Double header (secretly wish this couple would have 100 more babies)
Combine the magic of a unicorn, the nerve of a tiger, the protective, matriarchal likeness of an elephant, and the loving affection (and undeniable likability) of an otter, and THAT is Shari. Her force can't be described by basic, human attributes. The energy she exudes is raw and instinctual, worthy only of animalistic parallels.
We met Shari in 2017 through her natural childbirth class. We knew we wanted to work with a doula, but we didn’t know where to start. Fortunately, the universe took notice and from the second we heard Shari speak (which she does so confidently with her entire being), it was obvious that SHE was who we needed. We had a fantastic birth thanks to Shari's support before, during, and after labor. Fast forward 3 years with baby #2: Shari provided the resources and techniques I needed to turn our stubborn guy downward, and was the calm assurance my hubs needed to still his fear of having a “car baby”. (It was close.)
Shari holds space. She holds legs and birthing bits to help prevent tearing. She’ll hold coffee up to your face while you get that first latch going. (She fed me pancakes while we waited for our post-birth room. Newly stitched, boobs out, sweat still dripping from my brow, goofy oxytocin smile plastered to my face, and PANCAKES are being delivered to my mouth. A GODDESS, I say!) Hire Shari and don’t look back. She supports birthing people AND their partners. She’s well-liked/respected by her co-birth workers, making a world of difference when it comes to advocating for your birth wishes. If decisions need to be made, Shari is a compassionate sounding board with a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from. She’s forever embedded in our children’s birth stories, and while I’ve been told that having more babies just so we can work with Shari again is “out of the question” (okay, FIIIINE), our hearts are eternally grateful for hers.
Childbirth Class with a Big Lesson
Shari is an absolutely fantastic doula who helped me through the birth of my first child this past April!! I couldn't give a higher recommendation for anyone. Shari has been a great educator, advocate and friend during the birthing process. My husband and I first met Shari as our childbirth educator at a Prepared Childbirth class we took at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Shari had a great positive energy and led a highly informative and engaging class about what to expect during labor and delivery. She also had intimate knowledge about the hospital, staff and policies at NWH. Upon finding out that I would need a C-section delivery (for which I was not well mentally prepared), we contacted Shari, who immediately offered to be our doula. Shari made time to meet with us at the hospital to go over scheduled C-sections, worked with me to prepare a birth plan, and was always available via phone and text for any questions I had. I was amazed with how knowledgable Shari was about what to expect. Moreover, Shari is a prompt and reliable communicator, and via text and sharing notes on a Google Doc in the weeks leading up to my surgery, she truly calmed me down in preparation for the big day. On the day of, Shari met us at the hospital and stayed by my side for as long as I needed that day. She kept me distracted (and well massaged!) before the surgery, and was an absolute necessity during the surgery -- giving me a head massage, letting me know that what I was hearing/feeling/smelling was perfectly normal, staying by my head while my husband went to meet our baby boy, and assisting with skin-to-skin when the time came. I feel so incredibly lucky to have gone through the birthing process with someone as positive, calming, communicative and knowledgable as Shari. Her presence transformed this experience in the best possible way for me. Thank you, Shari!
VBAC Two parter!
VBAC #1 (child #2)
I am so happy to share my experience working with Shari. With my first baby, I ended up having a planned c-section after I went past my due date and an ultrasound revealed that I was having a large baby. While I was so happy to have a healthy baby, I immediately knew wanted to seek a different birth experience with my next child. So when I became pregnant with my second child, I switched to a midwife who suggested hiring a doula and referred Shari to me. When I reached out to Shari via phone, I immediately liked her positive energy and spirit, and after my husband and I met with her in person we knew she would be a great fit.
Prior to giving birth, Shari was great about being in touch and met with us to talk about how her role in our birth story. Whenever I had a question and reached out to Shari, she provided helpful information and in one case even sent a podcast to help. She was a wealth of knowledge and with all the information she provided it was so clear how passionate she is about what she does.
During my labor Shari was absolutely amazing. I had a very long labor and Shari was excellent at coming up with suggestions on how to move things along. While she was an integral part of my birth experience, she did not step on the toes of my husband, midwives, or nurses- she stepped in when it was needed and stepped back when it was appropriate. Shari was a constant support and gave me confidence and help that I needed to achieve an unmedicated VBAC. I cannot thank Shari enough for helping me achieve my goal and I don't think I could have done it without her!
My second night in the hospital, one of the nurses who was with me during my labor came to visit me and remarked on what a great and supportive doula Shari was. I would highly recommend Shari to anyone who is looking for a doula.
VBAC #2 (child #3)
After my 12-week ultrasound with my 3rd baby one of the first people I called was Shari. It was an absolute no-brainer to me and my husband that Shari would be a part of my birth experience again. She had been of great support during my pregnancy and my very long labor with our second child, helping me successfully have an unmedicated VBAC with a large baby. I'm convinced that I could not have done it without her support. She was well prepared and knowledgeable, with a constant calming presence.
With my third baby and second labor, Shari was again a necessary support. Whenever I was asked to make a decision during my labor I turned to Shari for her advice. I had absolute trust in her judgment and expertise and I knew that she had my best interest at heart. She was a constant motivator and support during my labor. For the second time I was able to have an unmedicated VBAC with a large baby and again I am not sure I could have without her!
I would highly recommend Shari to anyone looking to hire a doula- simply put she is amazing!
(received this as a thank you card, from a Hypnobirthing couple)
Hundreds of thousands of people loved each other enough, over long enough time, that we all-- and Tommy, most recently-- have been given a chance at life. While many have contributed, there were few who stood at the gateway and welcomed Tommy into this world. We are eternally grateful to have had [Shari] there. Although he may not realize it, Tommy is grateful too. From deep seed to our brand new branch of the great human family tree, Tommy will grow and extend his leaves because [Shari was] there at the beginning. Thank you!
Baby #3... virtual during quarantine
Posted on Facebook | 6.14.20
Yesterday I read the news that new guidelines are allowing laboring women to have one visitor in addition to their partner. In other words, doulas are back in hospitals! My third birth took place at a time doulas were not allowed to be physically present. I wanted to share this story, since his birth took place at a very unique time. If you like birth-y things, as I do, feel free to read on.
With my first, I had done all the things a first time mom would do to prepare for childbirth. We were very happy with our decision to hire Shari as our doula. Incidentally, my daughter was born 2.5 weeks early and due to extenuating circumstances Shari could not be present but texted with my husband the entire time I was in labor. Ironically this was her first “dial a doula” experience.
With my second, we felt we had come full circular with Shari in attendance! For my entire third pregnancy, I debated on whether or not to hire a doula. I thought, “I’ve done this twice before, do I really need more help? But, it’s been five years, and I haven’t really prepared.” A good friend reminded me that I should never question treating myself. So around 35 weeks we contacted Shari again. We knew things were happening with regard to Covid. As the days went by, and I heard more and more news from around the world, I spun into deep anxiety about what hospitals were going to be like when it was time for me to go. At the same time we were finishing up a major home renovation and even had to stay with my parents for a few days while the entire world was screaming on social media “STAY HOME.” There was a lot happening. And it was a very difficult time for me, filled with lots of tears. I feared things would get worse and I’d have to labor without even my partner at my side.
My previous labors were about 10 and 6 hours, respectively. I wanted this one to go quickly and simultaneously didn’t want it to go TOO quickly. I had gone without pain meds before, but this time I felt weak and mentally run down. I had decided whatever happened was ok.
In the middle of week 37, I started having contractions. Mild and nothing worth timing. They continued over the next few days. This was so strange! With my others I never had a contraction until I was in full active labor. Soon enough they intensified. I knew Shari wouldn’t be able to be with us physically but this is when I started texting. All night long they were steadily about ten minutes apart. I stayed home trying to rest. The last thing I wanted was to go to the hospital and be sent home. With two other kids and having to work out middle of the night child care this is not what you want!
By morning, things started progressing and getting INTENSE. I started FaceTime with Shari at 9am. This is when I realized exactly why 3rd time mamas deserve a doula: as my husband was all over the house getting the kids settled and getting everything in the car, Shari was there talking me through every contraction. It was amazing. I realized I would have felt alone otherwise. She stayed on through the car ride, and the walk to L+D. It was eerily quiet since all elective procedures and non essential appointments had been cancelled. The walk to L+D was treacherous and someone kept offering a wheelchair but that sounded worse. With every contraction, Shari told me to stop and lean on my partner. Do NOT touch the railings or walls!
When I finally got to a room and got checked, I was 9.5cm. Not what I was expecting! For the first time in all three labors, my own OB was on call. She was amazing, as was my nurse. I felt safer and more at ease than I imagined. Theodore was born at 12:09pm on 3/26/20, at exactly 38 weeks. My OB even commented how wonderful and impressive Shari’s presence with us, even via FaceTime. Our FaceTime was over 3 hours and my phone didn’t run out of battery - a miracle in itself!
My advice to anyone considering a doula: do it. I am happy to chat more and answer questions!
I have been grateful to know a few other moms who brought babies into the world around the same time. We all felt the same anxieties. And I think, on the other side, we are all feeling strong.