We had all along planned a home birth, even though we are first time parents, and by the time I was eight months pregnant had all our ducks in a row - except for finding our doula. We had systematically interviewed eight different lovely people who were professional doulas - all of whom seemed very kind and nurturing, but none who could tell us how their role would play out during our delivery. Most common answer I received was that they would "hold space" in the room for me to feel grounded to. I heard this phrase again and again and each time it perplexed me. I could not explain what I actually needed for our doula to be doing being a first time mom, but I knew it was much more than they communicated. By the time we were through interviewing everyone over a month period, and we were only two weeks away from our due date, I was ready to give up on the search and told my partner that we would have to go at it without one. He insisted I give my last two recommendations a call and schedule an interview with them so that we could know that we really did try our best to find the right person. I am so glad he persuaded me as clearly the best person was saved for last!
From the first time we spoke over the phone, you had a completely different approach to the methodology of birthing. You knew the process and knew the emotional toll I was about to embark on, but you also meticulously understood the physicality of the main event and could communicate it in stages and actionable steps for us. Over that first call and subsequent meetings afterwards, you walked me through what would be happening inside my body at any given moment and what I could/needed to do about it to have the most successful delivery that was possible for me. I remember that first time as you were leaving our house after our first session, I turned to my partner and gasped at how happy I was that he pushed me to find you. I felt like I had my coach for the Olympics that labor truly is.
Later, like all things that are planned conscientiously, things didn't go according to plan. Our son was two weeks late from our due date and it was determined that we needed to have me induced in order for have a safe birth of our son. You were right there for us. In the darkness of the early morning hours as my early labor intensified, you came to join us to our hospital. Because I was getting induced by Pitocin and my labor went from gradual to incredibly intense, I could not catch my breath between contractions. They went from 15-20 mins. apart to 2 mins apart! All I could do to get through the ride was go into myself and also listen to your guiding voice. You moved me into different positions that would help our son mover through me smoother, you spoke to me constantly so that I knew what was good and what to expect next. You challenged our nurses when they did not listen to my requests for retesting my dilation and made sure all things were taken care of for me to be as comfortable and strong as possible as my pain crescendo and became completely blinding. I cannot imagine someone else there with us who would be "holding space"! When our son was whisked to the NICU minutes after delivery, all emptied the room, along with the doctor and my partner. I was left alone minutes after giving birth, unable to move - you stayed with me and talked to me about all that had happened, telling me how proud you were of how well we did as I told you about my family history.
Linda, you honestly were a Godsend for us. I'm so proud that you were by our side. We would have been lost without your patient guidance. A thousand thank yous. We love you very much.
Juliette, Eddie and Kye Barcellos
We adore Linda. She is absolutely and completely phenomenal. She was with us every step of the way guiding us with her knowledge, understanding and love. She is pure perfection and we are so happy that she was with us on this intensely challenging, breathtaking, magical day of our lives. Love you Linda. Words don’t come close to describing how grateful we are. ️
Jed and Gigi
Juan and I knew you were the right person for our birthing as soon as we finished meeting with you. You are kind, funny, direct, very knowledgeable and I felt like you had such a warm demeanor and that was exactly what we were looking for in a doula.
The positioning you taught us while I was pregnant to help with the birthing was great. You also helped me learn different positions to rest in when I was in agony from sciatica while I was pregnant. That was priceless.
Once our birthing time arrived, you were in regular contact with Juan by phone while we were home and then, like an angel, you arrived at the hospital to meet us. I was in early labor but it was intense. You had a soft voice, provided an eye mask for me to rest and tried giving my essential oils to smell. Unfortunately, my stomach couldn't take it. :)
Your confident energy and light-hearted personality were such a gift during the birth. You monitored me closely during our entire 25 hour birth and you knew when I needed to be moved and into what positions.
You were also so helpful to Juan and the two of you worked beautifully together to assist in the birth.
Your communication with the hospital staff was always a consummate professional and after you left, my entire healthcare team, commented on how wonderful you were and how they enjoyed working with you.
Toward the end, when I was scared and I just wanted my son to arrive, you told me "Listen, you can do this. You're strong, okay?" That's exactly what I needed to hear.
We cannot thank you enough for sharing your caring spirit with us during the most exciting moments of our lives.
We love you and you're welcome at our home anytime.
Juan and Megan Valdez
Linda was our doula for the birth of our first child, Everly, in the middle of September of 2016. She is WONDERFUL!!! Even having read glowing reviews of how doulas really made a huge difference in the birthing experience I didn't know how much or how little to expect. But every time we spoke she would calm my fears, answer my questions and provide literature to help me understand everything much better. The prep made me feel more empowered and more calm going in.
On the day I was induced (I chose it), Linda showed up bright and early and was there for my 22-hour labor and delivery. I have to say she helped SO MUCH to keep me comfortable and calm. Before I was in labor, my husband didn't really understand what her role would be but afterward he shared that he didn't know what he would've done without her. She had me try various positions, used massage and counter pressure, reminded me to eat and drink, worked with my doctor to come up with the best solutions and so much more I'm sure that I've forgotten.
She also checked up on us postpartum to be sure we were doing okay and help resolve issues we were facing. If you're thinking of hiring a doula, I can't recommend her enough! Just do it!
Linda was my second experience with a doula, and boy I didn’t know what I was missing. My first experience was good, but unfortunately (I thought) my first doula had moved out of town. My husband and I met Linda and as soon as we ended our meeting we both knew she we didn’t need to look any further (although we did, because my husband is type A). She is extremely loving, thoughtful, practical and pragmatic. I was hoping to achieve a VBAC and use HypnoBirthing, both of which I did achieve. She listened to both my husband's and my thoughts and during my birthing time was instrumental in getting the doctor, myself and my husband to all agree on the same game plan when labor slowed. Her experience in physical therapy was invaluable during labor so that I was in the right position for pushing and using the correct muscles for pushing. I am so happy to say that I delivered a 9.1 lbs baby with no tearing (minor scratches) and overall comfortably.
My birth experience was so great, that in the delivery room I started talking about having another baby, much to the nurses’ surprise, since it was such a great experience.
She really got to know our whole family, parents included, and provided support in ways we didn’t even know we needed. She will always have a special place in our hearts and our family. And when the time is right we look forward to hiring her again.
I can't say enough about how amazing Linda is. When I got pregnant with my second child I knew right away I wanted to try and have a VBAC. I searched and searched until I found linda. When my husband and I met her for the first time I loved her vibe and her honesty. Every time I had a question or was doubting myself she always reassured me that I could do this.
She went with me to some appointments and to check out labor and delivery. Linda had so much good information about birth that I felt so comfortable and relieved that I was going to have that support during my labor. I was scared because they had given me a time frame to start labor on my own since I was going for a VBAC. Linda gave me so many ideas to start labor and sure enough I started labor on my own on a Wednesday night and had my baby on Friday evening. This was my first time my body was going to labor and I was excited but scared.
When we checked in to the hospital Linda arrived a hour later. With each contraction getting stronger Linda was there to help me get through them. Everything was going fine until I stopped progressing and was stuck at four centimeters for six hours. My plan was to have a natural birth but this baby had other plans. Linda made it so easy to understand what was happening and that sometimes plans change. Every step of the way she reassured me and was so supportive. Linda has a way of explaining things that made me feel comfortable.
When it was time to push she gave me that strength that I needed at that moment. I had a successful VBAC and my baby was born at 6:37pm. Linda stayed with me after the birth to make sure the baby was latching onto my breast even though she had been there for so long. I couldn't imagine doing this without her. Thank you so much Linda for your love and care!
Of the several doulas my husband and I interviewed, Linda was our first in-person interview. We both immediately felt comfortable with Linda and were certain that we wanted her to help navigate the birth of our second daughter. We followed through with our other scheduled interviews and each one only helped us realize that Linda was the right doula for us.
Throughout my pregnancy and our two prenatal meetings Linda was amazing. Not only did we feel like we connected with Linda based on our personalities, she was incredibly helpful in answering questions about labor and working with me on labor positions and breathing. These meetings with Linda also helped ease any anxiety that I was feeling about labor.
My biggest goal (after having a healthy baby) was having as natural a labor as possible. However, circumstances left me being induced due to hypertension and in the hospital for two days before eventually delivering my daughter. During that time Linda was completely available to me, and she and my husband helped me remain positive even though the length of my hospital stay was exhausting, long, and not planned. Before she joined me in the hospital she was available over the phone and helped talk me through certain decisions that I needed to make. When Linda was in the hospital with me she helped me through massage, affirmations, walking, and companionship. Of all of what Linda was able to provide me throughout my labor, I am most thankful that I had her companionship. Her presence allowed my husband to take breaks to check on our daughter and run out to pick up food (UCLA’s food wasn’t bad, I just like sandwiches from Whole Foods better ☺). For this reason, I am so glad that we decided to hire the doula with whom we felt most comfortable and connected.
As a very anxious first time mom at age 37, It was important to me to have someone in my court that could both assist me in understanding all the craziness that pregnancy brings, as well as prepare me for the big delivery day.
I found out very late in my pregnancy, as in less than a week before my due date that a cesarean section was inevitable. I was at a loss, I went through an emotional roller coaster thinking that all I had prepared for was a waste, that somehow by not going through traditional delivery that I was less than a mom. Linda was there for me, even when I didn't know I needed the support. I know that the decision was the best one for the health and safety of the baby and hiring Linda was the best thing I could have done for my own mental health through the process. I don't know about other labor doulas but Linda was there for me through our entire pregnancy, not just on delivery day. When my family went to Europe for a wedding and I was home alone for two weeks, she was a phone call away.
If you've never had a cesarean section before, let me tell you, it is a completely confusing and odd procedure. Your husband/partner/whomever is there for the actual birth and then they leave, and go with the baby and you're lying there, numb from the chest down, looking straight up at lights, alone on your side of the curtain. When baby and daddy left to go get checked out, Linda stepped up and stepped in. She sat with me through my tears of joy and let me know that I wasn't alone and talked me through everything that was going on with baby on the other side of the room. That is something I will forever be grateful for.
She says that every birth is a journey and everyone's journey is different. We are so glad that she was with us on ours.
Kimberly, Brennan and Baby Lucas
My husband and I debated hiring a doula until I was eight months pregnant. He thought it wasn't necessary. Now he's converted and tells everyone (I mean, even pregnant women on the street) to get a doula! I also wasn't sure I wanted someone else there at such a private, intimate event but having Linda turned out to be an invaluable presence for our entire experience. She has a warm, motherly energy, a great sense of humor and her knowledge is vast. When I met with her I instantly liked her open-minded approach and the fact that she gave me tips on pushing which proved to be so true. If I hadn't of had these tips I think I would have had to push and extra hour just "learning" how to do it. We had a 27 hour labor and my contractions were so painful and overwhelming, plus I had very painful pubic symphasis dysfunction during my pregnancy. Her positions and coping techniques were spot on. At hour 12 when I wasn't dilated and had to switch gears completely, realizing this was going to be a medicated birth even though I had hoped to do it unmedicated, Linda helped me make that transition, which was more mental and emotional than physical. She was great with all the nurses at Cedars and set a positive tone in the room. The other aspect that really helped was my husband had a some relief. We do not have much family in town and to have that support is necessary, especially if you have a long labor. In the end, I cannot thank Linda enough for the beautiful birth of our daughter Lia.
After attending our birth class at Kaiser we were convinced we needed a doula. I knew both my husband and myself would need that extra encouragement and support that a doula provides. What I didn't know is how vital a role Linda would play in our prenatal, labor, delivery, and postnatal experiences.
To call her simply a doula is minimizing the impact she has made on our hearts. From the first time we spoke she made me feel confident, strong, and more than able to tackle the labor and delivery process. She is knowledgable in HypnoBirthing, visualization, labor comfort tools and, beyond all the buzzwords, is knowledgable in life experiences. That is what really drew me and my husband to Linda.
Opening up to a stranger for such an intimate experience seems like it could be uncomfortable but from the first time I spoke with Linda I knew she had to be part of our lives and part of "my" labor and delivery process. She was always available by phone and text and believe me I asked a million questions. It was extremely calming to know I could reach her whenever and she always made me feel important.
She arrived at the hospital exactly when asked and brought a ray of sunshine with her. That's the thing about Linda, she possess this glow that makes you feel comforted, strong, and cared for, which is exactly what I needed in my birth process. She was amazing with the staff. She knew how to speak with them and how to communicate their concerns with me in ways I would understand. One nurse even thought she was my mom!!!! That's how caring of a role she provided to me. Any woman would be lucky to have Linda at their labor and delivery.
Thank you for all of your help with Dhanell. You made a stressful situation better. You are a true professional and we appreciate you. My family is important and I am protective of them and have a hard time warming up to people around them. You impressed me with your knowledge and were able to gain my full trust in 10 minutes. I consider what you did for us priceless and my family and I will always be grateful. Bottom line is ANYONE having a baby and not using you will be making a huge mistake.
I really don't have words to describe how incredible Linda was throughout my pregnancy and labor. Initially I considered not having a doula because I had already given birth once before but I came to understand that every birth is different and I was so glad to have her by my side every step of the way.
Linda took her time listening to my concerns and spending time with my husband during prenatal prep such as diet and exercise. She came into the picture late in my pregnancy but made every visit count. You could tell she was genuinely passionate about what she does and most importantly knowledgeable.
Her background in physical therapy really came in handy before, during and after labor. During the labor she made all the right calls to help me progress. She worked hand in hand with my midwife (if not more than the midwife) to suggest position modifications to get my contractions going. At one point she suggested going for a walk and that really helped the baby move into the best position. She coached my husband and helped me stay focused until our baby boy came into the world.
Linda was truly amazing and I will forever be grateful that she was by my side. Without her I feel the outcome would have been different perhaps not what I would have wanted. Thanks Linda! You're a gift to the women that you serve.
I had first heard about Linda when a friend of mine told me her son's birth story. She spoke so highly of her and said she couldn't imagine that experience without her. I'm so very glad Linda was my doula because I can honestly say the same thing as my friend Kacy said, I can't imagine birthing my son without her there! It didn't feel right to have my parents and my husband's parents in the room. We were a little hesitant to allow a stranger to be there with us but the moment we met Linda I knew she was going to be that voice and tenderness we needed to go through this journey ahead! She was the support and encouragement my husband and I needed! This was our first child's birth and we knew only what we read and heard from other parents. We had our birth plan of hypnobirthing and Linda recommended great books and sites and stretching to help! Our first meet up with her lasted more than three hours. She was so thorough and kind and informative. Although my son's birth took a turn after 22 hours of laboring at home, Linda had been on call texting us all day telling us she was ready to come whenever we needed her. After starting to throw up we had headed to the hospital and Linda met us there around midnight but we were told to go home. Linda suggested to take a bath and to keep her updated on my progress. After contractions being one minute apart and still sick in the bath we decided to go for the epidural and went back to the hospital. Linda was there for us even when our birth plan went array. She brought lavender, which is my all time favorite smell, candles, music, was massaging my feet and arms and hands. The next few hours were long and things moved slowly but she was there the whole time! At one point I was crying and nervous at how numb my legs felt from the epidural and she comforted me and helped my husband in recognizing what I needed! My husband, Linda and I all napped in the room waiting for me to dilate and push. When the time came, she knew exactly what I should do. The nurses were even impressed by her knowledge and pretty much let her run the show as my voice and how to breathe and push. She had one leg and my husband had the other. She walked my husband through what to do as well. She was the "mom" I needed in that moment and the whole 36 hours wouldn't have been the same without her! She's such an amazing doula who puts her whole heart into what she does. She cares so much for you to be present and open to how the story will unfold for your child! She's loving and never judging of what you decide. She came to visit a few weeks after Lincoln's birth and even showed us some stretches we could do to help with his neck since he was in the birth canal for so long. We are so thankful for Linda and her heart!
Taylor, Amy Rae and Lincoln
Linda was the most amazing doula I could ever have asked for. She came into our lives as a substitute doula when our original doula needed to leave town. This was the most serendipitous gift I have ever received. Her wisdom, warmth and interdisciplinary approach to the advice and love she offers had me in labor only a few hours after meeting her. She immediately helped me feel safe, calm and capable. She brought so much wholehearted, nonjudgmental, hands-on help that she really made our delivery perfect. I am a little sensitive, and pregnancy is such a vulnerable time, but she was both soft enough for me to open up to her and strong enough to help my voice be heard in the delivery room. She is so well informed and could tell our baby was "sunny side up" before the nurses could! She even helped support our doctor through the process of manually rotating the baby. Our doctor said that her support and encouragement helped him to have stronger faith that it would work - and after 20 minutes it did! We had a healthy vaginal delivery and both me and her father felt well cared for and happy she was there for us. Linda is truly a grandma doula and that loving touch, as well as years of experience with physical therapy, make her - in my opinion- the best doula in the world.