Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let the Baby Drive

I did it again! I finished reading a book. I can't believe it! This time I read something that was not on my "required reading list." I decided to take a look at this book that was given to me by a friend to see if this is a book I would want to recommend to my clients. I have not officially started a lending library, but I think I'll have read enough books soon enough to start one. Or, if the lending library thing never really takes off, I can in good conscience recommend this book.

How can I say enough good about this book? I loved loved loved Let the Baby Drive by Lu Hanessian. As I was reading this book, I felt on the verge of tears many times because this woman understood me. I felt as if she could see into my heart and soul. How did this woman, whom I have never met and who doesn't know I exist, know my deepest thoughts so intimately? How did she know how I would feel eight years after publishing her book? Before I even graduated from college the first time? Before I got married? Before I even thought about having children? How did she get it, get me, before I even had a baby to let drive?

This book has effected my so profoundly that I will need to devote entire posts on my favorite quotes. With The Doula Book, I was able to just compile them all into one post. Those quotes are fantastic, but they didn't pierce my soul like this book did. In short, read this book. Do it! You'll love it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I don't volunteer my doula services to my friends

Have you heard of Donna over at Banned From Baby Showers? She's banned from baby showers? Really?

Well, no, not really banned, but she has stopped attending baby showers. You can read her reasons why here.

I have only been invited to one baby shower since becoming a doula. I didn't go.

I had a good reason for not going, and it's not because I am afraid it would make me cringe to hear  women laughing with each other about inductions, episiotomies and c-sections. I live five hours away from this friend, and I figured the best gift I could give her was to be her doula. Though that turned out to be a huge gift and honor for me probably more than her.

It is no secret that I am working on my doula certification. My friend that I was telling you about just now revealed to me that I have the reputation of being "birth crazy," among some of my friends in my home town. She defended me, although the term they were probably looking for was "birth junkie." Why yes! I have become a birth junkie and I love it. When she explained that they only meant that I really love birth, I took the name "birth crazy" as a huge compliment. Kinda like if someone called me crunchy or a hippie behind my back. I'd love that. It'd be even better if they said it to my face. And I think if they meant it as an insult I'd be in heaven! I'd be so happy to be insulted that way. Seriously.

So I am a birth junkie. Everyone knows it. It is also no secret that I had my first and only baby so far in the hospital with a midwife without drugs. On purpose.

I haven't really had to shout this information from the rooftops, but word travels. I love natural childbirth. I had the most natural childbirth I could have possibly had at that time. Next time, I want to do things a little differently. Our goal is to have our baby at a birth center when we get pregnant with baby number 2. It's no secret that I'd really prefer to have a home birth, but for my husband's sanity, I can handle having a birth center birth. And you know what else? I don't think people who choose to have unassisted births crazy or insane. I think that's wonderful and I could talk to anyone who has had one all day about it. It's not the choice my husband and I would make, but I don't condemn anyone for making that choice. I suppose my birth crazy friends will now call me a birth nut. I love it!

I do have strong opinions about birth. I believe any healthy woman can have her baby naturally. I have opinions about what constitutes a natural birth. I have opinions about inductions, epidurals, c-sections, Pitocin, midwives, OBs, hospitals, breastfeeding, etc. I feel that anyone who truly wants to know my opinion about certain topics will ask me. Or at least read my blog. I do not offer these opinions to my friends because not all of them agree with my opinions. Most of them don't, and I don't want to alienate anyone or cause any awkward or uncomfortable feelings. Birth is so deeply personal and it's hard not to take things personally when speaking about something as sensitive and life-changing as birth. I am a gentle and sensitive soul, so I have never been one to force my opinions on anyone else. However, my passion for birth in the past two years or so has made me bold. And maybe a tad offensive without meaning to be.

I would love to attend any of my friend's births if they want to have me as their doula. I would be honored to be there and I would do my very best to help them achieve the birth that they hope for in whatever capacity they want me to. But my dear friends need to approach me about it. I do not chase after clients, so when it comes to this, if one of my friends wants me to be their doula, they must seek me out just like any other client. They must approach me. So instead of saying, "Congratulations! You know I am here for you if you want or need a doula," after my friends announce their pregnancies, I simply reply, "Congratulations!" And I leave it at that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Doula Book

One of the books on the DONA International required reading list for birth doula certification is The Doula Book. (Klaus, Kennell & Klaus, The Doula Book, 2nd edition, 2002.) I won't lie. I think it's funny that one of the books that we are required to read about becoming a birth doula is a book called The Doula Book. I am sure I am not the only one that at least gave a half smile to myself when I read the title. 

I have stopped and started reading this book several times over the past few months. I would sit down to read, get about three chapters in, and life would happen and weeks would go by. I would feel as if I had forgotten everything I learned before, so I would start all over again. Finally, my persistence paid off. I chugged along, maybe a few paragraphs at a time, but I managed to read a little bit nearly every day for the past several months. Yes, between teaching, holidays, attending births, being a mom, wife and flutist, I took forever to read this short book. I am glad that most of my other required reading was accomplished before I even had Lily and before I even knew I was going to start this journey of becoming a doula. 

I thought the easy part would be the reading. Nope! I thought the hard part would be to find births to attend. It definitely was not as difficult as I thought it would be to find women who felt they needed a doula. I'm thankful that they sought me out and retained my services. It has been a joy and an honor!

I liked the writing style of the book. It was rather conversational and an easy read for this sleep deprived mama. I just wanted to share a few quotes out of the book that struck me. I may dissect each quote seperately and delve more into them at a later time. However, I hope you enjoy!

Regarding Fathers and Doulas-

The doula does not take the place of the father; instead: 
"The training of a doula is quite different, emphasizing quiet reassurance and enhancement of the natural abilities of the laboring woman." (6)

"A doula is constantly aware that the couple will carry the memory of this experience throughout their lives." (6)

Why some women become doulas-

Many doulas have given birth but plenty of fantastic doulas have not:
"A woman who has given birth has an innate sense of what the experience is like and provides a natural empathy." (16)

"In this regard doulas need to understand the power and potential of their role. Each must search within to find her own true self in order to be available at this deep level for a woman giving birth. It is essential that doulas examine their own motives for doing this work, take it seriously, show up promptly and prepared for the birth, not leave or disappoint a woman, but remain engaged and appropriately involved throughout the labor." (68)

"Women who choose to become doulas want to help other women and have a certain empathic sense of childbirth. They have an opportunity during their training to understand their own personal issues associated with childbirth, and they learn not to project onto the laboring woman their own emotional needs." (146)

How a doula helps-

"The nurse-midwife (acting as doula*) follows at the mother's pace: staying with her for every moment of the experience, reassuring, validating, comforting, appropriately respecting the father's position, and being the stable presence of experience and confidence for both the mother and the father." (160)
 *my words

"Fear may be reduced by the sense of trust and empowerment a woman develops during pregnancy while working with a doula." (198)

"Having already established a relationship with the mother in advance, a doula gives the mother the confidence and security of knowing there is one person who will remain and be committed to her." (198)

Regarding the postpartum period-

"You should have a lot of time where you're resting, relaxing, laying in bed with that baby, just staring at it." (186) Tracy Fengler, postpartum doula

And the best quote in the entire book.....

‎"So every time you see a poop, have a party; 

that's a good thing."

Thank you Tracy Fengler! You rock! 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spinning Babies is coming to Houston!!!!

I am so excited. I have been stalking this website for months to find out the location, price and registration information. It was finalized this week. Yay!

I am going to scramble to get the money together so I can attend this class. Flute lessons start back next week, so hopefully most of them will have their payments ready. I am also hoping that it's not too late by then because I know lots of doula friends are eager to take this class. Many have already registered.

I also have a client who is due to have her baby about a week before then, so hopefully everything will work out for me to attend. Although, I wouldn't mind being called away from the class to attend to a mom in labor. Especially since I would be able to take what I just learned and put it to good use. I don't think the mama wants to still be pregnant by the time the class gets there though. Ha!

Wish me luck. I really hope I can take this class because I feel like this would be one of the most educational and beneficial courses I could take for my career.

For those mamas in their third trimester and their partners, there will be a Belly Mapping portion that evening. You can come and get your belly drawn on. How fun! Hope so see some of you there!