I am a Green Bay native. I grew up watching the Packers, swimming and fishing at my parents’ cabin Up North, and cruising Main Street as a teenager. After high school, I acquired my bachelor’s degree in English and History from UW-Madison and then lived in Milwaukee, where I worked in magazine publishing. I came home to Green Bay in 2008 when I started my career as a high school English and alternative education teacher.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was (like many women, I think) terrified at the prospect of childbirth. (“You mean this thing has to come out?! Of where?!”) Being the bookworm that I am, I responded by reading every book about childbirth that I could get my hands on . . . and I was hooked. Somehow, my fear of birth was transformed into a passion. As I reevaluated my career choices, becoming a birth doula was a natural fit for me and my family. I began working as a doula in November 2012, and my DONA certification became official in June 2013.
I also missed my work as an educator, so I quickly found my way to childbirth education. In July 2013, I completed a Lamaze® workshop with Connie Livingston of Birth Source, and I am excited to now be a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.
Jonah's Birth Story
Before I share my birth story, I need to thank a few people. First of all, my husband, Ned. He was a rock star daddy who watched documentaries, read books, and accompanied me to every prenatal appointment. Second, my dear friend and doula, Addie Wescott. If it weren’t for Addie, I wouldn’t even know what a doula is. Addie spent nine months speaking to me positively about childbirth and parenting, and by the end, she’d convinced me that I was born to give birth. Finally, I’d like to thank the St. Mary’s midwives – Abbey, Toni, and Marta – for their amazing care and support before, during, and after pregnancy.
Jonah's birth story is a short one. Literally. I was due May 30, 2012, but like many first-time moms I went overdue. Around 11 p.m. on June 3, I started having contractions. Despite my sincere intentions of laboring at home as long as possible, my first reaction was to tell Ned, “We need to go to the hospital. Now.” Labor was intense and rapid, and our son, Jonah Peregrine, was born on June 4 at 12:41 a.m., caught by the amazing nurses on duty at St. Vincent Hospital. Neither my doula nor midwife made it on time for the birth. It was not what Ned and I had anticipated or planned for, but that’s the nature of birth – unexpected, chaotic . . . in short, awesome.
Silas's Birth Story
With Silas, I labored on and off for a few days leading up to my 39-week appointment. It was the Monday after Easter, Jonah had just thrown a major tantrum that included a lot of Easter grass, and Toni Westphal asked me if I was feeling the contractions I was having. I had to put my hand on my stomach, which was hard, before I realized that I was indeed having contractions. Considering how fast my first labor went, she told me to stick close and let the hospital staff know that I would probably be in soon. I went to my friends' house where Jonah was hanging out during my appointment, and they brought me tea and snacks while we counted contractions. It was fantastic. A little after noon I started to feel things getting more intense, even though contractions didn't hurt, and I asked for a ride to the hospital. I let my husband and doula know that I was heading over, and they both met me there. When they tracked my contractions when I first got checked in I was having contractions every two to three minutes, but things still didn't hurt. Libby Woodard was the midwife on call and she came up to say hi. Labor was not painful until the last forty-five minutes. I got back massages, used the labor tub, and honestly felt kind of pampered. At 3:15 in the afternoon things started getting intense, and at 4:08 Silas Leopold made his appearance. Libby caught him and immediately handed him to me, where he quietly checked out the world around him and almost immediately began to nurse. I would not change a thing about it. It's a memory I'll cherish forever.