Doula for a VBAC

Parent Q&A

Midwife/Doula recommendations for VBAC Sep 1, 2019 (9 responses below)
Alta Bates Doula for VBAC? Apr 19, 2017 (5 responses below)
  • Midwife/Doula recommendations for VBAC

    (9 replies)

    Looking for recommendations for an experienced midwife/doula to help support VBAC. My first pregnancy was healthy and full term but had second stage arrest during labor, the baby did not descend despite 4 hours of pushing which ended up in a C section. The baby  was 7lbs and I am not a petite person, we both did very well. I wondered if her failure to descend could be attributed to pelvic misalignment, she was initially breech but then was manually turned at 36 weeks . Now that I am expecting  my second child, I wanted to be proactive about keeping my pelvis well aligned to encourage optimal baby positioning and try for a VBAC. Would love recommendations on midwives/doulas who can help support that, any positive experiences and other resources which would help me achieve my goal. Thanks

    I had a wonderful experience with Ellie and Gwen at Golden Oak Midwives! I definitely recommend them. They are located in Oakland and I know they help mothers with VBACs.

    I highly recommend you look into Spinning Babies (website) - which works on baby positioning and has a list of practitioners with Spinning Babies training. I used Ilka Fanni as my doula for my VBAC- she was great and I'd highly recommend her as she is highly experienced with baby positioning and VBACs. She also teaches a Spinning Babies class which is also helpful. I did also decide to use a chiropractor to help with alignment- not sure if it mattered or not. 

    My midwife Michelle Borok was amazing. I had my second baby in May and she was also a VBAC. My first was breech and was a csection. Working with Michelle was a healing and incredible experience.

  • Alta Bates Doula for VBAC?

    (5 replies)

    I'm considering a VBAC (although still undecided) for my second child due in Sept. and will be delivering at Alta Bates with the Sutter East Bay Foundation OB group. While I'm still undecided on the VBAC, I wanted to see what that option would look like and I know if I go that route, I want to use a doula. If anyone has any recommendations on East Bay based (preferably close to Oakland) doulas who are experienced with VBACs, I'd love to get some names and hear about experiences! I'm also hoping to find a doula with a practical, medical based approach (even better if they have nursing or midwifery experience!). Thanks in advance-

    RE: Alta Bates Doula for VBAC? ()

    I highly recommend Stacy Hattori.  She was my doula at Alta Bates for both of my pregnancies/deliveries. For my first child I was induced and ended up having a C-section, the second was a VBAC.  She is amazing.  I was highly anxious for both births for differing reasons.  She helped calm me (and my husband) and help advocate for what I wanted while also being extremely respectful of the medical professionals and their opinions.  I've recommended her to two friends who were similarly pleased with her. 

    RE: Alta Bates Doula for VBAC? ()


    I am expecting my first any moment now. I have done all my pre-natal check ups with Sutter and will be delivering at Alta Bates. So I can't speak to my experience giving birth at Alta bates, I can say all the classes we have had there and the support from Sutter so far has been awesome. They are much more on the side of less medical intervention if at all possible and more on the "mid-wife" type model while still all being MDs. In addition, we hired a doula to help us through the process. Our doula is Blythe Lee (3Daughters doula). We have done 3 pre-natal visits with her and she is amazing. She is incredibly intelligent, down to earth and an interesting person overall.  The pre-natal sessions we have had with her have been very practical and her information is based on the current research and knowledge about child birth (I am a scientist and have spent probably too much time looking up the recent lit on childbirth). I believe she had started a nursing degree but was unable to finish it due to life circumstances. She has been a doula for many years and has trained many of the other doulas in the area. I'm happy to give you an update after my baby arrives if you are interested.


    RE: Alta Bates Doula for VBAC? ()

    I cannot recommend my doula enough... Melissa: She's got many, many years of experience as a doula and is currently studying to be a midwife so she really knows it all yet is price-competitive with lesser-experienced doulas. She is always available via text or phone for questions and provides more visits pre- and post-birth than other doulas I spoke to. I had 100% trust in her to help us through difficult decisions during labor. The only downside is that she's in Napa, but she travels to you for the visits so other than needing a little more time to get to you when labor starts, it's not an issue. Good luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Doula experienced with VBACs

June 2011

I'm thinking of attempting a VBAC, and I'm looking for recommendations for a doula with experience with VBACs. We're going to deliver at either Kaiser Oakland or Kaiser Walnut Creek. Thanks! anonymous

Linda Jones-Mixon helped me have a successful (and joyful) VBAC at Alta Bates. She understood my desire to achieve this type of birth and helped me get through the labor and delivery when I needed her strength most. I found her from other posts on BPN, but you can also find her on LinkedIn now. She was also helpful in soothing the (unfounded) fears my husband had about VBAC. I hope your L goes well and you can get the VBAC you want. It really helps to stay away from the hospital for as long as you can! proud VBAC momma

We had the most tramatic experience with doula Linda Jones-Mixon. I was so excited when she came to our house to interview and she was african american-- being an african american lesbian myself. But she fell asleep in the most comfortable chair in our hospital room when my wife had to sleep in a metal fold up chair while we waited for me to progress further... she did not suggest anything to help me along with the progress. long story short my blood pressure dropped dramatically... we ended up doing a c-section... left the hospital within 32hrs. our choice. And did not do post anything with her. She took our money, did not give us photos of us laboring at home. I should have gone with a midwife. kim

Carolynn Melchert, a very experienced birth and postpartum doula who works with our twins, has VBAC experience. She is amazing in every way. Her contact info: devidreams [at] 510.654.2384


VBAC with a doula?

Jan-Feb 2004

I'm expecting baby #2 in late March. My last pregnancy ended with an emergency c-section. I'm hoping to have better luck this time around, and to help luck along, I'd like to find a doula who has experience assisting moms in my situation to have a natural VBAC. I've looked on the website but didn't see any date for the recommendations listed there, so I'd appreciate hearing recent stories of positive experiences with doulas and VBACs. Many thanks.

I haven't done it, but if I were to give birth again, it would be a VBAC, and I would not hesitate to hire my friend Samantha Armer, ''Birthday And Beyond.'' (lezelda AT or 655-9200) She is very nurturing, soothing, and tough as nails when she needs to. She is also a fantastic, flexible cook for afterward, when you just need to eat and sleep and take care of your baby. Jennie

Hi, You don't say where you'll be delivering or who your OB or midwife is. I'm a labor and delivery nurse at Alta Bates. What the doula does will be no different for you for a woman who has no prior CS, which is giving you labor support which will hopefully assist you to avoid pain medication during labor and giving you a positive experience. Is this your goal with a doula? She can not actually help you avoid a repeat CS. You're going to attempt a TOLAC (trial of labor after caserean) --(it's not a VBAC until after successful vaginal delivery). What IS important is your doctor's track record of actually letting his/her patients have a genuine trial of labor. A good number of MDs are shy of TOLACs and there is a hospital (I think in the Sacramento or Davis area) that refuses TOLACs, no matter what the mom wants. Good luck! anonymous

Amy Hyams (415-206-0138) supported me and my partner through a successful VBAC last week. (Amy is S.F.-based, but works with many East Bay clients, and conducts prenatals at your E.B. location, in addition to attending births at all the usual East Bay spots. She also works with E.B. clients planning S.F.-based births.)

Amy combines incredible resourcefulness and knowledge with an unusual level of emotional support. Amy helped me strategize about how to deal with the doctors in my practice, including one who didn't seem very positive about the VBAC; she also helped me cope with the emotional side of hearing some of those negative messages from my medical team--from the prenatal visits through the birth. Amy's suggestions actually helped me take my second birth and all my preparations for it to a higher level. At the same time, I always felt that Amy was on top of all the practical details, a consummate professional. (She's a former project manager, and it shows. Great organizational and people skills, can-do attitude, and if she doesn't know something, she finds out.) And she's very much a liason in relation to the medical staff--non-confrontational, but always helping me and my partner make our own decisions based on all the available information.

My second labor was very long and it was not clear until the last two hours that it would be a successful VBAC instead of a repeat C-section. Amy was there for me throughout (hands on, lots of massage, etc.) and she helped me decide after 40 plus hours that I was not ready to give up; I'll never forget the tears in her eyes as she watched the birth of my son. Amy helped make this birth an incredibly healing experience. Of course, I'd recommend her services (which include wonderful postpartum support) to any expecting mom. Hilary

I had a VBAC for my second child with doula, Treesa McLean. She was fabulous. Very supportive, very flexible, humorous, easy going and not too touchy feely(which is what I wanted). I told her I would like to do the VBAC without drugs if possible, but to ''get me the drugs'' if I was really begging and screaming. Well, I begged and screamed, and she very gingerly told me ''it's too late, you have to push now''! I still to this day do not know how I did it through all the pain, but was so glad she was with me and my husband. Her number is: (510) 581-1013. She is very busy and books up quickly. I secured her for my birth in the first 2 months of my pregnancy. A VBACer

I'm sorry that I don't have a doula to recommend, but wanted to encourage you in your search. The poster who thought that a doula could not help you have a VBAC perhaps meant that using a doula cannot guarantee one. There is a fairly large literature, beginning with a seminal study by Klaus and Kennell (and which includes randomized, prospective studies) that finds that using a doula is associated with lower odds of a caesarian delivery. The reductions in the rate of caesarian delivery found have been as large as 50 percent. Statistically speaking, a doula seems like an effective thing to try in your quest for a VBAC. anon

I had a successful VBAC three years after my son was born. I did not use a doula with the cesarian birth. I hired Linda Jones-Mixon as my doula for the VBAC. She is great! She was relaxed and humorous, yet kept close watch on the monitors and hospital staff to give me feedback throughout my labor. She helped me focus and take one contraction at a time. I labored and delivered without drugs. What a difference between c-section and vaginal birth! It was so wonderful to be alert when my daughter was born. I found my daughter was more alert too. From what I have researched, Doulas run $800 to $1000. If you want to contact Linda, you can find her at her store, Pickles and Ice Cream on Shattuck Ave. in N. Berkeley (soon to change the name to Waddle and Swaddle). The number is 510-540-7210. I also found the Sears' Birthing Book very helpful. You might also check out the Jan/Feb 2002 issue of Mothering magazine which had a few articles on VBACs. Good luck! Jennifer

I wish you all the very best with a VBAC. I became pregnant very soon (7 mos) after my C-section and was scared stiff about, not only delivering, but trying for a VBAC. I hired Lindy Johnson as my midwife and she was wonderful and I successfully had a beautiful VBAC. I know that you specifically asked about a doula but if you can at all swing having a midwife, I cannot recommend it enough. The more you surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you and help you realize that it is possible..the more possible it becomes. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directily at my email address. All the very best! Liz

I had a great VBAC experience about 13 months ago thanks to Linda Jones-Mixon, a doula that I seeked out because of all the positive reviews in this UC parent's network. Linda was great and met all my needs in a short amount of time. I think we started talking only 8 weeks before my due date! I was really not sure if I wanted a VBAC and was comfortable to do a c-section again. But as soon as I realistically came to the conclusion that coming home to a toddler after a c-section was not going to be comfortable for the whole family, and instantly bonded with Linda and knew that I was going to be ''relaxed'' with her by my side, I was less panicked about the delivery. I interviewed a couple of other doulas and Linda is not cheap by any means- she was the most expensive that I interviewed. But quite frankly, labor is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (even if you have more than one birth, it seems every exeprience is different), and I chose Linda because of her years and years of experience and just because I felt very comfortable with her. Good luck. VBAC was certainly a great experience for me. I would definitely do it over again (with Linda on my side again!) Gina

I had a wonderful VBAC at Alta Bates in November. I did use a doula and it was one of the best decisions of my life. My husband and I both found her to be absolutely fabulous. She met with us twice before the birth to review labor and delivery issues, address any issues of particular concern to us and to talk about planning for the labor. She lent us many very helpful videos and books (one I particularly liked about VBAC was by Carl Jones), including one about helping the older sibling to adjust to the new baby (how this would affect our 2 year old was a big concern of ours). She came to our house at 4 AM when labor was in full swing and was at my side until the moment of birth in early afternoon. She visited us a few days after the birth to see that all was well. She really helped me and my husband to feel prepared and confident and she was a gem during labor. I would definitely recommend a doula for any woman giving birth, VBAC or not. The doula we used is not taking new clients right now, but Birthways can give you referrals. I think most doulas meet with you and your partner before being hired to see if you all feel it is a good match. It is important to feel comfortable and to see if you are on the same page about labor issues, etc. We paid $800 for her services. At a time when we don't have any extra cash, this was still money very well spent. I hope this is helpful. Good luck and congratulations. Another Mom

I am writing regarding the request for a doula for a VBAC posted last week. I am doula and with personal VBAC experience. I had a wonderful VBAC one year ago and would love to work with you. Please feel free to call me or write regarding your upcoming birth. My email is BirthSpirit AT and my phone number is 841-4079. Michlene

I would like to recommend Karen Hill. SHe is a licensed massage therapist, and as well as a (relatively)new Mom. She brings experience from both these livelyhoods to her career as a Doula, and she is incredibly sweet to boot. She is also training to be a birth educator, so she really brings a lot to the table. I only have her work number (510) 222.2500 (for a massage) but they can arrange to have her call you! Give her a try! Shahana