I began attending births "as a supportive friend" in 2000. It resonated so deeply and I was really, really good at it - but I didn't know it had a name or was a "thing" until 2007. I was reading Ina May's Guide To Childbirth with a friend I was preparing to support in labor and came across the term "doula". I felt like I had found my purpose within that one word and immediately began looking into ways to officially become a doula.
I trained through and certified with DONA International mostly because I wanted to be well trained and have credibility. I chose not to recertify as I did not feel fulfilled or supported (at all) through the process and instead developed my own successful doula business and certification program to teach women the art of being a doula in a more hands-on, team environment.
My Experience Timeline:
In addition to my ongoing education, I am constantly reading, researching,
listening to and participating in seminars and workshops.
I have also given birth 3 times and have attended over 100 Births.
listening to and participating in seminars and workshops.
I have also given birth 3 times and have attended over 100 Births.
WeeHands | Supporting & Celebrating Mothers
Mommy Talk | Breastfeeding In Public?
What Is Wisdom? w/Marriah Star
This testimonial is for dads. I am a dad who doesn't know what he would have done without his doula, Juliea Paige. Our first child was born via C-section, and I wanted to do everything possible to help my wife have a natural childbirth the second time around. I wanted it for her, because it seemed to me that this was an experience that all women should have. So I wasn't skeptical at all when my wife discussed using a doula for our second pregnancy.
We met a few doulas, and none of them seemed to be the right fit until we met Juliea Paige. My wife and I liked Juliea’s calm and positive demeanor, her views on pregnancy and labor, and her positive references from area doctors. As a father, I felt like Juliea would work with me to help me be a better coach.
Natural childbirth can be scary for many reasons, but the most intimidating thing for me were the unknowns. Not knowing when labor would start or how long it would take or how intense it would be. Not knowing if our doctor would be on call, or if we would be able to do everything in our birth plan. It was good to know that we could count on Juliea being there for us when the big day finally came. Not everything went the way we had hoped, but despite this, we were able to deliver our second son naturally, and Juliea was a big reason for this. She helped both of us to remain calm and focused, and it was a great experience because of her support. What I realized after the thrill of childbirth wore off was that it wasn't just my wife that needed this experience. I needed this experience too. Comforting my wife through contractions, helping her to push during labor, actually seeing my child being born-these were all experiences I needed. They changed me, they helped to make me a better husband, father and man. Juliea helped me to have these experiences, and I am grateful to her. I would recommend Juliea to any dad who might be skeptical about using a doula.
John Joyner / Grand Rapids
My name is Melanie Krenselewski and Juliea was my doula for the birth of my first daughter Leila. Not only has she been a wonderful friend of my husband and I, but she has been incredibly supportive through every phase of my pregnancy and birth. She is such a strong woman and I go to her with just about any problem and always have support. Even if she can't help, she always makes a point to find the resources I need. She cares very much for not only her friends, but strangers in need. I love her for that and appreciate all of her hard work. She stayed with me for 40 hours of my labor! I honestly think she was a rock for my husband and I during that difficult time. And I'm soooo thankful for that! I would recommend her to anyone who wants to have loving and compassionate support during childbirth. Especially in a hospital atmosphere. Even just her soothing touch can help to refocus and calm down. She's great at what she does!! <3
I came to know Juliea and Crowning Lotus through mutual friends a year or so before I became pregnant. Because of her fiercely passionate advocacy for women and birth, she was the first person I called when I learned of my pregnancy. I had planned on birthing at home, but ended up in hospital due to a very long labor. In the first Juliea (and Chastity in the early stages) helped calm, reassure and comfort me, and ultimately in the hospital helped me navigate the system so that my submitted birth plan was upheld. This was huge as there were moments when I was incapacitated (as was my husband) and Juliea was paying attention and heard the doctors giving orders to proceed with measures I didn't want at that stage. Having someone there to advocate on my behalf at a time when I was vulnerable is valuable beyond words.
Another important point I'd like to make particularly for women who might be turned off by a Pagan-vibe; I am a person of faith, whose world-view is informed by the teachings of Jesus Christ through the Bible. I felt not only respected by the Juliea and the women of Crowning Lotus, but that we're ultimately on the same page though our language may differ at times. I would encourage any woman of like faith and world-view, to consider using Crowning Lotus. I believe you will be blessed in doing so."
-Karisa Sprite / Grand Rapids
When I was pregnant with my daughter last year, I called Juliea because she came highly recommended! I really wanted to have a natural childbirth! From my initial meeting with Juliea, I absolutely knew she was the right person to help me through my journey. My husband and I met with her several times during my pregnancy. She was there for me throughout my entire 9 mos., answering any questions we had and constantly reassuring me that I could do this. She also helped me write my detailed birth plan, which I could not have done without her help and knowledge. Because of Juliea, I had the most amazing labor I could have ever had. I gave birth with no epideral or drugs and she was there to help me through it....keeping me calm and focused. My baby was also posterior when I was in labor. To the Dr.'s amazement, within minutes, Juliea rocked the baby and flipped her around using a large fabric sling.. All I can say is I would recommend her to anyone! I can't imagine not using her again in my next pregnancy!
She also performed our daughter's baby blessing ceremony. We thought it was perfectly fitting to have the person that helped bring her into the world also help to celebrate her being in this world with us. It was such a beautiful and personal ceremony. We couldn't have been happier!
Don't forget to add a doula to your birth team! Doulas are a key component to having the type of labor and birth experience you envision for yourself, and Juliea is the best. Juliea has the natural ability to put anyone at ease and brings out the confidence a woman needs during labor. Juliea was my doula for the birth of my second child. I had two years prior delivered my daughter naturally in a hospital setting with the assistance of another wonderful doula and CNM. And this time my husband and I opted for birthing at home. And while I knew that my body is wonderfully capable of birthing babies naturally, I also knew that I would not feel wholly at ease without a doula that I trust and thus my husband and I decided to ask Juliea to be our doula.
On Christmas morning I began to experience irregular contractions. By evening the contractions had developed a pattern and were growing in strength and frequency. At around 9 pm Juliea and our midwife arrived. While my midwife did a brief examination to help determine my current progress Juliea transformed the designated birthing space, setting up a Reiki grid, playing some wonderful meditation music. My midwife determined that at the time I was only dilated to 2 cm. and that I should get some rest, she would be going home and planning on hearing from me later. Juliea asked if she could give me a nice session of Reiki and crystal therapy before she left for home also planning on returning for the actual labor later. I gladly consented and this is where some magic happened! After the reiki and crystal therapy labor kicked RAPIDLY into high gear. Juliea had only been gone for 15 minutes, the time being 10:15 pm, when my husband called her requesting that she return because I had definitely transitioned. For the following hour and forty minutes of incredibly intense labor Juliea stayed by my and my husband's side performing reiki and keeping us both centered, focused, and confident. At 11:55 pm I stood and delivered my son, who entered the world in the caul. Tears of joy were shared by all it was truly a beautiful and magical experience in which Juliea played a most important role.
I have known Juliea for a few years now, and I know that she is an incredibly smart and talented woman. I did not use her as a doula as I wanted my husband and I to do it on our own, however I learned a lot from her that helped me get thru my delivery, and I knew that if I decided that I did need her there that she would be there for me at the drop of a hat. She's a great resource for information, and has a lot of experience with the pregnancy and birthing process, and also nursing. My daughter is now 5 months old and we are still going strong with breast feeding, but if it weren't for Juliea and her knowledge and amazing support I wouldn't have made it past month 1. There is no way that I would have gotten thru it all and been able to enjoy it as much as what I have if it were not for her. I'm very blessed to have her as my friend, and I would totally recommend her services to anyone. She's phenomenal.
I would like to speak about my experience having Juliea Paige as my doula during the birth of my daughter. As this was my first child, I wanted to be surrounded by strong and empowering women, to lend strength and courage during that scary and new journey I would soon be on. I had met Juliea a couple of years prior to becoming pregnant and when I found out she was becoming a doula, I knew that I wanted her by my side. She always carried herself with such confidence in her ability as a mother and a strong woman, that just having her as a friend inspired me to stand for what I believed in. And the birth experience was definitely something that i needed a guiding hand to let me know what was OK to ask for.
As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I assumed that one day I'd have to endure tremendous pain and jumped to the conclusion of an epidural right off the bat. After speaking to Juliea and understanding all of my options and all of the risks, I felt confident that I wanted an all natural labor and birth experience. I knew what I would be up against, since I had tested positive for Strep B, there would be more limitations based on hospital regulations. I knew that I needed someone who could remind me to be strong even during some of my weakest moments. She was perfect for the job.
My husband was on board after he understood the benefits of having a doula. We both knew that nurses have other patients and that we were not experienced in the whole birthing process. Juliea acted as a comforter for us both. She reassured me that I was doing great, and she reassured my husband that we were getting 100% attention if something were to go wrong. And let me tell you, quite a few things went wrong. I know that most first time mothers have an average of 12 hour labors, ours was a total of 40 hours, and Juliea was there supporting us every minute of it.
I had gone into labor on a weekend when my midwife was not on call. So of course, with my luck, I had to have the male doctor on-call, whom I'd never met. I have never had a male OB and was very uncomfortable with the idea of him being the one to deliver my child. My feelings stand confirmed, as I had a very bad experience with his beliefs and bedside manner.
When I went into labor, the triage nurses knew that I didn't want any drugs, and they were very supportive of that. Juliea was there to show me how to breath through the contractions and held me up when i felt like collapsing. She helped me get through 26 hours of labor with no drugs. I am very proud to say that I made it that long. However, I would find out after all that time that I was only dialated to 4 centimeters. My level of exhaustion was off the charts. No one pushed me to get an epidural, everyone was well aware of my wishes, but I was beating myself up inside for even thinking about getting one. I was so convicted in my choice of a natural birth, it was a very hard decision to make. Juliea was incredibly supportive when I finally made the decision to get the epidural and pitocin. She understood me at such a deep level, and reassured me that it was ok to rest and gather the last bit of strength I had left for the big moment to come.
The most difficult part of my birthing experience was dealing with the doctor. I was aware that there were cases of patients not given their rights, for whatever reason, and I was very concerned about my own. My first impression of this man was very poor. At around 39 hours of labor, I was finally fully dilated and incredibly exhausted. I requested about 20 minutes of alone time with my husband. And I am very thankful for that special time. I was able to look my husband in the eyes and hold him, completely taking in the experience, as in a few minutes our lives were about to change. My nurse was wonderful and completely respected my decision. The doctor, on the other hand, was very rude to our nurse in the hallway, just loud enough for us to hear that something was "wrong". Looking back at our video tape of the birth, I can hear myself asking the nurse if she was alright when she came back into the room. I knew right then that I didn't like how this man was treating his staff, and worried about how he would treat me.
Juliea was right by my side, and my husband on the other. Both were preparing me with kind words and soft touch, something that I requested for ways to comfort me. I felt very excited and completely confident in my ability to give birth. I was READY.
I am still unsure of how it came up, but the doctor started pushing me to have a C-Section delivery. Maybe because my labor was so long, or maybe he was upset because I wasn't pushing the moment that I dialated to 10 centimeters, whatever the reason, he was not nice in expressing his opinion that I should deliver with a C-Section. He actually asked me, "Well, do you want your baby to DIE?"
The calmness that Juliea had helped me achieve was instantly gone and I went into a full-blown panic attack, yelling and crying, that I obviously did not want that. He changed the mood of the room from such a peaceful setting, into a very stressful and intense setting. I am extremely thankful for having Juliea by my side during that time. My husband was incredibly upset by the doctor's comments and attitude, and if it weren't for Juliea's calm and reassuring nature, I know that he would have said something to the doctor to further intensify the situation.
During delivery, Juliea was right next to my ear telling me over and over again to focus, that I was doing the right thing, that my baby would be healthy and that everything would be just fine. She counted and breathed with me and single-handedly brought me back to a state of calm and focus on the birth of my daughter.
I am very thankful for all of the love and support from her. She was absolutely an asset to the positive memories I have of that monumental time in my life. Without her, I am positive my birthing experience would have been much worse.
We can't always follow our birth plans, sometimes the baby will call their own shots, and I am very thankful to have had someone by my side who understood and knew exactly what to do, no matter the situation.
Juliea acted as the light leading my husband and I through a dark and hard path, to a beautiful moment that I will never forget. When I think back on my experience, I choose to focus on the parts where she helped me through, because those were the parts filled with love and unconditional friendship.
Juliea is my best friend, and I never doubted that she wouldn't be in the delivery room with me. With her as my Doula I felt fully supported in my birth plan and the choices I wanted to make for myself and my baby. She's very compassionate and willing to go the extra mile for any client, which makes a laboring woman feel special. I couldn't have asked for a better labor experience and wouldn't do it again without her.