Birth &Breath Devon Linton Handel
*Birth Doula *Prenatal Yoga *Fairy Hair
Special thanks to my Birth Doula & Friend, Elizabeth, to my sister, Lesley and several of my clients
for many of the images, as well as the video by Amanda Ditzel- Photography that are featured on this site.
"Devon was awesome, and exactly what we needed. My husband and I had no idea what to expect from our first birth, so the prenatal visits were critical for us. Devon provided detailed info on what my body would be going through, and specific things we could be doing to prepare for laboring at home, and at the hospital. As engineers, we really benefited from the high level of detail and knowledge she provided; it was exactly what we needed to go into the birth without fear or questions. We had read books to prepare, but nothing compares to having someone there with you who already has all the knowledge, tricks, and a great background of experience right there with you as you're going through it.
I would not have been able to give birth drug-free if I hadn't had both Devon and my husband there. They worked together as an amazing team; Devon was a calm spot during the entire experience, telling us when to rest, when to eat, and suggesting changes in position or massage that helped move the birth along and ease my stress and discomfort. I will definitely use Devon again, and highly, highly recommend her to anyone looking for support during birth.
Devon, thank you so much for everything you did for us.
You touched our lives in an immensely positive way and we will never forget our experience."
~Jo, first time mother
"My pregnancy was the most vulnerable time of my life so far. I was a mess. I was so scared and felt lost. To have you helped me feel like my feet were touching ground again. I feel that your strengths were information and confidence. You were great with answering questions and instilling confidence in me... that I could do this. When I felt scared you helped me feel safe and connected. This experience has changed me forever. You are part of my story. And for that I'll always be thankful."
~Madeline, first time mother
"Devon was fantastic! We couldn't have done it without her! She was 100% there for Amelia from the moment she arrived to our house until after the birth!" ~Rayan, first time father
"I was at a party early in my pregnancy when I met a couple who had hired Devon as their birth doula. I had never considered having a doula before this, but their recommendation was so strong that I just had to meet Devon and learn more about what doulas do. I had never spent much time thinking about the kind of birth I wanted for my baby, but somehow I always imagined that I would need a C-section, because that's how I was born and I am a very petite person. At our first meeting with Devon, I told her that my main goal was to have a vaginal birth, but that I had a lot of anxiety about this. I also told Devon that my preference was to give birth in a hospital setting and that I planned to use pain relief intervention including an epidural. I described myself as a non-religious, non-spiritual, scientifically-minded person who would immediately heed advice from any health professional, especially if told I needed a C-section. At first I thought that maybe these things would keep us from developing the kind of trust and understanding that we would need to have a good doula-client relationship. But Devon responded by telling me, "This is your birth.". She explained that her job was to enhance our birth experience according to our own vision, whatever that may be. I was immediately put at ease and even after this initial visit I felt more confident about my ability to give birth. After discussing with my husband and researching the benefits of having a doula, we decided to hire Devon as a member of our birth team. Throughout the rest of my pregnancy, every time I thought about the upcoming birth, I was constantly reassured by the knowledge that Devon would be there to help me manage the pain and anxiety... and would bring a more humanistic approach to my birth process, compared to the sometime cold or rushed methods of doctors and nurses...
Looking back on my labor, 16 hours of which was accompanied by Devon, I would say that I have many wonderful memories and would even describe much of the experience as fun! Devon kept me busy and moving and helped the time pass remarkably quickly. I went for walks, bounced on the birthing ball, stretched, lunged, and squatted (sometimes with the help of Devon's lovely Rebozo scarf), relaxed in the shower, and danced. Devon decorated the room with a string of mini lights and artificial candles and put on a Nora Jones album, creating a warm and relaxing ambiance. Most important of all was the massage. So much wonderful massage! Every time I started having a contraction, Devon would apply a lot of pressure to my hips and lower back, and this significantly helped me manage the pain. I don't think I would ever have made it to 8cm of dilation before getting my epidural without all of these techniques. I am so proud that I was able to remain calm and upbeat throughout labor and I absolutely credit Devon for this. During transition, I did eventually decide that it was time for an epidural, and I truly believe that this was the right decision for me. Devon at no point attempted to discourage me from getting the epidural and I greatly appreciated that. As I was pushing, Devon assisted the nurses by suggesting various positions and encouraging me with every contraction. I remember her telling me how strong I was and what a great job I was doing, even after things got challenging.
I would highly recommend Devon as a birth doula to anyone who is looking to get the most out of their birth experience. My memories of giving birth to my daughter are overwhelmingly positive, in large part due to my outstanding birth team. I felt so comfortable with Devon, and her presence in the room helped me to maintain that inner calm that I believe is the reason that I was able to achieve my goals."
~Stephanie, first time mother
"Devon was wonderful - just the right amount of support right when I needed it; a good advocate for what she knew were my priorities for this birth. Loved the massage & reflexology!"
~Allie, mother of 4
"Excellent help for patient and helping medical personnel.
Enjoyed working with [her]." ~Carolyn, RNC
"If you or someone that you know is pregnant and exploring the possibilities of inviting a doula to be present during the birth, I would encourage you to make contact with Devon Linton Handel, an amazing local woman who offers doula services. A doula is a trained birthing assistant who accompanies you on your journey of pregnancy and birth. She will help you envision your ideal birth plan and be available for you if anything changes along the way.
She was my doula in the recent birth of my now two-week-old baby girl. Through a long and difficult labor (60 hours), she stuck with me and my husband the entire time, offering us amazing advice, support and calming energy throughout the endeavor. I could not have done it without her. For those of you who are pregnant or know someone who is pregnant, please mention her services and refer them to her website, where you can find details of her offerings.
Another note: Having a gender reveal party or looking for a fun activity for your baby shower? Devon also offers 'Fairy Hair' services, and can tie in that pink or blue (or gender-neutral green) sparkle for you and your friends. Or perhaps you want to memorialize that lovely pregnant mama belly by casting it in plaster? Devon does that, too."
~Brittany, first time mother
"We were so pleased with the amazing support that Devon gave us during our pregnancy and birth, and the continued support she has given us since our son was born. She is such a calming presence and was a terrific advocate for us during our hospital birth. Devon truly cares about her clients and their families. She is full of compassion and empathy and makes you feel empowered to make the best decisions for you. We were very lucky to find her!"
~Michelle, first time mother
Sam's birth story:
"Having a baby was never anything I had ever planned on doing. So when I found myself 'knocked up' at 33, I was very surprised. I remained in shock until about month eight of my pregnancy. I did very little reading/ research. I was scared that it would freak me out. I figured not knowing anything might be a good birth plan. Like, 'stay calm till the end & I would just figure it out' . My sweet boyfriend, Mark, finally told me he thought that my plan wasn't too great & he wanted to hire an expert to help us through the birth. I resisted at first because of the cost, but I eventually admitted he was right & we found Devon online. This was around two weeks before my daughter was born.
As soon as we contacted Devon, she came over to meet us. We liked & trusted her right away. She seemed smart, organized & calm. She talked to us for hours, helped us figure out a birth plan & helped us to understand how things might go. When she left the house, Mark & I were so much calmer about the whole thing. My water broke at home on the full moon in November. I was really scared and didn't want to wake up anyone in the middle of the night (I know now this was stupid). As soon as I texted Devon & the midwives I was able to calm down. My real contractions started around noon. I never imagined that they would be so crazy feeling. Devon reminded me to keep my feet on the ground (I wanted to leave my body) & to drink water/ smoothie. She let me know what was happening, as it was happening. She was in my ear the whole time & she didn't let me leave my body like I wanted to. She was great about seeing when a certain position was or wasn't working & she had me change positions quite often. My sweet little baby was born at 2:00 pm and it was much easier/ better than I ever could have imagined. I know I would have had Rosie without Devon, but it would have been with a C-section or epidural. Her calm confidence in the situation was what got us through such a crazy experience with such joy & magic. If you are considering Devon as your doula, just know it's one of the best decisions I have ever made.
She is worth every penny."
~Sam, first time mother
"We hired Devon as a doula for my second pregnancy. My second pregnancy was harder than my first and Devon provided comfort and guidance throughout it all. She was always available to us when we needed her support. Devon was indispensable at the birth of our Christmas baby.
She remained calm and focused as she guided us through an unexpected, precipitous birth.
We could not have done it without her!"
~Regi, mother of two
"We moved to NC from New York City three months before giving birth to our son, Connor. Devon was a big help in getting us settled and acclimated to a new culture and the next chapter of our lives- being parents! I was impressed with how thorough she was in providing answers to any questions we had. If she did not know the answer, she reached out to her network to get an answer. When I anticipated a quick response, I got more! She also helped us meet other doulas (which was important, as we needed postpartum support), and make new friends with other expectant parents. I like that, while she offered support, she did not push any one way on us. She got to know us and our needs and offered great suggestions and alternatives when we ran into issues. We definitely consider her part of our family."
~Georgie, first time mother
"When we decided on a natural birth for our first born child, we felt both enthusiastic & empowered, but as anticipated, still had uncertainties and concerns about how it would go. We prepared for everything possible that was under our control to account for a positive experience. A Doula ensured that for us, and Devon was exactly it! Little did we know that in making such a seemingly simplistic and practical decision, we were about to welcome one of the most grounded, graceful and classy people into our lives. We immediately felt a confidence & connection in Devon's abilities to sense our individual personalities and vision for birth, as well as seek out the specifics we hoped to receive in return from her support. Pairing these personal touches with her own tenure as a mother, nanny and doula allowed us to work together in preparing a custom birth plan and develop what we felt was the best possible team for bringing our little gal into the world. Simply having Devon by our side presents plenty merit on its own for us to have another baby- Ha! We admired her standard of professionalism as she met & exceeded all expectations, but perhaps most valuable, we now consider her our friend and part of our story forever."
~Britt & Justin, first time parents
"My husband and I met Devon towards the end of our pregnancy (8th month). We had no idea that I would be admitted into the hospital the following week with Preeclampsia. We were told our baby had to be delivered immediately. I was very sick and scared - this was not a part of our birth plan! Devon was by our side throughout the entire experience and gave full support to myself and to my husband. Her thoughtfulness, kindness, calming techniques and overall support were so important to me & I know it made a huge difference for myself & my family during this difficult time. She gave me confidence I didn't think I had when it comes to managing pain and was encouraging me throughout my labor. She was my advocate and I am so thankful we chose Devon as our doula. She was so helpful after we all came home from the hospital with breastfeeding tips and we have been successful at it ever since. Our baby boy is now four months old! Devon is simply amazing."
~Anne & Rusty, first time parents
*All testimonials, photos & videos shared with consent*