Meet Barefoot Birth: 2015 Natural Birth & Baby Expo Sponsor

Meet Barefoot Birth: 2015 Natural Birth & Baby Expo Sponsor

Tampa Bay Birth Network is pleased to welcome back this long-time partner and sponsor.   Says Charlie Rae, "A large part of birth work is advocacy and the birth network has done an exemplary job of just that in our communities. The network is made up of professionals who not only care about education and community, but also about each other and the clients we serve."

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Community Partner: Barefoot Birth

Community Partner: Barefoot Birth

Barefoot Birth is a birth service company specializing in concierge home birth services, personalized prenatal care, doula support, childbirth education, massage therapy, postpartum support,  professional birth photography, and acts as a resource for expecting families. The Barefoot Family includes Charlie Rae Young LM, CPM, CLC , Jenn Stone LPN, CLC, Wesley Bozeman LMT, and Patricia Cannon CLC.

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Polk County Birth Network

Polk County Birth Network

This new endeavor has been in the works for several weeks, due to an ever growing need for birth advocacy in our community and it is finally ready to roll out. We are very excited to share and announce the launch of the new Polk Count BirthNetwork headed up by Chapter Leader, Sarah Wingrove!  

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Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Community Partner: Birthmarks Maternity

Welcome, new community partner, Birthmarks Maternity, where their mission is to honor the natural process of pregnancy and birth by serving women and families with a central source of holistic pregnancy, birth, and early parenting resources in a community of caring experts. 

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Call the Midwife! And Doula! And Photographer! And...

Call the Midwife! And Doula! And Photographer! And...

Have you watched any episodes of this drama on PBS? (If you do, make sure to have tissues handy!)

On "Call the Midwife" the nurse midwives, who all live together, make a regular habit of discussing patients, births, methodology, new science and techniques, old science and techniques and other maternity-related topics.  Not surprisingly, one of them often has an epiphany or needs the information for a tense scene later.

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After a Newborn Arrives, Why Is a Postpartum Doula Needed?

After a Newborn Arrives, Why Is a Postpartum Doula Needed?

Yes, a postpartum doula’s education, quiet support and guidance are a manifestation of the traditional postpartum support that our society is missing. Postpartum doulas offer evidence- based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and can make appropriate referrals when necessary. 

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Meet the Sponsors of the 2014 Natural Birth & Baby Expo - Happy Birth Way

Meet the Sponsors of the 2014 Natural Birth & Baby Expo - Happy Birth Way

The Tampa Bay Birth Network is proud to welcome sponsor Happy Birth Way to the 2014 Natural Birth & Baby Expo.  Happy Birth Way provides birth education, doula support, yoga and more to parents. The staff is passionate about empowering women to create a strong foundation for a happy family.

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Celebrating World Doula Week 2014

The purpose of World Doula Week ("WDW") is to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychologial health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period. The World Doula Week events will take place all over the world during the same week, stating the benefits of the presence of doulas in birth and in the postpartum period:

* Reduces the incidence of c-sections      

* May shorten the length of labor      

* Reduces epidural and analgesic requests      

* Increases breastfeeding initiation and continuation     

* Increases mother’s satisfaction of birth experience      

* Can reduce the incidence of postpartum mood disorders     

* Increases new parents’ confidence in the care of their newborn

Did a doula help you?  We'd love to hear about what doulas mean to you!  Share via comments or check us out on Facebook.

Birth, Breath and Death

Doulas are called to care, to encourage and to leave the world better than we found it.


When she was six months pregnant, my younger sister Rachel faced a painful marital separation. It proved too much for her to bear alone. She needed calm, security, friendship, and loving support. So did her soon-to-be-born daughter. My husband Clark and I opened our home and welcomed her with joy. She lived with us during the final trimester of her pregnancy, the birth, and the postpartum recovery.

Before she arrived, she called me. “Amy, will you be my birth partner?” she asked. I said yes. It was an answer that would change my life.

I projected confidence, yet inside I felt nervous, hesitant, and out of place. I knew next to nothing about childbirth. How could I support her through this rite of passage into motherhood?

While checking out a few books on birthing, I shared these fears with the librarian. “Have you considered hiring a doula?” she inquired. I had never heard this word before. I was grateful that she took a break from her work to educate me about the services that doulas provide birthing women.

The word “doula” comes from a Greek term meaning “woman servant.” Today, doulas master the art of providing skilled comfort measures to ease the pain of birth. They lovingly aid and attend to women in labor. Doulas stand at the doorway of life. They support birthing women as they transform into open vessels. Although the aim of midwives or an obstetric medical team is to safeguard the health of the mother and the child, a doula focuses on the mother. A doula mothers the mother.

I wanted to hire a doula for Rachel. Later that afternoon, I met up with her and enthusiastically shared my new discovery.

She laughed and said, “Amy, I don’t need a doula. I have you!”

I paused. “Well, I need a doula.”

So she humored me. We hired a doula. Rachel’s midwife fully supported us in bringing a doula on board. We found a wonderful woman, full of passion for her work. As a former opera singer, she sang like an angel. Her calming, beautiful melodies brought a great deal of peace to the early hours of labor.

When Rachel knocked on our bedroom door at 5:30 on a late March morning, I bolted upright. My beloved niece was soon to be born. Knowing our doula would arrive at our request brought tremendous relief and calmed any lingering trepidation. I wouldn’t be alone in supporting Rachel through the trials ahead. Our doula joined us for the vast majority of Rachel’s twenty-four-hour labor. Her helpful, kind, and informed presence proved invaluable.

Rachel quickly morphed into the bravest person I knew. Wonder and pain mixed into a strong elixir coursing through my sister’s beautiful body. We spent hours walking through the springtime fields behind our home. She labored in the upstairs tub as water washed over her rhythmic contractions. At the hospital, she moaned and rocked and said she felt agonizing pressure. She cried and bled. I massaged her body as she mercifully rested during the five-minute respites between contractions. These respites are nature’s wise gift to birthing women.

At one point as Rachel rested between pushing, our midwife turned to me and said, “You’d be a good doula.” Her words fell into the fertile soil of soon-to-manifest dreams.

Then Rachel’s cervix opened fully and the downward pressure compelled action.

While pushing, she compressed every bone in my hand. I didn’t dare say anything given what was happening to her vagina. The baby crowned. Then, with a hearty push, new life slipped out of Rachel’s watery, warm womb. A threshold opened, and my sister gave birth.

The energy in the room shifted with celebratory grace and tearful smiles. We welcomed this precious one to the earthly realm of gravity, air, and land. Rachel’s body handled the birth beautifully. She remained conscious, informed, and connected to the process even in the most difficult moments. Birth brings powerful and painful sensations to the most intimate spaces of the female body. My sister opened to this reality. I stood transfixed by the life-giving strength found in her feminine power. I certainly held a newfound respect for the vagina.

“A woman’s body knows what to do,” our midwife stated in the most matter-of-fact way.

Aztec elders taught that women who died in childbirth go to the same level of paradise as men who died in battle. After attending over forty births, I fully understood why. Soldiers die in battle from intense wounds. They bleed as they sacrifice for a greater cause. The same holds true for women who die in childbirth. They bleed as they open to life. The juxtaposition of beauty and pain in each birth astounds me. Each story lives in me. Following Rachel’s birth experience, I devoted myself to doula training.

Whether I’m teaching prenatal yoga to a Muslim mother pregnant with twins or closing my eyes in prayer as African-American Baptists petition the Lord for support during a difficult labor, the purpose of doula work inspires me to reflect upon the root of all ethical systems. Doulas offer a counterbalance to a medical system that places an inordinate amount of value on gadgets, medicine, and machines. Helpful and often life¬saving equipment need not eclipse the power of compassion.

Doulas are called to care, to encourage, and to leave the world better than we found it. Why not start where the world for each of us began? Why not begin with birth? Let us draw strength from birthing women who embody the goddess in her glory. Let us engage with our passions and birth our dreams. Let us meditate on the miracle of our own births. Let us honor the women who, through their very bodies, bestowed on us the gifts of life and life’s companion gift, the mystery of death.

This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of UU World (pages 14-15). This essay is excerpted with permission from Birth, Breath, & Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula, © 2013 Amy Wright Glenn. Illustration (above) © Daniel Nevins/ See sidebar for links to related resources.

Dee Pullen,

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network! 

We are happy to give you our next post in this series, an interview with Dee Pullen, who has been a birth professional for eighteen years.  

Tell us what you do? 

I am a doula, HypnoBirthing® practitioner, lactation counselor, birth videographer and I also rent a water birth tub to moms having home births. 

What is your mission?
To educate and empower moms so that they have births that make them thrilled to tell their birth stories. 
What do your credentials stand for?
CHBP: Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner (a teacher of the program)

CHBPLC: Certified HypnoBirthing Labor Companion (advanced training in how to use HypnoBirthing techniques in labor.)

I will be getting my HypnoBirthing Professional Doula certification in October.
I am the only professional HypnoBirthing Labor Companion in the state of Florida. 
Some people don't know what HynpoBirthing® is. Can you tell us? 
Sure! HypnoBirthing is both a method and philosophy of natural childbirth education enhanced by self-hypnosis techniques that allows women to release fear and have an easy comfortable birthing experience as nature intended. Moms learn deep relaxation and breathing techniques as well as deepening techniques to take her deeper in hypnosis. 
How do you teach it? What does it include? 
I teach both privately and in groups. We use in-class discussion, videos and practice sessions. The course includes a book, 2 CDs and many handouts. Mom listens to the Rainbow Relaxation every night as well as doing a practice session with her partner or birthing companion. There are scripts given out in class and included in the book, HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method. 

My next group HypnoBirthing class is starting on September 8th. 

How is hypnosis actually used? 
Before labor we do in-class sessions and mom practices self-hypnosis with the Rainbow CD and her partner. During her birthing time she uses self-hypnosis to take herself into relaxation and achieve a 'Lucy limp' (aka totally relaxed) state so that her body can do the work of birthing. 
What differences have you see it make for laboring mothers? 
I've seen moms who came to me scared and traumatized by previous birth experiences lose their fear and go on to have comfortable, joyous births. This happens frequently. 


Describe the other services that you offer? 
As a doula I support women in labor to have easy, comfortable births. I answer questions for moms and help them figure out what is best for them and their babies. I help dads (and other family members) help mom too. I explain what is going on so that the family can make good decisions about their care and that of their baby. 

As a CLC, I offer breastfeeding support to help moms and babies get off to a great start in life. 

I offer sibling classes. These are private classes I hold for children already in the pregnant household. I talk with the moms prior and we discuss whether she wants me to show a birth video. If a birth video is okay, is the direct shot of the birth okay? The material I choose is based on the age(s) of the child(ren) in the class. We talk about what babies can and can't do, how they eat (breastfeeding), how the older child feels about several things surrounding pregnancy, how they can be helpful during birth if present, and how they can be helpful when the new baby comes. I also read several children's birth related story books. 

I offer classes in "how to be a family doula" where I teach family members how to function as a doula at a birth so they can better support the laboring mom in their family. 

I also offer water birth tub rentals so that home birthing moms can increase their comfort during labor. 

 Tell us more about you and how you got into this line of work? 

I am a homebirth mom of two. I homeschooled both my children all the way through their educational career up to post-secondary. I was a librarian for 19 years before I retired to become a full time birth worker and homeschooling mom. The short version of how I got into this line of work is that I went to work for the midwife who received both my babies.


I have been a doula and childbirth educator since 1995.  I am an active advocate of birthing women. I keep firmly in mind that your birth builds your memories. It's important that your memories be ones that make you feel proud. 
We know that you've been one of the founding members of our active birthing community. So tell us about some of the other activities that you've been up to? 
I was on the board of directors for a birth center and midwifery school (The Delphi Center for Conscious Birth and The Delphi Center for Midwifery Studies.)

I have been running breastfeeding support groups for years. These are free and open to the public. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month at Totally Chiropractic in North Tampa. 

I have helped put together several birth related conferences and expos. I have attended 343 births, 348 babies! 


Are there any other statistics you want to share?
My c-section rate is about 14% out of almost 350 births. 
That is within the recommended rate set by the World Health Organization, and you're not even the primary care-provider for those women. Nice work, Dee! 
What locations do you service? 
Spring Hill to Sarasota, Gulf Coast to Lakeland. If a mom is within this geographical area, I will help her with her birth and breastfeeding.

And in closing...

My philosophy is that women are perfectly designed to give birth when empowered.  It’s my job to teach you to do that for yourself. I know that birth can be an amazing, life-changing event! 

If you'd like to reach Dee to inquire about her services visit her website here or give her a call at       (813) 933-2301. 

 For more information about HypnoBirthing check out 

Seeds Of Mommy Soul

Get to know the members of the Tampa Bay Birth Network! Our next installment.  


We interviewed Gaetane Joseph (pronounced Guy-ton), the face behind Seeds Of Mommy Soul. She is a Birth Doula and a Certified Lactation Counselor with a lot to offer our community. Let us introduce you! 

 As a Birth Doula what is your mission?

My mission is to provide quality services to expectant mothers and families with ongoing emotional and physical support during pregnancy and labor because ultimately every birth should be empowering, uplifting and positive. 

How did you get into this line of work?  

After the birth of my son in 2008 via cesarean, I had a very hard time breastfeeding. Not being one to give up, I exclusively pumped for 13 months in order to provide my son with breast milk. I soon became a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor volunteer which led me to work for Healthy Start. During my 2nd pregnancy, I began learning more about ways to prepare for my birth. In 2010, I delivered my daughter at home with the guidance of my Midwife and Doula. The compassion and attentiveness that my Doula provided was indescribable. I realized that it was a role I had envisioned for myself as a child growing up and into adulthood. I became a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) and Birth Doula soon after. Now as a mother of three, I have first hand experience with the true beauty of pregnancy and birth. As a Doula, I believe every expectant mother should experience the beauty of her birth as well.  

Tell us about yourself?
I was born in Haiti and raised in Miami where the multiple dynamics of cultures is prominent. At a very young age I became fascinated with pregnancy and birth and wanted to become an OBGYN. In high school I volunteered at my local hospital in labor and delivery. I witnessed two births during my volunteer work which became the catalyst to further my education. I graduated from USF with my Bachelors in Africana Studies and Women Studies after realizing Obstetrics wasn't really the direction I wanted to go. Ultimately, I wanted to care for laboring mothers not only physically but also emotionally; becoming a Doula would allow me to do so.


What services do you offer? 
I offer Doula support to a laboring mother and her family. As a trained Doula I am equipped with the tools to assist a laboring mother with comfort measures, initial breastfeeding support, and information for each family to make informed decisions. 
I also offer lactation support to mothers who are having some difficulties with breastfeeding. I assist mothers with initial breastfeeding, evaluating a proper latch, and referring for additional breastfeeding support as needed. 

What locations do you service? 
I service Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, and Polk County. I will support families in the comfort of their home, hospital, and birthing centers. 

How will families benefit from your services? 
Families will benefit from my services by having access to communicate with me all throughout pregnancy (via email, voice, or text), receive information and resources from me to help them make informed decisions, receive assistance in initial breastfeeding support, and receive encouragement during such a precious time in their lives. 
Anything else you want to share with us? 
As a mother, I have had the honor to birth my children and have taken into account all the support that comes along with this role. Being equipped with the resources to birth your baby is fundamental to having the birth you want. As a Doula I respect the mother and partners choice and am always honored to be a part of their journey. 
You can reach Gaetane at her Seeds Of Mommy Soul website and check her out on facebook at:

What is Spinning Babies?


We just hosted a wonderful, educational and inspiring Spinning Babies workshop. It was a great success.  

What is Spinning Babies? It is a compilation of information, tools and techniques put together by CPM, Gail Tully, that a doula, midwife or birth worker can use to to help baby get into position for birth. Spinning babies helps support a normal, natural childbirth.

From Gail's website:

"Babies settle in the easiest position they can for birth. In labor, they begin from that position to turn to rotate through the pelvis... like a key unlocking the door. Mother’s job is to dilate; Baby’s job is to rotate. Easier rotation may mean an easier labor.

The ideal, or optimal, fetal position is head down with baby's back to your front or left. A good fetal position helps the cervix open more easily and labor progress smoothly."

A mal-positioned baby can have a harder time making his way through the birth canal, or can be stalled altogether. Often this can lead to a cesarean. Mothers with breech babies (presenting with their feet, foot or butt first) are not offered support for natural childbirth by our current medical system. They are told their only option is a cesarean. 


Gail shared tools and techniques to help labor progress smoothly by improving babies position.

Much importance is often put on dilation, and how many centimeters dilated a mother is. We learned that while dilation must happen, knowing where the baby is stationed within the pelvis (inlet, mid-pelvis, outlet) and the techniques to use in labor to help baby through each of these points in the pelvis, is just as important. 

We were reminded that birth is a natural and normal event. The most important thing a caregiver and support person can do for mom during this sacred time is to honor her, give her the space to act according to her instincts, make her feel comfortable, loved, relaxed and calm. For the majority of women we are simply there to witness their glory.

Occasionally labor stalls and we have tools we can offer to help move it along. We learned the theory of these tools, demonstrated with some amazing props, and we got to practice putting them into use. By using these tools we can help moms have a smooth birth and avoid cesareans. They are a small but important part of our bag of tricks.

But always our most important job is to be there for women and mother them while they transition into motherhood themselves.

We are very happy that we were able to organize this training for the local Tampa Bay Birth professionals. Gail has a few more stops in Florida, including a workshop this Saturday in Orlando. Check out her scheduled events for availability. You can also purchase her workbook on her website, and study up more about Spinning Babies. We highly recommend this information to all birth workers.