who we are...
S Sarah Paksima (she/her), owner & senior doula, has been supporting families for 19 years in the United States, Kuwait, Oman, India, and Jordan as a doula, childbirth educator, and prenatal yoga instructor. She loves working with families from diverse backgrounds. Sarah and her husband work hard to keep their five children alive. She maintains her sanity by raising her children in a town with no stoplights, eating copious amounts of dark chocolate, and stocking her pantry with food her kids will eat. When she's not attending births, she enjoys watching Marvel and Jane Austen movies with her kids while folding endless piles of laundry and letting her kids bury her in the sand at the beach. MPH, MBA, CD (DONA), LCCE
C Casey Runck (she/her), senior doula, was drawn to doula work because she knows there are just as many ways to be a good mother as there are to have a great birth. This belief is what inspires her to support women and families during such a special and momentous time in their lives. In addition to being a doula Casey is a registered yoga and prenatal yoga instructor, and reiki practitioner. She balances her love of Eastern Philosophy by watching countless hours of Real Housewives and playing competitive pinball.
J Jen Finnegan (she/her), senior doula, has been lucky enough to be on a life journey that has led her to truly appreciate and understand the essential role that support of women and community provide for one’s life. Jen and her husband are raising their four children in Alexandria and are enjoying retirement from the military life, which has enabled them to put down roots in a way that was an impossibility when packing up and moving every four years. She lives her life based on the belief that a kind word and a gentle touch are needed, by even the strongest and bravest among us. These core beliefs and her strong desire to serve women in times of need have brought her to the doula life. Learning new things, being outside, kayaking, and camping are some of her favorite things in life! CD(DONA), LCCE
R Rena Geibel (she/her), senior doula, is a science teacher, a facilitator, and an international public health specialist with over 12 years’ experience in Africa working on reproductive health and HIV-related issues for vulnerable children and women. While working in East, Central, and Southern Africa Region with Save the Children-UK, Rena started her own family. Rena’s birth of two girls in Kenya in 2004 and 2005 influenced her to shift her professional focus towards improving maternity care through offering doula services, lactation advice, and teaching Lamaze childbirth education classes. She loves cooking and the outdoors! MPH, CD(DONA), LCCE
S Stacey Smith (she/her), senior doula, pursued doula work and childbirth education (Lamaze) after an interest in birth sparked by her own experiences that just wouldn't go away. Stacey also has a BS in Biology Composite Teaching and enjoyed her work as a middle school science teacher before transitioning into birth work. Stacey and her partner have been together for over 20 years. Working with the State Department, they have lived overseas with their 5 children for 17 of those years in posts to Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East. Stacey loves traveling, meeting new people and trying new foods. Now that she is living at “home” in the United States, she enjoys walking on sidewalks, visiting with extended family, and taking her kids to the library. CD(DONA), LCCE
E Elizabeth Parish (she/her), senior doula, felt the first tugs in the direction of childbirth when she was in college and spent time with a midwife and doula in Morocco. She returned to the states and was distracted by school, job, marriage, and kids. Elizabeth loved her own births, and the idea of helping other women during life changing moments kept tugging at her. Several years ago - 15 years after she first felt a pull towards birth - with her youngest going to kindergarten, she decided it was time to listen. Elizabeth believes the ability to walk through this challenging, vulnerable, and life changing time with a couple is truly an honor. She and her family live in the urban woods of Virginia and enjoy hiking to the Potomac. Elizabeth was recently bit by a copperhead so she is the one wearing knee high boots and moving very slowly and carefully. CD(DONA), LCCE
E Emily Workman, (she/her), senior doula, committed much of her professional life to addressing the inequities plaguing America's public education system. Tired of a career that had her sitting behind a desk, and an eagerness to see firsthand the change she was trying to make in the world, she made a shift into birth work. As a doula, she loves to help families begin parenthood from a place of strength and self-trust and to play a small role in improving maternal healthcare more broadly. Emily is the mother of two deliciously adorable kids and is married to a guy she fell fast and hard for as soon as she heard his British accent. She loves nothing more than breaking out into wild, giggle-filled family dance parties in their kitchen.
A Amy Battjer (she/her), junior doula, made the transition to birth work after her own experiences becoming a mother to her two sons. After 14 years working as a communications consultant focusing on education and issues affecting low-income communities, she felt an unrelenting draw to support birthing families during pregnancy and childbirth. Amy brings both a supportive and encouraging approach to her doula work and an ability to carry a calm and flexible presence during the inevitable twists and turns of pregnancy and childbirth. While not attending births, Amy plays logistical coordinator for her family and tries to squeeze in as much yoga and cooking to balance the nonstop energy of her toddler and preschooler.
A Amber Wright Kenney (she/her), junior doula, is a mother of 2 young daughters who felt drawn to become a doula after the birth of her children; the first without a doula and the second with a doula. It was her second experience that helped her to realize how important a doula is to the laboring person and their support team in coaching them to be as supportive as possible. Amber has a BS in Accounting and spent almost 20 years working as an accountant and consultant to the Federal Government in Washington, DC. She felt drawn to birth work so strongly that she eventually quit her job in order to pursue work as a doula and a Master’s in Nursing to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. In her spare time, which is rare, she loves to go salsa dancing, research her family’s genealogy, and entertain family and friends at her home.
K Kelsey Johnson Ogenia (She/Her), junior doula, has always felt called to birth work and reproductive health issues. While studying at the University of South Florida, she planned to be a sexual/reproductive health educator and therapist. To complete her minor in public health she took a class in Maternal and Child health that focused on labor and delivery and was hooked on birth. In 2017, She completed her master’s in Public Health from Boston University focusing on Perinatal, Sexual, Women’s and Reproductive health. One of the final projects she worked on in school was focused on the role of doulas and midwives to improve health outcomes for laboring people in the United states. This of course led Kelsey to pursue doula training and become a doula herself! In her spare time, Kelsey loves to read, cook, sing and spend time with her husband.
R Rhianna (Rena) Che (she/her), junior doula, has been on the journey to becoming a certified nurse-midwife since the moment she realized it was her calling. Her passion for working in childbirth was born of her own dramatic and miraculous birth story, an inspiring tale of her mother’s bravery, strength, and unconditional love. She recently reached a major milestone on the road to midwifery by becoming a registered nurse. Determined to work in labor and delivery, Rena sought out additional opportunities during nursing school to specialize her skill set, which included attending a DONA-certified doula training. She is very honored to be part of that community now, helping women create the best birth experiences they can create. When she’s not working on realizing her dreams, she loves to spend time with friends and loved ones, and attending live music performances. BSN, RN
E Emily Bird (she/her), junior doula, was drawn to birth work after her own experience with the joy, uncertainty, and powerful transformation of pregnancy and childbirth. Emily has an MA in International Training and Education and has worked for over 10 years on women’s empowerment issues and youth development programs in underserved communities both here in the U.S. and internationally. Knowing first hand the importance of a compassionate and skilled support person during life’s transitions, she became a doula to support and empower families through this special time in their lives. Emily brings a calm and encouraging perspective to her role as a doula. When not running off to a birth, she can usually be found spending time outside with her family, experimenting with new recipes, and trying to squeeze in time for yoga, running, and new podcasts.
M Marcela Bastos (she/her), junior doula, first came to appreciate the work of doulas by watching them act during the many births she followed as a pediatrician in her home country of Brazil. But having two kids was instrumental for a deeper understanding of the importance of the support of professionals as well as families in such a blissful but also challenging time. Marcela has always liked to rely on available research to help her make decisions as a mother but knows that in the end it always comes down to what makes each person comfortable. When she is not attending births or running around her two energetic ones, Marcela loves cooking, listening to audiobooks and having a laugh with friends. As a good “carioca” – those from Rio de Janeiro – Marcela goes to the beach every time she has a chance.
R Rebecca Gitter (she/her), junior doula, has been working as a certified prenatal yoga teacher in the DC area for more than a dozen years, she uses her knowledge of alignment and mindfulness to support clients in labor. Rebecca is honored to attend births and support families in this incredible transition in their life. She is a DONA trained birth doula, a postpartum doula, and Spinning Babies trained. She and her husband (of more than 25 years) live in Maryland with their 2 college aged kids. When she isn’t supporting families in labor you might find her in the pottery studio or on a trail being walked by her dog.
*CD(DONA) - DONA Certified Doula
*LCCE - Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
*Masters of Public Health