About the Staff

Beach Cities Birth Service



Mary Lou O'Brien, CNM


 Picture of Mary Lou


Mary Lou has a Bachelor's degree of Science in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  She worked as a nurse in Labor & Delivery and Coronary Care for 3 years before pursuing her graduate studies in Midwifery at the University of Mississippi.  She has worked as a Certified Nurse-Midwife since 1981 in a variety of settings -  from a small community hospital to major medical centers.  Mary Lou worked for Los Angeles County for 10 years.  During that time, she held a Clinical Faculty position with USC working with midwifery students and with UCLA School of Medicine teaching medical students, interns, midwifery students, family medicine residents, and paramedics how to deliver babies and obstetrical complications. She was the Chief Nurse-Midwife at Harbor UCLA Medical Center for 8 years and the Director of Midwifery Services with the USC Perinatal Group at Good Samaritan Hospital for 2 years.  She has had a home birth practice since 1997.  


On a personal note, Mary Lou has been married to her wonderful husband, Bill, since 1984.  They have 3 really great, grown children - Kelsey, Lily, and Hunter.  Kelsey was born at an out-of-hospital birth center, and Lily and Hunter were born at home.  




Elena Vogel, CD(DONA), IBCLC
Birth Assistant, Lactation Consultant, Doula
 Picture of Elena



While pursuing a BA in literature at Bard College in upstate NY, Elenea chose to focus her studies on maternity in literature, which eventually evolved into a senior thesis on memoirs of motherhood. After looking at pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood from an analytical lens, she felt moved to become involved in the birth process in a hands-on way. Elena became a DONA International birth doula soon after graduation. Within a few years of working as a doula, she found her way to Beach Cities Birth Service and thus began her love affair with home birth. She has now been assisting Mary Lou at births for 6 years, and they have attended countless births together.


In addition to birth assistance, Elena provides birth doula services and lactation consultation.