The minute I met Sara, I knew she was perfect for us. She has a calming, pleasant way about her. She is very informed and knows a lot about births. During the birth of our little girl, she was very hands on. I can’t think of a moment when I looked around and she wasn’t there. She knew what I needed, when I needed it which was extremely helpful. Her calmness made me feel safe throughout the entire experience. When things got tough, she was there for me and talking through it. I feel so lucky that we had her there. My husband also appreciated her very much. She guided him and helped him by showing him what to do and explaining things to him. He later told me he couldn’t have done it without her. It was comforting seeing them together as a team while going through labor. I felt like I had all the support in the world. Sara also stuck around after the birth to help me latch the little one. She was in no hurry to leave even though it was late and in the middle of the night. Thank you Sara for being so wonderful and for being there during such a special time for us. You were the best decision we made for the birth of our little girl.
~Reema Badr and Josh Bennett (two births in 2014 & 2016)
From our first meeting with Sara when we were interviewing doulas, we knew this relationship was a perfect fit. Sara’s confidence, compassion and adaptability was evident within the first few minutes of our conversation. She is driven to help parents welcome in their new baby to this world in a manner most comforting to the family. Her personal and work experience was a great comfort to us a first time parents. She truly allowed us to develop our own birth story. She provided support and guidance when we were outside our realm of comfort before, during and after the delivery of our son. She was present, but not obtrusive during the delivery. Our hospital room was transformed into a relaxing atmosphere allowing me to dilate faster than I thought possible. When we were caught up in the ups and downs of delivery she was able to be the level head that provided options of support which respected our birth plan. During times of high anxiety, she was calm and comforting more so than even some of our medical providers. During times of excitement and happiness she was there with a smile and a good laugh. For husbands/birth partners- she does not interfere with this relationship- instead she strengthens this relationship. During Hugh’s birth she gave Doug support that enabled him to be less anxious and calm for me. In addition, she helped with tasks so that Doug was free to just love on me. No matter how much we read and tried to prepare for the delivery of our son- there is always that kink in the plan or that unexpected turn that you didn’t really consider- that’s why Sara was so invaluable- she was there to give us the support and guidance that we needed so that we could welcome in a healthy, happy boy. Thank you Sara for helping us create a beautiful and magical birth story!
~ Sarah and Doug Brabrand
My husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first almost a year ago. Shortly after finding out I knew I wanted to hire a doula. I was scared about having a baby. Not the oh my goodness we are about to be responsible for another human being but also scared about the actual birth. I decided I wanted a doula because I thought doula's provided support, warmth, encouragement, compassion and information. And that is exactly what I found in Sara.
When I started looking and interviewing others for a doula I found something just off about the people that I spoke with, I just didn't click with them but once I met Sara we immediately clicked. After our meet and greet appointment and as soon as she walked out the door and we closed the door behind her my husband and I looked at each other and said, that's our doula.
Sara is an amazing doula. She provides the support that you need to get through such an emotional time, the space you require to explore your own pregnancy and journey, and the warmth that you and your family need to experience something amazing. I would highly recommend Sara and would gladly speak with anyone who would like to discuss our experience with her as our doula. She is forever a part of our special day and our son's life.
~ Debbie DiazGranados and Mike Curtis
I chose Sara to be my doula because not only does she possess a wealth of knowledge about nutrition and supplements helpful to mommas, labor and birth, and coping strategies but she has the perfect disposition for this work. She is soft-spoken, nurturing and gently encouraging in her manner which is exactly what I needed. Sara was my doula for the births of both of my children. My first child was delivered via an emergency c-section. Although I did not have the natural birth I desired, Sara was still a great help to me, providing me with information to help me process my birth and later to prepare me for the VBAC I desired. Knowing that she personally had been through an unplanned c-section and later successfully had both a VBAC and a home birth was encouraging to me. Sara worked with me extensively on baby positioning & made excellent references to resources to give me the best chance of having the labor and birth I desired. During my actual labor, Sara worked tirelessly with my husband and I throughout the night and worked seamlessly with my midwife and the nurses. At one point, when I was experiencing a tough bout of back labor, it was Sara who suggested a technique to give me the relief I needed. She was able to anticipate my needs and to give a voice to what I was feeling when I was unable to. She was a calming influence on my husband as well and he has confided to me that she helped him a great deal just by giving him guidance on how to help me. With her help, I was able to finally have the birth I desired, successfully delivering our son vaginally. I would (and have) enthusiastically recommend Sara to any mamma to be, but especially to moms like me who are seeking a successful VBAC. Her support was invaluable to us and I am deeply thankful to her for all that she did.
~ Sherry & Travis Fox (two births in 2009 & 2012)
Certain of my desire to have an unmedicated birth, I knew my husband and I would need a doula. Within 10 minutes of meeting Sara, my husband said to her, "there's not a doubt in my mind that we need you!" And he was right. During the pregnancy, Sara offered a great deal of childbirth education and insight into what we could expect during labor and delivery. Apart from the "technical" side of her doula services, Sara became a very close member of our birthing team. With each prenatal visit, we felt we were cultivating a friendship in addition to a professional relationship. During the time we were laboring at home, Sara was in constant contact, offering advice and reassurance. Ready to come to our home, we detoured her to the hospital when labor progressed much more quickly than we planned. Sara met us there with a calm excitement and immediately set about creating an intimate environment - no small feat in a hospital! Throughout my pregnancy, our son was posterior and we had discussed with Sara ways to get him to turn. He was still transverse when I was complete so Sara put her coaching hat on and suggested various positions to try to get him to turn. Although it was the most excruciating part of my labor experience, Sara was encouraging and reassuring and within several minutes he'd turned into the proper position. Sara's knowledge about his positioning helped me turn our son and, in my OB's opinion, kept me from having a c-section. Our son's birth is the most amazing day we've ever experienced and I feel grateful to have had Sara with us. She is truly a gift.
~ Lisa and Jason Gray (two births in 2010 and 2012)
Having Sara as part of my "dream team", as I called it, was a key ingredient in what I believe was the perfect recipe that made my labor and delivery experience more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. I have been terrified of being pregnant and giving birth for my entire life. When it came time to start our family, I knew that I had a lot of work to do to get myself prepared to do this. My husband and I are both Type A personalities who love to be as prepared as possible. That is the way that I am able to best handle situations like this, ones that I have no real control over. For prenatal care, we used the Midwives at VCU. The midwives and Dr. Isaacs are an incredible team. We also enrolled in the 10-12 week Bradley Method course. When it was time to look for a doula, I emailed a few people to meet with. Sara was one of the 3 that I met with in person and we fell in love with her immediately. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I started telling people who I was working with. Everyone from our Bradley instructor to all of the midwives knew exactly who she was and she clearly had the reputation as the best in town. So, we got lucky that she was one of the names we had picked from the list! And we got lucky that she was available to work with us.
From the moment that we decided to work together, I knew that I had picked the perfect doula for us. We met several times before the delivery and I was confident that I had done the homework that I needed to mentally and physically prepare for this experience. The support that Sara brought to my husband and I, is unable to be put into words. Sara has a calming strength that really balances our sometime intense personalities. Sara's experience working at our hospital and with the nurses, staff and midwives was a great bonus. I am so grateful for everything Sara gave me to help me have the birth experience that I am so proud of. I can't wait to do it again!
~ Emily Hudspeth and Jeff Greenwald (two births in 2013 & 2015)
Our birth doula, Sara, was a lovely, calming force, and an important part of our team. I credit the synergy of my husband, Sara, and our midwife with giving me the courage to have an unmedicated labor and birth. They all seemed to know when to step in, and when to step back. The birth of our sweet baby was such an important day to us. Sara's support and attention helped us stay focused, and made us feel that this was an important day to her as well. We also were fortunate enough to have Sara's help for a few weeks postpartum. She was so very kind to me when I was struggling with breastfeeding. Her advice and support was invaluable. She also was more helpful that I realized at the time, fixing meals, running a few loads of laundry - things that wouldn't have happened at all if she weren't there. I thought I would be able to "do it all", but not only was I wrong about that, I didn't WANT to have to do it all. I felt like I had a wonderful friend helping me at a time when I really needed some help. Thank you Sara!!
~ Tracy and Tom Haines (two births in 2009 & 2011)
As I watch my 7 month old babbling in her rocker, it makes me go back the time clock exactly an year ago when I reached out to Sara for being our doula and how thankful I feel for the decision I made. Having our 1st baby through a Cesarean wasn't something that I had expected and hoped for myself and then my OBGyn was adamant about doing only C-section with the 2nd baby also. I knew I wasn't prepared for that route. From the moment we signed up with Sara, it was big relief. She had all the resources that she wanted me to study/work on during my pregnancy-be it articles on VBAC or exercises to keep me going with my pregnancy discomforts/pain while I worked on my dental patients. She visited us 2 times during pregnancy and answered all the questions me and my husband had. She has such a warm personality that you would instantly connect to. Just the right person you would want to be with you at time of your labor.
Although I have to admit that my labor went very fast and by the time I called Sara I was already ready to push and be at the hospital. I called her 3 AM in the morning and just from the voice on phone she decided it was time to reach the hospital and she would see us there. Once we reached the valet parking, Sara was already standing with a wheel chair. She sped up the L & D and in no time we reached the room. Once examined, the midwife said it was time to push and that I was already 10 cm dilated !!!! Wow , I labored completely on my own AT HOME -Thanks to Sara's coaching. Through out the pushing I had an eye contact with Sara and just the reaffirmation in her eyes made me believe that everything was going the right direction. I started to push around 4:30 AM and my baby was out at 5:34 AM without any interventions (a complete unmedicated NATURAL BIRTH). I would highly recommend having a doula by your side for any labor and yes, if I were to have a third child again, I know who would be my GO TO doula.
THANK YOU Sara Krivanec-You're the BEST !!!
~ Khushboo and Nitin Jain
We found Sara through my Naturopathic Doctor in town. He said that all his colleagues only had high praise for her. And we can now say the same. She was a supportive, professional, and experienced companion for my husband and I during our final prenatal months, the birth, AND postpartum. She cared about us personally and brought a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to our labor and birth. After working with Sara I really feel like it's a huge loss NOT to have a doula! She made such a difference for us, guiding us in our thinking about the birth, actively working with me and with my husband during labor, and staying in touch with us for our first weeks with the baby. HIGHLY recommend her! A gem in Richmond!
~Ruth Morrison and James Hickman
Sara has been our doula twice -- once with a midwife and once with an OBGYN. She is a calming presence during labor. I always tell people that Sara was as helpful to my husband as she was to me. While I was in the "zone" and oblivious to the world around me she helped Jeff not feel like he had it all on his shoulders. After this last birth my husband said, "Remind me if we ever have another kid that we need to call Sara and book her as soon as we know we're pregnant." That isn't too say she wasn't a godsend for me, too. I have had two fast and intense labors and she always seemed to know what position, massage or breathing would help get me through. We are thankful that we had Sara there both times!
~ Kara & Jeff Rothman (two births in 2011 & 2013)
I can't say enough wonderful things about our experience working with Sara! When we met her, we knew she was a perfect fit for us. Her easy, kind manner made my husband and I feel at ease immediately. Plus, she REALLY knows her stuff!
We learned so much from Sara during our prenatal visits. Knowing that I was unable to have an epidural for medical reasons, I was concerned about and scared of labor. I wondered if I could handle the pain. I worried about the possibility of a c-section. Sara respected my concerns while assuring me that I COULD do it, and that I would. My husband learned so much from her, too. She really prepared him for what to expect.
When my water broke, I texted Sara. It was just after midnight, and she was over the moon for me. She texted me back: "Yay, you're gonna have a baby!" We all thought I'd get some rest and regroup in the morning. When things started moving much more quickly than we had expected, my husband was in constant contact with Sara. She made suggestions for things to try, which he relayed to me, and she helped him recognize what to look for as I moved quickly through the stages of labor. At one point, she called us so she could hear me have contractions. We agreed that I should call the hospital again and have my midwife help me make a decision. When we headed to the hospital (only 4 hours after my water broke), Sara met us there.
In the hospital, Sara was so supportive. She has a way about her that's hard to describe--but it's perfect! She was there for both me and my husband. She made sure I always had a washcloth for my forehead, helped me try different positions in the tub, and even took pictures with my phone during all the critical moments.
At our postpartum visit and afterward, Sara was reassuring and knowledgeable as always. Bottom line: I can't imagine going through this experience without Sara! She is one of the best choices we made during my pregnancy.
~ Nikki and Alex Shaw (two births in 2015 & 2016)
From the moment that I met Sara, I knew that she would be a great doula for us. I felt that this was someone who was really interested in and available for her clients. My gut told me that she would be very in tune with the families she worked with, and my gut was right. From the prenatal visits through the birth of our beautiful baby, Sara helped my husband and me bring our baby into this world in a calm and confident manner. With a balance of research, reassurance, and humor, we dealt with unexpected (and at times, frightening) news regarding the health of our baby. All throughout the uncertainty of the pregnancy and delivery, Sara was a great support, knowing when to intervene and knowing when to step back and allow my husband and me to proceed as a couple. When our baby needed to be born via C-section, we immediately felt at peace with this unexpected but necessary surgery. We were confident that Sara and our midwife had exhausted all options of a natural birth, and we were grateful to be surrounded by the knowledge, experience, and comfort that they could provide. This confidence and security continued as Sara visited us during the postpartum period. To this day, we know that we feel more secure as parents since we were well prepared. Sara played a great role in helping our family start off on the right track and we look forward to working with her again if our son has a sibling.
~ Audrey Short & Jason James
It is difficult to find the exact words to describe how integral Sara was to our birth. The time she spent with us and the information that she shared with Tim and I during our prenatal visits was so helpful as we worked out our final questions and fears, not only about labor and birth, but about parenting as well. With Sara's help I was able to learn how to fully trust in my body and in the birth process itself. Her guidance enabled my husband to feel more comfortable during each stage of labor and helped him to more fully support me. One of our goals was to labor at home as long as possible. Sara met us at our house when active labor had begun and she helped me to work through contractions, recommended different positions, massaged my feet and helped us decide when to leave for the hospital. I was already 10 cm dilated when we got there! Sara helped carry the relaxed atmosphere that we had created at home to the hospital. Her constant presence helped us to feel safe and stay focused and confident. Because of Sara, my labor was a beautiful and empowering experience. Neither of us, but especially Tim would ever want to have a birth without her there! Having my daughter's entrance to the world surrounded in such love and support not only made our birth experience better, but helped us to have confidence in our abilities as parents as well. Sara's support lasted through the postpartum period, where she then helped us when we had difficulties with breastfeeding. Her encouragement kept me from giving up and we are still a happily nursing pair 15 months later! Sara's help was simply indispensable as we transitioned into parents.
~ Candace and Tim Stafford (two births in 2008 & 2011)
Throughout my pregnancy my midwife encouraged me to labor at home as long as possible and it was so reassuring to be able to call Sara during the early stages of labor and make sure that everything I was feeling was normal and expected. Sara helped me determine when it was time to head to the hospital and met us there when it was time. She was a very calming influence throughout my labor and she helped my husband figure out what to do to help me...Even if she did nothing else, this was worth hiring her for. My husband felt so helpless during the birth of our first child, he wanted to help so badly, but didn't know what to do. Sara gave him several tips and techniques that helped distract me from the pain and focus on progressing my labor. I ended up having a wonderful and relaxed birth, but I have no doubt things wouldn't have gone so smoothly without Sara. I am so grateful for all the services and guidance she provided and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for a beautiful birthing experience.
~ Laura & Mike Turianski (two births in 2012 & 2015)
Ah, where to start - lets just say, I could not have done a natural birth without Sara's services. She was amazing. I hired Sara for my second birth. I tried to have my daughter naturally but ended up asking for an epidural after 12 hours. The second time (this birth) I told my husband we needed a doula. Cue Sara! She met with us 2x before the birth prepping us with lots and lots of info. I found this super helpful. Even though I had taken classes with my daughter - it was nice to have a refresh and your own personal birthing coach. Sara met us at the hospital (St. Marys) at 3am after I had labored at home for a few hours. Sara was amazing. She kept me moving (and hydrated) the entire 7 hours. She put me on the ball, shower, bath, toilet, back to the ball, over the bed. Massaged my back with yummy oils. She worked really well with the nurses and Dr. Hirata. It was so nice to have someone who is just there just for me. I had a few unzen moments and Sara (and my husband) were there to push me through. and she took awesome pictures too! SO I will tell you again....there is no way I could have done an unmedicated birth without Sara's help. She knows what she is doing! My baby boy was delivered naturally weighing 9lbs 8oz! Sara came over for one last visit after the birth.
~ Abby and Scott White
There are really no words to describe how wonderful our experience with Sara was. From the beginning, Sara made us feel calm, comfortable and confident that we would have a positive birth experience. She spent quality time getting to know us, understanding our needs, and educating us. All of her prep work really paid off when the day came!
Unlike most first time mothers, I delivered in less than four hours after my water broke. My contractions reached less than 3 minutes apart 30 minutes into the start of labor. My husband and I couldn't mentally grasp the fact that things were happening so quickly and, if we hadn't had Sara, I seriously doubt that we would've made it to the hospital in time! Sara instinctively knew what to do and kept us calm in the process.
Sara came to our house and got us in the car quickly. We followed Sara in our car and she contacted our midwife while in route! Sara and the midwife agreed to meet at an emergency exit, and I was greeted by Amber, my midwife, as we arrived. As soon as I entered the birthing room it was time to start pushing. Every minute counted that day and Sara was instrumental. Our son, Lawson, was born less than an hour after we arrived at the hospital. Choosing Sara will be the best decision you make.
~ Stephanie & John Winebrenner (three births in 2014, 2015, & 2017)