Meet the Doulas

Alejandra has attended a DONA approved Birth Doula training. When asked why she  became a doula, she stated: “After having my first child, I struggled with knowing what kind of mother I wanted to be, and how to be, not just because motherhood was new, but because it was difficult. As I progressed in my journey and reflected back, I saw so much of my transition into motherhood being affected by my birth story. As I met and spoke with other women, it became clear to me that my path in life was to help women transition into motherhood in whatever way they needed. I wanted to give the support and empowerment that I didn’t have, and hopefully help other women begin their journey into motherhood with a positive birth experience.” When asked to describe her doula style, Alejandra stated that “I see myself less as someone with a defined style and more as someone who adapts to what the client needs. Meeting the family-mother, partner, whomever- getting to know them, and letting their needs influence and guide our interactions.” When not attending births, Alejandra is married with two kids and two fur babies. They spend as much time outdoors as they can- climbing, hiking and camping. Alejandra does yoga, runs and lifts weights to keep herself strong and centered. “I love laughter, wit, and authenticity. I try not to take life too seriously, while honoring and appreciating every experience I can.”

Angela has attended a DONA approved Birth Doula training and became a doula because she found herself unofficially in the role several times and finally pursued the training. Angela is fluent in sign language and has worked with the deaf and disabled community for over 20 year. Angela describes her doula style as making the family very comfortable and finding all of the positive energy around the Mama. She believes in trying to find the glass half full in all scenarios and teaching the family through fun. When Angela is not attending births, she is a proud mother of four. She enjoys giving to the community and spending time outdoors.

Bethany has attended DONA approved Birth and Postpartum Doula training and is also certified by the Center for Babywearing Studies and TENs units. She is also a Certified Breastfeeding Coach. Bethany became a doula due to the lack of knowledge of birthing options in San Antonio and the need for better births for all. Bethany describes her doula style as “power through knowledge.” She wants her clients to feel like they can make their best decisions with the information provided and likes to go with the flow and be as hands on or off as needed. When Bethany is not attending birthing times, she is running her small family farm close to Poteet where they have sheep, pigs, ducks, and chickens along with a variety of creatures inside. Bethany is a Mama to 5 great kids and homeschools her oldest 4. She has been married for over 15 years.

I am Giselle Rackley (she/her/hers) and live in Universal City, Texas. I come into my doula/student midwife journey by learning little by little over the past 17 years of having 4 children. My first child was unplanned and unexpected so I came into motherhood rather ignorant about pregnancy, labor, birth, and raising a family. I am the youngest of five children and my closest cousins were near the same age so I grew up not interacting with many babies until I was a teenager and a young adult. On my first pregnancy, I did what my doctors told me to do (i.e. read these books, take the clinic birth class, do the hospital tour, etc.) but really didn’t know much about what my body would go through into pregnancy and labor outside of book and class knowledge. With my second birth, I had recently moved to a new city and chose a female OB/GYN group as I wanted to hear about birth and my concerns about postpartum from a woman’s viewpoint as my prior provider was male, though very kind and compassionate. My third pregnancy coincided with my best friend’s pregnancy and we both learned together about the option of having a midwife and doula at a birth. I loved to hear how she was supported during and after her birth so I sought out a doula training course to learn more and entered into my local birth community of doulas and midwives that I had previously not known existed. My youngest childbirth was attended by my doula/friend and a midwife and, though it was an unexpected hospital transfer from home, it was my most supportive birth of all. I appreciate the great, compassionate, and professional care my doula and midwife provided. Over the past three years, I have noticed I have read more and more about birth, postpartum care, and the needs of women to have better access to trained birth providers that I finally listened to my heart to plunge into the waters of birth work and student midwifery.

Jessica is a DONA trained doula that serves families in the San Antonio area. She also completed training in Spinning Babies. She has been supporting families during their births for several years before becoming a doula. After having my third baby in 2019 I decided to become a doula to give moms a chance to have a better birth experience. I myself have had different birth experiences and some birth trauma and I wanted to be able to help others through the process. I had a cesarean with my first and have had two successful vaginal births (VBACs) since with one being a hospital waterbirth. There are so many that have read my birth stories not knowing you could even have a VBAC so I knew I needed to continue to help others have the confidence and support they deserve. I come with a lot of knowledge and experience in several different situations on top of all the other births I have been a part of. I didn’t have a doula myself until my third birth and it was a completely different experience. I look forward to serving you during this special time in your life. If I am not at a birth as a doula you will find me at one as the photographer or in my studio capturing newborns. I love to hike, go out on the water, build, paint or anything creative really.

Leona has attended DONA approved Birth and Postpartum Doula training. Leona became a doula because she has a passion for helping families on their journey into parenthood. Leona plans on continuing her education with courses on breastfeeding, babywearing, and childbirth educator training in the year to come. Leona describes her style of doula-ing as supporting what a family desires for their birth and hopes to facilitate learning and an open environment so that her birthing family is confident throughout the entire experience. When Leona is not attending birthing times, she is a wife and mom of 5 who describes herself as calm, patient, and supportive of all family decisions.

Mary is a DONA certified Birth Doula and is certified in TENS use in labor. She also completed training in Spinning Babies. Mary became a doula because she has already loved the birth process and has an empathetic nature. In her words, “I found my calling!” Mary plans on continuing her education with Rebozo and Acupressure in the coming years. When describing her doula style, Mary states that “I believe each birth is a journey. Each journey can be different and wonderful. I am probably a nurturer/encourager first. I want every mom to have her best birth experience. I lean toward natural and organic, but I will be what mama needs me to be to help her be the strong, beautiful woman she is created to be.” When Mary is not attending birthing times, she loves to read, crochet, create jewelry, hike/walk, and be with family as she is a married mother of 3 adults, grandmother of 5 with her live-in mother, one dog and one cat. Mary describes herself as “Christian, empathetic, nurturer, introvert.”

Nelda has attended DONA approved Birth and Postpartum Doula training and is also trained in basic lactation, rebozo, Spinning Babies, and use of TENs during Labor. Nelda became a doula because making sure parents know their options when it comes to their healthcare and baby’s health is very important to her. When describing her doula style, Nelda states that “Making sure my client feels safe and listened to is very important to me. “I am comfortable switching from calm and quiet when desired to taking charge when needed, helping a client come back to their safe place.“ When Nelda is not attending births, she is spending time with her family. Striving to live a more intentional life filled with connection and experiences.

Patricia is a DONA certified Birth Doula and has attended a DONA approved PostPartum Doula training . Patricia became a doula because she loves to educate, serve and be part of the birth process. For Patricia, it is a privilege to work as a doula. When asked to describe her doula style, Patricia states “I listen to my clients and I try to respect their birth plans as much as possible. I love to educate my clients so they can be knowledgeable and ready for delivery. I am very respectful of their privacy during and after birth. I am always aware that it’s all about their birth and I try to make that time special for mom and family. It is an honor and privilege to serve my clients in such a sacred time in their lives.” Patricia is originally from Argentina and came to this country 32 years ago as a newlywed. When not attending birthing times, Patricia enjoys spending time with her four children and new grandson. She loves to read, walk and quilting and loves to help people and support them.

Rachel is a DONA certified birth doula and has attended a DONA approved PostPartum Doula training. She is also a certified Hypnobabies HypnoDoula as well as being trained in Spinning Babies techniques. She has also completed training in the rebozo, tens unit, as well as being a certified child passenger safety technician and Certified Breastfeeding Coach (CBC). Rachel became a doula because she wanted to serve the community, especially military moms, now that her children are older. She loves birth and all it entails, from prenatal to postpartum care. When describing her doula style, Rachel states “I have been described as a ‘therapeutic presence.’ I am very calming and soothing during the birth process, relying on cues from the birthing person, asking minimal questions while providing physical and emotional support. I spend a great deal of time getting to know my clients in order to give them a personalized experience that can serve their unique needs and preferences! Though I have had seven children of my own and am able to tap into many years of personal experience, I have a passion for learning and am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge base.” When not supporting clients, Rachel is a homeschooling mom to her three youngest children. She has traveled the world with her Air Force husband of 30 years. Rachel states that “my life is full, but I have a passion for serving new and expecting Mommas and love learning all the new techniques for support and comfort! I am a Phlegmatic/Melancholic personality which means I am a great listener, kind, compassionate, empathetic, organized, and list oriented. I love learning and educating.” In her free time, Rachel loves to travel, cook, read and spend time with family.

Shelley Courtaway is a Certified Birth Doula through DONA International, Certified Car Seat Technician and Certified Breastfeeding Counselor. She is also working toward a bereavement doula certification through Stillbirthday.com. She is passionate about walking alongside families of all stages. Shelley has many aspects of her personality that complement birth work. She is positive, outgoing, adapts quickly and is calm under pressure. Shelley has worked closely within the family structure for over 15 years. Before becoming a doula, she spent many years as nanny/household manager with a specialty in newborn care. When Shelley is not doing birth work, she spends time at home with her husband, daughter, and stepdaughter. She enjoys board games, puzzles, coffee and laughing with her family!

Toni has attended DONA birth and postpartum training. She has completed Spinning Babies training with Gail Tulley, Rebozo training with Gina Kirby as well as many in house trainings. She has been working with birthing parents for over 10 years now. Toni is an advocate for breastfeeding and cloth diapering. She is bilingual in Spanish and has awareness of many cultures.She came from Michigan to Texas 40 years ago after marrying a native Texan.

Breastfeeding Team

Nikaila is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS), and Registered Nurse (RN, BSN). She is starting her career in lactation support through the mentorship program with SABD and recently became certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Q: Nikaila, why did you decide to serve families through breastfeeding? A: During my obstetrics rotation in nursing school, I had the privilege of shadowing the lactation consultant for a day. I was so impressed with the different ways she was able to help families and I knew I wanted to be able to do the same. I recognized how important it was to families to breastfeed their children not only from a nutritional perspective, but also as a bonding experience. I hope to be able to encourage and support families throughout their breastfeeding journey. When she’s not helping moms and babies, Nikaila like to read, run, travel and hike with her husband and daughter.