Who We Are
Meet the MSVW Birth Companions
Fun Fact: My babies were born 3 days apart!
Bio: My name is Viviana Baluja. I live in Austin with my wife and am a Mama to three children. My formal background is in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising from the University of North Texas. My life’s dream was always to have a family and through my own personal life experienced infertility, infant loss and a lack of reproductive health information relating to the LGBT experience. Since the loss of our firstborn son, I have been wanting to give back in his honor and this passion is what led me to birth work. I'm currently an active volunteer with GALS (Giving Austin Labor Support), Mama Sana Vibrant Woman and the Pregnancy & Postpartum Health Alliance as well as a current member of the Central Texas Breastfeeding Coalition and the Central Texas Doula Association. I believe all women deserve resources and unbiased, judgement free support.
Bio: Mary Jo was born and raised in Miami Beach, Fl to a chicana mom and Colombian dad. She has a passion for serving mothers, empowering them and learning from them. She is married to the love of her life and together have an angel baby, and two beautiful babies here are on earth. Currently a nursing student at Concordia University Texas she wants to use her gifts as a doula and breastfeeding peer counselor by becoming a labor & delivery or postpartum nurse someday! She is a certified MSVW Birth Companion.
Bio: Elena grew up in southeastern Massachusetts. With a strong passion for health and reproductive justice, she provides support as a medical case manager at Casa Marianella, an emergency shelter for homeless refugees and immigrants. She is also a birth companion and new student midwife supporting pregnant folks through Mama Sana Vibrant Woman for the majority of 2017. Elena supports and nurtures her community members with herbal concoctions and loving kindness.
Bio: Stephanie Perez is a proud 24 year old mom of 3 who relocated to Austin just over 4 years ago. While she was working on advocating for homeless youth she discovered she was expecting. During her own pregnancy journey she realized woman were underprivileged when it came to health care. Now Stephanie is devoted to making sure every woman can have easy, professional, and welcoming access in the birth of their choice. She is a licensed massage therapist, certified in infant massage and birth and postpartum doula.
Fun Fact: She spent 6 years traveling back and forth to rural India.
Bio: Ellen Gonzalez is a registered trauma sensitive yoga teacher through Sundara Yoga Therapy Center specializing in helping those who suffer from various disorders including PTSD. She enjoys creating a warm, safe healing space for others and offering holistic and traditional medicine practices. In the realm of healing, she practices with communities as an Aromatherapist and Herbalist, Certified Birth Companion (Doula), Reiki and Tantric practitioner of AromaYoga Austin. A student of life, she continues to learn traditional and indigenous medicine, actively apprenticing with Of the Earth Healing in Austin and Concilio Taino Guatu Ma Cu de Boriken of Puerto Rico. She is a Healer, earth and water protector and aspiring student midwife.
Bio: Ayana is both a postpartum and birth doula. She feels called to do this work because she realized the support and care that new mothers receive is vital to the long term health of both baby and mother. She wants to emphasize that birth can, and does, look like many different things. Her main goal is to make sure that mothers are given the opportunity to know all of their choices and advocate for themselves. Ayana is supportive of all births and ensures that the mother and family are comfortable at all times.
Along with being a doula, Ayana is in the process of applying for nursing school with the goal of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. Ayana obtained her bachelors degree from the University of North Texas in Integrative Studies
Irasema Reza Bailey
Bio: Irasema Reza Bailey, a.k.a Iris, is a Spanish/English speaking sobadora/bodyworker and birth and postpartum doula. She has practiced massage and bodywork since 2004 and has supported moms and families in the Austin area, as a birth doula, since 2009.
Her prenatal massage clients were inviting her to their births and introduced her to the birth world. Since the start of her practice, she has focused on the comfort of pregnant women and supporting them in their transformation into mothers and matriarchs of their families.