Doulas and Heads Up!

“Doulas” and “Heads Up!”


headsUpSaturday, February 20, 2016

6:00 pm Doula Meet and Greet
7:00 pm Feature Films
8:30 pm Community Panel

Amphitheatre, Saint Paul University at 223 Main Street in Ottawa


This documentary explores the role of birth doulas both inside and outside of the birth room. Explaining the logistics and the intricacies of doula care, it educates expectant parents while celebrating the process of supported birth. It shows a wide variety of labors and births: in the water, in bed, in the operating room, without pain medication, with epidurals and by cesarean.  21 minutes

TRAILER for Doulas: A Documentary from Emily Rumsey, LLC on Vimeo.
For more information, see Doulas site.

Heads Up
A breech baby is born nearly every four minutes in the United States. Until the year 2000, a woman could opt to birth her breech baby vaginally or via surgery. Then, in 2001, a study came out that took away one of those options. The study was later found to be faulty, but the damage was already done–vaginal breech birth was almost completely eliminated from medical school training and from delivery rooms.

Heads Up features several women confronted with the disappearance of this option for their breech babies. Among others, actress Morena Baccarin and holistic living personality Kimberly Van Der Beek struggle to find providers who will attend them in a vaginal breech birth–all under the pressure of their imminent due dates. Through their personal accounts and the perspectives of medical professionals, Heads Up explores this widely misunderstood subject and the need to restore this lost art and lost option. 36 minutes

For more information, see Heads Up! site.

Doula Meet and Greet ~ 6:00pm

Are you pregnant or planning to get pregnant? Do you want to learn more about doulas? Do you want to get to know local doulas and ask them questions you have?

During this one hour event, you have an opportunity to meet local birth and postpartum doulas and get all your questions answered.

There will even be a cash prize to be used towards the services of a doula*.
Come out and bring your pregnant friends. It will be a great evening.

* Notes on prize:
The cash amount is determined by how many doulas end up attending the meet and greet. The final amount is going to be the product of $10 times number of attending doulas. The more doulas there will be, the higher the cash prize. 

The winner gets to choose the doula (birth or postpartum doula) but it has to be a doula who attended the meet and greet. NO money will be handed to the winner. CHOICE! will pay the doula and the winner is responsible for covering the rest.  

If the prize is not claimed, the cash will be donated to Mothercraft.

Attending Doulas:

“My husband and I interviewed Amy and both felt an instant connection with her.  Amy is knowledgeable, caring and her love for her work truly shows. Amy was a fantastic addition to our birth team and offered incredible support during the birth of our VBAC baby.” — Jennifer Whitman

“As a mother-to-be, your critical task is to prepare for a birth that has no script. This requires great courage, flexibility, and a capacity for inner-awareness.” — Kristine D’Arbelles

“My husband and I hired Hayley after our first meeting with her, we knew right away she was a perfect for us. From the beginning Hayley was warm and caring, as well as knowledgeable and experienced. She supported my birth “idea” and explained that she would be able to offer physical support if needed as well as emotional. She was reassuring and non-judgmental. Hayley was always available when I needed her; before, during and after the birth of our son. During labour Hayley was very aware and respectful, she gave my husband and I adequate space and never took away from the moment. The whole experience still felt intimate. I can’t say enough good things about Hayley; she is a very special person to us. I would recommend her to anyone and if blessed with more children, Hayley would be my first choice for my doula”. — Vanessa, Ottawa, ON

National Capital Doulas –
“I have no doubt that Danielle, Amie and Kamerine were essential in us succeeding to have a natural birth at the hospital. Their support before, during and after the birth gave us the tools and resources that we needed to get peace of mind and have the best experience possible to welcome our long awaited little girl. Danielle, Amie and Kamerine went above and beyond to follow-up with us.” — Edith-Emilie

“I am very happy we chose Kamerine, Danielle and Amie to be part of the pregnancy and birth of our first child. After a very long road before conceiving, my wife and I were both very anxious about the well-being of our daughter. Our doulas were a wonderful support, not only at the birth, but also before and well beyond. They were always there to answer all our questions and do follow-ups.” — David Lacroix

Jennifer Keller – 
“Vis Tree Birth Doula Services is a service offered by Vis Tree Health. Visit the site to learn all about benefits of having a birth doula, and your different package options.”

Johanna Lyn –
“What I did with Johanna within a workshop and 1 private session is beyond what I was able to achieve in the past 3 years of work with my traditional therapist. I’ve explored a lot of different approaches and am happy to have finally found Johanna. Thank You.” — Lauren

“With my scientific background I was very skeptical with my first session as a professional treatment method for the challenges I was facing. However, Johanna proved that it is effective from our very first session together. Her meticulous attention and efforts to gather every small piece of information I provided before the session, and then using the essential information during the session in a professional, insightful manner produced results that I felt from the first and every subsequent session. Whether you are skeptical or not – the important thing is the results! From my experience, I can speak to the positive results Johanna’s work provides.”  — Ihsan Aldeen PhD

Christine Crook –
“We were very lucky to have Christine as our birth doula for our last two pregnancies. She was a huge help during pregnancy and labour. It helped us feel more relaxed knowing that she would be there to guide us through every stage. The first time, after dropping by to check up on me and recognizing that I was in labour (despite my claims to the contrary), Christine refused to go home. She spent most of my long labour (45+ hours!) with us at our home, preparing meals, washing up, encouraging us to stay hydrated, reminding us to rest, and helping us decide when to head to the hospital. She also helped calm my frightened 7-year-old daughter when she arrived home from school (she had never seen mama in so much pain before). Having her there gave my husband the opportunity to leave — whether it was to take breaks, get food, or check on our baby once she was born — and know I was in good hands. Her calm presence and her helpful suggestions were extremely helpful to my husband and her professionalism was also noted by the hospital medical team. We are very grateful that Christine was a part of our daughters’ births.” — Phyllis Tran

Mai Ngo –
“Thanks, Mai, for all your kindness and professionalism. I am pleased to have worked with her and believe that the partnership that a doula has with her clients and health care practitioners strengthens the quality of hospital care for pregnant women.” — Obstetrician

Andria Bell –

Gertrude Wilkes –
We cannot thank you enough for all of the help, support, and care you showed us during our last weeks of the pregnancy, the birth itself and the difficult months that have followed. Your advice…your patience-as we waited several weeks past our anticipated due date, and your generosity – especially with your time, were most appreciated… ” — R & NY, Ottawa, ON

Zoia Nikolova –
“If you are reading this, I recommend you end your search for a doula.  Trust me you have found a great one! I saw the passion for her work during the nine months, but it couldn’t have been more evident during the labour.  I had a long delivery.  It started on the 18th and ended on the 20th.  Zoia did not leave my side…well, maybe to go and get me food.  So, if commitment, knowledge and passion are what you are looking for in a doula, Zoia is your girl!” — Vessi

Catherine Binette –
“After our experience with Catherine, we’ve recommended getting a doula (Catherine if available) to everyone we know. Not only is her approach professional, yet warm and friendly, she built a tremendous amount of confidence in us, making us feel safe and ready for the birth of our precious daughter. We truly believe that if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have the beautiful birth story we now have and will forever be thankful Catherine came into our lives. Sharing her knowledge, competence, compassion and support gave us all the confidence we needed”.  — Hans & Mélanie

Calling all National Capital Region Doulas to take part in a Doula Meet and Greet from 6pm to 6:55pm, on Saturday, February 20th at Saint Paul University, before the first 2016 film of the CHOICE! A Birth and Baby Film Festival. The reception area outside the Amphitheatre will be open to the first 40 doulas to respond.

CHOICE! requests that doulas wishing to participate provide:

1. A testimony about doulas or a personal reference from a client that may be displayed on our website or Facebook page. Please include confirmation that any third party statement has been authorized and include their contact information – this will not be displayed publicly.

2. $25 Doula Meet and Greet fee includes:

  1. Film admission fee for you and a client (past or present),
  2. Entry into a prize draw for a doula gift certificate: one audience member will win a gift certificate worth up to $400 (CHOICE! will give back $10 per doula-client pair participating to pay the doula for her services – both postpartum and birth services are eligible),
  3. CHOICE! will display one promotional item from each doula (8.5 x11 or smaller) on a table.

Please share the Facebook event with all of your current contacts!

Please submit your questions, comments and client testimonials to

Panel Discussion and Talk Back to follow the film

Panelists: Geneviève Gagnon, Catherine Binette, Bridget Brimacombe

Geneviève Gagnon is a Registered Midwife and practice partner at East Ottawa Midwives with privileges at the Montfort Hospital.  She provides midwifery care to rural, francophone women at a community health centre.  Prior to midwifery, she studied nursing at Ottawa University and worked as a personal support worker in various health care settings.

Geneviève was actively involved in the Association of Ontario Midwives’ Birth Centre Working Group, which successfully lobbied the provincial government to fund midwifery-led birth centres. In partnership with the Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program, Geneviève and a group of Ottawa-based midwives submitted a proposal to have one of the birth centres established in Ottawa. In January 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care confirmed that Ottawa would join Toronto as a birth centre pilot site.

As an advocate for innovation in maternity care, Gagnon is very pleased to be the Clinical Lead Midwife for the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre, a community-based facility that will help women and their families realize their goal of a normal and healthy childbirth.

Geneviève is currently on maternity leave and enjoying motherhood.

Catherine Binette is a MotherWit Birth and Post-Partum Doula, as well as a mother of two young children. Originally from the Montreal area, Catherine has traveled extensively to participate in various community projects in different parts of the world. These projects have allowed her to learn from people and cultures in Poland, Kenya, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. Ready to start a family, she moved closer to home and has been back in Canada for over four years.

After working almost ten years for the private sector and NGOs, and with a long lingering passion around births and babies, it was Catherine’s first birth experience that ultimately pushed her toward a change in career. At forty weeks into her pregnancy, Catherine was sent for an ultrasound and told that she had a breech baby and that this would lead to a C-Section.

She refused to believe that breech automatically meant a C-section birth. After conducting her own research, and speaking to different birth professionals, Catherine was pleased to learn that a C-section was not necessarily a foregone conclusion. Once in labour, Catherine remained optimistic, while accepting that there were higher risks on an emergency C-section. Thanks to the wonderful support of the team at Pierre-Boucher Hospital, in Longueuil, Quebec, Catherine delivered a healthy 7-pound baby boy, vaginally, in June 2011.

With her own two very different birthing experiences as a launching point, Catherine has completed an extensive series of Doula trainings including birth and postpartum training, acupressure, Rebozo, and various breastfeeding workshops. This experience and training, supplements Catherine’s depth of experience in cultures and languages, allowing her to passionately and competently accompany women throughout their pregnancies and labours. Catherine feels that every woman has an incredible innate strength to give birth to her child and she is a huge advocate of both vaginal breech births and VBACs.

Originally from Montreal, Bridget Brimacombe has spent the majority of the last 20 years living in communities in the Outaouais region. Bridget currently lives in Gatineau with her husband and 18 month old daughter, Lucinda. Bridget is a mathematician and helps develop math curriculum for the Cree School Board. In August 2014, she and her husband were preparing for the birth of their first child at the Gatineau birth centre when it was discovered that Lucinda was breech. With the support of her midwives and her husband, she declined a c-section and had a vaginal breech birth at the General Hospital in Ottawa.

Advance sales are now closed

Tickets will be available at the door for $15, until we are sold out.  Cash only.


Paperless Tickets

Paper tickets will not be issued.  You will receive a confirmation e-mail. Your tickets will be noted by your e-mail address.  You do not need to print anything.


Location of Screening

All screenings will be held at Saint Paul University at 223 Main Street in Ottawa.  Parking is available on the North side of the building for a flat fee of $10.  Street parking is available.  Please enter the building through the door off the North parking lot.  There will be a sign to indicate what room the screening will be in.

This festival is completely volunteer run.  All proceeds will go to support local birth and breastfeeding groups.


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