Babies, Babies, Babies


So many tidbits to share so without commentary, I’ll just lay them out here:

How Contractions Work

How to Learn Your Baby’s Language

The Science: Human Milk is Tailor-Made for Tiny Humans


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And with coat season upon us, remember your infant and toddlers car seat is no place for a winter coat!

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A little about me…

Hi! I’m Deanna, mom of 9 and grandmother of 1 so far and I’m a Doula.

1. Why did you decide to become a doula?
I have always believed that knowledge and support can help every family through the process of pregnancy and birth. After watching how my own daughter was ‘left behind’ in her own birth experience by all of the misinformation she was given by friends and family, and the lack of forthcoming information from her medical team, I knew I wanted better for her next time…and better for every mom. You don’t know what you don’t know, and sadly, that opens you up to believing wrong information from others, even experienced moms, and you simply don’t know what to ask your medical team. You get left behind.

2. What are your hobbies, passions, diversions, etc.?
I am a long time homemaker and mother, focusing most of my life and hobbies around family. I sew, work with yarn, garden, bake and create meals from scratch, homeschool, and continue to pursue personal studies of my own through a love of reading. Besides doula work, I am also working to enhance my knowledge of natural healing and plant-based medicines through herbal studies.
3. What is your philosophy about birth?
Women are strong, capable beings. I believe birth has become so medicalized and impersonal that many women have lost their sense of strength in their ability.  Pregnancy is not a disease to be treated, it is a process to absorb and to welcome.

4. A little something about your personal life
I obviously have a passion for birth…I have 9 biological babies of my own. My husband and I have a small homestead full of children and animals where we have homeschooled for going on 19 years. Our current project at home is dog rescues. I simply can’t turn down the opportunity to be around babies, lol.

5. What specialties, unique qualities do you have that might make someone want to hire you specifically?
As a mom myself I understand the ups and downs of pregnancy and birth. I can relate to the first-time mom as she journeys into motherhood, as well as to the mom wondering how to manage a newborn with toddlers and other siblings already at home. I have a variety of personal birth experiences of my own…from unplanned pregnancies to emergency cesarean sections to VBACs to high risk issues, and both medicated and natural births. I have suffered through the birth and loss of our daughter at 26 weeks gestation and subsequently aided our hospital in helping high risk moms and those suffering losses by sharing in bereavement support.  As a grandmother now, I take an interest in sharing my own knowledge along with evidence-based information so that every mom can have access to their own best birth experience.

As a grandmother now, I take an interest in sharing my own knowledge along with evidence-based information so that every mom can have access to their own best birth experience.  As a doula I am there to support you, the birthing family, by helping you know what you don’t know, by sharing evidence-based articles and techniques that will ease your anxieties and empower you to become even more confident with your labor and with your journey into parenthood.

We will work together to find which comfort measures are best suited for you, whether you choose a natural birth, one with pain medications, or even a cesarean section. This is YOUR birth and regardless of the methods you choose, we will work together and make it the best experience for you.


I look forward to meeting with you and discussing how a Doula can benefit your birth experience. Call today to schedule your free consultation!







The Baby Boom

Of course, this is still relatively early in the year as well as early in my certification process, but I would call talking to 3 potential clients a baby boom 🙂

What exactly are my Birth Services? I am going thru the necessary certification to become a Labor Doula…and a Postpartum Doula…and a Bereavement Doula.

As a Labor Doula…

  • Meet with you and your partner to discuss your needs and desires for labor, birth and postpartum; help define and understand your expectations, provide you with informational, emotional, and physical support and encouragement, as well as some useful, practical tools for your labor and birth.
  • Birth Preferences assistance to help you clarify your desires for birth and explain the options available to you
  • Share some resources to encourage your own learning, such as books, videos, websites, and more, regarding pregnancy, labor and delivery, baby care, and motherhood.
  • I am there with you as long as you need me, providing continuous support to both you and your partner for the duration of your labor and birth…whether this lasts 3 hours or 3 days!
  • I can help you with that Golden Hour immediately following your child’s birth, helping you establish your relationship, initial breastfeeding support, bonding, etc.
  • We will share 2 postpartum visits to celebrate your baby’s arrival, answer any questions or address any concerns you have as you start your journey to motherhood for the first time or even the 5th time.
  • Unlimited phone, text, or email support to share information and answer questions during your pregnancy and early labor.

As a Postpartum Doula…

  •  4 visits (more if you’d like) to help encourage and maintain breastfeeding, ask questions, address your concerns about issues of motherhood, etc
  • Unlimited phone, text, email support for a full 6 weeks postpartum period
  • Emotional and physical support for your recovery
  • I can help you with light housekeeping, meal prep, sibling care, etc. to help your get into your new routine
  • Assistance with newborn care (bathing, feeding, diapering, comfort measures, etc)
  • How to recognize signs of postpartum depression
  • traditional methods of birth recovery

As a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Doula, I will be there with you for you to lean on, to cry on, and to talk to about the grief process involved with losing a child at any stage during pregnancy or early life. I have walked that path myself, knowing ahead of time what our outcome would be, waiting for that final day to arrive, having to say goodbye and find a way to gather mementos of her brief life, then begin to learn to process all the feelings of grief we go thru. I want to be there to help other parents during this season of their lives.

How much does a Doula cost?

There has been a great deal of discussion as to how much a doula charges and what the fees are for. I found a great article by another blogger, detailing typical client fees and how she arrives at her amount, what it’s used for, etc. I’ll share it here, though I have yet to really determine a fee structure of my own. I want to make myself available to ALL potential clients, regardless of whether they can pay or not, but of course, I would also like to be compensated for the educational costs, the materials and supplies used, and so on.  My ultimate plan is to offer a sliding scale, and of course, bartering for services. Most people tend to view free as being not very valuable and will often place more importance, more worth, on something they pay for, even if the amount is small. In our area, bartering is also perceived as having more ‘worth’ than free services. It will take a while for me to find that perfect zone, where I can make some money and provide the services I want, having the material needs to make it a practical venture, etc. There is a lot of time, research, printing and other needs in creating any business and a Doula is no different.


Here’s that breakdown…

A Breakdown of a Doula's Fees - Why Doulas Charge What they Do

Let’s just break down one of my Houston doula packages in terms of time that I spend with my clients during the course of their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum:

Pregnancy and Labor Package

    • Initial consultation meeting – Approximately 2 hours
    • Two prenatal meetings (One can be at a prenatal appointment to meet your caregiver.) Approximately 4 hours
    • Birth Plan Assistance – Average, off and on, 1-2 hours
    • ASAP telephone, text, and email support during contact hours (8am-8pm) Average 4 hours
    • 24/7 on call within 2 weeks of your estimated due date –

Can you really put a time on that?

  • Around the clock Labor and Birth support once labor has begun – 10+ hours
  • Pictures of labor and birth with my camera as well as yours
  • Immediate postpartum support of approximately 2-3 hours, or until the baby has nursed successfully and the family is settled – 2-3 hours
  • One postpartum visit to discuss your birth, share photos, dote over your new arrival, discuss options for additional support (breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.) – Approximately 2 hours

With these approximations, we’re looking at about 25 hours, in the least, just for interaction with my clients.  If you add in another estimated 3 hours for research, paperwork, etc., that goes into setting up each client, we’re at 28 hours.


The average trip I make to meet with clients is approximately 30-40 miles one way.  These estimates are based on this Miles Per Dollar Calculator and my vehicle.

  • Trip time (based on 5 trips) – 7.5 hours
  • Gas costs (based on 35 miles one way – 5 trips) – $53.75

Childcare & Food Costs

  • Childcare – Approximately $100 per client including visits and birth
  • Food During Birth – Approximately $10 depending on the length of birth

Miscellaneous Costs

  • Hospital Parking and tolls – Approximately $10
  • Materials for Clients – Approximately $5
  • Credit Card or Paypal Fees (if you accept this form of payment – Thanks Robin!) – Approximately 2%-3%

Total Time and Out of Pocket Expenses

  • Time – 36 hours
  • Childcare – $100
  • Food – $10
  • Gas – $54
  • Misc – $15

Let’s do the Math

Remember the Taxes

Don’t forget that you’re looking at state or federal tax (depending on where you live and what bracket you fall into) and you also the 13.3% Self Employment Tax (that’s the state of Texas – 10.4% for Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare). Thank you, Susan, for reminding me!

This is figured for the State of Texas and DOES NOT include Income Tax because that would depend on your tax bracket.

Doula Fee –  $400
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $221
Approximately $6.14 per hour (not even minimum wage) – $53.20 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $500
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $321
Approximately $8.92 per hour – $66.50 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $600
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $421
Approximately $11.69 per hour – $79.80 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $700
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $521
Approximately $14.47 per hour – $93.10 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $800
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $621
Approximately $17.25 per hour – $106.40 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $900
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $721
Approximately $20.03 per hour – $119.70 Self Employment Tax
Doula Fee –  $1,000
Less Expenses – (-$179)
Remainder applied toward hours of work (36) – $821
Approximately $22.81 per hour – $133.00 Self Employment Tax

Again, this is based on my time and expenses.  Of course, over the duration of my time with a client, I can spend more or less one on one time.  This is all approximations.

In the grand scheme of things, you’re paying for an invaluable service during your pregnancy, labor, and birth. The difference a doula can make during this time is often priceless. The least that can be done is pay her asking fee.

Do you think that an OB or midwife would lower his/her costs if a mom told him/her that the fees just are not in their family’s budget?  Doulas are a valuable asset to a mom’s birth team.  Our time is also valuable – just ask our kids (and the electric company who won’t waive our monthly bill because it doesn’t fit into our budgets!)!

Sharing my Journey


Do you believe that to be true?

If you are a mom, I bet you do. So how can we share this truth with the next generation of moms-to-be?For me, starting the process

For me, starting the process of  doula certification with Madriella is my first step into this journey. Last night I met with a group of amazing women at the Northeast Mississippi Birthing Project, each of us starting this journey, each of us with a heart for sharing with others.

Some will pursue the Labor Doula route…supporting and empowering moms in labor as they bring forth their newborn. Sharing positive reinforcement for the task ahead of them, teaching them techniques for getting the most from their labor by sharing pain-relief techniques, encouragement and so much more. They can share information so that you have a voice in whichever birth environment you choose. They offer a right hand to you and your partner so that you can have the birth you want.

Some will pursue a further step and become a Postpartum Doula as well…When a new mom, especially a first-time mom, heads home after the birth of her baby, she is walking into territory that can be overwhelming. In hospital there is round-the-clock staff that can offer assistance if needed, but at home, we are often left on our own to seek out information we may need, learn how to adjust our routines to include this new life that has needs of its own, etc. A postpartum doula is there to make your transition easier. They are trained to help you find information and services available in your area; to help you sort thru all of the well-meaning advice from friends and family with evidence-based newborn care and feeding information and skills, as well as information that can help you emotionally as well as physically as you move from the birth experience into motherhood. They may sit with your baby so you can get some sleep or grab a shower and relax a bit. They may provide care for siblings so you have more time to devote to getting to know your newborn. They may help prepare a meal or healthy snacks.  They will not give you medical advice, but can help you determine what you need and help you get in contact with someone who can help medically.


Some will want to be a doula encompassing every aspect of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum care, which sadly could mean supporting the grieving mom who has suffered a loss during pregnancy, stillbirth, or anytime postpartum.  A Bereavement, or Pregnancy/Infant Loss Doula is there because no woman, no family, should have to walk thru their grief alone.This support could come in so many forms…helping a mom get photos of her baby, select burial services, create a keepsake box of memories, bathe and dress the baby, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a warm hug…they will offer support and care after the sympathy cards have stopped and the quietness settles in around you.

My Story…

That is my daughter’s grave marker. No parent should outlive their children. My first pregnancy was about as textbook and normal as they come, resulting in a healthy baby boy. My second pregnancy, however, was quite different in terms of outcome.

No parent should outlive their children.

Somewhere during the span up to 18 weeks gestation, I contracted CMV (cytomegalovirus). There are varying reports, but the consensus was/is that the virus can cross the placenta 30-50% of the time. I was in that grouping. Also discovered a bit later on, I had full placenta previa. Despite bedrest and extreme limitation of tasks, I got up one night to go to the bathroom and my placenta ruptured. We were transported to the hospital and I was given a blood transfusion due to the amount of blood I lost at home. At the time I recall thinking it was an odd thing as they had what appeared to be compression socks over the IV blood bags to increase the flow into me and I had never seen that before. We had to receive several bags of blood before I was taken in for the emergency c-section. They were more concerned with saving my life at this stage than that of the baby we were already told would most likely not survive the pregnancy.

They were more concerned with saving my life at this stage than that of the baby we were already told would most likely not survive the pregnancy. She was “collecting fluid” in what they called 3rd spaces, or in-between her organs (non-immune hydrops). We spent those weeks between 18 and 26 wondering every minute of every day if our daughter was still alive or would I have a stillbirth.

To say it was the hardest weeks I had had in my life up to that point is an understatement.

At 26 weeks gestation, due to the placental abruption, our daughter was delivered by emergency cesarean and we were able to meet her. She weighed 2.7 pounds at delivery, despite having what measured out to be approximately 1 1/2 cups fo fluid removed from her tiny 11-inch body during the cesarean section.  As soon as I could safely be moved from recovery, approx. 2 hours after her birth, I was able to see her for the first time. My husband spent those hours with her and I am so thankful for that. The prepared me for our first visit together, letting me know she had various ‘attachments’ to machines and some bruising due to her thin, fragile skin and the tapes and such needed to have her connected to said machines. She was, however, breathing completely on her own, without needing the tube physically connected to her. They had her tented in an oxygen-saturated incubator/warmer to ensure her breathing was easier.

Our daughter was absolutely beautiful, not that I am the least bit biased.  She had dark eyes, dark hair showing lightly on her head. She wrapped her tiny fingers around her daddy’s pinky when he stroked her hand.

Our daughter, Stephanie Michelle, would live for a total of 13 hours. In the end, they would come to our room and tell us her heart rate was dropping very quickly and did we wish intervention. We did not. Intervention was not an option for her on any level, it was  only to prolong her apparent suffering on our behalf and would keep her with us only minutes longer before her passing into Heaven.  Getting me moved after the huge amount of blood loss and trauma from that and emergency procedures to delivery our baby girl took time. When we arrived outside the NICU our doctor, the NICU doctor caring for our daughter, and the 3 nurses we had had the past 13 hours met us outside and explained what we already knew. She had passed. They were finishing up cleaning away those various lines and tubes and placing her into another nursing bed so that we take her back to our room with us. Inside the NICU we were met by the nurse who had been in our cesarean operation. Pregnant herself, crying right along with us, her and the other nurses who had been there from the start of Stephanie’s birth and time in the NICU had stayed over their shift to continue caring for her. We all knew she wouldn’t last long with us. They didn’t want us to meet new faces when the time came to say good-bye. They shared in our loss and our grief and that simple act touched my soul in ways I will never be able to put into words.

That moment, that depth of compassion has stayed in my heart for the past 27 years. Every moment of that experience is burned into my spirit so deeply, I can call up the joy of the pregnancy as easily as I can the deep pain of those last moments. The compassion of those NICU nurses is something I have been blessed to witness a few more times in life…as I see caring women reaching out to one another during times of heartache and loss. It does indeed take a special heart, a deep calling straight from God Himself, to voluntarily place yourself into that position on a daily basis as your career.

Angels. These types of people are nothing less than angels.

And we need so many more of them.

My story doesn’t end there. We went on to have 8 more children, all healthy and all my deepest joy.  I joke that it was purely out of my stubborn nature that I didn’t give up on having more children after such a heartbreak at a young age (I was only 22 when we had our daughter there). What it really was though, I believe, is that my hearts calling was to be a mother. Of course, I was already a mother to our then 3 year old, and despite the loss of our daughter to Heaven, I was a mother of 2 children.  My husband and I had spoken so much about wanting a large family. I had moments where I felt I had somehow been less than a woman to complete my pregnancy. I had moments where I felt guilty of losing the daughter he wanted, I wanted. I picked apart every day of that pregnancy in my memory for a good solid year. What did I do? Where had I gone that I picked up that virus? What should I have noticed sooner? Would ‘noticing sooner‘ have meant a different outcome? Should the doctors have simply taken me for the emergency cesarean rather than wasting time getting blood back into me so I could withstand the trauma of surgery?

PALS…10 Things I felt Guilty of as a Pregnancy Loss Mom

The Unintentional Shaming of Child Loss Parents

10 Things No one Says  to the Anxious After Pregnancy Loss Mom (but should)

Those thoughts…so many more thoughts…all hit you in the weeks and months that follow a loss of any kind, but as women, we tend to take pregnancy loss much more deeply and personal. It is our bodies that have somehow done something wrong in our eyes.We were the ones instilled with the gift, the duty, of bringing life forth into this world. When that gift isn’t delivered the way we feel it ought to be, we feel total, sole responsibility.

Why am I pursuing doula training? Because I believe I have the heart for it.

Obviously I’ve got the baby love down, lol. A doula can be there to help you thru those emotional rollercoaster days regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy. They are a friend who truly understands and can offer you the support and encouragement

A doula can be there…I can be there…to help you thru those emotional rollercoaster days regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy. I can be that friend, perhaps even mentor, who truly understands all the aspects and feelings of pregnancy…the birth experience, those first weeks with your newborn, and, if The Lord calls another one home, those days of sadness and grief.and can offer you the support and encouragement

the birth experience…those first weeks with your newborn, and, if The Lord calls another one home, those days of sadness and grief.and can offer you the support and encouragement

those first weeks with your newborn…and, if The Lord calls another one home, those days of sadness and grief.and can offer you the support and encouragement

and, if The Lord calls your baby Home, those days of sadness and grief.and can offer you the support and encouragement

And they…I… can offer you the support and encouragement, the real information, the connection to resources, and the voice you need to craft your vision into reality.

I am beyond excited to begin my training. As I believe those women in my class last night as well. We have an entire community that needs us to be there, to strengthen, uplift, and empower them and help them find their voices.

I am so appreciative of The Madriella Doula Network and the training I am receiving locally thru the NEMS Birthing Project. And I am doubly blessed to be able to receive further certification under StillBirthday as a pregnancy loss/bereavement doula. The first in our state. I am excited to be able to pave the way and encourage more to step into this path one day.

We will be Doulas.