window and I did not get to do the natural birth I had wanted, the experience I had with Debra made the entire birth an amazing and unforgettable experience and I can truly say I am not in the least bit disappointed with the way it went.


To that end, I highly recommend her!!! She is Amazing!
 

Posted 4/8/2011

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Tiffany Tessada and Aaron Briggs

We could not have been happier with our decision to hire Debra Sheldon as our doula for the birth of our son. From our first meeting Debra demonstrated her knowledge and passion for the work she does as a doula. During my labor which lasted for more than 50 hours Debra stayed with me both at home and the hospital keeping me focused, comforting me with massage, coaching me through contractions and supporting me while provided my husband with a much needed break and reassurance that everything was going okay. In the end I had to have an emergency c-section. Thankfully Debra stayed with me and my husband during the surgery providing both of us with support and reassurance and capturing the exciting moments when baby Ben was born. And while my birth plan did not go as I had hoped Debra made sure that as many of my birth preferences were fulfilled including ensuring that I had skin to skin contact with my son immediately after he was born. While Debra provided us with amazing support during my labor and delivery we can’t say enough about her postpartum support. To be home alone with a newborn can be a little scary, and recovering from a c-section put extra demand on my husband who found Debra’s postpartum visits extremely helpful. Debra taught us techniques to sooth our baby, helped me with breast feeding and provided us with resources including parenting websites and book selections that have helped us as first time parents. And it was Debra who talked with me in depth about my labor and unplanned c-section and helped me to find peace with my delivery. Our experience with Debra has provided us with many great tools that have helped us in becoming confident parents in our journey of raising our son. We are both very grateful to have had Debra in our lives during such an important time.

Posted 4/5/2011

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Smitha Reddy

Honestly, at first, I thought that we were hiring Debra for my husband. We arranged a meeting with Debra and my first impression of her was that she was a very warm and caring person. After our discussion about what a Doula is and how she would support our birth experience, my husband and I decided that we would feel much better if Debra was there to guide us through the natural birth process with her wisdom and support. We had multiple pre-natal visits with Debra where she talked to us about both a home birth and a hospital birth – She gave us tons of information about what to expect in both scenarios, which definitely helped us to make an informed decision about what we would be most comfortable with. Debra gently prepared us for the unpredictable in a caring and reassuring way. She helped us feel like all of our bases were covered, even though we had no idea what was about to transpire. At a time that it is easy to feel confused and overwhelmed, I felt like I had the wisdom of an expert with a wide range of knowledge, willing to listen to, and help with, anything that came up. I was in labor for 16 hours! And for that entire time Debra was there to support us through the entire process. Looking back, I can’t believe I was able to labor for 16 hours naturally, but with the support of Debra and my husband, I was able to focus through the pain and visualize that my body was working hard to bring me my baby. DUe to medical reasons we ended up with a C-section. She later came back and helped out with feed and sleep training - that was invaluable, and I highly recommend it to anyone. She hung in there with us, through the delivery, teaching me about breast feeding, how to care for our newborn son and how to remember to care for myself. The experience of it all was so fulfilling and we are eternaly grateful to Debra for helping us towards enjoying the journey.

Posted 3/21/2011

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Rukmani Gopalan

I had a 16 hour labor followed by an emergency c-section for my first born. When I wanted to attempt a VBAC delivery for my second, I was strongly recommended to hire a doula and thats how we had Debra help us with the birth of my daughter. She stood out among the doulas I spoke to because she does not have any reservations or judgments, she is fully supportive of what kind of birth experience we wanted and promised her full support. On the D-day, we were quite overwhelmed and when I called Debra to inform her of what was going on, her first response was "Hang in there, I'll be over." This confidence is what made us talk to the doctor about attempting a VBAC who was then supportive of our decision. I was in labor for the next 15 hours and without Debra, I don't think I could have done it without any medical intervention. After 15 hours, I had not made any progress and we had to make a choice of whetehr to continue trying or go for a C-section. I felt ready for a c-section delivery and once again, Debra was fully supportive of my decision and hung by me while we met our baby girl. She immediately made sure my baby girl was skin-on-skin right on me and this was absolutely precious. She was very valuable not only in labor support, but also helped us with a lot of other decisions such as not having any interventions for the first hour after the baby was born, making sure she offered her lactation consultant expertise in making sure my daughter latched on well and last but not least, taking some precious pictures during the crazy labor moments that I'm sure we will treasure. I'd strongly recommend hiring Debra Shelden as a doula for birthing support. Even though we feel super prepared and feel that we are able to handle labor, the presence of a strong support like Debra around makes a big difference in having a positive pressure-free birthing experience.

Posted 2/16/2011

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Jennifer Causey

Debra is a wonderfully experienced and knowledgeable doula. During our prenatal visits, we talked about our preferences for our birth and about the birth process itself. She showed us some different positions we could do to help with pelvic and back pain I was having. We learned more in our hours with her than we did in our birth classes.

I am so thrilled that she was there for our birth and am certain our beautiful, vaginal birth would have been a c-section without her. She was so supportive during my labor and delivery. The nurses insisted that I wasn't having contractions, even though I was certainly feeling them, because they didn't show up on the monitor. I was feeling overwhelmed and scared.  It was such a huge comfort when Debra arrived and someone besides my husband was helping me and supporting me instead of acting like I was making up my contractions.

There were times during my labor when the OB and nurse said things flippantly that were discouraging. Having Debra there enabled me to SAY that I was afraid and discouraged and why. The OB became much more encouraging after hearing how the things she said affected me.

When I was feeling exhausted from labor and discouraged because pushing in the positions suggested by the nurse and the ob were not moving my baby down, Debra talked to the OB and nurse, got them to find the birth bar, and got me into a position where I was able to focus, make progress, and, finally, push my nearly 9 pound baby boy out. I am certain that without her, in the other pushing positions, feeling discouraged, not making progress, I would have given up. She really kept me going and helped my husband support me too.

Debra's postpartum visits were a huge help and relief. She supported my choices and helped us get moving in the right direction when we were feeling overwhelmed. She is amazing.

Posted 1/28/2011

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Ashley Luke

 I feel like finding Debra was like winning the doula lottery. I really can't say enough about her. My husband and I will always be so greatful to her support during our son's birth. She was able to anticipate my needs and meet them every step of the way. We gave birth at the puget sound birth center, and she worked so well with the midwives. This was my seccond birth and my only regret is that I didn't have her the first time around. Both of my labors were long, and hard; complete with op deliveries. The difference in how I feel about the two labors is night and day. I am a trained doula and I made the mistake the first time of thinking that I could just support myself and tell others what to do to help. Needless to say that didn't work out how I thought it would. Everyone should have a supported labor regardless of personal experience. I feel so lucky to know what it feels like to be so cared for and supported. Thank you Debra for the wonderul memories of our son's birth.

Posted 12/8/2010

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Skye Salstrom

Our experience with Debra, from beginning to end, was truly WONDERFUL. From the moment I met her, I was drawn to her warmth, as well as her passion for and experience in bringing babies into the world. I knew that for this birth I wanted to surround myself with positive, energetic, and caring people and Debra embodies all of these attributes and more. She did a fantastic job of taking care of us, from helping me get into various birthing positions (some of them quite difficult to achieve!) to going to the store for energizing snacks and hydrating beverages. Debra’s compassionate care allowed my husband and I to be present with each other and to focus our energy on bringing our baby into the world. She was a supportive, encouraging, and very real presence for both of us, keeping us grounded every step of the way. She made herself completely available from before I went into labor to days after our son was born. Debra’s amazing help and encouragement allowed us to stay calm through a very difficult birth process. Even though my labor lasted THREE days, she worked tirelessly, maintaining her positive attitude and humor throughout. When we had to transfer to the hospital and eventually have an emergency c-section, she was by our side supporting us and reassuring us that we had indeed tried everything we could have to bring our baby out. What a difference having that support made! Despite the fact that our son's birth was anything but what we expected, we are still able to say it was a good experience and that is largely due to Debra. Without a doubt, we could not have gone through our labor process without her deep wealth of wisdom, experience, kindness and humor. I will forever be grateful for Debra and am so thankful that we had the privilege of her being a part of our birth team.

Posted 10/5/2010

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Marcus

Debra was an amazing partner through the entire experience of having our first child. We originally wanted to have a natural birth at a local birth center. We began meeting with Debra quite late into the pregnancy and she came to us completely willing to support us in every way. After our initial consultation, we hired her immediately as she made us very comfortable and she came to us with a wealth of knowledge. She accomodated our needs, was readily available and showed a tremendous deal of concern and care for us and our baby. She came to our house on a handful of occasions to work with us and talk about what to expect. She joined us at approx. 3am the morning we went into labor just to help put our minds at ease. After a few hours she left to get some rest and later joined us at the birth center at 9am to support us through the rest of the birth. Debra remained with us until approx. 10pm that evening after the baby arrived and all the while maintained an incredibly positive, helpful and loving attitude. We are so incredibly grateful for the service she provided and the friendship we know we'll have for years to come. We gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who will grow up to know her "aunt" Debra was there the day she blessed us with her arrival. I would highly recommend hiring a Doula to anyone that is uncertain about the birth process, first time parents-to-be and anyone who would just like to have the support and a friendly face in the delivery room with them. We ended up having to transfer to the local Hospital due to very minor complications and without the calming support of Debra may have found ourselves very scared and worried about the situation we were in. We thank you Debra and Doulas of the world for the service you provide and the loving, caring nature of your profession.

Posted 9/23/2010

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Amy Warren

Debra Shelden provided doula services for the birth of my daughter who was born on June 15, 2010. Debra was not only professional, but also passionate, knowledgeable and deeply caring all qualities that made her an amazing, one-of-a-kind doula.


We interviewed several doulas to find the perfect match. Some we met in person others we did not as our initial conversations ruled them out. I knew instantly when I spoke to Debra she was “the one” we just seemed to click. She has one of those personalities that puts you at ease and makes you feel as though you’ve known her for years. Once we met her she was instantly hired.


We greatly appreciated her taking the time to visit us not just for the delivery of our child, but also multiple times before and after . Her approach involved more than just me (the mom), but also my husband and my much older 16-year old daughter. She answered questions, but also provided that loving support that comes from not just doing a job but truly loving what you do.


On our delivery date Debra was amazing. There was no way my birth plan, of a fully natural birth, would have been realized had Debra not been there. My husband seemed to have forgotten everything from our birth classes and the books he read when the day finally arrived, but Debra was there not only coaching me but involving my daughter and husband – which meant so much to me. With all that love and support I was so pleased that all my wishes were fulfilled.My birth experience was amazing. I relish every moment and would not change one thing.
 

I highly recommend Debra because, as a well known prenatal yoga instructor dubbed her, (when I mentioned she was my doula) she is the “Queen Doula of the Eastside!” Any expectant mom would be lucky to get her! We sure are glad we did.

Posted 8/9/2010

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Katalin Albert

I contacted Debra after reading some recommendations about her. I invited her into our home and I knew instantly that I made the right choice. She is totally the motherly type, and I mean it in the best possible way. She is super nice, calm and confident, and she makes you feel secure.
Besides concentrating on you, she will make sure that your partner will be comfortable with everything that happens as well. She explains things related to the whole birth experience, and answers any kinds of questions. Debra advocates of letting your body do the work it was designed to do. However, she will not push you to any direction, but will support you 100% however your birth will go or whatever choice you make.
I am a first-time mom and I did not know how I would react to the contractions. I wanted to do it without medication, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle the pain. Debra patiently listened to what I was thinking, asked about my fears and we talked though them. She encouraged me to trust myself.
I gave birth at Evergreen Hospital. Many people go to birthing centers, because they feel that hospitals don’t give you the perfect birthing experience. My son’s birth, however, was pretty close to perfect and I believe that it was mainly because of Debra. Starting from suggesting a great birthing class, through making me as comfortable as I could be during labor to visiting me in the first weeks of being at home, she was there for me every step of the way.
I gave birth in February 2010 to a healthy 7.7lb boy after about a 13-hour labor during which my back was killing me during every contraction. And I did it without any medication. Amazing? Yes, and I’m very proud of myself. However, I could not have done this without the support of my husband, Liz (birthing class teacher), and definitely not without Debra Shelden.
 

Posted 7/15/2010

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Eric Deily

We met Debra 3 1/2 years ago while pregnant with our first child, Jack. We interviewed several doulas but felt such an instant connection with her that we both agreed she was the doula for us. As first-time parents we were so grateful for her help in preparing for Jack's birth. With her guidance and support, we were able to experience a wonderful, drug-free hospital birth. It was reassuring and empowering to have such a calm, familiar presence in the room with us. After the birth, Debra provided invaluable breast-feeding support and post-partum assistance. It was such a relief to know that we had someone to call if we needed help, particularly as we had no family in town. Thanks to Debra, we persevered with breastfeeding and successfully navigated the first few anxious weeks of parenthood.


We automatically called Debra when we learnt we were pregnant with our second child, Bryn. Initially we had planned on having the baby at hospital as we did with Jack, but with Debra's encouragement we explored our options and decided to try a birth center and midwife care instead - something we had not considered at all previously. We are so happy we did as the entire experience was wonderful. As it turned out, labor progressed faster than expected and the baby arrived shortly after we got to the birth center. Despite this, we were so glad to have Debra with us again. It was also nice to have Debra's help once we went home, particularly in the first week while we all adjusted to life with a new little one.


Jack is 3 and Bryn is 3 months old now. We have settled into our new routine and feel extremely blessed to have two happy, healthy children. Debra played a major role in helping us prepare for and experience both of their births in such a positive way. We are grateful for all the love and support she has shown our family.
 

Posted 7/13/2010

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Maribel Ugarte

I only have positive comments about Debra, she is an amazing doula and my daughter's birth experience was fantastic thanks to her.
When I first met Debra, my husband and I knew she was the right doula for us. She listened to us and really cared about about us, our daughter and was very respectful of our birth plan. Before, during and after birth, she gave us a lot of information that helped us made the right decisions for me and for my baby.

I was hoping for a natural birth and I was able to do it completely unmedicated thanks to her support starting with the prenatal visits. I would have never done it that way if I didn't have Debra's support. She was with me and my husband during every single contraction. During labor, she always knew the right position for me to reduce the pain.

My daughter's birth had no complications, but I lost a lot of blood during the delivery of the placenta. That situation was very scary, but Debra was with me all the time, she was narrating what doctor's were doing to me and what my husband was doing with our daughter. At that moment, I felt that everything was going to be good, thanks to Debra's support.

My daughter is now one month old. Her postpartum visits have been really helpful. She really cares for me and my daughter. I've had a hard time with post-partum depression and she has also cared about that. She had a talk with me and my husband that really made the difference.

If I have another child, I know that I will call Debra right away. She is amazing!!  Thanks Debra!!!

Posted 7/2/2010

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Ying

Debra is great. I can't say enough good things about her. I had a VBAC. It would not be possible if I didn't have Debra. My husband and I picked her because we feel she would take care of the whole being and the whole family, rather than just focusing on one birth. And we are right about this! My husband is a very quiet person and in intense situations would keep everything to himself. I decided to hire a doula because I think I would work with the doula in the birth and stop expecting what's not natural for my husband to do. But Debra turned my husband into the best birth support a husband can be. She gave him the confidence and  showed him what to do. I had a wonderful birthing experience. She's so knowledgable, wise, and funny. In the birth, they wheeled me into the operating room because of the baby's heart rate. There were a lot of confusions among the midwives, the OBs, and myslef. The baby just wouldn't drop. No one knows what's going to happen. Throughout this confusing time, Debra encouraged me to follow my body's urge to push. And finally when the talk about c-section is getting almost real, the final cervix exam showed that the baby has dropped. From there I pushed him out in the operating room on the operating bed. If it is not for Debra, tt would not have happened when I was so desperate and so scared. I am happy as happy can be. Thank you, Debra!

Her postpartum visits are also very important to us. Her care and love of the baby is so genuine. She is dedicated to make sure that breastfeeding is going well. She really cares.

Yes, doulas are expensive. I thought for a long time before hiring one. But two and half years after the cesarean brith of my first childe, I still cry every time I think about it. Really, how rarely can money actually bring us happiness? Ithink this is the best money that I spend and worth every bit of it.

Posted 6/19/2010

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StaceyM

 My husband I wanted a doula for the birth of our first child for a number of reasons -  we have no family (support) in town, we hoped for a natural birth, and my husband wanted to help as much as possible during labor but knew he was limited in knowing how.  We interviewed 4 doulas before selecting Debra.  Each seemed competent but it was Debra's mix of knowledge, professionalism, calmness ,and humor that convinced my husband and I that it was Debra we wanted with us during labor.   Debra's commitment and love of being a doula was evident in her visits to our home to help prepare us for birth, for life with our baby after delivery, and her comforting me during several calls including a 2:30am phone call when I was in early labor.  Another benefit of the time she spent with us was experienced during my 27 hour labor in which Debra and my husband worked together as a team to support me and give us a truly amazing birth experience.  In short we felt very comfortable having Debra share in this very personal and important part of our lives and I would recommend her without hesitation.

  

Posted 4/25/2010

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David and Nicola Russell

We really enjoyed working with Debra and are so grateful for her guidance and presence during our pregnancy and birth. I chose Debra based on her warm, empathetic manner and wide experience.  She is calm and assured when you're absolutely not, and her confidence is contagious- I found myself feeling much more positive and excited about the prospect of a natural birth than I would have without her. She truly is accepting of whatever choices you make if you feel they are right for you, and that turned out to be important when my birth did not go according to plan. 

Debra is really perceptive and helped me navigate some complicated family dynamics with grace and reassurance... she made my husband and mother feel involved, helpful, and valued throughout the whole process.  Her advice and help during postpartum visits was really welcome, and she made me feel more sure of myself as a new mom while helping with things like breastfeeding and the five S's.  I'd recommend her to anyone looking for a warm, compassionate doula with a core of amazing strength.

Posted 1/20/2010

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Lavanya V

Debra was our doula for the birth of our baby girl. We chose Debra after interviewing 4 other doulas. Her warmth, pragmatism, humor, experience and balance won our confidence from the start. Her prenatal visits and phone calls were very supportive through the latter weeks of my pregnancy - at one point, she even accompanied me to an acupuncture appointment where she worked for an hour to help turn my breech baby! The labor itself didn't go according to "plan", and we were struggling with unexpected events and a difficult nurse - but Debra was with us every step of the way, encouraging, explaining, and providing invaluable emotional and physical support to both me and my husband. We feel we could not have made it through without Debra beside us. After the delivery, her postpartum visits helped set us first timers up for success with the basics like breastfeeding and swaddling.

My OB-GYN at Evergreen recommended Debra as the best Doula she'd ever worked with, and we now understand why. No matter what your birth preferences or location, Debra will prove to be an excellent choice for your Doula

Posted 1/19/2010

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Sara Lye

I would highly recommend Debra Shelden as a birth doula. My husband and I knew right away that she was right for us. She has so much knowledge and experience that all come in a calm, nurturing package. She helped us understand the birth process and then helped us come as close as possible to the experience we wanted.

Without her I believe I never would have made it all the way through without medication – but she brought out the strength in me and helped with relaxation and pain management skills during the birth that helped me have a wonderful medication-free hospital birth experience. We also took our “birth class” from her in the privacy of our home. It was wonderful! We learned so much that we really did use the day of the birth. Our daughter arrived peacefully, and perfect. And we will definitely use her again if we have a second child.

Posted 1/4/2010

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Cori Gross

I highly recommend Debra Shelden to anyone considering a doula.  I gave birth to my little boy in July of this year with Debra by my side.  She made a natural birth possible for me.  I do not believe that I could've done it without her.  She provided critical support to my husband and to me during our birth.  She was also very helpful post-partum during the initial breastfeeding troubles. 

Debra is so calm and reassuring that I trusted her completely.  I felt that she had my best interests and that of my baby as her priority.  I remember feeling that everything was going to be okay since Debra was there.  There is a peaceful and confident vibe that surrounds her and quickly permeates the entire room.  I knew that I was not going to have to do anything I didn't want to as long as Debra was there to hold my hand. 

If you are looking at hiring a doula please know that Debra was worth every penny and then some!  When you examine the level of support provided and the significance of the birth of your baby, the cost of hiring a doula like Debra is inconsequential.

Posted 11/21/2009

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Karen Margarint

Debra provided a high caliber of services from the very beginning. She was a strong support professional throughout my pregnancy, always available to answer questions and provide advice. She made several home visits during my pregnancy that lasted at least a couple of hours each time. She really dedicated herself to getting to know my husband and me and by the time our son was born I felt like I had known Debra for years!  Our son's birth ended up in an emergency c-section without much warning and as soon as I found out I called Debra. She dropped everything and arrived just in time to be there for the surgery and stayed with me into the late evening thereafter guiding me with breastfeeding and providing me with the much needed emotional support.

Our son had to remain in the NICU for several days after his birth and at this highly stressful and emotional time, Debra was there both in person and by phone - I honestly don't know what I would have done without her because she kept my husband and me both sane and comforted. 

Debra's post partum support was wonderful and she gave me the skills I needed to become a more confident mother. Overall, we are extremely happy and satisfied clients and Debra is someone we will keep in touch with for a very long time. She made the birth of our son a positive and joyful experience.

 

Posted 11/17/2009

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Jonas and Christy Keating

We cannot say enough positive things about Debra.  After meeting with her the first time, we didn't even bother interviewing any other doulas, as we were so confident in our choice.  We have not regretted that decision once.  

Debra was an incredible resource and inspiration, and helped us make the best birth choices for us without judgment.  We used her to discuss questions before the birth, and once she knew we hoped to have a natural, drug-free birth, she did everything she could to encourage us, give us the tools to accomplish that, and to boost my confidence in my own body's abilities.  In birth, as we learned, nothing ever goes quite as "planned," but Debra was with us every step of the way, helped us roll with the punches, and coached us through the drug-free birth we had set out to have.  I am convinced that because of Debra, my labor was shorter, and I don't think I could  have made it through without medication without her support.  Because of her, I am able to look back on the birth of our daughter as a really hard but incredibly positive and empowering experience.  Debra was also instrumental in helping my husband through the birth process.  She helped him know what to expect, how to help me, and when I had to go into surgery after the birth because of some unusual internal tearing, she helped him stay calm and learn how to care for and bond with our daughter immediately. 

In short, I would recommend Debra without hesitation to anyone, regardless of where or how you want that experience to occur.  The sense of calm she added to a really intense experience is priceless, and the postpartum care she provided was very helpful.  Debra's professionalism is unparalleled, and yet she came to feel like a member of the family.  Debra truly is a gem. 

Posted 9/29/2009

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Sheri Chamberlain

We interviewed a number of doulas, but my husband and I had a natural connection with Debra from the start.  She has a way of sharing her knowledge, without being bossy.  As we got to know one another during the prenatal care, we felt at home with her.  It was great having the additional resource to discuss the results of doctor visits with.  We could share our birth wishes with her without judgement, and she truly seemed to take it to heart.  It was clear her aim was to give us the best chance for our birth experience to be what we wanted it to be.  While my labor was short, compared to averages that is :), it was not without its bumps in the road.  Debra helped us handle them cooly and calmly so I could stay focused on the task at hand and as such, I'm pleased to say together, as team, we were able to deliver my son without medication.  I truly believe without Debra that "wish" would not have come true.  Additionally, I found Debra's postpartum care to be really valuable.  My son took to breastfeeding quite well, but Debra helped make the process more comfortable.  As such, I think it helped us to be more succesful and to truly enjoy nursing.  We were so thankful we decided to enlist the support of a doula.  We were fully satisfied with the support Debra provided and recommend her to anyone who inquires.

Posted 8/11/2009

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Julie Aune

Debra's natural teaching ability shined through during her pre-birth home visits and while I was in labor. She has positive grounding energy and is quite practical and straight forward about pregnancy, birth, and newborn issues. I knew if I asked her a question about how tough things might be that she would provide an honest yet comprehensive answer. Also, she means it when she says she does not get offended when mothers get snippy during labor. At one point, I told her, "Don't watch me." She went away calmly saying only, "OK" and nothing more. I did not have to worry that she was bothered based on her response.

It would seem Debra helped me labor at home to just the right moment. After having labored at home all day, I labored at the birth center for about 4-5 hours. Once she arrived with us at the birth center, Debra provided a mostly silent witness (which I preferred) and let the midwives do their thing. She also made tactful suggestions to my husband and I as to how I might become more comfortable.

Debra introduced us to a baby wrap, which comes in handy for our daughter's extended naps and later for various outings. She is a fun yet down-to-earth woman, and I am grateful for her direct, nuturing approach. I recommend her services.

Posted 6/22/2009

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Heather Hutton

As a women in my mid-30’s, I am a person who likes to be in control. And birth and post-partum cannot be executed to a plan – which is why we hired Debra. I knew I would need someone I could count on to provide guidance, facts and options from which we could navigate this new world of birth and parenting. Debra’s balance of confidence and warmth drew us to her – and helped us to define our birth plan in a way that was comfortable for our own needs.

At the hospital she helped keep us educated as to what we could next expect, and continued to keep me calm and breathing, offering options to increase my comfort and help the baby’s position. As a result of her suggestions and continued support, we gave birth to a 9 lb, 4 oz baby without a c-section. According to all, it was a text-book delivery and we attribute much of that to Debra’s emotional support and tactical suggestions.

After the birth of our daughter, Debra joined us for post-partum support for 6 weeks – where she provided us “newbies” with education on breastfeeding (perfect latch with no pain!), bathing, swaddling, sleeping, “1st time” things like g rocery store trips, and watching our baby while mom got a nap or a shower. She helped give us confidence through coaching – which started us off on a very good path. We are grateful for Debra’s support in those early days and would recommend her highly for birth planning, birth attendance/support, and for post-partum support and education. She is exactly what we needed ?.
 

Posted 6/7/2009

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Nina Marini

Debra's role in our daughter's birth was amazingly powerful and positive.  My birth experience thoroughly exceeded my hopes - and I attribute that almost entirely to Debra.  I delivered without using any pain medications after laboring at home for 6 hours and arriving at the hospital 9 cm dilated.  Without Debra, we would have been at the hospital 4 hours earlier!  Debra’s guidance and support helped me discover my own inner strength, focus on our baby rather than my fear, and achieve the best birthing experience I was capable of having.

Debra is a great listener.  She tailored her approach to my husband and me, to accommodate our respective ideas and wishes.  Her deep experience, expertise, humor and can-do attitude instilled confidence in us and allowed us to just be excited.  She provided excellent post-partum support and helped us capture precious memories of our daughter's birth.  Although we didn’t know beforehand, we now believe that her fees don't do justice to the services she provides.  If and when we have another child, we are convinced that Debra needs to be with us again!

Posted 5/29/2009

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Kammy Pietraszek

Debra was both the birth and postpartum doula for the birth of my baby girl Carmen.  I chose to have a natural birth and Debra was there every step of the way helping me through.  From massaging me through contractions, making sure I always had water and was comfortable, to explaining what was going on to my husband and my family, she was a grounding and very nurturing presense.   In the end, my daughter needed to be delivered through c-section.  Debra stayed with me along with my husband and midwife and continued to be a great support as well as taking a bunch of great pictures of the first moments of Carmen's life.  It really helped to have Debra with me, as I knew that she had been through many deliveries before and kept me positive that all would turn out ok as in the end it did!  We decided to hire Debra as our postpartum doula as well after having a great birth experience with her.  She helped us so much in the first 2 months of our baby's life with a lot of the little practical things like how to efficiently set up our changing table as well as gave us invaluable information on how to soothe Carmen through those difficult first several weeks of late nights and crying.  Debra was an integral part of getting me through the trials of breastfeeding with a lot of hands on encouragement and direction.  After working with A LOT of nurses and lactation specialists to get through some difficult pain and problems with latching on, I really think that it was Debra who gave me the best breastfeeding tools and inspired me that I would indeed come out on the other side a happy breastfeeding mother.  With her help I did pull through and am still nursing Carmen today!

Debra is excellent at what she does and gets my highest recommendation.  I am so glad Debra was there with me through my birth and first couple months of Carmen's life - I wouldn't have had it any other way.

Posted 5/21/2009

Birth Availability for Debra Shelden, Certified Doula

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Postpartum Availability for Debra Shelden, Certified Doula

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