Complete Birth Doula Services for any kind of family, planning any kind of birth
I believe that childbirth is a profound rite of passage, not primarily a medical event (even when medical care is part of the birth.)
As your birth doula, I meet with you before you give birth to get to know you and let you get to know me. We explore your feelings, ideas, and questions about birth and what you are expecting, hoping, and fearing in this great journey.
When the time of labor comes, I observe the process of birth as it unfolds; share what I perceive with you when that is helpful; and offer continuous physical and emotional support, encouragement, and intentional presence to you as you negotiate a life-changing experience and get to know your new baby.
I believe that you deserve unconditional support regardless of whether your birth and parenting choices are the same as or radically different from those I would make for myself or my child.
After the birth I meet with you again as you begin the journey back into the everyday world, to validate your experience of the birth and offer compassionate support for any challenges you may be facing as a new (or new again) parent.
As your postpartum doula I continue this compassionate support for your family.
I am not a medical care provider, and I do not provide any medical diagnosis, care, or treatment. I am not licensed or regulated by the state in any way.
While I am honored to serve any person who seeks compassionate doula care and finds my personality and skills a good fit, I do feel that my experiences and interests best suit me to two very different birth situations.
I specialize in home births - where my personal experience enables me to work smoothly with a midwifery team and provide the best logistical and emotional support possible with confidence and no fear.
And, I also specialize in high-risk, highly 'medical' births in hospital - where I can be a calm presence, help clients and their supporters negotiate a complicated system, and differentiate between the things they can change and the things that for reasons beyond their control must be accepted and dealt with.
Birth Package: $1200 (virtual only support $600)
two prenatal meetings
phone and/or email support as needed
being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for up to five weeks
my presence at your home and/or other birthplace during labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period (1 - 2 hours after baby is born)
backup doula care in case I am unavailable due to unforseen circumstances
one postnatal meeting
I am always open to the possibility of barter or a reduction of fees for financial need if negotiated in advance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NEW clients will be offered a virtual support package of $600. (I request that existing clients honor our original agreements if financially possible.) This covers virtual prenatal meetings, phone and/or email support as needed, on-call time, my virtual presence during your labor, backup care, and a virtual postnatal meeting. If you request my physical presence during early labor at your home, an additional fee of $300 will apply. If you are birthing in a location which will allow me to accompany you throughout labor, or prefer me to be your one allowed support person rather than a family member, the final $300 of my usual fee will cover my presence there. If your family is experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, please reach out to discuss possible arrangements.
"I had my second child in June at a birth center with a hospital transfer. My labor was long and hard and had the added bonus of happening during covid. I don't think we would have survived without Dawn. She was the calm within the storm. She has a wealth of knowledge from her own birthing experiences and the births she has attended. She kept me focused and was always advocating for me. She offered suggestions and comfort which were definitely needed. When I think back on my experience; her words, patience and strength consistently come back to me. Even though we are close in age, her presence was definitely akin to having a mother present. A very competent and compassionate mother. Any birthing mother would be lucky to have Dawn's assistance at their labor." - M., June 2020
"COVID hit when I was pregnant. Worse, my waters wound up breaking early and I was stuck in the hospital on bed rest for three weeks without visitors -- not even my husband. So we didn't get any prenatal visits, and the hospital didn't let us have a doula at the birth. Dawn worked with us to find a way to help us. We did Zoom prenatal visits. I went into labor on my own at the hospital. My husband got me through but once transition hit, I needed Dawn. She coached me over the phone. She is so experienced that she could tell I was in transition by the sound of my voice. Her coaching over the phone got me through it. I don't think I could have done it without her. She stayed on the phone with me for hours. Although not ideal, I am so grateful she was there with me through my birth, which was a successful unmedicated birth, despite the PPROM -- and despite a brow presentation! Dawn is motherly, kind, and down to earth. I highly, highly recommend her services." - A., April 2020
"We wholeheartedly recommend Dawn Star as a doula. These are some of the many reasons why: - She is experienced. This informed her answers to our questions and added to the incredible support she provided during labor. - She is a dependable and clear communicator. Whenever a question arose during pregnancy, she responded quickly and thoroughly. She also checked in on us and just generally kept the lines of communication open always. - She has a calm presence. This eased our anxieties throughout pregnancy and labor and made us always look forward to our meetings together. - She believed in my body. This empowered me to feel capable for pregnancy and childbirth and impacted the decisions I made (for the better) throughout both processes. - She is a creative, solution-focused thinker. Whenever I encountered a challenge, she provided advice I had not previously considered and connected me with community resources for further support. Our pregnancy and labor experiences would have been entirely different (worse) without Dawn Star’s support. We feel so grateful to have had her as part of our team and recommend without reservation." - L., March 2020
"I am a first-time mom who had a lot of anxiety over childbirth and knew I wanted a doula to lend her experience and wisdom to help me through it. My partner and I knew from the first few moments of sitting down for coffee with Dawn that she the one for us. Dawn emanates calm and reassurance, and she talked us through the range of experiences she had been through and basically let us know that she was happy to be as hands on or off as we wanted. Fast forward to the birth, which was a surprise induction at 39 weeks. Dawn and I had already been texting, so it was easy to fill her in. My partner then switched to communicating with her and planned with her for the right time to come join us, when I was about 4-5cm. Up til then I had managed to hold off getting an epidural or having my water broken, but it was hard. I was so glad for Dawn to arrive. She sprang into action by directing my partner on what to do, and by talking me through contractions and doing the heavy work of pressing on my back and holding my feet, and helping me vocalize productively. Another invaluable aspect was her communicating with the nurses. Dawn and I would talk about how things were progressing, and when I felt I couldn't hold out for much longer, she suggested we do a cervical check to get more information, and she took care of communicating that to the staff (I was 7cm!). There was also a moment when I was using the bathroom and the monitor slipped, freaking out the nurses who rushed in. Dawn mediated the encounter, gently asking me to come out, but not worrying me. She also understood the noises I was making and understood that I was starting to push with contractions (which she discussed with me to verify). I don't think the nurses believed I was progressing as fast as I was, and Dawn had the experience and confidence to speak up for me. Overall my labor was about 11 hours and I was very happy with the way everything turned out. I was so glad to have Dawn by my side." - S., September 2019
"A friend recommended Dawn-Star so we arranged to meet up to see if it would work out. I found Dawn-Star very easy to chat to and felt very comfortable in her presence. After my second appt with her I discovered I was likely to need a c-section as my son was breech. She worked with me on some practices to try and turn him around but unfortunately no success. Although ended up with a scheduled c-section it was still great to have Dawn-Star there prior and for a short while after. She was a great calming presence and familiar with hospital processes. She took some great photos of my husband and son while I was still being cared for. Her visit a couple of days back at home was very reassuring to ask some questions. If I was to have another pregnancy I would look to have Dawn-Star help again." - H., July 2019
"As a first time mom, I was sure that I wanted the support of a doula during delivery. We talked to a few doulas and felt the best connection with Dawn Star. She tailored her approach to us after asking a lot of questions about us and the experience we hoped to have. During pregnancy, she shared useful resources and personal stories that helped build our relationship. My birth fantasy had me laboring at home for a long time before heading to the hospital for a quick, unmedicated birth. That didn't materialize, and instead I had an induction a week past my due date. Over a very long induction/labor, Dawn Star kept me motivated and encouraged. She helped me to keep moving while connected to a myriad of cords and monitors. When the lower intervention tools weren't working and I was afraid of choosing more interventions she gave me a really gentle reality check and helped me get over that fear. Dawn Star was so encouraging during the long pushing stage when I felt like giving up. When my son was born he needed to be checked by the pediatricians and she leaned in to let me know that he wasn't alone, she had sent my husband to the baby and she stayed with me. That really helped me to feel comforted and I didn't have to wonder what was going on during the flurry of activity in the room. Lastly, at our post partum visit she brought me presents including a great herbal soak that enhanced my sitz baths. Overall, I really enjoyed working with Dawn Star and would highly recommend her." - P., February 2019
"My husband and I knew we liked Dawn from the first meeting. We liked her calm yet firm manner of speaking and it really came in handy in the throes of labor when I needed that calming and supportive voice but also someone who could sort of take control and make good suggestions in terms of positioning and whatnot. When I was going through labor, I found that all the "training" you received on different positions goes right out the window. I couldn't think of anything except just making it through each contraction. Dawn was a wonderful support to my husband and I because she was both present when we needed her to be (by guiding us through this crazy experience that neither of us knew what to do) but it's also such an intimate time with your partner that I equally remember the moments when it was just us (my husband and I) getting through this together, even through Dawn was there with us too. Dawn's experience was really instrumental when we just didn't know what was "normal" or not in the labor process and it was helpful for her to either validate that it was or go get the nurse when needed and explain what the nurse said in more easy-to-understand terms. The nurse really only comes in every 30 minutes or so and there's a lot that's going on between those visits. It was nice to have an expert who is with you the whole time. Simply put: I couldn't recommend Dawn more strongly. As a first time mother I couldn't have asked for better support or guidance. In fact, we would like to use her again if we have a second one! We had the best birthing experience possible and I think that Dawn was a big part of that." - S, March 2018
"Dawn Star helped me give birth to my son. She was wonderful. I told her that I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital, and she timed it perfectly: we were only at the hospital for an hour or so before I started pushing. I told her that I wanted to skip the epidural, and she supported me in that choice. I told her that I wanted a lot of positive reinforcement, and she cheered me on from beginning to end. In short: she listened. I plan to call her the minute I get pregnant again." - D., December 2017
"Dawn Star has been my savior with a small "s" two times over now. After experiencing having her as my Doula, I hope I never have to give birth without her in my presence. She is very kind, caring, and a very good listener. I think she has a lot of empathy because she has been pregnant herself and given natural childbirth four times over to her beautiful children. I recall the last weeks of my pregnancy, I either called or texted Dawn with a question almost every day and she always got back to me promptly. For one of my boys, she arrived at the hospital before I did! She is a strong woman. I recall her allowing me to put all my weight on her for about two hours as she helped me during a very difficult part of my labor. If I was given the gift of another baby, I would choose Dawn in a heartbeat to walk alongside me during my pregnancy and be present at the birth of my child." - E., September 2017 and June 2015
"Probably no birth is stress-free for the mother in labor and the folks in the delivery room. However, Dawn Star absolutely changed the dynamic from the terrifying unknown to the challenging marathon -- this was especially true for my wife. I am so grateful to have had Dawn Star by my side as we helped my wife navigate the birthing process. She's more than a coach, she's a confidant who gets to know the parents well before the birth so that she knows exactly how best to help. Since she is well versed in the birthing process, she is also an incredibly strong advocate for the mother, ensuring her wishes are followed as much as possible by the hospital staff." - B., September 2017
"Dawn was my doula for a very difficult birth. I had severe preeclampsia, and things got very medical very quickly. Despite all of this, having her presence in the room with me was such an important part of my birth experience. She was knowledgeable and caring, and helped me advocate for myself with doctors, as well as helped bolster my partner so he could be there for me too. Her encouragement and support were very much a part of how I was able to deliver my daughter. I am forever grateful and glad to have had her there with me." - S., April 2017
"As we told you in person, having you be our doula was one of the best decisions we made during my pregnancy. These things really stood out to me and I would tell anyone interested in hiring a doula: you listened to both of our concerns and desires, kept us focused and calm when labor really kicked in (and when anxiety got the best of me!), and most importantly, you looked out for us. The nurses and doctors at the hospital were focused on our baby, and with you there, I felt cared for and supported as well. It wasn't just during the birth that you helped us, though. You answered so many questions we had before the delivery and then after our baby was born, you made sure we were in good shape and helped me breastfeed. It was really wonderful to have you be a part of our daughter's birth. You were an essential part of it, and I would do it all over again (just not that soon - ha ha!)." - C. & P., December 2016
"I hadn't used a doula when I had my first child. For many reasons, it was a really terrible birthing experience, and I ended up with a c-section and without an advocate throughout the process. When I found out I was pregnant with #2, I knew I wanted a doula this time around. I chose Dawn Star because of her experience, work with VBAC mothers, and calm presence. She was very communicative throughout my pregnancy, always checking in. I had a very long labor and she was there for every step of the way. Having someone with us who could be our advocate was reassuring and took a lot of stress off of us. I highly recommend her!" -V.P., November 2016
"I met Dawn when she arrived at my home as our back up doula. After already laboring for almost 19 hours and feeling like it wasn’t going anywhere, it was disappointing to learn that the doula my husband and I had been working with leading up to that day had another client in labor. However, as soon as Dawn entered our home she made my husband and myself feel at ease and worked with me to help get me as comfortable as possible. Within a few hours we made our way to the hospital. She stayed by our side throughout the night providing answers and insight to what was happening, presenting and explaining different options that would be available to us to help progress labor if we wanted, and continually offered comforting words and encouragement. Our son was born that morning and we had successfully had his labor and delivery without any medication or interventions. I give so much credit to Dawn as our doula for helping us obtain this goal! Dawn remained with us and helped get him off to a good start with breastfeeding. Even after she left that morning, she continued to check back in over the next few days to see how we were doing and answer any questions that we had. She even sent us pictures she’d taken while I was laboring and of our family of three immediately after birth. Pictures were the last thing on my mind when our son was born and I’m so happy that she captured those special moments. Both my husband and I agree we are happy that we hired a doula to be with us at labor and delivery, and we both appreciate Dawn showing up at the last minute to support us through such a special occasion in our life!" - K., October 2016
"I don't think there are enough words to express our gratitude and thanks for everything Dawn Star did for us during my pregnancy and labor. I had a plan for how I expected my birth experience to go, and when it got completely derailed, she helped both me and my husband stay focused and positive. Dawn Star was the calming presence that we both needed in a time of stress, and I know my birth experience would have been completely different (for the worse) if she wasn't there with us. When my husband was with my baby during his first few minutes, and I couldn't go to him, she held my hand and helped me stay positive. I could have had a very negative experience during labor and when we brought my son home if it weren't for Dawn Star being there for us. " - A.M., September 2016
"Dawn Star was an amazing resource and support for me and my husband. She is a calm and reassuring presence in the midst of what can be a very overwhelming experience. I am not sure that I would have survived 2.5 hours of pushing as intact, physically and psychologically, without her! She literally held my hand every step of the way. My husband was also extremely grateful for her knowledge, her support, and her serenity throughout the labor and delivery. I also really appreciated her follow up visit 10 days postpartum. I wholeheartedly recommend her services. My husband and I plan to work with Dawn Star again if we are lucky enough to have another child." - C., August 2016
"Dawn Star was very thoughtful in her approach to helping us through the last weeks of pregnancy and labor. She sought to complement and support our own attitudes and goals. As we entered labor, she brought a feeling of calm to the room which helped me to feel in control of what is by its nature an uncontrollable experience. I felt very grateful for her support of both me and my husband as labor continued into its second day. For a mother-to-be looking for a calm, supportive presence during labor, Dawn Star has my recommendation and my gratitude." - L., July 2016
"Dawn Star met with me and my husband before the birth and helped walk us through what to expect at birth and things to consider we would not have thought about. I needed to be induced so she was able to give some advice about that process and when to do it so I felt more confident we were doing the right thing. She is someone who can ask questions and offer options, but was always respectful and clear that these were our choices. I was really glad she there at the hospital to help advocate for what we told her we wanted, but might not have remembered to request ourselves under pressure. It made it much less stressful to know someone was looking out for us and to, literally, have a shoulder to lean on in labor. She also met with us again after the birth and again I was glad to have a rational mind to help consider what was best for baby and me. I generally found her to be well informed and experienced. " - E., June 2016
"Dawn Star was the best part of our birth experience after the baby! She was an invaluable and calming presence both in the weeks leading up to the birth and during the birth itself. She instinctively knew what techniques would speak to my own charmingly neurotic anxiety and worked beautifully in concert with my partner to support me. Her wisdom in birth and parenting is obvious, and she radiates competence and infectious confidence. Although my goal was a natural birth, when things went unexpectedly dramatic she was an incredibly reassuring presence, without whom my panic level would undoubtedly been a lot higher (certainly good for neither me nor the baby). She was a pillar of emotional support during a difficult labor. We love her." - K., April 2016 "Our experience with Dawn Star was perfect. Her calm, experienced demeanor was exactly what we were looking for. She supported us in the way we wanted to be supported and had no agenda of her own. She put us at ease, provided us with a very helpful and grounding prep-for-birth session, and answered all of our questions. Our son's birth got very scary in the initial moments after birth. We were so glad that Dawn Star was with us. I was able to be present with our son, knowing that Dawn Star was with my wife. I hope for all parents that the birth experience is safe and uneventful, but in those cases where it's not it is wonderful to have someone experienced like Dawn Star there with you. We will ask Dawn Star to be our doula again if we have another child and I cannot recommend her strongly enough!" - D., January 2016
"I knew I wanted a doula and talked to a few before I met DawnStar. DawnStar came to my home (which was great)! And we just talked. Right away I felt extremely comfortable with her and knew she was a great fit for me.We went over my birth plan and talked about labor and delivery. I didn't really know what to expect having a doula but DawnStar exceeded my expectations. She was there for me and got me anything I needed and made sure I was comfortable and happy. My husband jokes that she was able to get me water before he could even move. He loved her just as much as I did. She also taught me that if I can do this I can do anything. I have bad anxiety and she has helped ease that. I still think of her daily when I'm feeling anxious and how she has helped me overcome it. She even caught my puke in a pan with only a seconds notice several times. If I sill lived close by I would want Dawnstar in the room with me again and again!" C., January 2016
"I was interested in obtaining a VBAC. The reason was that I wanted to avoid C-section recovery while having to care for a newborn again. Not fun! It soon became clear that my OBGYN practice was not going to be the best bet for achieving this goal. We decided to switch to a midwife and hire a doula. Dawn was very comforting and knowledgable during my pregnancy. She has had four kids, after all! We talked about my plan and practiced pain relief techniques. I wasn't planning a medication free birth, but wanted to get through early labor without an epidural to prevent risk of stalled labor. I actually still use those techniques in my day to day life, such as when I stub a toe, hit my funny bone or my kids are just generally screaming! My VBAC was successful. It was such a different experience than my first birth. Still, there were challenges. My epidural wore off, leaving me uncontrollably shaking. I was cramping and couldn't have Advil right away. I was tired and hungry. My husband and mom were watching over my daughter, who was being measured and weighed. During this time, Dawn fed me graham crackers and gave me sips of Gatorade. Invaluable! I highly recommend Dawn. She is a great doula and a great person all around." - K., January 2016
"Dawn Star was our doula for the birth of our first child, and she was excellent! Even though we had taken a separate childbirth class, our prenatal meetings were really helpful. We went over plans, expectations, and strategies for labor and delivery. She was patient and willing to speak to each of our questions. As my due date approached, Dawn Star checked in regularly. I wound up being induced at 42 weeks, so I labored entirely at the hospital. Dawn Star checked in as I labored and knew when was the right time for her to come (if left to my own, I would have called her too late!). I still had hours to go when she arrived, but she was a calming, reassuring presence throughout my labor. She gently made helpful suggestions from time to time to help labor progress. Once labor really got going, things were kind of a blur for me, but I know that my husband appreciated her presence and support. I would up getting an epidural, so Dawn Star and my husband each held once of my legs! My labor had more ups and downs than we were expecting, and having Dawn Star there with us made such a difference! We could rely on her knowledge and expertise with each new challenge. I would highly recommend Dawn Star!" - L., October 2015
"I would definitely recommend Dawn Star Sarahs-Borchelt and use her if I were to give birth again! I was induced 5 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia and we missed our final pre-birth appointment, but still worth every penny to have her there with us. We talked about my concerns with my blood pressure pre-birth and she was very comforting and informative, considering I knew in advance that I may not get the birth I wanted. She even recommended a great hypnobirthing class, that was very helpful. I was very nervous about the birth and having Dawn to talk to really helped. She was great in the delivery room helping with massage, and supporting my husband and Mom. She also walked me to the bathroom multiple times, supporting my desire NOT to have a catheter, despite beginning hooked up to an IV and communicated my wishes to the doctors effectively when I decided that I did actually want an epidural. When they could not bring it right away, she got them to stop the pitocin, at my request, until they could give me one. She followed up with a home visit after the birth and brought some soothing herbs and brownies! Overall, I felt very well cared for, and well supported, and even though I had to be induced, was able to give birth without a c-section, or any pressure to receive one." - M., August 2015
"I had a wonderful experience with Dawn as my birth doula. She came and met with me twice beforehand to go through each step and expectations during delivery. She was methodical, knowledgeable, and spent as much time as I need. When the time came, she arrived at the hospital at an ungodly hour, and was such a calming influence throughout the process. She also helped to positition me in different ways to help alleviate pain and facilitate the delivery (things that the doctor and nurses never did). She was also an advocate for me with the doctor and nurses, pushing back on the medical team when she felt I was being rushed and making alternative suggestions to me based on my wishes. The whole process went so much better because she was there and I truly appreciated her presence. I would absolutely use Dawn again if there is a next time and recommend her wholeheartedly." - F., December 2015
Dawn Star Sarahs-Borchelt, BA, CRE Birthing From Within® Mentor and Certified Doula