Childbirth Education Advisory Board
We are proud to have a variety of professionals that make up the Birth Boot Camp Advisory Boards. These women have been touched by their own experiences with natural birth and are ready to serve you.
Donna Ryan, Founder and President
With the un-medicated birth of her second baby in 1999, Donna was transformed! Giving birth naturally began a journey and desire to help other women have empowering births. Since 2003, she has had the honor of working with and teaching hundreds of couples through natural childbirth education classes. Advocacy is also a part of Donna’s passion. She is the co-founder of the Tarrant County Birth Network, Fort Worth, Texas, growing it to be the largest chapter of BirthNetwork National. On a personal level, she has given birth to four beautiful babies in a variety of settings, with three types of care providers and in four different positions! On the side, she writes a blog called Banned From Baby Showers. She is incredibly humbled by the opportunity to work with an amazing group of women to bring Birth Boot Camp curriculum to the world.
Sarah Clark, BBCI Curriculum Development
Sarah Clark has long been passionate and outspoken about the joy and beauty involved in natural birth. After taking a natural birth class before her first child was born, she felt the need to share the knowledge that had helped her achieve a natural birth with other women. She has taught natural birth classes since 2008 and had four natural births. A writer, Sarah is probably best known for her active work on her natural birth and mothering blog, Mama Birth. She has been published in several natural birth related magazines and is a regular contributor on the Mothering Magazine blog. As part of the Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board, Sarah helps train teachers on the art of communicating natural birth knowledge and helps develop content for teachers and students.
April Francom, BBCI, Administrator and Instructor Certification
April Francom has been passionate about motherhood since before her first natural birth in 1999. With a Bachelor’s degree in Education, April brings over 16 years of experience to Birth Boot Camp from various educational pursuits, including owning a preschool. April has given countless hours of service to her local birth network and twice organized a community Birth Fair, helping to raise thousands of dollars. She enjoys working with those who desire to become Birth Boot Camp Instructors; guiding them along the path to certification.
Alexa Gumm, BBCI, Doula, Recruiter
Alexa Gumm is a wife of fifteen years to Joe and mother to their four little ladies. In 1999 she earned a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Texas Christian University. Since her first daughter’s joyous birth in 2001 she has felt obligated to share the beauty and innate strength of women that occurs in natural birth and in 2010 became a DONA certified birth doula. One of her favorite places to be is assisting families during the births of their precious babies.
In 2011, she was invited to join a powerhouse group of women as a Chapter Leader with the Tarrant County Birth Network in Fort Worth, Texas. Her role included recruiting sponsors for community birth events and media relations. A natural born networker, these skills perfectly complement her position as a recruiter for Birth Boot Camp. She genuinely enjoys people and considers her work as a birth advocate and hopefully, one day as a midwife, her life’s calling. Alexa is also one of our Birth Boot Camp Instructors based in the Tampa Bay area of Florida where her husband is a morning news anchor for CBS.
Mellanie Sheppard, ICBLC, RLC, BBCI
Mellanie Sheppard, IBCLC is a lactation consultant in private practice with more than 12 years experience working with breastfeeding families. She is an avid proponent of educating expectant families on Mother-Friendly Childbirth and a co-founder and leader of the Tarrant County Birth Network. A leader in her field, Mellanie frequently presents at conferences and events on topics including breastfeeding the special needs infant, the effects of induction of labor on breastfeeding, and how birth and breastfeeding are inter-connected. Mellanie is the breastfeeding expert featured on our comprehensive breastfeeding dvd, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE, which comes complimentary with every full-length birth class and can also be purchased separately.
Shannon Blackwell, Instructor Marketing
Shannon Blackwell has over 15 years experience in professional marketing with an emphasis on small business. She has trained over 400 small business owners in marketing their new and growing businesses. As a birth activist, Shannon has facilitated thousands of dollars in funding for local and national birth organizations.
Katie Dudley, HHC, CPT, CES, PES
Katie is passionate about natural health and wellness. She enjoys educating and empowering others to take control of their own health. She believes women can have an amazing pregnancy and birth. Katie earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia with a focus in Child and Family Development and Educational Psychology. Following her love of fitness and nutrition, a trainer since 2005, she is a Certified Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement Specialist and a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach. Katie currently has a private Holistic Health Coaching Practice, Cornerstone Integrative Fitness and Wellness, where she works with women and families all over the country. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.
Dr. Kristen Hosaka, Chiropractor
Dr. Kristen Hosaka, Chiropractor, has been combining her passion for chiropractic with her passion for natural birth since she graduated Cum Laude from Parker College of Chiropractic in 2002. She is Webster Certified for pregnancy chiropractic care. She regularly adjusts women during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, as well as infants and children.
Having had positional issues with her first two babies, she is passionate about helping others attain optimum health and easier births for both themselves and their babies through chiropractic care which she experienced first hand with her third birth.
Hannah Reasoner, BBCI, LMT, Doula
Hannah Reasoner is passionate about pregnancy, childbirth, and the amazing journey of motherhood. With education and training in the areas of Massage Therapy, Acupressure, Birth and Postpartum Doula Services, Holistic Nutrition, Fertility, and Childbirth, Hannah has cared for and served the many needs of pregnant women and growing families since 2005. Hannah enjoys growing her business, Intuitive Mothering, and lives with her family in Fort Worth, Texas.
Melody Morrow, CPM, LM, BBCI
Melody Morrow, CPM, LM loves babies and birth. Since 1998 she has attended over 1,100 births and assisted in the training of over 70 midwifery students. She is passionate about preventative, respectful care for mothers, babies, and their families. Melody works in Texas at Edenway Birth Center as the administrator and senior consulting midwife. She is enthusiastic about her calling and loves to help empower families as they become informed and educated about their choices during their maternity and birth experiences.
Abbey Robinson, BBCI
Abbey’s passion for birth began with her own journey into motherhood in 1996 when things went opposite of what was expected and planned for. She experienced firsthand how simple guideline changes can derail and unravel healthy birth plans. Through trial and error in her own births, she finally achieved an unmedicated VBA3C in 2010 which set her on fire to educate and advocate for pregnant and birthing women.
Abbey has been a chapter leader with Tarrant County Birth Network since 2012, bringing big names to North Texas like Ina May Gaskin and Dr. Sears. She stays active with the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and is passionate about support during birth and beyond. She has helped mothers achieve all kinds of births including VBAMC (vaginal birth after multiple cesarean) and VBAssC (Vaginal birth after special scars cesarean) as a doula, and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Ceci Massa, Videographer
Ceci Massa is an acclaimed birth photographer and videographer working in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. She provides all of the videography for Birth Boot Camp. She leads birth photography/videography workshops in conjunction with other leaders in her field through Birth Stories 101. A former chapter leader in her local birth network, Ceci has been advocating for Mother-friendly care since the birth of her first child.
Doula Advisory Board
Amanda Devereux,Co-creator and Doula Trainer
Amanda Devereux is a mother of three who was, herself, brought into this world naturally by her own birth-junkie mother. Amanda holds a BS in Biology and a BS in Nursing and has worked as a professional doula since 2009. She has been involved in Louisiana Natural Birth since 2006 and has served as the New Orleans Coordinator. She has founded a Gentle and Natural Parenting Group is also the co-founder of Nola Nesting. With Nola Nesting, Amanda has coordinated and hosted community events to increase awareness of breastfeeding, birth, postpartum mood disorders, as well as early parenting. After finding work in Labor and Delivery and Mother/Baby Units at a local hospital to be less than inspiring, she began her career as a Birth and Postpartum Doula. She founded Nola Nesting with a fellow Doula in order to work more closely with highly professional doulas, and to make navigating preparations for birth and postpartum easier for her clients. Amanda is a Certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor and Happiest Baby Educator.
Maria Pokluda,Co-creator and Doula Trainer
Maria Pokluda has been a doula serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth area since 2004. She has a Masters in Political Science and while she finds that slightly funny, she feels her degree helps her work with all types of people and she can now appreciate those statistics classes as she reads the research about evidenced practices in maternity care. In the last 10 years, Maria has attended hundreds of births and was voted Best Doula by North Texas Child Magazine. Maria founded and currently helps lead Dallas BirthNetwork and has also been an active member of ICAN and helps lead a large VBAC and cesarean support group. Along with Amanda, Maria is the co-creator and trainer of the Birth Boot Camp Doula program. Maria has been married to Brian for nearly 20 years and they have 4 children, each with a very different birth story ranging from all the “bells and whistles” in a hospital setting to a homebirth.
Nancy Rebarchik,BBCI, Doula Certification Coordinator
Nancy Rebarchik began serving in the Dallas/Fort Worth birth community as a doula in 2008, and as a certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor in 2012. With a heart for teaching and equipping others to serve, Nancy is excited to join the Birth Boot Camp Doula team as Certification Coordinator. She’s been happily married since 2001 and is mommy to two school-aged kids.
Other members of the Doula Advisory Board include Donna Ryan, Mellanie Sheppard, Shannon Blackwell, April Francom, and Sarah Clark. These women also serve on the Childbirth Education Advisory Board, listed above.