Babies Poop! Diaper Sustainably!

There is no getting around it – during the first 2+ years of your child’s life, the biggest task you and your partner will take on will be changing diapers. Lots of them. The average child will generate over a TON of diapers.  In fact, the majority of what you throw away will be diapers. That’s a lot of trees, petroleum, paper etc. that is being used to transport fancy underwear that will only be used once. 

As we celebrate Earth Day, it is a good opportunity to look at your carbon footprint. Kids can be messy and create trash, it's a part of parenting. But, there are small things you can do that make a BIG difference. Think about using rubber straws and ditch the plastic, wipe your kiddos down with washable cloth or compostable wipes, and consider using cloth diapers!

There are a several easy to use, modern cloth diapers out there that come in lots of different types and styles. Even using cloth for part of the time can make a big difference, saving thousands of diapers from the landfill. Washing a cloth diaper uses less resources than making a new disposable diaper. Plus, they are more fun than disposables, coming in lots of different patterns!

If you are worried about the extra work of washing at home, you can use a service like Do Good Diapers. We’ll wash the diapers more efficiently than you can at home and you don’t have to do any dirty work.  It is a great way to get started with cloth and we are here for you through your diapering journey. We consider ourselves cloth expertise so we can help answer questions about sizing, the right style, and any fears you may have.  

 To learn more about the different types of cloth diapers, washing at home, or using a service check out one of our FREE Cloth Diapering Workshops at Blooma Minneapolis, May 19th & June 16th.

Written by Peter Allen, founder and owner of Do Good Diapers. Father to two wonderful kiddos!

 

Milk & Cookies: Breastfeeding Support at Blooma

My breastfeeding relationship with my son got off to a rocky start after his complicated birth. First I wasn’t sure if I had enough milk,  then I had too much. I am so thankful for the breastfeeding support group I attended while living in Denver. And, after our rough start, I went on to meet my breastfeeding goals with both of my children. A few years later, as a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation counselor, I am so excited to start leading a similar support group here at Blooma called Milk and Cookies. Breastfeeding support groups are an important part of building a mama’s confidence. It also creates a network of mamas who are able to help you through your struggles and celebrate your successes. Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always easy.  A little reassurance can go a long way. Plus, the evidence shows us that providing women with in-person breastfeeding support helps them to breastfeed for longer.

Here are a few questions I’ve been getting about this new group:

Who is this group designed for?

This group is designed for any breastfeeding mama and her baby. While I expect that a lot of mamas will be seeking support in the first 12 weeks of baby’s life, mamas at any age and stage are welcome. This class is discussion-based and tailored to answering your questions about anything from sore nipples and latch difficulties to pumping at work and transitioning to solids. If you come to class with a question that I am not qualified to answer, I will happily refer you to the best lactation consultants in town!

Do I have to come with a specific question?

Nope! You might just come to practice breastfeeding in public, meet some other mamas with babies around the same age as yours, or because you just ran out of cookies. Yep, we will always have cookies. Listening to others ask questions and get answers can be helpful to know you are not alone in experiencing breastfeeding hurdles.

Do I need to arrive on time?

Of course not! You have a NEW BABY and I know how hard it can be to arrive to anything on time, even with the best of intentions. So shake on some dry shampoo and head out the door. You are welcome no matter what time you arrive.

So, will everyone just have their boobs out the whole time?

Basically, the answer is yes. Most mamas will breastfeed at some point during class because babies get to eat whenever they want. If you feel more comfortable covering up, go right ahead, and if you don’t want to, that’s fine, too! Very quickly, you will get accustomed to talking to other mamas who are also feeding their babies.

Milk and Cookies meets at Blooma at our Minneapolis location on Mondays from 12:30-1:30pm. You bring the milk, I’ll bring the cookies.

You can find this new class on our regular class schedule.

Written by Mari Melby,  childbirth & lactation (CLEC) educator, doula, intuitive healer, writer, and a mama. Learn more on her website, www.marimelby.com.

Blooma is Heading to Uganda: Join Us!

In October 2018, Blooma founder Sarah Longacre and DONA doula Emily Shier will be traveling to the Luwero District of Uganda. Together, they will lead a DONA International Doula Training of a lifetime! We want you to join us! Along with doula training, participants will enjoy yoga with Sarah, cultural experiences, safaris, and more - all while supporting a great organization, Shanti Uganda and the community of women they impact each day.

Get to know Shanti Uganda:

We imagine a world where all women have access to a midwife and are respected, empowered and able to thrive throughout the birthing process. At our Birth House, our highly skilled Ugandan midwives, doula and lab technician provide a holistic approach to maternal health - fostering a supportive and respectful birthing environment. We offer full birth services, pre and postnatal care, follow-up visits and immunisations at an extremely low cost to our clients. In addition, Shanti offers weekly prenatal yoga classes, workshops on nutrition and family planning, sexual and reproductive health education for teens and a community garden. Shanti Uganda works hand in hand with the community we serve to provide holistic, respectful care to the whole family.

Founded in 2008, Shanti Uganda is a registered Canadian charity and Ugandan Non- Profit Organization. We stand up for maternal health by putting women first. A safe, respectful and comfortable birthing experience should be a right for every woman; however, thousands of women all over the world suffer and die needlessly every day because of complications from pregnancy and birth. Shanti is working to change that in Uganda, where 16 women die daily. 90% of these deaths are preventable with access to quality, respectful care - that’s exactly what we offer to women in the Luwero District of Uganda.

Why take a Doula training with Shanti?

We are so proud to partner with Blooma on our upcoming DONA International Doula Training in October 2018. In 2008, our organization was founded by a yoga teacher and doula with a background in international development. Since the beginning, we’ve been inspired by the power of doulas to create positive birth experiences for moms. We hosted our first Doula Training in September of 2012 and since then have welcomed 10 groups of inspiring women to Uganda - raising over $84,000 for our programs. We believe deeply that a cross-cultural exchange of knowledge is life-changing for everyone involved. The Doula training is also one of Shanti’s most sustainable sources of funding, a way to truly travel with purpose.

Why does Blooma love Shanti?

Back in 2009, Sarah Longacre was part of an amazing group of women with Off the Mat Into the World who raised $150,000 for the construction of our Birth House. Sarah then came to visit the site and even helped in construction! The Birth House was completed in the spring of 2010 and since then we have supported over 1,300 births and impacted 46,000 lives. Blooma and Shanti Uganda share so many of the same values -  we are both care for women passionately and honor their birthing experience. We both strive to create open-hearted communities of support.

 

You are formally invited to visit us and experience the training of a lifetime. If you’ve ever been drawn to experience Africa, support women or connect with a grassroots organization this is your chance!  Learn more about this experience and sign up here.

Written by Kate Hyde Operations Director with Shanti since 2016. 

Nutrients you didn’t know you needed in pregnancy - and where to find them.

Pregnancy is a time when moms start to think about their environment, what they are eating, and how they can best support a growing baby. What we eat is an amazing tool we have in our control to support our bodies and the development of our baby throughout pregnancy. But, this can quickly become overwhelming when we start to think about all the nutrients we need.

We all hear about needing folate (aka “folic acid”), B vitamins, iron, and calcium in pregnancy.  But there are several lesser known nutrients that play a key role in pregnancy. Not only do these nutrients support our developing babies, but they can also help support mom as her body goes through huge changes.   

Zinc:

This is a mineral that helps support muscle growth and repair, supports the immune system, and helps to balance hormones.  Zinc is essential to support the rapid growth and development of your baby’s cells. Zinc may also help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy as well as reduce risk for low birth weight.

Where to find it: Crab, turkey, chicken, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and collard greens.

Try this recipe: Smoked Turkey and Collard Green Stew - you could always replace the turkey with chicken!

Magnesium:

This is another mineral that assists with tissue growth and repair.  Magnesium is also an important mineral for bone health and can play a critical role in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Magnesium is important for maternal health, helping to relax muscles (helping fight against those pesky leg cramps).

Where to find it: Spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocado, yogurt, figs, and dark chocolate

Try this recipe: Simply add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds, almonds, and/or figs to your morning yogurt or granola mix.  Avocado toast is another great option. Smash some avocado on whole wheat bread and top with radishes and seeds (sunflower or pumpkin).

Choline:

Choline is important during early pregnancy.  It has been tied to a decreased risk of neural tube defects. It is a key factor in development of baby’s cells and nervous system, impacting brain and cognitive development.

Where to find it: Eggs, kidney beans, broccoli, spinach

Try this recipe: Spinach and Egg scramble

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk or water
  • 1 handful of frozen spinach, thawed and drained or ~1 cup fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter for pan (~1 tbsp)
  • Optional: 1-2 Tbsp shredded cheese of choice
  • Optional: 2 oz. of canned salmon (great source of Omega-3 Fats - see below!)

Directions:

  1. Add 2 eggs, milk/water, and seasonings to a small bowl and whisk eggs
  2. Melt butter in pan on stove
  3. Add spinach to pan (if fresh allow to wilt), and salmon if using
  4. Then add eggs to pan
  5. Top with cheese, if using
  6. Stir until eggs are cooked through
  7. Enjoy!

Omega-3 Fats:

FAT! Yes, I’m telling you to eat fat, specifically DHA and EPA Omega-3 fats.  This is another nutrient that is crucial for development of a healthy nervous system – including brain development and development of vision.

Where to find it: Salmon, sardines, grass fed beef, flax seeds

Try this recipe: Simple Chocolate Delight (add 2 Tbsp of ground flax seeds into your next smoothie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 med. Banana
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • Ice (per your preference for thickness)

Directions:

  1.       Combine ingredients in blender.
  2.       Blend until smooth.

Or have a snack of canned sardines - this is a great source of protein and omega-3s.  

When you look at the sources of these wonderful nutrients, you see a lot of overlap! If you are getting in a variety of vegetables (especially cruciferous veggies/leafy greens) and protein from trusted sources, you are getting these valuable nutrients to fuel you through your pregnancy.

Food and pregnancy can be challenging between aversions, cravings, heightened sense of smell, heartburn, decreasing space….need I go on?  If you are having trouble with any of these things and are working toward starting or maintaining a healthful diet but need guidance and support, I’m here to help!

I offer FREE intro sessions for Health Coaching at Blooma Minneapolis and would be happy to help you through your pregnancy.  Schedule your visit here. (Under "Appointment Type" scroll to "Health Coaching")

 

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.

*This is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions, please talk to your medical provider regarding any concerns you have regarding nutrition and pregnancy.

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.

Fetal Positioning and Its Impact on Birth

This article was written by childbirth educator and certified Spinning Babies Parent Class leader, Amy Kelley. You can learn more about all Blooma’s childbirth education classes, including Spinning Babies Parent Class here.

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Many scholars have researched fetal positioning.  Childbirth educator Pauline Scott and Midwife Jean Sutton published Optimal Fetal Positioning in 1996.  Their research suggested that mother’s movements have an impact on the position baby assumes later in pregnancy.   Carol Phillips, founder of Dynamic Body Balancing, determined that symmetry in the tension and looseness of pelvic and uterine muscles, ligaments, and joints can help baby navigate their way down and out of the birth canal more easily.  

Gail Tully combined this research with her own clinical experience and application to create Spinning Babies.  The premise of Spinning Babies is to begin with the baby; to open possibilities to support physiological birth and improve parent attachment and baby bonding.  As Spinning Babies Parent Educators and doulas one of the most important questions we can ask is “Where is Baby?” By asking “Where’s baby” we gain insight into fetal positioning, location of the baby in the womb, location of the womb in relation to the pelvis, and the station of the baby.  

Most babies pick their position around 34 weeks and most will stay in that position until labor begins.  As an expecting person enters 36-38 weeks gestation, the lower uterine segments soften and baby drops or lowers.  Babies heads are heavier than their bottoms which allow them to settle into a head down position. Most babies start out facing the mother’s right or left side.

Midwife Jean Sutton notes that birth seems to go easier when baby enters the pelvis from the left side.   This is due to the natural shape of the uterus, being rounder on the left and steeper on the right.  A baby coming down on mothers left side curls into the left side like a hammock.  Flexion, which means curling up, is preferable.  Flexion allows the crown of the babies head to enter the pelvis first and gives baby more freedom to wiggle and help with the birth.  When a baby is in flexion, a smaller diameter of the head enters the pelvic brim which eases engagement. When baby enters the pelvis from the right side he/she fits and matches the steepness of the right side of the uterus with a straighter back (extension).  This lifts the baby’s head and creates more potential for the baby to turn into the posterior position (when the back of baby's head and spine is lined up with the mothers back). The baby aims a bigger diameter of their head into the pelvis in extension. The top of the baby's head does not mold as well as the crown and results in the mother needing to do more work for her and baby.  Sometimes additional intervention is needed. About 50% of posterior babies will require delivery via cesarean.

By bringing balance to the uterus, broad ligament, round ligaments and pelvic floor, we can help baby get into a more optimal or ideal position for labor and birth.  More important than pelvic shape is the tone and relative symmetry of a woman’s uterine ligaments and muscles. When there is more room in the womb, baby moves more freely.  You will learn all about balancing the soft tissues of the uterus and daily activities to encourage dynamic movement in your body by attending the next Spinning Babies Parent class at Blooma.  The Spinning Babies Parent class at Blooma explores techniques to optimize birth anatomy for easing the birth process and empowering parents to fulfill their birth desires with less intervention.  

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

Upcoming Spinning Babies Parent Class Options

February 28 at the Minnesota Birth Center (STP)

March 23 in Minneapolis

After Year One of Parenting, Creating A Re-United Front

Here’s the deal: I hit the husband jackpot when I got married. I know this is a super obnoxious and eye-rolling inducing thing to say, but it’s true. His mother, twin sister, and I all agree that he’s our real life Randall from “This is Us”. He has the same laser sharp focus on the needs of his family and methodically works to fulfill them. He’s a one-man pit crew in our house, keeping the whole shebang running.

I’ve heard this theory that in every relationship, one person is a “reacher” and the other is a “settler”. Sometimes I look at his luxurious Brazilian curls and perfect brown skin and think “damn it I’m the reacher!” I mean I’m cool with it. I bring good stuff to the table, even if his hair is way better than mine.

We met in graduate school. One of a handful of the classes we had together was a course on negotiation. We were paired up against another student and when we discussed our strategy, I wrote “united front” on a piece of paper. This turned out to be one of the most romantic moments of all time because I got to tell that story when I vowed to him “a united front” at our wedding.

I’m a super romantic reacher.

We had talked a lot about becoming parents long before our son was born. Everything from raising a child within the context of organized religion to not feeding him puffs because they have zero nutritional value. For the record, the former still fluctuates from time to time and the latter, well, our child basically lived on puffs for a while. It turns out that a lot of our talk about parenting before actually becoming parents turned out to be just that.

What we had not talked about was how having a baby would impact us individually. And subsequently, how it would impact our partnership. On maternity leave when people would ask me how things were going, I often responded with “the baby is the easy part; the grown-ups are the bigger challenge.”

Example: I called him one afternoon as he was on his way into the Capitol to meet with a legislator. I was crying. A lot. “I am here every single day taking care of our baby and becoming increasingly obsolete in my career that I love. Meanwhile, you go to work every day and do not have to pay a price professionally for becoming a parent. I have nothing to show for taking care of him! It’s not like he can conduct a performance evaluation!”

You get the idea. Legitimate thoughts and feelings? Absolutely. Pretty common concerns about your career when becoming a mom? Duh. Important to communicate this to my partner in crime? Without a doubt. In the middle of the day as he’s on his way into a meeting, while I’m sleep-deprived, hormonal, and alone with a newborn for too many hours? Ya know, maybe not.

He listened. He agreed with the struggle. He was compassionate and patient. He then asked nicely if we could continue the conversation later because he was now late for his meeting.

When I was pregnant, I wrote him a letter entitled “United Front, Chapter Two.” I told him that as we prepared to become parents, I wanted us to remember that our partnership existed before the baby. I wrote that “our gaze will shift from inwards at you and me to outwards at this human we made. But, I do not want us to lose sight of us.”

I can honestly and very humbly say that in this first year of being parents, it turned out to be pretty impossible to not lose sight of us. Like so many parents who have gone before, our kid stole our hearts and minds in a way that no amount of talk beforehand could have even begun to prepare us for. We learned that becoming a mom and becoming a dad is kind of a big deal.

As we reflect on year one, the united front is coming back into view. The new baby fog has lifted and we are able to see us again. We definitely look a little different, but there is even more happiness than before and a new, deeper kind of strength. Plus, his hair is still amazing and I try not to call him crying as much.

I have always believed that your kid’s first birthday is not about your kid. It’s about parents keeping their tiny human alive. Actually, keeping everything in the household alive: dogs, cats, adults, child(ren), plants, whatever. Keeping the domestic unit intact after the birth of a child is a monumental feat of epic proportions. I always told friends to celebrate this massive accomplishment more than anything else. The kid will get their birthday glory for the rest of their lives. Our celebrating included frigid winter hiking, delicious old old-fashioneds, undisturbed – and still warm – meals, and most importantly, uninterrupted conversation.

Here’s a fun fact: our son was born on our dating anniversary. Of all the predictions from our family and friends of his birth date, I was hoping for one of the latest dates because it was our anniversary. His due date was January 25th and I wanted February 4th. Lo and behold, that is when he made his entrance into the world – six years after our first date. So, I’m either a masochist for even entertaining the thought that he be 10 days overdue, or as previously stated, a really romantic reacher.

Either way, this will be really handy. The birth of our kid will always coincide with the beginning of us. And one should be celebrated just as much as the other.

Written by Blooma Mama Ann

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

Blooma- A Mama Thank You Note

I want to thank you for the safe and nurturing community you have created and continue to foster at Blooma.  We struggled with infertility for many years and when we surprisingly got pregnant it was equally frightening and thrilling.  I loved my prenatal yoga classes.  They became an incredibly sacred space for me - to connect with my soul and with the babe growing inside of me.  They helped me make peace with my fears.  I often tell people the best decision I made when pregnant was joining Blooma.  Once Henry arrived I could not wait to get back to Blooma.  Those first few months in BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby Yoga) were amazing.  I cried my way through the entire class my first time back.  I was filled with so much joy being able to reconnect with myself (and connect with Henry) in that space.  I also wept the day I realized we had outgrown BYOB.  He started crawling and climbing and finding his way off the mat entirely too soon!   I am not sure if hear this…  but… thank you. The space you provide for women (at so many places along the journey) is a gift on countless levels! 

Written by Katie, Blooma mama to little Henry, wife to Travis, lover of sunshine and bearing witness to the stories of others

 

To learn more about the classes at Blooma, please visit us HERE.

Ask the Educators: What If I Poop During 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 if I poop during birth?

Educator Sarah Auna answers the question many are nervous to ask....

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Birth is not proper :: it’s primal

Birth is not lady-like :: it’s boss-like  

Birth is not pleasant :: it’s powerful

Birth means not holding things back :: ANYTHING!

 

Including your poop. Let the poop go. From a birth worker’s perspective poop = progress.

Pooping during labor means a birther’s body is releasing, letting go, and opening up. It means the baby is moving itself into a position low enough to stimulate the colon, meaning progress is being made!

Now you have to be a real birth-nerd (like we are here at Blooma) to come to a place of “celebration!”  when it comes to pooping in front of your birth team. So here is some info you may need before you can really let it all go in birth…

 

Will I poop during my birth?

The plain answer is simply, yes. Most likely. But, not in the way that you think.

The human body “cleanses” itself a few days, or sometimes hours, before active labor starts. This allows your body to focus on the work of labor.

You’ll likely have most of your bowel movements in private during early and active labor. This is one of the reasons why it’s so smart to labor at home as long as possible. It allows you to eat the calorically-dense, highly-hydrating, nutritious foods that feel good in your body --- and then use the privacy of your own bathroom to let them go.

If you need to “go” at your place of birth - you can ALWAYS ask for privacy. Many birthers love to use the toilet to support themselves in birth. It’s cool, private, quiet, and a familiar place of “letting go”. Just keep in mind -- if the sensation of needing “to go number-two” is combined with an uncontrollable urge to bear down… then you’ll likely have an audience in the bathroom -  because it’s not time to poop - it’s time to push a baby out!!

This “uncontrollable urge to push” is known as the Fetal Ejection Reflex and it’s often all mixed up with that “I have to poop” feeling.

Here are some common phrases birth workers hear when this Fetal Ejection Reflex is present:

“I feel like the baby is coming out of my butt”

“I can’t, not push!”

“I’m puuuuuuuuushing!”

“It feels like there is a bowling ball in my butt!”

“I have to poop so bad!”

“I sound like my toddler when they poop!”

 *GRUNTING* ... just primal grunting.

 

What if I poop my hospital bed?

If you’re choosing to birth on a bed (with or without an epidural) and you poop during your pushing phase -  then your midwife or nurse will be at the ready to clean it up quickly (often without your knowing) and your doula will be there “fluffing the air” with some quick peppermint or citrus oil, while she thinks: “Hooray! Great work! Great progress! We’re almost there!”

 

What if I’m having a water birth and I poop in the birth tub?

Many women find that having the “shroud” of the water in birth really helps to the facilitate that “no f***s given” vibe that’s needed to tap into their primal- birthing self.

More importantly, if/when you poop in your birth tub -  it’s not a “CODE BROWN! EVERYONE OUT OF THE POOL!” scenario. Rather, the midwife or nurse, whose job it is to be at the watch, will use a little fish-tank net to swoop up the floater before you (or anyone else) even know it’s there.

 

Remember, poop = progress!  Get real with yourself, your partner, and your pride and if you’re struggling to find peace with this aspect of birth…. just recall midwife Ina May Gaskin’s birth declaration: “LET YOUR MONKEY DO IT!” and you’ll tap into that primal, powerful birther who is ready to bring forth life, no matter how messy it gets.

 

Sarah Auna is a birth doula, childbirth educator, and yoga teacher at Blooma. She specializes in adding humor and real-talk to birth and motherhood and she’s here to help you through all of this! Find her classes HERE.

 

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

Honoring the Significance of Pregnancy & Birth: The Fourth Trimester

Carrying a baby, birthing a baby, and mothering a baby is one of the biggest life experiences.  This transformational journey continues once baby joins a family earthside.  Each mother deserves time and space to heal from the effort of birth, honoring her own unique circumstances and needs.  Planning ahead for the fourth trimester can impact your entire postpartum experience.  Studies have shown that care, nourishment, and guidance during this time can result in long term health benefits to mother, baby, and the entire family.  

No matter what type of birth you experienced, your body went through a significant transformation.  This time is about you mamas and your body needs rest.  In Chinese culture, “Zou yuezi is a sacred 40 day period following birth that is a time to shower the new mother with nourishment and self care through therapeutic baths and deep oil massages.  In Western culture you may not be able to set aside a full 40 days and we understand that, but try making your first two weeks postpartum a sacred time, bonding with baby and resting.  

“Mothers cannot give from a depleted source.  Every mother needs emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual validation, nourishment, and support.  When a mother is respected and well cared for, she, and her whole family, will benefit.” - A motherwoman principle

In our childbirth education classes at Blooma we encourage students to abide by the 5-5-5 rule the best they can.  New mothers should plan to spend at least 5 days in the bed, 5 days on the bed, and 5 days near the bed.  Do you remember birthing your placenta?  There is a wound that size that needs to heal.  Low activity and rest can promote healing of the perineal tissues, allow birther’s organs to reposition themselves, and reduce the length of postpartum bleeding.  Have your partner or others bring you anything and everything you may need.  Request warm nourishing foods from your support team.  According to research, warm, soft foods such as bone broth, soups, or a good combination of carbs, protein and fats can help aid in digestion and provide the needed energy to nourish you and your babies body.  

 

 

After speaking with several postpartum mothers about their postpartum experience, responses were very individual and unique.  More than once, however, mamas noted they wished they would have asked more for what they need.  You are the gatekeeper of your space.  You may decide to decline visitors until you and your partner have enjoyed alone time to connect, get a handle on breastfeeding, and rest.  It’s important to keep in mind that following birth you will experience physical and emotional changes, many of which happen within the first 2- 6 weeks.  This can be a sensitive time.  If you don’t feel comfortable being naked, crying, or sleeping in front of certain family or friends here are a couple ways to decline visitors until you are ready.

*Avoid posting on social media outlets unless you are ready for people to start reaching out.  

*Ignore your phone.  Honestly, this is one of the times in your life it’s totally acceptable to be severely tardy in your replies to text, emails, and voicemails.

*Leave a nice sign on the doorstep saying thank you for celebrating in the arrival of our little one, we are not quite ready for visitors but will let you know when we are.

You may be a mama who is dreading all the alone time and know you will crave connection with others.  Make a list before baby arrives that includes family and friends who have flexibility in the daytime or evening to stop by and keep you company. A postpartum doula can be an amazing lifeline and worth every penny.  Postpartum doulas have specialized training for childbirth recovery, emotional well-being, and breastfeeding.  Postpartum doulas can help during the day or night.  If you would like a list of local postpartum doulas please reach out to a Blooma staff member and we will hook you up!

Regardless of what kind of postpartum choices you envision will best suite you and your family, have a list of people nearby you can call on to help you feel nourished, held, and supported.

Attention family and friends of a new parent: Consider asking, “How can I help you?”  or think “What can I do to make your life easier?”  Instead of bringing a baby gift, bring a meal.  Something that can be put in the freezer is a gift that will be received with gratitude.  Offer to help with laundry, care for baby so mother can take a healing bath or nap, or bring the older children to school.   We’ve included a great list of helpful “gift” ideas for new moms below:

Origins herbal heating pack for muscle tightness in the shoulders/back, etc or make your own rice pack

Padsicles (see Educator Jamie’s recipe here!)

Healing Herb Soaks (we sell a variety at Blooma St. Paul & Minneapolis)

Gift cards for Massage

Set up a meal train or drop off a meal on the front steps  

Robe (mamas keep this by your door and put it on before someone arrives to give the hint they shouldn’t stay long)

Build Your Nest: A Postpartum Planning Workbook

The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother

 

Written by Amy Kelley, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Prenatal Yoga & Kids Yoga Instructor and mama-to-be.  You can find me on Instagram as @amykelleydoula or visit my website at www.amynkelley.com

Starting Young: 5 Reasons Why Kids Should Be Doing Yoga

I was an active kid. I grew up playing a lot of sports that I adored, but what has stuck with me the most, are the vivid memories I have of my dad taking me to his favorite yoga class, led by a local Swami. I didn't really know what yoga was, but I loved how easy it came to me, how quiet the practice was, and how calm I felt after savasana, or in my kid brain, "glorified nap time." There was a general ease and peace that I didn't have words for at the time, but after years of teaching and studying yoga, I have a much better understanding of what was happening in that room. I was gaining lifelong tools that promoted confidence, self-care, self-inquiry, and a general sense of inner peace.

I often see students come to their mat for the first-time, later in life, due to a suggestion from a medical professional, usually for an injury. It is never too late to pick up your yoga mat, but I often find myself wondering how incredible it would be to be able to share yoga with kids, as a way to instill healthy breathing, movement, and thought patterns for a life of happiness and balance.

 

Here are the 5 reasons I think all kids should be doing yoga.

  1. 1. Healthy Breath. Children naturally breathe using their diaphragms. Unfortunately, the stress of adult life shifts us into unhealthy shallow chest breath. Teaching kids the importance of maintaining healthy breath patterns can have a lasting lifelong effect of less stress, healthier bodies, and more alert minds. There is a saying that goes, "Where the mind goes, energy flows." When we are breathing with ease, our bodies naturally relax.

 

  1. 2. Healthy Body. A body in motion stays in motion. Teaching kids at a young age how important the balance of movement, flexibility, and strength are can have a lasting impact on their lives. One of the things I love most about yoga is that you see people of all ages and backgrounds practicing. This is a sustainable practice that is gentle on the joints and can be adapted for the rest of one's life.

 

  1. 3. Connection and Community. One of the original tenets of yoga is "ahimsa," which means "do no harm to yourself or others." Yoga is a nonviolent practice, that gives a child inner resources and tools to lessen stress, but also encourages connecting with others in a positive, nonviolent way. The word "yoga" means "union" and the practice encourages us to see ourselves in others and seek ways to make the world a better place.

 

  1. 4. Self-care. Understanding the importance of taking care of oneself at a young age is crucial for a balanced life. One of my former students takes it upon herself to go to her room when she gets stressed out and meditates until her breath normalizes. She's 12 and already has tools to deal with the stressors in her life. When a child has tools to handle his or her daily stressors or frustrations, empowerment and confidence build.

 

  1. 5. Inner Resources. Childhood, especially adolescence, can be a time of shifting identities, with a lot of influence from peers. Yoga has taught me so much about myself and has instilled a sense of inner confidence. As a child, yoga gave me the time and space to explore who I am, what I like, where my limitations are, etc. Because of the reflective nature of yoga, kids have the opportunity to turn inward and learn about themselves, creating more confident, self-assured adults in the long run.

Join Meghan Foley for our "Becoming a Yogi" Series beginning January 7th. It is a great way for kids ages 9-12 to explore yoga and its benefits. Learn more here.

Meghan Foley is a 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, with extensive training in Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Power Yoga. She loves sharing yoga with kids, particularly teenagers, because she believes this to be a crucial time in children's lives that can be impacted positively with yoga tools.

Value Systems & Birth Choices

A birth plan is important as a decision-making tool in the prenatal period and as a guide for providers at the time of birth. Now, the vast majority of nurses, doctors, and midwives know (and often expect) that a family will enter birth with a piece of paper that details their specific hopes during the different stages of labor and delivery including newborn care. Many hospitals even offer families an easy to use, and hospital specific, birth plan that goes straight into their file before birth. 

This all is wonderful news for birthing families. It means that providers are interested in what families want and need during one of the most vulnerable and intimate times in life. Providers that listen to families needs are able to provide more specific and supportive care.

While I encourage everyone to write a birth plan, it can sometimes create expectations that come with any give "plan". For example, a mother’s highest priority may be to have a vaginal birth. In her Birth Plan she may write that she does not want an epidural, but at the time of labor an epidural may be what she needs to allow a vaginal birth. Both items are important in her plan, but what holds the most value?

I encourage you to take a different approach to writing your Birth Plan by creating another important document, your Birth Values. By writing your Birth Values, you can allow your personal values to play the biggest role in your birth decision-making process.  The Birth Values approach allows a birthing family to ditch a Black and White Birth Plan and the sense of the "right and wrong", "good and bad" and "success and failure" that it can sometimes bring. Exploring your values goes deeper into the internal needs of the birthing woman, her partner, and the evolving family, rather than only looking at the choices available at the time of birth. 

An Example - A mother may have in her Birth Plan “something” that will help her remain calm and in control. This could be a birthing tub, nitrous oxide, or an epidural. But, it isn’t so much the item on her birth plan that is important, but the underlying value- feeling calm and in control during birth.

At the time of her birth to remain calm and in control, that “something” may change. A mama that planned to be in a birthing tub may now prefer the epidural. Or, a mama planning to have nitrous oxide wants to get into a birthing tub.  The item on her Birth Plan may have changed, but it still aligns with her Birth Values of being calm and in control. Her Birth Plan may only point to one of these things, but at the time of birth, another makes her feel calm and in control. Changing something on the Birth Plan shouldn’t make a mama feel like she has failed because she is still making decisions that align with her Birth Values.

Values do not start and end at the hospital. They are at the center of our very being, and they are at the heart of the new and challenging path new mothers embark on. Values are what matter.

So sweet mamas, and dear birthing partners, please do not ditch the Birth Plan. It is important, and it can act as a wonderful source for essential conversation in the prenatal period. It helps guide the mama, partner, and birth team  - keeping them on the same page before labor and delivery. But, I encourage you to dig even deeper and look at your values as you bring forth new life. Write these values down and share them with your birth team, this way you can move through labor and delivery fully wrapped in those values. 

By doing so, you will feel more fully heard, held, supported, honored, empowered and understood. It can also allow you to be super gentle on any decision made during birth. If there is any one thing I want for a birthing mother, it is that she feels held and supported, and that starts with first understanding her most intimate values before she ever steps foot into her place of birth.   

Best to each of you on your birthing journey, 

Brook Holmberg - full-time Birth Doula, a Childbirth Educator, a Lactation Counselor, co-founder of Birth Doula Centering and above all else, a value-drive mother. 

borealbirth.com 

Birth Doula Centering  - Twin Cities

 

A Dad's Take On Childbirth Education

My wife and I welcomed our first baby into the world this past August. It's literally the best thing that has ever happened to us, but if you would have asked me how I was feeling six months ago, I would have said "absolutely terrified". I can remember when my wife signed us up for the Blooma Birth Class, my initial response was "that's great, tell me what you learn from it". That didn't go over so well. Being the good husband that I am, I went with her, kicking and screaming the whole way there.

I just didn't really see the point. How is someone else going to help me prepare for the birth of my own child? And, how on earth is it going to take four three-hour sessions to teach us? I was overwhelmed by the time commitment and completely unwilling to participate. Thankfully, It only took one class to change that. My biggest fear in having a baby was the unknown. The unknown of caring for a new life, of being a dad, of supporting my wife as a new mom, hospital procedures the day of delivery, the list could go on and on. Through role playing, creative teaching exercises, Q&A, videos and more, Blooma took what was so unknown to me and brought it within reach. I left our first class feeling informed, educated, and excited for the rest of the sessions. The hardest part of that first session was admitting to my wife that she was right on the car ride home :) 

Written by Connor, New Blooma Dad

Learn more about Childbirth Education at Blooma HERE.