Friday, December 28, 2012

Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Maternity Tour

UPDATED: October 2015     A few years ago I attended a maternity tour at the Memorial Hermann-Sugar Land hospital just in case I needed to transport to a hospital during my home birth. I ended up having a quick and peaceful home birth, but I am still glad that I took the time to see what area hospitals were like. Here are my impressions from a few years ago. Please let me know if any changes need to be made.

Image created using Canva
They make it easy to sign up for a tour on their website. I was able to pick a date and time that worked for me. I appreciated this option because making phone calls is one of my least favorite activities.

A nurse took us on a very simple tour of a Labor & Delivery room. The room had a bathroom with a gorgeous jacuzzi tub. I asked if those could be used to provide pain relief during labor. Unfortunately, the answer was no due to liability reasons and not being equipped for laboring in the water. If those policies have changed, that would be a wonderful option for women in Sugar Land. A few willing doctors, water proof monitors, and nurses who are comfortable with the idea could help provide women with one of the best comfort measures there is. There is a reason that warm water is called "nature's epidural." It really helps!

How your baby will be monitored during labor is a conversation that needs to happen with your care provider long before the big day. Will you have continuous or intermittent electronic fetal monitoring? Unless your doctor agrees to intermittent monitoring, it will be continuous.

The rooms are not equipped with birthing balls to be used during labor, so remember to bring one.

There are no squatting bars available.

You will stay in the same room for labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum.

In the event of a Cesarean section, there will be mandatory nursery time for the baby.

Babies who are born vaginally will be placed directly skin to skin immediately after birth. Direct skin to skin contact is unlikely to happen for several hours after a Cesarean birth. It would be something to discuss with your care provider. More places are providing more Family-Centered Cesarean deliveries, which include immediate skin to skin contact.

Everyone must leave the room, including the partner/spouse, when an epidural is being administered. This is typical in most hospitals in the Houston area.

Most women will deliver in the supine position with their feet in stirrups. If you are interested in birthing in a different position, discuss with your care provider ahead of time. Birthing in other positions is not typical for most hospital births in the Houston area.

There have been a lot of changes to this hospital in the nearly three years since I took my maternity tour. I am excited to see what will happen for birthing women in the Sugar Land area once all the construction is done.

No matter what kind of birth you are planning on having, you will need to be prepared to advocate for yourself. Birth Boot Camp classes are wonderful for preparing couples to have an amazing birth. I teach these 10 week childbirth classes in Sugar Land on a regular basis. Check my website for upcoming class dates.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

17 reasons I am tired of being pregnant and why I am thankful to feel this way

I am tired of...

1. ....wondering if things will work out the way I hope they do.

2. belly and ribs feeling so stretched out.

3. ....not being able to sleep on my stomach.

4. ....stressing out about the foods I eat.

5. ....feeling guilty for eating a piece of chocolate or a brownie every now and then.

6. ....wracking my brain on how to make nutritious meals on a severely limited budget.

7. ....wondering if that miracle I keep hoping and praying for will happen in time.

8. ....not being able to eat cereal, especially for breakfast. I know it's terrible, but I like it. It makes me feel icky for the rest of the day but only when I am pregnant.

9. ....not being able to eat Cocoa Pebbles guilt free. For the record, I haven't had any, but I really want to.

10. ....sugar making me feel icky. I don't have gestational diabetes, but sugar is ick.

11. ....drinking water constantly and not feeling satisfied. This happens when I am not pregnant, but during pregnancy there is SO MUCH PEEING. Which leads me to...

12. ....having to pee every hour day and night.

13. ....not being able to bend over to cut my toenails, tie my shoes and other things that require one to bend in half.

14. ....worrying that every bite of food I put into my mouth is going to lead to a "big baby" even though I know I can push out a baby. Even a big one.

15. ....having certain limitations in the...well...AHEM...department.

16. ....craving deli sandwiches when usually I hate sandwiches, but just because they are on the "off limits" lists according to Dr. Google, I want them.

17. .... The Hemorrhoids. Oh the Hemorrhoids! (Reason number 4,683 why I don't believe that drinking lots of water helps anything.)


I am so thankful I have started to feel this way. I am thankful to feel this way because it means that by the time I reach the end of this pregnancy, I will be willing to do ANYTHING to not be pregnant anymore. Including go through labor. Especially go through labor. I'll feel so tired of being pregnant that the thought of labor won't scare me anymore. Sometimes I have these freak out moments of, "Oh crap! I KNOW what labor feels like! Will I be able to do it again? I'm scared!" Which apparently means I am not TIRED ENOUGH of being pregnant. At 33 weeks I still have plenty of time to get TIRED ENOUGH.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday Inductions

Image Credit: Robin Elise Weiss: (used with permission)

The holidays are approaching, which means, if you are due during this time frame, you may start hearing about scheduling "your induction." I am not writing this to suggest that you not consent to having an induction, but I do want to share a few of my favorite induction articles so you at least have a starting point in making a truly informed decision for your baby and for your family. I will admit I am biased towards not inducing if there is no true medical need, but if any of my clients ever decide to induce, no matter what the reason, my response is, "Ok! Well let's make the the BEST INDUCTION EVER!" (Because I know that my clients are informed. :o) )

The Best Induction: 5 Tips for the Best Induction of Labor Possible by Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Induction and the Holidays, Part 1 by Cara Terreri

Induction and the Holidays, Part 2 by Cara Terreri

Induction, Encouragement, Eviction... by Nicole D.

Obstetric Lie #82-Induction is Risk Free by Sarah C. (Mama Birth)

As you can see, these are my favorite blog articles about induction. This is no substitute for doing your own research using the most credible sources available and consulting with your care provider. I appreciate the blog article by Mama Birth entitled "Becoming an Educated Natural Birthing Mother," which gives a few guidelines on how to do good research about birth.

And once you have all the research you feel you need and have consulted with your care provider, remember to trust your own instincts. They are there for a reason.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The elephant in the room: Circumcision

Since the beginning of my journey as a doula, I have felt it is not my place to offer an opinion on contraversial subjects such as circumcision, vaccines or various parenting choices. I feel that I need to stick with pregnancy and birth when it comes to sharing information, and even that has its limits. After all, I am a doula, not a medical care provider.

Thankfully I have never been asked my opinions on circumcision, but the topic does come up every now and then. I never thought much about sharing information with clients until a certain rather well-known and respected doctor in our community said something to my clients about it that was blatantly incorrect (at best it was a half-truth) right there in the delivery room shortly after the baby was born. I did not say anything about it because it's not my place, but I have thought a lot about it since then. Should I share information with clients? How do I share it? What do other doulas do? 

Tonight I am attending a class just for doulas about how to talk to clients about circumcision. I am looking forward to learning ideas that will hopefully help me better serve my clients and their precious babies. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Should doulas share information about circumcision with their clients? Did your doula share information with you about circumcision? How did you feel about it? 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Looking for a doula in Sugar Land?

It's been way too long since I have been able to blog! There are some major changes happening in our family right now which has led me to be without a computer to update my site. It served us well, but it just can't help us anymore. I am attempting to update from my phone at the moment. Hopefully it works. I just wanted to give an update about what is happening around these parts.

1. I am 30 weeks pregnant. We have not found out the sex of the baby, and I think I would like to wait. I haven't had an ultrasound at this point, and unless there are indicators that I need one, I'll do without.

2. I have an open calendar for November. Unless your baby is OUT, it is not too late to hire a doula.

3. I attended the B.I.R.T.H. Fair for the first time since learning about it as a vendor the first weekend in October. I had a great time and met some awesome families. My husband spoke on the Dad's Panel, which was super cool.

4. See # 2.

5. Yesterday I attended a Rebozo workshop taught by Gena Kirby. If you don't know who she is, find out! She is amazing and the workshop inspired me so much. Refer back to #4, get back to me, and I'll show you some of the amazing things I learned at the workshop.

6. It's not too late to hire a doula! See #1. I still have time before I pop.

7. I have a few things up my sleeve for 2013. I have high hopes that these things will come to pass. These things include: Birth Boot Camp training, placenta encapsulation training/certification and hypno-doula certification. But first, I need to have a baby.

8. November mamas in Sugar Land, hire me!

9. Did I share that I am now a certified doula? I should have, but just in case I didn't, I am certified! Woohoo! My certificate and name badge came in about two weeks ago.

10. November mamas in Rosenberg and Richmond, #8 applies to you too.

Call or email for a free consultation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Healthy, budget-friendly pregnancy recipes

Image credit:

Today I had a visit with my midwife, and as expected, my food log didn't quite pass muster. At my last visit, she asked me to write down everything that I ate, and I knew it wasn't going to be that great. With my first birth, the midwives were more concerned about my weight gain and gave me a simple rule to follow: Try to keep everything as close to its original form as possible. With that rule, my husband and I made a major overhaul to our diet. I decided to take it slow and think of it as a lifestyle change rather than a diet.

Fast forward several years and this Louisiana girl is pretty much on the same diet as when pregnant before, but allowing a few more treats every now and then. Still, I am mostly cooking our dinners every night. It's very difficult for me to wrap my mind around healthier foods because when I look up recipes they tend to have all these tiny little ingredients that would add up a grocery bill rather quickly, and they also have these tiny little ingredients that I have no clue what they are. And even if they say "budget-friendly" they are really not very budget-friendly at all. I mean, I need to be able to spend $5 or less per meal here.

Basically my new assignment is to eat more leafy greens and protein and less starch. (There's lots of rice in my recipes. I love love love rice! I could live off of rice and gravy.)

I have decided to share some of my recipes that I come up with as I go along this pregnancy food- overhauling journey of mine, and I welcome suggestions on how to make my already-decent-but-not-quite-there-yet recipes a little more healthy for pregnancy. Not only do I welcome suggestions, I am pretty much saying, "Help me please!"

A few ideas I gathered today:

  • Substitute brown rice for white rice
  • Put parsley in everything
  • Hide some spinach in everything (including spaghetti)
  • Whole grain bread instead of wheat bread (including tortillas)
  • More nuts
  • Snack on celery
  • Use lettuce and make wraps rather than sandwiches

Tonight I plan to keep with the meatballs and rice and gravy I was planning, only I will try to hide some spinach in the meatballs and use brown rice. Wish me luck!

Image credit:

Have a favorite budget-friendly recipe you would look to share? Please leave a link to it in the comments! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Welcome to Birth Boot Camp! I am your Recruiter!

This is not the first time I have mentioned Birth Boot Camp, and it definitely won't be the last! I keep going back and forth between the various childbirth education programs, I keep stalking various websites, but I keep coming back to Birth Boot Camp. Not sure what it is about this program that attracts me so much, but I really like the way this program is set up and am excited and eager to be a part of it one day.

I was hoping to be able to attend a Birth Boot Camp Educator training this November while the course is pretty discounted, but as it goes, life happens. I am pregnant! I am very happy to be expecting my second baby in January, and I am looking forward to meeting our wee one and experiencing the miracle of pregnancy and birth again. But this means that some things just have to wait. Like, Birth Boot Camp.

But that doesn't mean I can't be involved! I have signed up to be a Birth Boot Camp Recruiter. I have signed up to help me earn money to pay my way to Dallas, hopefully sometime in 2013, to attend an educator training session. They way it works is like this: You click on the Birth Boot Camp banner on my sidebar. Purchase an online Birth Boot Camp course. I get a cut of the payment to help pay for the educator training. I can use all the help I can get. And if you are looking to take a Childbirth Education course that prepares couples for natural childbirth but just can't get your schedules together to attend a classroom course, the online Birth Boot Camp course, created by a former Bradley instructor, is a perfect option. Because this is still relatively new, there are not yet any live Birth Boot Camp classes in the Houston area. I am hoping to be one of the first! Until then, I am begging asking for help getting me to one of the training sessions by being a recruiter for the online courses.

I am very excited about this opportunity! And I am not very worried about online options taking away business because there are people who appreciate the discipline that comes with attending an in-person course. It keeps you accountable. It helps you meet other expecting parents. It gives you a teacher whose brain you can pick about the local birthing climate. In the meantime, I can encourage those couples that prefer the flexibility, yet thoroughness, of an online self-study course to check out Birth Boot Camp.... if you feel this course calling to you and intend to purchase it, please do so through my Recruiter button on my blog!

Monday, July 30, 2012

7 Things That Surprised Me About Natural Childbirth

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1. I did it. I'll be honest. I had my doubts. I didn't think I would do it. I think everyone that knew me, mainly my friends and family, didn't think I would do it either. I don't recall getting a single bit of encouragement from anyone other than my husband. Most of the time I got responses such as, "Just wait until you feel that first contraction. You'll be begging for the epidural."

I never asked for the epidural, but at the very end, not knowing it was the very end, I started to think about asking for the epidural. I thought, "I can see why women want relief." Luckily, once that thought crossed my mind, I was being pulled out of the birth tub, feeling that need to poop that you hear about, and got my first cervical check by my midwife. I was completely dilated. 30 minutes later I was holding my baby.

2. The pain really does go away immediately. Once I had Lily in my arms, that tempest I has just been experiencing seconds before immediately stopped. I no longer felt any contractions. I'm sure my body was doing the necessary work to help birth the placenta, but I didn't notice it. There were a few things that happened that I did notice, such as the first poke of local anesthetic for a few minor repairs and the vigorous massage of my uterus after the birth. Other than that, I just noticed my sweet little baby and was basking in her entrance into the world.

3. It hurt, but it was not the worst pain imaginable. At least it wasn't for me, thank goodness. And I have a pretty low tolerance of pain.

I grew up hearing childbirth described as the worst pain imaginable, so I had an expectation that labor was going to be pretty miserable. It really got intense for awhile. I had a fairly quick labor for a first time mom. The entire process lasted about 4.5 hours, from the start of the first contraction that I felt, to Lily being in my arms. Once I started feeling contractions, I didn't get that break in between that I heard about. It was fast and furious, one on top of the other. They never completely went away. It wasn't a walk in the park by any means, but it's hard thinking back on the process and describe it as painful. But it didn't really feel good or anything. There was something about that pain that made it bearable. I knew it served a purpose. I knew that my body was supposed to feel like that and that what I was feeling was normal. That it was part of the process. It wasn't pointless pain-in-the-butt pain like a headache or toothache or a migraine. Now what is the point of that pain? Honestly, I can think of things that would hurt worse than childbirth. Like...getting a limb chopped off in an accident or being burned alive. I've never broken a limb, but that seems like it would hurt really bad too. Childbirth is not the worst pain that I can imagine, but I really hope that it is the worst pain I ever experience. I don't want to go through the things that I can think of that are worse than that. Like, ya know, a kidney stone. That is definitely pointless pain-in-the-butt kind of pain.

Photo credit:
4. I am stronger than I realized. There was a place I had to reach inside of myself in order to go through labor. It's hard to describe this place, so I call it "the labor place." I never reached this place before labor, no matter what challenges I needed to overcome, and I haven't been back since. It's an instinctual place, a primitive place. A place full of power that I didn't know I had and that I could never recreate without being in labor. Being able to reach that place is what helped me get through and helped me to discover what I am really made of.

5. The birth high. I honestly did not expect to feel the way I felt after having a baby. I felt so energized, excited and empowered. You see that word everywhere on natural childbirth websites. I see it on just about every doula's website. It makes me chuckle every time I see it because I will never look at the word empower the same way after reading this post.

I felt beautiful. Even with my stretched out skin, jiggly belly, stretch marks, leaky boobs, sweaty skin and all, I still felt beautiful. I had a sincere and deep appreciation for what my body could do. I was in awe, and I respected my body. I wanted to treat it better for what it was able to do for me and my little baby.

I wanted every woman to feel like I did after giving birth, so eventually it led me to want to be a doula. Here I am!

Any time I feel discouraged about motherhood, which I honestly think is harder than giving birth at this point, I think, "I did that? I can do anything!" I will draw on that experience for the rest of my life when I need a boost of strength.

6. The animosity. I think this was the biggest thing I didn't expect. I can't really describe the feeling I got when people found out I gave birth without pain medications, but it wasn't what I expected. It seems like some people who liked me before no longer did. It seems like there were some people who tried to belittle the experience. Yes, I felt proud of myself for giving birth, but I didn't go around bragging about myself. That's not my style! It seems like the mere mention of, "I had a natural childbirth," elicits responses along the lines of, "That doesn't make you better than me." No. I never said I was better than anyone. Really, the only ones I told that I had a natural childbirth were the ones who knew I was trying and asked, "So, did you do it?" Other people were told by my totally-proud-of-me husband. He would volunteer that information, and I could tell he was proud of me. I won't lie. I liked it. It felt good. Who wouldn't like hearing their husband speak of them with pride?

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7. I'm scared to do it again. I did it once. Can I do it again? I won't lie, I feel like I am going to have to start all over again with my childbirth preparations. I will still have to process fears. I have new ones this time, now that I have a better idea of what to expect. I still don't know how I will react to being in labor. How long will my labor last this time? I think my biggest fear this time is that labor will last for 24 hours or more. That really scares me because my first one was so fast and I was thisclose to asking for the epidural. I'm also scared of having a posterior baby and experiencing back labor. I have other fears that I'll share with my husband, midwife and doula as I continue to discover exactly how I am feeling about this pregnancy and upcoming birth. Any time I mention to my husband that I am scared to give birth again, he says, "You'll be fine." I hope he's right!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I am training for a marathon

Nope. Not this kind....


This kind....


It was not the first time that I had heard this, but at my visit with my midwife on Monday, she reminded me that preparing to give birth is like training for a marathon. I started to ease back into exercising last week after a long nine weeks of morning all-day sickness. Towards the end of my first trimester, I was chomping at the bit to get back in the gym. I knew I had work to do!

The end of the first trimester came and went, and the morning sickness remained. Wait? Huh? I am supposed to feel better now! Thankfully, last week at nearly 15 weeks I started feeling good enough. Now at nearly 16 weeks, I feel pretty good. I am thankful that the nausea and vomiting are taking their leave. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Not getting my hopes up yet.

With my first pregnancy, I walked 30 minutes every day on the treadmill. I walked until the very end. I also did squats, but not all the time. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I mean the last few days, it just felt really good to be in a squatting position, so I would just sit there like that. Squatting. Must have looked really silly. I think my husband asked me once, "What are you doing over there? You're not trying to have a baby are you? Is there something you need to tell me?" Ha ha!

After I felt recovered enough to start exercising again after birth, I started trying to "become a runner." I don't know why, but I admire runners and I'd really like to become one. But running is hard! I hate that feeling of being out of breath. I've spent 19 years learning how to NOT run out of breath and to control my breathing (I'm a flutist), so huffing and puffing and being winded is very uncomfortable.

So anyway, a year ago I was training to run my first 5K. This year I am training to give birth. I think I am in better shape going into this pregnancy than I was last pregnancy. I'm still not some super athlete, but I've decided I want to give the elliptical a try during this pregnancy. Last week I went to the gym and eased into doing the elliptical. Yesterday I went swimming, and today, while using the elliptical, I thought, "I wonder what it would feel like to run again." So after I was done, I hopped on the treadmill and just did a teeny tiny one minute jog. It felt pretty good, so I quit while I was still thinking happy thoughts. Probably another two or three seconds and I would have hated it.

I know for sure that I want to use the elliptical throughout the pregnancy, but I think I would like to incorporate a little bit of running again until I can't do it anymore. It's not as if it's new to my body. I have just been out of commission for nine weeks. Which to my mind felt like an eternity, but to my body, it was like, "Oh yeah. I remember this! Let's do it! Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!"

Because I live in a second story apartment, my midwife encouraged me to climb the stairs. A lot. 50 times a day wouldn't be too much, she said.

And to those who have run actual honest to goodness marathons? You rock! I admire you! Way to go! Maybe one day, but for now, I'll focus on training for my marathon. My giving birth marathon.

What exercises are you doing/did you do to train for your birth marathon? Do you feel it helped?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Does the birth experience matter?

It's no secret that I spend some time on a few birth related facebook pages each day. One of my favorite birth bloggers asked the question, "What is the point of a "good" birth experience? Is there one?"

Still enjoying my birth high: Lily is two days old
As can happen sometimes, this question got me to thinking. What is the point of a good birth experience? Why do so many women seek to enjoy their birth experiences? Does it really matter? I mean, really really

A common criticism of natural and/or out-of-hospital births is that women who choose to birth this way are putting their babies' lives at risk just so they can "enjoy the experience." You can just feel the disdain oozing out of the computer screen when reading those words. Most of the time the spiel ends with, "All that matters is a healthy baby." 

I don't disagree with that. I don't entirely agree with it either. I do believe that the ultimate goal is to have both mom and baby come out at the other end of the birth experience safely and soundly. Healthy? Well, unfortunately not all babies come out healthy even under the best conditions, but that is another story for another day. But is this all that matters? 

Even though many women choose natural birth and/or out-of-hospital birth for what they feel is a better experience than what they would receive in the hospital, they will do anything to ensure that their babies enter this world safely. Anything. Even if that means loss of a certain hoped-for experience. 

On the other end of the spectrum, many women decide not to choose natural childbirth because, again, they want to enjoy the experience of birth. By choosing an epidural or other pain medications to cope with labor, they feel like they can be more present in the experience and enjoy it much more than if they went without. Is this wrong? Epidurals, and any other chemical we put into our bodies, heck, even food, and sometimes even water, and just about anything nowadays, carry risks. You can't even breathe without risk. There are some huge risks associated with epidurals, however rare. Just look them up, but it's obvious that it's a risk most women are willing to take in order to enjoy their birth experiences. 

So, are women supposed to not enjoy the birth experience? Let's say a woman wants a natural birth. Is she supposed to purposely go get an epidural as soon as she arrives at the hospital to prevent enjoyment of the experience? Is a woman who is set on having an epidural supposed to purposely deny herself an epidural so she doesn't run the risk of enjoying the experience? 

We talk a lot about the birth experience from the perspective of the mother, and yes, the birth experience does matter to women whether they want to admit it or not. But why? Why does the birth experience matter so much? 

Just to illustrate my point a little further, I know a woman who has no desire to have natural childbirths. None. Her last birth went too fast for her to receive an epidural and she was traumatized. From her perspective, she did not enjoy that birth experience, although to me, that is the perfect hospital birth! Arrive at the hospital while pushing? Heck yeah!

Don't even get me started on the women who have been traumatized by their Cesarean births and are dismissed with, "At least you have a healthy baby. That's all that matters." 

So what about the baby? Does the birth experience matter to the baby? I wonder. Does a baby prefer to be put right on mama's chest after birth or immediately whisked away to a bassinet to be wiped down, tubes stuck down its throat and pokes and prods and bright lights and then finally given to mom? Or does the baby prefer to be observed for four hours away from mom before even meeting the woman whose body he inhabited for the previous nine months? Does the baby want to hear doctors and nurses chatting about their running adventures as he is making his entrance into the world (yes I have witnessed this) or does the baby prefer to hear mama's and daddy's soft voices first? Is the baby even coherent or smart enough to know the difference or even to care? Does a baby prefer to be born in a bright, cold and sterile room or a dimly lit, warm and home-like room? Does a baby prefer to be born in water or on land? Does it matter

What do you think? Does the birth experience matter? Does it matter just to mom, or does it matter to the baby too? Are we focused too much on the experience?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why didn't I think of this sooner? Using essential oils to relieve morning sickness

I started experiencing morning sickness symptoms at 6 weeks pregnant. I just turned 15 weeks and I am just starting to feel decent. It's been three days since having to hug the toilet. Yay!

A few days ago I had this genius idea. I decided to pull out my peppermint essential oils and my diffuser to help with nausea. I thought, "I use these for my clients in labor if they feel nauseous, so why not try them?" Usually around 5pm one of my neighbors starts cooking...something....stinky...which is when my morning sickness symptoms would begin. From 5pm until I passed out every night I would just be miserably nauseous and vomiting several times. I even took a trip home a few weeks ago so my mommy could take care of me.

So a few days ago, I got smart and decided to try the peppermint to cover up the stinky neighbor cooking. Miracle! It worked! I kicked myself for not thinking about it sooner. 

Other essential oils I have in my doula bag:

Lavender and Eucalyptus: for a calming influence and relieving stress

Lemon and Orange: to invigorate and provide energy

Cinnamon and Peppermint: to relieve nausea

My personal favorites are the Eucalyptus, Orange and Peppermint, which I plan to use at my own birth. 

What is your favorite essential oil? Do you see any that are missing that you'd recommend I add to my doula bag? Please share your experiences with essential oils. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012



What does this mean? There will be a few changes in my plans for the rest of this year. 

First, I will be accepting clients until the end of November. Because I am due sometime in January, I will begin my maternity leave beginning December 1st. At least this is the plan for now. Check back for updates!

Second, because our fabulous health insurance doesn't cover maternity, we are paying for the birth out of pocket. That means that every cent I earn from flute lessons, performances, and doula services goes towards paying for the birth. This includes paying my midwife and fantastic doula. I'll reveal who they are at a later date, but I am super excited about my birth team.

Because of this, I will not be able to attend the Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator training that I had my eye on. Not that it was even close to being a sure deal before, but it is definitely out of the question now. I'm pretty sad about this missed postponed opportunity, but hey, I'm getting a baby out of it. That's way better ANY day!

Who knows? Perhaps some miracle will happen where all of our money issues will be resolved and I can attend this training. `

I am still waiting to hear more about my DONA certification packet. I know they received it, but that's about it. I'm a little nervous, but what's done is done!

In order to keep up with my craft while I am baking a baby, I have decided to work on getting my Hypnobabies Hypno-doula certification. I received my certification packet in the mail earlier this week. What's crazy is that here it is almost the end of the week and I haven't opened the box yet. What in the world

I am also hoping to become more involved with the upcoming Improving Birth National Rally for Change that is happening in Houston on Labor Day. It seems like it will be fun. I haven't been able to attend a planning meeting yet, but I haven't been able to make some cute crocheted boobie hats for the upcoming online auction. Check out the Rally for Change facebook page for updates and info. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Giving Birth Is the Easy Part: Surrendering to Parenthood

Giving birth was the easy part. Don't get me wrong. It took some considerable effort on mine and my husband's part to prepare for having a natural childbirth, but little did I know, that parenthood would be way more challenging than giving birth would be.

As I have come to learn, "parenthood is savory humble pie, baked fresh daily." (Hanessian 253) It takes so much humility to be the kind of parent that most of us want to be, and this is something that I have been struggling with since Lily was born.

Even before the birth of a baby, parents, especially mothers-to-be are inundated with tons of advice and stories, especially stories of the more horrific variety. There is no lack of poo explosions and weeks worth of labor to make a pregnant mama wonder, "What was I thinking?" Why is it that people decide to wait until there is no turning back to share those stories with as much glee as they can muster?

I remember when I was pregnant that I was given advice about certain topics that didn't sit well with me. I remember the negativity I received when I revealed that I was planning a natural childbirth. I remember being told by people who didn't even have children that we were spoiling our newborn baby by picking her up when she started crying. I remember being told to just put her down and let her cry over and over and over again. I was offered so many tips and tricks but for some reason I kept resisting. I didn't want to hear from these people and I would just smile and nod while on the inside yelling, "Grrrr!!!! Grrrr!!!! Grrrrr!!!!! I don't want to hear this." I didn't really understand why it made me so mad.

Baby Leila
I had the honor of attending her birth, and I love love love this onesie! I will need it for our next baby!
Posted with permission.

Then I started to notice something. The people who would lead by example rather than spout out their unsolicited advice were the ones who taught me the most. It seems as if those that I most respected and admired in their parenting choices were the ones who didn't offer advice until I asked. And once I asked they were happy to share their gems of wisdom with me and I happily and thankfully accepted. And like a vampire who only needs to be invited into your home once, I happily accepted unsolicited advice from those parents that I deeply respected and admired once that little ritual of waiting until I approached them first was observed.

For example, one of my favorite people at church is a retired La Leche League group leader, and she was the kind of parent that I was hoping to be. You know, one of those natural birthing (she had several successful VBACs that I can't wait to eventually hear about), breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, etc, etc, mamas. When Lily was first born, I was having a bit of breastfeeding trouble, so I asked her to come over to help me if she had the time. She did, and she also held Lily in this certain way that instantly put her at ease. I don't even know if she meant to do that, but I asked her to show me more. And from that respectful observance of boundaries, I have no problems whatsoever if she were to decide to offer me some help. But since she is awesome, I have noticed that she doesn't do that. However, I watched her when we worked in nursery together once the things that she would do with the little toddlers, and I took notes. She's a great mom.

My own mom is good at the whole leading by example thing, but it's different with your own mom. Sometimes she can tell me something that gets under my skin a little, but I guess it's just because she's my mom. When Lily was getting into the wiggling-while-changing-diapers stage, I went home for a visit. My mom offered to change a diaper and I told her that Lily was getting in the really wiggly stage. Do you know what she did? She gave Lily a toy to hold while she changed her that kept her occupied so she wouldn't wiggle anymore. My mom didn't say a word to me about what she did, she did it without thinking, but it completely blew my mind. Something so simple, and I also appreciated how she just led by example.

I could go on and on about how I have been encouraged to be a better mother, and about just little tricks of the trade to make my life easier by the wonderful examples around me. I could also go on and on about the aggravating unsolicited advice I have received. I know I am not alone in this; it's sort of a rite of passage when it comes to parenthood. I think they're all just so excited and everyone wants to help and participate and tell their own stories because hey! They survived! They remember how hard it was in the beginning (or maybe they don't), but I imagine they remember and it's their way of saying, "Hey! I survived! This is what I did to survive, so hopefully it'll make your life easier." At least that's what I hope they are thinking rather than, "Man, this girl is stupid and I can't believe she had a baby, she needs all the help she can get." Because, believe me, when I first became a parent, I already felt pretty dumb, and was already really sensitive thanks to the hormones. I didn't really need anyone else to help me feel stupid.

At the same time, there is a lot of pressure to be a good mom. We really do need all the help and advice we can get. I imagine before families became separated from one another and we were all so far away from each other, it was just the way things were done. A woman became pregnant, gave birth, and I bet her mother and grandmother were there to help her during labor and birth. I bet they helped her establish breastfeeding, and I bet they all worked together to raise that baby. I imagine that it's just the way things were and new mamas didn't feel insulted if they didn't know everything. They felt like it was just normal to have their mothers and grandmothers help raise the baby. I imagine that new mothers were way more pampered back in the day after birth and I bet they were expected to take it easy and expected to sit around and breastfeed while everyone else took care of household duties. New mamas now are expected to jump back on the treadmill immediately and keep a clean house and raise babies while somehow taking enough "me time" and getting enough rest. "Once across the threshold of motherhood, we begin to feel as if the whole thing depends on us, on our good judgement and perfect choices, on how well we mothers can manage and what kind of children we can grow with enough advice, time, and money-like the entire trajectory and outcome of our children's development falls squarely on our shoulders." (Hanessian 234)

It's really just too much for someone like me to raise my little family without all the help I can get, and I especially need the help of my husband. But even he can give me some advice and I just take it so personally that sometimes we get into these huge fights over it. I know that we need to be able to talk about things, but I often feel that what he says is criticism to the hard work of parenting. I put my heart and soul and my everything into being a good mama to our little girl, and I just can't stop being so sensitive when the person that I admire and love more than anyone else thinks that I'm not doing something quite up to par. But he never ever says it that way. I take it that way. He's Lily's parent too, and I want him to participate. And I want him to have a say in the way things go around here, so why is it that I can't stop taking things so personally? It's something I don't understand about myself, but I hope after time, experience, and much prayer, I will come to understand and change this about myself. "We can never know until we butt heads over whose way is better, whose way is right, until we feel the sting of criticism and the unforgiving armor of our defenses, until we come of age, that there is no "wrong" way when two people love a child well." (Hanessian 173)

I think that what I am needing to do more than anything is learn to surrender. I need to surrender to life and to parenthood. I need to just allow my life to happen and find joy in it. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes the hurt seems to grow and grow. It's a lot like labor. Sometimes it hurts, but in order to get through it the quickest and easiest, one needs to surrender to the process. Accept that this is the way it goes and just find a way to calmly get through, and even enjoy the experience.

"Surrender is about being open, letting in and offering a depth of love and vulnerability and commitment-in motherhood and in marriage-that I might have previously yearned for at a distance. In a sense, it is about giving up, giving up the barrier between love and fear. In doing so, I feel more connected-to myself, my son, my husband, God, the history of time. Somehow, sitting here, I feel related to every mother who ever rocked a baby in her arms. I surrender." (Hanessian 168)

Quotes from Let the Baby Drive by Lu Hanessian; read my review here

Friday, June 22, 2012

So who do you REALLY want to hire? A doula or a monitrice?

What a doula provides:

Continuity of care:*

Once the doula comes to your side in labor, she is there for the duration of your labor, birth and immediate postpartum period. Nurses have other patients to care for and will be in and out during labor. Your OB may only show up for the delivery and then again, you may end up with a completely different OB. If you have a hospital birth with midwives, there is a great chance that the midwife will have other patients as well and will be in and out. You get to know your doula at several visits before the birth, and she gets to know you and your hopes and concerns regarding your upcoming birth experience. She will also see you after the birth. Some doulas are also postpartum doulas, and if you desire, your postpartum doula can help you during the postpartum period with breastfeeding and parenting issues.

Support for the birth parter:

Doulas do not just help the mother! I have seen a very visible sigh of relief from fathers when I have entered the room. Just knowing that there is someone else available to help their partners seems to put them at ease. If they forget something they learned in their childbirth education class, even if they forget everything they ever knew, having the doula there to provide loving encouragement to the birth partners to participate as much as they are comfortable is a huge relief to dads to be.

Wealth of knowledge:

Doulas know all about birth and the birth process. Many have given birth themselves. Even if they have not given birth themselves, they have supported women in the process and know what a laboring woman looks like. They know the birth environment of local hospitals and practitioners. Even if they do not have experience at that particular location themselves, most doulas network with other doulas and can always find out. If a doula doesn't know the answer to your question off the top of her head, she knows where to go to find the answer.

Another pair of hands:

It gets tiring to massage a laboring mom sometimes, so if the labor is very long, the birth partner and the doula can take turns.


The doula knows how hard labor can be and what needs to be done to get through it. Many times the labor doula has given birth herself, and if she hasn't, she is experienced with supporting mothers through labor. A laboring mom and her partner can rest assured that their doula truly "gets it."


The doula is there for the parents. She is hired by the parents and has loyalty to only the parents. She can help remind you to make informed decisions and can help explain what hospital staff are saying when you are in the middle of concentrating on labor.

Reduced rates of medical procedures and complications:

Studies have shown that a woman can have another woman sitting in the room doing absolutely nothing, and her presence alone will improve the outcome of a woman's labor and birth. Imagine if a trained doula is in the room. In summary the benefits of a doula are:

Source: Unknown. If this is yours, please let me know.

What a monitrice provides:

All of the above plus:

A monitrice is able to provide clinical skills such as checking fetal heart tones, taking blood pressure, and assessing cervical dilation through pelvic exams. 

Do you want someone who can provide some medical skills? Do you want someone who can help you decide when to go to the hospital by assessing cervical dilation through a pelvic exam? 

Then you want a monitrice

About both doulas and monitrices:

There is a wide spectrum of what services doulas and monitrices are comfortable providing. Some doulas are certified and some choose not to certify. It is up to the expectant families to do research to determine what type of doula they want and/or need at their births, and if they want a doula at all. Maybe what a mama really needs is not a doula at all but a monitrice. 

If you decide that a monitrice is what you really need, I am happy to provide a few referrals to some doulas who also have been trained as monitrices. 


The list of services that doulas typically provide comes from Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, pages 182-183. The elaboration of services provided are my own clumsily written thoughts. 

Because I like to give credit where credit is due, a local doula who wrote an article about the scope of practice of doulas, sparked this entire thought process of mine. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Memorial Hermann Memorial City

This past weekend I joined an expecting couple for a tour of the hospital at which they plan to deliver their baby. I have never attended a birth at this hospital before, so I thought it was a good idea to see where everything was and know where to go on the big day.

For the first part of the tour, everyone met in one of the hospital classrooms. A nurse started the meeting by discussing all the scary stuff that could possibly happen that would prompt you to go to the hospital. Once that was out of the way, the rest of the meeting was pretty positive. I appreciated when she mentioned she was from Europe and how things are done over there is vastly different than in the U.S. I've heard this before from some of my former clients who came from Europe. The nurse said that mothers and babies are considered "one" and they do not separate them. It's taken awhile for the U.S. to catch up, but she did say that, provided everything was okay with the baby and mom, the baby goes directly on the mom's chest after the delivery. She said "skin to skin", and I appreciated that she was adamant about skin to skin being the best for the baby. She said that there was no reason to rush any of the postpartum procedures and as soon as mom and baby are ready, to go ahead and give breastfeeding a try. She did mention that this hospital hasn't always been like this, but that they are now.

I also appreciated how she encouraged the use of gravity during labor, whether moms choose to use an epidural or not. Just because a mom chooses to use an epidural to help with pain relief does not mean that there isn't plenty to do to help baby descend.

At this hospital, if a mom does not have an epidural, she is free to walk the halls and walk anywhere in the room. If she has an epidural, naturally she will be confined to the bed.

If a mom does not have an epidural or Pitocin, then she does not need to be on the electronic fetal monitor continuously. If she does have medications, she does.

Anesthesia is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is good because I have been at a birth out here in my neck of the woods (I kind of live in the boonies) where mom had to wait about an hour and a half to receive an epidural because the anesthesiologist wasn't at the hospital yet. I'm pretty sure that most hospitals in Houston have anesthesia available 24/7. It's these outlying hospitals that might not.

Because we could not visit an OR, the nurse showed us a picture of the OR and described procedures in case of a Cesarean section. She said that mom can have 1 person go back to the OR with her, but she said that moms really need 2. She encouraged the moms to ask their care providers if they can have 2 (If they want 2). One person needs to be available to go with the baby should the baby need to go to the nursery and the other person needs to stay with mom. She still encouraged the dads to hold the baby skin to skin after the birth as the mom will still be in surgery once the baby is born.

After the classroom portion of the tour, we visited the L & D floor. The room we visited was one of the smallest rooms I have been in, but it still has plenty of room for anyone mom wish to be in there for her labor. Only 1 or 2 people are allowed during the actual delivery, but during labor, there is no limit to how many people can be in the room.

The bathrooms seem pretty nice. There are no tubs to labor in but there are nice roomy showers. I was disappointed that there are no rooms with tubs because for many women who wish to have a natural birth, immersion in water is one of the most helpful tools available.

Moms need to bring their own birth balls if they will to use that during labor. Anything you would want to use to help during labor such as birth balls, massage tools, aromatherapy, etc. you would need to bring yourself. Or if you have a doula, she'll have it.

The nurse did say that the doctors do like it if moms push on their backs but she said, "That is the worst position! You have the right to push in any position you want. They are not the ones having the baby."


After the L & D portion, we went down to the 2nd floor and saw the postpartum rooms. They are typical size. If I remember correctly, there are no tubs in those rooms either. It's weird but cool. It's like going to the gym. Both the L & D and postpartum showers looked roomy enough to put the birth ball in there if you wanted to sit on the birth ball in the shower.

A few things about postpartum: Most moms room in with the baby. If I remember correctly, they will take the baby to the nursery at 7am and 7pm (nurse shift change) to check vitals. Because I am paranoid, I would probably either refuse this or send my husband to go with the baby during this time. They also bathe the baby at night in the nursery. For me, we decided not to have our baby bathed because of the wonderful properties of vernix, but not everyone wants that. Mom's and baby's vitals will be checked every hour during the day and every two hours at night, so don't expect any sleep. But who can sleep with a new cute bundle to get to know?

Lactation consultants are unfortunately not available on the weekend. Neither are the staff who help with the birth certificate info. They will catch up with you after you go home.

All rooms are private. Woot!

I'm sure I left some information out, but hopefully I remembered correctly the things that I do remember.

From what I can tell with just looking at the hospital and hearing this particular nurse speak, lots of improvements have been made at this hospital. Seems like women are speaking, and this hospital is listening. I hope other hospitals in the area, especially the ones out in the boonies near me, will get the memo soon and get themselves in gear!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cute face discount

Sometimes when we make the trip home we will stop halfway and get a hotel room to sleep. My husband is funny and decided to ask the lady at the desk for a "cute face discount" the first time we stopped at that hotel. She laughed a bit, but she really hooked us up! It was pretty amazing!

So the next time we stopped there, and it was a good several months later, she was working at the desk and he walks in and she goes, "Cute face!" She remembered he had said that! Ha ha! So instead of giving the cute face discount she asked, "Did you see any billboards on the way?" He said, "Uhhhh...." She says, "Yeah, you did. You can have the billboard discount." So she hooked us up again! It was awesome.

So, in honor of my cute faced husband's birthday and Father's Day this month, I am offering a $50 discount to any families that book my doula services and pay the deposit during the month of June. It doesn't matter when your baby is due, if you book and pay the deposit in June, you receive the discount.

Oh, what's that? You want to see what this cute faced husband looks like? Here ya go!

This picture is almost four years old, but he hasn't really changed much in the past four years. Same hair, same beard, same cute face. :o)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The one time you WANT to be pea brained

I may or may not have mentioned before that I am also a flutist. I graduated in December 2009 with my Master of Music degree and during my last semester, I found out that I was pregnant. Then began this wonderful journey into motherhood and attending other women as they make their own journeys into motherhood.

Every few months, it is my privilege to perform with an orchestra in Louisiana that I have performed with for several years. In order to make this work with a nursling, I would drive to my mother's house, pick her up and take her with me. That way I could nurse my little one during the breaks. Now that my daughter is older, I drive over to my mom's house and drop my little one off to spend the weekend with her grandparents. I get a music-filled weekend to myself, and when it is over, I pick my daughter up, and then we make the drive back home. There is a LOT of driving involved. If I totaled it up, it would probably be about 20 hours worth of driving. That's 20 hours that I have time to let my mind wander and think of all sorts of things.

This particular trip, I started to think about the B.R.A.I.N. acronym for informed decision making. I really love this! It makes educating oneself really easy.

Need time

There's also another neat acronym, B.R.A.N.D., that I learned later from some fellow doulas. I also learned this acronym when I audited a local Hypnobabies class recently.

Discuss and decide

While I was sitting in the Hypnobabies class, I tried to come up with a new word that combined both the BRAIN and BRAND acronyms. I like them both! I couldn't quite figure it out.

So while I was driving to rehearsals two weeks ago, I started thinking about this. BRAIN? BRAND? Hmmmmm....... here's what I came up with.

First, I thought, maybe I could say B.R.A.I.N.E.D.

Extra time
Discuss and decide

Then I thought, how could I make this cute? Because with the brain acronym, you can say, "Use your BRAIN for informed decision making." I don't really know a cutesy saying for the BRAND one, but still, BRAINED? BRAINED isn't proper English! One doesn't brain. One can't brain in past tense. Have you ever brained? Have you ever been brained? No? But, have you ever been accused of being PEA BRAINED?

I have and it's never really been a compliment. However, maybe I could make it cutesy for my own personal purposes. Like, this will be one time in your life where you actually WANT to be PEA BRAINED. So then I tried to fill in the words.


Extra time
Discuss and decide

Then I started thinking that perhaps the "PEA" portion would need to be done mostly during the pregnancy and the "BRAINED" portion would mostly need to take place during the birth. Although sometimes, some of the suggested procedures during pregnancy would require the BRAINED portion as well. So now that you know where all of this thinking came from, here is the final result.


Interview and select a supportive health care provider.
Choose your birth location.
Hire a doula.
Exercise and maintain a healthy diet.


Take a childbirth education class. (preferably NOT hospital based)
Learn about your birth options in your chosen birth location and about alternatives.
Do your research!


Ask questions. Lots of questions until you have no more questions to ask.


How will this help my labor?
How will the help my baby?
How will this help me?


How will this affect my labor?
How will this affect my baby?
How will this affect me?


What are my other options?


What does my gut say?


What if I do nothing?

Extra time:

I need time to think this decision through.
I need a private moment to talk with my family.
I would like to wait for now.

Discuss and decide:

Make an informed decision.

So there you have it. The one time in your life you want to be PEA BRAINED.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nearly there!

I am happy to report that I finally mailed off over 100 pages of DONA Birth Doula Certification paperwork. Now we wait. Hopefully after no more than two months, I will be a certified doula with DONA International. Phew!

I couldn't have done this without some very special families in my life, both those families that allowed me to attend the births of their babies and those families that supported me in this journey. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My accountability report

I don't remember when it was, but I set a goal to have my doula certification paperwork ready to be mailed by May 1st. At the time I set this goal, I was waiting to perform in the concert coming up this weekend in order to pay for my certification fee and to become a member of DONA International.

I've hit a few snags in the road, and there are a few more things on my To Do list than I would like, but I am satisfied with my progress. I have finished just about everything that I can possibly finish right now. I just have to get through this concert. My new goal is to have this packet in the mail before Mother's Day. That means on Saturday, May 12th, I need to either be dropping this thing in the mail or have already done it. Keep me accountable my friends!

Because my printer won't work unless both the color cartridge and black ink cartridge are full, my printer is out of order. So once I play this concert I will buy a new cartridge and print things off.

So my new To Do List is as follows:

  • Track down a form from a mama
  • Print off the doula packet email I received last year as proof of my start date
  • Become a member of DONA International and print receipt
  • Pay Application fee and print receipt
  • Finish reading Breastfeeding Made Simple
  • Locate my Breastfeeding Course Outline
  • Optional: Print off "Why I Became a Doula Essay"
  • Tweak Resources list and print
  • Sign and Date application for DONA International Birth Doula Certification
  • Check and recheck all forms, stuff envelope and mail

I am so close!!! I will get there before my birthday, and I am so excited about this! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mother's Day Special

To celebrate Mother's Day (and my birthday) I would like to offer a 25% discount to anyone who signs with me for doula services in the month of May.

May has always been what I consider "My Happy Month" so I want to share my happiness with all of you!

No matter when your due month is, if you sign and return the contract and pay the deposit in May, I will give you a 25% discount on my doula services. This is quite the deal since they are already heftily discounted!

All you need to do is print this page, and present it to me at our free consultation.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Practicing positive thinking during pregnancy and birth

I'm doing an experiment today. Will you join me? I've decided to replace every negative thought that enters my head with a positive thought. Every single thought no matter what it is. Even if it's about your appearance, your money problems, your self-esteem, your relationship. Your pregnancy. Your birth. Let's replace any negative thought and turn it into a positive one today.

Instead of, "We have no money. There's no hope that things will ever get better," say, "We are making it and things will get better."

Instead of, "My belly looks so huge and fat," say, "My belly is amazing! It is nourishing my sweet baby and means she is growing."

Instead of, "I am scared to give birth," say, "I am looking forward to giving birth, and it will be a joyous and wonderful experience."

Instead of, "I am too weak to handle the pain," say, "I am strong and capable! I can overcome anything!"

Make sense?

After going with my husband to pick up some of his clothes from the seamstress, I read yet another article telling me to "think positively." I'll admit that I am not the best at this. When things are not going very well, how in the world is positive thinking supposed to change that? I'll admit I haven't really been a believer.

But it's everywhere! And I've decided to experiment.

Because you know why? There are a few things that I do think positively about. One is birth. Birth is amazing. I had such a wonderfully good and positive attitude about my birth, and you know what happened? I had a great birth!

And the day that I decided to play my flute in recital hour and walk out like I thought I was the stuff, everyone came up to me afterward and told me I played the best they'd ever heard me play. I didn't really play any better than usual; I just had a way better stage presence and attitude.

So back to the article yesterday. (It was in an actual magazine and not a blog post. Imagine that!) I decided this morning that I was going to commit to this experiment. I'm going to replace my negative thoughts with positive ones and I don't even have to believe the positive ones. All I have to do is think positive thoughts. And you want to know something funny? I suppose just by virtue of saying, "Hey, guess what Negative Thoughts, if you come into my brain today you're getting banished," they've decided to stay away. I think the fact that I'm not trying to not have any negative thoughts, but instead making myself just rephrase the negative thoughts in a positive way, is really helping. I find myself frustrated when I try to just think positively. 

So for today only, I'm doing this experiment. And if it goes well, and it has so far, I will try it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's practicing. I'm going to practice positive thinking for awhile and see how it goes. Try it for yourself and be sure to let me know how it goes!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear Jessica Simpson, About your Elective C-Section

Dear Jessica,

I have never been interested in celebrity news, and I don't really intend to start even after I write this blog post. I know you will never see this, but I feel prompted to write it anyway.

I wasn't paying very much attention to your pregnancy until a few of my friends made comments about how much weight you've gained. I'm not sure that they understood that you're pregnant. You're gorgeous! You look beautiful with your long hair and blooming belly. I hope you feel beautiful.

I didn't pay attention again until a few days ago when several of my friends posted articles that said that you were opting for a Cesarean section because you were afraid of the pain of giving birth. Not only did they post articles, but their comments were generally unfavorable. This made me sad.

It made me sad for several reasons. First, just their general negativity made me sad. Second, it made me just want to look you in they eye and ask, "Don't you know what you are capable of? Don't you know that you are strong and that you can do this?"

I've read only one short article about what is supposed to capture all the fears that you have tried to overcome and the efforts and emotions you have put into preparing for the birth of your baby.Yes, fear is something that you need to try to work on, but I'll tell you something. I was still afraid of something when I went into labor. I'm not sure what I was afraid of, but when my first contractions hit, I was scared I wouldn't be able to make it 12-14 hours with contractions like that. But something happened during labor. Something happens to many women all over the world during labor. There's a place we go where we somehow find the strength and courage to make it through. But it's even deeper than that. It's a place beyond thought. It's a place where you just surrender to the process and no longer need to think about what to do. Your body just does it for you. And if feels so good to have your husband, partner, or chosen loved one to be there with you to hold you, to massage you, to just love you. (By the way my birth didn't end up being 12-14 hours. It was much quicker than that.)

You are just as capable as I am, and just as capable as all healthy women are. I wish you would give yourself more credit. I wish that fear of pain wasn't your reason for choosing a Cesarean because that is something that you can work through. Even still.

No matter what you decide for your birth (you still have time to change your mind again), I hope you hire a doula. Having a doula there with you can make a world of difference. A doula can help Eric support you even better if you want him to be the main support. She may be able to say just the right things to help you have the confidence you need to birth your baby the way you originally wanted. It's not too late until your baby is in your arms, and even then, she can help you start your breastfeeding journey if needed.

And no matter what kind of birth you choose, I hope this experience transforms you for the better. I hope you find out just how strong you are! I hope this is a joyful experience for you, and I hope you sing this baby into the world as the two of you work together to welcome your little bundle Earth side.

Happy birthing,


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spinning Babies Workshop

I was able to attend the Spinning Babies workshop that came to Houston a few months ago. I am so thankful for my friend and fellow doula Jessica for helping me out financially to be able to attend this workshop. She is a gem in the doula community and I am so thankful to have her as a sort of mentor when I need help or have questions. I reached out to several doulas when I first started out and she was the first, and only for awhile, to reach back to me. I really appreciate her. She also ran my first 5K with me, but that's another story for another day.

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted half of the pictures I wanted to share from my phone. Because there is no way to recover them, I will have to update this post little by little when pictures trickle in. I've waited long enough to share the pictures I have, so without further ado, here are a few of my Spinning Babies pictures.

 Stephanie, Cole and Gail demonstrating using the birth ball

 Gail demonstrating the Walcher's position using the Trochanter Roll. 

The Trochanter Roll is that stack of pillows Gail is laying on in the picture above, and the Walcher's position is used sometimes if a mom is having regular, strong birthing waves and the baby is still not engaged in the pelvis. In the picture below, Gail is demonstrating the Walcher's position by hanging her legs off the end of the massage table. In most birth locations, one would use a bed rather than a massage table.

Stephanie, Cole and Gail are wiggling those hips! 
The same moves that got the baby in help get the baby out. :o)

I really love this last picture because what do you see when you get a bunch of doulas together? Lots of big ole balls! Ha ha ha! I couldn't resist. Sometimes I have an inappropriate sense of humor. I'm sure you can find t-shirts that tease about birth balls on CafePress. Lo and behold you can! And look! Bumper stickers!

Too bad I wasn't the one to come up with this.

I am still a little sad that the rest of my pictures are deleted, never to be found again. Hopefully, after sending a plea to some of my doula friends, I will be able to add more after they send me a few. I am so glad I was able to attend this workshop and I feel like a better doula for it. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Crocheted Boobie Hats

I've been wanting to crochet a boobie hat for a long time but have never gotten around to it. I finally decided to try it out, and voila! Here it is!

All my clients who want one can have one included in their postpartum goody bags. Just let me know and I'll make you one! Yay!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pregnancy Nutrition: Green Smoothies

Yesterday I attended the second class of the Hypnobabies class I am auditing. This was the nutrition portion of the course, and we talked A LOT about healthy nutrition during pregnancy. One of the easiest ways to get tons of nutrients in one pop is to drink GREEN SMOOTHIES. I know it may not sound so great, but I have finally decided to start the green smoothie journey myself. When I first started looking for recipes, I felt overwhelmed by all of the combinations out there. I decided to just experiment with what I had, and voila! I have just a few recipes that my entire family enjoys. Yes, even my almost two year old loves them.

2 bananas
1/2 cup milk (or a little more if the blender gets stuck)
1 handful of ice cubes
2 handfuls of frozen strawberries
1 handful of frozen peaches
5-6 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

This one is the all-time favorite of my entire family.

I have more recipes here, and I update this page pretty often. Be warned. I am on a journey and I am experimenting. Some of these are gross. :o)

Good luck on YOUR green smoothie journey!!!!

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!!!!