Photos by Erica Kershner
Rachel: First-time mama & home birth client
"When I met Kara I instantly felt that I was in good hands. Not only does her knowledge and passion for birth work pour out of her the minute you meet her, but she has such a sense of confidence and calm that instantly put me at ease. As a first time mother, it is often difficult to make the decision to have a home birth, but knowing that Kara would be there to guide me through this incredible experience made the decision so much easier.
Once we decided to have Kara as our home birth midwife, she was always available through text or e-mail with an abundance of knowledge and support. She made me feel that my pregnancy and birth was important to her. When I went into labor, Kara was easy to reach and provided us with a good understanding of how things can progress, at the same time reassuring us that what was going on was just a variation of normal. Since I had a long early labor, Kara consistently provided suggestions for myself or my partner. You can tell she has been a doula for a number of years because it shapes her midwifery care in her emotional, physical and even spiritual support that she provided.
My son Micah was born into my husband’s loving hands in a birth tub after 37 hours of labor, while Kara was there providing incredible care with skill and ease, supporting our every move. It was one of the most empowering and profound experiences of my life and I still look back on that birth as a total gift. After my son was born, Kara did all of the routine checks for both myself and the baby and stayed with us until we were totally settled. Before she left, she settled us all into bed together as a family, ran a load of laundry and assured us that there was no question too small.
Breastfeeding was an incredible challenge for me and again, I cannot stress enough how present Kara was through the journey. She always took a proactive approach and I never felt alone in what I was going through. I cannot recommend Kara enough as a homebirth midwife! She will forever be such a huge part of our birth story and a part of our lives as well."
Lea & Rob: First-time parents to baby girl Zoe, born at home
"Having done a lot of research on various birthing interventions, and knowing the risks involved, my husband and I knew that we wanted to have a natural childbirth. We believed that birth is a natural part of life, and that same intelligence that grew our baby during pregnancy would deliver it safely. We also knew that we wanted to work with midwives, so we attended a “meet the midwives” night at a hospital. Although the midwives spoke about the importance of having a natural child birth, their stats about c-sections, inductions and epidurals did not support their claims. Moreover, they informed us that our appointments would only last fifteen minutes, and it didn’t matter who we met with because they were "interchangeable" as they put it, and the midwife that would assist us during labor would be whoever was “on call” that night. After that visit, it became obvious to us that we did not want to have our child in a hospital. We realized that hospitals are places people go to in an emergency, and since birth isn’t a disease or an emergency, the only way to ensure that we would have a natural birth would be to have a home birth.
This is when we had the pleasure of meeting Kara and the team of midwives she was working with. We really liked Kara from the moment we met her. She was so reassuring and had a clear appreciation of life and natural health. She is incredibly intelligent, and spent over an hour for each of our prenatal home visits answering all of our questions and concerns, offering nutritional advice, and guiding us through the whole process. In fact, we were so impressed by her knowledge and expertise of pregnancy and birth, we invited her to speak at an event we hosted for pregnant moms at our chiropractic practice.
The night I went into labor, my husband was in constant communication with our midwives, and Kara was the first to arrive. It was such a tremendous relief having them there to support my husband and me. They helped coach me through contractions, reminding me to take each one at a time. Kara kept reminding me, “each contraction has a beginning and an end, and you will get a rest in between.” They encouraged me to switch sides and move around into different positions, but also followed my cues and laboring instincts. They offered me praise and encouragement the whole way through, and reassurance that I “could do this.” When I was ready, they led me to the laboring tub and I remember that the warm water felt so amazing and was a really big help with pain management.
After a few good pushes, our daughter started crowning and as the head kept descending Kara said, “This Kiddo has a lot of hair!” This made me laugh and was the motivation that I needed to push my baby out. Kara caught our daughter and gently guided her out of the water and tenderly placed her into my arms. Everything they say about the first time you see your baby is so true. There is a total rush of emotions all at once: love, relief, happiness, amazement and total empowerment for doing it naturally! And while we were taking in those amazing first moments with our daughter, the midwives stepped back and let us discover our new little person. They worked silently in the background, examining her, examining me, taking measurements, but never interrupting us. Through the whole birth they were always there and present and played a supportive role, making sure that we had an incredible experience, and that everything was progressing safely. We recently watched the birth video, (yes, they helped us record Zoe’s birth in both video and beautiful pictures) and it was amazing to see how serene and peaceful everything was.
Kara and the midwives she was working with were also a huge help postpartum and came to check on me and our baby to ensure I was healing and she was growing properly, and even taught me breast feeding positions which I still use to this day. But it didn’t end there! About a year and a half later, I needed a routine pap smear and gynecological check. I emailed Kara to see if she had any recommendations for any gynecologists and to my surprise, she said that she was trained for a women’s health visit. So she came over and gave me a full examination and pap smear, all within the comfort of my own home!
We can’t say enough wonderful things about Kara. Thanks to her, our pregnancy, labor and beyond was a magical, perfect experience. We are so grateful for it, and without a doubt, will be having a home birth with Kara for all our future children!"
Kaia: First-time mama & doula client
"When I first met Kara, her enthusiasm and knowledge about 'all things birth' inspired my first stirrings for motherhood. Several years later, and several months pregnant, I was thrilled she would be my doula. My pregnancy was considered slightly high risk but I felt assured knowing that Kara is quite experienced with high-risk deliveries. Throughout my pregnancy I felt comforted knowing I could contact Kara anytime about anything - day or night - and she or her doula partner would respond promptly, and with knowledge and compassion.
Meetings with Kara were uplifting -- she brings positive energy, realness, and being present in the moment. I could really open up to her and express my feelings and ask questions, and she addressed all my concerns with respect. We thoroughly discussed how she might provide assistance during labor and delivery. She brought homemade aromatherapy oil, checked the baby's position in the womb, and helped us rehearse labor positions and techniques we could use while laboring at home as long as possible. She is well connected with the doula community and emailed us invitations to prenatal classes and relevant information from discussion lists.
Throughout early labor, I was thankful Kara was so accessible by phone and text - for days. Her positive energy helped me get through the times I felt unsteady. She has great emotional intuition and experience and knew when it was time for us to go to the hospital. She is also a great listener with flexibility and patience - essential for a doula dealing with mamas in labor.
During labor, I was very finicky about where, when, and how I was touched and Kara didn't mind one bit. Her massage and gentle coaching were extremely soothing and helped me cope with intense sensations. She offered suggestions for my comfort and was by my side the whole way, keeping my birth preferences in mind and ready to advocate on my behalf, if necessary. Kara had a great rapport with the midwife on call and hearing their casual discussion was very comforting. When it came time to push, she, my fiancé, and the midwife and nurse were an amazing, encouraging team. I felt entirely supported both physically and emotionally and was so happy when baby Henry arrived, healthy.
Kara checked in regularly after the birth and helped me navigate the first couple weeks postpartum, both by phone and postnatal meeting. She offered referrals to resources including lactation consultants and postnatal doulas. I am so pleased with the maternity care Kara provided, and I highly recommend her services to all expecting mothers. In the words of my fiancé: "Whatever she did it was just really comfortable working with her... with nakedness and your vagina totally exploding with a baby, you can't be comfortable with just anyold person."