Our daughter was born February 2014. We hired Joy and her partner, Heather, the December before. Though we met other doulas, we knew almost immediately they were the ones for us. Besides being extremely knowledgeable, Joy has a very calming and peaceful aura about her. We're so glad with our decision - both she and Heather were everything we had hoped for in a doula: informative, supportive, caring, reassuring, and 100% committed to helping us have the best birthing experience possible.
Our birth story has several twists and turns during a 4 day process. Joy was always a text or phone call away and then at the hospital by our side as soon as we needed her. Though we didn't get the natural birth we wanted, in some ways, it was even more important that we had our doula with us. What ended up being a long and bumpy labor was manageable and remarkably stress free thanks to their support and guidance. In retrospect, I think I might have freaked out a couple times during the 4 days, but I having Joy and Heather gave me the confidence and security I needed to be in the moment and enjoy the birthing process as much as possible.
I can't praise Joy enough. You can't go wrong having her in your birthing corner. Best of luck to all you expectant mommies!
Dara was more than i could have ever asked for! She is kind, passionate, and extremely knowledgeable. We met a twice prior to my birth to discuss our wishes for the day and what was important to us. Dara came armed with endless knowledge to help us. We learned about pain med options, what birth was "really" like, and many tips for early labor. This opened my eyes to so many things I didn't know prior to having my first baby. Dara always had my (and the baby)'s best interest at heart and she provided information, but most importantly 110% supported whatever decision my husband and I made.
After my due date, Dara prepared information on induction for me to help me communicate with the doctors. On day 41+4 I went into labor. I called Dara at 3:30am and she was right there with me the rest of the journey. She offered positions and exercises for me to do in this early stage of labor to help me progress & deal with the pain. Once I was ready to go to the hospital 8 hours later I was already 5.5cm dilated! Dara met us there (she will meet u whenever you are ready). Dara massaged me thru the contraction pain, recommended positions to help my labor progress, made sure I stayed hydrated and as comfortable as possible. Thru all the pain and work, she was right there by my side. Baby was positioning perfectly and things were moving! When it came time to push, it only lasted for 45 minutes which I think is a direct correlation to Dara's work to get that baby ready! We delivered a healthy baby boy at 12:49am!
Dara 100% supported us the entire process. The nurses at Mary birch were in awe of how great Dara was and there was a buzz around the labor and delivery floor of this "amazing doula". We never felt alone. I can't imagine my birth story any other way! Thank you Dara!
Afterwards she comes for a post partum visit to help with breastfeeding and steal some baby snuggles! I would 100% recommend Dara!
Joy is not only calming and sweet but she is such a professional! My experience at the birth of our 2 month old was guided by Joy's intuitive and nurturing energy. She really tapped into understanding my needs and wants at such an intense experience. Initially I was hesitant to hiring a doula, not really understanding exactly what that entailed, however after our first meeting I knew I wanted the birth of my child to be guided by love.
I ended up having an induction, which worried me because I was planning on a totally natural childbirth. At first things were going well, and Joy had a lot of techniques to help distract me, comfort me and help me feel safe throughout the process. Things were really slow going though and I was struggling to not get discouraged, but Joy was always encouraging and she stayed with me the ENTIRE time. She seemed to have this unending stamina.
The aromatherapy oils that Joy used during the birth were exquisite! Not only did they help to relax me but I felt that they actually took me deeper into letting go of the tension in various parts of my body. Not to mention she has an amazing touch and gives the best leg massage ever!
I highly recommend hiring Joy...there is no one else like her. She adds such a loving warmth to the whole experience that makes it as pleasant as it can be. We are honored to have had Joy be apart of our child's first visit into the world....she is a generous and warm person and we are so glad we found her!
So glad to have meet Dara! This was my second pregnancy and I had enough negative experiences with my first birth (failed epidurals, getting induced, pushing laying on my back, migraines, 2 blood patches, etc.) that I knew I wanted things to be different. My husband and I read several books, educated ourselves in the birthing process (even though I am an ED RN.) We read lots of pros to having an unmedicated birth and how we should really find a good doula. Dara was awesome. When she came to visit the first time she was very pleasant, friendly, assertive, and knowledgeable. She is open to many types of births and really made sure that I understood she was only there for me. She was my advocate. She was also there for my husband, who I wanted to be my main supporter. Day of delivery at 40 weeks, Dara was on the phone with us and texting us after my water broke. She gave us encouraging calls and texts and suggested different exercises and ways to get labor started naturally. We called her once at the hospital when contractions started to become strong and regular, she was there in less than 30 min. She came ready! She had a bag full of tools and coaching aids. She was professional with staff and got down on her knees to see how I was. To help labor progess along she had many different techniques to help move our back down and out. Although it was very painful personally she kept me moving onto the next exercise. She kept reasuring me I was doing a great job and also helped my husband to best support me. Towards the end I started to give in ans ask for pain medication but Dara was not deterred. She helped me greatly during the transition phase into pushing and held my hand and rested with me during the contractions and pushing stage. Baby finally came! Dara stayed with us after helping pack our own bags, take pictures, and praying with us upon request. I can say so much more but I am limited on here. We would highly recommend her to any mother to be!
When my wife and I were going to have our baby and knew that we did not had the support that we needed, Joy was a welcome addition to our birth team. She arrived prepared and calm. She is a great listener and has an amazing depth of evidence based knowledge at her fingertips. My wife and I hired her and her partner doula on the spot without having to discuss it in private.
Our pregnancy had something to worry about at every major visit. With each instance, she was a voice of reason amidst all the noise. Each of our nervous emails was met with a thoughtful response and links to current evidence based articles that we should further research.
In addition, she provided us with a wealth of material and guidance to help us come up with the type of pregnancy plan and birth plan that best fit our way of thinking. Joy responded to each of our decisions as if they were hers and helped us navigate accordingly. Anyone would be lucky to have her involved in any aspect of their pregnancy.
Dara is not only an amazing doula but a beautiful soul as well. I was having a hard time finding a doula I connected with after moving here. Luckily a friend of mine recommended Dara and I knew within minutes of meeting her that I wanted her to be my doula. She is so supportive and positive, and the type of person you feel comfortable with immediately. Dara helped me through my pregnancy, always providing great articles and tips for anything I had questions about. She was my support system through labor and helped me achieve the natural birth I wanted. I adore her and highly recommend her to anyone in need of a doula.
We hired Joy to be our doula for a planned homebirth. Joy was recommended by one of the midwives teaching our birthing class, and as soon as we met her we knew she was the perfect person for us.
I have a hard time feeling comfortable with people I don't know well, and was especially concerned about hiring a doula because I knew I'd be extremely vulnerable during the birth and we would only have spent a few hours together prior to that day. But something about Joy immediately put me at ease. I felt that she had the perfect combination of warmth and professionalism; I totally trusted her expertise from the very beginning and somehow knew I could relax with her. The night I went into labor, Joy came to our home about four hours after labor began, and jumped in to helping ease the pain of my surges right away. She also was an incredible support to my husband, and helped him know when to take a break and how to support me better. She also helped us know when things were progressing to the point when we should call our midwife.
In the end we had to transfer to the hospital, and Joy was with us all the way. She stayed by my side as I pushed for many hours, even though she must have been exhausted from being with us for so many hours. The next day she visited us to see how we were doing, and once we got home she came to deliver my placenta pills and debrief the birth with us. The post-natal visit was almost as important to me as her support during labor, as it allowed me to process my many different emotions about the birth. Joy held the space for anything and everything that arose.
Joy truly helped to ensure that our birth was what I wanted it to be--full of love and free of fear. I would hire Joy again in a heartbeat.
My wife and I feel extremely lucky that we hired Joy. Our goal was to have a natural birth at Kaiser SF. The amount of information and knowledge that we gained by meeting with our doulas and talking through our birth plan was priceless. To be honest, without our doulas we would most likely have had a c-section, but instead we had a natural birth. The labor was difficult and long, and if you are not prepared with a solid birth plan and a good knowledge of what the doctors and nurses will throw your way, it would be really difficult to stick to the birth that you intend to have. The doctors and nurses do their best to be persuasive and try to dictate how your labor will go. Our doulas really prepared us for everything.
Once the labor got going, Joy was great with trying different positions to ease my wife's pain and help the baby get in a better position. Joy was so dedicated and there for us every step of the way. She was also there for us, when we had to make every decision along the way. It took a lot of pressure off of me, as the husband, to be the only birth partner. Our labor took 72 hours, and it was really great to have someone there to support us, who was well rested, and could offer help in every way. We were amazed by her stamina and amazing attitude.
I highly recommend Joy.
We are so blessed to have found Dara to be our birth doula. With my high blood pressure, an OP baby with lots of subsequent back labor, and other complications, Dara’s role in our delivery was absolutely vital and led to an experience that we wouldn’t have changed for the world. She coached us to try different exercises during contractions to turn the baby that were really difficult, but Dara didn’t let us give up – she pushed us to commit to ten contractions and then take a break. In the end, our efforts paid off - our baby amazingly rotated to the ideal position just before being born. She was a constant source of positive energy and emotional support. I never doubted that she truly cared or meant every encouraging word she said. My husband said that without her he couldn't have done what he did - stay present and active throughout a difficult labor, never losing confidence in his role. Her unfailing ideas and suggestions for him enabled him to fulfill that role to the utmost. I couldn’t agree more with him - we could not have done it without her. Towards the end I was ready to give up – but Dara helped me make it through without any intervention or drugs until we achieved our goal of a completely natural delivery - complications and all! There were so many little things that made her stand out - she came early and set up our room with Christmas lights and a lavender essential oil diffuser, she made sure I was hydrated and well fed - up until spoon-feeding me minutes after the delivery - she even visited us in the hospital after delivery to make sure I was recuperating after some post-delivery complications. Her care and support was felt throughout the entire process. Her expertise as a lactation consultant was also vital during some initial challenges with breastfeeding. That and so many other things make Dara the perfect partner for anyone in their journey towards parenthood. I can’t recommend her enough!
Joy recently assisted with the birth of our daughter and we couldn't have been more pleased! Like the other reviewer here, I was also unsure of whether to work with a doula. However as my birth date approached and I started reading more about the birth process, I knew that as a first time mom (and dad), no matter how much research or prep we did, we'd be anxious and a bit nervous. I didn't want us to be freaked out, but to ideally enjoy the experience - and as strange as it may sound, the birth process was actually quite enjoyable and fun. (Painful yes, but such a great bonding moment for my husband and I too...) Joy played an integral part in the process; she was reassuring and knowledgeable, she supported me as a mama and us as a couple in an unobtrusive way, and she worked with the medical staff constructively and positively. She also uses a variety of tools and techniques --including massage, TENS, and soothing peppermint face cloths - which I really appreciated. I ultimately used medication (I had an open mind and wasn't adamantly pro or con meds going in), and Joy was very supportive of whatever decision we made. Timing was also unusual in that we hired Joy the day we interviewed her - I ended up going into labor that night at three weeks early! Joy arrived within hours and was a huge comfort and resource - we felt immediately at ease and in good hands.
I should also add that I have family in the area and initially thought they could provide any support I needed. While it is true that they are great with baby, I'd highly recommend a doula for the labor and delivery, as well as for specific pre and post natal concerns. Joy has been a wonderful resource and sounding board, not to mention a charming, warm presence. We couldn't be happier with her services.
My husband and I connected with Joy and her co-doula through their doula services when I was a few months pregnant. Not really knowing what we were doing, but getting clear that we wanted to work with a doula for the birth of our baby, we began meeting with doulas and Joy stood out right away. Working with her was so beneficial; the information she provided was clear and so informative, allowing me and my husband to make informed decisions and to have a really beautiful birth experience.
I chose to have Joy encapsulate my placenta and the process was equally wonderful. The instructions she provided were incredibly clear and the process was made so simple for us during a time when so much else is going on. Joy got the caps to us very quickly (while we were still in the hospital) and dropped them off to us personally. Not only did I get so much benefit from taking the caps postpartum, but I again felt fully supported and informed along the way.
Thank you so much, Joy! My husband and I HIGHLY recommend the services she offers.
Working with Dara was a true gift. When we first met her, she made us feel safe and confident in the birth we wanted to have. As we went through our pregnancy, she was there checking in every step of the way, providing resources, information and support. Her encouragement kept me going when I had doubts and she really helped me to overcome my fears about labor. We ended up going into labor at 9pm on a Saturday, and Dara insisted that we call her every hour through the night to keep her updated. My contractions were very close together and I was feeling afraid and not sure what to do or when to go the hospital. Dara’s expertise during active labor, helped us to stay at home as long as possible and we really appreciated her for giving us that gift. When it was time to go to the hospital, she didn’t skip a beat, making our room feel comfortable and homey. When the midwife informed us that our son was posterior, Dara knew exactly what exercises to do to get him to turn. These exercises were extremely painful and difficult, but because of the trust we had built throughout my pregnancy, I knew I could follow her voice. One of our biggest accomplishments during labor was successfully flipping our son around to deliver him. When it was time to push, it ended up taking 3 hours, which was more then I thought I would ever be able to do. Dara was right there in my ear telling me “You can do this!” She really provided us the extra love and support we needed. We thank God Dara was there for our first birth and pregnancy journey. We plan on using her for all of our births to come as we grow our family. Thank you Dara.
Joy is incredible! She is exactly what we wanted out of a doula: she is knowledgable and caring, and she educated us throughout my pregnancy and afterwards. We learned more about prenatal and postnatal care from her than from my OB! I was over two weeks late and ended up having to get induced, which I was trying to avoid. Joy was incredibly helpful in informing us on induction methods, what choices we had, how to navigate the hospital, and how to cope with the intensity of labor. She made me feel confident and more in control than I felt before hiring a doula. The meetings leading up to birth were very helpful and thorough as well - not just in terms of pain management techniques but also in understanding how to prepare mentally for birth. She also offered placenta encapsulation which has been helping a TON since birth. I can't recommend her enough - I would love to work with her in the future, should I decide to go through this crazy process again!
Kevin & Elizabeth B.
My wife and I (husband writing) interviewed a few doulas, but when we met Dara we knew we found the right one to help bring our beautiful Kaylin into the world. Our spiritual views aligned, but it was her soft, kind-loving heart that really won us over. Her experience was reassuring as well. Up to labor, Dara was always a phone call or text away to help us with any questions/concerns we had. Every conversation, whether it be a phone call or face to face, she was so encouraging. Labor can be unpredictable, and although I felt prepared and somewhat confident from taking the Bradley Method course, Dara was the helping hand and support that both my wife and I needed during labor. Our labor nurse at the hospital said in her 7 yrs of deliveries, Dara was the greatest Doula she has ever worked with. She also stated that our birth was the most inspirational one she has been part of. Looking back, my wife and I feel so blessed to have had Dara as part of our birth team. We weren’t sure what labor/birth was gonna look like, but the experience was so much better with Dara's love and support. Thank you Dara!
We hired Joy as our doula for our first baby, who was born on January 9th. My husband and I had interviewed 3 doulas and Joy was by far our favorite. I could tell right away when meeting her that she was warm, kind, and really loved what she does. In our first prenatal visit, Joy explained exactly how she would help during the labor and birth, when to call her, the different ways my husband could help me during labor and even during pregnancy. She gave us a booklet that she put together with tons of information on the labor and birth experience, what happens right after the baby is born (vaccines and other medical processes that are done to the baby and the pros/cons of each), postpartum information for infant care, etc. She also put together our birth plan based on the information she collected from us in our first visit. She was more than happy to answer any of our questions in person or via email along the way and she also checked in with us throughout the third trimester. In our second prenatal visit, we went over all the different laboring positions, the massage techniques my husband or she would use during labor, and other "tricks" she could try to help ease my pain during labor. Finally, leading up to my due date, we were in close contact regarding any labor symptoms I was having or doctor visits and progress updates.
The day I went into labor, my water broke at the acupuncture's office that she recommended! (Need to write a yelp review for Amy Gordon!) Even though our plan was to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital, because my water broke, my husband and I decided it was best to go straight to the hospital. Joy met us there when my husband told her we were ready for and needed her support. She was in constant contact with him while we were laboring on our own. Joy was such great support during my labor and really helped bring a sense of calm to the experience. My mom, who was also in the L&D room, really connected with Joy and told me days later that she wanted to adopt her. Ha! I can understand why. Throughout my labor, Joy was there to answer any questions we had about what was happening, or whether the baby was ok, or if I was progressing at a good pace. When it came time to push, she was there cheering me on, holding up my leg, etc. Overall, I would highly recommend Joy if you are considering hiring a doula! She is such a caring, strong woman who obviously loves supporting mothers and their partners through their birth and labor experiences.
Joy is a beautiful person, inside and out, and we were lucky enough to have her as part of our doula team, with her co-doula. When I initially met [them], I immediately thought they were amazing! They were kind, caring, and exuded such a positive energy regarding birth and mamas, which I thought was very special. They were also SOOO experienced and SOOO intelligent; it was apparent that they loved being doulas and supporting mamas and their families. As a second time mama, and this being my second experience with hiring a doula (...and I've met and interviewed probably a dozen doulas) I was EXTREMELY impressed! I knew that they would be an invaluable part of my birth experience.
Joy is extremely knowledgeable about everything healthy and natural regarding pregnancy, birth, postpartum, newborn care and beyond! She has a gentle, peaceful, loving, and grounding spirit. She was always available and there to answer any questions or concerns I had.
We love Joy...and are extremely grateful for her! We highly recommend her services!