Emily Varnam is a birth and postpartum doula, midwive's assistant, birth control doula, placenta encapsulation specialist, and holds a degree in counseling and mentoring. She has been working with newborns and families since age seven and her goal is to be able to take women's hands during puberty and walk with them through every stage of reproductive health. Her practice as a birth control doula has taken her to classes, talks and ob/gyn visits with clients. In 2014 Emily developed and began offering a class called ‘My Vagina, My Business’ it was this class and her desire to connect with communities across America that inspired The Fifth Vital Sign. She was recently accepted into the Justisse Training Program and never wants to stop learning about reproductive health.
Kelsey Knight is a labor and delivery registered nurse in NYC. Her active interest in women’s health began while peeing in a nursing school toilet, where she saw an ad for a doula training on the bathroom stall door. She took the training and volunteered as an intrapartum doula, opening her eyes to the imperatives of informed consent and health as a human right. She subsequently pursued a nursing career in in-patient obstetrics, and is certified as a lactation counselor (CLC) and childbirth educator. She is a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). She’s also interested in documenting women’s stories.
Kelsey and Emily met in March 2014 at a talk given by famous midwife Ina May Gaskin. They quickly became friends and saw the benefit of joining forces. In the summer of 2015 they co-created the Hail to the V podcast, a space to share medicinal stories and to highlight people’s health issues they felt were underserved. They are thrilled to embark on The Fifth Vital Sign with all of you.