Dear Fellow Moms and Dads,
We would like to share with you our birth experience at Natural Birth Center & Womenís Wellness. A phenomenally serene and focused experience was absolutely had by all. Present in the room to witness the delivery of our gift were our daughter, parents, cousins and close friends. In fact the overall experience of birth to our second child, a boy, was so great that it made us regret not having the same experience with the birth of our daughter. While beautiful, of course, our daughterís birth was done conventionally in a hospital. We canít over emphasize the importance of your birthing plan being carried out to the letter. Quite often, hospital administrations have an agenda with regards to over medicating and pressuring your vulnerable sensibilities during such an emotional time. These influences are designed to benefit Doctorís schedules and the hospitals over all profit margins. While in the care of the birthing center there will be no pressure to do anything but have a wonderfully healthy birthing experience.
With that said, our sonís birth wasnít without complication. Unbeknownst to us all, our son was rear-posterior and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Despite these circumstances his vital signs during the entire labor process were all normal. As he crowned, Simona turned him so he would be properly positioned for delivery. Although that problem was resolved at the time of his delivery he would be blue in color and almost completely limp due to the cords pull around his neck. Usually this would be a time of much panic and concern but as a result of Simonaís skill and calm it was anything but. She was confident with the resolve of a medical health care professional of many years. More than two decades in fact. Her quick and accurate action left us calm and left our son healthy. Although the hospital is literally across the street, her actions made a hospital visit completely unnecessary.
Simona is a phenomenal mid-wife but more like a mid-mom to us! We couldnít have been more blessed in having her be a part of our lives. Affectionately called Auntie Simona by our daughter, she has been just as caring and concerned in the post birth process as she was prior to our sonís arrival. We committed ourselves to doing the necessary research in finding the absolute best options for our experience.
And we can say with certainty that Simona is truly the best-kept secret in the birthing industry. We hope that you will choose to take advantage of this incredibly gifted asset.
The hospital near my house didn’t offer private recovery rooms. That is what initially led me to look for a birth center. I couldn’t imagine sharing such an intimate and private moment with complete strangers. When I saw the pictures on Simona’s web site, I thought it was too good to be true. From the moment I walked into Simona’s, I knew it was even better. I never imagined I would have my baby in a beautiful room with a four poster bed, big jacuzzi tub and our own kitchen and balcony. I was lucky enough to have almost all of my prenatal care from Simona, so I almost took it for granted. That was, until I visited the ‘back-up doctor’ for insurance purposes. Sitting in the waiting room, amongst twenty other ‘patients’, for the better part of an hour, only to be seen for five minutes, I realized that this could have been my birth experience. It was such a stark contrast to the welcoming atmosphere of Simona’s; walking into her office as if it were home, receiving a welcoming hug and talking about the week’s happenings as though we were members of her family. Poor Simona, our visits (they were much too nice to be considered appointments) were never less than an hour, partly because we always had lots of questions, but mostly because we had so much fun chatting to Simona and Nancy.This was my first pregnancy and I think I was even more fearful of labor than most in the beginning, but Simona was always so reassuring and available to answer any questions. She made both of us feel like we were absolutely prepared. We took Bradley natural birth classes. Every time the teacher talked about things to be concerned about during labor and delivery she would look at my husband and I and say, ‘You two don’t have to worry about that since you’re having the baby at a birth center.’ Not a day went by that either myself or my husband would say, ‘I’m SO glad we are having our baby with Simona!’.On the big day, our son, of course, decided to get things going in the middle of the night, but Simona was right there, answering the phone herself, as promised. (Try and get that with an OB/Gyn!) Simona and Nancy were perfect, leaving my husband and I to our privacy as much as we wanted, but being right outside the door when we needed anything- from a drink, to advice, to just some extra encouragement. And encouraging they were. Sometimes it seemed like it was only their words that kept me going.
My pushing stage lasted an incredible 4 hours! I have no doubt that, had I been at a hospital, they would have tried to talk me into having some sort of intervention (whether that be pitocin, the use of suction or forceps or even the dreaded c-section). Simona always believed in me. Thanks to her calm demeanor, her cheerful encouragement and her constant reassurance, our son was born, underwater as we wanted, beautiful and perfect. Simona handed us our son right away. We spent the first two precious hours with our baby, breastfeeding, holding him and staring into his alert little eyes rather than having him whisked away for tests like they do in hospitals.
I can’t say enough good things about Simona, but I suppose it says it all that, if I had it all to do again, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
With all our gratitude,
Esther, Paul, and Dane Eagle Rice
feel sympathetic when I hear mothers talk about their birth experience
as something that they would rather forget. Our birth experience
at Simona's Natural Birth Center was wonderful. Simona is a caring
and knowledgeable midwife. The environment was home-like, soothing,
and relaxing. I felt completely comfortable with my surroundings
really wanted a natural, drug-free, intervention-free birth because
I believe it is better for my baby. I doubt that I would have
been able to accomplish this in a hospital setting. Simona and
her staff were very encouraging and supportive. I had a long pushing
stage and Simona was patient. I felt like she believed in me and
my ability to give birth to my baby without intervention.
saw a doctor for my prenatal appointments before I found Simona.
I hated the prenatal exams with my doctor. We always had to wait
for what seemed like eternity in the waiting room only to be seen
by the doctor for two minutes. We felt like we were rushed during
our time with the doctor. Simona was generous with her time during
our pre- and postnatal appointments. I didn't like the whole idea
of a hospital birth either. How can a laboring woman be comfortable
in an environment that is new to her, with nurses that she has
never met? The doctor only shows up for the delivery. Simona was
with us throughout labor and delivery. I felt comfortable with
her because she always treated us with kindness.
my pregnancy, when I told people where we were planning on having
the baby, I was constantly told that I would regret not going
to a hospital, and that I would regret not having an epidural.
They were totally wrong. During labor, I felt very thankful for
where I was. I am happy with our birth experience. It was definitely
a positive experience. Thank you, Simona!!!
Angela, Rob, and baby Ryan Dylan Jensen
experience at Simona's Natural Birth Center was amazing. She is
an absolutely wonderful midwife and nurse. Simona is very kind,
nurturing and cares about her "couples." I hesitate
to say "patients" because I never once felt sick nor
mistreated because I was pregnant. Most hospital treat pregnant
women as if they have an illness. Not to mention, their options
at the hospital are very limited and sometimes ignored. I had
interviewed many women and many of them told me the same story.
That they were forced to induce their labor, had different nurses
coming in and out, and my least favorite had a caesarian. That
is why I choose to have a natural underwater birth. My experience
was awesome and exactly what I had envisioned and wanted. Simona
listened to all my requests and followed through. For instance,
it was important to me to wait until the umbilical cord stop pulsating
before cutting it. As well as, laying the baby immediately on
my stomach. Those requests were very important to me and Simona
did them. I would encourage all women to experience a natural
underwater birth because it is relaxing and definitely an unforgettable
experience. I would do it again!!!
Rhett, and baby Rhyss Luca Pascual
we anticipated our first childbirth experience there was plenty
to learn and discover in the process. We decided that having a
natural birth and a water birth was the ideal scenario for many
reasons. Simona Natural Birth Center and Women's Wellness provided
us this opportunity, that we could find no where else. Simona's
philosophy regarding pregnancy and birth aligned with our desire
to have a well informed, safe and significant birth experience.
Simona is warm and personable, yet professional and thorough.
Simona welcomed questions and dialogue during all our pre-natal
visits, which empowered us as full participants to be comfortable
and confident about the birth.
The Birth Center (and staff) created a peaceful, joyful atmosphere
allowing us to have an incredibly significant labor and birth
experience. We really appreciated the wonderful birthing tub,
relaxing environs, and Simona's expertise. We are so grateful
for the positive experience and the chance to marvel in the birth
of our son.
-Sarah,Steve & Weston Jones
months into our pregnancy, my husband and I grew tired of the
hour long visits to our prenatal care waiting room, followed by
a ten minute session with our very preoccupied physician. Needless
to say, we were very unhappy. After getting ahold of a book about
the beauty of natural child birth and midwifery, I began my search
for a Natural Birth Center. I found Simona. Her eye-catching website
displayed her spectacular experience, and genuine compassion for
life. I was immediately fond of her by that alone, but it was
meeting her that won us over. She warmly welcomed us into her
home away from home. Simona spent over an hour with my husband
and I, addressing our questions and concerns, and took the time
to get to know us both, as a couple and individually. By the time
we had to go, we had already decided to transfer into Simona's
care. From then on, every appointment with Simona was more like
visiting a good friend. She's such an empowering woman. Just the
woman I needed to deliver my baby. She prepared us for our big
day with plenty of patience, videos, and her own knowledge. So
when the day came, we knew exactly what to expect, and what to
do. My husband called Simona when my contractions were five minutes
apart, and then we made our way. I remember being scared at home,
and in the car, but as soon as I heard Simona's voice, my nerves
were calmed. Simona gave me a quick check up, and immediately
walked me into the birth room, which was an absolute haven! The
tub was ready for me with candles, insence, and music already
going. All I had to worry about was stepping into the warmest
and most amazing whirlpool ever. As I continued to labor, Simona
tended to me as I needed her. There was a time when I thought
she was out of the room, and I remember so pitifully asking my
mom & husband for her, and the answer I got was, "I'm
right here dear." She had been behind me the whole time.
Everytime I needed Simona, she was there, and she gave me the
strength to believe in myself and the power my body withholds.
And with that said, our son was born. Seven pounds, nine ounces,
very healthy, and all natural. My husband and I are extremely
proud parents and eternally grateful for Simona. She truly IS
the BEST Midwife EVER!
& Benny Morales
would not have done it any other way. During my first trimester
I was with an OBGYN my primary doctor had referred me to. It took
only two visits with him to know I was not happy with the services.
He questioned why I would want to practice yoga during my pregnancy.
He never gave me information about nutrition or exercise during
pregnancy. I found his services lacking and impersonal. At the
time, there was an article in the Whittier Daily News about Simona
Natutral Birth Center. I read the article and wondered if I could
have my baby in such a terrific place. I think what stood out
most for me was the interview with Simona and how she discussed
pregnancy and birth as something natural. I suddenly became excited
about my own pregnancy and wanted to take charge of it. So I called
Simona within a week of having read the article and went for a
tour. I fell in love with the birthing room and thought this is
awesome. Never did I feel pressured by Simona to have my baby
at her center. However, from the moment I met Simona I could feel
the warmth and the positive energies and thought this is the person
I want to deliver my baby. I wish I could say it was a smooth
transition with my insurance but it was not. They were not supportive
but that only made me want to take charge of my pregnancy and
the birth of my baby. Again Simona was very supportive as I dealt
with insurance issues. Once all the insurance issues were settled
and I started my prenatal care with Simona everything went smoothly.
At each visit Simona prepared me for the birth of my baby. She
guided me in taking care of myself as I went through the journey
of my pregnancy. As time got close to my expected due date we
discussed how I envisioned the birth of my baby. I don't know
if OBGYNs ask such questions or prepare women for the birth on
the level the Simona does. My expected due date was November 20th
and like magic on the very day I birthed my baby at the Simona
Natural Birth Center.
I started feeling uterine surges late on November 19th. I called
Simona to let her know I was starting to have surges. I stayed
in contact with Simona throughout the night and early the next
morning she called me. It was terrific to have that level of care
from Simona. Based on the way I was talking and how I described
my surges Simona said I was ready to come in around 11:00 am on
November 20th. I am not sure at what time I got in the water I
only know I was relieved to finally be in the water because it
felt good to have the jets hitting my back. The entire time Simona
was right there encouraging me telling me I was doing a great
job. Her voice was so reassuring to me.
Then suddenly what seemed like a second I was sitting in the water
with my new baby in my arms and Simona made it feel like a celebration.
Everyone present cheered and welcomed my beautiful baby into the
world. Since the birth of my baby I feel I continue to have Simona's
I don't know what it is like to have a baby in a hospital hooked
up to a monitor with nurses coming and going and a doctor who
will show up at the last minute. I just know of a midwife who
is there with me every step of the way, encouraging me, and empowering
me to birth my baby naturally.
much research on natural childbirth and after seeing several physicians,
I chose Simona Istrate, BSN, CNM, to provide prenatal, labor and
delivery, and postpartum care for my first pregnancy. I began
my prenatal care with Simona towards my last trimester. I was
treated with care and respect. Simona recommended that I take
hypnobirthing classes as women who had prepared for childbirth
in that way seemed to have shorter and calmer labor and delivery
experiences. My meditation was focused on having a short, painless,
and joyful labor and delivery and is consistent with my belief
that God made childbirth to be a natural and joyful (not fearful)
part of life.
December 29th, I began having contractions every 15 minutes around
2pm although I had experienced a few irregularly earlier that
day. They were not painful, just intense. At Simona's recommendation,
I spent time in warm bathwater. The buoyancy of the water helped
relieve pelvic pressure and made me fall asleep.
6:30pm, I called Simona to inform her that my contractions were
two minutes apart although my water had not broken and I was still
able to walk and talk through the contractions. She advised me
to go to the hospital as
I had chosen to have a hospital birth.
pushing was almost fun; I smiled and felt a sense of joy. The
atmosphere in the delivery room was calm and joyful. Our beautiful
daughter Charisma was born naturally without painkillers at 9:09pm,
8lbs 8ozs, 21 inches. Although I had some tearing, my recovery
was quick and uneventful. I had a great pregnancy and delivery.
I was glad I took the time to educate myself and choose Simona
My dearest Simona,
I'm overwhelmed with tears of joy and thanksgiving as I write
to tell you how blessed we are to have had you for our midwife!
Words cannot describe our love and gratitude for all you did for
the three of us . . . our precious Brooklyn Renee will be told
all about you over and over again as she grows up.
When I met you six months ago I knew God had answered our prayers
in sending us someone who would take care of me and my little
baby with much love; little did I know that He would go above
and beyond giving us more than we asked for. You, Simona, are
an angel. I am amazed at how you lovingly stood by my side and
made sure that I would get the best birth experience possible,
and I did. I know my birth plan didn't go as planned but I trusted
your decisions and knew I was always in good hands. Never did
I fear for anything, other than another day of labor to go by
Thank you for believing in me and not giving up on me. I appreciate
how much you sacrificed in order to see that I have my daughter
as natural as possible. I'm thankful that my first nine hours
were at the birth center . . . I loved the atmosphere and everything
that went along with it. I have pictures of me there with you
and with my husband, the both of you wanting the best for me.
I'll never forget my experience there!
When it came down to going to the hospital I felt at ease knowing
that you would be there to support me and cheer me along. I will
not forget the long hours you stayed awake or the hunger pains
you must have had : You are truly my hero Simona.
The white rose you gave me helped me focus in the hospital and
now it sits with my other preserved roses that have come along
in my life for special occasions. And when you came to visit me
the next day after Brooklyn was born my heart lit up when I saw
you come around those curtains - It felt soooo good to see you
refreshed again. The pink rose you gave me that day sits on my
windowsill and every time I look at it I can't help but feel overwhelmed
future plans are to have another child someday and it is with
great hope that you will take us on again : I can't imagine anyone
but you caring for me during my next pregnancy and birth experience!!!
hope you have a wonderful vacation in Europe - you deserve it!
I look forward to seeing you next time so I can give you another
great big heartfelt hug!!!!
All our love and more,
Michelle and baby Brooklyn Renee
My experience at Simona Natural Birth Center was very positive.
This was my first time being pregnant and my husband and I knew
we wanted to find a caring and knowledgeable provider who would
focus on providing a birthing experience with the least medical
intervention necessary. When we first told my family that we wanted
to have the baby at a birth center with a midwife, they were a
bit apprehensive. Simona encouraged us to bring my family to the
birth center so that we could discuss it together. After seeing
the facility and talking over their concerns and questions with
Simona, they left feeling reassured that I would receive the best
care. And they were not disappointed. From the beginning I was
so impressed with Simona's warmth and professionalism. She encouraged
us to ask questions and never made us feel rushed. When I would
come in for my appointments, I felt like I was visiting a friend's
home. One of my favorite parts of the visit was being greeted
by Simona's warm smile and hugs. The birth center is beautifully
decorated and creates a soothing environment for visits and giving
birth. But it also had all the supplies Simona needed to monitor
my progress and attend to any situation that might arise during
the birthing process. Because I am petite, many people had thought
that I would need to get a C-section, however Simona always encouraged
me that I could give birth vaginally and naturally. Her belief
in me was comforting and inspiring. When the day arrived for me
to give birth, Simona was prepared and confident. She was there
to encourage my husband I whenever we needed it. She gave me snacks
and juice and let me rest between contractions. She didn't try
to rush me. And when my daughter Lily arrived, she made sure we
were both healthy. Simona was instrumental in helping me to have
a positive birth experience and I will always be thankful for
As a HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula and Hypnotherapist I have attended many births at homes, hospitals and birthing centers.
My experience with Simona Istrate at her Natural Birthing Center was like a dream come true. The opportunity of being the doula for a laboring woman who was able to give birth in her own way and pace, in silence, reverence and no prompting to comply with protocol was rare and joyful. Without the pressure to hurry the birthing process there was no pushing to bring the baby into the world. The mother birthed her baby in the most effortless, calm way that nature intended.
Simona’s Birthing Center is, homey and immaculate with soft lights, candles and a wonderful sound system to play music of the mother’s choice. The birthing tub was large with jets, the bed soft and plush and a full kitchen.
Simona is a Midwife with knowledge, grace, and humility who encourages women and their partners to have the birthing experience they want. She is gentle and loving to the new born to assist in a calm adjustment into the world which will impact the rest of the child’s life
I wish for all women and their partners to have the birthing experience they dream of and this is possible with Simona.
Alisha Tamburri, CCHT, Masters N.L.P.
My dearest Simona,
It was my utmosts desire to be sure that you were our midwife again for our second baby! When we found out we were pregnant there was no doubt that we would be calling you to take us on once more . . . and you did :o)
My husband and I knew that we would do whatever it took to make sure that I was under your care and that our new little bundle of joy would be born at your birth center!!
Throughout my entire prenatal care I always looked forward to visiting with you; you always had a way of making me feel special. I knew my baby was in the best of hands.
As the days approached my due date, there was no doubt in my mind that there would be a possibility that I would have another long labor with back pain and perhaps another trip to the hospital. But I kept hopeful and positive, thanks to you. When my water broke I was able to stay calm and collected – I called you and you assured me that everything was going to be just fine. I knew I could labor at home and stay calm. When surges came one minute apart in a matter of an hour I told Jonathan to call you. You said you were getting ready for me at the birth center and to come on over. Instead of a long 32 hour labor like the first time, we got to the birth center at 6am and by 7:03am I had my baby boy, Braden Christopher Ahrens.
Because of you, never did I feel discouraged or scared.
I’d like to think no other mom under your care had a better experience than me, although I know they must have.
I was able to have my baby in the most natural way possible, just as it should always be. Everything I had hoped for came true; a natural water birth in a room filled with love! I have nothing but great memories of my birth experience with you.
Thank you for being just wonderful you! You are truly heaven sent Simona. You will always be remembered and I will forever be grateful to you. Brooklyn and Braden will never know how lucky they are that they had you to help deliver them, but I will do my best to let them know :o)
Every mother should be able to have an experience like mine!
I will miss my visits with you, although I know I’ll be seeing you again. Thank you for all you have done for my family . . . you’ve got a special place in our hearts.
Love, Michelle Ahrens
Dear Simona, my mother of birth, ma mere, meine Mutter:
To give life is a profound experience, a rite of passage that
transforms the relationship between partners from one of love to one
of loving, from support to a relationship of supporting. To become a
mother is to become eternal for it is an extension of your life beyond
its natural years. To give birth naturally through hypnobirthing
brought a new dimension of bonding and trust to my relationship with
my husband Craig for he became responsible and involved in the birth
itself. It gave him purpose and a place with bringing our child from
my body into the world. For us the experience was one of healing and
catharsis as we carried with us the dark cloud of miscarriage and the
death of an unborn baby boy.
Simona, your name bears your strength as a listener, for throughout my
pregnancy you listened: to the heartbeat of our son; to my body as it
ripened; to my needs; and my husband's questions as we came closer to
the day of birth. I searched for you as we made our decision on where
to have our son. We did not do this lightly. I remember leaving one
hospital which we visited in a rage knowing that this was not the kind
of place where I would have the support and the peace I needed for my
birth. I then found you, your oasis of birth, a place without bright
lights and linoleum floors. In your warm arms you welcomed us. You
supported us with your sensible and sensitive words. You were our
rainbow in the dark clouds of the past. From the moment I met you and
came to your center I knew, without a doubt, that we (our son, my
husband and I) would be safe. I had have faith in your knowledge and
your heart. You would be there for us throughout the birth, firmly at
our side like a true leader. Under your supervision we would have the
successful birth we dream of having. When I was 2 weeks passed my due
date and the pressure of others began to interfere with the
possibility of a natural birth you were steadfast. You listened. You
gave us options. You allowed us to wait. During my labour your
healing hands made the pain manageable and for the 37 hours of labour,
both at home with the many phone calls to you and at your center you
remained strong, never showing any signs of tiring. When Max became
stuck on my pelvis your experienced hands reached inside of me giving
him a safe a clear passage for his birth. Hearing your voice as I
pushed, listening to your instructions even as the last hours of
sleeplessness and physical challenge began to tire me, I believed and
never once looked back on the decision I had made to come to you, to
have a natural birth. Craig's life was transformed when he held the
head of our child as Max pushed through into the birthing pool. Craig
was proud and all fears dissipated as you were by his side. With your
masterful skill you unwrapped the cord from our son's neck and body
bringing him to safety. As my husband cut the cord and passed Max to
me a bond was formed among the three of us, Craig, Max and me. We all
played our role in the birth, and as a team we were successful. Joy
is grief through darkness, time and space. Joy was the moment our son
was born strong, healthy and hungry into my husband's arms and then to
mine. The experience of birth with you was whole. It was an ending
to the fear and grief. You gave me the place in which I could have
the perfect birth and realize a dream.
Of all my accomplishments, giving birth to our son naturally was by
far the greatest.
Without you and your center I would have never had
had such a sublime experience. Without you and your center my husband
would not have had the opportunity to birth our child (especially
given the many challenges of the labour, the delivery and the days
before the birth).
Simona, you are my rainbow that opens up to magnificent lights when
the clouds are darkest. You are my mother of birth caring for me and
my family before, during and after birth. You are a woman so elegant,
well spoken, strong and beautiful. You are an inspiration. You are a
leader. You know when to be soft, loving and patient and when to take
charge. You are calm and level even when situations become critical.
You have a heart full of love that opens up and embraces me making me
My body healed rapidly after the birth. I had no swelling and was
able to go for a 4 mile hike 12 hours after birthing our son. I was
tender, but never in pain after the birth. Though my body was
fatigued from the many hours of labour, I had the energy to love, feed
and nurture myself and my family. You have a gift of healing. Your
many miles of experience, your philosophy and practice of giving birth
made even the recovery easy and beautiful. When you came to our home
to follow up a few days later it was like having close family over.
The caring has never ended and I know that you will be in my life
We love you Simona and thank you for the gift you have given us.
Sandra, Craig and Max Caryl (and Jazz the dog too who patiently waited
and was by accident part of our birthing team).
Executive Producer/Creative Director
Thank you hardly seems adequate for the care you gave my client,
Sandra...you actually changed this woman's life!!!
As you know, Sandra had struggled with multiple failed pregnancies and had a
difficult time imagining she could give birth successfully - until she met
you. I remember with joy seeing the change that came over her the day we
met you at your beautiful facility. You oozed the confidence she needed,
and she was convinced from that moment that she could do it.
It was magical seeing her become a believer in herself and her body's
ability to birth her baby naturally in a calm, relaxed setting. You were
the catalyst she needed, and you gave her the most precious gift that had
eluded her previously - her faith in herself and a beautiful, healthy baby.
As a Doula, I am in awe of your knowledge and the strength you are able to
transfer to your clients. It was a privilege to work with you, Simona, and
I wish you many blessings as you pursue your sacred profession.
Birth and Pospartum Doula CD,PCD(DONA)Doulas Assoc. of Southern California