Friday, March 30, 2012

I can't get Birth Boot Camp out of my head!

Would you attend a Childbirth Education class called Birth Boot Camp? If you would have asked me this question before having Lily I would have answered with a resounding, "No WAY!!!!" But since I have started trying to whip my behind in shape, even completing my first ever 5K on Labor Day last year, and now training for my first ever 5K Mud Run in late May, I am like, "Heck yeah! Birth Boot Camp! Bring it on!!!!"

I can't get this out of my head. After reading the articles about Birth Boot Camp by Donna at Banned From Baby Showers and Sarah from Mama Birth (my two absolute favorite birth bloggers), I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I have been researching the perfect Childbirth Education program for me to certify with almost as long as I have been researching and working on becoming a certified doula. I've stalked all the Childbirth Education websites I have heard about and none of them have clicked with me. None of them have given me the, "Yes! This is THE ONE!" feeling like Birth Boot Camp has. And you know what's funny? I really know absolutely nothing about it! Ha ha! But this is what my instincts are saying to me right now. I am so eager to continue hearing about how this takes off. 

What about Hypnobabies? I love the Hypnobabies class I am auditing right now. I still love hypnosis for childbirth, but I'm not sure that I want to teach that. I know for sure that I would like to become a certified Hypno-doula for those couples that have decided to use hypnosis for childbirth, but I will continue to recommend they take the course from my friend Katherine

I am so super excited and pumped up about Birth Boot Camp. I just can't explain it. I really hope that I can attend one of the workshops at the end of this year. I want to get the show on the road!!! Birth Boot Camp! Yeeeeeah!!!! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Worried you can't afford a doula? Have you thought about bartering?

When I was pregnant with Lily, I wanted to hire a doula. I thought all doulas charged $1000+ but my childbirth educator mentioned finding a volunteer doula as I was walking out of the door of one of the classes. I pretty much gave up looking before I ever started because I was too embarrassed to try asking a doula, any doula, to attend my birth for free. I was too embarrassed to ask for a discount, and I didn't really know about bartering. I never took the time to even google, "free doula" or "volunteer doula" or "bartering with doula" or anything. I just figured I should do without because we didn't have enough money to pay for a doula.

I suppose I didn't realize there were doulas with lower fees out there. I suppose I did not know that there were doulas with various levels of experience and skills and therefore prices, and I definitely didn't know that there were doulas looking for births for certification. Many new doulas (though not all nor are they required to) volunteer their services for those first few births they attend.

Now, I am no longer looking for births to submit with my certification paperwork thanks to some very special and wonderful people who were willing to take a chance on me and to hire a fresh-out-of-the-box doula like me! I offered my first few births for free. I no longer offer births for free, except for this fabulous giveaway, but I am willing to work with a family. I offer discounts, payment plans, and I am willing to barter. So far my prices have been low enough that families haven't had a problem making payments. However, as I increase in experience, so will my prices. My family has to eat too!

As I was thinking about those that have entered my giveaway that won't win, I started to ponder what I would be willing to accept as payment other than money. Some of these moms sincerely want a doula but feel like they just can't afford it. Maybe some will be willing to barter. Maybe some won't. I have found that people value what they have to work for or pay for (or a combination of both) and doulas are valuable! I am valuable.

If you find that you are in the situation that you really want a doula, and are willing to do what you honestly can do to have one, please do not hesitate to mention bartering. Here is a short list of things I would be willing to take, a wish list of sorts. You can also mention something like, "I have such and such skill that I can offer...." I may or may not be able to take it, but that will spark a conversation on what will work.

  • Do you have a garden? I love fresh produce!
  • Do you have chickens? How about fresh eggs?
  • Do you cook? Our family eats!
  • Do you knit or crochet? I like to include little gifts in a gift bag for mamas after they have their babies. Can you make diaper covers or baby booties? How about baby beanies?
  • We'd really like a toddler sized table and chairs for Lily.
  • Cloth diapers. Do you have any extra unused cloth diapers?
  • Birth supplies such as rebozos, birth balls, massage tools, oils and lotions, essential oils, etc. 
  • Are you an artist? I could use logo design. I also need a new pamphlet designed.
  • Website design.
  • Can you clean? Are you close by? When can you come over? :o)
  • Birth jewelry
  • Do you grow herbs? I'd love herbs for postpartum bath herb kits.

These are just a few ideas that I can think of at the moment. The possibilities are endless! Please do not hesitate to hire a doula just because you feel like you can't afford one. There is always a way to make it work. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hypnosis for childbirth

My first encounter with hypnosis for childbirth was when I was pregnant with Lily and I searched for books on Amazon to read during my pregnancy. I'm not sure what prompted me to type "hypnosis for childbirth," but type I did. I think it had something to do with my interest in psychology (music major with a minor in psychology) that caused me to see if there could possibly be any such thing as hypnosis for childbirth. I came across Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies. Judging a book by its cover so to speak, I decided to buy the Hypnobirthing book because, well, Hypnobabies just sounded silly. Oh yes, the epitome of an educated and informed decision right there for ya!

I'm glad I decided to buy the Hypnobirthing book because once I read that book, I felt pumped up to give birth. I had already taken my childbirth education class, read Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner, and tons of online articles on my favorite natural childbirth sites. I didn't really practice hypnosis, but I just loved the way she explained the way birth could be.

After Lily was born, I started hearing more about Hypnobabies because a friend of mine did the homestudy course along with her Bradley Method class. She said it really helped her. We talked about birth and Hypnobabies just about every time we got together. I started to do my own research and became really intrigued.

Since my doula training, I have been interested in becoming either a Hypno-Doula through Hypnobabies or to be trained to support Hypnobirthing moms or to be trained in both. I am still not sure which program I like better because I feel like I do not know enough about either of them to make a truly informed decision. Hence, I will be auditing a local Hypnobabies course for the next several weeks. I am very excited to be doing this and look forward to learning about hypnosis for childbirth.

I know that auditing this course will help me to be a better doula for any couples who decide to use hypnosis for childbirth in the Houston area. So far I have had two mamas interview me who wanted to use Hypnobirthing for their births and so far, they are the only two couples to actually meet me for an interview not to hire me. I definitely see a trend. For these moms, I am lacking in knowledge that they want the doula they hire to possess. I openly admit that! Once I take this course though, I will have the knowledge and skills that these moms are seeking and will be able to be a more effective doula for moms who wish to use hypnosis for childbirth in the Houston/Sugar Land area. I am very excited about learning from my friend, Katherine, and I am thankful for the opportunity she has given me to audit her class.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crazy pregnancy dreams

Let me start by saying that I am NOT pregnant, though anyone who knows me knows that I would love to be pregnant right now! I keep saying I am baby hungry and one of my friends keeps teasing me that I am not supposed to eat babies. I have had many dreams about being pregnant before I ever had a baby, but I think this is the first pregnant dream I have had since having Lily. And be warned, it's a weird one! And there is poop.

I had a dream last night that I gave birth at the Katy Birth Center. I don't remember much about the first stage of labor, except that it was straightforward. I remember that I was getting ready to start pushing and I remember that Natalie and Nanci were the midwives in the room at the time. I started to push and I pooped. It was really loose stool and smelled really bad. They whisked it away but I was feeling self conscious because of the amount and the smell and I could tell it was more stinky than anything they had to deal with before. But I kept going. I just kept pooping and pooping and pooping but it wouldn't move the baby. Natalie started to gag and had to move. Nancy was making faces because the smell was bothering her too. I was so embarrassed that my contractions stopped. I decided I would go try pushing on the toilet for awhile. For some reason while I was in there all these people showed up and were talking about me. At one point Natalie came back to me to help me push and she said, "This is my first time." I didn't have any contractions so I decided to eat some French fries. After that I went back into the birth center but in a sort of sitting room area with couches and end tables and pretty plants. Amanda Moore was sitting on one of the couches with another doula who she was mentoring and she said, "Come here, Kristi. Let me check the position of the baby." She was going to do the "ice cube trick" which totally made sense in my dream. (I don't know of any ice cube tricks, but the way it worked in the dream was you take the ice cube and trace a line from the top of the fundus to the pubic bone with the ice cube. Apparently the path the melted ice takes tells you the position of the baby.) I started to cry when I saw her and just fell into her lap. I felt so relieved. I hadn't hired a doula for this birth because of money, just like my first birth, so it was a miracle she was there. And then Theodorah walked into the room. She was going to help me! I kept eating my French fries and doing a hula dance with my hips and squatting, which made my contractions start again. Theodorah suggested I start trying to push again since it had been awhile. I was getting in a terrible pushing position, flat on my back with my legs propped up one of the couches, but in my dream it's what I wanted. I started to pull my light pink fuzzy night gown up over my stomach when I noticed about twenty people came to watch me give birth. I did not want this so I said, "All the non-essential people need to leave." Most people started to leave on their own. A few didn't. Amanda's student doula friend started to leave but I said, "No, you stay. I need you." For some reason I had bonded with her even though we hadn't met or spoken before. She seemed surprised, humbled and honored that I asked her to stay. Amanda stayed, Theordorah stayed and Natalie stayed. That was the first I noticed that Robbie wasn't there. I knew that he had to work. Theodorah asked me to start pushing and I knew she wouldn't care about the poop. I gave it everything I had and they had to coach me to slow it down a bit as the head emerged. My baby came out in two pushes. When he came out, Theodorah placed him on my chest and I said, "I don't know how he does that!" What I meant was that I had no idea how my husband knew that our baby was a boy as we didn't find out beforehand. He guessed Lily was a girl long before we even tried for a baby, and he knows our second baby will be a boy and our third baby will be a girl. I marveled at how cute our little boy was and how much hair he had on him when Robbie kissed my forehead and told me what a great job I had done. Then I noticed that our little boy had grown man hair on his legs and lots of it. And I just looked at his cute little face and loved him. Then I woke up.

How about you? Have you had any pregnant dreams while not pregnant? What kinds of crazy dreams have you had while pregnant?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It takes a village

I first remember seeing this phrase in an advertisement for Hillary Clinton's book It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us back when I was about 12 or so. I had no idea what this phrase meant, and in fact, I remember thinking, "How silly," and going on about my business. I'm not sure what I thought "It takes a village" meant, but I am sure now that I really had no idea.

I buried that phrase somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain after that, but lately, it has begun to resurface. Especially when it comes to my doula work.

The more I do this work, the more I love it, and the more I am sure this is the perfect path for me. I truly felt called to do this. There is no other way to describe the tug toward assisting other women as they bring new life into this world. I was very unsure at first, but I am thankful that I had the encouragement I needed to pursue this path and the constant support I need to continue down this path. I've been giving a lot of thought to the wonderful people who have truly blessed my life during this journey.

To the M family and the T family: Thank you for being "on call" to watch Lily for us. It gives me so much peace of mind while I am helping a laboring mama to know that my baby will be taken care of if needed. And Sister T, thank you for calming me down over the phone at this last birth as I tried to figure out exactly when I would need to drop Lily off and reminding me how unpredictable birth is and that's okay!

To the H family: Thank you for just always being there. Thank you for loving Lily the way you do. I know she loves you guys to pieces. I really couldn't do any of the things I do without you guys.

To my parents: Y'all are amazing and are always proud of me no matter how crazy my dreams are! Thank you for everything.

To my friends: Thank you for the kind comments, the encouraging words, and for a few of you, for allowing me to be present at the births of your babies. It truly was an honor. I will cherish those memories forever.

To Lily: Thank you for giving me the birth experience that inspired this whole journey. You were so sweet and kind to your mama! Thank you for being such a sweet, tender and laid back and flexible little girl. You are so adaptable with all the crazy schedules we keep in our family.

To Robbie: My sweetheart, you always support me in the things I want to do. I do notice how much you love and support me, and I appreciate you. I know I am never good enough at showing it. I don't know if I ever will be, but I hope you know it. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for being proud of me. That means a lot to me, and I really really really like it when you tell your friends at work what doulas are and they retort, "You sound like you're a doula."

All of these wonderful people in my life help me out so that I can provide my doula services to the mamas who hire me. As mentioned before, birth is unpredictable. These wonderful people have the awesomeness and flexibility to help me help the mamas who hire me because I can't do this on my own. I am truly thankful for them.