About The Olive Tree
Hello! I'm Denika, the woman behind The Olive Tree. I'm a certified Stillbirthday doula. I have a MA in gender studies in religion from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and wrote my thesis on the role of story and experience as a way of relating to the Divine. Additionally, I am a Childbirth Collective member and educator, and I serve on the Advisory Council for the Regions Hospital Birth Center in St. Paul, MN. I have also completed the doula internships at the Minnesota Birth Center and Health Foundations Birth Center.
But, here's the reason I started The Olive Tree: I've had a baby in the NICU, I've lost a baby, and I've had rainbow babies. My first child (L) spent some time in the NICU as a preemie. My second child (O) was diagnosed with a bladder outlet obstruction at 11 weeks' gestation and ultimately died and was born at 13 weeks' gestation. My third child (E) is my rainbow baby, born fairly uneventfully at term. My fourth child (R) was born 2.5 years into my doula career, and gave me so much valuable experience as a doula welcoming her own baby.
As I grieved and healed from O's birth, I found that a deep well of compassion had opened for me. As tragic as it was, O's birth was beautiful. I am so grateful for the experience I had, for the birth I was able to give him, for the doulas who supported me, and for the beautiful ways we were able to honor his life. And it broke my heart to hear other families' stories about their births, ones that were horribly traumatic and dishonoring. I made it my mission to stand by other families and support their beautiful pregnancies, births, and lives as new parents, especially when they have lost their babies. And thus, The Olive Tree was born.