Letters to Tonya

Dear Tonya,

I wanted to thank you for all you’ve done to assist with the birth of our daughter, Phoebe.

You are a true virtuoso. I can’t imagine anyone who could have negotiated the birth process with more understanding, expertise and care.

It means a great deal to be able to experience the birth of a child as something beautiful, dignified and calm–and not as a helpless player in a “medical emergency.” I know that Letty might have found it a little more stressful than I did, but the speed of her return to full strength after the birth has been remarkable.

I know that we can take some credit for how things went, but the thoroughness and the precision of the care you gave to Letty was an enormous factor. I don’t know what I could say that would convey how much I appreciate this.

Phoebe is now three weeks old. She’s amazingly strong, alert, and responsive. Sure she sleeps a lot, but she’s here and she’s ready to have fun.

I know that there will be other important moments in my life, but I can’t imagine anything more profound than the birth of a child. Thanks to you, I will have nothing but wonderful memories of this event for as long as I have memories.

Love, Carl Smith

Hello Everyone!

I’m so glad to close our owe account! Thanks for letting us make payments on the balance, it really helped. Celia is great, 5 months this week, already! Nursing is great, she’s growing like crazy & is developing beautifully. Thank you again for a wonderful birth, getting through healthy & with no drug residue for either Celia or myself is a huge win – and just one of many. Much love to everybody.

Warmest Regards, C.R.

Dear Tonya,

It’s four days before Christmas and the whirlwind of our lives over the past two months is just now starting to slow down and it’s finally hit me – oh my goodness, we have a baby! And all of this would not have been possible if it weren’t for YOU! Thank you so much for introducing us to Beth. The whole cycle couldn’t have gone any better and we were SO impressed with the time you spent with us and your expert care and concern for Beth throughout the latter part of her pregnancy. The result – well! We now have a gorgeous, healthy baby boy, born without drugs and without any complications via your expert hands!

I know that you’ve been doing what you do for many many years, and it’s probably business as usual for you… but for each new life that you touch, you bring such wonder and joy to so many! What an incredible job you do each and every day! Tonya, words just can’t express how thankful we are! We are madly in love with little Nicholas and will never forget you!

Lots of love to you! B.P.

Dear Tonya,

Here I’ve just had my third baby with you so I thought it’s about time I put my thoughts in writing to you.

Tonya, you are wonderful. All my birth experiences have been a joyful and exhilarating experience. I feel I’ve gotten the best care, and very personal care. It’s hard to put into words the kind of admiration and respect I have for you, your work, and of course your supportive staff. You are creating a wonderful effect in the world. I could never have a baby with anyone else or any other way.

Please accept my sincerest thank you for this birth experience and also my two earlier ones. I wish you all the best. And if I can be of any assistance to you in the future, feel free to ask. I would be more than happy to help.

Tonya, I feel in you I have found a friend.


Dear Tonya & Staff,

Thank you all for your help and support during my pregnancy. My boys are almost 3 months old now. They’re wonderful and amazing. I credit you, Tonya with the help of your staff, for that, by being willing to listen, answer questions, give straight answers, and being truly concerned for my welfare.

I wish you greater and greater success.


Dear Tonya & Staff,

You’re a great team! Thank you for your knowledge, support, and ability. We avoided a C-section and for that I am grateful!

For those women who, for whatever reason, cannot give birth at the Gentle Birth Center, they should at least have the tremendous benefit of the ACHI classes. Please let me know what I can do to help get these classes to more people.

I’m your #1 fan!


Dear Tonya, Aleisha, and Shannon,

I wanted to drop you a few lines to thank you for all the invaluable information that you bestowed upon us at the birth classes we attended.

When I had my children 32 years ago we did not have access to such invaluable data. In fact, there were no coaches or spouses allowed to even be present during birth.

In your classes, I learned so much about pregnancy, birth, and the do’s and don’ts which help to make a happier and healthier mother and child. Perhaps the information came to late for me as a mother, but it most certainly helped in the care and birth of my first grandson!

My daughter was a susceptible candidate for gestational diabetes, due to my husband being diabetic. Thanks to your advice on what to eat and what not to eat, my daughter came through her pregnancy without incident of diabetes.

All the data on the coaching of the actual birth was so informative and put the confidence there that both my son-in-law and I needed to help my daughter get through the pain without needing any drugs. Due to the confidence I was able to remain very calm and subjective during the birth of my grandson. I was truly able to be there comfortably and confront each and every thing that occurred. It was so beautiful!

All the data she got regarding the effects of drugs on the baby and herself gave her the strengths to endure all pain. Knowing how important proper eating is got her through all the sacrifices of giving up sugar, white flour, etc.

We were so proud of her and thanks to the advice you gave her and the data, she persisted on eating the right things and giving up the ones that were not so good for her and the baby.

Tonya, your live of study and collecting all the data and wealth of information regarding the care in pregnancy, birth, and post-partum care, had immensely affected many lives and saved a lot of heart ache.

Many thanks to you for helping to create a very beautiful birth and a very beautiful, healthy child, thanks to the knowledge you gave my daughter and her coaches. We applied the data and got an incredible product! That moment in time (the birth) will always be remembered as an incredibly beautiful moment and experience, not to mention the future moments of a happy and healthy baby and mother.

Much love, M.T.

Dear Tonya,

Before I had Zoey, I would read other women’s stories about their VBAC’s (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), and they almost always talked about feeling “healed” after having accomplished a vaginal birth. I thought that those women must have had traumatic first experiences with their C-sections, and that’s why they needed to be healed. At any rate, I didn’t think that concept applied to me; I felt in my heart I had done the right thing in having a C-section with my son when he turned breech the last week of my pregnancy. And after talking with you, I felt sure of it. But as I went through my second pregnancy, I realized how much having a C-section has affected both my husband and me psychologically. I felt the C-section told him that I was physically incapable of having a baby naturally, and with that attitude, I wondered if I would be strong enough mentally to be committed to a VBAC. We both agree we had felt out of control and intimidated by the hospital environment, and we wanted to avoid that feeling a second time.

When I went into labor, I was confident that I could handle it, whatever it turned out to be. You all seemed to understand that my body would do just fine, but that I would need lots of psychological support to succeed. You were compassionate, calm, and I felt like you told me everything. Although the delivery itself seemed difficult, I never felt discourage. And you were right, I feel like I’ve taken back the power I gave up when I had the C-section. Zoey is a beautiful baby and I feel you are largely responsible. You made me take care of myself when I didn’t feel like it, you made me feel like I could get through 9 months of feeling sick. And you helped me through the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It must have been fate that brought Aleisha to Dr. Fleiss’s office the day I met her there… pregnant, depressed, and with no idea of how to really avoid a repeat C-section. I didn’t want a doctor who was willing to “let me try for a VBAC”. I needed you all. Thanks again… See you at Mary and Cody’s birth.

Love, M.

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