TIER 5: 75-100 BIRTHS
Raychel Franzen became a doula because of her firm belief in every person’s right to make decisions regarding their own body and birth experience. She offers her clients physical and emotional support as well as relevant information so they can feel safe and confident in their decisions throughout their pregnancy, birth, and beyond. She grew up the oldest in a large family so she’s been around birth and babies her whole life, and her own experience as a birth mother in an open adoption taught her about the power and transformative nature of birth. Raychel knows that every family and every birth is unique so she is passionate about listening and meeting people where they are to give the right support for the moment.
Raychel is a DONA Certified Birth Doula, an ALPP Certified Lactation Counselor, and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She has attended complementary trainings on many topics including comforting touch, acupressure, perinatal mental health, cloth diapering, VBAC, and pelvic floor health. She is NRP certified and occasionally fills in as a birth assistant to a local home birth midwife.
In her free time, Raychel enjoys fantasy novels, word puzzles, board games, and theatre. She lives with her husband and a tank full of fish in Brooklyn.
Heather Kaplan is a DONA certified birth doula, postpartum doula and certified school psychologist. Her personal experiences of birth and motherhood enlightened her to the importance of women feeling nurtured, respected and informed throughout their childbearing year, and how this translates into both immediate and long-term benefits for the entire family. Being a mom is Heather’s most cherished role, and so she feels blessed to support women as they are born into motherhood.
Heather believes that women labor most effectively when they feel safe and relaxed. Therefore, she spends the prenatal period helping women prepare for and feel optimistic about their upcoming birth. She talks to clients about their options and preferences regarding labor, birth and breastfeeding, in order to guide families towards meaningful and empowering birth experiences. Heather draws upon various pain management techniques to help women labor more comfortably, and has trained with Gena Kirby in the art of rebozo and with Gail Tully in “Spinning Babies.”
Heather holds a graduate degree from Fordham University and a dual BA in Psychology and Early Childhood Development from SUNY Buffalo. She makes her home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx with her childhood sweetheart (now husband), their two kids and two cats. In the summertime, they love escaping the city for their home in the Catskill Mountains and visiting the beaches of Cape Cod.
Melissa McCrumb is a DONA Trained Doula, and mom to Simon, born in Manhattan in 2015. Growing up surrounded by pregnant and breastfeeding women planted the seed that made her want to become a doula, and her own birthing experience pushed her over the edge. Melissa wholeheartedly believes that every woman should have the kind of support they need in labor and childbirth.
Melissa believes that every woman knows herself best, and knows best what she and her baby need during birth. During your prenatal appointment Melissa will spend lots of time listening to what you are looking for in your birth, but also why you want those things. This allows Melissa to tailor her support to you and enables her to provide caring, non-judgmental support during your labor. Whether you want or need an unmedicated birth, some medication, or a cesarean section, she will provide support to help you meet your birth goals. If for whatever reason, there’s a change of plans during labor she will help make sure that you are in control of those decisions.
Melissa is originally from Virginia, but now calls New York City home. She studied Anthropology at the University of Virginia and before becoming a doula Melissa worked as a community organizer. Melissa speaks Spanish and German.
Ash Spivak is a DONA certified birth doula, stress-reduction facilitator and is certified in prenatal nutrition. She graduated with Honors from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently furthering her studies as a Childbirth Educator through CEAMNY. She helped write and develop the Clean Plates NYC and LA guidebooks, cookbook and mobile app.
Ash deeply trusts the body’s innate birthing intelligence and abilities while also believing there is truly no one “right” way to birth. As such, she works with each woman/partnership to find what works best for your unique circumstances and preferences while providing continuous support and advocacy throughout our time together so that you can be an active participant in your birthing experience and surrender to your labor in whatever shape it takes.
She teaches comfort techniques to partners and is trained in a variety of techniques including massage, Hypnobirthing, acupressure, breath work, meditation, Spinning Babies and “yoga for labor.”
She greatly looks forward to connecting!