Instructor & Doula in Provo, UT
I’m Caryn Allen, homeschooling mom of 4 (2 girls, 2 boys) and married to my sweetheart for the last 12 years. We currently live in Provo, Utah in what we hope will be our forever home. I’ve been playing the piano for 24 years in just about every capacity, including festivals, competitions, and choral accompanying, and I’ve been teaching piano for the last 6 or so years. I enjoy baking, sewing, crochet, playing board games, watching movies, and growing both a vegetable and flower garden.
My first birth over 11 years ago was a fairly typical hospital birth. My water broke first thing in the morning and we went straight to the hospital where they immediately hooked me up to pitocin that they doubled every half hour. At that time my husband was working 55-60 hours a week and we just didn’t have time (or encouragement, really) to take a class, so we didn’t know any different. The only thing I knew was that I didn’t want an epidural. My mother had 5 of her 6 children without an epidural, and she said she hated her epidural birth because she felt so disconnected from the whole process, so I decided I didn’t want that either. I labored in bed with the support of my husband and mother, and towards transition I was allowed to get out of the bed and sit on the birth ball and toilet. The contractions were painful and almost unbearable, and I consented to narcotics and anti-nausea medications which made me feel loopy and out of touch with what was happening. I asked for an epidural at one point, but my husband reminded me of how capable I was and that I was almost to the finish line. The nurses YELLED at him that I could have an epidural if I wanted one, and if I had known better, I would have kicked them out immediately. My daughter was born less than 12 hours later. I popped a blood vessel in my eye because I pushed so hard, and I was exhausted and felt so disappointed in how the experience went.
After that experience I started absorbing all the information I could get my hands on. Books, blogs, movies, you name it. I started learning that things could be different and in the midst of this epiphany, I decided I wanted to become a doula (and eventually childbirth educator) so I could help women know that they have options and to help them have a birth experience they felt empowered by. I became pregnant with our second child while completing my doula certification, and had a much different birth experience. My water broke in the middle of the night, but I decided to go back to bed and get as much sleep as possible. I called my doctor first thing in the morning and told him I’d head to the hospital after lunch. My best friend (who had also certified as a doula at the same time I did) came over and we walked around a couple stores while we waited for my mother-in-law to drive the 4-5 hours to my house. I called my husband to come home from work after lunch, and with my birth team, we headed to the hospital.
The nurse who was getting me settled in my room asked about my expectations for this birth, and I told her that I wanted them to leave me alone and just let me have my baby. With the skilled support of my best friend/doula and mother-in-law, and the intuitive support of my husband, I felt like I could conquer anything. The hospital room was quiet and focused. I only saw nurses when they came in to monitor baby’s heart beat because my doula communicated my needs to them without me ever having to say anything. I could focus solely on laboring, and it happened so fast once I got in the zone. She was born about 15 hours after my water broke, completely naturally without any interventions, and it was the most empowering experience! I knew I could do anything!
When our second child was about a year old, we moved from Idaho to Utah to finish school and settle our family. I unknowingly became pregnant within a few months and had a miscarriage shortly thereafter. We decided that maybe it really was time for baby number 3, so we tried for a few months and got pregnant with our first boy. Initially I was planning to birth in a hospital for insurance reasons, but kept feeling unsettled about it, like that wasn’t the right choice. I met with a few midwives, and as soon as I transferred care I felt at peace. I knew a home birth was the right choice for us. At my 40 week appointment, I learned that our son was footling breech presentation. My midwife sent me home with her slant board and a prescription to head to the Spinning Babies website and really work on those exercises. I also had plans to go to the chiropractor the next day. (Read the rest of Caryn’s footling, breech birth here.)
For a long time we thought we were done having children, but a few years later the feeling came that there was one more waiting to join our family. We were pregnant almost immediately. In fact, I’m still not sure if we decided to get pregnant first, or if we were already pregnant when we decided to get pregnant! Either way, we immediately began preparing for another home birth. My best friend/doula who was present at my second birth had moved back to Utah and I immediately solicited her support for this birth. I went on to have my 2nd homebirth with the same midwife I used with my 3rd birth.
I am passionate about informed consent and knowing that there are more options than just the “status quo”. You have the right to consent to or deny any procedure, so long as you are truly informed of the risks and benefits.
I certified with another organization previously, but it was a struggle finding a community to build the business. I felt unprepared to teach classes and support women as a doula. Birth Boot Camp is so comprehensive that it sets you up with everything you need to be successful including great curriculum and a tight knit community that really does help and support each other.
Hollie Hauptly was my trainer, and we met at her home in Utah for training. I love that it was a smaller group so we could get personal and everyone had time to share whatever they felt they needed. We all had ample time to practice teaching all the various techniques, and Hollie was so thorough in communicating all the information we needed in a way that made sense. It didn’t seem like information for the sake of information like many other classes can be.
My most favorite thing about training was the opportunity to practice teaching things with each other. With a small group who is all going through the same thing, it’s a lot less intimidating than standing in front of a group of expectant couples and teaching these things for the first time.
Caryn serves as a doula and teaches birth class in Provo, UT and surrounding areas. You can find her at…