Monica is resourceful and passionate about helping expectant families to navigate the birthing process, overcome common fears, and above all, prepare both mentally and physically to have a nurtured, autonomous and empowering birth.
Services Include: Hands-on pain management strategies & Comfort Measures / Coaching & Relief for your primary support person / Immediate Postpartum Care / General Lactation support / VBAC support / Photography as requested to commemorate your special day / Referrals for Mom & Baby
One Birth Planning consultation | One in-home Labor Dress Rehearsal & Postpartum Planning session | Books on loan | In-person support from the onset of active labor (and early labor if requested) | (Optional) one Postpartum Visit and/or Infant Feeding support session
One in-home prenatal visit | In-person support from the onset of active labor (& early labor if requested) | (Optional) one Postpartum Visit
*Offered exclusively to those who have experienced natural childbirth at least once before
One virtual birth planning session | Day of Birth Services for medicated or unmedicated births and water births starting from the onset of active labor
Available at client's home on a fee-per-visit basis, based on the individual’s specific needs & location
For Pricing, Booking and all other Inquires, please schedule a Complementary Consultation.
Please use the link below to submit a brief Intake Form. Upon receiving your information, Monica will contact you to schedule a consultation.
Consultations are available via Zoom or in-person at a neutral location in Punta Gorda or Port Charlotte only.
I look forward to answering any questions you may have and seeing if we're a good fit!
As a birth doula, I accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I am a Certified Birth Doula through DONA International. I draw on my professional training, knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and, as needed, communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, soothing touch, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver, birth center, or hospital.
Each package includes general breastfeeding support and referrals. What this entails is assistance with positioning and establishing latch right after the baby is born.
I usually stay with clients around 2-3 hours following birth to support their immediate postpartum recovery - helping mom to get comfortable as she’s getting acquainted with her baby, pointing out baby’s cues for feeding, and familiarizing her with various holding and feeding techniques.
Preparation is fundamental, so I encourage clients who plan to breastfeed to take an introductory class whenever possible to learn the basics prior to delivery. I also have some great online resources available to share for solutions to overcoming common challenges, and whenever needed can refer the client out to a specialist.
Childbirth is intense, demanding, unpredictable and painful, lasting anywhere from a few hours to 24, 36, or even more. Even if you are well prepared, you may find it difficult to apply your previously acquired knowledge in the real situation. Your providers will likely be preoccupied with the clinical aspects of your care, have shift changes, etc. I, however, will be present continuously to tend to your every (non-clinical) need throughout the entirety of active labor and birth, with on-the-spot partner coaching and relief for your primary support person(s). This holistic approach is designed to set you up for good outcomes, while also taking some of the pressure off of your partner, so that you can both look back upon the birth of your child favorably, knowing you were supported in the best ways possible.
Continuous doula support during labor has been proven to reduce rates of: induction, use of pain medication, Cesarean deliveries, and other medical interventions, and even a slight reduction in the average length of time spent in active labor. Doula support also directly correlates with more positively rated birth experiences, higher APGAR scores and increased rates of breastfeeding initiation.
“All women should have support throughout labor and birth for improved clinical outcomes.”
-The Cochrane Review
Everyone has their own unique timeline and personal reasons for seeking a doula, at whatever point in time they decide it's best for them! I have received inquiries from parents-to-be as soon as they find out they are expecting, to as late as 36 weeks, and I welcome inquiries at any time throughout one's pregnancy. I recommend booking a consultation with me once you have at least selected (and become established with) a provider (midwife, doctor or OBGYN) that you trust and feel aligns with your goals and values. Generally, by the mid to late portion of the second trimester, most people can identify their specific preferences and wishes for birth, so this typically is a great timeframe for us to 'formally' start working together and preparing for your ideal birth!
Whether you are a first time mom or new to the area, choosing a provider that's right for you is an exciting, important step in your pregnancy and birthing journey. Start by educating yourself on the difference between types of prenatal care providers, particularly OB/GYNs, certified nurse midwives, certified professional midwives, and family physicians. Then identify what is important to you in your prenatal care and the type of birth you desire. If medical settings make you uneasy or you prefer less intervention and are more natural minded, a midwife or midwife group is likely to suite you better than an obstetrician, for instance. Do your research to find out who aligns best with being able to deliver the quality and type of prenatal care you envision for yourself. Read reviews about them, call their office to inquire about vaginal birth rates vs. Cesarean rates, post in on-line mom groups to get feedback from others, meet or interview some for yourself, and be sure visit the hospital or out-of-hospital birth center to get a feel for the culture of the place. As you progress through the trimesters, you will be spending a lot of time at prenatal appointments. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. It may take some time and searching to find a provider that you trust and feel completely comfortable with. But keep in mind you have the ability to decline certain interventions, as well as change providers at any point, even late in your pregnancy. After all, you will only birth this baby once, so take your time with this huge decision and trust your instincts.
I highly encourage prospective/current clients and their partners to be as proactive as possible throughout pregnancy and leading up to their birth. Preparing for birth is commonly compared to training for a marathon due to the physical & mental stamina and strength it demands. Most hospitals will offer a general 1-3 hour live or online class, which covers basic information. I strongly recommend more in-depth preparation than this, especially for those seeking an un-medicated natural birth experience. I provide this by meeting with clients and their partners one-on-one in the comfort of their own home to go over the Stages of Labor and practice Comfort Measures from my doula bag during a Labor Dress Rehearsal. This 1:1 interactive session ensures their ability to recognize signs of labor and manage the progression of labor as well as possible when the time comes. Other books, preparatory materials and postpartum resources I have available for loan, can also be an empowering means for achieving a natural birth experience and making a healthy adjustment to parenthood. Maintaining a balanced diet, active lifestyle, and getting into the habit of practicing relaxation techniques are also important.
No matter where or with whom you choose to delivery your baby, I will support your choices without bias. I do not promote any one philosophy or belief. My purpose is to help you achieve the safest, most satisfying birth possible. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your medical provider, hospital or birth center. My responsibility is to nurture and protect your birth experience.
HOSPITAL: Regardless of your race, age, background, sexual orientation, or birthing preferences and goals (whether it’s natural childbirth with or without an epidural or planned Cesarean due to medical reasons), I consider your birthing space/room sacred, and my bedside manner reflects this understanding. I will promote a calm, peaceful atmosphere for you to be as comfortable as possible. I carry an assortment of comfort aids and tools to provide natural pain relief as needed. I will also facilitate and liaison positive interactions and communication between you and attending care providers. Although I do not speak for you, I will help ensure your voice is heard, so that your preferences during labor are honored. No birth goes perfectly as planned. But through our birth planning sessions, we will have already prepared for how to handle several different scenarios that commonly arise in hospitals to keep you from getting caught off guard in various situations. Should your birth plan change course as a result of an unexpected complication or medical intervention, I will help you sort your options to make informed decisions for the best care and outcomes possible.
BIRTH CENTER: Birth centers are a cozy, comfortable option for ‘low-risk’ moms-to-be who desire a natural birthing experience with little to no intervention in an intimate home-like environment. Generally, birth centers also allow for a great amount of freedom to move or walk around and change positions, which in turn promotes better ability to adjust to the fluidity of labor. I am trained to handle challenging variations in normal labor. If labor happens to stall, or if baby is not positioned optimally in the birth canal, for instance, I can utilize numerous tools and strategies to get you and baby back on track. Whether you decide to labor or birth in water or on land, I will offer various breathing, pain management techniques, partner coaching, counter pressure, and other comfort measures to cope throughout labor. I will help you to feel encouraged through each contraction, which will allow your body to naturally progress through the stages of labor.
HOME: I can fully support you through a natural delivery at home, as long as your birth is attended by a qualified care provider/midwife and your home is smoke-free. I provide sibling care and partner coaching as needed during home births. You may use my birth ball, peanut ball, essential oils, LED lights and birth affirmation cards to create your dream birth space. During the early stages of labor, I will be encouraging you to rest, stay hydrated and nourished. My role at a home birth is very much the same as it is at a birth center, especially at the height of active labor. I will anticipate and respond to anything you, or your spouse/significant other, need(s) at any given moment. With this unconditional physical, emotional and mental support, you can focus on maintaining a natural rhythm and coping effectively during active labor. You will feel empowered and encouraged through each contraction, from start to finish.
*I have experience with un-medicated water births in both home and birth center settings.
Following birth in any setting: I will assist you in your initial recovery and support you in breastfeeding if requested and/or taking pictures to commemorate your special day, until you feel comfortable and ready for some quiet time with your new family.
A 50% nonrefundable Retainer Fee is due upon selecting me as your doula and contract signing in order to reserve birth services and guarantee my availability from 37 weeks until the birth of your child. The Balance is due at 36 weeks. Acceptable payment methods include Cash, Money Order, Cashier’s Check, Personal Check, or Venmo.
24/7 on-call birth support begins at 37 weeks. I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. We will also decide where to meet – at your home, the hospital or the birth center. Once you are in Active Labor, I will remain with you throughout labor and birth.
When contractions are nonprogressing, the pattern of contractions remains the same. The contractions do not become longer, stronger, or closer together in time. False labor means the cervix is not yet opening (dilating). Prelabor contractions, or Braxton Hicks, can often feel discouraging or frustrating. The support from a doula can be beneficial during this time because the doula can help a pregnant person identify and cope with contractions, both early on (and later), as true labor progresses.
Absolutely not. Far from replacing them, a doula enhances their role by making sure you are both taken care of and encouraged throughout the birthing process, which is not always intuitive. Partners may wish to be involved and hands-on, but may not know how or what to do, especially when the really hard labor hits. Watching your loved one go through surges of hormones and pains of childbirth is difficult. I can intervene in a positive way through these more stressful parts of labor. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of a birth unfolding, and sometimes a partner needs space to regroup or reassurance that everything is okay. I know when to step in, when to hold space, and when to step back. Since your spouse/significant other knows you best, my role is to guide your loved one to be the most supportive, confident and connected partner they can be. This can be achieved through a combination of means: relieving them if they need a break to get a meal or nap during a long or all-night labor, bringing beverages or other essentials so they are able to remain with you without disruption, providing perspective and an objective viewpoint, applying my professional experience, and of course practical assistance. Many couples find that working with a doula actually brings them closer together and is a decision that they don't regret!