Dear Fellow Moms and Dads,

We would like to share with you our birth experience at Natural Birth Center & Womenís Wellness. A phenomenally serene and focused experience was absolutely had by all. Present in the room to witness the delivery of our gift were our daughter, parents, cousins and close friends. In fact the overall experience of birth to our second child, a boy, was so great that it made us regret not having the same experience with the birth of our daughter. While beautiful, of course, our daughterís birth was done conventionally in a hospital. We canít over emphasize the importance of your birthing plan being carried out to the letter. Quite often, hospital administrations have an agenda with regards to over medicating and pressuring your vulnerable sensibilities during such an emotional time. These influences are designed to benefit Doctorís schedules and the hospitals over all profit margins. While in the care of the birthing center there will be no pressure to do anything but have a wonderfully healthy birthing experience. With that said, our sonís birth wasnít without complication. Unbeknownst to us all, our son was rear-posterior and the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Despite these circumstances his vital signs during the entire labor process were all normal. As he crowned, Simona turned him so he would be properly positioned for delivery. Although that problem was resolved at the time of his delivery he would be blue in color and almost completely limp due to the cords pull around his neck. Usually this would be a time of much panic and concern but as a result of Simonaís skill and calm it was anything but. She was confident with the resolve of a medical health care professional of many years. More than two decades in fact. Her quick and accurate action left us calm and left our son healthy. Although the hospital is literally across the street, her actions made a hospital visit completely unnecessary. Simona is a phenomenal mid-wife but more like a mid-mom to us! We couldnít have been more blessed in having her be a part of our lives. Affectionately called Auntie Simona by our daughter, she has been just as caring and concerned in the post birth process as she was prior to our sonís arrival. We committed ourselves to doing the necessary research in finding the absolute best options for our experience.

And we can say with certainty that Simona is truly the best-kept secret in the birthing industry. We hope that you will choose to take advantage of this incredibly gifted asset.

Sincerely Yours,





The hospital near my house didn’t offer private recovery rooms.  That is what initially led me to look for a birth center.  I couldn’t imagine sharing such an intimate and private moment with complete strangers.  When I saw the pictures on Simona’s web site, I thought it was too good to be true.  From the moment I walked into Simona’s, I knew it was even better.  I never imagined I would have my baby in a beautiful room with a four poster bed, big jacuzzi tub and our own kitchen and balcony. I was lucky enough to have almost all of my prenatal care from Simona, so I almost took it for granted.  That was, until I visited the ‘back-up doctor’ for insurance purposes.  Sitting in the waiting room, amongst twenty other ‘patients’, for the better part of an hour, only to be seen for five minutes, I realized that this could have been my birth experience.  It was such a stark contrast to the welcoming atmosphere of Simona’s; walking into her office as if it were home, receiving a welcoming hug and talking about the week’s happenings as though we were members of her family.  Poor Simona, our visits (they were much too nice to be considered appointments) were never less than an hour, partly because we always had lots of questions, but mostly because we had so much fun chatting to Simona and Nancy.This was my first pregnancy and I think I was even more fearful of labor than most in the beginning, but Simona was always so reassuring and available to answer any questions.  She made both of us feel like we were absolutely prepared.  We took Bradley natural birth classes.  Every time the teacher talked about things to be concerned about during labor and delivery she would look at my husband and I and say, ‘You two don’t have to worry about that since you’re having the baby at a birth center.’  Not a day went by that either myself or my husband would say, ‘I’m SO glad we are having our baby with Simona!’.On the big day, our son, of course, decided to get things going in the middle of the night, but Simona was right there, answering the phone herself, as promised.  (Try and get that with an OB/Gyn!)  Simona and Nancy were perfect, leaving my husband and I to our privacy as much as we wanted, but being right outside the door when we needed anything- from a drink, to advice, to just some extra encouragement.  And encouraging they were.  Sometimes it seemed like it was only their words that kept me going. 
     My pushing stage lasted an incredible 4 hours!  I have no doubt that, had I been at a hospital, they would have tried to talk me into having some sort of intervention (whether that be pitocin, the use of suction or forceps or even the dreaded c-section).  Simona always believed in me.  Thanks to her calm demeanor, her cheerful encouragement and her constant reassurance, our son was born, underwater as we wanted, beautiful and perfect.  Simona handed us our son right away.  We spent the first two precious hours with our baby, breastfeeding, holding him and staring into his alert little eyes rather than having him whisked away for tests like they do in hospitals. 


I can’t say enough good things about Simona, but I suppose it says it all that, if I had it all to do again, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

With all our gratitude,
     Esther, Paul, and Dane Eagle Rice  





I feel sympathetic when I hear mothers talk about their birth experience as something that they would rather forget. Our birth experience at Simona's Natural Birth Center was wonderful. Simona is a caring and knowledgeable midwife. The environment was home-like, soothing, and relaxing. I felt completely comfortable with my surroundings during labor.

I really wanted a natural, drug-free, intervention-free birth because I believe it is better for my baby. I doubt that I would have been able to accomplish this in a hospital setting. Simona and her staff were very encouraging and supportive. I had a long pushing stage and Simona was patient. I felt like she believed in me and my ability to give birth to my baby without intervention.

I saw a doctor for my prenatal appointments before I found Simona. I hated the prenatal exams with my doctor. We always had to wait for what seemed like eternity in the waiting room only to be seen by the doctor for two minutes. We felt like we were rushed during our time with the doctor. Simona was generous with her time during our pre- and postnatal appointments. I didn't like the whole idea of a hospital birth either. How can a laboring woman be comfortable in an environment that is new to her, with nurses that she has never met? The doctor only shows up for the delivery. Simona was with us throughout labor and delivery. I felt comfortable with her because she always treated us with kindness.

During my pregnancy, when I told people where we were planning on having the baby, I was constantly told that I would regret not going to a hospital, and that I would regret not having an epidural. They were totally wrong. During labor, I felt very thankful for where I was. I am happy with our birth experience. It was definitely a positive experience. Thank you, Simona!!!


Angela, Rob, and baby Ryan Dylan Jensen





Our experience at Simona's Natural Birth Center was amazing. She is an absolutely wonderful midwife and nurse. Simona is very kind, nurturing and cares about her "couples." I hesitate to say "patients" because I never once felt sick nor mistreated because I was pregnant. Most hospital treat pregnant women as if they have an illness. Not to mention, their options at the hospital are very limited and sometimes ignored. I had interviewed many women and many of them told me the same story. That they were forced to induce their labor, had different nurses coming in and out, and my least favorite had a caesarian. That is why I choose to have a natural underwater birth. My experience was awesome and exactly what I had envisioned and wanted. Simona listened to all my requests and followed through. For instance, it was important to me to wait until the umbilical cord stop pulsating before cutting it. As well as, laying the baby immediately on my stomach. Those requests were very important to me and Simona did them. I would encourage all women to experience a natural underwater birth because it is relaxing and definitely an unforgettable experience. I would do it again!!!

Julia, Rhett, and baby Rhyss Luca Pascual





As we anticipated our first childbirth experience there was plenty to learn and discover in the process. We decided that having a natural birth and a water birth was the ideal scenario for many reasons. Simona Natural Birth Center and Women's Wellness provided us this opportunity, that we could find no where else. Simona's philosophy regarding pregnancy and birth aligned with our desire to have a well informed, safe and significant birth experience.

Simona is warm and personable, yet professional and thorough. Simona welcomed questions and dialogue during all our pre-natal visits, which empowered us as full participants to be comfortable and confident about the birth.

The Birth Center (and staff) created a peaceful, joyful atmosphere allowing us to have an incredibly significant labor and birth experience. We really appreciated the wonderful birthing tub, relaxing environs, and Simona's expertise. We are so grateful for the positive experience and the chance to marvel in the birth of our son.

-Sarah,Steve & Weston Jones





Four months into our pregnancy, my husband and I grew tired of the hour long visits to our prenatal care waiting room, followed by a ten minute session with our very preoccupied physician. Needless to say, we were very unhappy. After getting ahold of a book about the beauty of natural child birth and midwifery, I began my search for a Natural Birth Center. I found Simona. Her eye-catching website displayed her spectacular experience, and genuine compassion for life. I was immediately fond of her by that alone, but it was meeting her that won us over. She warmly welcomed us into her home away from home. Simona spent over an hour with my husband and I, addressing our questions and concerns, and took the time to get to know us both, as a couple and individually. By the time we had to go, we had already decided to transfer into Simona's care. From then on, every appointment with Simona was more like visiting a good friend. She's such an empowering woman. Just the woman I needed to deliver my baby. She prepared us for our big day with plenty of patience, videos, and her own knowledge. So when the day came, we knew exactly what to expect, and what to do. My husband called Simona when my contractions were five minutes apart, and then we made our way. I remember being scared at home, and in the car, but as soon as I heard Simona's voice, my nerves were calmed. Simona gave me a quick check up, and immediately walked me into the birth room, which was an absolute haven! The tub was ready for me with candles, insence, and music already going. All I had to worry about was stepping into the warmest and most amazing whirlpool ever. As I continued to labor, Simona tended to me as I needed her. There was a time when I thought she was out of the room, and I remember so pitifully asking my mom & husband for her, and the answer I got was, "I'm right here dear." She had been behind me the whole time. Everytime I needed Simona, she was there, and she gave me the strength to believe in myself and the power my body withholds. And with that said, our son was born. Seven pounds, nine ounces, very healthy, and all natural. My husband and I are extremely proud parents and eternally grateful for Simona. She truly IS the BEST Midwife EVER!

-Naomi & Benny Morales




I would not have done it any other way. During my first trimester I was with an OBGYN my primary doctor had referred me to. It took only two visits with him to know I was not happy with the services. He questioned why I would want to practice yoga during my pregnancy. He never gave me information about nutrition or exercise during pregnancy. I found his services lacking and impersonal. At the time, there was an article in the Whittier Daily News about Simona Natutral Birth Center. I read the article and wondered if I could have my baby in such a terrific place. I think what stood out most for me was the interview with Simona and how she discussed pregnancy and birth as something natural. I suddenly became excited about my own pregnancy and wanted to take charge of it. So I called Simona within a week of having read the article and went for a tour. I fell in love with the birthing room and thought this is awesome. Never did I feel pressured by Simona to have my baby at her center. However, from the moment I met Simona I could feel the warmth and the positive energies and thought this is the person I want to deliver my baby. I wish I could say it was a smooth transition with my insurance but it was not. They were not supportive but that only made me want to take charge of my pregnancy and the birth of my baby. Again Simona was very supportive as I dealt with insurance issues. Once all the insurance issues were settled and I started my prenatal care with Simona everything went smoothly. At each visit Simona prepared me for the birth of my baby. She guided me in taking care of myself as I went through the journey of my pregnancy. As time got close to my expected due date we discussed how I envisioned the birth of my baby. I don't know if OBGYNs ask such questions or prepare women for the birth on the level the Simona does. My expected due date was November 20th and like magic on the very day I birthed my baby at the Simona Natural Birth Center.
I started feeling uterine surges late on November 19th. I called Simona to let her know I was starting to have surges. I stayed in contact with Simona throughout the night and early the next morning she called me. It was terrific to have that level of care from Simona. Based on the way I was talking and how I described my surges Simona said I was ready to come in around 11:00 am on November 20th. I am not sure at what time I got in the water I only know I was relieved to finally be in the water because it felt good to have the jets hitting my back. The entire time Simona was right there encouraging me telling me I was doing a great job. Her voice was so reassuring to me.
Then suddenly what seemed like a second I was sitting in the water with my new baby in my arms and Simona made it feel like a celebration. Everyone present cheered and welcomed my beautiful baby into the world. Since the birth of my baby I feel I continue to have Simona's support.
I don't know what it is like to have a baby in a hospital hooked up to a monitor with nurses coming and going and a doctor who will show up at the last minute. I just know of a midwife who is there with me every step of the way, encouraging me, and empowering me to birth my baby naturally.

Yolanda Lopez



After much research on natural childbirth and after seeing several physicians, I chose Simona Istrate, BSN, CNM, to provide prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care for my first pregnancy. I began my prenatal care with Simona towards my last trimester. I was treated with care and respect. Simona recommended that I take hypnobirthing classes as women who had prepared for childbirth in that way seemed to have shorter and calmer labor and delivery experiences. My meditation was focused on having a short, painless, and joyful labor and delivery and is consistent with my belief that God made childbirth to be a natural and joyful (not fearful) part of life.

On December 29th, I began having contractions every 15 minutes around 2pm although I had experienced a few irregularly earlier that day. They were not painful, just intense. At Simona's recommendation, I spent time in warm bathwater. The buoyancy of the water helped relieve pelvic pressure and made me fall asleep.

Around 6:30pm, I called Simona to inform her that my contractions were two minutes apart although my water had not broken and I was still able to walk and talk through the contractions. She advised me to go to the hospital as
I had chosen to have a hospital birth.

The pushing was almost fun; I smiled and felt a sense of joy. The atmosphere in the delivery room was calm and joyful. Our beautiful daughter Charisma was born naturally without painkillers at 9:09pm, 8lbs 8ozs, 21 inches. Although I had some tearing, my recovery was quick and uneventful. I had a great pregnancy and delivery. I was glad I took the time to educate myself and choose Simona Istrate.



My dearest Simona,
I'm overwhelmed with tears of joy and thanksgiving as I write to tell you how blessed we are to have had you for our midwife! Words cannot describe our love and gratitude for all you did for the three of us . . . our precious Brooklyn Renee will be told all about you over and over again as she grows up.

When I met you six months ago I knew God had answered our prayers in sending us someone who would take care of me and my little baby with much love; little did I know that He would go above and beyond giving us more than we asked for. You, Simona, are an angel. I am amazed at how you lovingly stood by my side and made sure that I would get the best birth experience possible, and I did. I know my birth plan didn't go as planned but I trusted your decisions and knew I was always in good hands. Never did I fear for anything, other than another day of labor to go by :
Thank you for believing in me and not giving up on me. I appreciate how much you sacrificed in order to see that I have my daughter as natural as possible. I'm thankful that my first nine hours were at the birth center . . . I loved the atmosphere and everything that went along with it. I have pictures of me there with you and with my husband, the both of you wanting the best for me. I'll never forget my experience there!
When it came down to going to the hospital I felt at ease knowing that you would be there to support me and cheer me along. I will not forget the long hours you stayed awake or the hunger pains you must have had : You are truly my hero Simona.
The white rose you gave me helped me focus in the hospital and now it sits with my other preserved roses that have come along in my life for special occasions. And when you came to visit me the next day after Brooklyn was born my heart lit up when I saw you come around those curtains - It felt soooo good to see you refreshed again. The pink rose you gave me that day sits on my windowsill and every time I look at it I can't help but feel overwhelmed with love!

Our future plans are to have another child someday and it is with great hope that you will take us on again : I can't imagine anyone but you caring for me during my next pregnancy and birth experience!!!

I hope you have a wonderful vacation in Europe - you deserve it! I look forward to seeing you next time so I can give you another great big heartfelt hug!!!!

All our love and more,
Michelle and baby Brooklyn Renee


My experience at Simona Natural Birth Center was very positive. This was my first time being pregnant and my husband and I knew we wanted to find a caring and knowledgeable provider who would focus on providing a birthing experience with the least medical intervention necessary. When we first told my family that we wanted to have the baby at a birth center with a midwife, they were a bit apprehensive. Simona encouraged us to bring my family to the birth center so that we could discuss it together. After seeing the facility and talking over their concerns and questions with Simona, they left feeling reassured that I would receive the best care. And they were not disappointed. From the beginning I was so impressed with Simona's warmth and professionalism. She encouraged us to ask questions and never made us feel rushed. When I would come in for my appointments, I felt like I was visiting a friend's home. One of my favorite parts of the visit was being greeted by Simona's warm smile and hugs. The birth center is beautifully decorated and creates a soothing environment for visits and giving birth. But it also had all the supplies Simona needed to monitor my progress and attend to any situation that might arise during the birthing process. Because I am petite, many people had thought that I would need to get a C-section, however Simona always encouraged me that I could give birth vaginally and naturally. Her belief in me was comforting and inspiring. When the day arrived for me to give birth, Simona was prepared and confident. She was there to encourage my husband I whenever we needed it. She gave me snacks and juice and let me rest between contractions. She didn't try to rush me. And when my daughter Lily arrived, she made sure we were both healthy. Simona was instrumental in helping me to have a positive birth experience and I will always be thankful for her.

Mini Palmer


As a HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula and Hypnotherapist I have attended many births at homes, hospitals and birthing centers.

My experience with Simona Istrate at her Natural Birthing Center was like a dream come true. The opportunity of being the doula for a laboring woman who was able to give birth in her own way and pace, in silence, reverence and no prompting to comply with protocol was rare and joyful.  Without the pressure to hurry the birthing process there was no pushing to bring the baby into the world. The mother birthed her baby in the most effortless, calm way that nature intended.

Simona’s Birthing Center is, homey and immaculate with soft lights, candles and a wonderful sound system to play music of the mother’s choice. The birthing tub was large with jets, the bed soft and plush and a full kitchen.

Simona is a Midwife with knowledge, grace, and humility who encourages women and their partners to have the birthing experience they want. She is gentle and loving to the new born to assist in a calm adjustment into the world which will impact the rest of the child’s life

I wish for all women and their partners to have the birthing experience they dream of and this is possible with Simona.

Alisha Tamburri, CCHT, Masters N.L.P.





August 2008
My dearest Simona,
It was my utmosts desire to be sure that you were our midwife again for our second baby!  When we found out we were pregnant there was no doubt that we would be calling you to take us on once more . . . and you did :o)

My husband and I knew that we would do whatever it took to make sure that I was under your care and that our new little bundle of joy would be born at your birth center!!
Throughout my entire prenatal care I always looked forward to visiting with you; you always had a way of making me feel special.  I knew my baby was in the best of hands.

As the days approached my due date, there was no doubt in my mind that there would be a possibility that I would have another long labor with back pain and perhaps another trip to the hospital.  But I kept hopeful and positive, thanks to you.  When my water broke I was able to stay calm and collected – I called you and you assured me that everything was going to be just fine.  I knew I could labor at home and stay calm.  When surges came one minute apart in a matter of an hour I told Jonathan to call you.  You said you were getting ready for me at the birth center and to come on over. Instead of a long 32 hour labor like the first time, we got to the birth center at 6am and by 7:03am I had my baby boy, Braden Christopher Ahrens. 
Because of you, never did I feel discouraged or scared.

I’d like to think no other mom under your care had a better experience than me, although I know they must have.
I was able to have my baby in the most natural way possible, just as it should always be.  Everything I had hoped for came true; a natural water birth in a room filled with love! I have nothing but great memories of my birth experience with you.

Thank you for being just wonderful you!  You are truly heaven sent Simona.  You will always be remembered and I will forever be grateful to you.  Brooklyn and Braden will never know how lucky they are that they had you to help deliver them, but I will do my best to let them know :o)
Every mother should be able to have an experience like mine!
I will miss my visits with you, although I know I’ll be seeing you again.  Thank you for all you have done for my family . . . you’ve got a special place in our hearts.

Love, Michelle Ahrens







Dear Simona, my mother of birth, ma mere, meine Mutter:

To give life is a profound experience, a rite of passage that transforms the relationship between partners from one of love to one of loving, from support to a relationship of supporting. To become a mother is to become eternal for it is an extension of your life beyond its natural years. To give birth naturally through hypnobirthing brought a new dimension of bonding and trust to my relationship with my husband Craig for he became responsible and involved in the birth itself. It gave him purpose and a place with bringing our child from my body into the world. For us the experience was one of healing and catharsis as we carried with us the dark cloud of miscarriage and the death of an unborn baby boy.

Simona, your name bears your strength as a listener, for throughout my pregnancy you listened: to the heartbeat of our son; to my body as it ripened; to my needs; and my husband's questions as we came closer to the day of birth. I searched for you as we made our decision on where to have our son. We did not do this lightly. I remember leaving one hospital which we visited in a rage knowing that this was not the kind of place where I would have the support and the peace I needed for my birth. I then found you, your oasis of birth, a place without bright lights and linoleum floors. In your warm arms you welcomed us. You supported us with your sensible and sensitive words. You were our rainbow in the dark clouds of the past. From the moment I met you and came to your center I knew, without a doubt, that we (our son, my husband and I) would be safe. I had have faith in your knowledge and your heart. You would be there for us throughout the birth, firmly at our side like a true leader. Under your supervision we would have the successful birth we dream of having. When I was 2 weeks passed my due date and the pressure of others began to interfere with the
possibility of a natural birth you were steadfast. You listened. You gave us options. You allowed us to wait. During my labour your healing hands made the pain manageable and for the 37 hours of labour, both at home with the many phone calls to you and at your center you remained strong, never showing any signs of tiring. When Max became stuck on my pelvis your experienced hands reached inside of me giving him a safe a clear passage for his birth. Hearing your voice as I
pushed, listening to your instructions even as the last hours of sleeplessness and physical challenge began to tire me, I believed and never once looked back on the decision I had made to come to you, to have a natural birth. Craig's life was transformed when he held the head of our child as Max pushed through into the birthing pool. Craig was proud and all fears dissipated as you were by his side. With your masterful skill you unwrapped the cord from our son's neck and body bringing him to safety. As my husband cut the cord and passed Max to me a bond was formed among the three of us, Craig, Max and me. We all played our role in the birth, and as a team we were successful. Joy is grief through darkness, time and space. Joy was the moment our son
was born strong, healthy and hungry into my husband's arms and then to mine. The experience of birth with you was whole. It was an ending to the fear and grief. You gave me the place in which I could have the perfect birth and realize a dream.

Of all my accomplishments, giving birth to our son naturally was by far the greatest.

Without you and your center I would have never had had such a sublime experience. Without you and your center my husband would not have had the opportunity to birth our child (especially given the many challenges of the labour, the delivery and the days before the birth).

Simona, you are my rainbow that opens up to magnificent lights when the clouds are darkest. You are my mother of birth caring for me and my family before, during and after birth. You are a woman so elegant, well spoken, strong and beautiful. You are an inspiration. You are a leader. You know when to be soft, loving and patient and when to take charge. You are calm and level even when situations become critical. You have a heart full of love that opens up and embraces me making me
feel safe.
My body healed rapidly after the birth. I had no swelling and was able to go for a 4 mile hike 12 hours after birthing our son. I was tender, but never in pain after the birth. Though my body was
fatigued from the many hours of labour, I had the energy to love, feed and nurture myself and my family. You have a gift of healing. Your many miles of experience, your philosophy and practice of giving birth made even the recovery easy and beautiful. When you came to our home
to follow up a few days later it was like having close family over. The caring has never ended and I know that you will be in my life forever.

We love you Simona and thank you for the gift you have given us.

Sandra, Craig and Max Caryl (and Jazz the dog too who patiently waited
and was by accident part of our birthing team).

Sandra Caryl

Executive Producer/Creative Director




Dear Simona,

Thank you hardly seems adequate for the care you gave my client, Sandra...you actually changed this woman's life!!! As you know, Sandra had struggled with multiple failed pregnancies and had a difficult time imagining she could give birth successfully - until she met you. I remember with joy seeing the change that came over her the day we met you at your beautiful facility. You oozed the confidence she needed, and she was convinced from that moment that she could do it. It was magical seeing her become a believer in herself and her body's ability to birth her baby naturally in a calm, relaxed setting. You were the catalyst she needed, and you gave her the most precious gift that had eluded her previously - her faith in herself and a beautiful, healthy baby. As a Doula, I am in awe of your knowledge and the strength you are able to transfer to your clients. It was a privilege to work with you, Simona, and I wish you many blessings as you pursue your sacred profession.


Chellie Powell

Birth and Pospartum Doula CD,PCD(DONA)Doulas Assoc. of Southern California