Our History Informs Our Future

By: Angie Rosier

When my daughter was nine years old she had a fascination with fish.  We learned about and purchased all the components for a fish tank then filled it with guppies, platys, and mollies.  She is nearly fifteen now and we still have that fish tank in our home.  Toward the beginning of this venture she bought a small red fish.  This little fish is still with us, swimming strong, and thriving.  If you know anything about the life expectancy of guppies, platys, or mollies, you understand it’s truly remarkable that (I’m gonna say it’s a “she”) she has survived so long.  She has experienced a lot of change during her little fish life.  She’s lived with frogs, shrimp, snails, and countless other fish.  Sometimes she’s been the only inhabitant of her tank, another time she was inundated with 30+ baby guppies when we unknowingly bought a pregnant fish.  She is a survivor and has witnessed much change.  

As I consider the Utah Doula Association I am also impressed by her endurance and how she has experienced much change.  Founded by Kristi Ridd-Young in 1992, the UDA has an impressive history, tied to some significant influences: Karl Jones, Penny Simkin, and DONA on a national scale and countless doulas on a local level.  The UDA is older than some childbirth methods and older than the internet. She has seen change in policy and birthing trends, has been here as many new hospitals have been built, and watched the role of doula from its inception. Technology has changed dramatically and it’s been years since the UDA needed a sizeable budget for postage stamps.

The Utah Doula Association remains the largest and oldest local doula association in the United States.  Imagine if she wasn’t here.  Consider the role she plays in our birthing community.  The UDA provides a solid foundation for its members including education, marketing, networking, and mentoring– an influential body that elevates and supports the doula profession.  She has been and continues to be a resource for thousands of families along the Wasatch Front.  She champions each member and supports the individual doula in her own business.  The Utah Doula Association has been fortunate to have many amazing women serve on its board and in leadership roles.  

What the UDA has and continues to accomplish could never be done by one or two women.  It takes the thought, talent, and work of many to ensure her success. These are women who have volunteered their time for the benefit of all.  Serving on the board takes work, but the work has a great reward. The UDA has weathered some challenging times and has nearly ceased to exist, but today she is a strong and thriving organization thanks to the work of many incredible women.  I think the jewel of her accomplishments is CONNECTION.  The UDA connects doulas to clients, and, perhaps even more importantly, connects doulas to doulas.  Utah’s doula market has long boasted a collaborative and congenial doula community which fosters connection and friendship, not competition.  Some of my closest friends over the last 14 years are doulas.  The UDA connects a doula in Ogden with a doula in Provo and offers them opportunity to interact in meaningful ways.  

Photo Credit: Britney Hales w/ Illuminate Life Photo + Films

This year will be the third time I have been president of this amazing organization and I am reminded how much I love the Utah Doula Association, its founder, and its members.  It has been led by impressive leaders and continues to expand and improve each year.  Karina Robinson and I have some goals for the organization that we are excited about as we continue to grow and strengthen together.  Thank you for being a member, and thank you for your support of this great organization.  We hope to see you at one of our events this year.


Angie has been a doula in Utah since 2003, attended nearly 1,000 births, and lives in Salt Lake with her awesome, supportive husband and 5 kids.
Connect w/ Angie:

Birth Doulas Business Conference Speakers Postpartum Doulas

Spotlight: 2018 UDA Spring Conference Speakers

The Annual Utah Doula Association conference is fast approaching. During this uplifting and educational event, we will hear from several experts on a variety of topics that will enrich and improve our birth-centric businesses. With many opportunities for continuing education credits, tips and tricks for improving our business skills and networking opportunities galore, the 2018 conference is bound to be the highlight of the year.

Dr. Shoshana Bennet


This year we will have the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Shoshana Bennett. Internationally recognized as a leading maternal mental health expert, clinical psychologist Dr. Shoshana Bennett has inspired and transformed countless lives worldwide through her radio shows, books, lectures, interactive tele-classes, consultations, and videos. Affectionately known as “Dr. Shosh”, she educates, engages, and empowers her audiences while discussing serious and often uncomfortable topics using humor, the latest research, solution-based protocols, and firsthand knowledge she gleaned after experiencing life-threatening postpartum depression.

She emerged from this personal nightmare to become a leading national advocate and pioneer in women’s mental health, establishing Postpartum Assistance for Mothers, which offers education and emotional support for women experiencing PPD and related disorders. Dr. Shosh also helped develop the official training curriculum for professionals and served as president of Postpartum Support International.

Dr. Shosh is an Executive Producer of the new award-winning documentary, Dark Side of The Full Moon.  She is the author of Postpartum Depression for Dummies, Pregnant on Prozac, Children of the Depressed, and is co-author of Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. Dr. Shosh is the creator of the first PPD mobile phone app PPD Gone!  She co-founded the newly launched Postpartum Action Institute to train community leaders and parent advocates.

Dr. Bennett has traveled extensively throughout the US and internationally as a guest lecturer and keynote speaker, training medical and healthcare professionals. She is well known for her popular Radio Show and has appeared as a guest expert on countless television and radio shows including 20/20, Ricki Lake and The Doctors.

Dr. Shosh will be presenting our keynote address Launching Happy Mothers – The Dos and Don’ts. Which will offer practical tips and strategies to address signs of mood disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period.

She will also be presenting a workshop entitled Moods during Pregnancy and Postpartum – What’s Normal and What’s Not? In which she will be teaching us about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and their symptoms. She’ll give us information we can use to comfort mothers suffering from postpartum depression and describe mental health information that professionals should present to all new parents.


Joe Staples

And to give us practical advice on the business side of birth work, we will also have the pleasure of hearing from Joe Staples. Joe is a senior B2B executive (CMO/SVP Marketing for 18 years) with primary emphasis in SaaS, MarTech, and customer experience sectors. His expertise is in two areas: building a recognizable, differentiated brand and fueling the growth of the revenue engine. He prides himself in providing a good blend of strategy and execution.

Joe has led two successful corporate name changes and brand over hauls. As the CMdO of one company, they took raw brand recognition from 6% to 70%+. He has developed multiple award-winning ad campaigns (B2B Magazine, CEB, and Starch awards).

Joe understands the in’s and out’s of the revenue engine, from initial inquiry through to closed-won. He has built demand generation teams from scratch, implemented strong digital marketing campaigns, and has led a marketing team that delivered 90% of all sales opportunities for the company.

Joe received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Technology Marketing Corporation and was Employee of the Year at Novell Corporation.

Joe will be presenting “Simple ways to Make a Big Impact on your Business!” During his presentation Joe will give us things doulas can do (without spending a lot of money) to effectively market their services. These includeestablishing your personal brand, using storytelling as a marketing tool, developing good client testimonials, leveraging influencers as referral sources, and the importance of differentiation. Join Joe for a lively, interactive session that will include Q&A and group discussion.

To purchase tickets or for more information about the 2018 UDA conference click here



National Cancer Prevention Month

By: Stacie Rupp, CD(DONA)


Stacie has been a birth doula since early 2015 and has recently begun teaching Childbirth Preparation classes through University of Utah Perinatal Education. She loves sharing her excitement about all things birth with expectant couples. She also strives to offer understanding and support to women who have had cancer or who are BRCA+ as they navigate their way along a difficult and life changing path.

When we think of PREVENTING cancer, here are some things that might come to mind:

  • Eat healthy
  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Attain and maintain a healthy weight
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Get regular medical care
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t drink excessively
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation
  • Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins 

While this is a great list and contains healthy habits we should each follow, I’d like to talk about prevention in a deeper way. I’ll start by sharing my story.

My Story

My aunt (my dad’s sister) was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 40’s (around 2005). While cancer is always scary, hers was caught incredibly early and didn’t seem too devastating. At the time, I was in my early 20’s and just beginning to have children. Because breast cancer at such a young age isn’t incredibly common, my aunt spoke with a genetic counselor. After discussing family health history, other cases of breast and ovarian cancer within our family were uncovered. My aunt decided to have genetic testing done and ultimately tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. You may have heard this referred to as the Breast Cancer Gene. “BR” stands for breast and “CA” stands for cancer.

(Here is a 2 minute video explaining the BRCA gene mutation:

Huntsman Cancer Institute was conducting a study on the BRCA gene mutations and asked our family to participate. My aunt’s siblings (which included my dad) underwent genetic testing and my dad and another aunt tested positive as well. Many people think/hear that breast and ovarian cancer risk is only passed through females. This is absolutely not the case! My dad’s children and my aunt’s children each had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the gene. I chose to test in 2007 and, while holding my infant son in my arms, was given the news that I was positive. That test result changed so much about the next 10 years of my life.

Because of my BRCA1+ status, my genetic counselor and doctors confirmed that my risk for breast cancer was 87% and my risk for ovarian cancer was 65% (varies by individual). Also, the age of cancer onset in BRCA+ individuals is very young. When the odds are so completely stacked against you, and the question is “when” not “if”, the conversation quickly turns to prevention. Ovarian cancer is especially difficult to detect, and once found, is generally in the late stages. Every doctor I spoke with (and I spoke with many) recommended that I prevent by having my breasts removed (double mastectomy) and my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed (salpingo-oophorectomy). Even as I write this now, years later, I feel a wave of nausea come over me.

As doulas, you know the importance of ovaries and breasts. They affect a woman’s identity, fertility, ability to breastfeed, hormones, sexuality, etc. In 2007, at the age of 24, I was not ready to alter my life in such a huge way, by removing these vital organs. So, I chose to do extensive screening instead. I had a mammogram and a breast MRI with contrast annually, alternating every 6 months. I also had a TVUS (transvaginal ultrasound) done each year and a CA-125 blood test, to detect ovarian cancer. Some of my mammograms came back with irregularities, so I was often called back for further screenings. All of this was incredibly draining, both physically and emotionally, not to mention expensive. In the weeks leading up to each screening, I would stress and worry about what they might find (or about what was there that they may not find). Also, waiting for results is the absolute definition of torture.

Thank heavens I did not struggle with fertility. I was able to have 3 children, and my husband and I completed our family. I feel so overwhelmingly grateful that I was able to create, grow, and breastfeed all 3 of my babies. This gratitude continues to grow with each passing year. After I had my last child, I began researching and making plans for preventative (prophylactic) surgeries. I opted (partly for insurance reasons) to have all my surgeries in the same year, 2016. I basically pushed pause on all areas of my life and focused on my health.

I started with the salpingo-oophorectomy, January 2016, just before my 33rd birthday. Removing your ovaries puts you into instant menopause. I no longer had hormones and so much changed. Some of the side effects included: hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, body odor changes, memory loss, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and pain, fatigue, and dry skin. In the year that followed, I was able to find an amazing endocrinologist who helped me semi-regulate with artificial hormones. This lessened the noticeable side effects, but also will help my bone and heart health long term, which are at risk from early menopause.

In April 2016, I had a nipple sparing double mastectomy. My surgeons cut along the crease under each breast, and removed almost all of my breast tissue, up my chest and out into my armpits as well. I say “almost” all of my breast tissue because removing all breast tissue would require removing the skin as well. They do their best to scrape out the breast cells/tissue, while still leaving enough along the skin to have adequate blood flow. If they scrape too deep, the skin in that area will die and skin grafts will be needed. Breast self-exams and annual doctor visits are still crucial, because caner can still form in the remaining breast cells. I’ve just drastically reduced the odds.

Because I decided on reconstructive surgery, tissue expanders were placed in my empty chest cavities, underneath my chest muscles. These are basically thick plastic balloons that can be filled with saline, through a magnetic port. The chest muscle is normally under a woman’s breast tissue. But, in order to protect my skin and implant, the muscle is lifted and the expander is placed underneath. Over the next months, my surgeon injected saline into my expanders weekly, slowing lifting the muscle. Expanding it all at once would cause excruciating chest pain.

I also awoke from surgery with 4 surgical drain tubes and drainage bulbs. The trauma of the surgery causes excess internal fluid production that can lead to infection if it isn’t removed. For the next few weeks I had to empty and measure the drainage. Actually, my husband and friends were kind enough to help me with this awful job. The range of motion and strength I had in my arms was incredibly limited, so I needed help with most everything. Who knew how connected our chest muscles are to our arms! I was SO glad when the surgical drains were finally removed.

Once I had recovered and my expanders were filled to my old chest size, I had reconstructive surgery, September 2016. The tissue expanders were removed and implants took their place. These will need to be replaced every 10-20 years.  Though I now looked “normal” with my clothes on, I certainly did not feel “normal”. I have honestly been amazed at how much losing my breasts has affected me. For starters, my entire chest is now completely numb. Since all of the nerve endings were cut, there is no feeling. The loss of sensation is the thing I miss the most. As wonderful as my surgeons were, things still aren’t perfect and I am a bit lopsided. Surgery might correct this, but I am so tired of surgeries that it isn’t worth it to me.  At this point, I’d like give you a high five if you’ve read this far!

I’d also like to address a reaction that some of you might be having. “Why the heck did you have a mastectomy when you didn’t even have breast cancer!?” I can answer this question best with the following analogy.  Imagine you are on board an airplane, ready for a journey. The pilot gets on the intercom and says this: “We have run the numbers and thought we’d bring some information to your attention. This particular flight path has been flown thousands of times before, and 87% of the time, the plane crashes. About 9 out of 10 times. Sometimes it crashes in the beginning of the flight. Sometimes in the middle or towards the end. But if you take this journey, you too have an 87% chance of crashing. You may not die in the crash, but really, we just don’t know. There are so many unknown factors. Most other planes, on other flights, only crash 1 out of 10 times. But that’s not the plane you are on. So, think about it. Make the decision that is best for you. There is still time for you to get off the plane, if you choose.” This is how many women with the BRCA gene mutation feel. It’s how I felt, so I chose to get off the damn plane! The decision came after a lot of research and heartache. If you still don’t understand, talk to any woman who has been through breast cancer treatment and see if she wishes she could have avoided it.

Know Your Risk

So what does all of this mean for you??? The science of genetics has made huge strides in recent years. “Know Your Risk” is a catch phrase that encourages people to evaluate their genetic risk for certain types of cancers. Everyone should take the time to talk with family members and write up a family tree of sorts. This can help you uncover cancers that may have a genetic link. can help you evaluate if you should speak with a genetic counselor. If you see any red flags, genetic counselors are specially trained to help you assess your risk and can assist you with next steps and possible genetic testing. Be aware that the cost of genetic testing is decreasing every year, with many insurance companies covering costs. So don’t let the possible expense keep you from researching your risk. In terms of breast and ovarian cancers, the website is an incredibly valuable resource. In just a few minutes, you answer questions that help determine your risk. Without knowledge of your risk, you can’t have the power to take preventative steps. Knowledge is power, in a very real sense. While I respect that some BRCA+ women choose to NOT have prophylactic surgeries, I truly believe that the knowledge of my genetic mutation likely saved my life.

Changed For The Better

I obviously would rather be BRCA negative, and I wish I could have avoided these surgeries, but I do feel I am a better person, and doula, because of what I’ve been through. The things I’ve experienced have been life changing, to say the least, and my ability to empathize with others and withhold judgement has increased. I feel better equipped to hold space for those around me, especially my clients. We can’t “fix” what is going on in the lives of others, but we can be present and we can show love. The financial strains of medical bills are familiar to me. Physical pain, endurance, and the bodies amazing ability to heal are thoughts I’d pondered. All of this has also been a reminder that we don’t know why a woman might choose (or have the ability) to have children, to not have children, to have them at a young age, to have them old, to birth one child or to birth a dozen. It is absolutely none of my business. I will love and care for the women who surround me, regardless of their fertility.

I feel particularly equipped to understand women who are having hormone imbalance issues, whether that is during pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, or any other phase of life. I also have gained so much gratitude for the human body, especially the female body. Our reproductive organs are truly miraculous! Let’s embrace and appreciate all they do for us. Breastfeeding is also such a personal experience, and I hope to validate the real mourning process that occurs for women who are unable to breastfeed their babies, for whatever reason. I also want to empower women who desire to breastfeed, but are unable due to mastectomy, to explore their options with SNS (supplemental nursing system) and skin to skin. The bonding and closeness that comes through a mother’s breasts doesn’t need to be tossed aside because milk isn’t produced.

I can relate to the struggles that women have through pregnancy and postpartum as they get used to a new and ever changing body. Body image and identity issues are close to the surface and tug at my emotions. The struggles in an intimate partner relationship are real and difficult to navigate, especially when one person isn’t comfortable in their own skin. But I am here to offer hope. An evolution can take place and comfort with our own body can return, regardless of the destruction that has occurred. A very experienced Labor & Delivery nurse once explained childbirth as being dealt a hand of cards. We don’t get to choose what we’re dealt, but we can equip ourselves to play our hand well. That is the same with each of our lives. We take the cards we’re dealt and we work to play our hand well. I don’t like many of the cards I’ve been dealt, but it turns out, I can still win the game, in my own way.

If you would like to read more details about my story, or to find further information about the BRCA gene mutation, I have blogged about my experience at, January 2016-September 2016. Another wonderful resource is:


How to select the doula for you

By: Destiny S. Olsen CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), RYT, TPYT


What is a doula?

Doulas are involved in the pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum processes for expectant families. They provide educational, physical, and emotional support for anything that may arise during your journey. Here is a how-to-guide for selecting a doula not only for you, but also for your growing family.

When to hire your doula

Choosing your doula can seem overwhelming, so start looking early to allow the process to be pleasant and enjoyable. If booked in advance, you can utilize the depth of their knowledge and services, gain access to their network for your needs during pregnancy, and have extra time to get to know one another. If the search for a doula doesn’t come until later in your pregnancy, no need to worry, there are always doulas available to ensure you have support. Keep in mind; your dream doula may be booked far in advance, so start your search early to ensure the perfect fit.

What kind of support are you looking for?

To begin, write a list of what’s important to you and your family for pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum transition. Your personal needs and desires will determine which doula fits best for a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

Start by asking friends, family, and people amongst your social circles if they’ve had any experiences with doulas in the past. Loved ones know you best, and can provide you with information you may not have considered to help you find the perfect match.

If you’ve already selected a care provider, ask them for referrals. Although OBGYNs and Midwives don’t work directly alongside doulas, as families independently contract doulas, it is important for your birth-working professionals to have a good report. The healthy cooperation of your support team will further your birth experience.

Where to look

Professional affiliations

Look for local and national doula members through organizations who have experience, and who have built a reputation. Most of these organizations require a fee, and it is important to research what else it entails to become a member of the organization. Some features to look out for are a code of ethics, standards of practice, and accountability for unsatisfactory services.  Groups like the Utah Doula Association provide community support and education to doulas. Other organizations–including DONA International, CAPPA or ICEA–require current continuing education, as well as, care provider and client reviews to maintain membership.

Is this a good fit?

Additionally, you can look up Doula business websites to read their biographies, photographs a research more about them. Find business social media pages to read reviews from previous clients, and write down any further questions you may have for them.

Once you gather a list of doulas that you like, start with the interview process. Most doulas are available for a FREE interview to get acquainted with one another, this typically lasts 30-60 minutes.

Here are some questions to consider when interviewing your doula:

  • What got you interested in the doula profession?
  • What is your doula philosophy?
  • Have you ever had clients with similar age, life experiences, birth desires as me?
  • Where did you receive you education for doula work?
  • What was your process to receive your training and/or certification?
  • Can you provide evidence of your credentials if desired?
  • Was there any hands on training with your education?
  • Are you part of any alternate organizations pertaining to doula work? If so, what?
  • What does your contract look like?  Can you show me a copy and walk me through it?
  • What is your availability surrounding my due date (trips planned, other clients due, untreatable obligations)?
  • Are there times you will be unavailable? If so when?
  • How close do you live to me?
  • What do you do if you can’t attend my birth? Do you provide a backup?
  • Do you have any time restrictions if I have a lengthy labor? If so, what are the details?
  • What do you charge?
  • What services are included with your doula pricing/packages?
  • What type of payments do you take? What is the timing of those payments?
  • Do you offer any additional services outside of your doula service (I.e. Prenatal yoga, placenta encapsulation, belly binding)?

After holding interviews, discuss as a family how each doula could serve you during this time. As you cross compare, know that for every family, there is a perfect doula – you don’t have to settle for anything less than extraordinary! This process should be thorough, but enjoyable, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that your birthing experiences, and your new baby’s journey, are in good hands.



Destiny S. Olsen CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), RYT, TPYT is the proud owner of SHAUNTEA, a company focused on individualized health and wellness. She has taught Somatics since 2005 through yoga, dance and meditation. As a DONA certified birth and postpartum doula she believes developing mental and physical health throughout the childbearing year is essential to creating well-balanced children, happier parents and a overall healthier lifestyle.



The Utah Doula Association Outreach Committee 2018

By: Rachel Winsley

Welcome to another year of the UDA blog! This blog explores pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. All of the blog posts are written by birth professionals local to Utah. An introduction to the members of the UDA Outreach Committee is included below. We would love to hear what would you like to know more about! You can submit your ideas here or contact a committee member below if you have ideas to share for a blog post.

Contact a Committee Member Directly


Rachel Winsley – Outreach Chair

Rachel Winsley is a military veteran, La Leche League Leader, International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) Leader, Holistic Moms Network Coordinator, homeschooler, and chairperson of the Utah Doula Association (UDA) Outreach Committee.  She has just over ten years of experience as a doula and has served in several different positions on the UDA Board of Directors.  Rachel is passionate about supporting local business owners, mentoring newer doulas, and volunteering in her local community.

Rachel enjoys guiding and empowering pregnant and birthing women throughout their birth journey. She has experience supporting women through unmedicated birth, home birth, hospital birth, VBAC, birth at advanced maternal age, using epidural as a tool, special needs birth by cesarean, and vaginal breach birth with multiples. She has worked with couples practicing a wide variety of childbirth education and coping methods such as Hypnobabies, Bradley, HypnoBirthing, Birthing from Within, and Mindful Birthing. She can provide excellent referrals to midwives, OB/GYNs, chiropractors, IBCLCs, and a myriad of other practitioners spanning from Salt Lake City to Logan, Utah. She feels that a good doula will strive to maintain a positive working relationship with your provider(s), so as to foster a safe and peaceful birthing environment.  She will primarily focus her column on spotlighting birth professionals who are doing really special things across Utah.

Connect with Rachel
Mindful Birth – DoulaMatch
(801) 837-7435


Lindsay Dougal – Special Interest & Diversity

Lindsay is a certified birth doula who believes in the power of a strong support network for birthing women and their families. She grounds her practice in empowering women to remain informed of their options, pursue learning of evidence-based birth education, and—most importantly—feel supported in their journey.

Lindsay has both personal and professional experience with pregnancy loss/stillbirth, and pregnancy after loss. She has assisted women through various types of birthing experiences, including unmedicated hospital births, assisted vaginal births, epidural births, and cesarean births. Lindsay is excited to work on the blog this year, and hopes to create a space where we all feel safe and encouraged to own our stories, and—in the process—step outside ourselves and onto a path of connectedness.

Connect with Lindsay
(801) 860-4391



Sheri Rysdam, PhD – Birth

Sheri Rysdam teaches college writing and yoga. Her scholarship is rhetoric, including feminist medical rhetorics. She works as a doula in the Salt Lake City area, where she focuses on supporting young women with limited financial resources.  Sheri advocates for women as they prepare to have positive birth experiences. In addition to the comfort techniques and approaches she learned through her DONA-approved doula training, her work is influenced by extensive experience as a yoga instructor. Her goal is to assist laboring women in finding comfortable and safe alignment during labor and delivery. These movements are similar to, or the same as, yoga asanas and pranayama, or deep breathing, during labor.  Sheri’s focus on the blog is to explore topics related to prenatal and birth timeframe.

Connect with Sheri


Alyssa Moulton – Postpartum

In her free time, she loves to experiment in the kitchen with new healthy recipes, teach youth and adult cooking classes, garden, hike and spend time with her husband and two children.  It is Alyssa’s belief that you birth your way! Whether you are desiring a natural water birth, a medicated birth or a planned cesarean the continuous support of a doula provides you with continued support for you and your birth preferences.  For her postpartum clients, Alyssa prepares nourishing foods, provides breastfeeding support, home cleaning/organization, facilitates sibling bonding, and runs errands.  Alyssa will share with us healthy recipes, sleep tips, breastfeeding information, and helpful tips from professional relationships she has developed as a doula.

Connect with Alyssa
(815) 501-5035


Shannon Shepherd – Editor

Shannon stands out as a placenta encapsulator and birth doula in Weber County.  She has her own commercial kitchen, dedicated to only processing placentas.  As editor, she’ll make sure that readability is on point!

Connect w/ Shannon

Northern Utah Doulas – DoulaMatch
(801) 309-3636


Ectopic Pregnancy Loss: My story

What does ectopic pregnancy feel like?
Charity Wheeler


In 2011, my husband and I had been married for 2 years when we started seriously talking about adding children to our family of two. We had just purchased our first home, and were excited and anxious to fill it with joyous laughter and hope for the future.  I had been on hormonal birth control pills a little over two years when we decided to stop preventing pregnancy.

I had heard from friends that after going off hormonal birth control it can take a while to have a period.  Many mothers said that it is common to have long or super sporadic cycles for a while until your body regulates. I never had a period when I was on the pill, so I went out to stock up on tampons and waited.


After about a month and a half I began to bleed like a period. It seemed like the typical length and flow of my pre-pill periods and I had some cramping but nothing out of the ordinary. After about 5 or 6 days the bleeding stopped so I figured I just had my first post-pill period (say that 5 times fast). Since I had been bleeding, I assumed that I wasn’t pregnant.

After about a week and a half I started spotting but I brushed it off and credited it to hormones. The spotting continued a few days, and I started feeling very bloated and then the stomach pain overwhelmed me. For about 45 minutes to an hour I would have debilitating pain.  I felt nauseated and cold chills overcame my body. This happened a few times in 24 hours, and then my symptoms dissipated for a few days. I thought I must have had food poisoning, but then a few days later the pain started again. I lost a lot of blood. My stomach was so bloated I could only fit in sweat pants. Because the pain wasn’t going away in the middle of the night, I told my husband we needed to go to the emergency room.


After arriving at the ER and waiting for a few hours, we finally saw the doctor. He had me pee in a cup. Fifteen minutes later, he told me I was pregnant. So many emotions went through my head–I was shocked, then excited, and then worried.  This emotional roller-coaster ended in the realization that something must not be right.  Everything I was experiencing pointed to danger, disappointment, and confusion.

After sticking an ultrasound wand up my ladybits (I didn’t know that was a thing), the doctor confirmed that my pregnancy was ectopic. Wait, a what? I had never heard of that. I was told it’s when your body “doesn’t work right” and the fetus implants outside of the uterus. They guessed that I was about 6-7 weeks pregnant and said I would have surgery to remove the fetus from my fallopian tube.