Annica Quakenbush, CD(DONA) Grand Rapids Doula and Birth Photographer

So glad you’re here, I’m Annica (Ah-nih-cuh). Thanks for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me!

Pregnant with Linden, holding dear Whompie. Photo by my hubby.

Pregnant with Linden, holding dear Whompie. Photo by my hubby.

My journey into motherhood transformed me in every way imaginable. It wasn’t an easy road. But it led me here, and for that I am so grateful.

I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with my hilarious toddler Linden Louise, my super laid-back husband Peter, and our white cat Whompie (he is pretty special to us - we rescued him from a gutter in the Philippines). Peter is obsessed with plant science and I can’t imagine co-parenting with anyone else. We live in an adorable, walkable neighborhood. We really enjoy family time together walking in the woods, eating homemade popcorn, and listening to music while we play in our plant-filled living room.

My husband Peter, me, and our daughter Linden just before her first birthday. Photo by Elena Belaya.

My husband Peter, me, and our daughter Linden just before her first birthday. Photo by Elena Belaya.

Linden at 18 months, botanizing like her daddy. Photo by  Brooke Collier  (banner image at the top of the page is also by Brooke).

Linden at 18 months, botanizing like her daddy. Photo by Brooke Collier (banner image at the top of the page is also by Brooke).

In 2016, I started learning all I could about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding while my husband and I lived in the Philippines. I found out I was pregnant while I was studying for my Master’s in Community Development, and we felt like we needed to make decisions early on because we lived abroad. I was receiving loving midwifery care for my pregnancy at a birthing home called Shiphrah, and I was blown away by the idea that my body was capable of growing, birthing, and nourishing a tiny human. I had never thought of my own body as such an incredible creation before, and it was a revelation to me. 

We lost our first baby when I was 11 weeks pregnant, and it was a loss more difficult than I could have imagined. I do not believe the age-old phrase that "bad things happen for a reason," but I do believe that God gives us beauty for ashes. In my life, an interest in birth work is the beauty that came from the ashes of our loss. During that first trimester, my eyes were opened to the "birth world," and I have loved being a part of it ever since.

An image from the first birth I photographed in the Philippines. I love all the hands.

An image from the first birth I photographed in the Philippines. I love all the hands.

During this season of life, I became friends with the birthing home’s resident birth photographer, Isabell Steinert. Her work moved me, and I ended up taking a birth photography workshop with her. I started photographing births in the Philippines. After we moved back to Grand Rapids in early 2017, I established my business here.

Soon after the move, I got pregnant with Linden, trained to be a doula with DONA International, and started attending births again. 

In December of 2017, I gave birth to Linden Louise at home with the support of my husband, doula, and midwives. Her birth transformed my heart, my life, and my marriage. The photographs I have from her birth mean more to me than I could have ever anticipated. The way my husband looked at me while I was laboring, reliving the strength and hard work it took to bring her into the world, the first moments with her in my arms...I hardly have words to describe what those images mean to me. They are treasures. I needed the photographs of my birth to process my story, and I look back at them every few months. 

Photographer: Kristin Fowler; Doula: Ginger Hollemans; Midwife: Teresa Cramer of River Birch Midwifery.

I continue to do this work not only because of my own experience, but because of the many times I have seen the impact of doula support and birth photography in my client’s lives. Whether I am offering emotional and physical support or photographing the joy of new life, it is a gift to be welcomed into the birth space. It is there that I have the privilege to see the incredible strength it takes to bring a baby into the world. I am grateful to be part of this profound work.

I would be delighted to get to know you and talk about how I can journey with and support your family!

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In addition to doula support work and birth photography, I run the local Sprout and Blossom group. We regularly meet around Grand Rapids to connect, support, and build relationships.

 

Info

Annica Quakenbush, MS, CD(DONA)

Grand Rapids, MI

annica@sproutandblossomGR.com

+1 616 460 7932 (call/text)

 

 

"I know Annica personally and professionally. I love that she is so passionate about what she does, and she is all about making your experience everlasting. Her website and her work describes who she is, which is AMAZING. I would definitely recommend her!" - Damaris, friend and former colleague