Monday, December 6, 2010

^ New documentary about doulas by DONA International

I am proud to be a DONA DOULA! :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I'm excited because our team is GROWING!
We just welcomed 5 more GREAT doulas to our growing network.
Doulas of CNY
really is the
premier CNY doula group

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beautiful Homebirth Story

read it here:

Two midwives,
One doula,
One photographer,

One sleeping big brother who awoke right after the birth,

and One amazing, supportive husband.

What an amazing Mom.
What an amzing BIRTH.

Medical Intervention Flow Chart

Medical Intervention Flow Chart
As there are exceptions to every rule there are going to be cases where this flow chart is not accurate. It just basically gives you an idea of things that could result from medical intervention.
That being said, some interventions are unavoidable and are done for baby/mother health.
Know your option. Know your risk.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

5 childbirth myths

Great Article titled: 5 Hospital Procedures That Ruin Your Birth

I do NOT like the title of this article, but there is some GREAT info inside...

5 Myths.
Myth 1: You need a monitor on your belly the whole time you're in labor.
Myth 2: Lying on your back is a good position for pushing.
Myth 3: You can't eat or you'll barf it up and aspirate the vomit.
Myth 4: You need to be told when to push.
Myth 5: A break in
contractions/labor stalling is a bad sign.

check it out. share your thoughts.

Monday, October 4, 2010

my sixth birth.

Mom was a trooper for sure. After laboring and not changing for hours, she agreed to a c-section. She made an informed decision and I couldn't have been a more proud doula at that point.

My role is to help women make educated and informed decisions about their labor/birth. And that is exactly what she did.
She talked with the Dr.
She talked with her husband.
She talked with her mom.
She talked with me.

We welcomed doula baby Gabriel.

10/4 good buddy. ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

my fifth birth.

This poor mom had been contracting on and off for weeks. She was almost 2 weeks overdue.

What impressed me the most about this mom was her knowledge of the birth process. She took and accepted every stage of labor as natural. She breathed and rocked through contractions like a pro. Her husband was her right hand man. He held her hand and would breathe through them with her. It was so incredibly sweet.

We soon welcomed Surprise baby girl Makayla at 1:36pm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Walk it Out

We've all heard how great walking is before/during labor.... This woman's midwife encouraged her to 'walk the baby out'. And that's exactly what she's doing.... Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

unveiling of logo

My logo's copyright as been placed and I am just waiting on the certificate.
Update: Approved and registered.

So, without further ado.... Here it is!

belly cast

^Belly Cast from Doulas of CNY
*this is not my belly

When Chris asked me to repaint the bellycast for Doulas of CNY. I was thrilled.
This is the result:
What do you think??


Last night at Dewitt Community Library there was a panel on birth plans. On the panel was Dr. Waldman who is the current president of ACOG (American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) and other local birth professionals.

Thanks to the hardwork of Julie and Chris of Doulas of CNY, Dr. Waldman appreciates doulas. He loves when doulas are there to help the care team provide the best care for the patient.

He, the president of ACOG, a local Syracuse OB, talks highly of the doula/dr birth team.
How refreshing.
^ The Doulas of CNY presented him with a plaque in honor of his new position.
In photo: me, Chris, Dr. Waldman, Michele, Sarah, Christina

Friday, September 10, 2010

it's official!

Dear Holly,

CONGRATULATIONS on your certification as a Birth Doula with DONA International. I applaud you! You worked hard and we are happy you chose DONA International as your certifying organization! I also want to commend and thank you for your patience as I was verifying details in order to complete your certification.

Starting September 10, 2010 you may use the credential you have earned and may proudly sport after your name: CD(DONA).

--Holly Steffen, CD(DONA)

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Have you filled out the Birth Survey?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

While visiting all the LDS sites in Utah, we went to the Humanitarian Center. Basically the headquarters for all the church's humanitarian efforts.

I love being a doula. I love helping woman birth their babies the way they want.

I also really do want to become a midwife. I want to deliver those babies in areas that so desperately need adequate care and aren't getting it.

My husband loves teaching english to speakers of other languages and I know he would be in his prime.

I want to be home while my kids are young. I want to raise them in the gospel teaching them how to function and live in the real world.

My perfect plan:
have my babies, when they go to school- study to be a midwife, go around the world helping woman to have babies -- homeschool kids? wait til they are grown? ... but I want to be kind of around my grandbabies.... only time will tell what will happen. Being here I really feel called to do humanitarian work. In the meantime- my tithing will have to do.

And just so you know -- I want to always keep my DONA certification and my nys dental hygiene license active.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

[almost] certified

I mailed in my certification packet and now I'm sitting on pins and needles-- waiting to hear.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Proudly presenting my doula family:

Tonight was Meet the Doulas of CNY at the library. I am TRULY BLESSED to be a part of this agency. Our work is hard, our cause is mighty, and WE are strong. They are like family to me.

((back L-R:
Erin, Debra, Malinda, Cristina, Bobbi, Chris, Sarah M
front L-R:
Emilie, Sarah C, ME!, Michele, Heather, Julie))

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


My good friend from college- Elise- made me a logo!

I drew it and she vectorized it!

It looks awesome.

Once it's printed and official, I will post it! :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

my fourth birth.

Welcomed doula baby boy Liam -9lb 4oz on 5/28/10!

This mom was a warrior for sure.

After becoming exhausted with contractions that weren't letting her progress-- she opted to get an epidural to rest for a bit. Within the half hour waiting for the anesthetist- she progressed from a 7-9.5cm. She still got the epidural and was able to rest for over an hr. She pushed for about 3hrs. Good thing she rested. She- and her husband- were awesome to work with. I'm so lucky.

Mom wrote this to me:
"Hiring a doula (especially you guys- Doulas of CNY) was the best idea for our birth. You gave us so much support and made such a great atmosphere for my husband and I. You made me feel unashamed of the things that seem like they could be embarrassing and comforted me through this most difficult but wonderful experience. You personally Holly were so prepared, had things we didn't even think of, were so comforting and understanding, had such a pleasant and positive presence. You were great, and I so appreciate your help. You also helped me to feel proud of my birth and birth choices even though it didn't go how we were originally hoping. I'm really glad we got to meet you and have you there for our birth!!"

I love my job.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

my third birth

Welcomed doula baby girl Sophia on 5.26.10

Mom was a trooper for sure. Day 4 of induction and no baby. This was after being in the hospital 8weeks since her membranes ruptured.

This was my first c-section experience since my own.
This was a true emergency.

Baby's heart rate plummeted to 60bpm and was not coming up. Mom was freeking out while Drs were trying to get heartrate monitors on the baby's head and getting her prepped to go. I leaned in close- stroked her head and said it was going to be ok, hang in there, you're doing great, take deep breaths, they are taking good care of you, and you'll see your baby soon.

There must have been 10 Drs/ Nurses in there. Mom was rushed out on hands and knees to the OR.

I was mom's only support. Once she was wheeled off- I was standing in the room.
It felt like a movie.

Baby stayed in NICU a couple days and was released only a couple days after mom. She's doing great!

Friday, May 14, 2010

my second birth

Welcomed DOULA baby girl- Felicity- weighing 8lbs 3oz on 5/10/10 at 4:43pm.

Wow! This birth was way different from the first I attended. It was much slower. Babies truly do some when they are ready, and not a moment before.

I was able to apply counter pressure and be there emotionally for mom. I held her foot/leg. She held my hand. She is a STRONG women. My arm was shaking after.

I didn't realize how physically demanding births could really be. I was fine until I had to get out of my car to pump gas. It felt like I was hit by a car. I've gotta get in better shape for sure!

Overall, this birth was wonderful. There's nothing like watching a life come into the world. It's a miracle- everytime.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My friend and fellow doula and birth advocate friend Busca posted this on her Birth Faith blog.

Remember these "Five PR's"--the most helpful things you can provide for your partner while she labors...

1. Presence
  • Sometimes all she needs is your loving physical presence.
    • Be “Rock Steady”—the familiar, strong, soothing rock she can hold on to.
  • Be “present” in every way—don’t let your fatigue or fear take your attention away from her emotional and physical needs.
  • Do NOT fall asleep (unless she’s asleep).
  • Do NOT leave her alone unless she demands it.
    • Some women prefer to be alone while they labor. (But don't go too far!)
2. Protection
  • Be a buffer between your wife and the rest of the world.
  • You can’t protect her from the intensity of childbirth or from unexpected complications, but you can protect her personal space and surround her with peace and calm.
    • Close doors.
    • Turn off/down the lights.
    • Take over answering questions so she can keep her energy focused on her hard work. If someone tries to talk to her mid-contraction, gently ask for them to wait or stand between them and your wife until her contraction is over signaling with your hands for them to wait a moment.
    • No matter what happens or how much stress may arise, ensure that she always feels safe and secure. Remember Jesus Christ’s calm in the storm that frightened his disciples: “Peace, be still.”
3. Pressure
  • One of the most helpful hands-on ways to help with the most difficult contractions is counter-pressure.
    • Use your hands to provide firm, strong, steady pressure.
      • Lower back/pelvis
      • Double hip squeeze
      • Knees while sitting with something against her back
      • Hip while side-lying
    • Do not let up until the contraction ends! (You will probably get tired.)
4. Prompts
  • Your wife will likely not be in a position to remember all of the ways to increase her comfort, so your job is to prompt her.
  • Remember PURRR
    • P Position: Is she changing position every half hour?
    • U Urination: Is she using the bathroom every hour? (And drinking lots of fluids?)
    • R Relaxation: Is she as relaxed as possible?
    • R Respiration: Is she breathing evenly and as calmly as possible?
    • R Rest: Is she resting between contractions?
5. Praise
  • All of your words must instill her with hope, confidence, peace, comfort, pride, and power.
  • Think of it as your job to help her get to the “finish line” without giving up.
    • "You are so amazing right now!"
    • "I am so proud of you!"
    • “You are doing so well!”
    • Kissing counts! (Some women find kissing very helpful.)
    • When she says, "I can't do it!" reply with, "You are doing it."
    • When she’s reached the point when she thinks she can’t do it anymore, that usually means she’s almost finished, so shower her with praise, encouragement, and lots of statements like: “You are so close!” “You’re almost there!” “The baby is almost here!”

Saturday, May 1, 2010

my first birth

I will never write a whole birth story (( bc of privacy issues)) but I want to document some of the things that impacted me.

I welcomed VBAC DOULA baby girl Wendy on 4/30/10 at 2:51pm weighing 6lb 13oz and 18 1/2in.

Mom was pushing. I placed my hand on her leg, got close to her, and whispered "you can do this".... She opened her eyes and looked right at me. Her eyes widened and she smiled. Almost immediately she went back to pushing- chin to her chest when SHE felt like she needed to. The light was at the end of the tunnel and she was running for it.

The next day, I called her. She said to me: "it was so great having you there bc i knew YOU did it and i COULD DO IT TOO"

THAT is why I became a doula.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

welcome to Oswego Hospital

I went to visit a friend and her son last night at Oswego Hospital....

Every. Single. Time. I walk in those doors, I feel a flood of emotions.

This is where I gave birth to my first child.

Borderline gestational diabetic.

39weeks. Cytotec. External monitors. Pitocin. Demerol. Epideral. Internal monitors.

Pushed over 2 hrs. No baby.

Hand gently placed on my leg, with a worried/sappy look: "Don't worry, we'll get this baby out"

"Don't worry.... don't worry... don't worry" It was echoed as if shouted from a mountaintop.

I didn't want my baby OUT. I wanted my baby ALIVE.

Rushed to the operating room.... I felt relieved, I was listening to the Drs like a good patient.

Now I feel sad. I feel like I let my baby down.

This is what keeps me going...... That little man.

I vow to help every woman who delivers at Oswego Hosp to have the births they want.

Things happen. Plans have to change.

But, I can be a support that won't.

And, each woman that I help can be assured she did a great job.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Doula Certification Packet and DONA information came today! :) Woohoo

Monday, March 8, 2010


After 2 long days, I am now a DONA trained doula! Woohoo!
Training was exactly what I expected. I'm so excited to become a doula and hope I can live up to the expectations I have for myself.

I met some great girls there. We were all so different, but the common bond of womanhood/childbirth brought us all together. It was great.
^ This is where we were trained. :)

I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. When we were introducing ourselves we had to take a slip of paper that was face down, and read it to the group. This is what mine said:

"May your flight be empowering and affirming.
When you start to hear yourself say
'I cannot do this any longer'
Know that the time of birth is very near
And know that your baby will soon be in your arms.

Know that the strength
Of eons of foremothers
Flow through your veins
And you CAN do it."


Thursday, March 4, 2010

...the journey begins

On 2.24.2009 my life forever changed.

I gave birth to my second son.
iHAD my successful VBAC
No intervention.

B I R T H.

my body wasn't broken.
the system was broken.

I need to help women.
Empower them.
Strengthen them.
Help them.
Heal them.

At 8:58a that day,
my life forever changed.
My calling was
to become a Doula.

Almost a year to the day,
on 3.4.2010,
I joined DONA &
signed up for a workshop.

h e r e .
the journey begins.