I had the wonderful experience of speaking with Brooke Volpe, Doula and Mid-Wife student from Solace Birth Services. I’m happy to share a Q & A I shared with Brooke who serves as a Lehigh Valley Doula and Bucks County Doula.
What drew you to being a doula?
When I got pregnant with my first child, I had a vision of what I wanted my birth to look like. So I started googling….”Water birth near me….”
I landed at a Bucks County birth center in Huntingdon valley. I fell into midwifery care before I knew that’s what I wanted.
I started reading a book called “Gentle Birth Choices” by Barbara harper, which solidified my choices and what I didn’t want. A dear friend of mine at the time told me she had doulaed her sister in laws birth and offered her support. Fast forward, she was present at both of my births, and I started preparing myself by studying to begin my career in birth work.
What made you know that becoming a doula and helping other women through pregnancy was your calling?
My midwife told me it was a calling that was hard to ignore, and she was right. So I answered the call and felt comfortable in this work. I get along with everyone and can find ways to connect with people, so once that bond is formed, the trust is, too, and they would invite me to be in their intimate space in labor and birth. So much support comes from knowing what is normal and what someone is hoping for in labor, understanding their options, and guiding them to come together.
Where is Solace Birth Services located? Do you have an office, or do you exclusively travel?
Solace Birth Services is located in Perkasie which is in Bucks County, PA. I am taking my doula hat off as I study for midwifery and will be offering home birth midwifery to our community in 2024. I am actively finding us a home in this immediate area, so follow along to see where we land. We have great things planned in a collective community model.
How long have you been a doula? What kind of experience have you gained in this field?
I have been a doula since 2016 and have attended about 230 birth as of today.
My experiences include hospitals, birth centers, and home births. I have learned a lot with that experience as I scale down to one location. I prefer home birth and appreciate it’s not the best option for some. I have learned what birth yields as far as needs. Some births are straightforward and fast, while others are hard and long and require tools to help it along, like epidurals or surgery. There is a time and place for all of it; it’s just unfortunate because these tools in the hands of burnt-out providers can be abused and overused without repercussion to them but can leave someone feeling robbed of their birth experience. Bucks county has a unnecessarily high cesarean rate.
Do you have children of your own? If so, what were their birth stories?
I have two children and had two vaginal, unmedicated births with both of them. I ended up in a higher risk category for unknown reasons, but I had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy with both. My first was born in a hospital setting with my midwife, doula, and husband, and my second was born in a birth center with the same team—both different experiences but beautiful and full of support. Knowing what I do now, I definitely would change some of the things that happened, but what knowledge I had then from what I was able to gather, process, plan, and learn was incredible and different from the many experiences I knew.
If you could give an expecting mom one piece of advice, what would it be?
Assess your risk – if you are healthy and low risk, please opt for midwifery care. Understand that hospitals are not created the same; the #1 risk is the doors you enter to have your baby. I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but it’s true.
Leapfroggroup.org publishes hospital statistics, showing how hospitals vary in outcomes. The main difference is providers and how they choose to practice. Sure, insurance and liability can guide some of that.
Consider an out-of-hospital birth location if you have no plans to use epidurals or need extra surveillance in labor/birth.
Educate yourself with an out-of-hospital birth class.
Hire a doula! The best way to find a bucks county or lehigh valley birth or postpartum doula near you would be using DONA.org website and/or doulamatch.net.
Lastly, I wish you the best in meeting your baby.
It’s a fantastic experience becoming a parent. I never knew who I was until I was a mom.
You can find Brooke and Solace Birth Services on her website. You can also follow her on Facebook here.
If you are interested in documenting your Maternity and Newborn journey, I can help you. You’ll never regret having these precious moments captured before they are gone. As a Mom to 4 little girls, I know how fast it goes.
Photos were taken by BreeIsForBeauty Photography, a Lehigh Valley + Bucks County Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer at her studio located in Center Valley, PA.
Family is everything. If there’s one thing I want my children to know when they grow up, it is that their family will always love them, support them and be by their side. One of our greatest blessings is when your family grows. I had the best time photographing this beautiful family for Taylor’s Maternity […]
I took to my local Mom group and asked the important question of “who is your favorite pediatrician in the Lehigh Valley?” As a Mom, one of the first decisions you will make for your child is which Pediatrician they will see. Being poked and prodded at can be a scary experience for you and your baby, so you want to find someone who is knowledgeable, gentle, welcoming and who you can trust with your child’s health. Also someone who doesn’t make you feel rushed and truly listens to your questions or concerns!
I recommend scheduling a tour or visit with a local pediatric office to get a feel for the staff and environment before your baby is born. You’ll also get a good sense of the distance and if it’s conveniently located to your home. I’ll never forget the excitement during my pregnancy while visiting my pediatrician office and just envisioning my next visit with my new baby. As a Mom, you’ll soon discover that you know your child better than anyone, and we really are their biggest advocate; especially when it comes to their health and wellness.
LVPG Pediatrics in Richlandtown. I wanted to start with my own Pediatrician. I am a Mother to 4 little girls, and have had the same Pediatrician since my first born was just a baby. Dr. Jill E. Colabroy, MD from LVPG Pediatrics in Richlandtown has been so wonderful to work with. My girls always look forward to seeing Dr. Colabroy and we feel so comfortable during our visits. She has young kids herself and is very relatable while providing the best care.
A large number of Mom’s sounded off for their love of Dr. Laura E. Darrow, DO who is also a Pediatrician with LVPG Pediatrics in Richlandtown. New Mom Samantha shared, “she is great for a new mom. She always makes us feel supported!”
Children’s Healthcare. Located off of Pond Road in Allentown, Children’s Healthcare has 8 Pediatric Providers, Dr. Kenneth Toff, DO FAAP FACOP IBCLC, Dr. Laurie Cohen, DO FAAP IBCLC, Dr. Lydia Boateng, MD FAAP IBCLC, Dr. Anna Linderman, MD FAAP, Mr. Brian Pepe, MSPAS, PA-C CAT, Mrs. Brandi Burns, MMSPAS PA-C, Mr. Michael Flowers, MMSPAS PA-C and Mrs. Katelyn Weeber (Dane), MMSPAS PAC. Mother of 2, Sam shared, “they are just so friendly and caring.”
They also have the Lehigh Valley Breastfeeding Center right upstairs.
St. Luke’s Coopersburg Pediatrics. Dr. Elizabeth A. Gibson, MD, Dr. Eva M. Mayer, MD and Dr. Samone E. Nore, MD. Kelly, Mom of 3 shared, “Dr. Gibson has a special place in my heart for being so caring and understanding during the newborn and postpartum stage. She along with Nurse Sam gave me special care and attention during my son’s well check when my postpartum was acting up and I was in tears nearly the entire appointment. Dr. Eva Mayer was also amazing! She is always talking with the kids and making them feel comfortable before she begins an exam! Always so patient and kind.”
Joudi, Mom of 3 shared, “Samone Nore from St Luke’s Coopersburg Pediatrics! She is the best! I can’t recommend her more.”
Miller Heights Medical Associates. Dr. Brian D. Kuronya, D.O.
Dr. Brian Kuronya, DO is a Family Medicine Specialist in Bethlehem, PA. He is affiliated with medical facilities such as Lehigh Valley Hospital – Cedar Crest and St. Luke’s Hospital – Bethlehem Campus. Although he is in Family Medicine, I was blown away by how many Lehigh Valley Mom’s referred Dr. Kuronya for their newborn and pediatric care.
LVPG Pediatrics-West Broad of Bethlehem and LVPG Pediatrics-Palmer Township Dr. Abigail J. Klitsch.
Dr. Klitsch also came highly regarded by other Lehigh Valley Moms.
There are many, many providers and choices when searching for a pediatrician. I hope these recommendations give you a strong starting point when searching for the best Lehigh Valley Pediatrician. During your pregnancy, checking with family and friends on who they recommend and making sure the office accepts your insurance is a great starting point when finding your best match. You’ll soon discover that having the right medical professional caring for your child is a very important decision and all providers are unique in their care.
Photos were taken by BreeIsForBeauty Photography, a Lehigh Valley, Bucks County, Mainline and Philadelphia Maternity, Newborn and Family Photographer at her studio located in Center Valley, PA.