hospital birth

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.

The Birth of Gwen - A VBAC Story

In order to better understand the birth of my daughter, Gwen, let me first tell you a few things about the birth of my first-born, Theo, two years prior. I had been planning for an un-medicated birth at a birth center, but at 37.5 weeks, I developed some complications that led to a long induction, hours of pushing, a stuck baby, and ultimately, a cesarean birth.

As they wheeled me in into the operating for the birth of my first child, I began planning a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) for my second.

Of course, the planning became more concrete once I was actually pregnant. This time, I wanted to be at peace with how the birth went, even if it ended in the operating room. I put a lot of care into selecting a provider who, in the event of another surgical birth, would honor my preferences for a family-centered cesarean.

I wanted a clear drape so that I could see my daughter from the moment she emerged. I wanted delayed cord-clamping and skin-to-skin in the OR. But what I really, really wanted, though I didn’t care to admit it, was a VBAC, or Vaginal Birth After Cesarean.

I had a hard time even saying that out loud. I was nervous to write a birth plan, only for it to be completely derailed. I was terrified to try for a VBAC and was worried about how it would end. I didn’t want to re-live that awful moment in my son’s birth when the energy in the room shifted and it became clear that the baby was only coming out one way, and it was not in the way we had hoped.

As my due date loomed nearer, I talked everyone’s ear off about whether or not to try for a VBAC. My grandma was horrified—she thought it sounded way too dangerous. The rest of my family wanted to support me in whatever I decided. But that was the problem: I couldn’t decide. It was too hard to weigh the potential benefits of a VBAC with the idea of enduring a long labor that ended in the OR again.

I came close, so close, to scheduling a planned cesarean at 39 weeks. But I knew that even if it was a beautiful, family-centered cesarean, there would always be a little part of me that would wonder: “What if? What if I had tried?” So I decided to schedule a cesarean for a little over a week after my due date. I would try for a VBAC if my body went into labor naturally.

My pregnancy with Gwen was uneventful, and every day that I made it past 37.5 weeks felt like a gift. I would have a full-term baby! My blood pressure, which had caused so many problems the first time, was still normal! Now I just needed to go into labor.

At 40 weeks and 2 days, I had three mild contractions about 10 minutes apart, and that was the extent of my early labor. I continued to labor at home for another three hours. The contractions were intensifying, but I was still in denial that it was really happening. I tidied up my room and checked a few things off my to-do list, trying not to get too excited. I paid a bill for the pediatrician. I texted with my sisters about my mom’s upcoming birthday. Things were getting more intense and I asked my husband to come home, but told him to bring his computer with him in case this was a false alarm. Then my contractions, which had been coming about 5 minutes apart, were suddenly 1-2 minutes apart. It was time to go.

On the drive to the hospital, my contractions were strong with very short breaks in between. It was just about rush hour and there was a lot of traffic on our route. Only an hour before I hadn’t been willing to admit that I was in labor. Now I wasn’t sure if we would make it to the hospital in time! Thankfully, we did make it, and when the elevator doors opened and I saw my doula’s face, I honestly have never been so thankful to see another human being in my life. Just the simple act of holding her hands and looking into her reassuring eyes was everything. As we went through the motions of intake questions, getting an IV placed and fetal monitors hooked up (both requirements of hospital VBACs), I used nitrous oxide and it felt like a life-saver. It forced me to breathe more deeply and it took the edge off the contractions.

Forty Five minutes after we arrived at the hospital, my body started spontaneously pushing. It was the craziest sensation I have ever felt. Sometimes people call birth an out-of-body experience, but that was the most in my body I have ever felt. In all of my planning, I thought that when I reached the pushing stage, I would be wrought with fears of my baby getting stuck again or my scar rupturing. Instead, all I could think was “GET HER OUT!” I heard someone say I was fully dilated and I started to push again. With the first push, my bag of water exploded, narrowly missing one of the nurses. I felt the pressure of the baby’s head and decided to give it my all. Another push for her head and one more for her body. Out she flew, onto the bed. Nobody even had time to catch her! I had really done it, she was here, and it was over! Two years of wondering if I would ever get to experience this moment, of research, fear, and hope. I was in total disbelief, shouting, “What? What?” over and over again as she was placed in my arms.

Gwen’s arrival was the most shocking, electrifying, triumphant moment of my life. I am forever grateful to each and every person who walked this path with me, whether they lent an ear or asked questions that made me think deeply about my options. Her birth was a cake-walk compared to the choice of whether or not to attempt a VBAC. To anyone out there trying to make a similar decision, my heart goes out to you. The evidence tells us that for most women, a VBAC is a safe option that carries less risks than a surgical birth. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the right decision for everyone. Only you can determine how to best protect your heart. My wish for you is that you are well informed, well supported, and at peace with whatever you decide, and however your babies are born.

Join Mari as she leads the Blooma VBAC Class on October 29th!

Written by Mari Melby, doula and childbirth educator at Blooma. You can read more from her on her website, www.marimelby.com.

Photo credits: Julia Soplop, Mari’s sister. Calm Cradle Photo and Design

Dear 2016

Dear 2016,

Hi. It’s 2017. You are gone now and a new year is in full-swing. This time of year, some of us reflect on the past, and possibly manifest or set intentions for the future. So, as I pause and look back at you 2016, I realize that I would like to thank you for all you have given to me. 

You 2016 gave me, and possibly many others, 12 months that kicked the shit out of me. For that, I am grateful. Please remember 2016, gratitude doesn’t always mean happiness. It means thank you. Thank you for life lessons.

2016, you humbled me. You taught me that I am not invincible, and quite frankly, I live in a fucking bubble, a bubble where I think everyone is like me, or at least thinks like me. I thought that I lived in a country where people wanted leaders that were kind. That we were moving towards a society of open minds and open hearts. So, thank you for reminding me that we are all different. We have different ways of expressing emotions, we have different values and passions. We have different opinions of who we want to lead our country and how we want to live our lives. And, I need to learn to accept (not agree with) these differences between many of us. Damn that is hard. 

2016 you reminded me of an incredible man that helped shape who I am: Prince. You brought his music back into my life and filled my soul during so many crucial milestones in my life. Songs like, “Starfish and Coffee”, “The Ladder” and “Sometimes it Snows in April” are back on my playlist filling me up when I need it the most. 

I am grateful to you, 2016, for bringing more family into my life. I now have 4 new stepsisters and one new stepbrother. Watching your mother get married for the 4th time is such a gift, especially when you really love the man she’s marrying. David is such a good addition to our lives these past ten years. I am grateful for 4th chances.

 

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2016, you taught me loss. Loss of mentors and loss of those that never took a breath on this earth. 

You introduced me to the darkest side of Alzheimer's and the devil it is. My amazing earth loving, home brew making, reader and classical-music-passionate Uncle Will Bill, lost his life to Alzheimer's at the young age of 72. He was my mother’s only living relative. He was one of my greatest role models. With his loss comes my passion to share his story and support other families dealing with this hellacious disease. I learned that saying goodbye to someone that shouldn’t be leaving is heart wrenching, and that I will do whatever I can to fight this disease. 

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Oh, 2016. A “mother’s intuition” is something that I have always firmly believed in and I strongly encourage mothers to listen and follow. So, on March 4, 2016 when I had a positive pregnancy test I knew this baby was going to change my life forever. I knew this little one was special, and from the beginning, I knew something was wrong. I told my mother, husband, midwife and therapist. Three months and 17 days later I learned that one little tiny extra chromosome (13) would change my life forever.  Then 4 days later I birthed my baby girl Sophia Love Ehlers.

2016, I am working to find the light in the loss of my daughter. I have always had a passion for mamas and birth, and the gift you gave me of Sophia has only deepened that. I love connecting to each woman that comes through Blooma’s door. Now, in my loss, I can connect and bond with a new set of mamas, those that experienced this same kind of loss. I can cry with them, experience the same emotions, lend an ear and truly say “I understand”. I can offer support to a whole other group of women.

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And in this loss, I learned how taboo this subject is. 

I am an advocate for not hiding things in the dark. We need to listen to these mamas that have experienced loss, be there for them, and not just brush this scary thing under a rug. I thought that people were comfortable talking about death. I learned very quickly that no, Americans and Midwesterners do not like talking about it. This only encourages me more to make Blooma a community where ALL births, topics, and struggles are discussed and supported. Amen for all the sisters that I have bonded with in The Sisterhood of Loss Group at Blooma. 

I am so grateful, 2016, for the outpouring of love and support that came day after day following our loss. Cards, flowers, meals, calls, emails, texts - each and every one I am grateful for. You taught me about the community I live in and the crazy amount of love and support that they can offer.

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More than ever you taught me that meds are amazing! I am so, so grateful for Zoloft. I am learning to release the guilt of upping my dosage. Is this how most people see the world? I have come to accept that I need a little “support” as I walk this current path. I won’t be on it forever, but I ain’t getting off it anytime soon! Thank you 2016. Thank you for teaching me that sometimes a mama needs a little help from modern medicine.

Along with Zoloft I am so deeply grateful for my therapist(s). Having a professional “hold space” for you in the throes of loss is crucial. My weekly (sometimes 2x) sessions with women who are dedicated to making the world and humans a better place is not something I will ever take advantage of. Therapy and Zoloft - two of the biggest things that got me through you 2016.

Oh boy, 2016, you brought me Navel and the crazy world of producing apparel. I love the message Navel is sharing, but did not know the intense process of manufacturing. I will never look at a piece of clothing the same. 

2016 you showed me a part of this country that is so beautiful, I couldn’t imagine it.  For the first time I experienced Alaska, a majestic place of beauty and quiet. Weeks after losing my daughter, it was such a safe escape for me and my family. The kids and I played Frisbee until 11:30pm under the bright sun! We hiked in the lush greens, drank at amazing breweries and yep, I fell head-over-heels in love with RV living (Can’t wait to retire in an RV one day, haha). 2016, you and Alaska taught me how to slow down and be present in the beauty of life. 

 

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This past year there was one act that I experienced multiple times a day that I believed saved me. The act of hugs and hugging. Thank you 2016 for arms that can be wrapped around those in need. Hugs of celebration, hugs of support, hugs of glory. I had some of the best hugs of my life the summer of 2016. I cherish each one of them along with the men and women that opened their arms to hold me.

Then, on the morning of New Year’s Eve, you gave my family us/me one last scare. My healthy, vibrant, energetic, young father-in-law, Steve, slipped and fell on the ice, causing bleeding in his brain. He had emergency brain surgery and we are now walking the path of OT, speech therapy and so on. (Sigh. Cry. Scream. Fuck!). And Amen to HCMC, Kenny Courage Center, and my mother in law for being by his side every step of the way. For Steve, every single day my family is working hard to make this experience one of the best we can. We are starting to see light as he talks and moves more each day. At the same time, we are all experiencing extreme emotional highs and lows. You taught me 2016, how fast life can change and to never ever forget to tell those you love how much they mean to you. What a reminder this was for my whole family to not sweat the small stuff.

2016, I thank you because you taught me how precious life is and that by no means can you ever take a day for granted. That friends, family and good cries are so damn necessary. My marriage and my relationship with my sister has deepened and that is one of the best gifts you could ever give me. 

Thank you 2016. Thank you for all the life lessons. I will do my best to continue to learn from them. I will do my best to celebrate what I have been given. And, maybe, just maybe, could you drop a line to 2017 for me? Could you let 2017 know that I am ready with open arms for more life lessons... but no more loss. Please.

Love, 

Sarah Longacre

Blooma founder, Yogi, Doula, mama, partner, sister & friend

Celebrating Nine Years of Blooma Love: A Personal Account From A Blooma Mama

As Blooma celebrates its 9th Birthday, we want to celebrate the people that have contributed to our success and have held our mission so close to their heart. Lauren started at Blooma as part of our childcare team. Nine years later, she basically runs the place. Not only has she seen her career grow, and Blooma develop into the community it is today, but she has become a mother herself, THREE times! She is kind, warm, hardworking, and dedicated to the mission of Blooma. We asked her to reflect on the past nine years, and we won't lie, some moments brought us to tears. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do! Happy Birthday Blooma!

I started my journey with Blooma as a college student, completely unaware that my hourly job in the childcare room was going to impact the next decade of my life.  At that point, I hadn't thought much about yoga or birth and I couldn’t imagine then what my life would be like 9 years later.  But here I am!  Now a mama of 3, married to my incredible husband, and the Director of Operations for Blooma. 

Reflecting on the last 9 years with Blooma, I am overwhelmed with the abundance of personal and professional growth opportunities I have experienced and witnessed. 

As a business, Blooma has grown in many different ways.  Our staff has grown from a handful to almost 100. We have moved and added locations across the twin cities and trained yoga instructors and birth doulas across the world.  We’ve developed and fine-tuned class offerings, education, and wellness services.  We’ve touched the lives of thousands of mamas and their families, made mistakes and celebrated enormous triumphs.  And, with the heart and passion of our leader, Sarah, we will continue to identify and serve the needs of our mamas.  

Blooma’s growth wouldn’t have happened without the perseverance of the women (and a few men!) that pour their energy into Blooma.  I have met so many inspiring people through our studios in the past 9 years.  Women and men who are on a mission to make our world a better place.  Our staff and support team has been comprised of mothers, sisters, doulas, writers, teachers, artists, designers, farmers, lawyers, midwives, accountants, grant writers, marketing managers, world travelers, photographers, small business owners, musicians…and I can keep going for hours!  It is humbling to think of the talent, passion and knowledge I have been surrounded by for so many years.  

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I smile when I think about the ways Blooma has impacted me personally, as a mother and sister.  While working for Blooma, I have been blessed to give birth 3 times. Three very different births. I had a natural hospital birth, a beautiful home water birth, and an unplanned 35-week cesarean birth - each with my friend, doula, and boss Sarah by my side (Literally, I wouldn't let her leave my side). During each birth, I drew from the knowledge and strength that Blooma had given me.  Through yoga I learned to manage my breath, Doula Training provided me with comfort measures, and I found strength in every woman who had shared their birth story.

In the last nine years, I have walked with my fellow mamas through their own unique journeys. From infertility and loss, to planned and unplanned pregnancies.  While I have witnessed hard pregnancies and traumatic births, I have been humbled to witness smooth, complication-free pregnancies and swift births.  I have journeyed through perinatal mood disorders both personally and with other mamas, and have been honored to provide postpartum care to my sisters that they had provided for me - holding their newborns, bringing meals, and offering encouragement.  

 

We all have a journey. I never would have predicted this would be mine.  My passion for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum life has turned into a career in a supportive work environment, allowing me to navigate the "working mom" balance.  I have been given an opportunity to apply my skill set in a business with a mission so near to my heart. I am thankful for each client I encounter, each co-worker that’s worked alongside me, every challenge we overcame together, the support I received during my pregnancies, and most significantly of all, for Sarah.  I am beyond grateful for what Blooma has given to me in the last 9 years and can't begin to imagine what the next 9 will bring!

 

Written by Lauren Herbeck

Director of Operations at Blooma

Wife and Mother of Three, Friend to Us All

 

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