Kind Words from my Clients
I'm a first time mom and as usual I was anxious about the labor. I was desiring a natural labor (med-free) and that's why I contacted the Carriage House Birth by my OBGYN recommendation. I had Abby Block as my doula (Laura Vladimirova as her backup) and I have no words to describe the enormous support I had from them since the 1st contact until the baby was born. I had a 14-hours labor which 12 hours I was on med-free and without Abby's support (mentally and physically speaking) I think I may have not been able to deliver the baby the way I wanted. She was absolutelly wonderful. The massages and the peanut-shape ball were incredible - my baby's face wasn't turned corretly and I truly believe all the exercises Abby recommended helped baby's face to turn into the correct position. All my anxiety was gone and my labor turned to be the most beautiful and intense moment of my life. And I have to give credit to all support I had from Abby and my husband.
- Raquel Goncalves, who gave birth to Lucas on 1/31/17 at Mt. Sinai East
My husband and I initially hired a postpartum doula, but realized we wanted the support of a birth doula 7 weeks before my due date. We were referred to Abby by our postpartum doula, Julia Fuller-Kling, and met with Abby and her partner Anna for an initial consultation. We immediately felt comfortable with both of them and hired them that day.
Abby and Anna came to our home separately for prenatal visits and covered everything from induction to laboring positions. At week 38 my doctor was seriously considering inducing me and both Abby and Anna were available by email to answer any questions and concerns.
The evening before I was likely going to be induced, I texted them because I was having strong, constant pain. Abby instructed me to contact my doctor and be prepared to go to the hospital to get checked out. That was the beginning of my 32-hour labor and Abby was there every step of the way. First, by text and phone and then in person once the induction began.
Abby’s expert knowledge, loving support and calm presence were exactly what we needed throughout the exhausting process—particularly when I pushed my daughter out with no doctor in the room! Abby was truly an essential part of my labor and delivery and we wouldn’t have wanted to do it without her. If you’re considering hiring a birth doula, I strongly recommend meeting with Abby.
- Sara Molina, who gave birth to Eden born on 2/9/17 at Weill-Cornell
Abby came highly recommended to us through two friends who had worked with her as their doula for their births. She was incredibly instrumental in making the birth of our son a positive, magical and healthy experience for our family. She has a calm energy and gentle approach which was invaluable during the intense emotional and physical journey of both our labor and birth. Abby is very knowledgeable about many aspects of the birth experience (mothers health, preparing for labor and birth, exercises, post-natal care and breastfeeding, etc. ) and through our dialogues with her during the weeks leading up to the birth of our son and during the labor, her skill and experience helped guide us towards the birth we wanted to have. She was always reapectful of our hopes and wishes and never made us feel anything but supported and cared for, as we brought our son into the world. She has great strength which became critical during the most challenging parts of our labor. We have recommended her to other friends and would do so again! She's the best!
- Sarah, who gave birth to Mateo on 11/29/16 at Mt. Sinai West
Where do I start? Abby was such an amazing part of my birth experience. I was unsure if I wanted to hire a doula because I wasn't anti-epidural, so I kind of questioned myself on if I needed one. I had it in my mind that a doula should only be for people wanting a natural birth and really needed the support to get through that. Boy was I wrong. I decided last minute to search for a doula thanks to a friend of mine who convinced me how important it was to have a supportive person who knows what to expect and how to guide you through the process. Words can't describe how grateful I am to have had Abby by my side during my labor and delivery.
I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before heading to the hospital and having Abby there was the only reason I didn't head to the hospital right away! She kept me calm and reassured me I wasn't going to have the baby at home (even though I was freaking out and was scared from the pain of the contractions). Her presence alone made me feel safe being at home. The most important thing to have when you are feeling scared and unsure of what to expect is a confident, calm person by your side.
Abby was so amazing on so many levels - she knew exactly how to make me feel comfortable through my long, 29 hour labor. My husband and I both agree the experience would have been so different if she hadn't been there. She kept us informed on all of our options when the nurses or doctor would leave the room so we could make the best decision for us on what to do next, as it can be quite confusing.
If you are debating on choosing a doula, I 100% say go with Abby you will be so happy you did. If and when we decide to have a 2nd baby we are for sure going to see if Abby is available again - thank you, Abby, for being so amazing we are forever grateful!
- Ginny Brennan, who gave birth to a baby boy born on 10/26/16 at Downtown NY Presbyterian
As a first time mom, I was initially unsure if I needed a doula; after all, births are normal natural occurences right? But I'm very glad I had Abby to help me through labor, delivery, and the first few days of being with baby. Abby is highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and most importantly calm.
I really found her presence to be soothing and comforting especially when I realized that, yes, my birth plan is going out the door. She was always there to help with what I needed (especially when my husband was asleep or looking for food), assured me when things were normal/to be expected, and explained new procedures the medical staff wanted to try, reminding me of the pros, cons, side effects, and what I might consider. I think it was most helpful when she coached me right before the final delivery to not worry about slight pushing as the medical staff left no instructions and only wanted me to push when they were there. By the time they got there the baby was only minutes away from being born.
As a plus, she also encapsulated my placenta :) So transport/handoff was automatically taken care of. I highly recommend Abby if you're looking for a birth doula!
- Jeannice Angela, who gave birth to Takeshi on 10/11/16 at NYU
We are first time parents with limited knowledge on child birth aside from the child birth classes we took. Nonetheless, ambition (thinking we can do this on our own because we were diligent in taking all these classes) and procrastination (we're two lazy bodies with full time jobs that go beyond the standard 9 to 5) led us to drag on until baby was nearly 37 weeks to look into hiring a doula. We literally lucked out in finding Abby, and would probably not have if it weren't for our curiosity in looking up local placenta encapsulation services, which Abby provides in addition to being an awesome doula! We hired Abby at the last minute, and she quickly accomodated meeting with us to get us prepared for D-day.
The birthing classes we took were informative, but the sessions we had with Abby gave us important insight that the classes did not. We spent our first session going over topics to consider in our birthing plan, and our second session going over labor positions. Our goal was to have an all natural birth at the Mt. Sinai West birth center, but ended up detouring to labor & delivery because water broke early and had to go in for monitoring. Going to L&D in lieu of the birthing center was heart sinking, and it was at that same moment where having Abby there made all the difference. Having Abby there as a support person significantly eased my concern of having all the important items in the birthing plan accounted for while in L&D instead of the birthing center. We had reviewed everything with Abby and knew we could count on her to advocate if need be; and on top of that, Abby's presence and guidance throughout the labor process gave my anxious husband the much needed assurance that everything was ok and headed in the right direction!
- Jenny Huang, who gave birth to Autumn Victoria on 9/20/16 at Mt. Sinai West
My husband and I couldn't say enough nice things about working with Abby! We hired a doula because we were looking forward to a non-medicated birth at the new birthing center downtown. We had several recommendations from friends but chose Abby over a phone call alone because she exuded a calm confidence that we found very comforting.
We met with her over coffee first then had a couple sessions in our home in preparation for the birth, going over our preferences and positions for labor. At 35 weeks our daughter decided to turn and was breech until birth. Abby helped us with additional resources to turn her, including chiropractor and acupuncture care, but she just wouldn't budge. Most of all, Abby offered emotional support to me as a c-section seemed so far from what I had envisioned.
Abby still joined us for the birth, since my water broke at home and we drove to the hospital for an unplanned c-section. Her presence kept me calm and distracted as we discussed aftercare and breastfeeding techniques before going in for surgery. She also worked with the nursing staff to take my placenta home for encapsulation.
I'm thankful that I didn't feel any baby blues -- who knows if it was the placenta or because I had a positive birth experience, even though it was so far from the plan. I credit Abby tremendously for helping us have such a great experience.
We won't hesitate to work with Abby again for our next birth.
- Gwen Schroeder, who gave birth to Laura on 9/1/2016 at NY Presbyterian Downtown Hospital
I love Abby. She was an integral part of my very smooth and happy birth in August 2016. She was an anchoring presence in the room and a down-to-earth companion through preparations for birth and birth itself. She provided much needed emotional support upon her arrival, helping me to trust the process and my body. Her touch was soothing and grounding. She was fully tuned into my comfort and well being. My midwife and her assistant thought she was great too. I highly recommend her!
- Anna Carapetyan, who gave birth to Ellory on 8/29/16 at home
I am so thankful to Abby for her involvement in the birth of my son. Abby has such a calming and approachable manner that made me feel comfortable with her right away. Our initial consultation meeting was very reassuring and helped me to feel much better about potential scenarios that were making me nervous. When it came time for the actual labor and delivery, I really thought of Abby as my little angel at my shoulder. She was there to provide me with soothing words and helped interpret some of what the doctors were saying. Her soothing massage and calming presence really helped get me through. After I delivered, Abby stay at the hospital for a long time helping us all to get settled and making sure I had everything I needed. Her postpartum visit was also so valuable to me and helped me process all that had happened. Abby is a loving person with deep expertise on pregnancy and labor. I'd recommend her to anyone!
- Molly Morris, who gave birth to Evan on 7/10/16 at NYU
Hiring Abby as our doula was one of the best decisions my husband and I made during my pregnancy. We were skeptical about whether we wanted a doula at all, but once we met Abby we knew that we wanted her calming and relaxed presence with us on the big day.
Abby has a great range of experience dealing with a variety of birth choices and was completely non-judgmental when we discussed our delivery preferences. Her prenatal visits helped us talk through some of the decisions we might need to make around the delivery and also armed us with strategies to cope with labor. Abby was available and responsive throughout my pregnancy to answer questions and provide support and resources via email.
Our delivery did not go as planned and ended up being a very long, difficult, painful experience. Even though basically everything in my "birth plan" went out the window, Abby was there providing suggestions, support, guidance, and reassurance each step of the way. She stayed at the hospital until about 3 in the morning after my emergency c-section and only left once she knew we were settled and taken care of. Our post-partum meeting was also very helpful, with Abby helping us understand and come to terms with what happened during the labor.
In retrospect, I cannot imagine my birth experience without Abby being part of it, and I hope that Abby will be a part of my future pregnancies as well.
- Jennifer Ridley, who gave birth to William on 6/21/16 at NYU
Abby was a wonderful doula for the birth of our son. We cannot imagine having gone through the experience with such a positive outcome without her. Abby is calm, steady, warm, supportive and everything you'd want in a doula. I was induced last minute and she arrived at the hospital at a critical time through painful contractions. She was able to support me through just the right massage techniques and through coaching words that helped me manage each wave.
She supported my partner by giving him breaks and was able to help answer questions when we weren't clear on what the doctors and nurses were suggesting. She stayed with us through the entire birth, including an extra long pushing phase, and was there afterward helping us pack our things and served as a warm presence as were waiting for the baby to be brought to us. She also offered valuable support in the immediate postpartum period, which we appreciated. We 100% recommend Abby as a doula without any hesitation and plan to refer all future pregnant friends to her.
- Suzanne Grossman, who gave birth to Jay on 5/28/16 at Columbia Presbyterian
A year has passed since Abby helped us welcome our daughter into the world and as we prepare to celebrate her first birthday, I find myself reflecting on my birth experience and feeling so grateful to have had Abby by my side. The first time I met Abby, she was so relaxed and immediately helped me feel the same. She answered my questions with a smile and helped me feel prepared for what was to come. I studied hypnobirthing and let Abby know that I wanted this approach to guide me when I went into labor. She was fully supportive and even took a class on hypnobirthing for doulas. My labor started naturally. It stalled a bit, and Abby was there by phone to guide me. When I was sure she should come, she did--and proceeded to stay by my side for the next 30+ hours. She only left me once when the nurse practically ordered her to go get something to eat! I cannot emphasize enough how integral Abby was to my birth experience. I was fully committed to having a natural birth and relied heavily on hypnobirthing and my husband but I don't know if I would have pulled it off without Abby. She kept my husband and I focused and calm. She provided continual emotional and physical support. She knew exactly what to say to me during each surge/contraction. She allowed me to weep on her shoulder. She was at once present and able to give me and my husband privacy. She worked seamlessly with my midwife and nurse. At one point, I was able to get into a tub and I remember she poured water down my back the entire time without stopping. During the pushing phase, she was by my side, encouraging me, holding a drink to my mouth, keeping me focused. She stayed with me when I had to be stitched afterwards. She made sure I ate. She took a beautiful photo of my husband and daughter while I rested. She was my true birth companion, and a perfect one at that. I feel we shared such a beautiful and intimate life experience as women. I will never forget it and I'm forever grateful.
- Stella Fiore, who gave birth to Acadia on 6/4/15 at Mt. Sinai West Birthing Center
Abby was everything we could've ever asked for in a doula. Her calm demeanor and in depth knowledge of childbirth made the process of planning our birth so enjoyable and exciting. We felt like she really took the time to understand our needs our wants and our hopes, and she managed to help us fine tune a plan that put our mind at ease going into the final days of pregnancy. As luck would have it, we had to be induced rather than go into labor naturally as we had hoped and prepared for. Abby didn't miss a beat, in fact she was able to guide us through the process in a way that was sensitive to all the things she had learned about us in our sessions, and in the end the birthing process was calm, beautiful, and an unforgettable success... needless to say thanks to Abby. We couldn't recommend her more, and if we get pregnant again some day she will be the first person we call.
- Dan Martensen and Clare Richardson, who gave birth to Edie on 5/13/16 at NYU
We knew Abby was 'the one' from the instant we met her - her presence, wisdom, sincerity, grace and confidence made us feel so comfortable and cared for from the start, and lasted long through the hours of our intense labor.
Abby has been a wealth of knowledge and resources throughout the course of our entire pregnancy and postpartum period. It's so obvious she is incredibly devoted to her practice and to making parents feel empowered to make the choices that are right for them and their baby, without judgement. We sent many frantic emails to Abby with lots of questions and concerns, and Abby always had a quick and insightful response - often pointing us towards great resources and giving gentle advice to make us feel informed in our decisions.
And when we got to 'game day' Abby was right there with us - my husband and I truly couldn't have gotten through the labor and birth without her. She calmly guided me through the toughest parts of the labor - supporting me, massaging me, encouraging me - she kept me informed of how I was doing, didn’t let me give up when all I really wanted was to go for the meds, helped my husband when he needed anything, and helped to lovingly welcome our new son into the world when he finally came!
We seriously cannot recommend Abby enough - she truly is a wonderful and kind doula, person, and friend and we are so lucky to now have her in our lives!! Thank you for everything, Abby.
xo Julie, Victor, and baby Teo
- Julie Cohen, who gave birth to Teo on 4/23/16 at NYP/Lower Manhattan Birthing Center
We had an amazing and fulfilling experience with Abby. When we first met, both my husband and I were very comforted by her gentle but confident presence. She really seemed like the right fit for us (I can be a little type A and need cool, calm and collected people around me). The depth of her experience and the fact that she's had 2 kids of her own were also a big plus.
Since we decided to work with her fairly early in my pregnancy Abby was also an amazing resource throughout. She had tons of evidence-based articles and thoughtful words along the way. By the time we were ready for our pre-birth meetings I felt that much more supported and comfortable with Abby, and she'd been a part of the journey.
We had done a fair amount of education on our own, but her in-person preparation was fantastic by putting us in different scenarios. She got quickly to the core of our chosen approach to our first birth. She also had us test positions (including shaking my apples which she actually used successfully during my labor! wow) so they were familiar. She also made some excellent suggestions, like to request a nurse with natural unmedicated labor experience on our birth plan.
When I realized I was in labor (at 3AM!) I felt no qualms in texting Abby and she replied right away and was so genuinely excited! It helped me remember not to be scared. My husband and I felt so relieved when she arrived. She gently suggested different positions, a shower and discussed timing and game plan with us.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I needed Abby during my labor. Having her strength, presence of mind, gentle reminders to breathe, soothing touch and overall awareness of what was happening kept me focused and commited to my plan for an unmedicated natural birth and helped my husband stay confident and present for me.
Abby without a doubt will be the first call I make down the line for baby #2! (Home birth, perhaps?!)
- Lizz Torgovnick, who gave birth to Rosemary Jean on 3/31/2016 at NYU
I initially didn't think I would benefit much from hiring a doula in my birth process; I'm a strong woman, physically and psychologically. But now, after achieving a natural, drug-free birth, I 100% know I could not have done it without Abby. She met with me twice pre-birth to establish thorough birth preferences, educating me on particulars that I was unaware of, and establishing a great sense of personal control over the birth process, which is empowering enough by itself. During this time, she also go to know me, and her sense of intuition and natural instincts on the interpersonal level make her a natural match for anyone.
Abby's presence is also one of total and complete calm, which is what you want and need at all times during the labor. I ended up having back labor the entire time (which I was not expecting), and with my husband not knowing how best to help me, we contacted Abby in the middle of the night and she came right over. Abby took charge immediately upon arrival and knew how to alter my positioning on the couch or ball & where to place her hands and press to provide me relief. With her help, I was able to labor at home for the majority of my labor (without it, I would've ended up at the hospital hours earlier with an epidural, I have no doubts about that). My husband drove us to the hospital, where from triage to birth took 90minutes. I was able to avoid any drugs or medical interventions, and my daughter arrived with one arm reaching out by her head!
Everyone has been asking me how I did it drug-free, and my response is "because I had Abby." She enabled me to not only achieve that personal goal, but left me completely satisfied with the entire birth process (even with the intermittent vomiting). I know most women cannot say that about their birth experience, so I encourage anyone entering this journey to work with Abby.
- Tiffany Boucher, who gave birth to Wallis on 3/12/2016 at Mt. Sinai West
First of all: Abby is a wonderful person and helped us a lot during my labor and delivery.
I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted a doula at all. Laboring and giving birth is, for me, a very private and intimate situation - and at first I wanted to keep it like that. That means (for me) to have as few persons around as possible. I was giving birth in a hospital, so the presence of doctors and nurses was inevitable. However, by thinking about the labor pain and speaking with mums about their experiences, I wasn’t sure anymore if I could deal with the situation on my own. So I interviewed several doulas. Abby was the only one who seemed to really care about me and what I wanted. I was convinced by her calm manner, so I quickly decided for her.
I ended up with a very long labor. After about 15 hours of laboring at home we went to the hospital where we met Abby. Her calm and reassuring character and behavior helped us a lot. She is a really caring person and being a doula seems to be her calling. She is there when you need her and has the ability to quickly notice if you don’t. All the doctors and nurses seemed to like her and were fine with her being in the delivery room. I can’t recall the whole time of my labor but I do remember Abby’s calm voice and massage during labor.
If you are not sure about getting a doula for some reasons I can recommend to interview Abby and think again. We were so glad she was part of this journey and would hire her again if we have a second child in NY. She was also always available for questions during my pregnancy and after my daughter was born. Highly recommended!!
- Christine Wagner, who gave birth to Laura on 1/12/2016 at Mt. Sinai
Abby was a godsend throughout my entire pregnancy. I was one of those crazies who started searching for her entire birth team before the line on the pregnancy test had fully developed. Abby was the first doula I interviewed and I immediately booked her. I actually found her when looking for someone to encapsulate my placenta.
My son was diagnosed with a genetic condition at 20 weeks, and Abby was my rock. She gave me a bunch of information on the condition and reminded me I wasn't alone in this. She guided me through everything and kept me level headed when I didn't think I could do it anymore.
When I was in labor, she stayed calm and pushed me to follow my original plan of no pain meds. Even when I was begging for an epidural, she reminded me of what I really wanted. She also helped give me LOTS of massages, and forced me to drink fluid. I probably would've given birth to a raisin if she hadn't kept me hydrated!
And the placenta capsules have been AMAZING. I have not had ANY post part depression, I have tons of energy, and lots of milk supply (enough for my son and to pump for my emergency stock). I'm 7 weeks postpartum and my body is back to normal, and I feel amazing. THANK YOU ABBY! We love you!
- Nicole Bytnerowicz, who gave birth to Casper on 12/16/15, at the Birthing Center at Mount Sinai West (Roosevelt)
I know in my bones that I had a wonderful birth experience because Abby was my doula. She is sharp, very observant and a great listener - with both her clients and in the hospital/birthing room amongst the other health providers. Her suggestions, feedback and words/actions are rooted in her background in education and dance, scientific knowledge/research and deep personal connection to empowering mothers. She's exceptionally responsive via any means of communication, and quickly gave me support following my ob appointments, shared solid referrals to other health/wellness providers, and is incredibly resourceful regarding post partum concerns (breastfeeding, newborn care, etc). If there's something she doesn't know, she will help you find the answer. And best of all, she is simply a thoughtful and kind person who also happens to be a mother so she knows what's up :)
- Nancy Garcia, who gave birth to Lucia on 12/2/15 at NYU
If you’ve surveyed the doula testimonials here, you’ll notice that almost all are posted by the mothers. Dads-to-be, lend me your ears.
My wife and I had consultations with three doulas. You know how sometimes when you meet someone you can tell right away that they just get it? That’s Abby. She took the time to get to know us – our birth plan, our interests, and our concerns, and she was 100% on board with our goal of a natural birth. We felt as though nothing else mattered to her except the birth of our son.
Although she was available to join us from the beginning of labor, my wife and I were doing well enough on our own at home for the first 17 hours (thanks in part to Abby’s prenatal sessions). Abby stayed in touch via phone and text message, and when the time came she met us at the hospital. She helped us maintain a relaxed atmosphere in a setting that, by its nature, tends to feel clinical. Her experience and calm demeanor inspire confidence, and she joined me in supporting my wife through the remainder of a non-medicated labor. Abby was a source of strength for both of us.
When our baby’s heart rate plunged dangerously low during the pushing stage, things turned immediately from serene to frenetic as a wave of doctors and nurses flooded the room. I stepped back to get out of the way, but Abby caught my eye and, with a single glance, reminded me that this was our room, our birth, our child. Without Abby I would have felt marginalized at one of the most important moments of my life. She helped me to be the partner that my wife needed. (Everything turned out great, by the way!)
Don’t tell my mother-in-law, but Abby is the only person I would want to have with my wife and me should we be lucky enough to have another child!
Michael McCoy, Father to Aidan, born on 11/12/15 at NYU
Abby came to us recommended by a doula friend who had recently moved away. As soon as we met her, we knew she was perfect for us-- Abby has such a warm, calm personality and serene presence. She is knowledgeable, accessible and never judgmental. We felt that Abby truly had our best interests and our wishes in mind every step of the way. Abby is also a mom to two young sons, and we loved that she had recent childbirth experience of her own. Abby helped us solidify what was most important to us (providing lots of educational materials in advance and a flash card game to help us clarify our expectations) and finalize our birth plan. She taught my husband various labor support techniques, and led me in breathing and relaxation techniques to prepare.
When the big day arrived, however, things went a bit differently than planned - don't they always? My water broke in the wee hours and we contacted Abby around 7:30am with the news that we would be heading to the hospital that morning. My contractions went from 20 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart in about a half an hour. Abby arrived at our home at 9am and helped me remain calm with massage until my husband could get our car and we could head to the hospital. We arrived at 10am (not a moment too soon) and by that point my contractions were right on top of each other! I had grand plans to use the shower, yoga ball, rebozo and other tricks of the trade during my labor, but there simply wasn't time. Abby and my husband helped me get settled into the labor room and as soon as we were in, my body was telling me it was time to push. I had planned to have an unmedicated delivery with the option of a safe word in case I felt I absolutely needed an epidural - I never used it. Abby helped me keep focused through my intense, fast labor and kept my husband calm so that he could really be present with me. We have said multiple times since the amazing birth of our son "I miss Abby!" We cannot recommend her enough.
- Emily Mader, who gave birth to Lowell on 10/28/15 at Methodist
I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Abby and absolutely would recommend her in a heartbeat! We were first time parents and having her guide us through our birth options (we choose a hospital birth with midwives) really helped put our minds at ease.
I am 35+ and also had gestational diabetes - so considered a "high risk" - and Abby was a wonderful resource to help me navigate the "suprises" during my pregnancy (i.e. I wanted to avoid an induction and Abby connected me with a wonderful acupuncturist; I needed some guidance on my diet and Abby sent me plenty of helpful tips/reading material... I could go on and on! )
My labor was over 24 hours and Abby stayed by our side the entire time - she was incredibly soothing to have in our room and was able to help me feel comfortable (as much as one can be while in labor!) Abby brought an overall positive energy to the entire birth. She has amazing essential oils and can work magic with her hands, plus she is very intuitive and will certainly let the mother take the lead and determine where/when her assistance is helpful and when it is best to take a step back.
Our baby Winona is a healthy two month old girl as of today and I am certain that Abby's presence helped uplift our entire experience - we are even considering doing it all over again :)
- Amy Schmidt, who gave birth to Winona on 9/30/15 at Methodist
As a first time mother, I did not know what to expect from the childbirth process. After a lot of reading and research I knew I wanted to have as naural of a childbirth as possible - and finding the right doula was the first step in that process for me. After my initial meeting with Abby I knew I had to look no further, as her energy and demeanor were everything I was looking for in birth support. We developed a great prenatal relationship, where she really helped guide my husband in what to expect when I was in labor and how to support me in the process.
As for my actual labor, I'm not sure we could have done it without her! I was able to have the exact labor I envisioned: we labored at home for as long as possible and I was able to naturally deliver a healthy 8lb 14oz baby girl at the Mt. Sinai birth center with little to no medical intervention. She was an amazing support to both my husband and I; her calming energy helped me get through all 19-1/2 hours of labor, and most importantly, she was able to let us know when the right time was to leave the house to head to the birth center (this was one of my greatest fears).
She was also a great postpartum support; she answered many first time mom questions I had and eased a lot of worry. We also used her placenta encapsulation services which I would highly recommend to anyone who is on the fence about it.
Overall she made our birth experience a great one, I cannot recommend her enough. It may be too soon to be thinking about the next baby....but when the time comes we hope Abby will be there!
- Stephanie Demole, who gave birth to Grace on 9/27/15 at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Birthing Center
Abby was our doula for the September 2015 birth of our son. I have nothing but positive things to say about Abby. She is so very sweet, attentive and knowledgeable. My husband was a little skeptical at first about hiring a doula but was very much on board with whatever I chose to do. In the end, he was glad we had hired Abby because it really helped him with the process. She came to our house a few weeks before the birth and demonstrated some pain management techniques that he could help me with during labor, and they really came in handy. On the day I went into labor, I called Abby in the morning because I was one day past my due date and was not having any contractions but felt like "something" was happening (maybe). This was my second birth, and I knew, based on my first birth, that it was going to go fast when it finally did go. Abby stayed in touch all day via text, and when I finally texted that I was on my way to the hospital, she dropped everything and made it there very quickly (good thing because I delivered less than an hour after I arrived!) She stayed for several hours after the birth and was very helpful (getting me water, helping me to the bathroom, etc.) I did not have a doula for my first birth, but I wish I had! If I were crazy enough to have another child (and I don't believe I am! -- but if I were . . . ) I wouldn't hesitate to hire Abby again.
- Emelyn Ebeyer, who gave birth to Jackson on 9/18/15 at Methodist
Abby was chosen to be our doula on the spot at a doula meet-n-greet at Carriage House Birth. Once she introduced herself in a real, peaceful, approachable manner, we did not speak to one other person. She explained her own birth expereinces that showed me she would really be able to empathize with the labor & delivery process. She is very calm & warm which is exactly what expectant parents need in the midst of so many unknowns. Our pre-birth meetings were hands-on and rich with practical techniques we used during birth. When Abby would leave our house, there was a sense of calm and peace about the impending birth. Once I went into active labor she came right over. Her voice and instructions were easy to follow based on the relationship we had formed. She anwsered all my questions openly & honestly. And from the heart as she has hands on experience with kids herself. We did placenta encapsulation & a smoothie which have made all the difference. She also shared lots of useful information via email for us to learn and educate ourselves and be better prepared as parents.
- Megan Hartman-Sparks, who gave birth to Charles on 8/25/15 at Home in Crown Heights
What do you get from Abby when she is your doula, your support for the most important moment of your life? Pure compassion, gentle listening, and an incredible, detailed knowledge of all things baby and birth. Abby helped us with all aspects of preparing for the birth, as she guided us in physical partner exercises, creating our birth plan/preferences, and helping us connect more deeply with our calm and confidence. When it became clear that our doctor wanted to induce labor, Abby helped us navigate that process and advocate for our preferences. The day of our son's birth, she was available in whatever way we needed. For us, that was texting her from the hospital with our updates and helping us in our decision-making. When the birth progressed quicker than we expected, she was there at the hospital exactly when we needed and offered caring support. We are incredibly grateful as a family to have had Abby Block as our doula.
- M, mother to a beautiful baby boy, born at Methodist
We are so thankful that we had Abby as our doula. Before Abby arrived at our house, I had been up all night and was having contractions that I was not sure I could endure much longer. An hour later, she had me weaving like Stevie Wonder on quaaludes while my partner slept for the big push. Seriously, without Abby we would have left for the hospital way too early and wandered the streets of Manhattan. She knew exactly where I was in the labor process, when it was time to leave, and when to buckle down. She helped us navigate the hospital red tape and preserve our vision for the birth despite numerous unexpected challenges along the way. Without Abby's gentle but ever-present encouragement I seriously doubt I would have been able to persevere and have the natural birth I dearly wanted. She also knows her stuff. When medical issues arose she knew what questions to ask and how to distill our options in a way we could understand in the moment, enabling us to make a clear-headed decisions during a very stressful time.
From the first prenatal visit through my post-partum recovery, Abby was an amazing resource. While I think we may share some of Abby's ideals, she did not force anything on us or prostelytize. Her focus was on figuring out what, exactly, we wanted our birth to look like and figuring out how that could be acheived. So, point is, she would be a wonderful doula for any type of birth and for, I think, virtually anyone. I could not recommend her more.
- Ann Tartsinis, who gave birth to Frannie on 6/11/15 at Mount Sinai Roosevelt
My first birth experience was traumatic and left a lot of gaping holes in my spirit. I hoped that with my second birth and postpartum period, I'd be able to have the experience I wanted to the first time around- unmedicated, peaceful, and without unncessary medical intervention. My husband and I decided that the best way to accomplish this was to have someone on our side who could not only advocate for us, but also help keep me focused and in the moment. Abby did just that and then some. Not only did she keep me breathing and focused on the bigger picture, but she also brought a warmth and humility to our birth experience that we wouldn't have had otherwise. The entire experience was so peaceful and, dare I say, enjoyable. I know that so much of that is attributed to Abby being with us. From the prenatal meetings where we discussed EVERYTHING to the postpartum care and check-ins, I felt wholly supported. We also chose to do the placenta encapsulation, which, I think, helped incredibly with recovery and prevention of postpartum depression (I suffered for 18 months after the birth of my first daughter.) I can never thank Abby enough for being our friend and doula through this experience and for giving me back what I lost with my first.
- Christine Fadel, who gave birth to Eddie Cooper on 4/29/15 at the Birthing Center at Mount Sinai Roosevelt
My first - and enduring - impression of Abby is her warmth. It is genuine, immediate, and unceasing.
Our work began with two prenatal sessions. Abby quickly set a tone that was sustained throughout the birth, and afterwards - in short, nothing is mysterious, nothing is not normal, labor and birth are completely doable, achievable, and sensible. She teased out answers regaring pain management, breastfeeding, overall mood, and was easy to talk to about questions I had never considered. In addition, these two meetings shifted my apprehension about labor into excitement and welcome anticipation.
My labor was long (I was induced - first with drugs, then with a Foley bulb), and throughout the entire process I felt well informed because of my conversations with Abby. (I was also lucky to have a great labor and delivery team - shout out to Janice Aubey at Columbia - who integrated Abby well into their work). I had back labor and after two hours, requested an epidural. Abby arrived at this stage, and worked with the nurse to make sure I was comfortable (and slept! for three hours while becoming completely dilated). She helped me change position, was a soothing presence, and made me feel safe. Active labor felt great - and for four hours, I was in excellent hands. It hardly felt that long; it made a huge difference having a constant ally at my side. Once the MD and nurse were done and their shifts over, Abby helped us transition to the next stage of care with such grace, and yes, warmth.
Last word - I was hesitant about placenta encapsulation and Abby explained its benefits in no-nonsense terms. I decided to do it, and, considering all the surprised comments about how fast I've healed, attribute the placenta pills with my recovery.
- Babette Audant, who gave birth to Hana on 3/21/15 at Columbia Presbyterian
Abby is a wonderful doula! With her serene presence, her experience as a mother, a dancer, and a nutrition consultant, she is exactly the kind of person you would want by your side during labor. Abby taught my husband and me exercises that made me more comfortable and helped the baby descend, and we went over the birth plan in detail during our two pre-labor visits. Following these visits, I felt mentally and physically prepared for the big day.
Abby provided stellar support through nearly 24 hours of labor! At times when the pain was overwhelming, Abby's calming presence helped refocus my energy and attention. When we discovered that the baby was in the wrong position, Abby took charge by using trained techniques to turn the baby. Throughout the labor experience, she knew the kind of support that was needed moment to moment.
She visited us one week following the birth to see how we were all doing, and she provided us with useful new-parent resources that fall outside of her purview.
You will be in knowledgeable, caring hands with Abby. I felt complete trust in her ability as a doula throughout the entire experience, and recommend her without reservation!
- Rebecca Davis, who gave birth to Iona on 2/15/15 at Mount Sinai Roosevelt
The best thing my husband and I did for our birth and labor experience was hire Abby to be our Doula! She made everything so effortlessly wonderful and calming. She is very intuitive and skilled at her job. She knew instinctively what I needed in that particular moment. She navigated every twist and turn my labor took with ease and positivity. I'm sure some people may find it odd to have someone they barely know experience such a intimate moment with them (such as child birth) but with Abby I never felt uncomfortable or awkward. She has a way of making everything flow easily and feel 100% organic.
I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITH OUT HER! I truly feel and believe this. She was a warming and positive presence in the room when I need a little more to get through each contraction. She has a wonderful mothering nature and showed me methods to cope with pain relief effectively. I really appreciated her constant (at my request) touch and massage of my lower back and legs when I needed a bit more help. She was very reassuring and explained things to me that I did not fully understand. My husband also remarked on how she helped him out during labor. She made him feel confident in what he was doing and calm when push came to shove. I will be using Abby for all my future births and would happily recommend her to anyone who asked! We love you ABBY!!!
- Omi Hussey, who gave birth to Luna on 2/3/15 at NYU Langone
Abby has been a part of my life for many years; first as a dear friend, and recently as a remarkable doula. When my husband and I found out that we would be having a baby, we knew two things right away: we wanted to plan for a home birth and we needed Abby to be our doula. As a doula (and as a person) Abby manages to strike a unique balance between gentle and strong, quiet and powerful, observant and involved. Abby is an excellent communicator and worked beautifully with me, my husband, and our midwife in preparation for, and during, the birth.
My water broke almost two days before our daughter was ready to be born, and Abby played a critical role during that time. She offered kindness, reassurance, confidence, and calmness when I needed it most. When our daughter was finally ready to come, Abby was there. She arrived soon after we texted to tell her that things were starting to happen fast. Together with my husband, she guided me confidently and peacefully through transition contractions and helped me get comfortable for the birth.
Our midwife arrived less than an hour before Clio was born, and the birth assistant did not make it until after the birth, so that night, Abby adeptly took on the role of birth assistant in addition to everything else. I know that the role of doula is more of a calling than anything else, but i feel compelled to use the word 'talented' when describing Abby as a doula, she is exceptionally good at what she does. We had a home birth, but I am confident she has the skills and grace to adapt to a wide range of birth circumstances. I am lucky to know Abby, and endlessly grateful that she was part of Clio's birth.
- Meaghan Bullard, who gave birth to Clio on 1/3/15 at home in Gowanus
Abby provided wonderful support for me and my husband before, during, and after my birth. Her calm, warm presence was especially important towards the end/active phase of my labor, which progressed very rapidly at home and resulted in one very difficult car ride and a birth just 20 minutes after arriving at the birthing center! She helped me work through the most uncomfortable, wild parts of the experience both physically and mentally. And though my husband and mother were both engaged with the process and helpied me out, having someone with Abby's knowledge, experience and wisdom about childbirth was so reassuring and really kept everyone in a good frame of mind. There were many moments, both during labor and while we recovered following the birth, that she seemed to swoop in almost magically with just the right thing, without me saying anything.
In our meetings prior to the birth, she helped me think through some different scenarios and options and provided us with ideas for positions, relaxation techniques and ways my husband could help me. Following birth we met to discuss my post-natal recovery, nursing, baby care, and we reflected on the whole experience.
My birth did not involve any interventions - and there's no doubt that having Abby by my side made that path more manageable - however,if you are choosing any interventions (or discover during labor that you want them) I know she would work well in those situations too. Whatever kind of birth you have, I absolutely recommend hiring Abby as your doula!
- Mary Vonckx, who gave birth to Olivia on 11/19/14 at the Brooklyn Birthing Center
I had a wonderful experience with Abby. She has a very calm and laid back demeanor, which was important to us because that is the type of energy that you need during labor! She was helpful, but not intrusive, offering her advice, but never judgemental and always supportive. I had a relatively smooth labor, but her presence was invaluable particularly because my partner is squeamish (and honestly not that helpful during labor!)
You need another woman's support during birth. Abby as a labor doula was like the knowledgeable, but objective friend in the room - making sure I was comfortable every step of the way. I always knew I wanted epidural and Abby was totally supportive. I am not one of those women who wanted to experience the whole gamut of the birth experience and feel that it is somehow enlightening---my choice of choosing a doula was very practical. Abby was also wonderful in providing support after via in person and email. It felt like I had a trusted friend to help me in this process and challenges. I highly highly recommend Abby!
- Emily Lew, who gave birth to Blake on 9/30/14 Mount Sinai Roosevelt
Abby is simply lovely. We weren't sure we would use a doula due to cost, but decided at the last minute that the extra support would be really useful since we're far away from family. We were so lucky to find Abby whose gentle, non-judgemental presence was a blessing in the final weeks of the pregnancy and during the labor. I intended to do a natural birth with no epidural but ended up being induced and needing the pain relief. My conversations with Abby prior to the birth helped me to navigate this change of plans calmly. I had had some concern that having a doula would sideline my husband and make him feel less a part of things and he wasn't quite sure about the whole doula concept. We discussed these concerns openly and Abby supported us both as a team. By the time the birth was over, my husband was thanking her profusely.
Deciding to use a doula and finding Abby were the best decisions we made regarding the birth of our son.
- Ella Brians, who gave birth to Luca on 7/31/14, at Beth Israel
Abby's presence greatly contributed to making it such a positive and magic experience. We decided to look for a doula mainly because I was scared of the very medicalized approach of birth in US hospitals. I wanted someone present that if it came to that, could help to protect me against unnecessary cesarean, induction etc.
Abby's presence became so much more then this. She very much contributed to creating an atmosphere of calm, safety and focus in the hospital room that allowed me to turn inside and become completely absorbed by the labor. Time and space somehow disappeared and I was only vaguely aware of Abby and my partner assisting me throughout. Abby was amazing in giving me exactly what I needed when I needed it without ever imposing in any way. I have later understood that she also assisted my partner to be able to support me through the peaks of the contractions even when he thought his shoulders would break. Throughout the opening phase it was the three of us working as a team with the hospital staff occasionally checking in with one of the nurses saying she wished every woman could experience this kind of birth.
Abby did two prenatal visits giving a lot of useful information and some practical exercises. She stayed until after a few hours after the birth and came for a post natal visit a week or so after birth. Through the whole process she was calm, resourceful and very trustworthy. I would recommend her to anyone looking for support or just assistance to enhance the birth experience. I am also forever grateful to her for contributing to my daughters birth being the magical experience it is. Thank you Abby!
- Linda Andersson, who gave birth to Anoura on 12/3/13 at NYU Langone
I am so glad that we made the decision to hire Abby as our doula. The experience could not have been better. We loved the fact that we had not one, but two meetings before our birth full of really great advice, wisdom, and techniques to use during labor. Abby was a very calming and supportive presence during my labor that I can not imagine not being there. She was an incredible support to both me and my husband. I also really love that she sends regular emails with links to articles and research that are of interset to new and about to be moms. Would definitely recommend and personally hire Abby again!"
- Michele Copeland, who gave birth to Priya on 11/26/13 at Maimonides
Abby was referred to us; we interviewed one other doula but felt that Abby's personality was head-and-shoulders above hers. From the dad/partner point-of-view, I thought that Abby was the perfect mix of knowledge, professionalism and relaxed demeanor. Here are the highlights of the reasons I would recommend her:
1. Perfect on-time performance. Above-and-beyond the call in terms of letting us know her full availability and accomodating our schedule. Also, there was one day when we had an appointment the morning after she was attending another birth, and she kept us posted throughout. (She ended up both attending the nighttime birth and making her appointment.)
2. Great teacher. We especially liked the pre-birth session where she taught us soothing techniques for labor, plus stretches/exercises, etc. Honestly, we learned a lot more in 90 minutes with her than we did in a two-all-day intensive birthing class.
3. Fantastic help to me during the birth itself. She let me know what to expect at every turn, and she continued to teach me soothing techniques throughout. Also, I think her personality in general was a comfort to my wife. Abby just kind of makes a room calmer.
4. In addition to working as a doula, Abby clearly is enthusiastic about birthing, motherhood, breastfeeding, and body wellness as a person. She is a dancer, or maybe a former dancer, and her overall awareness of the body is a big help. I think she helped my wife feel confident that she could do a natural childbirth with no drugs, and it was a success!"
- Noble Novitzki, Father to Luna, born on 11/16/13 at Beth Israel
Abby has a calm and reassuring presence that made us comfortable with her from the first meeting on. She came to our house twice pre-birth, during labor and once afterwards. She took time to get to know us and she always came prepared to answer our questions and suggest good resources. I never felt that Abby had an agenda beyond figuring out how she could be the best support for us. When we were in the hospital, Abby seemed to know when to hang back and when to step in. When contractions became extremely painful, Abby helped me to count my breaths and focus on breathing through the contractions. As the labor progressed towards the pushing stage, Abby massaged my back and seemed to have a knack for applying pressure in just the right places. I was able to give birth without an epidural and I am grateful to Abby for helping to make that possible. Also, I wasn't fully aware of it at the time, but Abby was also a support for my husband, helping to let him know what to anticipate as the labor moved forward. I would recommend Abby with hesitation. She's great!
- Ellen Knechel, who gave birth to Luna, born on 11/16/13 at Beth Israel
My husband and I knew Abby was the doula for us from the moment we meet her. She has a very relaxed and calming presence. She made us feel very comfortable and empowered us in creating the labor experience we desired. Abby offered us valuable information and asked smart question to encourage us to think about aspects of labor we may not have considered or known about as first time parents. She sent me information specific to my needs and concerns and as a result I gain valuable strategies to help me mentally prepare for a spontaneous natural drug-free labor; which was what I desires most.
With Abby's support my husband and I confidently labored at home then delivered our baby girl at the Brooklyn Birthing Center. Through out pregnancy (once we were involved with her) and labor Abby made herself as available as we desires. She accompanied ua to our "dress rehearsal" at the BBC. She also empowered us to be confident in knowing when to call to join us during the labor. She reassured me that she was here for us even if it took a long time, or if we were doing well just my husband and I she wouldn't be offered if we desided we wanted to wait and just meet her at the birthing center. Her continual support and encouragement was a huge contributor to the success of our labor!
Moreover, Abby was a pro in some unique situations we encountered. In the taxi ride from Washinton Heights to Brooklyn, we encountered late night road construction on the Brooklyn bridge. I was stuck I'm the back of the cab for an hour and a half in hard labor!!! I seriously don't know how my husband and I would have handled that without her. She was our rock! She had a "scarf" (doula tool) that I used to pull on during contractions. She also used aromatherapy and message during labor to help process through difficult contractions. If we are still in the city when we get pregnant again, we will definitely invite Abby to participate in our labor again!
- Rebecca Murphy, who gave birth to Madeline, born on 10/13/13 at The Brooklyn Birthing Center
Abby is a gem! Caring, supportive, resourceful, filled with advice without being pushy in any way --- I couldn't have been happier with her. I was looking mainly for a friendly presence to be there with me at my hospital birth, and I got so much more! Before, at and after the birth, it was a blessing to have her around. And I love that she's also a nutritionist, which truly helped me in my post-partum cooking crisis :-)
- Oshrat C. Silberbusch, who gave birth to Malkiel on 9/11/13 at Columbia Presbyterian
Abby was the perfect doula for us, and I'm sure her manner would be perfect for most people! She was a welcome addition to our birth experience, and her presence was calming and so beneficial to us. I wouldn't have wanted to have done it without her.
From our very first meeting we felt at ease in her company. As first time parents, we were embarking upon an unknown journey, Abby talked us through all our concerns and together we came up with my ideal labour. On the day it went exactly as I'd hoped because we were so prepared. I feel very fortunate to have nothing but positive thoughts about the way Delphine came into the world.
After our daughter's arrival Abby continued to be a great support and my recovery was significantly helped along by a her raspberry leaf tea recipe! We can't recommend Abby highly enough, she's wonderful.
- Sara Morgan-Beckett, who gave birth to Delphine on 8/18/13 at NYU Langone