Birth Doula Services
"I recently had the very distinct pleasure of working wiith Marisa on a very challenging but incredible birth. I am a hospital Labor & Delivery RN. I have always really enjoyed having a doula as part of the patient's care team but Marisa is truly, excellently one of a kind. She brings a calming vibe to an entire room. She knows exactly how to anticipate her client's needs and meet them as necessary. Whether it be acting as her client's advocate in a difficult moment or educating her client on interventions available in the hospital, Marisa was a very helpful and respectful part of the collaborative team. It was such a joy to watch her empathetically listen to her client, ease her fears, and even put on the perfect song to create the mood in the room that she knew would benefit her client. She worked tirelessly for many many hours never once putting her needs above her client. I could continue to go on and on but the take home message is that I highly recommend utilizing Marisa's talents during your next birth. Not only will she make you feel cherished in what YOU want for your experience but she will make your whole family feel special and quickly become a part of your tribe! Thanks for all you do Marisa and all the lives you touch....until the next delivery we get to share in being a part of."
Jessica Denney - HOSPITAL LABOR AND DELIVERY RN - April 2016
"We met Marisa about a month before our due date when we decided we wanted the support of a doula since we were hoping to have our second child as a VBAC in the hospital. Our labor ended up being long and challenging, but Marisa stuck with us the whole time and offered endless support and encouragement. We had a successful VBAC after 40 hours of labor and we never could have done this without Marisa's help. My husband was nervous about our second birth due to a traumatic experience with our daughter's birth. With Marisa's support, he felt more at ease and was able to fully participate in our son's birth. We are grateful to Marisa for the professional yet caring support she provided to our family and highly recommend her doula services."
Annie Bernauer - April 2016
"We were very glad to have Marisa with us during the birth of our daughter two weeks ago. We enjoyed getting to know her beforehand and appreciated her calm, warm presence. She is adept at being right there when you need her while never being intrusive. I was especially grateful to have Marisa with us when we needed to transfer to the hospital because labor wasn't progressing. Having the continuity of her with us as the game plan changed gave my partner and me both some much-needed reassurance at a time when I was exhausted and feeling vulnerable. She helped us preserve as much of the birth that we had envisioned despite changing circumstances and also took photos during labor and delivery that we will treasure forever."
Emy Kodama- Missoula April 2016
"Being pregnant with our first child, my husband and I didn't know what to expect from the entire birth process. Marisa spent two hours with us, twice, before our daughter's birth to talk through our birth preferences and let us know what she could offer for us that we may not have thought about in our birthing class. Marisa fit into our husband/wife team perfectly during labor. She gave my husband encouragement and ideas to help me when needed and stepped into the background when we were progressing fine. I really appreciated having Marisa to call in the early stages of labor and coming to my house to help my husband keep track of contraction intervals. She was instrumental in getting us safely to the Birth Center when my contractions got really close together much more quickly than we expected. I wasn't sure how a doula would exactly fit into our experience of labor and birth, but I wouldn't change a thing. I highly recommend sitting down with Marisa and learning more about how she can enhance and ease your experience of labor and birth."
Jeanie Shade - MIssoula February 2016
"My wife and I had an incredibly positive experience with Marisa and we would highly recommend her services. She just made us feel so much more comfortable about our birth, she answered every question, and she was there for really our whole labor and delivery. Very professional, very positive, and knowledgable. We will be calling her for #2 for sure!"
Kevin Flynn - Missoula September 2014
"The first time I spoke to Marisa was about 15 minutes after I was told I would have to be induced early, two weeks from that day. I was scared and confused, and felt extremely overwhelmed by all the possibilities tied into my new birth plan. She listened to all of my fears and concerns, there were a lot of them. Each conversation we had was helpful, and when the day finally came she was right there with me and I already felt worlds better. I was in labor for 3 days, without her help my partner and I would have broken down in the first day. It was hard and it seemed like so many things went wrong, but Marisa kept me calm and focused. We were all tired at the end, but she continued at my side and even gave me the final push that got my water to break even though I was ready to give up. Even when she was in the room with me, I remember her advice got me through so much of the pain. She really cares and remained patient long after I would have expected anyone to be. I now have a beautiful baby girl and I believe it her birth would have been much worse without Marisa.
Thank you for being there for me and my partner."
Fiera Clark - Missoula, September 2014
"This testimonial is difficult for me to write because the experience that I had giving birth seems indescribable. It was seriously magical and I’m so happy that Marisa was there by my side. I had my baby at the Missoula Birth Center with the assistance of a midwife. As soon as Marisa arrived, I immediately felt calm in her presence. She was very prepared and brought things to help ease my discomfort like a ball for me to sit on, essential oils to help calm me, heating pads for my back, etc. She even brought my partner and family members coffee! She was super confident but also very caring and soothing. I felt like she really raised the bar and showed my family the kind of care I needed. My labor definitely wasn’t easy, but she was right there to ease my discomfort as much as possible. She is super intuitive and I remember by the end of my labor I wouldn’t even have to tell her what I needed, she just knew! One of the best moments that I remember was when she would calmly encourage me through out my labor, reminding me to trust myself. I am so grateful that Marisa was able to be my doula and be there for me through that experience. I definitely can’t see myself going through labor again without her being there."
Amy Stiffarm - Polson, April 2014
"I found Marisa to be a very caring and informative Doula. As I was a very nervous first time mum she helped me through prenatal checks and tests and explained everything to me so that I could understand. During my labour I was very upset and anxious and Marisa helped me relax by showing me how to breathe and reassured me as the labour progressed, she stayed there with me for the whole process. She also kept me entertained and occupied when we were waiting for things to happen and made me cups of tea when I needed it. Whilst in hospital after giving birth she continued her support by sending me texts to check I was ok and also took time out of her day to travel down to the hospital to visit which was a 2 hour car ride.
I would recommend Marisa to every prospective mum and cannot thank her enough for her help and support and also consider Marisa a lifelong friend. "
JF - Te Anau, New Zealand, March 2014
"Marisa was my doula for the birth of my son Azariah, last year on November 18th 2013. I met her just a couple weeks before the birth, and I wasn't sure if I really needed a doula with me or not. However, Marisa was calm and warm when I met her, and she also seemed very knowledgeable. My husband and I both agreed to have her with us at the birth center. I was having contractions but I wasn't sure my labor was starting, until bright and early in the morning when my water broke. Then the contractions were coming very fast, and we got right in the car. Justin called Marisa on the way, and I'm sure she was pretty surprised that we were already in the heat of it! Thankfully she was able to get to the birth center quickly, just as I started pushing the little boy out! I was squatting on the stool, and I remember saying "hey Marisa!" A little disgruntled.... Marisa came in with a lot of soft, positive energy, optimism, encouragement, and a good sense of gentle support. She told me I was doing great and that I was a birth goddess, which I thought was pretty funny at the time because I just felt like a mammal pushing a baby out of my body. Anyway it was really nice to have her there, as an empowered and aware female presence. Although it all went shockingly quick, having Marisa with me brought me a sense of the stories in "Spiritual Midwifery" by Ina May Gaskin, where there is a community of in tune women supporting the mother. Thanks Marisa for being with me and Justin and Azariah. I'm grateful to have met you and to now be friends with you after you supported me in such a vulnerable and precious moment. Blessings, sister. You will do well for many women! And you are a great mama."
Mary Corelli - Missoula, November 2013
Postpartum Doula Services
My husband and I hired Marisa as a postpartum doula. I will preface this by saying we have a 16 month old toddler boy, and we were overwhelmed and terrified of the concept of adding a newborn to our already crazy life. We needed help. We also had never left our son with anyone other than his grandmother, so that was another source of stress for us. Marisa came over before the baby was born as a sort of "interview" meet and greet, and to see if a postpartum doula was for us. I can tell you my husband and I were put at ease immediately by Marisa's demeanor and attitude. My toddler went right up to her, and so did our cat ;) Right after she left, my husband immediately said "I really like her." If you know my husband, it's not like him to like someone right off the bat without spending more time with them. Needless to say we hired her to come twice a week, and she has come for the last month. Each time she's been here, she has taught me something new and valuable about being a mother. I personally like to surround myself with positive people who I can learn from, and she is an excellent example of this. I felt comfortable leaving both kids with her while I ran to get groceries one day, Target the next time- things I just can't fathom bringing both kids to do yet. Each time I'd come home to see her Washing my dishes, tidying my kitchen etc. It was much appreciated. I did not have a birthing doula so I cannot speak to that, but I can say if you are looking for a knowledgeable, trustworthy, postpartum doula Marisa is fabulous.
Sarah Long - Missoula, October 2014
A Birth, Postpartum and CLC Testimonial
There are no words to express my gratitude adequately to Marisa. I could write about all the duties she performed as our doula and how she was (and has been) a very supportive and helpful part of my pregnancy and postpartum care... but that wouldn't do justice to the actual experience that is Marisa and Bitterroot Birth services.
I have had a very rewarding experience that involved relaxed meetings before birth where I was able to vent and cry and express my feelings, all the way up to postpartum care that involves lactation and mental support as I try to navigate mothering two under three along with work. While my birth was a planned induction, it was important to me and my husband that was not rushed or prolonged and was much more centered and grounded an experience than my last induction was. I really wanted a birth experience that was smoother and had more serenity than my previous birth experience. Marisa was fantastic about facilitating care to my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. She communicated perfectly with my medical team, was completely supportive of what I needed to accomplish my goals, and put my family at ease and comfort. Having Marisa at our birth made me so much more relaxed with the process than I had experienced with our first child - I wish I had utilized Bitterroot Birth at that time!
I have receieved complement after complement on how calm, collected, and at ease I was, and am still... but I can't really take the credit, it's all Marisa and her marvelous work. My family is amazed at what having a doula meant for us - the clarity, the focus, the warmth. But when you work with Marisa, she becomes a part of your family and advocates for you from the moment you begin your relationship. And it doesn't end when your child is born. She stayed to help our child latch properly, make us feel comfortable with our postpartum care, and ease our family bonding time. She has also been an amazing lactation consultant helping me with weekly text/calls and meetings to work on any nursing issues or concerns we have. Having Marisa work with us has created a better latch and bonding experience for our newborn and myself. She has given me the confidence to nurse in public, while hiking (yes, I can nurse while on the trail with our newborn in her Ergo!), and at work. I don't feel "tied down" while nursing but instead am empowered to continue doing all I did prior with the knowledge it is possible and can work well. Without her guidance and the breastfeeding support system she helped me create I would not be successful and instead would be a frustrated wreck.
While previously I would have never dreamed of having a doula or lactation consultant and would have thought this was too "earth mama hippie crunchy granola" for me and my family, I am proud to reform my ways and become a strong advocate and believer in doula's and lactation consultants. Thanks to Bitterroot Birth and Marisa I have wonderful memories and a beautiful experience I will cherish forever. I could never thank her enough for what she gave to my family and myself.
Rae Young Ellen - Missoula, April 2015