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Fresh from my second birth.  Exhausted.  Exhiliarated.  In love.  Triumphant. 

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My Story, In Full

My name is Celeste Youngblood, and I am a south Louisiana native. I graduated from Northeast Louisiana University with a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in French.  I have been married to my best friend and wonderfully supportive husband, Kermit since 1996. We have nine children with us here and five with the Lord. Of our nine children here, five were born at the hospital with an OBGYN, and the last four were born at home with midwives. Our homeschooling journey began in 2001 and continues uninterruptedly to this day. As followers of Jesus Christ, we live our lives through the lens of our Catholic faith. Kermit and I are perpetually professed members of the Holy Family Institute , a branch of the Pauline religious family, and a secular institute of consecrated life. As with many people in Huntsville, we are transplants, having spent the majority of our lives in Winchester, Virginia. 

I was a young girl when God introduced me to birth work - I first supported a woman in labor at the age of 13. I was volunteering as a candy striper at our local hospital in Covington, Louisiana, on a quiet L&D unit that day, and she was a single mother bravely laboring in her room alone. I didn't know anything about labor and birth save for what I had seen on television, but I knew this woman was uncomfortable and alone, and I could not bring myself to leave her side. I got the all-clear to sit with her and to work a double shift, and stayed with her for eight hours, talking to her, holding her hand, encouraging her to squeeze mine during contractions, and silently admiring her strength. Babies come when they come, of course, and she had not had her baby by the end of my second shift.  I had wanted to stay for her birth so badly, but sadly I had to leave. Accompanying this mama at her birth left an indelible impression upon me. When we met again one year later under different circumstances, we recognized one another right away and were very happy to reconnect! 

Ten years later, living in Northern Virginia, I was being induced with my second child, the one pictured above. Our eldest having been born at 27 weeks, this next baby was my first full-term birth, and a posterior baby. Had I known then what I know now, I would have gone home to await labor to begin naturally!  While my exhausted husband took a well-deserved break 24 hours in, I was blessed with an amazing nurse, Stacy C., who sat next to me and gave me tips to help me cope with my extremely uncomfortable back labor. I had not taken childbirth education classes, and we knew nothing about comfort techniques, but the encouragement and tips that Stacy gave me were instrumental in helping me achieve the medication-free labor that I had hoped for. I understood for the first time the value of having a member of my birth team who was knowledgeable, respectful of my wishes, encouraging, and able to spend large amounts of time with me. Although it was a difficult birth, I came away from it with very positive feelings, and I knew that Stacey's support played a large role in that.

Seven years later, in 2006, I learned that there were women who called themselves "doulas," who  made it their profession to support laboring women! When a friend asked me to be on-call for her birth as support in case her husband wasn't in town for her upcoming birth, I decided to make it official and started my doula journey by enrolling in the DONA birth doula certification program. My first official doula birth was unforgettable, complete with Divine Mercy chaplets in hallways and an amazing delivery with the help of a squatting bar, something I had never seen before.

 

I fell in love with the work instantly. I completed my certification in about six months, and embarked on a beautiful stretch of birth work for the next eight years, making it  my mission to help women have the most positive birth experiences possible, regardless of the circumstances. One of the highlights of my doula work was working at the hospital alongside nurses who had supported me in my own births, most especially Nurse Stacey. We may forget many details of our lives, but, for better or worse, we do not forget our births, and those who were present. Oftentimes we discover that those who support us in our births do not forget us either. 

 

My business was named Babe-Ease Birth Services, and I was known as the "DiscoDoula" because I thought it made a catchy email address, and being a child of the late 70's, I had quite the penchant for disco music. Midwifery had not even been legal in Virginia for a year when I started my doula work, and it was a very exciting time to be entering the birth field! Midwives and doulas were springing up left and right, along with birth circles and birth advocacy groups. Birth options in the Shenandoah Valley were vastly increasing and it was a privilege to be part of that early wave.

I had my first homebirth in 2007, my sixth baby, and that was my first experience encapsulating a placenta. At the time, placenta encapsulation was still a bit "on the fringe"! I had suffered some mood issues following the birth of our fifth child, and I was hoping the capsules might help me avoid a repeat of that experience. I learned what I could about the benefits of the placenta capsules and the encapsulation process. The results of my own experience with my pills was so good that I started offering encapsulation to the women throughout Northern Virginia, eventually earning me a new moniker: "The Placenta Lady". I did not keep a precise count, but over the ensuing years I encapsulated over 150 placentas, using both the Traditional Chinese Method and the Raw Method. Eventually I added tinctures to my offerings and learned to make the placenta salve.  

In 2009 I decided I wanted to officially add childbirth education to my repertoire, and I certified through Childbirth International. This is when I added the highly popular labor simulation classes to my offerings. For a short time that year I started midwifery studies, but the Lord made it be known that that was not to be my direction then. 

In 2014, I experienced a series of three miscarriages. I made the decision to step back from the birth work to be able to focus on my family and on healing. I had not expected to stay away as long as I did, but when our ninth, and youngest, blessing was born in late 2015, I chose to work for a time in jobs which would not take me out of the home for potentially long periods of time.

 

For a while I was a newscaster for an online Catholic radio station, working out of a home studio. After that, I attained my certification as a knitting instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and started teaching knitting. (I am nearly finished with my crochet instructor certification as well.) When COVID came on the scene, I was teaching knitting at a local big box craft store and making plans to teach yarn crafting to pregnant moms at the local birth centers. All of that was put on hold in late 2021, however, when we learned we would most likely be making an interstate move. 

 

Throughout my years on hiatus, I definitely felt the tug back towards birth work. I assisted a couple of friends with their births. There were times I was considering donating all of my birth books and gear to other birth workers, not thinking that a return to the field was going to be in the cards for me, and yet a voice deep down kept saying, "Not yet." Clearly, God knew my day to serve pregnant women would come again!  In July of 2022, we moved to Huntsville, AL., and I knew the time and place were right to return to birth work again. I resumed pursuit of  another doula certification, this time through Childbirth International, and  in December, 2023 I received that certification.

It is always a pleasure and a privilege to serve pregnant mothers and their families. I never take lightly the invitation by a woman to be part of her pregnancy and birth story. While I am still working through certain details about the business, what I do know is that I am excited to begin sharing my gifts and passion for birth again, and would be honored if you thought I might have something to contribute towards your childbearing experience!

Let’s Work Together

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If you think I might be a valuable addition to your birth team, drop me a line via phone/text or on the contact form below and we can set up an introductory meeting, either in person or virtual. Thank you for visiting, and may God's blessings be with you! 

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