about us

DCBD owners Amy Ard and Sarah Paksima

who we are...

Amy Ard HeadshotA Amy Ard (owner) has been supporting families for 10 years as a doula and childbirth educator. Amy also has a masters degree in theology from Vanderbilt University, so if you decide to get married at the hospital, Amy can help you tie the knot. Amy and her husband enjoy  camping and playing outside with their three kids, singing and making music with friends, and spending time with their family down "south." Amy is a loyal friend, an avid coffee lover, and an adventurous soul. Amy recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia.

Sarah Paksima HeadshotS Sarah Paksima has been supporting families for 17 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.

Mary Wheatley Headshot 2M Mary has been supporting families for four years in the DC/MD area as a birth doula after completing a degree in Women's Studies at George Washington University. She brings to her work an open and compassionate heart. Mary and her partner do their best to avoid sunburns and ticks on outdoor excursions with their two children. Mary also enjoys making up silly songs with her kids and watching them play "birth" and "doula" with their dolls, sipping tea by fireside, good conversation, NPR, and singing along with her guitar.

Elizabeth Shrader HeadshotE Elizabeth Shrader has worked with hundreds of women as a birth educator, community health organizer, massage therapist, and doula. Elizabeth birthed both her children in Mexico, is fluent in Spanish, and has an MPH from UCLA. After working in public health for many years, Elizabeth transitioned into massage and doula work, and recently launched The Well - a wellness center in Mount Pleasant. Elizabeth specializes in prenatal, postpartum, and infant massage. She loves exploring the world on foot and on water, playing games and enjoying conversation with good friends, and spending time with her family.

L Lindsey has supported hundreds of families in the DMV area as a full spectrum doula, prenatal yoga teacher, childbirth educator, clinical health educator and energy worker. Lindsey fell in love with birth work after her job with a large international development organization introduced her to midwives, mother friendly health initiatives and the power of unconditional support of women. Lindsey loves poorly planned travel, well written fiction and silent meditation retreats.

C Casey Runck is thrilled to be a member of DC Birth Doulas II.  Casey was drawn to this 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 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 instructor, 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 Jennifer Gagnon is an empty nester having had the honor and privilege of raising 3 beautiful children. She resides on on her eighth generation family farm in Northern Virginia surrounded by 100 acres of forest, pasture and flower gardens. For the past 30 years she has dedicated her life to nurturing children. Having grown up with 5 generations under one roof, she received endless quantities of love, strength and support which has fueled her desire to take care of others. She is overjoyed to be able to share her life experiences with mothers and fathers during the magical moment of childbirth. Jennifer has a passion for travel, is a reading enthusiast and has the dream of living on the island of Corsica. 

M Maddison Conforti began her doula career at eight years old when her twin brother and sister were born. Though she took a circuitous path, first working in cancer healthcare and then as a college writing instructor, it was the beautiful and empowering water birth of her son two years ago—with a D.C. Birth Doula by her side—that convinced Maddison it was time to formally pursue birth work. She holds her MFA in nonfiction from Columbia College Chicago and a BA in English and Latin from Depauw University, where she was also a National All-American swimmer. These days, Maddison and her family enjoy plunking rocks into Rock Creek, riding the carousel at the zoo, and sipping coffee by day (and wine by evening) on their D.C. balcony. Maddison is an expert napper, a lover of good lists, and a thoughtful friend.

J Jen Finnegan 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!