Lauren  Dawson, CD(DONA), PES(PBi) Photo

Lauren Dawson, CD(DONA), PES(PBi)

A Growing Belly, LLC.

Website: http://www.agrowingbelly.com

Phone: (410) 913-7085

Birth Fee: Not specified

Fee Details: Contact me for services and fees. I only take a handful of clients a year to give them my full attention. Quality, not quantity, is important to me. TENS unit rentals, rebozo, library, and peanut ball loaners. Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist with over 250+ encapsulations done since 2008. Birth Photography.

Birth Doula Experience: 16 years and 75 births attended

Birth Doula Certifications

  • DONA International - Certified Birth Doula

Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 1 to 3

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Attends home births? Some Home Births

Other Relevant Certifications

  • PBi Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist
  • 4. Biologix Solutions Bloodborne Pathogens for Placenta Encapsulation Specialists Trained
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Certified (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Rebozo Certification (Gena Kirby)
  • SERVSAFE® Food Safety Management Training
  • DONA Trained Postpartum Doula, Rebozo Certified

College Education

  • BA/BS
  • MA/MS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Clients on bed rest
  • 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
  • Single parents
  • Surrogacy
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth

Special Services Offered

  • Aromatherapy
  • Military families
  • Mother blessing celebrations
  • Placenta encapsulation
  • Pregnancy, birth and/or newborn photography
  • Sibling support (for your older children at the birth)
  • TENS units rental

Languages spoken: English

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Sparks Glencoe, MD
Travel Range: 40 Miles

Certifications for Lauren Dawson, CD(DONA), PES(PBi)

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Certification

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Client Testimonials for Lauren Dawson, CD(DONA), PES(PBi)

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Christy Katz

Lauren is awesome!

We hired a doula for the birth of our second child, in order to have a greater chance of a VBAC. Lauren was down-to-earth,  personable, and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience. I felt better having another person in our corner helping us along the way. And my husband felt better prepared to be a birth coach because of all the preparations we went through with Lauren. 

Lauren was super available for any and all questions. And when my water broke, I immediately texted her and received reassurance that we were doing all the right things. The birth was fast, but I am absolutely convinced Lauren helped us avoid an unnecessary csection. She worked along side the nurses to try a few positioning tricks to help things progress, and helped us speak up when we felt pressured by the resident doctor. 

It was invaluable to have Lauren as our doula that night and I will always hold these memories close to my heart. Give her a call and see if it's a good fit for you. You won't regret it.

 

 

Posted 9/25/2018

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Becky Palsgrove

I hired Lauren to be my doula for my second birth in 2016, and I'm so glad that I did.  We met when she did a placenta encapsulation for my friend in 2012; I hired her to encapsulate my placenta in 2013, and we just clicked when we talked again in 2015.  Lauren is a thorough and unintimidating childbirth educator, and although I didn't feel much anxiety or uncertainty about my pregnancy and labor, each visit we had was informative and helpful.  Lauren supported me after the sudden death of a dear friend (who was also my doula when I had my son in 2013) a week before I had my daughter, and her sympathy and sensitivity was invaluable.  This attitude, combined with her skill and varied services, makes her an amazing doula and a better friend. 

Posted 8/24/2016

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Sarah McIver

Lauren did two placenta encapsulations for me, my boys are two years and two days apart. She was wonderfully calming, respectful of the peace surrounding the new baby and was so great explaining everything to my very curious daughter, and grandmothers! Besides the obvious benefits of the placenta pills, with very clear instructions and contact info for any questions, she left the house impeccably clean. I can't recommend her highly enough!! 

Posted 8/22/2016

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Kandace B

Hiring Lauren as our doula was one of the best decisions that we made during my pregnancy. I feel like she really kept our best interests in mind and was a great advocate for my natural birth plan.

When I started getting nervous the day before I went into labor, Lauren was only a phone call away with a calm and reassuring tone. We stayed in touch by phone as I labored at home, and she met us at the hospital per my request. (She was on her way to our house, but I started to freak out and wanted to go to the hospital.)  :)

We got to the hospital around 10:30pm, and Lauren was by my side through the night until my son was born at 10:43am and then for a couple hours post-birth. Lauren's support allowed my husband to rest a bit through the night as I labored. She massaged my back when I started cramping up.  She sprayed warm water on me in the tub. She made sure that I drank water and ate food to keep up my energy. And when I stalled out and started getting tired, Lauren was there to remind me that I am strong that I could do this. When one of the nurses mentioned the option of an epidural or pain meds, Lauren was quick to change the subject as she knew how strongly I wanted an unmedicated birth. Lauren was a wonderful advocate to have by my side, and my son's birth would not have been the same if Lauren was not there.

Early in my pregnancy, I went back and forth about whether or not to hire a doula. I thought that I might not need a doula since I was using midwives at a birth center where I knew I didnt have to worry about unneccesary interventions.  I thought, "I don't need a doula to fight off the hospital staff."  But a doula is SO MUCH MORE!  My husband actually talked me into hiring Lauren (partly as support for him), and I am so glad that we did.  The physical and emotional support that Lauren provided during my labor was invaluable.  We would hire her again in a heartbeat.

Posted 10/18/2015

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Sarah Warlick

Lauren Agro did my placenta encapsulation and she was amazing.  She has a sweet, gentle energy. She filled my kitchen with her soft, bubbly light for the very short time that she was there doing her work. After meeting her for the encapsulation, I wished that we had hired her to be our doula as well. She is just a lovely person, nurturing, kind, funny and smart.  The kind of person that you meet and wish you could continue to know, long after her job is finished. Additionally, she did a fantastic job with the encapsulation and the tonic and prints.  She's amazing!!! 

Posted 3/31/2015

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Jennifer Irwin

We have used Lauren for both of our children's births.  She is a wonderful supportive person, with a great love for what she does.  Our first child was an unexpected cesarean but our second was a scheduled cesarean.  Even though we did not use her expertise in the labor process, she was there for us after the birth with lactation assistance and to answer any questions we had.  I also had her encapsulate my placenta and she was very professional, explained the process thoroughly and our kitchen was cleaner than we had left it!  We consider Lauren a sweet friend now, and would highly recommend Lauren to anyone needing Doula or Placenta Encapsulation services!  

Posted 3/5/2015

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Emily Udseth

From the minute I met Lauren I knew she was going to be our doula. She was so open, caring, and friendly and I felt so comfortable. As a first time mom, I truly didn't know what to expect for labor and delivery. Lauren was able to answer all of my questions and made me think about what I wanted for my delivery experience. The position of a doula was exactly what my husband and I needed to have a great labor and delivery. Lauren is a great motivator, helping me achieve the best possible labor experience I could have asked for. Her technique and bag of tricks were so helpful. My husband and I both agree that Lauren was a perfect choice for a doula. We will definitely use her again with our next child. As for the placenta encapsulation, Lauren was very professional. She handled the placenta and encapsution with such care and precision, making sure everything was very clean before, during, and after. I loved using the placenta pills and I know it made a difference in how I felt postpartum. Overall great experience!! Lauren is awesome! 

Posted 11/6/2014

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Sara Titus

I found out about placenta encapsulation when Lauren spoke to my Bradley Methof Birthing class.  My husband and I had been making fun of the idea of placenta pills leading up to the class, but were converts after hearing Lauren's presentation. Lauren was great during the process, and was very sweet and checked in after as well.

I noticed while taking the pills when I got home from the hospital that I had a lot of energy  considering how little sleep I was getting and I never felt any symptoms I would call the "baby blues".

I found out the true power of the pills 4 weeks after I had my baby. By this time I was no longer taking them and the extra pills were in my freezer.I found out I had retained some tissue from my pregnancy and needed to get what was supposed to be a simple out patient procedure to correct it. After the procedure, instead of being discharged after about an hour of recovery, I had to stay for about 4 hours as they tried everything they could think of to stop the massively excessive, and uncommon bleeding I was experiencing. At which point the doctor decided that I should go home and wait and see if it got better. He said to call after 5 hrs to give him an update and that he expected that I'd see a significant improvement by that point. 5 hrs came and went and if anything the bleeding had gotten slightly worse. Again I was told to wait it out until the morning since I wasn't in imminent need to a blood transfusion. At this point my husband, mother and I were getting very worried. Independently my Mother said a prayer and my husband and I prayed together for the bleeding to slow down. I think God answered my prayers by reminding me that I had extra placenta pills.  I asked the doctor if he was ok with me taking them, he said yes.  After taking them, the next time we checked, only and hour later, the bleeding had nearly stopped. It was well beyond anything I had expected.

 

 

Posted 10/29/2014

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Amy Ortez

I was referred to Lauren by a good friend of mine and wow, am I glad that I retained her services for placenta encapsulation! While I never actually got to meet Lauren in person (due to have a c-section) my husband spoke highly of her! He said she was so nice and professional and did a great job. 

Lauren checked on me several times to follow up and she was so nice and personable! I wish I could have met her in person to give her a hug.

I cannot encourage women enough to look into placenta encapsulation! It made a world of difference in how I felt compared to with my first child. I had so much more energy, a steady milk supply, and no baby blue tears! I didn't break out into midnight sweats from my hormones it was great!

i highly recommend Lauren for anyone that is interested. You will not be disappointed! Thanks Lauren!

Posted 10/28/2014

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Amy Vail Rau

Our first baby was born July 2014. We hired Lauren for both her doula and placenta encapsulation services. We loved working with her. She was very organized and educated; she was a wonderful resource. I had a slightly turbulent third trimester and Lauren was always available to talk whenever we needed her. Her caring and patient demeanor really helped us to feel empowered in making our birth decisions. I ended up having a C-section (which was not a part of our birth plan) and Lauren was wonderful and supportive. I never once felt like I had failed by not having the natural childbirth that I was so desperately wanting.

I recommend placenta encapsulation to everyone. I felt absolutely amazing after the birth. My recovery from the C-section was relatively easy; even the nurses at the hospital commented on how well I was doing. Is still have a supply of capsules that I keep in the freezer and every so often I take one if I need an extra pick-me-up. They were a life saver when I started back to work after maternity leave.

In the beginning, my husband was not on board with hiring a doula. And he thought placenta encapsulation was weird and crazy. He now feels very differently in both aspects. He was worried that hiring a doula would take away his contribution in the birth process. It was actually quite the opposite. Lauren really was able to help guide him in the best ways to help me so that he was able to be more involved.

Posted 10/28/2014

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Sara Sturgess

I hired Lauren Agro for placenta encapsulation.  Lauren was fantastic.  My husband was not very enthusiastic even about natural childbirth, let alone placenta encapsulation, and to put it bluntly he is a bit of a neat freak on top of it all and I envisioned Lauren processing my placenta in my kitchen at a time when my husband was not home.  But, as fate would have it I wound up with a C-section and was still in the hospital when it was time to process my placenta, so off my husband went with the placenta in a cooler, and he and Lauren arranged the times that she would come over to process everything.  He was there the whole time and she put his mind at ease about the whole process.  She gave him explicit instructions for me regarding when and how to take the capsules and how to finish processing the tincture, and he said that when she left, our kitchen was cleaner than when she arrived, which is a HUGE compliment coming from him.  I would recommend her, and placenta encapsulation highly.

Posted 10/28/2014

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Robin Nathankern

I would highly recommend Lauren's services!  While I never actually met her, since she provided the service at my home while I was still in the hospital, I was very happy with the level of service.  She was very responsive to all of my phone calls, and answered all of my questions.  She also left the house spotless, and left very specific and helpful instructions regarding the capsules.  I definitely feel like the capsules helped with my energy and hormonal shifts after delivery.  I would use Lauren again for encapsulation!  

Posted 8/12/2014

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Stacie Joglekar

Lauren was very professional and polite.  She explained the procedure well and kept us informed but was not intrusive and gave our new family space while still being supportive. 

Posted 6/23/2014

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Sarah Lane Austin

We used Lauren to encapsulate my placenta.  I was still in the hospital recovering from an emergency Caeserean while my husband followed our son to the NICU, so my mom arranged for Lauren to encapsulate my placenta.  My mom has high standards of customer service, and she had only praise for Lauren.  One thing that meant a lot to me was that Lauren validated my birth method - I felt I missed out on the natural birth experience, like I had failed - but Lauren's words to my mom helped me understand that I did what was necessary to give birth to my son healthily.

As I alluded, my son spent the first sixteen days of his life in the NICU because of an unexpected intestinal birth defect.  I had been worried that I would experience post-partum depression because I have a history of anxiety and depression, but with my son in the NICU, I knew the extra stress would push me closer to post-partum depression.  I fully believe that consuming my encapsulated placenta very much mitigated my experience of depression.  I had no depression symptoms while my son was in the NICU, and even when we came home and I was overwhelmed with the medical responsibility left solely to my husband and me, my panic was not as severe as it could have been.  Once I missed a day taking the placenta capsules, and I noticed how much more anxious and self-critical I was, so I made sure not to miss any more doses and to wean gently as suggested.  Now I have finished taking all of the capsules and put a frozen placenta broth cube in my hot drink on days that I anticipate will be stressful.  I have returned to work and adjusted to every day life.  I definitely believe that having my placenta encapsulated lessened the severity of the baby blues that I experienced, and if I get pregnant again, I will definitely use Lauren's encapsulation services. 

Posted 6/10/2014

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Laura Syes

I had Lauren encapsalate my placenta after the birth of my son (I had my daughter four years prior and had not done so). I can't say enough good things about Lauren, the whole process, or the results! Lauren was so personable and informative. She came into our home at a chaotic time with many family members visiting, and everyone loved having her around! She was so much fun, and really made the process something interesting for everyone (which I would imagine is hard to do, as many of our relatives were a little skeptical!). Lauren was professional, punctual, and kept the kitchen spotless. I would absolutely hire her again.

Results wise, my whole post-birth experience was night and day. I had many mood swings with my daughter and found "down in the dumps" for several months after her birth. With my son, I didn't experience this at all. I am sure some of this was due to being more experienced and knowing what to expect, but I could truly tell the difference after taking the capsules.

Posted 6/9/2014

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Erica Azizollahoff

I could not have asked for a better experience with the placenta encapsulation process.  Lauren came to my house 3 days after delivery and spent a total of less than 3 hrs at my house over 2 days for the entire process.  I was very nervous/squeemish about the whole idea of it all, but I never had to even look at my placenta.  She left my kitchen cleaner than before she got there and I really enjoyed talking to Lauren while she was working.  As a doula, she is filled with knowledge about postpartum recovery and all the free tips and relaxed conversation was just what I needed at the time.  I took the pills for 3 weeks post partum and didn't realize how powerful the placenta capsules were until I watched several friends who did not encapsulate their placentas recover post partum.    During the first 2 days post partum (prior to taking the pills) I had an episode where I was hysterically crying over a small issue.  After I began the pills I never experienced that again.  I never had any issues with milk supply, my energy level was relatively high considering my post partum state and my mood was stable.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well I recovered overall from labor and delivery and I attribute a large portion of that to the placenta pills.  Aside from being a total sweetheart Lauren was very professional and made the process easy and enjoyable.  I highly recommend this process and very highly recommend Lauren for the job.

Posted 1/1/2014

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Meagan Lusby

I contacted Lauren during my pregnancy regarding her placenta encapsulation services. She is located quite a distance from my home but I was unable to locate anyone closer. Luckily she was very accomodating and agreed to make the trip. After the birth of my daughter we scheduled her vists. She was courteous, professional, and always on time. Communication was a breeze. During her visits she was respectul of our space and informative about what she was doing. She left my kitchen probably cleaner than I had ever seen it. I would highly recommend Lauren for her services. Should we ever have another child we will certainly contact her again.

Posted 12/1/2013

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Melissa O'Brien

I did not have Lauren as a doula, but just for placenta encapsulation. I actually didn't even get to meet Lauren since I had a c-section. However, being a first time mom and only knowing a minimal amount of information about placenta encapsulation Lauren was a wealth of inforation. She explained the procedure to me, told me exactly what I needed to do at the hospital in order to ensure my placenta was viable and was so flexible and accomodating in order to get my placenta encapsulated quickly. From my research, most people will charge you for any extras outside of just your capsules, Lauren made me broth, ice cubes and a tincture which were basically a life saver. I have preached to everyone and anyone that will listen the benefits of placenta encapsulation and I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY reccommend Lauren. She is an absolute delight and it's very unfortunate I didn't get the pleasure of meeting her. She did however, send me a follow up email to check in on myself and my daughter. You just don't find that kind of personal care anymore. 

Posted 11/19/2013

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Michele Crowther

Lauren did our placenta encapsulation for us. she was really wonderful to work with. She responded to my email inquiry right away and gave me all the information I needed to proceed. When she came to our house, she was very sanitary and showed us the whole process. She was very professional, but as an added bonus she's super nice and a lot of fun! We really enjoyed the whole experience and would definitely contact her again for our next baby. 

Posted 11/11/2013

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Becky Palsgrove

Lauren did my placenta encapsulation in July 2013, and she was fantastic!  I had met her a year or so earlier when she did my friend's, and she was gracious enough to let me watch the process while she explained it.  Very interesting and cool!  As for my service, Lauren performed it quickly and professionally, responding right away to my call.  She left my home cleaner than it was before she got there, and when I was released from the hospital two and a half days later, I came home to everything she had done.  Lauren dehydrated and encapsulated my placenta, saving the steaming water for me as well.  She left all the materials I expected at my house, and she followed up with me by phone and email to make sure I was doing well.  Since this was my first pregnancy and birth, I have nothing to compare it to, but I didn't experience any postpartum depression (or even the "baby blues"), and my milk came in in force on day four.  If I have another child, I'll absolutely contract Lauren for her encapsulation services again.  Thanks so much for your help!

Posted 11/11/2013

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Anne Gonnella

Lauren is friendly, knowledgable and professional, and it was a joy to have her in my home while she prepared my placenta. I would (and often do) recommend her services to anyone. She is also a fantastic choice if you have skeptical family members: she can explain the benefits in a clear and matter-of-fact way that puts people at ease and she does an excellent job of lending credence to encapsulation for those who think it's just "mystic voodoo for freaks and hippies". 

Posted 11/11/2013

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Heather Rawlett

 Although I didn't use Lauren for her doula services, I did use her placenta encapsulation service. I can't say enough about how wonderful she was! She was professional, kind, informative & caring. She was punctual, easy to contact & answered all of our questions. My only regret is not doing it with my first child. 

Posted 3/27/2013

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Marianna LaCanfora

You MUST have a great doula to have a great natural childbirth.  I was referred to Lauren by a co-worker and hired her for the birth of my son in September 2009.  I had an amazing natural experience and I can honestly tell you that it would not have been possible without Lauren.  She has an incredible way of comforting a scared mommy to be through a challenging birth.  She has extensive knowledge and experience and will help prepare you for the birth, and coach you past any hurdle.  I hired her again for the birth of my daughter in June 2012, and again had an amazing natural experience; this time in a birthing tub at the Hospital.  I will forever be grateful to Lauren for making my childbirth experiences incredible and joyous!   The best money I every spent, and worth every cent.

 

Posted 8/17/2012

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Shelley McGuire

Lauren is totally amazing.  My husband and I hired Lauren as soon as we found out we were pregnant.  Lauren met with us and really listened to what we wanted to experience in the labor and deliver piece of my pregnancy.  She was in touch with us throughout the whole entire process.  She wanted to know everything that was going on in regards to my pregnancy (dr appts, OB appts, sonograms, tests, etc..)  in order for her to keep abreast of the situation.  She provided us with a lot of information and stories to come to a decision on what type of deliver I wanted to experience.  My husband and I felt so confident in Lauren's service that we did not even take 1 birthing class.  We heard they were a waste of time anyway.  Besides, Lauren being by your side through the L&D process makes everything run very smoothly.  She was like having a personal assistant for the BIG day.

When the time came to deliver, Lauren was right there by our side the entire time.  She kept thorough notes, consulted with the nurses to find out what was scheduled for the day in the L&D ward (so she could make sure I received the drugs I needed in time that I needed them), provided light/funny talking points, and best of all she held a leg so my husband didn't have to that day. 

Lauren is an awesome resource to have at your bedside in this precious time of need.  You will be delighted with her charm, personality, and her expertise!

On 1 more note, she is an awesome photographer for your pre/post pregnancy pictures too!

Posted 10/12/2010

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Philip Panackal

 I called Lauren VERY late in my pregnancy after hearing about doulas around week 35!   I wasn't sure that I wanted one, but I was sure that I needed something to calm my nerves!  As soon as I spoke to Lauren, I knew I wanted her.  I spoke to a few other doulas, but they seemed put off at having been contacted so late.  Lauren took it all in stride and even calmed my anxiety about waiting so long.  

She came to our house two times before the big day and instantly bonded with both of us (and our big baby dog).  My fears about giving birth were eased by simply talking to her.  She is extremely educated on lots of aspects of birth from medicine options to labor positions to newborn procedures.  And anything she doesn't know she works hard at to find out!

The birth of my baby girl wasn't perfect (She ended up in the NICU for a week.) but my birthing experience was because it was mine and I was supported through out it.  Lauren helps you plan for your perfect birth and work through the hiccups along the way.  The icing on the cake is the beautiful birth story she presents to you after the delivery. It details all the little events (and big)  that made your child's birth hers!  I can't wait to share it with my little girl when she gets old enough!

I could not recommend Lauren highly enough and will certainly use her in a few years when its time for my baby girl to have a sibling.  

Posted 10/12/2010

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Katy Clemens

I came to Lauren needing a lot of immediate help. After a fairly routine pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 36 weeks, and my OB/midwife practice decided that my baby was on track to be huge and that I couldn't possibly have him naturally, as I been determined to. I wasn't sure anybody could help me - I was 36 weeks along already. I was so grateful that Lauren could meet with me. As soon as I engaged her services, I called her every day with questions, problems, to cry, to talk, to brainstorm, everything. Lauren tirelessly did research for me, stepped out of her day job to take my calls, encouraged me to breathe, and reminded me over and over again that I knew what was best for me and my baby and that she would support me, no matter what.

In the end, I went ahead and scheduled a c-section. Although Lauren and I both would have preferred a natural birth, she completely understood and supported my decision. She talked me through my feelings of loss for the childbirth experience that I had thought I would have, and reminded me of the most important thing - that as long as I had my healthy baby, the pain of these difficulties would soon be behind me. Also typical of Lauren is that she threw herself into c-section research as soon as I determined that that was what I was going to do. I knew as much as I possibly could have going in.

Lauren was sitting right next to me during my c-section, right with my husband. She was there when they told me that - shock! - my baby was only 7 lbs 14 oz, not 11 1/2 pounds as they had estimated. And she stuck by me when they told me that he was having trouble breathing and they had to take him to the NICU. Now my baby is a healthy and happy one-year-old, and I will always be grateful for Lauren's support at the tail end of my pregnancy and in my childbirth experience. I want her right there beside me when I try for my VBAC in a few years!

Posted 9/21/2010

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Kristine

Lauren is such an amazing person. She makes you feel comfortable from the moment that you meet her. She is knowledgable on every aspect of preganancy and labor/delivery. Whenever I had a question or a concern she was right there to answer it or make me feel calmer. I loved the fact that she isn't set on one way of giving birth; she is open to helping you achieve whatever type of birth experience that you want. There was no guilt-trip or discouragment when I told her ahead of time that I wanted some type of pain medication during delivery. She walked me through all the various type of pain management (both drugs AND drug-free) so that I was well-educated on all my options before my delivery.

I had a very traumatic 1st birth (without a doula) and was really scared the 2nd time around. Lauren talked me through all of my concerns and helped me create a birth plan that made me feel empowered. She was there every moment of labor and was so encouraging when I thought I just couldn't do it any more. And when I started to breastfeed my son right after delivery, she also had some great advice for that as well!

I would highly recommend her to everyone that I know! You can tell that helping Mommys bring healthy babies into this world is a passion of hers and she takes great joy in her job.

Posted 9/21/2010

Birth Availability for Lauren Dawson, CD(DONA), PES(PBi)

= Available. Calendar last updated: 4/17/2019 8:10:57 AM