Birth

My Blooma Journey: Gratitude, Motherhood, & Connection

I’m laying on my side, facing my 5 week old baby, his tiny limbs gently exploring the air.  There is soft music playing in the background, sun shining through the window, we’re warm and comfortable.  Strong hands reach to my neck with intention and massage my neck, my shoulders, my back, all the way down to my feet.  Unconsciously, a couple of big tears roll down my checks. It’s such a relief to move my nursing, mama body into powerful poses, to lay down to rest, and then to receive someone’s tender touch and affirmation.  With hormones shifting, emotions raw, and exhaustion all encompassing, these are tears of gratitude. Thank you for this space, thank you for noticing me, and us, together and connected. At a time when every waking (and sleeping!) moment is consumed with giving care, I have a sweet moment at Blooma where I am the one receiving.

In those early weeks and months of Samuel’s life, yoga at Blooma was the place I went to receive.  Parenting young children is so physically demanding, but I don’t think it’s ever more demanding than those first few weeks after giving birth.  In that space of newness and recovery, yoga was the sanctuary of our day. It was the place I went to be acknowledged, celebrated, and encouraged.  A place where I could connect with other moms - where our stories, our concerns, our joys (and sometimes our babies’ cries!) could be heard.  

Samuel is my 4th child, and it hasn’t been like this with my other babies.  There was no sanctuary where I felt that sweet connection and relief. My older kids are in 6, 9 and 12, and  Blooma wasn’t even in existence when I was pregnant for the first time.   Perhaps Blooma’s offerings weren’t as developed when I had the chance with my middle children, but I think the biggest factor was my desire to take care of myself wasn’t as developed.  I look back on those years and I think how much easier things would have been if I’d had this community. And I should have known better, I’ve been involved with the birth world for over 20 years.  

When I was 19, I had the rare opportunity to shadow the village midwife in a small fishing village in India and attended many births with her.  I came back to college, completed a doula training, and attended births in my early 20’s. I became an acupuncturist and Chinese medicine practitioner, and opened my practice in 2007 focused on women’s health, specializing in fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum care. I have walked alongside women becoming mothers hundreds of times, always encouraging excellent self-care and valuing of their well-being.  But now, with more things than ever on my to-do list, I finally see this equation from a different angle.

My assumption with my first three babies was that time spent caring for myself took away from the well-being of my family.  I would fit in an acupuncture treatment or massage, but there was no foundation of support that offered consistent care. Now, I recognize that the most important thing for my home, my children and my practice (which has now grown into a much larger women’s health and fertility center) is that I take top-notch care of myself.  Because Blooma has classes where I can bring Samuel with me, and offers childcare on-site, this is much easier to achieve.

My journey with Blooma started with barre class at 14 weeks of pregnancy.  I’d been dealing with very significant pain in my sacrum for a couple of weeks.  I knew that I needed something to help stabilize and strengthen my pelvis and decided to try a barre class.  After the first class the pain had significantly decreased and I was hooked.   I made an effort to get to barre class at least 3 times/week-- it became one of my main priorities.  If I didn’t go, the pain would start to return, so I was motivated. I was also determined to do barre regularly because I remembered how much strength it takes to care for a baby-- to hold and wear a baby, and then a toddler--for long hours, and especially to lug that infant car seat everywhere!    

I had done weight training and exercise during my first pregnancy, but by the time I was recovering from my third birth, I was physically weak and depleted and had a variety of physical ailments related to this.  This time around I wanted things to be different and I was determined to emerge from this pregnancy strong and vibrant.

Samuel is now almost 5 months old and I have marveled so many times at what a profound impact Blooma has had on the ease of my postpartum journey.   We try to make it to babywearing barre at least a couple times each week. Postpartum can be an incredibly isolating and lonely time, especially in the winter months. Getting to class regularly not only boosts my energy and my mood, but has provided connection and community, laughter and support.   

The staff at Blooma and the other women in my classes have witnessed my baby grow within my belly and now out in the world.  They have celebrated with me and sympathized with me, and I have done the same for them. They’ve witnessed me when my baby is adorable and when he’s inconsolable.  By showing up again and again I have not only become stronger and more comfortable physically, but I’ve also learned to be more vulnerable and more compassionate with myself and others.  

For everything I have received at Blooma I am so grateful.  Thank you amazing teachers and staff. Thank you Sarah. And thank you to all the women in the classes who share this space with me.  

Kara is a Blooma Mama and the founder and senior practitioner at Fertile Ground Women's Health and Fertility Center.  Fertile Ground is a holistic women's health center in Southwest Minneapolis offering acupuncture, Chinese medicine, therapeutic massage and Maya Abdominal Therapy for women facing fertility challenges, who are pregnant, postpartum or dealing with other women's health concerns.

Blooma and HeathEast Early Labor Lounge – NOW OPEN!

Delaying admission to Labor and Delivery until a woman is in active labor can be challenging for families. Many women arrive for evaluation before they are in active labor.

Early labor management is a critical time to reduce the cesarean birth rate. When women are admitted to the hospital in early labor they are at increased risk for receiving interventions and having a cesarean section (Rahnama, et al, 2006). With the exceedingly high rate of cesarean sections in the United States (32% from 2013 census data), prevention of the first cesarean birth is important in reducing the overall cesarean rate (current rate of vaginal births after cesarean section – VBAC - is approximately 10%). When women present in early labor at a HealthEast hospital, we often recommend that they go home to labor in the comfort of their own environment. Some women are uneasy with this, feeling nervous to labor at home or are concerned they may birth at home or while in transit. At Woodwinds Health Campus, we want to provide our clients with a comfortable alternative to going home. An Early Labor Lounge has been shown to improve client satisfaction and decrease early admission, thereby lowering the rate of medical interventions and cesarean sections (Rahnama, et al, 2006).

The Blooma and HealthEast Early Labor Lounge offers a space for women and their support team to use until the onset of active labor. The Early Labor Lounge is a beautiful and relaxing space, with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the natural woodlands surrounding Woodwinds. It has supplies needed for the laboring team, such as birth balls, yoga mats, rocking chairs, snacks, hydration, relaxing lighting as well as inspirational messages of encouragement and empowerment to help women as they work through their labor.

Maternal anxiety and fear can lead to medical interventions and less optimal birth outcomes (Hodnett, 2008); promoting comfort and empowerment of the laboring woman can help her cope with the challenges of labor. It addition to staying relaxed and comfortable in early labor, some comfort measures can help a woman progress through labor. Some strategies and techniques include intimate support from a partner and/or doula, ambulation, position changes, utilizing a birth ball, rebozo use, therapeutic shower or bath, acupressure, massage, and nutritional support (Paul, 2017). Some of these supportive therapies are offered in the Blooma and HealthEast Early Labor Lounge.

By providing this space, Woodwinds families will have a comfortable alternative to going home if they arrive in early labor. We hope this will improve our patients’ happiness with their birth experience and improve outcomes. We hope the Blooma and HealthEast Early Labor Lounge makes a positive impact on the clients we serve and finds a permanent home at Woodwinds and other locations.

Written by Natalie Jacobson-Dunlop, MS, CNM, APRN, HealthEast Certified Nurse-Midwife

 

 

 

 

 

Hodnett, E. D., Stremler, R., Eston, J. A., et al. (2008). Effect on birth outcomes of a formalised approach to care in hospital labour assessment units: international, randomised controlled trial. BMJ, vol. 337, (Aug 28 1) 2008.

Paul, J. A., Yount, S. M, Blankstein Breman, R., et al (2017). Use of an early Labor Lounge to promote admission in active labor. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health 62 (2), 204-209.

Rahnama, P., Ziaei, S., Faghihzadeh, S. (2006). Impact of early admission in labor on method of delivery. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 92 (3): 217-220.

Spinning Babies - Empower Your Birth

Blooma is proud to partner with the world renowned Spinning Babies program. The goal of Spinning Babies is to create conditions where baby can find the optimal positions for labor, making birth easier, less painful, and even pleasurable! Our Spinning Babies Parent Class teaches you and your partner exercises to expand your pelvis and make room for baby.

Here are the kinds words from one mama in our Spinning Babies Parent Class. You can learn more about Spinning Babies Parent Class, and find a class for you using the dates listed below.

Spinning Babies was hands down the most valuable childbirth education class I took. I felt so fortunate that the parent class was offered at Blooma during my second pregnancy. I was familiar with the Spinning Babies website, but the instruction and coaching offered during the Spinning Babies Parent Class made a world of difference for me. We were trying for a VBAC. The class gave us a better understanding of anatomy and positioning, as well as concrete daily actions to optimize baby's position. It also helped me process some elements of my first labor that ended with an unplanned c-section.We did the the Spinning Babies exercises every day for the last 2 months of my pregnancy, and ended up having a successful VBAC! Baby was in great position and my labor was fairly swift and uncomplicated. I really felt that, no matter what the outcome of my second birth ended up being, using the tools from Spinning Babies Parent Class empowered me. Knowing that I was doing everything I could to physically ready myself for birth gave me great confidence and peace. When the time came, my body and my baby were ready! I am so thankful for the Spinning Babies Parent Class, and I highly recommend it.

Written by Blooma Mama Robynne

Spinning Babies Parent Class At Blooma

December 7 in St. Paul with Amy Kelley

December 15 in Minneapolis with Amy Kelley

January 26 in Minneapolis with Amy Kelley

February 28 in St. Paul with Amy Kelley

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

The uterus grows 500 times its original size during pregnancy. FIVE-HUNDRED!!! It starts deep in the pelvis & by full term it reaches the rib cage, which means everything attached to it stretches & moves too. In addition, all the body parts that are not growing are moving to accommodate your baby. Your lordodic curve (or the curve in your low back) increases exponentially during pregnancy to maintain your balance and keep you from falling over – this can put added stress on your muscles and ligaments on top of all the other body changes occurring. Thank goodness for chiropractic adjustments!

Chiropractic care during pregnancy not only focuses on correcting spinal subluxations in order to restore normal, all-over body function, but it also looks at the sacrum's role in the pregnant pelvis. By adjusting the sacrum we can support healthy pelvic function in an expecting mother throughout pregnancy and into birth. This is done using an analysis called the Webster Technique.

Since the pregnant pelvis is a unit, all its pieces are connected to one another and must be working together to create a comfortable place for baby to grow. The Webster Technique looks at the sacrum and its joints, while checking the round ligaments for tension. The sacrum is attached to the uterus by a strong ligament, therefore misalignment of the sacrum may cause tightening and twisting of this ligament that can contribute to excessive tension in the uterus. By adjusting the sacrum, we can release tension in the structures around the uterus and relieve stress on the uterus. An important part of prenatal care is keeping the round ligaments flexible and relaxed while keeping the pelvis aligned. This helps the uterus maintain balance for the baby to grow in a good position throughout pregnancy. This not only helps keep mom comfortable during pregnancy, but can contribute to a safer, easier birth.

Women usually seek out chiropractic care for low back, hip, and pubic pain as well as discomfort in their ribs and mid-back. These discomforts can also be caused by misalignment of the sacrum and can be improved when receiving regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. Getting adjusted while pregnant helps prepare the pelvis for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating balance in the bones, ligaments, and muscles around the birth canal. Chiropractic care has shown to reduce birth times for first time mothers on an average of 24% compared to women that did not receive chiropractic care while pregnant. Women who have had previous births had a 39% shorter birth times.

A pregnant mama's body is literally changing everyday all day long to accommodate her baby's needs. It's a good idea to get checked regularly to be sure all the growing & moving parts are working together so you have comfort and ease during pregnancy and birth.

Written by Dr. April, Chiropractor and Mama

Dr. April offers gentle, individual pre and postnatal chiropractic care for women and their families. She believes by nurturing and supporting our bodies we are able to experience our full potential – this care is especially important during pregnancy and the months following birth for mom and baby. She is seeing participants in Blooma Mpls, and is Webster certified and a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Make an appointment here, or give us a call: (612) 223-8064

 

Sources:

Nature, Int Wkly J Sci - December 2007

  1. Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health - May 10, 2012

ICPA Ohm Notes

Fallon J. Proceedings of the world chiropractic congress. 1991; 24-31

Ask The Educators: What Should I Wear For My Birth?

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

We love hearing your questions, and helping you make informed decisions for your birth. Many mamas and partners want to know, What should I wear to my birth?

The short answer is, it’s totally up to you!  As a doula, I’ve seen birthing people wear a wide range of things.  

For some, yoga clothes scream comfort.  I’ve had many of my clients wear stretchy yoga pants throughout most of their labor. When they decide to get into a tub for comfort during active labor they either take all their clothes off, or leave just their bra on.  At most birthing places they have a stretchy piece of fabric that is placed over fetal monitors to keep them in place.  You could use this mesh fabric as a makeshift bra top, too.  It’s thin and doesn’t go over your shoulder like most bras, making it easy to maneuver.  

Wearing a mid-thigh or knee length skirt can be a good choice for some, so your legs are free to move.  If you are birthing in the summer, a flowy maxi dress might also work! During your birthing time you may experience the release of bodily fluids like the mucus plug, vaginal discharge, blood, or amniotic fluid.  Wearing a pad with disposable mesh undies (a common garment kept stocked at every birth place) might be the best option for you if you prefer not to get your own undergarments messy. You may get blood or bodily fluids on anything you may wear.  Some people choose to wear hospital gowns for this reason.  At the end of the day, the gown is not your property and someone kindly takes it off your hands and deals with the washing.  If the sound of laboring in yoga clothes, a skirt, or flowy dress makes your skin itch you may prefer to be naked at your birth!  If you are in a safe place where you feel supported by those around you, undressing completely may feel most freeing.  When the intensity and frequency of your contractions require your full attention you likely will not care what you are wearing.  

Bottom line, simple is better.  I suggest finding one outfit you feel comfortable moving around in and is easily accessible for intermittent fetal monitoring, frequent bathroom trips, and easy to take off when you want.  After baby comes it’s best to have everything off your chest.  Keeping baby skin-to-skin with the mother or other primary caregivers during the first hour improves baby’s ability to breastfeed successfully and self-attach.  Skin-to-skin contact also helps maintain optimal temperature for baby and promotes the release of oxytocin, which can reduce the risk of hemorrhage.  Following the first two hours after birth some birthing people like to put on a robe or a nursing top that is accessible for nursing, easy to cover up with, and easy to take off if needed.  

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga & Kids Yoga Instructor and mama-to-be.  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula.

 

Top Image by Meredith Westin Photography

Thank Goodness for the Prep Work! Margaret's Birth Story

“Giving birth can be the most empowering experience of a lifetime – an initiation into a new dimension of mind-body awareness.” ~Ina May Gaskin

As soon as I got pregnant I read everything related to pregnancy and childbirth. I wanted to know what to expect, and what I could do to ensure everything went smoothly.

I opted to take Hypnobirthing class through Blooma (shout out to Channing!).  

Hypnobirthing provided me with information about what to expect in the different stages of labor, and offered several techniques to help me cope with the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that pop up during childbirth.  It also provided a platform for my husband and I to talk about my wishes during labor and birth, and how he could best support me.  It helped him to know what to look for as I was going into labor and what he could expect.  Which, it turned out would be very helpful in my labor and birth.

As a part of Hypnobirthing you do daily work on affirmations and visualizations.  These were incredibly helpful for me on so many levels.  It not only helped me work through my own fears leading up to my labor and delivery, it helped me cope with the new experiences I was having in pregnancy empowering me as “labor-day” drew near. 

Doing this work helped me to honor and trust in my body and my son to birth safely.  These things that I practiced turned out to be critical, allowing me to have a labor experience that left me feeling happy and empowered.

I had measured “big” all along, and was so convinced my son would come early. I think every first-time mom thinks this - or is it just me?  I remember my midwives telling me that it’s normal for a first-time mom to go past her guess date.  I also remember thinking “yeah, okay – but that won’t be me”. The universe was laughing in my face.  It was a full eight days after my guess date that I went into labor. Nine days post-guess date my son, Crosby, joined us Earth-side. 

By labor started with a false-alarm water breaking (being that pregnant in the height of the summer – one never knows).  After this false alarm I was having inconsistent surges/contractions.  This went on for several days…

Finally, on Friday, August 3rd, I hit a mental break.  I had been having surges irregularly for at least 24 hours and I felt like I was not progressing AT ALL.  I remember thinking I was going to be in this in-between state forever.  As these surges continued, I utilized my breathing skills that I had been practicing and continued my affirmations.

After two phone calls to the midwife, an increasing pressure and discomfort low in my pelvis, and continued inconsistent surges, I was convinced I was in very early labor or prodromal labor. I consciously welcomed the sensations that I was feeling and let them flow.  In fact, I remember wanting to feel more of it – because I knew that would mean we were getting somewhere!

Eventually, I felt like I needed to use the restroom, so I tried, and tried, and tried.  I didn’t need to go to the bathroom - it was a head, my sons head. In the moment I was confused. Listening to my body I thought I was progressing, but because of my irregular surges and after my conversations with the midwife I was convinced I wasn’t even close to birthing this baby. (Side note: my husband was NOT confused – he knew what was up.  But remained a steadfast observer and supporter.)

Before I knew it, my body sprang into action.  I felt a surge coming and my whole stomach bore down! After a conversation with my husband, and a call to the midwife, we were on our way to the birth center!

These pushing surges continued and about 30 minutes later we arrived at the birth center.  My midwife checked baby, I got in the water, I was checked, and he was on his way out!

This is where things got good! The water was AMAZING.

This was a happy phase for me – it felt good that my baby was coming, that I was in a comfortable space surrounded by the support team I trusted.  I worked with my body and breathed through the pushing phase. This is really where I feel the techniques that I had learned and practiced paid off!  About 2 hours after arriving at the birth center, we had our baby boy.  It was the most crazy and surreal experience.  I wouldn’t change a moment of it.

In the moment, I couldn’t tell you what stage of labor I was experiencing, but I knew to use my breath. I knew how to build support around me that allowed me to get through the moments of fear. The months prior to my birth, I had been learning and practicing so that I could put these lessons into action. It felt so good to work with my body as I brought my dear boy into this world.  My experience would not have been the same if I did not put in the work.  By preparing and practicing coping skills I set myself up for success.

Doing the work, taking time to educate yourself (and your partner), preparing your mind and body, and sharing your wishes with your support team are amazing steps you can take to create an amazing and empowering birth experience.

Written by Margaret Achu – Certified Health Coach, Occupational Therapist, Mama You can follow me on Instagram @coach_margaret_achu or check out my website margaretachu.com

To schedule a Health Coach appointment with Margaret, you can contact her at coach@margaretachu.com,  or you may schedule an introductory session through Blooma’s Wellness page.

Is This Really Happening? Becca's Birth Story

"Ugh, here we go again," I thought, “more Braxton Hicks contractions.” I was sitting down to eat dinner with my three-year-old. We had just gotten home from the neighborhood wading pool, where I unabashedly stuffed my gigantic belly into a swim suit and floated on my hands and knees among all the small children in the pee-laden pool water. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions through the second half of my pregnancy, but in the last few weeks they had really picked up momentum. They had become intense, and I was certain I would have to endure them for another week, at which point my midwives would tell me my time was up and I had to schedule a c-section. I was trying for a VBAC, so I was on a much tighter time schedule. My first was born at 42 weeks and six days via beautiful c-section, after 45 grueling hours of labor. Even though I was really hoping for a VBAC, I was unconvinced it was something my body was going to do. My care providers told me, "Trust your body," and that was a really nice idea, but I was having a hard time getting there. 

So there we were, Arthur and I, still in our swimsuits, eating dinner. My husband, Mike, was at work. He wasn't scheduled to work that evening, and even though it was my due date, he was also unconvinced that this baby was coming any time soon. So, he picked up an extra shift. About ten minutes into dinner, I realized the contractions were happening pretty regularly. "Huh," I thought, "maybe I should download one of those contraction-tracking apps." So I did, and I immediately realized I was having contractions that were one minute long and five minutes apart. "Hmm," I thought again, "maybe I should pay attention to this."

The contractions kept coming at regular intervals, and I took Arthur in the backyard to play with the neighbor boys. After 30 minutes it seemed like things might be getting more intense, but I was in full denial that this was actually labor. “Mommy, are you ok?” asked my sensitive, perceptive little guy. “Yeah, mommy’s ok. I just have a tummy ache.” I was sure this would pass and we would continue on with our night as usual. But I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, so I called my mother-in-law, Susie, and asked if she would come over. She got so excited and asked if she should take Arthur to her house for the night. "No," I said, "I'm sure this is nothing. Will you just come play with him for a while and help me with beditme? I'm sure this will go away." Well, in ten minutes, it most definitely was not going away, it was getting stronger. I called over the fence to the neighbors, "I think something might be happening. Can you watch Arthur until Susie gets here?" I went inside and frantically started picking up the house, and before I even realized it, I was bracing myself and breathing through contractions. Time to text the doula. 

Me: Something's happening.

Nicole (one of my amazing doulas): Oh yeah? 

Me: But I'm sure it's nothing.

Nicole: Do you want me to come over?

Me: No, I don't think so. 

Nicole: Are you having contractions?

Me: Yeah, they're a minute long and five minutes apart.

Nicole: Well, that's something! Is Mike there?

Me: No, he's at work.

Nicole: Maybe you should have him come home.

Me: I don't think so. I'm sure it's nothing. 

 

But, I went ahead and texted him…

 

Me: Hey babe, I'm feeling some intense stuff here.

Mike: Great! Ignore it.

Me: I know, right? I'm sure it's nothing.

Mike: Keep me informed. I love you!

I continued to brace myself and breathe through the contractions. "Maybe I should take this seriously," I thought. "Nah, I'll just get in the bath." But first I called Nicole. We talked through two contractions, and she said she was coming over. "You're in labor!" she announced. "You think so?" I asked. I was still unconvinced. "I'm going to take a bath," I told her, “and it will probably go away. Door’s open – come on in when you get here."

I called Mike and told him he should think about coming home. "Ok, should I keep taking tables? Or just finish out what I have?" I told him he should probably finish his tables and head home. "Do you think this is it?" he asked. "I don't know. I think so. I don't know," I said.

I sat in the bath for exactly 30 seconds and said aloud to myself, "Get me the hell out of here." I was so uncomfortable.

I think that's when I finally accepted that I was in labor. I started frantically throwing Arthur's overnight things in a bag. "He can't see me have a contraction," I thought, "he'll be so freaked out." Susie came bursting through the door then, and I shoved the overnight bag at her, and asked her to get Arthur out of there as soon as possible. She watched me have a few contractions and joked that I might have a home birth after all (which is what I had wanted with the first one). She was very concerned to leave me alone. I knew Nicole would be there soon. I couldn't get Susie and Arthur out of there fast enough. I knew I couldn't let my body do its thing until Arthur was out of my care. For months I had been in tears every time I thought about this moment - letting go of Arthur as my baby and turning my attention to a new baby. I had envisioned this would be a heartfelt moment, with prolonged hugs and kisses, as I said goodbye to my little boy who would be a big brother the next time I saw him. But there was no time for that. In between contractions I gave him a quick kiss and shoved him and his grandma out the door. 

A few contractions later Nicole arrived. "Is Mike on his way home?" she asked. I wasn't even sure. Did I tell him to come right home? Things were getting so intense that I couldn't really remember or bother with my phone. Thank god for doulas. The details get a little blurry from here, as I instinctively moved to my hands and knees and started making that all-too-familiar moaning sound I had made three years earlier. I was kneeling on the floor with my head on the couch, thinking, "I can do this. I got this. I can do this for ten hours." I had prepared myself to last 12 hours; that was my max. I knew I could labor that long. Past that, I was giving myself permission to wave the white flag. I was determined not to have a repeat of the marathon labor I had with my son. I was left traumatized by that birth. Deep down, I didn't really care how this baby came out - via VBAC or via c-section. What I did care about was having a different birth than the first - one that didn't last for 45 hours. I was already one hour in. I could do this for quite a while longer. And hey, I could get an epidural at the hospital. Yep, I got this.

Thirty minutes later Mike came through the front door, saw me on hands and knees, and heard the familiar moaning, and he knew it was real. “That’s a noise you don’t really forget,” I remember him later telling the doulas when the birth was over. "Ok guys, I'm going to pee, then we need to go," I announced. This most definitely WAS happening.

On the short walk from the house to the car, things got ugly. I crawled into the backseat and turned circles like a dog trying to find a comfortable spot. This was really happening. Like REALLY happening. In the next five minutes I had five contractions. I was panicking and climbing the walls of the backseat - I was no longer in control. I let the pain come out of my mouth and screamed through each contraction. They were coming one on top of another. "I'm losing it!" I cried. "I need a fucking break! They're coming so fast!" We weren't even on the freeway yet. We still had 20 minutes in the car. "Mike, I need an epidural as soon as we get there! Ok?" "Of course, baby. Of course," he calmly reassured me. Poor guy. I’m sure the last way he felt was calm.

Nicole was following us to the hospital. Our other amazing doula, Liz, was meeting us there. Nicole was a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist at the time, and she was scheduled to work that night. Our plan was working perfectly. She was going to be my nurse that night, while Liz was going to be our doula. At our last clinic appointment, we had joked with Vida (our favorite midwife) that we would see her on Friday night, which was her on-call shift at the hospital. And here it was, Friday night. My dream team was all in order. And it was my due date. Was this really happening?

It was, and very quickly at that. Somewhere on Hwy 100, I started to feel pressure. Liz's all-knowing doula powers kicked in and she called Mike right at that moment. "Tell her to pant like a dog," she instructed. Thank god for that. I crawled and screamed and swore and panted the rest of the way to the hospital. What a ride!

Liz opened the car door and I fell into her arms. I clung to her all the way to triage, and I clamped my eyes shut, firmly telling anyone around me who could hear that I wanted an epidural. They checked me. I was already at a seven. Holy mary mother of god! "I want an epidural! I want an epidural! I want an epidural!" As I screamed and grunted my way to the delivery room, everyone reassured me the epidural was on its way. Before I got into bed, I leaned over through a contraction, and my water exploded onto the floor. Vida appeared, and I calmed down long enough to say hi to her. I asked yet again for an epidural. I got up onto the bed and she checked me. "Becca, you're at a ten. Look at me." When Vida tells you to do something, you do it. I opened my eyes for the first time since arriving at the hospital. "Becca, you're complete. You can push." WHAT?! I didn’t think those were words I’d ever hear. Those were words reserved for women who had vaginal births. Was I going to join that club?

I was in agony, but I felt amazing. And I also realized I wasn't getting an epidural. But what I didn't realize was how good it would feel to push. I mean, not good, but at least now I felt like I could do something with the pain. Pushing was hard. Really fucking hard. After 20 minutes I thought to myself, "Shit, some women push for hours. I don't think I can do this for hours." But lucky for me, Liz is a master at describing how to push. If it wasn't for her, I think I would have pushed for much longer. "Becca, push that baby across the room!" Every time Liz said that, I pushed in a different way. And every time I pushed like that, everyone who was looking at the business end of things started cheering. I guess pushing isn't just pushing - there is a specific way to push that creates a lot more progress. "I want this baby out!" I screamed. It was time. Two more hard rounds of pushing, and someone was saying, "Becca, reach down and grab your baby! You're having your baby. Open your eyes! Reach down and grab your baby!" I couldn't reach down and grab my baby – all I could do was keep pushing. A few seconds later, a warm, wet baby was placed on my tummy, and Mike paused, looked, and announced, "You have a baby ... GIRL!" Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! "Mike, I did it!” I cried. “Mike, I did it! Mike! I DID IT!" 

I'll never forget that moment. Maybe one day I'll think of it without tears welling in my eyes, but not today. It was the most profound feeling of accomplishment that I've ever felt and will ever feel. And it was over. Thank god, it was over. In only four hours, our family of three was transformed into a family of four.

Everyone who knows about Arthur's birth asks me if Francesca's birth was healing. No, no it was not. I did need to heal from Arthur's birth, but I needed to do that by honoring his birth, not by replacing it. All I wanted was for this birth to be different that my first, and it couldn't have been any more different. The births of my babies are both beautiful in their own ways. Birth is such a mystery until it happens. You never know what kind of birth you will get, and I am lucky to have birthed my babies in completely different ways. I may not have yelled "I did it!" after Arthur was born, but I should have.

Francesca Felice was born on her due date, 7/7/17, and she weighed 7lb 7oz. Lying there with my new baby girl on my chest was the best feeling I think I'll ever feel. It was over. I didn't have to labor anymore. And look what I had to show for it! A baby girl! I did it. I did it. I DID IT!

Written by Becca, Assistant Manager at Blooma Minneapolis, Prenatal Yoga Teacher, and Mama of two.

 

I Sucked at Being Pregnant

I have an app on my phone that calculates the odds of my flight going down. I just plug in the airline, the make of the plane, the departure and destination airport, and voila - my fate appears on the screen. Once the four pieces of information have been inputted, it produces some glorious statistic such as, “There is a 1 in 3,983,422 chance of the flight going down.” I wish I could say that the $1.99 I forked over for this app has eliminated all anxiety about flying, but unfortunately, the presentation of numbers is too rational. And anxiety is not. What will forever fuel my palm-sweating, eyes squeezed closed, heart racing, coming to terms with my own death, fear of flying is the obvious fact that I am not in control. I suggested to a doctor that I take flight lessons instead of Xanax and she sympathetically assured me that one of those options was cheaper and less time-consuming, and wrote out a prescription. Fine. I will never become a pilot and will never get to be in control of my own flight (destiny). Instead, I will use my app to calm me down, knowing full well it will be the Xanax that will take care of my nerves.

It may not come as a surprise then, that someone who enjoys control and dislikes the unknown, will struggle with some aspects of pregnancy. Cut to the scene of me eight weeks pregnant, my wide eyes red and puffy from an afternoon of crying, demanding that three of my closest friends – who all had children - explain themselves to me. “WHY DIDN’T YOU COMPLAIN MORE?! THIS IS TERRIBLE! WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TALK ABOUT HOW AWFUL THIS IS?!” At that point in my pregnancy, I was experiencing - what I felt to be - an extremely hostile takeover of my body. The nausea was terrible and only moderately subsided when I was shoveling some kind of nutritionless food into my face. I felt sick all the time. Whoever coined this state of vomitus-being as simply “morning sickness” was a fool and I hated them for calling it something so inaccurate. I was exhausted. I couldn’t stop crying. And unlike any other time in my life, I felt like I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that I was experiencing the first of many infinite sacrifices of motherhood. My body was being transformed and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, nor would I want to. Forty weeks felt like forty years. I was mad as hell that I wasn’t prepared for the state I was in. The only logical place to channel that anger was directly at my friends for not preparing me. Obviously.

I will never forget their sympathetic nods and words of encouragement. One of them in particular – who had three children and was probably the quietest during my tirade –started texting me daily to check in. She became my pregnancy coach and frankly, my lifeline. I could vent and she would listen, support, encourage, and gently remind me of the beauty of creating life.

Eventually things started to improve, but I still struggled to find joy in being pregnant. What compounded the bleakness was the fact that I very much felt that I should find joy. We had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and it finally happened. My rational side – the same side that understands that operating an automobile is a bajillion times more dangerous than flying – would very loudly scold my lack of joy. I am not going to list all of the circumstances and scenarios that I would think about willing myself to feel happiness for actually getting to be pregnant. We know them. I would tick through the list and plead with my heart to find joy.

After I triumphantly passed into the second trimester, I went to my first prenatal yoga class at Blooma. I vividly remember standing tall and placing one hand on my lower abdomen, over the tiny zygote furiously growing inside me, and my other hand over my heart. It was quiet. It was calm. The nausea had momentarily subsided and the room was full of glorious Blooma supportive energy (that if I hadn’t experienced myself I’d tell you to tone it the eff down, hippy). A lump in my throat formed. As I breathed in and out and closed my eyes, tears streamed down my cheeks. I just wanted to lay down and do some ugly crying because my heart was suddenly painfully full of joy. I stopped fixating on the hostile takeover that was happening to my body. In that moment, I surrendered. I started channeling thoughts to the little plum. “You can do this. Keep growing. I’ll keep you safe.” And even as I said it, I hoped that I could.

Now, let’s be honest. I may have left the class zenned out on “she believed she could so she did” Blooma love, but by the time I got home, I was probably cursing a litany of things that were uncomfortable and frustrating. And believe me, that did not stop until the day I evicted our sweet, precious bundle of joy from my body. But I definitely realized: first, it was okay that I wasn’t a naturally joyful pregnant woman; and second, it was crucial to take time and space to focus on what was happening and surrender to it. Whenever I did, the joy would come.

Being pregnant and becoming a mom is an ass-kicking in humility, and for someone who prides herself on being able to create some semblance of control with a shitty app for $1.99, I trust that this ass-kicking will keep reminding me that some of life’s best experiences are not mine to control. Oh and here’s the plus side of having a kid and flying: there is no time to contemplate death when there’s a tiny human requiring all of your attention for however many hours the giant tube shoots through the sky. What a fantastic distraction.

Written by Blooma Mama Ann

Five Tips for Staying Healthy Through Your Pregnancy

When most women find out they're pregnant, first comes excitement, then comes the sometimes overwhelming reality of all the changes that are to come. We want to take care of ourselves and our changing body to promote the best health for ourselves and our babies, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. There’s advice everywhere, and it’s often contradictory. As someone who’s delivered babies for over 20 years, here are my top 5 behaviors for keeping you (and baby) healthy through your pregnancy:

1) Eat well – We all know that pregnancy is a time when we need more calories for the development of the growing baby.  Mamas need an extra 300 calories a day. An average apple has 95 calories, a banana 105, and a ½ cup of cucumber only 8.  We also need a lot more protein than most of us usually get.  You need 2-3 servings of meat and/or legumes a day to get the recommended amount.  Eggs and peanut butter are also good sources of protein.

2)Move Your Body– Exercise is always important. It’s also a lot easier to say, than do. During pregnancy, exercise helps keep your weight healthy and safe for you and baby.  It has also been shown that women who exercise during pregnancy tend to have an easier time with labor.  Yoga can be particularly helpful, especially to maintain flexibility while building strength.  Some studies even show that women who exercise during pregnancy have babies who are healthier during their first year of life, compared to babies of women who don’t exercise.

3) Sleep – Over the course of pregnancy, this only gets harder, both because of body discomfort and the need to empty your bladder in the middle of the night.  Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate themselves.  Things are much more tolerable when we have had plenty of sleep.

4) Find a community – It’s easy to start to feel isolated. Finding support with people going through the same thing gives you a place to get questions answered about the changes that go with pregnancy. Find a community of other mothers or mothers to be (Blooma is a great place to do this!)

5) Communicate with your partner – Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body and mind, and it’s easy to internalize a lot of those changes and the thoughts that go with them.  Remember that your partner wants to know what’s happening.  Together you are the base for your family, so make sure to carve out time to maintain the relationship that existed before pregnancy.

We encourage you to move your body, relax your mind, and connect with other mamas at Blooma. Learn more about our offerings here.

 

Written by Laura France, MD, FACOG, obstetrician/gynecologist, Senior Medical Director – Women and
Children’s Service Line at HealthEast. Learn more at www.healtheast.org/maternity.

Birth Story: "Go With The Flow"

Thank you for sharing the beautiful story of Hudson's Birth.

The moment I found out I was pregnant I had an Amazon Prime order in for the top pregnancy books so I could prepare for pregnancy and birth.  I’m a Project Manager by profession, so needless to say I’m a meticulous planner.  We took the Blooma Birth Class, did classes with our midwives, and I constantly read blogs and birth stories. I had, what I thought was, the perfect detailed birth plan.  I wanted a natural water birth with the midwives at my hospital.  Little did I know, my sweet baby boy had a different plan for me.

My due date came and went, and I wanted to avoid induction if at all possible.  We had friends and family constantly reaching out, asking for updates and wondering why the heck I hadn’t been induced yet.  It was the longest two weeks of our lives. After trying every natural way to induce labor I learned that baby will come when baby is ready!  I also learned that maybe we shouldn't have shouted our due date from the rooftops to family and friends - post due date was such an emotional time to get through.

Had it been my choice, I would have waited even longer. I simply didn’t want to go through the cascade of interventions that can oftentimes lead to a c-section.  But, at 42 weeks, we went in to the hospital for induction and I was only 1 cm dilated.  My midwife was supportive of my birth plan, and tried to stay true to it as much as possible following the induction. Thanks to our classes and preparation, we felt educated to make decisions as things progressed forward.

After 36 hours of labor, I was exhausted and, in my mind, “gave in” to the the epidural.  Within 2 hours of the epidural I went from 6 cm, to fully dilated and ready to push.  After 3 hours of pushing, the OB came in to check the positioning of our baby.  He was face up and after a flip and 3 additional hours of pushing, it was determined that he was stuck.  I was devastated to find out that a c-section was my only option after 40 hours of labor.  

In a blink of an eye, Hudson was here, and I completely forgot about all of the exhaustion and pain.  Along the way, I listened to my body and the excellent health care professionals surrounding me.  Do what you can to prepare for your birth, but be ready to adjust your plan based on what is actually happening.  Go with the flow, and listen to your support team, this will be the key in getting through it all.  Be your own advocate and surround yourself with people you trust.  Labor and delivery is a beautiful experience - even if it doesn’t follow “the plan”.

Written by A Blooma Mama.

Share your birth story with us here.

What on Earth Is a Padsicle And Why Is This DIY Project So Important?

A padsicle is a pad soaked in herbal tea and then frozen to be used not only to help soothe the tissues of the perineum and the vulva after a vaginal birth, but also to promote and expedite the healing process. The tissues of the perineum, vulva, and vagina are quite tender and swollen after birth regardless of whether or not stitches were needed.

Padiscles can dramatically improve the healing process and can help decrease painful sensations of discomfort. I suggest making these during the week of your guess date or in early labor. This is also a great task for partners, postpartum doulas, friends, or family that want to be helpful. My husband and I gathered all the supplies ahead of time and made these during labor. It was a great distraction during early labor and I was beyond grateful to come home to these!

What you’ll need:

  • - Spray bottle
  • - Gallon Ziplock Bag/Tupperware/Glass baking dish with a lid
  • - Parchment paper
  • - 6 quarts of distilled water
  • - 30 overnight/super maxi pads
  • - Pure Aloe Vera Gel-This ingredient is optional! If you do choose to incorporate this ingredient avoid using dyes and fragrances.
  • - Postpartum sitz bath herbal blend. You can order this blend or make your own:
    • 1/2 cup comfrey root
    • 1/2 cup calendula flowers
    • 1/4 cup lavender flowers
    • 1/4 cup witch hazel bark

It is always important to be selective about the products you use for menstrual care, but it is especially important following birth as the tissues of the vulva, vagina, and perineum will be particularly sensitive as they heal. It is best to avoid products containing chlorine, plastics, perfumes, dyes, and other toxic ingredients. When your skin comes in direct contact with chemicals, those chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream these chemicals often accumulate as our bodies typically lack the enzymes necessary to break them down. Be sure to read the listed ingredients as some products that are branded as “natural” or “free & clear” are often misleading. These pads are a fantastic choice.

Instructions:

  • - Bring distilled water to a boil.
  • - Add the postpartum sitz bath herbs to the pot of boiling water. Stir the herbs, cover the pot, and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the herbs to steep for 20 minutes.
  • - Strain the herbs and fill a spray bottle with the tea. Save the remaining tea in a pitcher or mason jar(s) in the fridge for your peri bottle and sitz baths.
  • - Unwrap each pad.
  • - If you are using the aloe vera: Using a butter knife or spatula spread a thin layer of aloe vera gel covering the surface of the pad.
  • - Spray each pad with the tea concentration on where your sore perineum will make contact. Use enough tea to dampen the pad but don't saturate the pad as you want to preserve some of the absorbency of the pads for postpartum bleeding.
  • - Wrap the pad in parchment paper and place in your chosen container. Once container is full place it in the freezer until you are ready to use the padsicles.
  • - When you are ready to use them, unwrap the padsicle and let thaw for 3 minutes before using. Use 2-5 daily for the first two weeks postpartum.

  • *To use in peri bottle: Fill your peri bottle 1/2 way with warm water and then add the tea until the bottle is full. Use this mixture every time you use the bathroom.
  • *To use in a sitz bath: Fill your bathtub with just enough water to cover your lap and then add 1 cup of tea. Soak for 10-20 minutes. Repeat 1-3 times daily.

Written By Jamie Huberty-Koerner is, a mother, birth doula, placenta encapsulator, student midwife, and a childbirth educator at Blooma.

Ask the Educators: When Should I Go to My Hospital or Birth Center?

Childbirth education at Blooma serves families no matter what type of birth they are planning. All classes present evidence-based information for normal and safe birth, influenced by the Lamaze 6 Healthy Birth Practices. Classes provide information to expectant families to reduce their fear or anxiety while building confidence and preparing them for birth.

Each Blooma Educator is a seasoned birth doula, up to date on birthing practices and policies.

Our educators frequently hear the same concerns about pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

A question our educators frequently hear: At what point during labor should I go to the hospital or birth center?

First and foremost, we advise all birthing people to listen to their body and their heart.  The most important thing is that you feel safe wherever you are.  This means some birthing people may stay at home longer than others, and some may choose to head to their birthing place earlier on.  Your labor may not meet the criteria below, and that’s the beauty of birth!  It’s not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing.  There is a wide range of normal when it comes to labor patterns, and despite the differences each birthing person may experience, there is always some amount of common ground.

Here are a couple tips and tricks to give you insight.

It is always a good idea to let your care team know when you suspect you are in labor.  Your provider, and doula if you're choosing to work with one, can help you identify where you are at in your labor by listening (in person or on the phone) as you cope through a contraction.  They may suggest rest and comfort measures and encourage you to stay at home a bit longer.  If it’s clear you are in full-on active labor, your provider or doula may suggest making your way to the car (which sometimes can take 30 minutes as you’ll need to pause and focus during contractions) and head to your place of birth.

“4-1-1” is a great tool to help you gauge the progress you are making.  During active labor, contractions will pick up in intensity, become closer together, and stay that way.  We love to see a pattern of 4 minutes between the start of one contraction to the next and each contraction lasting for about 60 seconds.  This pattern should occur for at least an hour.  At this stage of labor your contractions will require your full attention and focus and you will not be easily distracted.  Your job is to breathe and cope through each wave and surge, and then rest in between.  Your support people (partner and/or doula) will be giving you their full attention; helping with position changes, providing water/snacks, encouraging you to go to the bathroom frequently, and reminding you of your strength and power.  It can be so helpful to have someone right by your side the entire time.

Plan accordingly with the travel time from your house to your birthing place.  It is also important to factor in heavy traffic times. Sitting in a car is not the most comfortable place to labor, so if you are approaching a heavy traffic time, you may want to work with your care team to work around it.

What might be an advantage to laboring at home for a longer period of time?

You may be giving birth at a hospital or birth center. But, it is a good idea to labor at home.

It helps to arrive at your place of birth when labor is fully established.  At this point you are more likely to be in a good rhythm with coping through the discomfort and know what tools work well to help you manage each surge. Sometimes arriving at your place of birth too early in labor can cause contraction patterns to subside or stall.

If you are hoping for an unmedicated birth, staying at home as long as you feel safe and comfortable increases your chance of avoiding interventions.

Your home is where you live!  It’s comfortable and safe.  You have your own blankets, pillows, bed, and couch.  You are surrounded by your own scent and personal feel.  You have access to your own kitchen and food preferences to keep you nourished.  Being in your own space allows you the ability to control things like lighting, music, and mood in a much more private and uncensored space than that of your birthing place.

Always remember to listen to your body and your heart. When unsure, always reach out to your educator, doula, midwife, or doctor.

Want to feel more prepared for your birth? Have more questions for our educators? We encourage you to join us for one of our Childbirth Education Classes at Blooma. Find one here. Best of luck to you and your birth!

Laboring at Home Photo by Jenna Dailey

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Kids, Toddler, & Byob Yoga Instructor.  Wife, dog mom, sister, daughter, and auntie to 6 beautiful children!  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula or visit my website at www.amynkelley.com

A Birth Story - Baby Fritz

Seven weeks. It’s been seven weeks since Fritz decided to grace our lives with his presence outside of the womb. I truly do not know where the month of May went – it seems to have flashed by in a snap. However, the seven weeks leading up to Fritz’s arrival dragged slowly on.

My pregnancy with him, my third, carried along relatively fine and uneventful. But, as anyone who has been pregnant before will tell you, the last handful of weeks tick by at a snails pace. As our family approached his due date, there was a flurry of family events, and we wondered if you would be a part of them – our daughter’s birthday, Easter, and a few baptisms of his cousins. Nope. He decided he wanted an entrance and celebration that was completely his own.

At my 40 week appointment, two days after my guess date, I was completely fed up with being pregnant, and so dearly wanted labor to be over and our baby to be on the outside of my body. I spoke with my midwife about stripping my membranes – something I hadn’t done with our other two babies. She told me that with stripping my membranes, I may or may not go into labor, I could cramp, I could spot, etc.

About an hour after my appointment, I had consistent cramps that felt worse than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been feeling for weeks. But, I still wasn’t sure it was actually labor. I called my husband home from work and a friend to come over to watch our napping kids. Even though I wasn’t sure this was IT, my second labor and delivery was four hours start to finish and I didn’t want to take any chances.  With a flurry of last minute packing and spewing out instructions about our other kids, we went to the hospital, only to see the look in the nurse and midwives’ eyes that I was not in ‘real’ labor. We stayed for observation for a few hours and were sent home. I was so disappointed, and frankly, embarrassed that I didn’t know what my body was doing. Retrospectively, I am glad that we went, even if just to know that everything was healthy and moving along.

The next morning came with cranky kids who seemed to know that something was going to rock their world later that evening. To get out of the house, I put together a list of errands that I had been putting off – like going to the DMV, Costco, and the bank. Waddling in and out of each store, I would have random contractions at no regularity. And, due to the ‘false alarm’ the night before, I wasn’t even sure that they were contractions. After getting the kids home for lunch and down for naps, I finally sat down to time my ‘random’ contractions. Twenty minutes apart. “Oh,” I thought. Maybe this would actually turn into something.

An hour or so later my husband came home, got the kids up for naps and outside to play. Thirty minutes (and two contractions later), I decided we should go on a family walk ‘around the block.’ My contractions were now coming about every five to ten minutes, and soon I needed to stop and breathe through them. My husband called his dad to come over and watch the kids while we went to the hospital. As we got home from the walk, I labored in the living room while my husband tried to make the kids a quick dinner and we waited for my father-in-law to get there. Within ten minutes, my contractions (and back labor) were increasing in intensity and length. Something really felt like it was changing quickly and my husband sent me outside to wait by the car. I kissed my older two babies as I walked out the door, now truly realizing that our family was changing right before my eyes. Within one minute of his dad showing up, my husband was in the car and pulling out of the driveway. Running three red lights with me laboring in the front seat, is how we pulled into the hospital and were raced up to our delivery room.

The nurse who brought us to our room introduced herself and quickly helped me into bed, letting me know my midwife was on her way. My husband happened to tell this nurse that our favorite nurse, who had been a part of both of our previous births had her same name. “Oh, she’s here today too!” said that nurse who brought us to our room. As my contractions were coming right on top of each other, and full of back labor, I was only able to burst into tears, when our favorite nurse walked into our room, ready to be a part of another Olson baby birth.  Her presence, words of encouragement, strength, and gentle touch always seem to be exactly what I need to get through a natural labor. With a team of two nurses and our wonderful midwife, a little baby boy was born into this world not 40 minutes later. He was put on to my chest immediately, stuck his thumb in his mouth and looked up at me with the bluest of eyes.

From the time that I starting timing my contractions to the time that our babe was in my arms was four and a half hours of the most intense labor I have experienced yet. It was so deeply worth the bundle of true joy and easygoing nature which has been given our family. Frederick ‘Fritz’ Simon is a gem and a delightful addition to our little family.

Written by Shea Olson- Wife & Mama Trying to Make it All Work

The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #2 – “13 Reasons Why You REALLY Want a Doula”

Doulas are birth magic, Blooma Family. Aside from the amazing facts this article by the incredible Alisa Blackwood goes through, there is one reason we want to add (call it the bonus reason):

Doulas are trained to hold space for you. They inhale anxiety and anger and pain and exhale peace into your room. They hold your partner's hand while you cannot. They talk to nurses and midwives and family and provide the space you need to give birth in whatever way works that day, for you. They will stand up for you, support you in your choices, and then afterwards, tell you your birth story and give you a hug, telling you that you did a great job.

EVERYONE can use a doula - whether you are birthing in a hospital or in the woods, whether you are waiting until your water breaks at 42 weeks or whether your C-section is already on the calendar.

Can you tell we have so much love for doulas? Well, if this short rant hasn't convinced you yet, please read Alisa's beautiful words in this, our number 2 in the Top 15 Blooma Blog posts of all time:

"13 Reasons You REALLY Want a Doula"

Lots of Blooma love,

Ann + The Women of Blooma