Our Doula Cooperative
Hometown: Minnedosa, MB
Founder of Sacred Beginnings, Karla Buffalo, discovered the word ‘doula’ while reading books about childbirth after the birth of her first son. Women supporting women during labour wasn’t a new concept for Karla. In her family and community she had known women who regularly attended births, and although curious about what happened during that private time, learning about what women truly experienced during the birthing process and how other women gave support was not as common of a conversation as it is becoming today.
In 2011, Karla had the opportunity to enrol in her first doula course and begin her journey of learning and growing to support women through labour and post-partum – a sacred role Karla recognizes as one previously passed down from generation to generation through community knowledge.
Karla believes that pregnancy, birth, and the post-partum (or Baby Moon) are all sacred events and need to be honoured, protected and celebrated. Through formal training, attending births, and listening to the birth experience stories of both women and their partners, Karla has learned that for the birth experience to be a positive one, it needs to be protected and nurtured. Each individual birthing experience is unique. The importance of knowledge in the birthing process is as important as a woman’s belief that she is capable of giving birth. When birth plans change, that support and knowledge can help a woman and her family better adapt to change.
The energy during the birth process can be felt by everyone involved, and Karla feels blessed to be a part of each and every birth she attends.
Karla grew up in a small community in southern Manitoba, but spent her summers in Fort McMurray with her extended family. After university, she moved to Fort McMurray to continue her career in public affairs and Aboriginal relations. Karla and her husband, Greg, have three children – 16 year-old Erica, 5 year-old Jett, and 3 year-old Zyah. Their two youngest children were born at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. When Karla isn’t sharing and expanding her doula knowledge, attending births, managing a busy career, or being a full-time mom, you can find her traveling, camping, or curled up watching movies – all with her family, of course.
Karla is currently an on-call Doula supporting the Cooperative.
Manager, Community Relations
Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Heather is our co-founder of the “Higher Health Doula Cooperative”, having been born in Fort McMurray, she always felt a strong connection to give back to our beautiful and unique community. Her passion for seeing positive birth experiences drives her to volunteer countless hours ensuring the goal of healthy mother’s and healthy families in Fort McMurray is met.
Heather is currently working minimal births and is supporting casual on-call as she works to apply to Midwifery (CNM). Heather is RYT200 certified in Hatha Yoga through Ananda Yoga Studios, as well as RPYT certified in the `Yoga Birth Method` through Dorothy Guerra. She is a Doula and has trained with both CAPPA (Childbirth & Postpartum Professional Association) and DONA (Doulas of North America).
Heather gave birth to her son, Jaxon, on Oct 23, 2012 and 23 months later, gave birth to her daughter, Hannah, on Sept 23, 2014. She knows that through the power of meditation and manifestation, women have immense power to connect with their minds, bodies and babies in conception, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Heather knew and felt the immediate change of life inside her and meditated with her children in utero to encourage smooth and fearless deliveries. Heather is an avid writer and is currently editing her first publication set for release in Summer 2018.
Heather manages Community Relations for Higher Health and is always open to receive community volunteerism opportunities, fundraising initiatives and general messages of why YOU love Higher Health. Send Heather an email to get in touch!
Contact her today to further discuss your fertility, pregnancy or birth plans.
Hometown:White Rock, BC
Toni is not your typical SAHM (stay at home Mom!). Toni moved here with her family from White Rock, British Columbia over 10 years ago. She is an opportunist and a woman with strong self-assurance. She saw the need for women to become more actively involved in oil sands development, so she decided to take a big leap and researched an electrician apprenticeship. She committed to seeing her training through and became a Journeyman electrician in 2010. Toni has given birth to two beautiful, smart and adventurous little boys! Logan, her oldest, was a long birth supported by the helpful and healing hands of a Doula.
Wyatt, her second born, was a high risk pregnancy and she knew the need for another Doula was absolutely necessary. Through both birth experiences, Toni brings a unique demeanour to support her clients. She advocates for a healthy and informed pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding experience. Objectively supporting natural/medicalized birth and equally as supportive and understanding in assisting women with the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding. As a well experienced breastfeeding Mom, she uses her knowledge to support our local “Baby Friendly Initiative” and is actively involved in volunteering her time to our local Breastfeeding Support Groups.
She is often found talking to, sharing with and supporting women in our community at the breastfeeding support group held 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Syncrude Sport & Wellness every Monday. Toni is also a Car Seat Safety Technician and is a wonderful resource to families looking to best understand car seat installation and safety. When she’s not supporting Wood Buffalo birthing families, helping a Mom & babe with their latch or assisting to tether a car seat – she is passionate about American Sign Language. A love that developed to help her best communicate with her little ones. Through sign she finds ease in maintaining a communicative relationship with her boys and is currently taking online courses to deepen her knowledge and love for sign.
She attributes this unique ability and passion to her boys and is grateful to have been able to teach them the art of signing! Toni also loves cooking and riding bikes with her boys. She is a happy go lucky lady and seeks to support women in our community to have beautiful birth experiences while she has the ability to also be more present for her young growing family. Overall, she wants women to be satisfied with their birth experiences and to know their options. She loves working with nurses from our busy community hospital on breastfeeding initiatives and looks forward to supporting Wood Buffalo birthing families in the years to come. She is currently accepting new clients.
Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Born and raised right here in Fort McMurray, Jen is absolutely loving life with her supportive husband and three amazing children by her side! In addition to being a full-time Mom, she is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) with specializations in Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga (RPYT) as well as Yin, Restorative and Curvy Yoga. Her fascination with the mind/body/spirit connection has also led her to become a Certified Lifestyle Meditation Teacher, HypnoBirthing Instructor and Birth Doula.
Founder of Inspired Mama (www.inspiredmama.ca), Jen wholeheartedly believes that peace on earth begins at birth and that when a woman becomes a mother – whether for the first or fifth time – she is transformed. Being introduced to yoga while pregnant with her second child was all Jen needed to begin an all-inclusive journey of getting to know her higher self. She now enjoys sharing what she’s learned along the way and spreads her light in hopes of inspiring other parents to form deep rooted connections: with themselves and their children. She credits her yoga and meditation practice for being able to remain relatively calm, cool and collected during her transformation into parenthood and hopes to help other moms and dads find peace amongst the chaos.
** Jen is currently taking the time to find her groove with her newest babe and is not accepting birth clients at this time. She is, however, still happy to serve the families of Wood Buffalo through yoga and prenatal education so contact her today if you have any questions or would like to setup a consultation. **
Meranda Bos is a born and raised Prairie girl from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sticking true to her roots, she gave birth to 4 beautiful babies (Brandon, Kirsten, Jaclynn & Jesslyn), who are now creative and talented children and young adults, forging their paths in life. In 2007, Meranda decided to make the big leap to move to Fort McMurray, where she worked onsite in her hard hat and steel toes. When it was time to take her leave to have baby #5 (Jase), she decided that once this baby was a toddler, it was time for her to begin sharing her wisdom and experience in birthing with Wood Buffalo families. After all, we are in a baby boom, and most of us are far from home without our own family for support.
In Jase’s first year, Meranda selflessly dedicated her time to volunteer at Vilia Tosio’s breastfeeding support groups. Being a fifth time breastfeeder, she knows a thing or two. It was while attending group that she cultivated her next steps in life. She joined the Leadership Wood Buffalo program and became actively involved in the Wood Buffalo Baby-friendly Initiative. Meranda understands how to wear multiple hats. In her community she is an advocate for attachment parenting, midwifery and exclusive breastfeeding. In the birth room, she is an advocate for her clients’ birth wishes, working hand in hand with our very busy and well respected medical community.
When Meranda isn’t chasing a busy preschooler or spending time with her hubby, she makes sure to find time to refill her cup, so that in turn she may pour more of her energy into others. She enjoys hitting a local yoga class to relieve stress or quietly setting up her mat for a peaceful and meditative home practice. Meranda decided to deepen her own yoga practice that she recently completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Kaitlin Armstrong and Pattie Dwyer(www.inbalanceforlife.com) as well as she has completed her Reiki Level One with Dwyer Family(aquarianyogis.weebly.com)
Meranda is the founder of “Yo Momma” Doula Services and has completed her CAPPA birth doula training. She is now accepting birth clients. We feel lucky to have her as a part of our Higher Health Doula Cooperative and look forward to supporting her growing career as a Professional Birth Doula. Contact her today to confirm your estimated delivery date and gain the support of a 5 time Mom Doula!
Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Jenna Buffett grew up right here in Fort McMurray. “For many, this is a transient city. For me, it’s been a small town I’ve watched flourish to an area of busyness and prosperity, growing families, and most of all….babies!! We all know our birth rate is very high up here in the McMurray” Jenna’s desire to serve the community isn’t something “new”. She has long served as a volunteer for a youth program in our region.
Making a positive impact on the lives around her and seeing the many families we serve has drawn her to become more intimately involved in the family tree by participating in birth support. Jenna has always been fascinated by pregnancy, childbirth, and the infant stages, but always envisioned herself as a nurse, until recently when she decided to change paths and become a doula. Women helping women, achieving mostly wonderful but also deeply supportive birth experiences, whether it be naturally or medically.
Ultimately, through my training and experience, I want women to know that they can birth without fear.” Jenna has completed her birth and postpartum doula training through DONA International. She is an integral part of the Higher Health Doula Cooperative and is excited to support Wood Buffalo birthing families. Why does Jenna think a cooperative in a busy baby city like Fort McMurray is great? “Not only do I get to support more families and meet more people, I also get to improve my skills by being able to attend important seminars, conferences & workshops! Not to mention, going on vacation, knowing that my clients will be in great hands. It’s a win/win for all of our doulas as well as every birthing family involved within the Cooperative!!” Jenna is booking clients for 2014 for birth support, as well as planned or spontaneous postpartum support. She is also going to be working towards her IBCLC. Contact her today to further discuss your family’s needs.
Think you’ve lived in the North? Not as North as this gal! Candice was born in Dartmouth, NS but grew up in Deer Lake, NL. As she approached adolescence, her family moved to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut where she spent most of her high school years. While in Nunavut, she volunteered at a Day Care and was subsequently hired on, enjoying her time spent with young children as she herself was growing into a young woman.
After two years of general studies at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, where she had hoped to possibly become a teacher, nurse or early childhood education assistant, Candice did what many women in Fort McMurray have had to do – she picked up her life and moved to Fort McMurray to be with her true love. After three years of love and work in Fort McMurray, she was met with another predictable fate for many Fort McMurray women – pregnancy and the anticipation of Motherhood! She and her partner were ecstatic.
They were overjoyed to welcome Joseph in September 2013. When Candice learned of the DONA Birth Doula Training hosted by Higher Health Doula Cooperative in Spring 2014, she was excited to learn more about birth. She attended with an open mind and an open heart. She was delighted, amazed and wide eyed at how much she learned through the process. Candice’s hope is to assist Mother’s in their journey of pregnancy and birth.
To guide them towards resources and information which support their personal beliefs and goals in obtaining the birth they want. She wishes to have the opportunity to gently remind women and their families of their decisions throughout the labour process, while remaining objective and supportive of their birth outcome. Candice loves working alongside our cities Healthcare providers and believes that positive vibes and communication in the birth room make all the difference in helping a family welcome their baby with confidence and informed consent.
In Candice’s free time she loves to entertain Joseph, always keeping her little man busy and stimulated. She has reached out in the community to other local Mom’s seeking friendship and actively attends Mom groups, where she supports women in their early years of Motherhood. An advocate for breastfeeding, she also enjoys discussing and supporting bottle feeding Mother’s.
At Memorial University of Newfoundland, Kayla pursued her undergraduate degree in physical anthropology – the biological study of humans. She developed an appreciation of the human form and a reverence for its capabilities, particularly woman’s ability to gestate and birth babies. Kayla grew up in Burgeo, Newfoundland. This beautiful place on our east coast has 365 islands. Caring for and attending to women runs deep in her blood.
Her grandmother was a well-known midwife who would travel in her dory (small row boat) throughout the beautiful lush islands of Burgeo to support labouring women through Childbirth. Kayla feels a deep sense of connectedness to women and her role in supporting them in their transcendence to motherhood. Kayla arrived in Fort McMurray nearly a decade ago. She found the kind of love that makes your cheeks red and your knees weak and decided to make a life in western Canada. She birthed her first baby in British Columbia.
Her second was born right here in Fort McMurray at Northern Lights. Along with her esteem for our physical being and all its diversity, Kayla has great admiration for our cultural, ethnic and religious diversification as well. She has a genuine interest in others, in their backgrounds, and their well-beings. Kayla has worked with many people in our community and the surrounding communities, first as an employment counsellor at YMCA Youth Connections and later as a youth coordinator at Nistawayou Association Friendship Centre.
Kayla is approachable. She is a genuine and honest woman that works well with our cities care providers and assists to support labour as you wish it to unfold. It is easy to be yourself and to be real and honest around her. It is also what makes her such a wonderful support person to women of our community. Kayla believes in thorough prenatal education for yourself and for your birth partner(s). She strives to empower you with knowledge so you feel confident in yourself and decisions. With her, you never feel judged – only supported. She is now accepting clients and is booking up. Please reach out to her to ensure your estimated delivery date is confirmed in her schedule!
Hometown:Cape Breton, NS
Danielle is a well-known and highly respected professional Doula in our Community. Hailing all the way from Cape Breton, she’s what you could call a bit of a hard core “Cape Breton’er”. Along with her husband they have continued to embrace their East Coast roots by visiting the island annually, but have developed and continue to have a deep passion and drive to support the busy booming West. Danielle and her hubby have called Fort McMurray home for nearly a decade!
While supporting her husband’s career, Danielle found fulfillment in the community by becoming actively involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood Buffalo. Five years later, she is an amazing resource to our community and currently the Executive Director, supporting their continued growth & development.
It was through the birth of her son that Danielle came to see the need for true “support” in the act of labour. Having spent her days coordinating mentors for young children, she became intrigued by the idea of a mentor (Doula!) through childbirth. She did what she does best. She became actively involved and initiated the next phase of her work within the community by committing to and engaging in DONA Birth Doula training. She is not only a non-profit leader professionally supporting the community, but also a professional birth doula working hand in hand with our cities healthcare providers to assist Wood Buffalo birthing families.
Almost five years later, she has attended and supported many births in Fort McMurray and her support comes highly recommended by her past clients. As a Doula, her hopes are to help educate and support families and women in achieving the birth they desire. She embodies grace, acceptance and calm in the birth room. Danielle has experience with Plus Size birthing, infertility and breastfeeding and is currently accepting new clients.
Amanda graduated from the Massage Therapy program at Lethbridge Community College in 2003. Once complete Amanda decided to further her career in the health care field and began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture at the Canadian Collage of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) in Victoria, BC. Amanda went on to earn her diploma in both TCM and Acupuncture in 2008 learning techniques such as Cupping, Tuina, Moxabustion, Electro-acupuncture, Diet Therapy and Herbology. Originally from Lethbridge, Alberta. Amanda came to Fort McMurray in June of 2008 and began working at a physiotherapy clinic. In June of 2010 Amanda opened up her own health clinic. Starting Higher Health Clinic was a major milestone in her career, where every day she can dedicate her time and energy to helping people live healthier, balanced lives.
Amanda has done additional training in Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture under Virginia Doran, L.Ac. As well as training in Matt Callison’s Sport Medicine Acupuncture for musculoskeletal disorders along with Whitfield Reaves Sports Medicine Acupuncture. Amanda is currently working towards her Reiki Master and in 2014 became a DONA certified Doula, and is looking forward to assisting laboring mothers in birth.
Amanda believes in the body’s ability to heal itself and that acupuncture and massage therapy are two of the many paths to restoring health and wholeness to the body. She is also a strong supporter of self care and daily yoga practice.
Bobby-Jean is a tremendous support to our team and to the women of RMWB. She’s the kind of woman that is always open to learning, to exploring and to being a beacon of love and kindness. Her warm, caring demeanour is complemented by her natural ability to nurture – and to listen.
Having married her best friend, Michael, they moved to Fort McMurray in 2010. Bobby Jean’s beautiful daughters are (21 & 20) and her cherished stepchildren (15, 14 & 12) all reside here in Fort McMurray where they have made this their home. With so much experience as a Mother, Bobby-Jean knew her calling was to share her knowledge with new families navigating prenatal, birth and parenthood.
Coming from a small lush town in Ontario where she was surrounded by a large and loving family, she loves living in Fort McMurray now, for all the wonderful outdoor activities. Whether with her family, friends….or just out and taking it all in by herself…..for some peaceful and meditative self-reflection.
Bobby-Jean’s services are all encompassing. She is an amazing prenatal support and resource, assisting parent’s to make informed decisions, to breastfeed and to embrace parenthood with absolute confidence. One of our “Robozo” gurus, she is well trained in getting you comfortable into the optimal position for a potentially smoother (and shorter!) labour. It is equally important to Bobby-Jean, that she play a role in families postpartum, so as to check in on the Mother, answer questions and provide those absolutely vital touch points most new Mom’s need.
It is truly her honour to participate in and be intimately connected to the web of life, the journey of birth and to witness women in their most powerful moments. To connect with Bobby-Jean and check your EDD with her calendar, send her an e-mail below
Child Birth / Postpartum Doula
Barb was born in Ontario but grew up in Fort McMurray from the tender age of one. She is married, after a lengthy courting, to her husband Chris. They have one child, a daughter, who recently graduated from High School and is currently attending the University of Calgary.
Barb is a Doula and a member of Dona International. A Child Birth/Postpartum Doula, Certififed Lamaze Instructor and Lactation consultant specializing in postpartum care and an active member in the birthing community.
Barb’s formal training was as an ECD Educator. She had the pleasure of being a director of a Daycare Center where she reaffirmed her love and caring for children and embracing the clients need for assistance, this is when she decided to look into the world of doulas in 2008 and quickly realized this was her calling.
Since becoming a doula she has expanded her knowledge base to encompass the entire journey to parenthood, from prenatal education opportunities right through to breastfeeding support.
The arrival of a baby…
The arrival of your baby is an event like none other in your lives. How can something so small have such an incredible impact on all facets of your world? While you may be feeling overjoyed and excited, you may also be feeling unsure and scared at the thought of being responsible for this tiny person. The support of a birth and postpartum doula can be invaluable at this time in your life.
…is a joy like no other
As a postpartum doula, it is my goal to help you adjust to the many changes and new challenges you may encounter with a new baby. It is my hope that when you have support, those challenges can feel less overwhelming, your confidence may be higher and your new family can bond and flourish.
Barb is currently an on-call Doula accepting clients. I do in home care and night time relief for parents. To arrange an interview and secure her for your estimated delivery date, and home care please email her to check her availability.
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Shari is very passionate in helping pregnant women find peace in their body and mind through the practice of yoga and mindfulness. She is known for being a soothing and skilled yoga teacher as well as for her warm, gentle and compassionate approach to helping students enjoy being in their bodies. She believes that any student, no matter the level, can benefit greatly through yoga. She aims to make her classes accessible and enjoyable for all. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500 HR), a Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) 85 Hour and a Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) 95 Hour with the International Yoga Alliance.
She has taught many women yoga during pregnancy as well as postnatally. In 2012, Shari began teaching yoga teachers how to teach prenatal yoga classes safely and effectively through her Yoga Alliance Certified Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training Program. . If this isn’t enough, Shari is also a Certified Labour Doula (CLD) and assists women birth their babies by providing emotional, mental and physical support. She believes and has witnessed the benefits of prenatal yoga on the outcome of labour and has found that her students have a great ability to focus, relax, and use effective breathing during the birth of their baby.
Shari is a member in good standing of Doulas of North America (DONA) International. She is the founder of Beautiful Birth choices here in Fort McMurray Alberta and is happy to be a part of the Higher Health Doula Coop
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Kayla was born and raised just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. She has been calling Fort Mcmurray “home” for almost 5 years, and has fallen in love with the strong community here. She has formal training as an Early Childhood Educator, with citations in infant development. Her passion for learning about early development really grew into a passion for pregnancy and birth during her own experience, 9 years ago. She has since been blessed with two more pregnancies, births and beautiful children which has encouraged her enthusiasm for the entire process even further.
Kayla has completed her doula training and is a member of DONA International. She believes every woman should have the tools and support that they need to make the choices that will shape their birth, making it their own. The birth experience can be an incredibly empowering moment in a woman’s life. Kayla strives to help her clients achieve that experience and to have a positive birth story.
Krista is a bright and bubbly mother of two; a wife, a fantastic cook, and a community volunteer. She loves being home with her son and daughter and husband, doing activities as a family as well as gardening and cooking. She also volunteers her time with Girl Guides of Canada and the Fort McMurray Baby Café (formerly the Breastfeeding Support Group). She’s passionate about family, animals and nature and food! Regardless of how busy her interests keep her, her family and her birth clients’ needs come first.
As your doula, Krista is always there to help, it’s one of her greatest strengths. She provides you with physical and emotional support during your labour and delivery. From the beginning of your labour until about an hour after you deliver, she will be with you assisting to keep you calm and comfortable. You can count on her for relevant informational support during your pregnancy and postpartum as well. She is knowledgeable about birth and healthy pregnancies, and a very patient teacher. Krista is an experience birth doula with a calm, nurturing and reliable presence. She believes that being relaxed and prepared for birth can make things go more smoothly. Continuous support and encouragement help a mother and her partner feel more happy and connected.
Before Tayla discovered her love for motherhood she started her career as a paramedic. She has worked in many cities as a paramedic and eventually moved to Fort McMurray in 2008. Tayla later went back to school to become a firefighter and was hired by the Fort McMurray fire department where she currently works.
Tayla have always been fascinated with pregnancy, labour and delivery. Her medical background has granted her opportunities to study these subjects in detail and also put it to practice. She has personally delivered and assisted many births in Canada and largely Africa. Since then she has been blessed with two healthy pregnancies and two polar opposite birth stories. Between the births of her children is when she first became interested in who Doulas are and what they do.
“After I became pregnant with my second I was adamant that I would have a VBAC (vaginal birth after C section). I felt pressured to schedule a section. It was then that I began looking for support. Doulas! That’s the support we wanted and needed!” In the end Tayla had a successful VBAC.
Tayla is also a member of the Baby Friendly Initiative in Fort Mcmurray and works as a CLC(Certificated Lactation Counselor) doing in hospital and home lactation assessments. Tayla has had professional training and is certified through The Academy Of Lactation Policy And Practice. Tayla supports La Leche League and is currently working towards her IBCLC. Tayla has a true passion for breastfeeding and helping moms with any difficulties they may have. “I have personally dealt with lip ties, tongue ties, poor latch, late milk production, poor milk supply, topping up, pumping, as well as successful breastfeeding!”
Given her experience with both C section and VBAC as well as her pass experience in the field she feels that she would be a great choice for parents who need prenatal education and that extra support come push time. “Since my doula training I have discovered the beauty and power behind women helping other women through the most amazing time in their life. My goal is to be there for you AND your husband and support all of your decisions throughout your birthing experience. I want to make this memory one of the best memories you will ever have. I will work with you prior to your birth to determine what your hopes and goals are and build a trusting relationship were you feel valued, heard and comfortable. Although I love being a paramedic/firefighter my true calling is helping mamas with their own motherhood journey. This is what I’m good at and what I love.”
Check out Tayla’s website at www.mamasaurus.ca