Your Body is Not Lemon

by Guest Blogger Baby Byrd Doula

"You're body is not a lemon," was the mantra of Ina May Gaskin in the documentary, Birth Story. Ina May and "The Farm" midwives really focused on the fact that women are made to have babies and that the increasing rate of cesarean section has convinced women that they cannot give birth vaginally. Ina May and many other midwives allow you into their lives in this documentary and show you how empowering birth can truly be.

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This documentary is peppered with history. It describes the foundation of the "The Farm" in Tennessee by the 1960's hippies who were searching for a better way of life. The Birth Story reveals how Ina May became a midwife and started providing better birth options for people across the United States.

There was even video footage from the '70s of a breech birth and shoulder dystocia (and the Gaskin maneuver). These videos showed women empowered in their births. It showed them enjoying their births. There was no fear.

I think that is documentary can change they way women choose to have their babies. If women could feel strong and trust in their innate abilities to birth, then less women would be scared of birth and would have positive birth experiences.

My hope, as a doula, is that I can foster a safe environment, in which women trust their bodies and not only give birth to beautiful healthy babies, but also satisfying birth stories.

 

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Baby Byrd Doula

About eight years ago, I got pregnant for the first time. I did tons of research. I looked into birthing centers, doulas, general information about pregnancy, labor and delivery. Sadly, my pregnancy ended at 8 weeks. I got pregnant again, but was devastated by a miscarriage at 14 weeks. My husband and I decided to start the adoption process and keep trying to have a baby. I kept reading as much as I could about pregnancy and fertility. A thought struck me: maybe I should be a doula. Shortly after this thought in 2008, we adopted our first son. Now that I was a new mom, being a doula was out of the question. I got pregnant three more times over the course of three years and all ended in miscarriage. Gratefully, we adopted another boy in 2011. At this point many of my friends were having their first babies and I had so much knowledge of pregnancy and labor that they started coming to me for information. Eventually one friend encouraged me to do something with that information to help other women. This reignited something inside of me-- my desire to be a doula. This was my opportunity to help bring life into this world. Being a doula is not only life giving for the mom, but also for me—the doula!

Genetic testing Made Easier

Have you ever wanted to genetic testing on your baby while you were pregnant but didn't want take a risk of CVS or amniocentesis? Well, now there is another test. It is a simple blood test that poses no risk to the growing baby. It is called MaterniT21.

Recently one of my postpartum clients told me the success that she had with the test and how it put her mind at ease during the duration of her pregnancy. Since advance maternal age is a risk factor for genetic abnormalities, she felt that being sure that her baby was healthy was what she needed. You may feel like that too and now you get a test done that doesn't put your pregnancy at risk for miscarriage.

Also, the MaterniT21 test can determine the gender of the baby as early as 10 weeks. So if you are super curious...

Check out this video about MaterniT21.

 

Family-Centered Cesarean

by Guest Blogger Baby Byrd Doula 

Last night I attended a webinar that presented the topic of "Mother and Baby Focused" or "Family-Centered" Cesarean. Many hospitals are changing their policy and procedure concerning how they perform C-sections. Instead of a cold, sterile environment, some hospitals are moving more towards warmer, family-centered one.

Some changes include:

  • Clear surgical drapes so that the parents can see and interact with their baby as soon as he/she is born.
  • Immediate skin to skin contact for mother (or father) and baby. This early skin to skin contact is crucial for breastfeeding success.
  • Breastfeeding in the operating room.
  • Autoresuscitation or the slower delivery of the baby from the uterus to mimic some the benefits that the baby would get from a vaginal birth.
  • The presence of a doula in the OR

I was surprised and delighted to hear the guest speaker take some time to specifically discuss the role and benefits of a doula in the operating room. Here are some benefits of having a doula present in a cesarean birth:

  • Amidst the many new faces in the OR, a doula can be a familiar and calming presence for the mother and father.
  • She can bring the focus back to the delivering family if the conversation drifts away from them.
  • She can point out sounds to listen for, like the baby's first cry.
  • A doula can help make the OR environment more calming, like bringing mom's favorite music.
  • She can take pictures, while both mom and dad can focus on their new baby.
  • A doula's presence lasts much longer than the birth. She accompanies mom, dad and baby to the recovery room and can help get breastfeeding off to a great start. (Reminder: lots of skin to skin)

It was so encouraging to hear that cesarean sections are headed in this direction. For many mothers a cesarean section is absolutely necessary and can be a little disappointing for some, but with this new procedure, it will allow families a more "together" feel. Not all hospitals are participating in this new movement, so be sure to talk to your Midwife or OB and mention this to them. It is better for moms; it is better for babies; it is better for families!

Learn more about Family-Centered Cesarean.

 

Bags Fly Free

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Picture this.  Mom and partner pull into the first empty parking space in the hospital parking lot.  Following close behind is the doula.  She takes a parking space a few cars away, grabs her bag and runs to meet her client.  As she reaches to help the mom through her next big contraction her eye is distracted by the 3rd bag being pulled from the car by mom's partner.

Mom is thinking: "I hope he does not forget to grab the birth ball."
Doula is thinking: "We better grab a wheelchair to help transport the bags!"
Partner is thinking: "I am glad we hired the doula to help carry these."

You have prepared for birth.  You chose your care provider carefully, you hired a great doula, you completed your informative childbirth class, everything is set.  So the question remains: what should you bring to the birth? Here are some tips to get you focused.

Pack for one overnight stay.  Moms typically change out of their clothes upon arriving at the birth place and partners will most likely remain in theirs until the next morning, when they have an opportunity to shower. You need to pack snacks, but not a cooler. No one ever wants to leave the laboring mom, but if you haven't eaten in 8+ hours, a hot meal will fuel you up to face whatever challenges the next 4 hours will bring. A quick trip to the cafeteria will suffice. The baby only needs what he/she will go home in and a car seat, that's it.  The hospital will provide clothes and diapers while in the hospital.

Mom's List:

  • Insurance card
  • Birth plan (2 copies)
  • List of people to text / email
  • Lip balm
  • Ponytail holders
  • Music
  • Pillows (make them stand out from the hospital pillows, i.e. no white pillow cases)
  • Slippers, or slip on shoes
  • 1 comfy outfit
  • Something to sleep in
  • 2 pairs of underwear
  • Nursing bra
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)

Partner's List:

  • Hardy snacks that feel like a treat and will sustain you
  • Camera and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • Laptop and charger (all hospitals have free wi-fi)
  • A change of clothes
  • Something to sleep in (that you can be seen in, nurses will arrive in your room every few hours during the night)
  • Car seat

It has often occurred to me that partners should be responsible for packing the bags because they will be the ones hunting for the lip-balm while mom is pushing!

Just because your bags fly free does not mean you should pack all of them.

Your 2¢: What was the most useful thing you packed for the birth? Leave a comment and help new parents pack efficiently.