Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Meet Birthmarks: 2015 Natural Birth and Baby Sponsor

Birthmarks wants to help you find your tribe!  They have a passion for bringing like-minded individuals together to receive multiple services relating to a holistic approach to health, life, pregnancy and birth in their beautiful facility.  More than anything, their goal is to create a sense of community and support for the families they serve.

Read More

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.

Read More

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!  

Read More

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.

Read More

Empowered Birth: Do You Know Your Options?

Empowered Birth: Do You Know Your Options?

As part of its ongoing mission to serve the greater Tampa Bay community, TBBN is pleased to offer free, public seminars on understanding care and delivery options in childbirth.  "We believe that knowledgeable women are empowered women," said Tampa Bay Birth Network president, Christie Collbran. "When parents-to-be are presented with facts in a low-pressure environment, they're able to imagine their child's birth and make the best choices for themselves."

Read More

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.

Read More

Don't Ask, Just Do

How often do we give authority to other people when it rightfully belongs to us?

My friend -- the one who had a cesarean for her second baby (breech) and whose third baby was breech until a successful ECV -- had her third baby several weeks ago. It was a precipitous labor, and she made it to the hospital just minutes before her baby was born. I was hoping to drive out for the birth, but when she called me in the middle of the night with contractions that were 1-2 minutes apart,I knew there was no way I'd make the 3-hour drive before her baby was born.


She told me me her story later on that day and a few things jumped out at me. Once she made it to the birth room, the nurse said, "now let's get you on the monitor." She said, "no way!" and went to the bathroom, where her water broke with a dramatic gush . She started feeling really pushy, so she headed back into the room. The nurse said, "let's get you on the bed." She said, "no way, I'm lying down!" Instead, she grabbed a Chux pad, knelt on the floor next to the bed, and pushed her baby out a few minutes later.

I was present when she had her second (breech) baby. She went into labor when the one OB who did vaginal breeches was out of town, so she knew she was heading for a cesarean. She labored for several hours at the hospital before consenting to the surgery. During that time, if she didn't want to be on the monitors, she'd simply unplug herself and march into the bathroom. When she was done laboring in the bathroom, she'd go plug herself back in, standing up and swaying next to the bed. She didn't ask permission to get off the monitors--she just did it. Because of her "I know what I'm doing; don't mess with me!" attitude, the nurses didn't bother her.

This is the same woman who, during her first birth, gave birth kneeling.It was the first time her OB had ever seen an upright birth. My friend had tried to lie down as requested but found it impossibly painful, so she got up on her knees and stayed there. She would have preferred to give birth standing up, but knelt as a concession to the OB, who was nonplussed enough as it was with my friend's unconventional birth position.

How many times have we read stories where laboring women weren't "allowed" to get out of bed, where the nurses wouldn't "let" them get off the monitors, or where the doctor said they "had" to lie down to push and couldn't change positions? This has happened to many, many people I know both personally and through my blog.

I don't want to minimize the enormous power institutional and medical authority have over laboring women. Nor am I implying that it was a failure of the individual laboring woman when she was told she couldn't do x or yNot at all


What if we simply stopped asking permission? What if we simply did what we wanted to? What if the mantra of laboring women became "don't ask, just do"?

Don't ask if you can eat or drink. Just do it. Don't ask if you can get out of bed or walk around or go to the bathroom. Don't ask if you can change positions or give birth kneeling or squatting. Just do it. 

Do it with confidence. Do it with an "I know what I'm doing, and please don't mess with me!" attitude.

Just do it.

Let's joinDr. Michelle Harrison's vision of a new womanly revolution, from her book A Woman in Residence:

"I used to have fantasies at Doctors Hospital about women in a state of revolution. I saw them getting up out of their beds and refusing the knife, refusing to be tied down, refusing to submit – whether they are in childbirth or when they were forty and having a hysterectomy for a uterus no longer considered useful. Women’s health care will not improve until women reject the present system and begin instead to develop less destructive means of creating and maintaining a state of wellness."

Dr. Rixa Freeze has a longstanding personal and professional interest in childbirth, maternity care, breastfeeding, and women’s issues. Learn more about about her and read the original post of this blog.

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 

Laura Irmis - Artist, Educator, Doula

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

Let us introduce you to Laura Irmis.

 Laura Irmis, Artist, Educator, Doula

Laura Irmis, Artist, Educator, Doula

Tell us about you? 
I am a childbirth educator, henna artist and postpartum doula working to normalize and revalue all aspects of motherhood in our society via education, outreach, support, community events and activism. I am passionate about educating and empowering expectant mothers and couples about their options and choices for a beautiful birth journey. 
How did you get into this line of work? 
Birth changed me. During my first pregnancy my husband and I took Bradley Method classes and the passion of empowerment overtook me. I consumed myself in understanding birth and American birth practices. I wanted to make my own decisions about my body and my birth. As I continued to transform as a mother I realized how impactful birth could be for the rest of our lives. I felt the need to share this with other mothers in hopes they could feel the same joy and empowerment in their birth(s) and lives. 
What services do you offer? 

I am a Certified Childbirth Educator in the Bradley Method, however I offer both private and group classes. The childbirth classes I teach prepare the couple together on their journey. My classes stress the importance of Healthy Baby, Healthy Mother and Healthy Families. I attract families who are willing to take the responsibility needed for preparation and birth. I share a wide variety of information making each course specific to the students needs; it's a very custom and comprehensive course. Think of it as an all-in-one childbirth class. 

With my henna art, I create designs or freehand style to make the pregnant mother feel even more magical! Henna body art is an ancient way to honor the pregnant woman's inner strength as she prepares for birth. I combine essential oils in henna paste, a natural stain found in crushed henna leaves, for a beautiful expressive experience. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 10.25.05 AM.png
As a postpartum doula I offer support during the postpartum phase and "mother the mother." Things I can help with are: 
  • Routine newborn care and education in bathing, cord care, diapering, calming techniques, and newborn nutrition and development.  
  • Assistance in unexpected outcomes in providing support, guidance, and information
  • Help taking care of you and your baby so you can rest
  • Breastfeeding support and education
  • Pumping assistance
  • Phone and email support throughout your pregnancy and early postpartum period
  • Access to my lending library of childbirth materials to support your learning in preparing for birth, breastfeeding and newborn care.  
  • Newborn care in general.  
  • Helping care for siblings.  

What locations do you service? 

St. Petersburg and surrounding Tampa Bay areas. 

Could you share a success story from a family that received your services?

I have several testimonials that my students have given me; here is one of my favorites:
 "My birth was the most exhausting, yet the most exhilarating day of my entire life. I just want to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart for teaching me, encouraging me, etc. I couldn't have done it without you and trust me when I say you are going to make such an impact on so many people's lives if you continue on the path you are on. I have never felt so strong in all my life and I have such an amazing sense of pride that I didn't even know was possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you... A million times thank you!" - The Millers 

Are there any events coming up that people should know about? 
My next Bradley Method class begins September 11, 2013 at the Growing Up store in St. Pete. Seats fill quickly, sign up now! 
The Improving Birth rally will be happening on Labor Day, Monday September 2nd, 10:00 am - noon. We are working on finalizing the details and will announce the final location and specifics very soon. You can visit or find us on facebook here: 

Anything else to share? 
As a ceramic artist, I have been super busy creating birth focused work. I am getting my hands dirty creating a new series including meditation labyrinths, "Fruitful Sculptures", inspirational hearts, essential oil burners and functional pottery. Visit here to see my work. 
To connect up with Laura check out her site at: or give her a call at: 727-560-0340.



Childbirth Options Seminar Success

The Tampa Bay Birth Network hosts regular free educational Childbirth Options seminars for our community. Our next one is scheduled for July 13th, 3:00 pm at Suncoast Waldorf school and it is a "Meet The Midwives" theme. There will be childcare provided. Come join us, bring a friend, meet other expecting couples and birth professionals and learn about your local birth options!



 "Before even becoming pregnant I knew I wanted to have a natural birth. Once I was pregnant I started doing research to find a place where I could receive prenatal care and that would also respect my birth plan. In looking for those resources I came upon the Tampa Bay Birth Network. Their website had great resources. At that time they were offering the Childbirth Options seminar. I had discussed with my husband my wishes to have a natural birth possibly outside of a hospital environment. He was not 100% sure that it would be the best option. He agreed to attend the Childbirth Options Seminar. After attending the seminar, my birth plan turn out to be OUR birth plan; my husband was 100% with me. The Tampa Bay Birth Network presenters did such a great job. Also, having the opportunity to speak one on one with members of the network really helped us as well. We felt welcomed and felt comfortable to ask questions. I would recommend this seminar to anyone that wants to obtain more information on childbirth options in the Tampa Bay area, and especially if you are wanting to enlighten your partner or a family member as to why you have made certain choices related to your baby's birthday." - R.H.