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Giving personal, empowering birth support

Meet Carmen.

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I believe birth is transformational. It is an experience families carry with them all of their lives. I love to listen to mothers as they share their hopes, fears, dreams and goals for birth. I'm an inspired witness of their journey from fear to confidence, doubt to trust, expectation to realization. I’m passionate about supporting women in childbirth, and I’m captivated by the miracle of new life. It changes all of us.

I’m from Managua, Nicaragua. I immigrated to San Francisco with my family when I was a little girl. Through my family’s challenges, I learned the power of supporting and being supported by others. I come from a family of strong, creative and resilient women who have inspired me to love people.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree from the Wheaton College Graduate School where I studied spiritual formation. I have given birth to babies in hospitals and at home. My personal birth experiences have taught me to be open and compassionate.

I am a DONA certified birth doula.  I'm Rebozo certified.  And I'm Hypnobabies trained.  I have experience supporting hospital and home births, and I am happy to support you in whatever setting you choose.  I am a native Spanish speaker.  And I'm a member of The Capital City Doula Collective.

 

 
Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.
— E. B. White
 
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Carmen brought such a calming and peaceful presence to the labor room. Her confidence and kind spirit seemed to permeate through all of us. The birth of my second child is one I look back on with pride and happiness. Carmen had such a big part in making that possible.
— Evin, (VBAC)

Services

Morgan's Story

Carmen so easily switched gears from educator to listener, supporter, encourager.
— MORGAN

My first three birth experiences were beautiful. There is nothing more amazing than having a baby, regardless of how the baby is brought into the world.  But after three attempts at having a natural birth, my husband and I were sad that all three births had ended with me getting an epidural. My first birth was 13 hours long, my second was close to 24 and my third was closer to 36 hours long.  Everyone kept saying that it was supposed to get faster each time and easier. That was not my experience. 

Enter Carmen Oates.  When we became pregnant with our fourth child, we knew we wanted to try something different.  Carmen was so interested in our story. She wanted to hear all the details from both my perspective and my husband’s. She listened to our past struggles and our current desires.  She was a wealth of information.  Personalized information. She doesn’t just give everyone the same advice. She sees each couple’s pregnancy and birth as a unique experience. She recommended books, shared ideas, researched, and advocated for us.

Going into our fourth birth we were so well prepared because of Carmen. And as I entered labor the fourth time, Carmen so easily switched gears from educator to listener, advocator, supporter, encourager.  She quietly reminded us of different techniques we could use.  She freed my husband from having to think of practical needs, because she was the one constantly reminding me to drink and eat.  She advocated for us by asking good questions to the nursing staff, without being pushy or obnoxious.  She reminded me that I was doing a good job.  I needed to be reminded of that.

Carmen somehow managed to make her presence there seem so natural.
— MORGAN

After 13 hours of labor I found myself, having just had my baby boy, looking at my husband and saying, “We did it.” We did it. We would not have been able to do it without Carmen. She is filled with knowledge because she loves to learn about birth journeys.  She is respectful because she truly sees herself as a supporter.

My husband and I are very personal people, and we both were a little nervous about having someone else present during such a private, vulnerable experience.  But Carmen somehow managed to make her presence there seem so natural.  She is amazing.  

Heather's Story

 

Carmen made the birth I hoped for possible!

I cannot express how thankful my husband and I are to Carmen for her coaching and support.

She worked with the doctors and nurses to make my pushes more effective and advocated for me any time it was a needed.
— Heather

She helped to keep me more comfortable during the labor at home and in the hospital and helped me to feel confident each step of the way.

During the pregnancy she gave me guidance in trying to flip my baby and to encourage him to drop. She worked with the doctors and nurses to make my pushes more effective and advocated for me any time it was a needed. Carmen guided me through my mindfulness and breathing during the birth, which allowed my body to naturally birth a precious 9 lb 3 ounce baby boy! Most importantly she was deeply committed to supporting both my husband and I in this birth through prayer, word, and physical guidance.

I could write pages of the beauty she helped to create, she was an unbelievable doula choice!   

 

Here's a great description of how doulas work with families and healthcare providers: Improving Birth Doula Fact Sheet

Here's a helpful video created by The Capital City Doula Collective:

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