My name is Jenny Stevens. I am a mama of five wonderful kids, ages 18 down to six. My training was received through the ToLabor organization in 2010, but in the 20 years preceding that, I helped many mamas in labor-- sisters, friends, cousins asked me to be with them as they journeyed into uncharted territory, as they said I had a calming presence.
My own births varied greatly-- I began my journey with hospital birth with an OB, had some hospital births with a midwife, and ended my birthing years by birthing three of our babies at home with a midwife.
My goal as I help mamas in labor and postpartum are two-fold: First, to learn what type of birth a particular mama/couple is seeking to have and to support her/them to have that, and secondly, to help the partner to help the birthing woman. My aim is to walk alongside a mama and her partner as they navigate new territory, and to be a source of evidenced-based information. I look at birth as an opportunity for a woman to find her enormous power and draw from it as she undertakes one of life's most challenging yet fulfilling times. If she can access that power, she can draw from it not only during her birth, but then throughout her life from there on out. Stepping into motherhood with a feeling of empowerment and courage and strength -- having found her voice and learned how to use it--serves a woman well-- and the impacts of that are very, very far-reaching in her life. Her mothering will be impacted, as well as her partnership if she is in one, and her friendships and other relationships, in healthy ways.
I spend several hours spread between two or three meetings getting to know the birthing mother and/or couple. I ask them many questions in an effort to learn what they are hoping for in birth and beyond. I am on call for the mama from two weeks before her due date until two weeks after, in the event that she labors past the due date (So common!) When mama believes she is in labor, we are in touch by phone and when she is ready for my presence and in-person support, I join her in her home and/or at the hospital. I offer continuous physical and emotional support throughout her labor and birth, and remain with the mama for about two hours after baby is born. During that time I am taking pictures of the mama/couple meeting the baby for the first time, as well as assisting with initial breastfeeding and ensuring the mama's wishes for her baby are being tended to. A few days after mama/baby are home from birthing site, I visit to check in and see how things are going. I offer help with breastfeeding, help answer babycare questions, talk with mama about her birth, and bring the birth photos to the mama.
I remain available for help and feedback indefinitely to the mother and her family.