There are many, many reasons why I like Marcella and have eagerly recommended for people in my classes to consider her as their doula. Sure, just from being her Facebook friend it was clear that she was a smart professional, a loving mother and well-respected and esteemed by the people in her life. But it was the opportunity to meet her face-to-face for the first time that has forever endeared me to her. When my own baby #4 was giving me utter grief from within the womb (that’s a story for another day!) Marcella reached out with encouraging words, and took time out of her busy life as a birth and postpartum doula, placenta encapsulator and mama to four of her own (who she also homeschools!) to make a meal for my family.
Our first face-to-face meeting was at my own front door, with Marcella bearing the gift of Shepherds Pie and homemade soup. In that moment she embodied the doula spirit - showing up, being a compassionate nurturer, handling a million things and making it look easy, possessing the kind of warmth that makes it feel natural to share a hug even when it’s the first time you’re meeting in person.
So let me brag on Marcella a little, give you a glimpse into who she is, how she works and why she just might be the absolute perfect doula for you. Marcella is a DONA Certified birth doula with 8 years experience and over 115 birth under her belt. She’s also a postpartum doula and offers placenta encapsulation services.
Like many doulas you may meet, it was her own experience as a birthing person that led to Marcella’s becoming a birth doula. As she tells it, “After feeling unsupported and uneducated about the birth process after giving birth for the first time in 2007 to my daughter Sofia, I knew I wanted to know more and to give birth differently the second time. After seeking out much information and different care providers I had given birth for the second time to my first son in 2009 and left the experience feeling very positive and empowered. After having given birth in completely different way and knowing I did it and it was possibility for other birthing people to as well, I wanted to support them and play a role in bettering birth experiences for others!”
Ultimately as a birthing person, Marcella has personal experience giving birth in a few different ways. After her first medicated hospital birth, she had a second and third births in the hospital, unmedicated and midwife-supported, welcoming son Joey who was caught by midwife Sue Brunk, and another son, Roman who was caught by midwife Vicky Ferguson. Finally, baby number four, her son Adrien, came at home under the care of one of Marcella’s birth heroes, CPM Karen Webster. Marcella feels, and I have to agree, that having these different birth experiences helps her to better support her clients.
On top of her service to clients and care for her own family, Marcella has managed to continue to grow and learn professionally, attending workshops such as Dancing for Birth, additional labor doula training through CAPPA, Hypnodoula training, as well as several workshops focusing on Optimal Fetal Positioning and Pelvic Bodywork and Rebozo training through Blossoming Bellies.
One of Marcella’s favorite resources for the clients she serves is Evidence Based Birth. She wants to make sure that she is able to provide her clients with up to date, evidence-based information so that they can make informed choices about providers, birthing locations and the way in which they want to give birth. Some other favorite resources are the films The Business of Being Born and Why Not Home. In addition to her own home birth midwife Karen Webster, Ina May Gaskin, and Penny Simkin are among Marcella’s “birth heroes.”
Marcella describes what it feels like to her to be “in her element” as a birth doula —
“The births that I attend that, in the moment, when my client is struggling to manage labor especially if they have previously been managing well, they suddenly are having a hard time and it becomes clear that at this point they may decide to seek other pain management. When it is clear to me that since I encouraged them to get in a certain position, encouraged their partner to try something else, I used certain comfort touch measures or gotten them something to provide more relief this is when I definitely feel like I’m doing the work I should!”
You’re probably wondering how someone with four kids of her is able to handle the demands of the on-call life and manages to show up for labors that could start at any time and might go on for 4 hours, 14 hours or 24 hours. Marcella shares, “It has taken some getting used to being on call, going to a birth and then not knowing when I’ll return home with a family of 6 of us. I am in a much better place for this work now from practicing better coping techniques personally. Knowing that it always works out as well as having the support of my family.
When it comes times to bid farewell to each brand-new-family she serves in order to return to her own, her ritual for unwinding after a birth prioritizes an immediate trip to her own bed to grab a little make-up sleep. After that she enjoys time with her family and their post-birth tradition of ordering dinner out - sometimes Thai food from Circles or Celebre’s Pizza - watching a moving, relaxing and heading to bed early. When she has the chance to be off-call, she’ll take advantage of a weekend getaway with her family or partner. In the winter that might mean heading to the Poconos or Poughkeepsie, New York for fun in the snow, skiing, snowboarding or tubing. In the summer months, Marcella sets aside time from taking birth clients and focuses just on some postpartum and placenta encapsulation clients so that she can getaway with her family to their model trailer home-away-from-home at the Jersey Shore. Beside leaving Philly, it’s just nice to take advantage of pockets of time off-call to spend time with friends knowing that she can stay up too late and not worry about being called in for a birth.
Check out the links below for more information about how to reach Marcella and follow her on social media. Below that you'll also find the YouTube link to my in-person interview with Marcella.
firstname.lastname@example.org *preferred communication method
Birth doula fee: $1000
Serving the Greater Philadelphia Area and South Jersey
Fb: Born With Love Birth