Posts Tagged ‘doula’

Ask the Educators: What If I Poop During Birth?

Monday, February 26th, 2018

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.

 

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

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

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

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Birth Story: Everyone Makes It Out Alive

Monday, October 30th, 2017

That was our birth plan in all of its simplicity. Except for a small detail: I didn’t want to feel the majority of it. Look, I am all about celebrating and basking in the strength of women. I hosted a vagina monologue party in my 20’s and my lady friends wrote and performed pieces about their glorious vaginas. I read the book “Cunt” and embraced all things about menstruation. I have a tattoo on my lower abdomen – approximately over my uterus, I think, I’m not a doctor and find anatomy confusing – of a woman sitting cross-legged with hands raised above her head in front of a moon. And most importantly, I frequently went to prenatal yoga classes and drank so much Blooma kool-aid I almost gave myself metaphorical gestational diabetes. But for sure, 1000%, I had zero interest in having an un-medicated birth. Getting pregnant did not come easily and required a lot of testing, a laparoscopy to remove endometrial scar tissue, and a round of fertility drugs to make it happen. Modern medicine could be credited with getting pregnant. Between my gratitude to medical intervention and a much more powerful emotion, my fear of the pain, I wanted an epidural to play a prominent role in the labor and delivery of our son, Luca. 
 
At 41 weeks and one day, I was scheduled for an induction at 5:00 pm. My husband Diogo and I were ready. Everything was meticulously ready. We are obsessively organized people and had been ready for an obsessively organized amount of time. I, as a waddling tool shed, was so ready and though he would weigh just over nine pounds when he emerged, Luca was the only person who wasn’t ready. But off we went to have a baby. 
 
After a delicious and nutritious meal at Good Earth, we arrived at the Fairview Southdale Birthing Center promptly at 5:00 pm and I announced that I was there to have a baby. We were given a room and started to settle in. After three or four failed attempts at installing an IV (that left me bruised for weeks), they were successful. This matters only because during each arm stabbing debacle, I kept thinking about how terrible it would be to try and get an IV into someone’s arm and miss. I also kept thinking that I wanted to make it as easy as possible for the nurses because we were now a team. They were going to help me bring our little boy into the world and getting salty with them for making me look like a drug addict wouldn’t be the most positive way to start our journey together. 
 
At about 7:00, a cervical ripener was inserted and Diogo and I naturally turned on HGTV and also streamed a legislative hearing on my iPad. I’m a lobbyist and a bill I’d been working on was receiving a hearing. Sometimes those hearings are so painful they can make someone wish labor upon them self so it made sense to watch one while my cervix went about its business. 
 
Round about midnight, I started to feel cramps and was very excited about this. Like every other woman in the history of humankind about to deliver her first baby, these cramps were foolishly mistaken for the beginning. And yes, they were, but COME ON. They were “the beginning” of what would end up being over 24 hours of labor just as much as a pair of too-tight pants are the beginning of a speedy and successful diet. I was starting to dilate though and quickly enough that the nurses decided that the next dose of ripener should be in a tampon-like form so that it could be easily and quickly removed. And this is when shit started to get real. My water “broke” in the most lame and anti-climatic way possible. I know it’s never like the movies but a trickle of fluid onto the bed is so blah. I mean how awesome would it have been to have the “clean-up in aisle nine” sort of water breaking situation? Like some poor bastard stops into my room to check my vitals or something and happens to slip and fall in the massive pool of my amniotic fluid. 
 
So I’d always envisioned that I would labor and move my way through contractions for awhile. At least in the very beginning until the pain was too intense. Like getting to a certain mile on a run, I’d hoped to power through contractions until I was dilated to, maybe, like a six. You know, one more past halfway. And to get there, I was going to settle so deep into goddess pose during those contractions and serenely hum or say “yes” that Blooma Founder Sarah Longacre herself would have been proud. I was going to move that baby into position and then boom, order up an epidural and push out a baby. No big whoop.
 
And then it happened. My first contraction. Like the first all-consuming, every fiber of my being cried out in pain explosion. And it didn’t stop. I went from crampy uncomfortable to pain level seven cluster contractions. As soon as one ended, a smaller one started. So as I envisioned, I channeled all of the power of the female energy and spirit throughout the world and sunk into that goddess pose. I lifted my hands above my head and bellowed “yes” with a guttural throng the likes of which can only be uttered when all that is powerful, amazing woman bears down and brings forth life.
 
J/K
 
I did everything I shouldn’t have. Birth coaches, doulas, midwives, nurses, doctors, experienced mamas the world ’round would have collectively cringed. Sitting on the edge of the bed, clenching every single muscle – muscles I didn’t even know I had, I found them and squeezed them really, really tight – and simply said “no”. Over and over and over again. My husband immediately realized that this approach to pain management may not be the best. He tried so calmly to get me to breathe and all I said was “no” and “epidural”. I also may have uttered “hate” and “you” but the pain has blurred my memory. The nurses came in, the anesthesiologist was called and a screen showed big contraction, little contraction, big contraction, little contraction. And as I continued my “no” monologue, a seasoned nurse grabbed a chair, spun it around and up against the bed and put my feet on it. Before I had any idea of what was happening, we were face to face, her forehead pressed against mine, my hands in hers and she sternly and calmly said “breathe with me… in and out… focus on me… curl your spine… don’t move… breathe”. And just like that the epidural was in and the pain stopped. 
 
What people don’t often talk about is that once you get an epidural, you need to be rotated once an hour to prevent pooling of the fluid in your spine which can make the numbing uneven. So every hour, two nurses would come in and flip my huge, bloated pregnant body from one side to the other. One of these pig-on-a-spit rotations wasn’t as timely as the others and the next thing I knew my whole left side was numb and my right side was alive. It’s cool. It evened out eventually. Oh and another thing people don’t often talk about is the puking. But more importantly than the puking itself is the flailing around in the bed like a beached whale trying to sit up but you can’t because of the epidural and you just know you’re going to asphyxiate on vomit so you start screaming at anyone in sight “SIT ME UP!! SIT ME UP!!”. So much fun, you guys. 
 
Let’s cut to the chase. Dilated, pushing begins. Amazing doctor at the foot of the bed, amazing husband on left side, amazing nurse Hannah on the right side.
 
“Diogo put my hair up.” Tries. Fails. “Hannah put my hair up.” Hannah grabs ponytail holder and while piling all of my hair on top of my head smiles and says, “Messy buns get shit done.” Four and a half hours of pushing. Each push is made possible by being heaved up by Hannah and Diogo and cheers and words of encouragement. Oh and remember that whole epidural playing a starring role in delivery? Between contractions the four of us chatted like we were at a neighborhood BBQ. “You’re looking to buy in Highland Park? That’s a great neighborhood.” “You work at the Capitol? I have some friends in government relations; do you know so and so?” “Anyone want an Altoid?”
 
Baby is stuck. Doctor recommends a little suction on his head action. We weigh some pros and cons and conclude with “of course.” Room fills with NICU nurses and people ready to make sure our baby makes it out safely. “Hi Ann, my name is Jenny…” That’s great Jenny and I appreciate you respecting me enough to introduce yourself but let’s get this kid the eff out already. Vacuum in place, I close my eyes because I know I’ll cry if I see him. I push once and Diogo’s voice cracks as he says his head is out. Tears stream down my cheeks and I keep my eyes closed. I push one more time and he pops out and he is on my chest for a second and is then immediately whisked away for assessment given the very long time he hung out in the birth canal. I will later learn that he was gray when he came out and Diogo was really afraid. The nurses go to work on him and we wait and watch from across the room.
 
He is fine. He is good. He is crying. He is peeing on the nurses. He is on my chest again and yes. It is the most amazing moment of my entire life. I look at Diogo and at the baby and say, “We did it.” 
 
There are moments in life that you wish you could return to whenever you want. Literally life-changing moments and experiences. I have a fairly short, predictable list which no, does not include that time I got my kickass lady tattoo over my liver or whatever but does include: the last conversation I had with my Dad before he passed; getting to marry Diogo and our wedding celebration; and the serenely quiet moments in the delivery room with Luca after he was born. After all of the controlled – and uncontrolled – chaos; the minutes that were literally life and death; the table of tools was gone, the NICU nurses had moved on to another birth, the monitors were wheeled away and then, there were simply, three. 
 
Luca and I lay in the bed facing each other. He was wide awake and his eyes bright and as focused as they could be on me, his former body roommate, his mom. I stared at this tiny human being with one thought “so here you are” and as I gazed, he caught his feet on my hip and propelled himself upwards in this most eerily familiar way. He had been kicking his way around my insides for so long that if my eyes had been closed I would have sworn he was still in my womb. As we stared at each other, I could see Diogo so peacefully and soundly asleep on the couch just three feet away after being my absolute, unflappable rock for so many hours. My line of vision was Luca and his Dad just past him. And this sight, of these two, was so simple and so deeply, beautifully profound. 
 
We were soon transferred to the recovery room where some reality kicked in including the realization of the fairly horrific damage done to my undercarriage. I mean holy shit the kid was pretty big and the process was long. I often refer to his birth as “The Great Undercarriage Destruction of 2017 otherwise known as The Birth of My Son”. We should have saved ourselves some money and trips to Target by putting Epsom salts and ibuprofen on the baby registry and nothing else. But it will never cease to amaze me what the female body is capable of and how quickly it heals. But I knew that – at least in part – long before the experience of birth. This just wholly reaffirmed it. It just may be time to get that tattoo touched up. 
 
Written by Blooma Mama Ann

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A Legacy of Mothering

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Life takes us on many paths-it never occurred to me that birth, and the joys it brings, would become my life’s passion. But after adventuring through other directions in academia and pastry making, I was taken up in the birth world after a close friend’s home birth. From there the rest, they say, is history. An important and relevant history that empowers me, each day, to work within the wonderful world of birth.

I delved deeper into birth when I found out that I was pregnant. The support and compassion I received from my doula and midwives at Health Foundations Birth Center was truly inspirational. My birth experience was both healing and transformative, in more ways than I could have imagined. It was through these complied experiences that I knew I had found my calling.

I started my journey in the birth world as a doula. Taking in as much information as I could through my DONA International Training at Blooma and attending births. I attended births in a multitude of settings. Each birth provided me new insights. I was honored to support families and was thrilled each time to bear witness to the magic of birth. What I learned, quite quickly, was that I had developed a preference for out of hospital birth. The support I provided as a doula was embraced in this setting, allowing me to thrive. The quality and thoroughness of care provided by the midwives was incredible.  I realized that midwifery, in an out of hospital setting, was the next step in my journey as a birth junkie.

Explaining myself to family, friends and supporters, wasn’t always the easiest. They couldn’t understand why I was pursuing this “unconventional occupation.” But, I had an ally very early on, my grandfather. He reminded me that our family had a history of midwives. Lena Appert, my great-great grandmother, was a midwife. She served families around St. Cloud, MN. Lena was a German immigrant and a single mother of three children. She traveled to over 1,000 births often bringing her children along in the middle of the night. 

My grandfather shared the photos, news clippings and stories he had about Lena. This calling to out of hospital midwifery resonated even stronger as I learned my own family’s history.  I was determined to carry on this legacy of out of hospital midwifery, just as Lena had done so many years ago. I find myself so curious about her experiences. How did she find herself on this path to midwifery? Was her presence in the community embraced? What changes did she see as birth entered the hospital system? What would she think about the systems in place today?

I was blessed to know my great grandmother quite well. I was incredibly close to my grandmother as well. I lost both of these powerful women before I was 20 years old. As I grow into my calling as a midwife and as I grow as a mother, I find that I have a different longing for their wisdom and support. I cherish the stories I have heard of Lena’s life and legacy as a mother and midwife. 

Now, at each birth I attend, I am so grateful for the history of women who created a legacy of female healers and of midwives that pushed back against institutionalization of birth. It’s as though at each birth, Lena’s life’s work and spirit is with me.

Written By Jamie Huberty, Jamie is a DONA trained birth doula, placenta encapsulator, and Lamaze trained childbirth educator. She will be taking her Lamaze Certification Exam in October and has attended 3 spinning babies trainings. She is a CPM midwifery student at NMI. You can see Jamie at Blooma in her role as a childbirth educator!

Check out Childbirth Education at Blooma!

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Why I Became A Doula

Friday, March 10th, 2017

I will never forget being present for my sister’s first birth back in 2010.  I had graduated college just one year prior and was in that funky place where I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my life.  Part of my plan was to apply to medical school, so attending a birth was something I thought would be great on my application. My sister, her husband, their care provider, my mother, and I were all present in the birthing room.  It’s an experience I will never forget and one that I have taken with me on my current adventure as a birth doula. 

I am passionate about birth.  It inspires me.  It intrigues me.  I can’t get enough.   It is in my deep passion to work with birth professionals (midwives, OB/GYN’s, family practice M.D.s) in a collaborative way.  I completed my DONA-Approved Doula Training at Blooma this past November and fell even more in love with birth. The training covered all things doula including how to serve each mother, certification, and building a new doula business, creating partnerships, finding internships, and more. The training was engaging and hands-on. We rehearsed several different birth scenarios and discussed how to support expectant families in each of those scenarios. As a group, we practiced comfort measures on each other and discussed ways we could provide safe, trusting support to mamas throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum experience. 

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I have always been a doula at heart and I am certain a lot of you might feel the same.  It’s in my blood to support others.  To help them see their light, their strengths, their brightness.  To remind them that everything will be okay.  To just simply be there.  Have you held your friends hand when she had to make a hard choice during her pregnancy?  Did you lend an ear to listen when your sister needed to tell her birth story?  Did your mother or aunt delegate duties for immediate family and friends to help assist in a smooth transition for you and your partner after your baby’s arrival?  In a time when women are coming together to lift each other up, being a doula is a natural expression of support.

A birth doula is someone who provides continuous support to a woman throughout her labor and delivery. My work as a birth doula starts by encouraging families to educate themselves and make informed choices. For expecting moms, my role as a doula is to discuss birth preferences and be with mama as their birth journey unfolds.  Sometimes birth is exactly what a mama has envisioned, often there are many twists along the way. During labor and birth I do not project any hopes or expectations, instead, it is all about the mother and her needs. I am there to provide the tools that will help expectant families feel safe and comfortable, and I encourage them to be advocates for themselves along the way. 

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Are you considering becoming a birth doula? From the start of this ‘doula adventure’ it has been crucial to surround myself with a support team.  To those interested in becoming a doula here are a couple tips from the newbie. 

– If you are considering this path, it’s for a reason.  The world, a mother, a friend, a sister needs you.  Find a training program that is the right fit for you and get yourself registered!   Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back.  (Take a look at upcoming Doula Trainings at Blooma)

– Find your doula tribe.  This includes a crew of devotees that are your biggest cheerleaders; and honest, loyal, people who will keep you in check.  I have several doula friends on speed dial.  I know they are there to answer my questions while I’m in a birth, or to assist with advice in starting my business.  I also have a couple mama friends who aren’t necessarily doulas, but are just as important.   Network and meet with other doulas as much as you can.  Share ideas.  Make it full of community — not competition.  Let’s be real, there are 1,000s of moms giving birth every day.  We don’t need to compete with each other.  

– Be very honest with your family.  My husband knows I could get called to a birth at any moment.  He respects the career I chose, acknowledges this, and is ready to step up and handle anything that comes up at home while I’m at work (and doesn’t complain when my cellphone goes off at 2am in the middle of the night).  

– Self care:  Make sure you are caring for yourself.  Feel perfectly fine with saying no, and undoubtedly excited about saying yes — both when it feels right.  Schedule a monthly massage.  Clear your schedule the day after a birth to sleep, relax, walk, play, be. 

Let’s all be doulas for the powerful and inspiring women around us. Support motherhood, womanhood, sisterhood.

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Learn more about Blooma’s DONA Approved Birth Doula Training. The next training will be led by Emily Shier and begins April 7th . It will include training for emotional support, physical comfort measures, natural labor & the impact of hormones, supporting women with pain medication, cesarean & vaginal birth after cesarean, working with Care Providers, supporting newborns & breastfeeding, postpartum client contact & support, Professional Doula Memberships, Certification Options, and more.

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

 

 

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Looking Ahead in 2017

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

We continue to rock our New Year’s REVOLUTION in 2017. Our Revolution isn’t just about January, it’s about having an amazing year (ups, downs, and everything in between). With 2016 a few weeks behind us, we wanted to share what we’re looking forward to most in the New Year! Babies will be born, our community will grow, and families will celebrate milestones together. Blooma’s Leadership Team is looking forward to all different things, from vacations and celebrations to walks in the sunshine and yoga trainings.

Sarah Auna – “I’ve been asked by one of my dearest yoga teachers to assist her on a yoga retreat to Tuscany, Italy in 2017!!!”

Marina Polvitzki – “I’m looking forward to visiting my little sister in Copenhagen for her graduation, and then traveling to Norway for a camping trip with her + our partners. I am also excited to drink the first batch of beer that we brewed on New Years Eve! Imperial Smoked Chipotle Porter… Mmm :).”

Sarah Longacre – “I am looking forward to being kinder to myself.”

Tyler Copeland – “I’m looking forward to living in my new apartment. I has huge southern facing windows with tons of light and is only 4 blocks from Lake Calhoun. I can’t wait to walk around the lake on a daily basis with my dog.”

Lauren Herbeck – “My baby girl starting Kindergarten this fall.  I am excited about her growing up and enjoying school (which she has been asking to start for 2 years now!) but also the extra time I will have with my boys while she is there.”

Meghan Foley – “I am looking forward to continuing my yoga therapy training out at Kripalu in the Berkshire mountains. I am excited to have more time in my schedule to relax and take classes. I am excited for this frozen tundra to warm up.”

Greta Fay – “I am looking forward to escaping to the beach, snuggling my best friends fresh babies, staying home more, potty training and summer adventures!”

Sam Boyd – “I can’t wait to finally go on a honeymoon with my husband, and stick my toes in the sand. I am also very excited to expand our CSA to more members this summer and grow even more veggies!”

Laura Gillespie – “I am looking forward to exploring my second summer in the Twin Cities (I don’t know how much longer I can take the cold!), making more friends in the area, and taking a trip home for my niece’s first birthday!”

 

And, of course, we are all looking forward to more Blooma love, more mamas, more babies, and more time on the mat or at the barre! What are you looking forward to in the New Year?

 

Thank you to Megan Foley, Sarah Auna, Greta Fay, Sarah Longacre, Tyler Copeland, Laura Gillespie, Sam Christopher, and Marina Povlitzki for your contributions!

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My Blooma Journey: Motherhood, Yoga, Community and Beyond.

Monday, December 26th, 2016

On the journey of parenthood, there are many things that divide us; but I like to believe that there are many more things that unite us. When it comes to parenting, we all long for community, desire acceptance, and need a safe, sacred space where we – and our choices and experiences – are heard and understood. 

Years ago, I was new to the Twin Cities area and was also newly pregnant with my second child. I had worked in the health care sector for years and could help support my family financially. But, I wasn’t in love with what I did and I struggled to find the balance I knew I needed. 

One of the biggest problems in finding balance was that I wasn’t great at carving out time for myself, and certainly, not in a way that encouraged me to “connect” with my baby. It wasn’t uncommon for days to pass without a single thought of my pregnancy, the baby, or what I needed for myself. This only left me feeling more drained with each passing day. I knew this wasn’t sustainable for myself, my family, and my new baby. I needed a change. 

It was around this time that I hesitantly walked through Blooma’s doors. To clarify, I was no yogi. In fact, I was fairly convinced that yoga was not for me. Frankly, yoga seemed like a waste of time. Even so, I left the treadmill at the gym and stepped into the Blooma studio. I moved. I flowed. I breathed. I listened to my heart. I listened to my baby. I found intention. I found community. I discovered how to simply BE. I was hooked. 

From that point on, my yoga mat became a near permanent structure beneath my feet. I clung to every word relating to birth, empowerment, fear, love, and everything in between. I valued the brief interactions post-practice with instructors and fellow mamas alike. I raced out of my corporate office at the end of the day to be greeted by the calming energy that the yoga studio brought to my day and my heart. Blooma was my breath of fresh air amidst an ocean of uncertainty, fear and letting go…

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Months went by. The Prenatal Yoga Classes, that I attended so regularly, prepared me for one of the biggest moments of my life. After much anticipation, I birthed my baby on a pale Christmas Eve morning in runner’s lunge, a pose I had practiced so frequently that my body recognized it as familiar. The woman – my doula – who held my hand, hair and heart throughout my birth experience was the same woman who had guided me through countless yoga practices. Her voice brought me comfort and confidence. She was exactly what I needed during my birth – and Blooma had brought us together.

I had given birth, but I continued to crave Blooma’s energy. In my postpartum days, I religiously attended New Mama Group and BYOB, all creating community and new friendships with fellow mamas who were in the trenches right along with me. Blooma was the one place I could openly breastfeed my baby (because openly was the only way I knew how) and that was enough reason for me to show up, day in and day out.

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Before I knew it, my baby was crawling and we were attending Little Movers and Crawlers Classes together, and then Tots Classes. My oldest son enjoyed Little Kids Yoga and I hit up Vinyasa Classes when I could, in an effort to fill my own cup and focus on myself.As time continued to pass, I felt that my coveted community, my place of prenatal and postpartum solace, was slipping through my fingers. I still had Flow and Barre Classes, but my prenatal and postpartum connection was swiftly ending. My baby was growing. I had spent nearly every day at Blooma. I didn’t want LESS of my Blooma community, I wanted MORE. I grieved at the thought of slowly removing myself from Blooma’s walls. 

I began to seriously reflect on how much I wanted to give back to the community of other new parents, birth workers, and instructors that had selflessly given to me when I needed it most. I wanted to be a part of providing a loving, open, sacred space for prenatal/postpartum mamas to show up, find themselves and connect with their babies, just like I had done in the years before.

Of course, I continued to work the 9-5 job I always had, but I took risks. I didn’t have much of a plan and had no idea where I would end up, but for the first time in my life, it didn’t matter because I knew I had a hell of a lot of passion behind the momentum that was driving my decisions. I dove head first into the numerous training’s Blooma had to offer including the BYOB Yoga Teacher Training, DONA Birth Doula Training, DONA Postpartum Doula Training, and Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training. I also pursued, with encouragement from my Blooma tribe, the training needed to become a LAMAZE-Certified Childbirth Educator.

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I originally pursued the training’s to give back, but I’ve discovered that I’ve received so much more. In the end, I left my job in health care and dedicated my time to serving women as a Birth and Postpartum Doula, a Yoga Instructor, a New Mama Group Facilitator, and a Childbirth Educator within the Blooma community and beyond. Originally, I stepped through Blooma’s doors to say “I gave yoga a try” and instead I found what I had unknowingly been seeking for far too long: deep-seeded desires around acceptance, community and sacred space. 

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I’m grateful to say that Blooma has showed up for me in ways that I least expected. It is a yoga studio but it is much more than that. Because of Blooma and all that it is, I have discovered the foundation to help confidently build my family, my community and my inner self.

 

In love, light and gratitude, Sarah Bach-Bergs

Blooma Yoga Instructor, LAMAZE-Certified Childbirth Educator, DONA-Trained Birth and Postpartum Doula, Mama of two crazy boys, wife, friend, and wilderness lover.

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Photo Credit:

First image and Black and White Photo: Meghan Pate

New Mama Group Image: Danica Donnelly

 

 

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

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

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

 

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The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #5 – “Birth Story: A Hypnobabies ‘Bubble of Peace’”

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

This birth story is the most popular on our blog, Blooma Family, and we think we know a few reasons why. It’s not often that you get to see pictures of mamas at 8 cm smiling and posing for the cameras, and while it’s common to hear about last minute changes to the birth plan (in this case a substitute doctor), it’s amazing to us that this mama was able to keep her “bubble of peace” going in spite of these changes. Congratulations again to Mama Alayna and Baby Elizabeth, who is most definitely NOT a baby anymore, but all the same – we love you and we love this birth story! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Here is #5 in our Top 15 Blooma Blog posts of all time: “Birth Story: A Hypnobabies ‘Bubble of Peace‘” Do you have a birth story to share? Send it in to bloomablog@gmail.com with 4-6 images, and you could be featured in our blog in 2016! Lots of Blooma love, Ann + The Women of Blooma

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The Top 15 Blooma Blog Posts: #14 – “Birth Story: ‘Pure Joy Waved Over My Body'”

Monday, November 9th, 2015

{By: Ann Drewiske} Here we go with #14 in our Top 15 Posts from the Blooma Blog – and this one is a doozy. An unmedicated Hypnobirthing birth story, a last baby birth story, a birth story with our leader and founder Sarah Longacre as the doula – this has it all. Enjoy this gorgeous story by the incredible Wendy Brown, and remember, if you have a birth story you’d be willing to share, please send it in along with any images to bloomablog@gmail.com. Post #14: “Birth Story: ‘Pure Joy Waved Over My Body’” Until our #13 post, lots of Blooma love, Ann + the women of Blooma

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And Then He Came….

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Thank you so much to the brave, amazing Kelsey, who shared this story with us. Kelsey, we are so proud to know you in our community, and so grateful you found such beautiful words to share your story. A note – this amazing piece comes with a trigger warning.  Thank you again, Kelsey, Ann AndThenHeCame1 {By: Kelsey Starrs} Selah, oh and it means Praise and meditation, and then he came – “Selah,” by Lauryn Hill   I have given birth three times. Once on an operating table under general anesthesia while my baby was delivered out of me by suction and curettage. Once supine on a hospital bed, pushing for four hours while numb from the waist down, delirious from 50 hours of labor and zero sleep. And once lying on my left side, bearing down in irrepressible convulsion while I roared my baby out with unmedicated ferocity. My first birth made me a mother. My second birth made me a mommy. My third birth made me a believer. I cried at each of my births. The first time, the tears were grieving tears. Three days earlier, I had learned at my 19-week ultrasound that my baby had died in utero, a full four weeks prior to us finding out. I begged my body to go into labor so I could feel my baby pass through me, the only experiential evidence I would ever have that he was real, alive, mine. The only way I would ever hold him. But my body, like my heart, wouldn’t let go. So as the IV dripped into my arm and a kind nurse instructed me to count backward from 100, I wept the tears of bereavement, of a mother telling her child goodbye. I cried because he left.   AndThenHeCame14   The second time, the tears were petrified tears. I had only ever known birth as death. I wonder if a lot of mamas who have grieved babies are scared to their very cores as they endeavor the formidably brave task of bringing another life into being. Though the child in me flailed and kicked as if she were at a U2 concert, I just couldn’t believe it, couldn’t believe her body would come out of me breathing and screaming and pulsating with life. We rocked in a chair and called her by name, that name that means Life itself. I cried because I was terrified she would leave.   AndThenHeCame13   The year after this birth, I sobbed rivers of tears as the very fabric of who I was came undone and I descended deeper and deeper into perinatal mood disorder. I didn’t stop crying until God and Zoloft saved my life. Then I cried as I worked my ass off arranging and rearranging the pieces until the quilt of myself made sense once again. The third time, the tears were different. They were not only the tears of grief and fear. They were the tears of redemption as well. Tears of worship. Tears of Mama Heart. They came on the ball, in the shower, just me, my husband, and the hot water streaming down and intermingling with the hot water streaming from my eyes. “I found my tears,” I said to our birth priestess* when she met me in the steam. “They are good tears.” *Doula Liz. Don’t give birth – especially unmedicated – without a doula! But, I mean, you know, do what’s right for you.   AndThenHeCame10   “What are you feeling?” She asked me. “I feel my babies. I feel my love for them, my overwhelming love for them. It’s flooding every fiber of me and giving me courage and strength. I feel my love for Samuel. I feel my love for Geneva. And I feel my love for Miriam. They’ve come to me here, and I’m holding them. I want to hold them and cherish them and pour every ounce of myself out in love for them. It hurts so good.”** **Clearly, I didn’t really say any of that. I was birthing! More likely, I uttered some jumbled words and groaned a whole bunch. Had I been in my conscious mind, however, this is what I would have said. These were the tears of love: for the babies, for motherhood, for a life brought back from the brink. These were the tears of gratitude: this birth the culmination of two years of healing and transformation, without which this baby’s life would have never been possible. And these were the tears of visitation: my babies came to me in that shower, every last one of them. This time, as Sammy came to me from Beyond, I got to hold him again in the only way I can now, when I connect emotionally and feel him in my heart. He was the vapor that filled the room, he was the tears that streamed down my face. I cried because he came, and it was glorious. There comes a time in every birth when a woman faces her darkest hour. My first birth, that hour came as a needle pierced my skin and I agreed to surrender to death. My second birth, that hour came as hours stretched into days and I pushed and pushed and pushed some more and agreed to surrender to life. My third birth, that hour came as a ring of fire and I finally agreed to surrender to belief. Belief in life beyond death, belief in life after death, belief that I can embrace both life and death in these lionhearted mama arms of mine. Belief that it is possible for a life to be redeemed and remade, to go through hell and come out transformed for good and for the better. Belief in One who redeems, in Spirit speaking to Gut. Belief that I have been made into a Mother, with a body and a mind and a heart and a soul brave and faithful enough to take off every mask as I make my way to the center of the birth labyrinth and bring this child forth. He came. She came. They surrounded me as I birthed their sister into being. When they placed Miriam on my chest, my entire being came together as the reconstructed quilt that was her receiving blanket. And I wept. On that quilt, there is a Sammy square, an Eva square, a Miri square. Each one stitched with heartbreak and fear. Each one held together also by belief and vulnerability and valor and love. I cried because they came and because I became whole. AndThenHeCame8 A word about words: I use the word “unmedicated” to describe my birth because for 90% of it, including transition and pushing, my body did not have the aid of any medicinal pain management. At hour 10 of 19, my endurance was waning, and I opted for two hours of take-the-edge-off Fentanyl. And toward the end, when I was stuck in transition and nipple stim just wasn’t cutting it (okay, I kept pushing my well-meaning husband away in immense irritation), we opted for Pitocin to help dilate those last precious centimeters. I realize that some would call this a medicated birth based on those two interventions. In my experience, however, there is a landscape of difference between the experience of an epidural and the experience of Pitocin given without pain medication – one numbs sensation, the other intensifies it. When I hear the word “medicated,” the images evoked are vastly different than when I hear “Pitocin, without pain medication,” and the latter more accurately depicts my experience. Thus, I claim the word “unmedicated” not as a medal of honor nor a languaging soapbox, but because it seems to best capture the timbre of this birth. AndThenHeCame2

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Postpartum Doulas: Solving a Problem Many New Moms Experience

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

{By: Jill Reiter CPD, CAPPA Postpartum Doula Faculty} I became a mother in a flurry of chaos. Was it the same for you? My husband had been deployed in Iraq for four months. He arrived home less than 24 hours before our daughter was born. Yippee! Together we welcomed our daughter into the world. I blinked and 17 days passed. He had to go back to Iraq to finish his deployment. Saying goodbye and not knowing if he would return to us broke my heart. I was alone and isolated. The isolation wasn’t only because my husband was in Iraq. Many mothers experience this feeling after their baby arrives. I wished for someone to give me permission to share how hard it is to be a new mom. My family and friends tried to be supportive. For all their advice, what I heard was, “You’re doing it wrong.” They knew where my baby should sleep, what she should eat, and how I should do things. Even books on parenting vastly differed on what was “right.” No one asked how I was feeling, or why I made the choices I did. I wished someone would have said…
  • “You are doing a good job!”  
  • “I have answers to your biggest questions.” How do I calm her when she cries? Am I feeding her enough? Is she getting enough rest?
  • “Go take a nap or shower. I’ll watch your baby.”  
  • “I made dinner for you.”   
  • “Why don’t you relax and snuggle your baby while I tidy the kitchen?”
woman in rainy window Fast forward a few years. I was a mother of three and looking for work. I wanted a job with flexible hours. I wanted to do something that was empowering to me and other women. I wanted the time I spent away from my family to be meaningful. I wanted to make a difference. That’s when I learned that I could give other women the kind of support I had wished for. I became a postpartum doula. Baby bathtime You haven’t heard of postpartum doulas? I get that a lot. I also work with a lot of new parents. People search me out to support them. I believe we’ve heard the word “postpartum” so often when discussing Postpartum Mood Disorders like Postpartum Depression, as in, “I have postpartum,” that we’ve forgotten the true meaning of the word. Guess what? “Postpartum” actually means the time after you have a baby. Experts disagree on the exact length of the postpartum period so I describe it as the first few months after you have a baby. After birth, every woman is “postpartum” or in the postpartum period. Postpartum doulas support families who recently had a baby or babies. The more people talk about postpartum doulas, the more families will benefit from our care. What do postpartum doulas do? We “mother” the mother. We answer questions. We listen. We teach. We help make life easier for new parents. We are non-medical. We follow a scope of practice.  My career is now full of snuggle time with newborns, aha moments with new moms, and dads who grin ear to ear while calming their new baby so mom can rest. So many people I talk to about my journey say, “I could have used a postpartum doula after I had my baby.” Are you the kind of person who answers questions for new parents?  Do you bring them a meal?  Do you give them tips and tricks that make life easier for them?  If a friend or family member has a baby do they look to you for answers? Could you see yourself as a postpartum doula? Whether or not you are a mother, you can join me in supporting women. The value you offer as a helper can become your career. This journey begins with a three-day postpartum doula training. Training creates a foundation of knowledge. You’re invited. You matter, and if you are reading this, I bet you are called to make a difference in the lives of parents and their babies. During training, I’ll share all the information you need to help you start this journey as a professional. I’ll be there to mentor you. I will provide you with the support you need to help others and to make a difference. And together… we’ll create a new story of early motherhood. We’ll support new mothers so they don’t feel isolated. We’ll help them understand their babies. We’ll mentor them to find their way. We will change the world, one family at a time. Mixed Race Young Family with Newborn Baby Join Blooma’s upcoming Postpartum Doula Training with Jill Reiter. Learn, laugh, and share space in a training filled with like-minded women who are all seeking to help mamas navigate those first tricky months of motherhood. For more information about Jill Reiter and her work as a postparutm doula, go to www.theafterbabylady.com or find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/theafterbabylady  

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Birth Story: “I Am Slowly Finding Peace With It….”

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Today’s birth story comes with a trigger warning – this was not an easy birth for Mama Sarah. We want to share it because, well, not all births are easy, or peaceful, or go as planned. Sarah demonstrates incredible grace, strength, and bravery, and in the end shares how she processed her difficult birth and came to terms with it for herself, and we felt that may help others who also had births like hers.  At Blooma, we want to support mothers in all types of births, before, during and after the experience. Know, Sarah, that we think you are awesome. You did great, Mama, and your story, while hard at parts, makes us stand up and cheer for you, your resilience, and the incredible love between you and your partner Brian. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful babe Sabrina. She is a lucky lady with an incredible set of parents. If you would like to share your birth story, please email it to BloomaBlog@gmail.com along with a few images.  Love, Ann   {By: Sarah Delacueva} I always suspected she was going to be late. After all, my sister and I both arrived two weeks past our due dates, and by the end of my third trimester, my baby girl had given me no signs that she was on her way. In theory, I welcomed the extra time, figuring I would get a few more things done around the house and have some last date nights with my husband, Brian. “Due dates,” however, hold some sort of special power, and once I hit the 40 week mark with no baby, something shifted in me emotionally. Suddenly every additional moment of waiting seemed like an eternity, and I just had to see my baby as soon as possible.   The Wednesday that I went into labor started out just like every other day since my guess date had passed. I was weepy and uncomfortable, but there was still no sign that labor was imminent. I slept as late as I could, had lunch with my sister, and attended a legislative hearing related to my office. I was mentally preparing for induction, which was scheduled for the following evening. Induction, as it turned out, would not be necessary. At 7 pm on Wednesday evening I experienced some sharp back pain, and I hung myself over a balance ball in an effort to stretch and ease the discomfort. The pain receded only to recur again a few minutes later. Contractions! We started timing, and over the next hour, I had waves of pain every nine minutes. I called the HealthEast on-call midwife and my doula, Sarah Bach-Bergs, to let them know that my labor was underway. They both told me to call again when the contractions were five minutes apart and one minute long over the course of one hour. This advice was familiar to me as we had discussed the “5-1-1” rule in our child-birth classes. I hung up the phone expecting to spend the next several hours in early labor at home. Little did I know, I had already finished early labor and things were about to become very intense.   After that first hour, my contractions intensified and started lasting longer and longer. I was having trouble timing them, because while the pain definitely ebbed and flowed, many of the contractions didn’t really end; rather, each bled into the next without giving me a real chance to rest in between. By my clock, the contractions (or at least the most intense parts) were lasting anywhere from two to five minutes. The spacing of the peaks was quite irregular—sometimes they were five minutes apart, sometimes 15. I started to stress out because I was feeling more and more discomfort, but I saw no pattern emerging. If my labor didn’t conform to “5-1-1,” how would I know when to go to the hospital? I labored for about three hours with no discernible pattern to my contractions. During this time, I rode the worst waves either on hands and knees or pacing. I grew very tired, and when the contractions waned I desperately wanted to sit or lie down and rest. Unfortunately, from very early on, I felt tremendous pressure in my pelvis, and every time I attempted to sit down, I would experience so much pain that I immediately shifted back to hands and knees. After a few hours of this, I was exhausted and desperate for some sort of relief. I had planned to attempt natural childbirth, but around 11 pm, I told Brian that I didn’t think that I could endure much more of what I had already experienced. I was suffering and scared, and I wanted to go to the hospital and get started on some sort of medication.   Brian could tell I meant business. He encouraged me to check in with the midwife again. When I told the midwife what I was feeling, she said that based on the sound of my voice she thought it was probably time for me to head to the hospital. The drive to St. Joseph’s, though excruciating, was mercifully short, and soon we were at the hospital’s emergency room. They were expecting me, and within a couple of minutes, a team arrived with a wheelchair to rush me to the maternity ward. Soon I was set up in my private delivery room. My medical team (at this point) consisted of the on-call midwife, a student midwife, and a couple of labor and delivery nurses. They hooked me up to a monitor, which assured us that the baby’s heart rate was strong. My cervical check revealed that I was already six centimeters dilated. We were definitely being admitted, and this baby was coming tonight! Brian called our doula and asked her to join us at the hospital. He also called our parents to let them know that labor had started and we would be in touch when we had news.   After the initial 20 minutes of monitoring, I moved to the bathtub. This was, by far, the best part of my labor. The hot water was very relaxing, and with the increased buoyancy, I was finally able to find the comfortable resting position that had eluded me earlier in the evening. My doula had yet to arrive, but Brian stayed by my side, along with a wonderful student midwife who helped me relax and work through my contractions much more easily than I had at home.   All too soon, however, the midwives wanted to check my cervix and the baby’s heart rate again, so we moved back to the bed. On the bright side, I was almost eight centimeters dilated. On the less bright side, my contractions returned with a vengeance as soon as I was out of the water and again I could not find any comfortable position. My doula, Sarah, had arrived by this time and with her help, I tried laboring on hands and knees, side-lying, sitting on a birthing ball, and everything else we could think of. Sarah applied pressure to my hips, Brian massaged me, and they both gave me a steady stream of encouragement and coaching (I remember being reminded again and again to keep my vocalizations low…) However, none of the positions or comfort measures offered much relief until finally someone suggested sitting on the toilet. I am not sure why sitting on the toilet should be much different from sitting on a ball or a chair, but it was a definite improvement. Sarah and the nurses covered me with a blanket and supported me with pillows and I worked through the next few contractions in the bathroom.   After a while, the student midwife came to discuss the possibility of breaking my bag of waters. She said that my labor had slowed and though breaking the waters would make my contractions more intense, it should also speed things back up. I was conflicted. While I definitely liked the idea of accelerating the process, I did not know if I could endure more intensity. At a look from me, Brian took over, asking the midwife about the risks of the procedure. Right at that moment, my water broke on its own with a giant plop in the toilet. “Well,” I said, “that decision’s made.”   After my water broke, things seemed (to me, at least) to spin out of control. The student midwife brought the portable heart rate monitor to check on the baby, but she had trouble finding a heartbeat. My team rushed me back to bed and connected me, once again, to the large fetal monitor. They found the baby’s heartbeat, but it had slowed to around 70 beats per minute, considerably lower than the 120 my baby girl clocked when I was first admitted. My contractions had become even more excruciating, and I started to focus inward. I was dimly aware that the medical staff in the room were concerned. They put an oxygen mask on me, started internal fetal monitoring, and brought in the on-call obstetrician for a consultation. I remember lying on my side with Brian holding my hand and telling me how wonderful I was. Everyone else in the room was relegated to background noise.   While my contractions had grown even more intense, they did, mercifully, have distinct beginnings and ends. I began to drift into a semi-sleep state between the waves and felt somewhat disconnected from the happenings in the room. Though I have no idea how much time passed, I know that the baby’s heart rate recovered, the obstetrician left the room, and I weathered a number of tough contractions holding on to Brian with small naps in between. Eventually, however, the continuous discomfort returned and I felt that I needed to move. The midwife encouraged me to try laboring on my hands and knees, but as soon as I changed position, the baby’s heart rate plummeted again.   The room filled with people, noise, and activity. I was told to return to my side, and when I tried to do so, I began panicking—I had so many wires and tubes attached to me at this point that I felt trapped and tangled. I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t find comfort. By now, the excruciating pain was continuous, and I felt like I was breaking, both physically and emotionally. Breathing became difficult and what I had tried to keep as controlled breaths with low vocalizations became high-pitched hysterical gasps. I remember begging for help. I truly felt that I couldn’t go on, and I needed someone to take action to make this horrible feeling stop. For better or for worse, my prayers were answered. When the obstetrician returned to the room to assess the situation, he declared that the baby had to come out immediately and would be delivered via emergency Cesarean section.   When I spoke with the midwives later, they told me that I had been in transition right before I was whisked off to surgery. They said the panic and despair I felt were normal, and that all women feel like they can’t go on at that point in the labor. They assured me that had I been allowed to continue laboring, I would have gotten past that bad place and started pushing before too long. As it was, however, I was intensely relieved when the doctor said that my labor was coming to an end. Anesthesia could not have come a moment too soon for me.   I was given a shot of sour liquid to stop the contractions. Almost immediately the edge was gone from my pain. The next thing I knew, I was being wheeled out of the room and rushed down the hall to the surgical suite. Once I got into the operating room, I was told that I would be going under general anesthesia. (I have since learned that this is very unusual for a C-section. However, the doctor felt that it would be quicker than the spinal block and speed was paramount since he couldn’t tell what was causing the baby’s distress.) Brian and doula Sarah were not allowed in the room, and once I was lying on the operating table, I grew scared. The lights were too bright, people were rushing around and barking commands, and everyone seemed so tense. Back in my room, I had been inwardly focused and just happy to have an end in sight. Now, however, I began to worry about the baby and Brian. I realized that, in the rush, I hadn’t gotten to talk to Brian and I hadn’t had a chance to tell him I loved him. That is when I started to cry, not from physical pain, but from fear. I remember asking (perhaps multiple times) if Brian was okay and if someone could tell him that I loved him. Finally, after what felt like forever, the preparations were complete—I went to sleep and the procedure began.   Brian tells me that it was pretty frightening to have the room empty so suddenly. There had been so much frantic activity and then suddenly, I, along with my medical team, was gone and he was alone in the room with our doula. As a side note, I am so happy that Sarah was with us. She was such a help when I was laboring, and it was a comfort to me that Brian wasn’t left alone while I was wheeled into emergency surgery. Once the surgery began, it only took a couple of minutes to deliver the baby. Our baby girl was born at 3:10 am on Thursday, March 27, 2014. She weighed seven pounds, eight ounces and was 20.75 inches long. Before too long, Brian was given our darling girl to hold and he cuddled her skin to skin while he and Sarah waited for me to return from recovery.   Sabrina_BirthStory_1   When I awoke, I was in a recovery room on a different floor. I didn’t recognize the nurses, my throat hurt terribly, and I was confused about what had happened. The nurses told me that the baby was fine and that I would be returned to my room shortly. I asked how Brian was doing, but nobody seemed to know who I was talking about. I remember my time in the recovery room as being difficult. I was hurting, I was lonely, and I was incredibly eager to be reunited with my family, which would include not only the love of my life, but the little girl I had been dreaming about for the better part of the last year.   Finally, I was wheeled into my room. I was surrounded by a team of nurses who used a board to transfer me from the gurney to my hospital bed. There were so many people buzzing around me that for a while I couldn’t find Brian and the baby. When the room cleared out a bit, I could finally see that Brian was sitting in a chair wrapped in large blanket. I couldn’t see the baby yet, so I asked him what she was like. His response was an emotional “she’s beautiful.” Brian brought the baby to me, placed her on my chest, and stroked my hair as I got to hold my baby girl for the first time. As I looked at her, I had to agree with Brian. Our daughter was tiny, perfect, and utterly gorgeous. I cannot fully express the joy I felt at finally meeting our baby and learning that she was healthy and strong and whole.   By the time we had nursed and the room had finally cleared of medical staff, it was close to 6 am. We decided it was time to call our parents and sisters. Brian reported that the baby was born via emergency C-section, but that we were all doing fine. We told them that we needed to sleep, but would love visitors later in the morning. My sister, Suzanne, didn’t answer her phone so I left a message. As it turns out, Suz had been unable to sleep and had decided to come to the hospital and sleep in the waiting room until I was ready to see her. When she got the message that her niece was born and asked if she could visit. A nurse brought her in a little before seven. I was surprised but thrilled to see her. As Brian fell asleep, I introduced Suzanne to our little girl (as yet unnamed) and told her a little bit about my labor and delivery. We had planned to have visitors wait until later, but Suz was just the person I needed to help me unwind and begin processing the events. When Suz left, I napped myself, with my tiny baby girl cuddled in my arms.   A few hours later, our daughter began to cry, and Brian and I woke up to begin our lives as parents. Our first order of business, now that we had gotten a bit of rest was to discuss a name for the baby. We had arrived at the hospital with three names in mind. Brian asked me what I was thinking, and I told him that to me, our daughter looked like a “Sabrina.” He said that agreed completely, and just like that, our first major parenting decision was behind us. The middle name we had chosen to go with Sabrina was Luz, which means “light” in Spanish—appropriate, since our little daughter lights up our lives more than we ever could have imagined.   Sabrina_BirthStory_3   When I look back at March 26 and 27, I grieve a little for the imagined labor I didn’t get to have—almost nothing happened the way we envisioned when Brian and I wrote our birth preferences. But I am slowly finding peace with it. In the end, my labor amounts to about eight difficult hours. Much more important is what we have going forward—a beautiful, perfect baby girl with my eyes and Brian’s nose. Sabrina Luz Peterson Delacueva. Her birth was wild and terrifying and horrible. But the result was something completely spectacular.   ***ONE YEAR LATER*** At the end of March we celebrated Sabrina’s first birthday, which gave me ample opportunity to remember and reflect on my labor and delivery, something I can now do with peaceful acceptance. For the first few months of my daughter’s life, I experienced a lot of anxiety and pain when recalling the trauma of her birth. As I nursed Sabrina with tablet in hand, it seemed that my social networks were teeming with stories of triumphant unmedicated births. Reading these pieces (because I could not seem to stop myself) inevitably led to painful memories of and comparisons with my own birth story. I felt so many things: guilty for having “resorted” to a C-section, angry that I was deprived the peaceful birth I had envisioned, and anxious at the memory of so much pain and fear. Despite the fact that my post-partum life was wonderful – my physical recovery was on track, my daughter was thriving, and I was loving motherhood – thinking about the night Sabrina was born could completely unravel me.   Fortunately, with a little more time, my feelings of guilt and inadequacy began to fade. I was able to recognize that I couldn’t have prevented the emergency C-section, and while it was not the birth story I was hoping for, it was our story – the one that ended with my husband and I welcoming an extraordinary daughter. Around five months post-partum, I realized that I was feeling much less negative about my birth story, but the healing was not yet complete. When I really thought about, I found that the emotion that remained was fear. Memories of my labor and delivery were so painful because I was absolutely terrified of having to do it again if I have a second child. So I decided that I didn’t have to. I gave myself permission to deliver my second child (should we decide to have one) via scheduled C-section. Furthermore, I gave myself permission not to feel guilty about it because I was making the decision that would best preserve my emotional health, allowing me to better care for my family.   Once I made that decision, the rest of my negative feelings evaporated pretty quickly. I needed permission to not re-live that labor and delivery. Having granted it to myself, I was able to move on. Ironically, I am no longer completely sure that I will have a scheduled C-section. If I become pregnant again, I plan to take a VBAC class and give serious thought to whether a second attempt at labor and delivery is right for me. And, should I decide that it’s not, I will schedule that C-section with a clear conscience and a light heart.  

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“Intense. But Incredible….” Baby Hamilton’s Birth Story

Friday, January 9th, 2015

A confession – at Blooma we love getting shout outs in birth stories – almost as much as we like hearing words like, “It was truly an amazing experience.” Mama Jamie’s birth story is an inspiration – she is a strong woman who found herself a truly supportive birth team and in the end was able to have the birth she wanted. Congratulations to Jamie on the birth of your amazing Hamilton – and thank you so much for sharing your birth story and your pregnancy with us at Blooma! We feel so blessed to have had you in our space.  If you would like to share your birth story, please send it in any format along with five or six images to ann@blooma.com. Love, Ann jamie and fran {By: Jamie Glover}
Sarah and Blooma team —
I wanted to send a quick THANK YOU for doing what you do, providing support and a community for mamas to be (and mamas in general)!  My little guy is six weeks old now (time flies!).  I had a fabulous pregnancy (felt great all the way thru to 41 weeks and six days!) and had a great labor/birth experience.
Blooma not only helped me physically but also mentally and emotionally through the whole journey. And helped me find just the right person to be my doula — Sarah Auna. She was fabulous.  One anecdote, if it wasn’t for her intuition, I may have had that baby before I made it to the birth center! She could hear that I hit the pushing stage far before I realized it!
Health Foundations just posted my birth journey/story on their blog — the story can be found here.
I feel blessed to have been pregnant in a place and time where I had options and support, leading to a birth and new life as a family of three as healthy as can be!
Best,
Jamie Glover
BW Smile

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“I knew I was strong and brave….” A Birth Story About Embracing the Unexpected

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Birth stories, like the women who tell them, are all different. This story, told by Blooma Teacher Danielle Cotter, is just like the woman who shares it – strong, resilient, and awe-inspiring. Danielle, congratulations to the moon and back on the birth of sweet babe Daisy, and we want you to know: This is a story (and a birth) to be proud of. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Love, Ann daisy_birth_story_2 {By: Danielle Cotter} I started feeling waves on Monday, June 2nd. At this point, I was only 34 weeks and two days so this was surprisingly early. We were able to stop the waves after a few hours (thank you Geri and Carrie) with IV fluids so I went home to rest. Tuesday was a normal day but I still felt a bit crampy and in total denial that my body was preparing to bring our little one into the world. I went to bed around 10:00 pm and slept HARD for two hours. From a deep sleep, my eyes opened at midnight and about 10 seconds later my water broke, it was exactly 12:00 am Wednesday, June 4th. I woke my husband who stayed calm said a lovely prayer for our family. daisy_birth_story_4 We were planning to stay home and labor as long as possible but since I had some placental issues and I was only 34 weeks and four days, we decided to go in and make sure our baby Daisy was ok. After a warm shower and some food, we headed to the hospital around 2:00 am. I was feeling waves every 10 minutes or so but they were not intense and felt somewhat intermittent. We were met by an amazing nurse who took us back to triage and got everything set up. I was hoping for a water birth, but that was ruled out due to my placental issues. However, the nurse and midwife still got us a waterbirth room so I could labor in the tub as much as I wanted. Even though Daisy was coming early, and we had some risks, I still felt very safe in my provider’s care. Waves were sporadic and intermittent. We tried everything to get things going in a repetitive pattern. I think my husband and nurse Mary did robozo and supported squats for hours…..bless them! Finally, after 12 hours things started to pick up. I made the choice before birth that I did not want to have cervical checks until I felt ready to push, so I had no idea what my dilation or effacement was at this point. I knew Daisy was in a posterior position so I spent lots of time on my hands and knees trying to get her to turn….but as it turns out she was quite comfortable in that position and needed to be born that way. At about 12:00 pm, we called our doula, Jess Helle-Morrissey to join us. I have been a doula for four years so I knew the benefits of having extra support for myself, my husband, and baby girl. Being on the “other side” was a magical experience and reinforced just how important support is during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Things started to slow down again so we decided to rest a bit to conserve energy. Kira, my midwife, was AMAZING and really allowed this birth to take its journey.  I decided to walk and squat the halls of the birth center around 7:30 pm. As I opened the door, there was about 10 or so couples taking a tour of the birth center right outside my room. We ended up basically following them around the birth center as I squatted with each wave….moaned and breathed….and then walked in between. We did this for several hours. Around 12:00 am, Thursday June 5th (a full 24 hours after my water broke), I had Kira check my cervix. I knew intuitively that I wasn’t dilating so when she said I was 100% effaced, baby at +1 station, and only 1cm, it was no surprise although hard to hear after all the work we were doing to get our labor consistent and baby out. Kira told me she felt a lot of scar tissue around my cervix from a previous procedure I had done. We decided to start Pitocin so I wouldn’t have to work as hard to keep my contractions consistent and powerful enough to dilate my cervix. This was a very tough decision for me to make because I wanted a natural birth without intervention. I was reassured by my birth support that I was still having a natural birth, just with a little help. I felt so held and supported through this that after a good cry, we decided to rest a bit and then start the meds. My husband talked to our baby and sweetly asked her to make her entrance sooner rather than later. After his “talk” with her, I felt a big wave and I knew she was listening. We a started Pitocin around 2:00 or 3:00 am. I immediately got in the tub because I knew this would take the edge off. This is where my Hypnobabies practice really came into play. The waved got very intense and I just kept visualizing my cervix opening wider and wider, and I started saying “out out out” as my mantra with each wave. My doula read a birth story that gave me confidence and strength. We labored in the tub with Pitocin for around six or seven hours. I started to feel pressure in my bottom so Kira checked me…..still a 1 but Daisy was lower. Since we were teetering on 33 hours of labor with my water broken, we talked about options. I wanted a vaginal birth more than anything and I wanted to catch my little girl; I wanted my hands to be the first to touch her. Making the decision to get an epidural was the hardest decision because it cut to the core of how I did NOT want this experience to go. I kept saying “I want my daughter to be proud of her birth, I don’t want her to be scared of birthing her babies.” With the help of very wise women, I came to the realization that it was all in the way I perceived and told the story to Daisy. I knew I was strong and brave and I was reassured over and over again that this was true. My birth experience took many direction that were unexpected and at times unwanted, but through it all, I felt courageous, empowered, and calm. Once the epidural was in, my midwife broke up all the cervical scar tissue that was holding me back from dilating. My husband, doula, and I all took a much needed nap. After a few hours, I was eight cm! I was beyond grateful and felt a renewed sense of joy and calm once I knew meeting my baby girl in the way I intended was in sight. I started to feel pressure about an hour later….this was much more intense then before. I also started to feel my waves more intensely. I knew I was close but didn’t tell anyone. I loved feeling my body working to bring her into the world….it was a deeply intimate and sacred moment in our birth experience. Our nurse Lisa came into the room and noticed the change in my face….she asked “Are you ready?” I said, “I think so.” Lisa took a peek and I could tell by the look on her face than my baby was right there. She called Amy, who was at another delivery, to let her know I was ready. The urge to push was so great and within a few minutes Daisy was crowning. I pushed on my side for about 20 minutes. Once her little head was out, out came a hand and an arm. I grabbed under one arm and pushed….out came the other arm…a cradled her in my hands and lovingly pushed the rest of her body out and onto my chest she came. I CAUGHT MY OWN BABY! This was THE moment I had been waiting for my whole life. We locked eyes and it was the most magical and powerful moment, a moment I had witnessed so many other mothers have and I finally got to experience it myself. It was raw, unencumbered, pure love and joy. daisy_birth_story_3 A HUGE Thank you to Midwives: Anna L., Carrie S., Kira, Amy B., Amy K., and Nurses: Lisa, Mary, and Jeannie. We love you dearly and would never of had the beautiful experience we did without you. daisy_birth_story_6   Because Daisy was 5 weeks early, we had a NICU stay of eight days. We were so well taken care of and so grateful we got the opportunity to spend ample time with people that knew how to care for a newborn, especially a preemie. Daisy was discharged on June 13th. Bringing her home was the best feeling because we felt prepared by all the amazing staff in the NICU. Thank you to all the wonderful doctors and nurses who helped our sweet girl stay healthy and well. daisy_birth_story_5

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The Lessons of Birth: A Healing VBAC Birth Story

Friday, December 26th, 2014

This VBAC birth story comes to us from amazing Blooma teacher Anna Chang. Anna shares her struggles, her road back to mamahood, and her triumph.  A trigger warning – Anna’s first birth story contains trauma.  Thank you so much Anna for sharing your story, and we are in absolute awe of your bravery, strength, and gentle spirit. This story is such an inspiration to us. Welcome to the world, Beatrix Hope! Love, Ann   {By: Anna Chang} I have two beautiful children, whose births could not have been more different. I found out I’d be having a boy the summer of 2011. I was 20 weeks along, and my husband, Dan, and I were ecstatic as we gazed at the ultrasound screen. I wanted to do everything right: I ate as well as I could, practiced prenatal yoga religiously, read all the “right” books, and tracked my pregnancy neurotically on various websites. After a lot of thought, we decided I’d birth our baby in the comfort of our own home. I dreamed about the day. There would be candles. It would be night. The December snow would fall gently outside. It was going to be perfect. At my 37 week appointment, however, my plans came to a crashing halt. My midwife could tell my baby was small. Too small. Without alarming me too much, she informed me I’d need to have a Biophysical Profile (BPP) as soon as possible. I barely slept that night. I was a zombie at work the next day awaiting the 2:00 pm appointment. Finally, it arrived. Dan and I were excited to get to see our baby again, but our ultrasound technician was stone-faced throughout the procedure. The severity of the complication began to dawn on us. After the appointment, we were called back to the conference room, where one of our midwives was waiting on the phone. She told us that in order to have a home birth, we needed to score a perfect eight points out of eight on the BPP. We scored a two. She told us to go home and pack a bag, and she’d meet us at Abbott Northwestern. We were having a baby that evening. It was dark, and the November snow fell hard as we slogged our way through rush hour traffic. We arrived at the hospital at 6:00 pm. The plan was to repeat the BPP, and that if things looked the same, they weren’t going to waste any time; I’d be rushed to surgery. Things were going to move quickly. They did. The BPP lasted only a few minutes before they determined I actually scored a zero. Not even a two. Baby boy was not doing well. They threw a set of scrubs at Dan, and began prepping me for surgery. I got an epidural under the bright lights of the OR. Afterwards, they brought Dan in, who stayed by my side the entire time, assuring me everything was going to be okay. I’m not sure if the epidural didn’t have time to take effect, or if it was the shock and fear of all that was happening, but I was in pain. I yelled at them to stop. Perhaps I just needed it all to stop in order to cope. I was scared. The solution was to put me under general anesthesia for the birth of my son. My eyes fluttered closed. They brought me out of unconsciousness briefly to ask me if I wanted to see my son. “I can’t see anything,” I replied through the fog. The truth was, I wasn’t ready to see him. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I woke up in recovery with my husband holding my hand. He told me Henry came out crying, just like he was supposed to, but that he was tiny: three pounds, four ounces. He was in the Special Care Nursery, and I could go see him as soon as I felt up to it. AnnaVBAC3 I was wheeled up to the 7th floor in my hospital bed, still in disbelief that my baby had been born. They handed him to me, all swaddled up. I stared down at his beautiful face, and thought, “Who is this child?” He certainly didn’t feel like he was mine. Numb from the epidural, I still felt pregnant. Not having witnessed my baby being born, I had no connection to him. Suddenly, the anesthesia caught up with me, and I needed to vomit. They put Henry back in his isolette and brought me to my recovery room. I saw Henry again the following morning. The nurse recommended kangaroo care. I held his tiny body skin-to-skin on my chest, and finally, the tears came. I wept for my tiny, malnourished baby. I wept for my body that I felt had failed him. I wept for the loss of the birth I wanted. AnnaVBAC2   The obstetricians explained that Henry had severe IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) due to placental insufficiency. My placenta, which I had wanted to encapsulate, had gone to Pathology. The report stated that it was about half the size it should have been, and that it was covered in fibrin depositions. The fibrin cut off blood flow, so Henry was getting very little—if any—nourishment while in the womb. No one knows when in my pregnancy this started. Or why. Or how to prevent it in the future. I was discharged after five days and went home with an empty car seat. The criteria for taking your baby home from this particular SCN had nothing to do with size, and everything to do with skill. Henry had to be able to regulate his blood sugar and body temperature, breathe well while in a car seat, and be able to eat on his own. This all happened after 22 days. Henry came home on December 9, 2011, his original “guess date.” He was four pounds, four ounces. AnnaVBAC4   We uncorked a bottle of champagne. I was ecstatic to have my baby home, and to finally be able to start life as a somewhat “normal” new mom. Still, I was left with a million questions: Where do you take your 4-pound baby in Minnesota in the winter? (Answer: nowhere.) Are there any New Moms’ Groups where someone would understand my experience? Why did my placenta stop working, when I take such good care of my body? Shouldn’t my care providers have found this complication sooner? Is my body not meant to grow babies? Would this happen again? Should we adopt our second child? If I do get pregnant, what are my chances of a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)? These thoughts consumed me, and over the next few years, I did what I could to calm my anxiety and rebuild trust in my body. I did lots of yoga, journaling, bodywork, acupuncture, and birth trauma therapy. Most therapeutic of all, I mothered my son. My husband was fine with only one child, but I knew I wanted Henry to have a sibling. I also knew I wanted another shot at pregnancy. It took a couple of years, but finally, I was ready to try again. The joyful day of my positive pregnancy test came in February, 2014. I knew it would be different this time. Even if this baby had IUGR, at least I’d be monitored appropriately, so we would catch a growth restriction early. I was being cared for by perinatologists, and I knew I was in the best of hands. My pregnancy progressed smoothly, and after 26 weeks of high-risk prenatal care, my OBs decided I had graduated. Baby was steadily growing at the 50th percentile, and there was no reason for me to be considered high-risk. I shopped around for a new care provider, and settled on the midwives at Methodist Hospital. I knew their VBAC success rate to be one of the highest in the city, and VBAC was my goal. I so badly wanted to birth a baby without surgery! AnnaVBAC9 My belly grew and grew, and my guess date, November 1, came and went. I got many phone calls, texts and emails asking how I was doing. Truth be told, I was doing fine, but I wanted everyone to leave me alone! I was anxious about going into labor on my own. I had successfully put off scheduling a “just in case” repeat Cesarean, but my 41 week appointment was mere days away, and I knew the subject would be broached at that time. On Tuesday morning, November 4, I texted Bridget, my doula, and told her I had reorganized the entire house, done all the laundry, gone to Ikea, finished my yoga study homework, gone to acupuncture, gotten Chinese herbs for induction, and was having a good cry while bouncing on a birth ball. “Why isn’t this baby coming?!” I thought, “I’m ready!” That evening, after kissing my almost-three-year old goodnight, I suddenly felt as though I had wet my pants. I went to the bathroom and discovered my water had broken. Shaking with adrenaline, I ran downstairs to tell my husband. “Ok!” he said, “It’s go time!” We called Bridget, and she urged us to get some sleep. It was 9:00 pm, and the best thing we could do was rest, especially considering the exhausting day of nesting I had just put myself through. We phoned the on-call midwife, and she said the same thing: rest! We could start timing contractions, but there was no reason to go in until they were lasting a minute, and were five minutes apart. Sleep? How was that possible? We were way too excited. But my contractions hadn’t even started. It was going to be a long night. Plus, we had to arrange for my mom to come stay with Henry while we were away My mom arrived around midnight, and by this time, my contractions were manageable, but getting longer and closer together. Unexpectedly to me, I was feeling them in my quadriceps. My back, belly and pelvis all felt fine, but my thighs ached with each wave. My mother said she felt the same way in each of her four labors. By 3:00 am, it was time to call Bridget again. It was time to head to Methodist. As soon as we arrived at the hospital, my contractions started to space themselves out. “This always happens,” Bridget said, “Don’t worry too much about it.” We were to avoid cervical checks as much as possible because my water had broken, and we didn’t want to risk infection. One of the few cervical checks I got was right after we were admitted. I was 100% effaced, but only one cm dilated. Thinking I’d be at least at three cm, I was a little disappointed, but still riding the high of my excitement: we’d meet our baby soon! AnnaVBAC5 Once in our room, I was given a hep-lock (IV port) and had fetal monitors attached—all common hospital protocols for TOLAC (Trial Of Labor After Caesarian). Bridget came to my side and gently told me it was truly time to rest. “Time to ‘labor down,’” she said. Let your contractions space out. You need the rest. As soon as I was on my left side, my labor slowed down even more. My contractions were now 12 to 15 minutes apart, as the monitors uncomfortably strapped to my belly plainly stated. I easily fell asleep between each contraction, a sign of how tired I really was. By noon on Wednesday, 15 hours after my water had broken, things still weren’t any further along. I’d stand up and walk, and my contractions would be five minutes apart. I’d lie down to rest, and they’d slow down. Bridget went home for a bit of a rest, and Dan and I rested at the hospital, waiting for labor to establish itself. Nothing had changed by the time Bridget returned a few hours later. “Okay, Anna,” Bridget said, “Remember how I told you to ‘labor down’? Now it’s time to do the opposite. Time to ‘labor up.’ This baby needs to come out!” I remember, even though I was excited at the prospect of meeting my baby, that I didn’t want to hear those words. I didn’t want my labor to get harder. I was in control of what was happening—relatively manageable contractions with rest in between. Still, I knew she was right. The longer things went on, the more elusive a VBAC was becoming. The next nine hours were full of natural induction methods: walking the halls, squatting during contractions, talking to baby and telling him or her to come down and out, nipple stimulation, being held by my husband, placing a TENS unit on induction points I learned from my acupuncturist, sitting on a birth ball in the shower, lying on my side with a peanut ball between my knees… I think we tried everything. My contractions were getting a little stronger and closer together, as I recall some louder moaning and vomiting (and subsequent IV Zofran and fluids—thank goodness for the hep-lock!). Still, they weren’t yet strong enough to bring me my baby. I had a second cervical check, and was only at a three. I was sorely disappointed and completely exhausted. Around 9:00 pm, my husband told me he and Bridget were going into the hallway, and they’d be back in a few minutes. The last thing I wanted was to be left alone, but I knew they’d only leave me if it were important. In the hallway, Bridget told Dan we needed a plan. It had been 24 hours since my water had broken, and baby still wasn’t much closer to getting here. I was working myself into exhaustion, and we weren’t getting anywhere. It was time for interventions. It was time to talk to me about Pitocin. Before Dan and Bridget made it in the door to discuss the plan with me, our midwife, Gerri, breezed past them and into the room. She said, “Anna, it’s time for this baby to come out. I think we should start you on Pitocin.” My whole birth team was on the same page. I knew it was time for this intervention, but I was dreading it. I had heard Pitocin contractions were so much stronger, and I was already depleted of energy. I was handling the intensity of my labor just fine. How was I going to handle Pitocin? Again, Bridget came to my side. She looked me in the eye and said, “Anna, you can do this. Yes, it’s going to get stronger, but you are strong. You’ve got this.” At 10:00 pm, the Pitocin drip entered my system, and labor really began. Each contraction rocked my world. I have never felt such sensations in my life. I worked, vomited, shook, and yelled that I couldn’t do it anymore. During one contraction, I felt a pop, and felt more fluid release. Can your water break twice? I’m pretty sure mine did. I knew these were all steps towards meeting my baby, but I also knew I was far too exhausted to keep going. My quadriceps kept spasming, and I couldn’t hold myself up on hands-and-knees. My whole body felt like it was convulsing. It may have been. It was time for an epidural. My team made sure I was sure of my decision. Gerri asked me if it would make a difference if she checked me and I was at seven cm. “No! I can’t do this anymore!” Dan reminded me that saying “I can’t do this anymore,” is a part of most labors, and maybe I’m nearing the end. I didn’t care! My energy was gone. There was no way I had it in me to dilate to 10 and push without some rest. The anesthesiologist came in sometime in the middle of the night. The epidural took effect, and I fell asleep immediately. As I slept, my body kept working to open my cervix and push baby down. At 5:00 am, Gerri came in to check me again—only my third cervical check in my whole labor. I was complete! “Time to push your baby out, Anna!” I was so grateful to have slept for a few hours. I felt like I could take on the world. The lights turned on. Bridget and Dan, who had taken turns sleeping on the pull-out and on the floor, came to life. Dan helped hold my legs, and Bridget got her camera. “I think you’re going to be a good pusher,” Gerri said. Bridget kept saying, “There’s plenty of room in that pelvis!” I didn’t doubt them for a second. Even at 10 cm dilated and ready to push, my contractions remained five minutes apart. I pushed with each rush, following Gerri’s directions closely, and between each one, we had a nice five minute break. We were all smiling and laughing. Everyone was excited to meet this baby. We didn’t yet know if we were having a boy or a girl, and Gerri told us there were no boys on the floor that night. Would Baby Chang be another girl, or be the one to break the streak? I only pushed for 5 contractions before I saw my baby. Dan brought her to my chest, and exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” I couldn’t believe it. I had a daughter! A healthy, chubby daughter! Dan cut the cord once it had stopped pulsing, and Gerri said, “Well, you’re no longer a TOLAC, you’re a VBAC!” Beatrix Hope made her way to my breast and latched right away. I spent over an hour in awe of the daughter who lay on my chest before they did any newborn exams. She was a healthy seven pounds, four ounces and 20.5 inches long. I had done it. My body had grown a healthy baby, and I had birthed her vaginally. AnnaVBAC6     I never expected to need Pitocin or to want an epidural. I had learned that these interventions often lead to C-sections, so I planned to avoid or decline them to achieve my VBAC. In my case, however, interventions did the opposite, helping me prevent a repeat caesarian. The Pitocin helped my labor progress, and the epidural allowed me to gather the strength I needed to push. Western medicine has its place! AnnaVBAC7 I’m finishing writing this in the wee hours of the morning while Bea coos and smiles at me, and Henry sleeps soundly in his room. I am eternally grateful for both my children and the lessons their births taught me. Henry showed me that parenting is unpredictable, and you may often feel like you’ve lost all control in your life. Bea helped me heal, and showed me how to trust the process of pregnancy and birth, and to trust my body again. Thank you, Dan and Bridget, for your love and support. Thank you, Park Nicollet Midwives, for your judicial use if interventions, and for your patience during my long, slow labor. AnnaVBAC8

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13 Reasons Why You REALLY Want a Doula

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

by Alisa Blackwood

Though maybe the word “doula” is new to you, women helping women during labor isn’t a new idea. Women used to do this for each other all the time. We witnessed and supported our friends, sisters, and aunts, as they gave birth. Things have changed a bit; more often than not, a woman has likely never seen another woman giving birth. Enter the doula. She fills this essential role of female-to-female support, bringing with her the experience, knowledge and compassionate support essential for both you and your partner. Check out our tips on finding a doula, and help us add to this list by leaving a comment about what your doula brought to your labor!

1 / Let’s start with the hard facts on how and why doulas are so rockin’. There’s GOBS of research showing that continuous support throughout labor results in a higher satisfaction of the birth experience, less use of pain medication, fewer births requiring instrumental help, and lowered risk of Cesarean section. So, there’s that.

2 / Your doula is the one person experienced in birth who will not leave your side throughout your labor. Many nurses wish they could stay by your side, but they often have more than one mama they’re looking after, plus they’re responsible for a mind-blowing amount of charting. Nurses also change shifts, as do OBs and midwives. Your doula will provide consistent support no matter how short or long your labor is. She will also get to know you and your partner prenatally, bringing with her that knowledge of your history, hopes and fears that nurses and other care providers may not be privy to.

3 / Her touch will feel like magic. Your doula will squeeze your hips in ways that will rock your world. Her touch may even make you say, “Ohhhhh, yes! Keep doing THAT.” She’ll apply just the right amount of pressure, in just the right spot on your sacrum, exactly when you need it. She’ll have her own, unique way of soothing you that will make you think, thank goodness that lady is here, doing that. Don’t stop.

4 / She’s got skills, ladies, mad skills. Whether suggesting a warm shower at just the right moment, suggesting a position change to help wiggle baby into just the right spot, or sweeping on lip balm before you even noticed your lips were chapped, your doula comes with a set of tricks and tips that only those experienced in birth would think to suggest. She’ll offer sips of water and bites of nourishing snacks to keep you hydrated and full of energy. If it’s a labor dance party you want, I’m pretty sure your doula will move and groove right along with you. (Labor dance parties are among my favorite!) There’s not a one-fits-all-approach; she’ll tend to you in the ways you need most. Finding a doula you trust and click with is key.

5 / She’ll enhance your partner’s ability to be fully present for you. Supporting the one you love through labor is a lot of pressure on partners. After all, this is the birth of his or her baby, too! Your partner also needs support to trust the process. When your partner is relieved of the duties of remembering Every. Little. Detail. from your childbirth education class, he or she is freed up to simply be your love. Your partner. A doula cannot replace the connection and history the two of you share. She will bring experience, encouragement and calm. She will peek at your partner with a wink, a smile and a nod that “this is normal!” when you’re moaning or puking. Then she’ll grab a cool cloth, hand it to your partner for your forehead, and make sure your sweetheart gets all the credit.

6 / Your doula will hook you up. Why waste your time googling for a prenatal massage therapist or asking around for the best childbirth education class when your doula has all that information at her fingertips? Doulas are well-connected and knowledgable about the resources available in your community. Both prenatally and postpartum, doulas provide referrals for body workers, therapists, lactation support, postpartum doulas, and more.

7 / She’ll remind you to follow your body, heart and intuition. This may sound sorta woo-woo, but it is, in fact, vital. Many of us (myself included) get caught up in thinking our way through labor. I often hear women worry they’re doing something “wrong” (psst: there is no “wrong” in labor!), or they worry about the next steps. Whew! Ease up on yourselves, mamas. Doulas have seen enough births to know that thinking your way through birth simply doesn’t work. Labor is the time to go deeper. Your doula will remind you that you know what to do. And she means it. She’ll help you find your way on your journey. When you need suggestions of position changes or calming guidance, she’ll provide those things. If something unexpected pops up during your labor and a decision needs to be made, she’ll hold space for you to ask questions of your medical provider, understand your options, then tap into your heart space to make your decision.

8 / Seeing you barf, poop or burp will not phase her. In fact, she’ll tell you what awesome signs of labor progression these are. She might even do a little cheer (while reminding you that throwing up can help you dilate)! These bodily functions are normal, and the sooner you relax and let your body do its work, the sooner you’ll meet your baby. Your doula will bring you a tooth brush and a cup to spit into to freshen up that taste in your mouth. Then she’ll look you in the eye and remind you, “You got this, mama.” And she’ll be right there as you dive deeper into labor.

9 / She will NOT judge you if you decide to get an epidural or other pain relief. If it’s important to you to have an unmedicated birth (and you’ll talk with your doula about this prenatally), she will first offer other suggestions and comfort measures first. She will keep encouraging you and distracting you. Sometimes she’ll suggest that your cervix be checked first (because what if you’re almost ready to push??). If you get to the point that you need or simply want medicated relief, then you should have it. She, along with your care provider, can make sure you understand the pros and cons, and then help you rest. If an epidural is placed, she’ll remind you that YES! your body is still doing its essential work. She’ll help you stay connected to baby even if you can’t feel your legs. And she’ll bring a different set of tips and tricks for supporting you and your partner through a birth that may be different than you imagined. And oh! the massages she’ll give you!

10 / Get ready to be pampered. Speaking of massages, you deserve mega tons of pampering. After all, you are bringing a HUMAN into the world! This merits major rewards. Not all women want to be touched during labor (you’ll figure that out as you go), but if you do want touch, she’ll help relax your scalp, temples, jaw, neck and shoulders with massage. Charlie horse in your calf muscle? She’ll ease that bad boy away. Need distracting while the nurse places an IV? She’ll massage your feet. She may bring essential oils (if you want them), like lavender to help you relax, ginger for nausea relief, or peppermint for when you need to perk up. She’ll create an atmosphere of peace and calm. Think candles (electric ones at the hospital), dim lights, and quiet voices. Ahhhh. amandas birth 038 11 / She’ll support you through any left turns or surprises that may arise during birth. Prenatally she’ll help you understand your options and write your birth plan (or as I like to call them, birth preferences). This “plan” is not a script for how you want labor to go, but crafting your birth preferences is a way to let your care providers know what’s important to you and what you hope for. If something unexpected occurs during labor or your care provider suggests an intervention, your doula will help you ask questions so you fully understand the pros and cons. Her presence alone can help create the space for you to take a deep breath, talk with your partner, then go inward to decide what feel is best. In the case of an unexpected Cesarean birth or an emergency, she’ll help both of you understand what to expect and what is going on. If the hospital allows (and many do, but ask about this in advance), your doula will accompany you and your partner into the operating room. If your partner goes with baby after the birth, your doula will stay with you, talk to you about your baby and massage your head, neck, face or hands. No matter how baby decides to be born, your doula will help keep you and your partner calm — making sure you feel supported and listened to throughout your birthing experience.

12 / Because this once-skeptical mama, now on the flip-side of labor, suggests hiring “one of these wizards.” Read about one mother’s recent experience with both her birth doula and her postpartum doula. 13 / She brings her heart. Whether your doula has been at this for years or is newly trained, the most important thing she brings to your birthing journey is her heart. Her intention, which is focused solely on supporting your transition to motherhood (whether for the first time or fourth), comes from a deep desire to empower women. That alone is worth its weight in gold.


Not all doulas are the same. Find someone who jives with you and your partner, someone who helps you feel both excited for your birth experience, yet also calm and confident. How you click with her is the most important thing, but if it’s important to you, ask about her training and any additional skills she might bring to your birth, too. Check out one of our previous posts for more tips on finding your just-right-for-you doula.

Alisa Blackwood is a mom of two, a prenatal yoga teacher, and a birth photographer who has worked as a certified birth doula since 2007.

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Birth Story: An Empowering & Healing VBAC Success

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

{by Naomi} “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going” – Beverly Sills There were no shortcuts to the birth of my second daughter, Maggie Anna. As with any vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), the story always starts with the birth that ended in a cesarean. With my VBAC, the birth of my first daughter plays an enormous role in the story of my second daughter. On August 7, 2012 what was going to be a natural, vaginal water birth of my beautiful daughter Millie turned into a cesarean due to heart decelerations while pushing. When they “opened me up” to birth my daughter, they found a small thinning area/abrasion on my uterus. After the finding, there was not one person that could tell me what it was or why it happened (as I was a healthy person and had a healthy, “normal” pregnancy). However, with not knowing exactly what it was, it was labeled as “uterine rupture” in my operative report and the surgeon recommended cesareans following this birth. Having this stamped on me brought about numerous challenges following this birth, in wanting to conceive another child, and wanting to deliver vaginally. However, once I found out about this uterine abnormality, I began to seek answers immediately to figure out how I could carry and birth another child vaginally. READ MORE

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Birth Story: Twins, Forceps, Breech, & More … A Wonderful Birth

Friday, September 26th, 2014

I love this mama’s birthing story. I love it because she’s strong, honest and raw. I love it because she accomplished so many amazing feats. (Growing healthy twins! Teaching booty-kicking barre classes while 36 weeks pregnant with TWO babies!) But I love it most of all because her carefully selected birth team supported her, listened to her, and nurtured her. So when unexpected twists and turns came up during labor, this mama asked good questions, looked to her support team, and trusted her gut. Way to go, Corrine. Big love to you! YOU DID IT!

xoxo, Alisa


{by Corrine Gernes}

Let me start with three reasons that this was a wonderful birth for me:

  • I birthed two beautiful, healthy, and amazing babies: Lillian Naviv (5 lbs, 8 oz) and Bennett Michael (6 lbs, 10 oz)
  • I was surrounded by the birth team of my dreams: my husband, my doula, and Dr. Dennis Hartung
  • Throughout the whole birth, as things came up (and there were a few surprises) I felt totally cared for, respected, heard, and secure in the choices that my birth team and I were making.

Now the story.

When people found out I was pregnant with twins they often said: “You’ll be lucky to get to 36 weeks.” or “You’ll go early.” or “When do you go on bed rest?”

I didn’t buy the whole early birth thing. I have very good genes for babies (36 first cousins, yo) and both my mom and sister had great pregnancies. I circled my 40-week due date on the calendar and wrote: “We can make it babies! Let’s do this!” Then I started a conversation with my babies. Every night I would think: “Just stay in, stay strong. Thank you for being so healthy. Thank you for waiting until we can all come home together.READ MORE

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Birth Story: “A Little Crazy Goes a Long Way”

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Can you imagine two babies in one year? I’m not talking about twins … but one small babe in arms and being pregnant at the same time … attending both prenatal yoga and Bring Your Own Baby yoga at The. Same. Time.

This one-two story features both adoption and a birth experience, all in less than a year. It’s pretty much the most inspiring, crazy-awesome thing I’ve heard a couple do in a long time. -Alisa

{by Holly Palkowitsch}

I have always wanted a large family.  Five kids to be exact.  I loved the idea of being pregnant, but I have always had the desire to adopt a child as well (I grew up with an adopted sister as well as 5 adopted cousins – it’s in my blood!).  My husband, Chris was very supportive of this and told me we will do what we can to make this happen.  Such a wonderful man!

Well, the time came for us to start our family and as it turned out, we struggled to hold our pregnancies.  We had multiple miscarriages over the course of just over a year.  Yes, we were sad.  Yes, we went to medical professionals.  Yes, we felt discouraged.  But in the end, we just knew that this was our calling to start the adoption process!  We researched adoption agencies for a couple of months until we found the one that was best for us.

After we found the agency that we wanted to use and right as we were getting the ball rolling, we found out we were pregnant … again.  Were we excited about the pregnancy?  Sure, but we had low expectations.

Nine weeks had passed.  This was the longest pregnancy thus far.  We were finally starting to get excited!!  Just as our hopes began to rise, we received a call from the adoption agency … a baby was born just the day prior and his birth mother wanted to meet us!!

Oh, the thoughts and questions that ran through my head on that chilly April afternoon – for starters, I’m pregnant!  Will the birth mother like us?  What if our pregnancy sticks?  What if it doesn’t?  What will the birth mother think of us being pregnant?  How will we do this financially with TWO babies?  How will we do this emotionally?  What about baby stuff???  We had NOTHING!  Not one baby related thing!  We hadn’t read one single parenting book.  What about a name?!  We hadn’t even looked at a baby name book!  Are we CRAZY to do this?!  After I gathered my thoughts, I called my husband (at work, since it was 3:00pm on a Tuesday).  Needless to say, he had similar thoughts running through his brain too.  After we settled into reality of the situation, it took us a only a matter of minutes to come to grips that this was supposed to happen to us; trust our instincts and everything will work out.

We met the birth mother that very evening.  She asked us to come back the next night to visit with her some more and also, to meet her mother.  After spending this time with her and her sweet baby boy, she knew that we were the right couple to adopt her son.  It wasn’t but a few short days later (after gathering only the necessary equipment to raise an infant – diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, donation breast milk, car seat and a bassinet) that we welcomed into our arms, our home and our lives – our sweet baby, Jackson!

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Adoption Day!

Over the next couple of months, we really felt the joys of being parents.  Jackson was an AMAZING sleeper (oh, don’t worry that changed right around the time he hit 6 months).  He would sleep 11-12 hours at night, EVERY night.  During the day, EVERY day, he would take two 2-hour naps.  He never fussed and was really just a sweet bundle of joy that attached and bonded with us rather quickly.  Our hearts were filled with so much love.

Jackson and I did everything together!  I took him to baby story time at various libraries and bookstores.  We would go on walks, hikes, grocery shopping, coffee/tea (decaf of course) dates with my girlfriends, we became members at Blooma and attended the Bring Your Own Baby yoga classes together and we made it to as many of the New Mama Groups as we could.  We just really had a great time with each other.  At this point, I was about 26 weeks along before I even realized that I really wasn’t putting any thought or focus on my pregnancy.  Through all the joys that I was experiencing with my son, I soon began to feel that I was missing that bonding time with my unborn child.  I quickly made a turn and decided to start attending just as many prenatal yoga classes as I was attending BYOB classes.  At first, I felt guilty leaving Jackson in childcare while I focused on me and my unborn child, but then I realized when this child is born, he is going to HAVE to be ok with me splitting my time between the two of them!!

Up until that point in my pregnancy, I had been seeing an OB that a friend recommended to me.  I was diligent to attend every appointment.  She was very nice and we got along very well.  There was only one problem.  I just felt like I was missing a connection.  I truly believed in the miracle of birth and that women CAN INDEED birth their babies.  My OB sort of believed the same thing.  She wanted to make sure that I was aware of my “options”.  That I could possibly need Pitocin.  That I could possibly need an epidural. That I could possibly need a C-section.  In other words, I really felt that she was preparing me for an intervention filled birth (even if that was not her intention).  I wanted to know and understand all the possibilities of birth, but I felt that she wasn’t preparing me for a NATURAL birth.  This is when I dove in deep and made some major changes.  I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, my husband read The Birth Partner and I signed us up for the Blooma Birth Class.  I was 34 weeks along in my pregnancy when we took the class.  Chris and I absolutely LOVED it!  It was wonderful to learn about every stage of birth without feeling any pressure to desire a natural birth or a birth with interventions.  At 37 weeks along in my pregnancy, I made the decision to change providers, from an OB to a Midwife.  Was this the best thing for me to do at 37 weeks along?  Are we CRAZY?!  I had no idea, but it just felt right.  I also hired a Doula.  So many thoughts racing through my mind…Was this the right thing to do?  Could we afford this?  I didn’t even know her very well, but she seemed amazing.  Just go with it.  Trust.  Let it go and do what feels right.

I had my first appointment with my midwife, Kathrine Simon, when I was 37.5 weeks along and she let me know that it was not out of the ordinary (a nice way of saying, “You’re NOT crazy!”) to change providers this late in the game.  She made me feel at ease.  My Doula, Sarah Bach-Bergs came to my house for my first prenatal visit when I was 38 weeks along.  I felt more connected with her then I had with some of my closest friends.  She was exactly what I needed.  She reassured me that I was doing the right thing by trusting my instincts (basically, telling me that I wasn’t crazy!).  Wow, I am starting to feel really good about this whole birthing thing!!  I mean, I was already RAISING the baby; I’m finally not feeling any fear about BIRTHING the baby!!

I woke up on a Sunday morning and I just felt that I was going to be in labor that day.  I had only a few minor rushes throughout the morning, but it wasn’t until about 2:00pm that I felt them coming on strong. I made sure to contact Kathrine and Sarah to inform them of my status.  Starting almost right away, my rushes were 15-20 seconds long and 3 minutes apart and were progressively becoming more intense. Chris and I were in contact with Sarah over the phone a few different times; she helped guide me through some of the rushes and offered some wonderful encouragement.  Since the rushes had come on so fast and never really slowed down, I was never really given a break.  The intensity almost became unmanageable.  Jackson, now 7 ½ months old began to sense something was happening.  He began to give unsettling cries in his Daddy’s arms while reaching for me.  With rushes lasting 40 seconds long and 2 minutes apart, Chris and I decided we needed to go to the hospital to check my dilation and see how I was progressing (as part of my birth plan, I really did not want to know my dilation number, but at this time, I felt it almost necessary).  My Father came to over to take care of Jackson while Chris and I headed for the hospital.  After being checked, I was informed that I was progressing well in every other way, except that I was only dilated to a 1!!!  We headed home to continue laboring.  On the way home, we called Sarah and she helped ground me with inspirational and down to earth advice which reminded me that I had prepared for this – that I could do this!

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We labored at home from 8 p.m. until about 10 p.m. with rushes lasting 45 seconds and 2 minutes apart. This was the point when I needed a heart to heart with my husband.  I was beginning to doubt myself; I wanted to discuss our “options.”  Chris was supportive with whatever I needed.  He acknowledged my statement, but then encouraged me to focus only on the next four rushes.  After that, we made the decision to call Sarah and have her join us.  Before she could arrive to our home, I suddenly felt the overwhelming “pushing” sensation.  How could I possibly feel the urge to push when I was only dilated to 1 just three short hours before??!!  I told myself to not worry about the number; just breathe and let my body tell me what to do.  We contacted Sarah and our midwife, Kathrine to inform them that we were going to the hospital…again!

We arrived to the hospital at 11:50pm and almost immediately, we were admitted to a room.  By 12:30am, I was in the birthing tub getting support from my husband, Kathrine and Sarah.  At this point, I was beyond thinking any interventions as I was focused on only one rush at a time.  It was such a peaceful environment:  calm, dark, quiet.  Everyone in the room was completely respectful, helpful and encouraging.  Originally, I was hoping to have a Water Birth; however, Baby was sunny side up.  Kathrine instructed me to sit on the toilet backwards so Baby could turn. Even though the sensation was much more intense in this position, it felt very natural to be there.  After a few rushes had passed, Baby turned on her own!  Since being on the toilet seemed to be working so well, I moved to the birthing stool.  Kathrine’s instruction was fantastic; she guided me to just do what my body feels and let that be my guide through pushing.  I had only a few pushes that took about 20 minutes and then … our Baby Girl arrived!!!

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Our Baby Girl, Charlize was born at 2:14am (41 weeks and 4 days). She weighed 8 pounds 13 ounces and she was 19 3/4 inches long. I truly could not have had a more wonderful, spiritual and empowering birthing experience.

Later that day, my father brought Jackson to the hospital to visit and meet his new baby sister.  Little Jackson looked at me holding this sweet, sweet baby.  He then looked at her.  At that very moment, with the biggest grin from ear to ear he lunged right for his new baby sister with his arms wide open!  I knew that “crazy” was forever going to be a part of our lives, but I truly believed that by trusting my intuition, everything would work out and will continue to work out the way it is intended.

It is now been 8 months.  Jackson is 15 months and Charlize is 8 months and let me tell you, “crazy” is definitely a part of our daily lives.  In the last 8 months, everything has happened – from the postpartum tears, not wanting to leave the couch, (still) not sleeping, (still) not working out as much as I would like, forgetting appointments, skipping events, dinner never on the table at dinnertime, un-showered for sometimes days in a row and the list goes on and on – but let me tell you … I would not change it for one-single-minute!

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Birth Story {Video}: A Sunlit Water Birth

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Thanks to Blooma mama Jessica and Jennifer Liv Photography for sharing these gorgeous images of her baby’s birth. We adore the images of laboring outside on her birth center’s front porch, then her beautiful, midwife and doula-attended water birth in a sunlit room. Just lovely.

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Birth Story: Hypnobirthing Gave Me Confidence

Friday, August 8th, 2014

{by Nora} My partner and I prepared for our birth by taking Blooma’s Hypnobirthing class with Channing McKinley, and by reading some books, finding Penny Simkin’s Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn particularly helpful.

I went into labor on Wed, April 9th at 11:30 p.m., two days before my due date. I was shocked because I was convinced the baby would be late (my sister and I were both late, and my sister’s baby was late). Just that evening, I’d been talking to a friend about how long I should keep going to work if the baby was going to be 1 or 2 weeks late.

I started having what I thought might be just be some random contractions, so I just kept track of them – they were around 10 minutes apart at first.  It was definitely contractions that I was feeling – I could really feel my uterus doing the muscle contractions as they were described in the birth class.  I didn’t know if it was the real deal and was managing just fine, but also wanted at least one of us to be rested and prepared if it was the real thing, so I sent my partner to sleep on the couch.

About an hour or so later, I started having a lot of discharge – I was pretty sure it was my mucus plug, and this told me that it probably really was true early labor. No going back! The contractions were still 10 minutes apart and I was breathing through them just fine. I was fairly alert between them, just trying to relax but was still fairly present.  I was confident and relaxed – just like the class and exercises had prepared me to be!  I was so comfortable with what was happening that I honestly thought I would be able to check in with work in the morning to let them know what was going on and pass along a few updates on where I had left things. I figured early labor could go on for awhile right? Ha – no!READ MORE

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Your Guide to Postpartum — A to Z

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

We first read this insightful guide to a mama’s postpartum time — cleverly written in an A-to-Z format — in a Welcome Baby Care newsletter. We were so smitten with the creative presentation of so much fabulous information that we begged to repost it for our BloomaBlog readers. Hope you like it as much as we did! -Alisa {by Carey Lindeman} Postpartum Anxiety is an umbrella term which encompasses postpartum OCD and postpartum panic disorder. Today, it may be more common than postpartum depression. A postpartum-specific Belly Band helps support your posture while holding and feeding your baby. It also “puts things back together” post-pregnancy — both internally and externally. It’s a good idea to start your Childcare search, if need be, before baby is born or shortly after. You don’t want to be scrambling and stressed just before returning to work! This is a big decision! Your Postpartum Doula will help you process your birth story, fold your laundry, make you snacks, get dinner going, teach you how to use your Moby wrap, and help you get in that much needed shower. Postpartum Edema is natural after the extra fluid retention of pregnancy. If swelling lasts more than a week, is accompanied by pain or  headache, or occurs only in one leg, seek medical attention. Create a Food plan while pregnant including frozen meals, a neighborhood meal tree, take out menus, and healthy grab and go snacks. Good nutrition and energy are a must for new moms!READ MORE

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Birth Story: “I Just Did What?!”

Friday, July 18th, 2014

{by Meghan Settingsgard}

I believe it all began Monday morning, June 17th.  As I lay home on the couch I couldn’t help but feel completely emotional.  I remember laying on my side and thinking to myself, “ I am so done being pregnant.  I want this baby out yesterday.”

At that point I burst into tears and called Jared (my husband) at work.  I just kept sobbing and repeating I am done being pregnant I just want to meet her already.  We had an appointment with our midwife that afternoon (we were going twice a week now since I was 41 weeks and 5 days). The emotions subsided and we went to our apartment that afternoon. I remember sitting with the non-stress test on again and thinking I wonder if there are any contractions that they can see. The NST came back fine and I decided that I would have her check me. I had only been checked one other time and that was on my “due date.”  She checked and I was happy to know that I was 2.5 and 95% effaced … I knew though that this could last another week.

She then brought up inducing and it was all down hill from there. I burst into tears in her office and told her that I was not ready to talk about any of this and that I just needed to think and talk with Jared and Erika (our doula). We called Erika and put her on speakerphone in the midwives office and she helped talk me though my thoughts and emotions. What really set me off was (the midwife) told me that she could strip my membranes right now if I wanted … wait, what?! Are you crazy, not I don’t want that, I was thinking.

I decided that if she didn’t start to make her arrival within 24 hours that I would come back in and have her strip my membranes tomorrow afternoon. We left and I was feeling OK with those decisions. I immediately called the acupuncturist who is also a doula that I had been working with and told her I wanted to do everything possible to not have medical induction methods. She suggested I come in that evening for another session (4th one now).

Jared and I enjoyed a dinner at Park Tavern and I didn’t feel like eating.  I had what felt like gas bubbles (ha, silly me) we got Booker (our dog) and headed over Julie’s (acupuncturist) way. Jared dropped me at her office and took Booker to the dog park. I was a crying mess most of the time with Julie, but the acupuncture was wonderful as always.  We decided I would come back the next day as well.  After leaving her I decided that going back in to strip my membranes was not what I wanted and that we could talk those options if she still hadn’t arrived by Thursday (42 weeks).  Jared and I settled in for the night at home: took a walk, lay on the couch, and then went to bed.  This is where it gets exciting!

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photo by Erika Torkelson Photography

Around 11:00 I still was not asleep and all of sudden I felt a big cramp and it lasted way longer than a “gas bubble.” I thought hmmm … could this be it, but was not in any case going to get my hopes up.READ MORE

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Birth Story: The “Super Moon Pulled Our Baby Down”

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Two years ago, my son Xavier was born and the whole world became a brighter place. His Auntie Rebecca was there to welcome him as she’d come out from New York to be my doula. We were all so happy she was there with us for the big day. She wrote this beautiful birth story as a gift for him and for our family. I look forward to reading it to him every year on his birthday. — Sarah Burns of Shine Memoirs in Seattle {by Rebecca Frances Thom} A birth story dedicated to the parents who love you, Christian and Sarah. Love, Rebecca May arrived in Vancouver in all her glory. Stanley Park was green and bright and people were all emerging just as the flowers; apple blossom pinks, magnolia whites and dogwood. The mama Canadian Geese were teaching their tiny, fluffy goslings just how to be in the world. Everything was anew and your parents too, were preparing for life with you, Xavier.
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Rebecca with her nephew, Xavier.

On the second day of May I had arrived and was staying across town with my sister. I talked to Sarah at your high-rise apartment on Stanley Park’s edge; her voice was vibrant and joyous and she was ripe with 9 months of pregnancy and had just cleaned the stove. She was surely nesting in those precious days before your arrival, but still attending prenatal yoga, visiting with friends, enjoying delicious meals and running around with your papa, Christian, making last stops before your arrival. We all shared a meal that day and Sarah was glowing with motherhood already. She was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt and in all her fullness she opened a bottle of champagne and poured us all a glass. Your mama had a few little sips, and you were celebrating along with us from the little warm place where you curled up, waiting.READ MORE

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Birth Story: “I Am One Tough Cookie”

Friday, April 25th, 2014

{by Sarah}

When we found out I was pregnant with #2, I knew this time would be different. With my first son, Max, I made sure I was ready for baby, but ignored my own worries, aches, and pains. My water broke 3+ weeks early and I didn’t go into labor naturally. My L&D included Pitocin with 2 failed epidurals, 22 ½ total hours of labor, including 3 hours and 7 minutes of pushing ending with an episiotomy and vacuum extraction. I didn’t have any regrets or trauma afterwards, but I figured there was something that I could do to feel more in control the next time around. I didn’t want to deal with the early termer behaviors with baby #2. While much of that is beyond my control, I thought one thing I could for sure do is to take care of me. And I think my body knew not to mess with me this time around, because I still have the email to my doula stating “I’m going to be so over prepared that this baby is coming late.”

This time around I wanted to have a natural, medication- and intervention-free birth. I know the pain of Pitocin and the feeling of being trapped when the epidurals didn’t work as advertised, and knew that the human body was more than capable of handling labor and delivery with the right support network. Although Greg is an amazing support person, the extended labor and delivery for Max was extremely hard for him as I relied so heavily on him and he didn’t have an outlet for support and relief. We agreed to hire a doula and found the right person at the Parent Topic Nights on the first shot. I was initially apprehensive, I had the idea that doulas only believed in natural, intervention free births — no ifs, ands or buts — but I was greatly mistaken. Doulas only want the mama to be empowered through the entire process and be surrounded by love and support, while understanding the choices they have. I never realized what a doula could do, but Liz was counselor, support person for both Greg and myself through the rest of my pregnancy, L&D, and beyond. She even did her own research on my health issues and had that in the back of her mind when it came to labor and delivery.

At 36 weeks, I had a growth ultrasound that showed baby was already 6 lbs, 10 oz. with a big head. Immediately following that appointment I met with the NP, fully prepared to discuss labor and delivery options, but my birth preference was ignored. I was told to give it to my OB and alI that was mentioned in that 10 minute appointment with the NP was to call when contractions are 10 minutes apart and to not eat during active labor. I had my OB appointment right after and was shook up, as my birth preference was extremely important to me, as it outlines exactly what I want and who I want around in order to make my birth the experience I know I deserve and was capable of. While I trusted my OB and his understanding of all my health restrictions but yet respecting my desire for a natural birth, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I would not be comfortable walking in the delivery room and feeling part of the team if a different doctor was on call.

At my second doula prenatal appointment, instead of talking about comfort measures, I brought up my hesitation with continuing with my OB practice, expecting to be told that it’s just hormones or that everyone feels that way. But I was wrong. Liz listened. And told me that my feelings are never to be ignored. READ MORE

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Second-Time Mamas: Let’s Unpack Your Fear About Pain

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

{by Liz Hochman}

As a birth doula, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat across the table from a mama with a belly full of baby and eyes full of tears. I can hear her breath dragging into her body, and its almost like she holds it there for a minute, before she exhales her next whispered word.

At nearly every meeting I have I sit across the table with my cup of warm coffee in my hand, I nod, I soothe, and sometimes I even cry. I don’t do this because I was ‘trained’ to react this way. I do this, because I feel these mamas, I know where they are, because I have been there too.

They are afraid.

These sweet mamas don’t fear the unknown of what birth will feel like or do to their body or mind. These mamas are the ones who have birthed before and are facing it again without the gift of the unknown.

Once you have felt the rocking waves of labor coursing through your body, you never forget it. Even if you had a magical, empowering birthing experience the first time, the all-consuming intensity of the experience cannot be denied. It embeds itself not only into your mind, but every fiber of your being. Sometimes if you close your eyes, you can be in that moment again and feel the waves pounding against the shore of your body and mind. It’s so real you can taste it, smell it, touch it.

So how do you move past this full-body knowing of what your body will do … MUST do … again, to bring forth life? For some, the past birth is described as pain. They think I’m absolutely off my rocker if I suggest that perhaps ‘pain’ is not the right word for these pulsing sensations of bringing forth a baby. “No, it was definitely PAIN!” some reply.

What is pain? In the English language, pain is a sensation of the body that is defined as suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury. Bringing a baby to the world is certainly not an illness or an injury — so by definition this word does not suit birthing.  READ MORE

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Birth Story: A Hypnobabies & Doula-Supported Birth

Friday, April 11th, 2014

{by Kjersten Jaeb} Ok, so I’ve been needing to do this for a long time.  Here is the story of Katherine Grace’s birth on December 10, 2013. I have to start with my son, Ben’s birth. My water broke, before labor started, on the morning of my guess date. We went and had brunch, took our time getting to the hospital, and had active labor begin around 5:00 pm. I was fully complete by 8:00 pm and he was born at 9:12 pm. Not a bad labor for a first time mom! With Katherine it was a different story. Of course every birth is different so I kept telling myself … We decided to use Hypnobabies with Katherine’s birth. Hypnobabies, and our Doula/hypno-instructor, Lindsay, was the best thing we’d ever done! We had LOTS of home-play (they don’t call it homework) each week.  It was challenging to practice each week because we had a toddler at home to chase around this time! All throughout my pregnancy, I was convinced that our birthing time would happen the weekend of Thanksgiving … I just had November 30th stuck in my head. I was also convinced that this baby was going to be smaller than Ben. (He was 7 lbs, 11 oz and 20.5″ long).  I was so much smaller with this pregnancy.  I ended up gaining 10 pounds less this time around than the first.  This was going to be a just a little peanut baby … probably 7 pounds even. After Thanksgiving, I decided not to go back into the office. My guess date was Tuesday 12/3 … what would be the point of going in on Monday (after the long Thanksgiving weekend) to then have the baby the next day? My first official day of maternity leave, Monday, was great.  I got some good rest at home, went to yoga, enjoyed the day to myself.  I started having some pretty regular pressure waves (hypno-lingo for contractions) right on my guess date. I thought, OK, this is it! I ended up having waves about every 10 minutes for 24 hours. Tom decided to stay home on Tuesday in case things picked up. And then nothing. Wednesday, Tom had a big event with work, so he had to go to the office. I was fine I told him … but I was definitely disappointed that baby hadn’t arrived yet. I was officially ‘over-due’ at this point. Thursday, no waves. Just boredom, frustration, and lots of emotions. Tom stayed home again, which was great. But I was starting to feel like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. Thursday night, around midnight, waves started again. YAY! This will be it … I just know it … and then after a few hours they stopped again. UGH. On Friday, 12/6, I started having waves in the afternoon. Ok, this has to be it … and of course, over night they stopped again. Now, I should also tell you that each time the waves started I would call our midwife, doula, and birth photographer because “your first birth was so quick … the second will be quicker!” I definitely was feeling like I was the crazy pregnant lady calling wolf each time labor stopped.

birth 2No baby. Now I’d ‘wasted’ a week of my maternity leave by sitting at home without a baby. I was getting edgy, frustrated, depressed, angry, you name it! I was going to the chiropractor for adjustments, acupuncturist for labor inducing, eating SUPER SPICY foods constantly, everything short of chugging the castor oil …

Sunday night (12/8), around 1 a.m., I woke up with waves. They were strong. I was using my “peace” cue from Hypnobabies. I was listening to my tracks. I was feeling good! After a few hours of waves I decided to text our doula. I didn’t want to wake Tom up yet because I knew he was going to need some sleep if this was it … and I KNEW this was different.  I was feeling a lot more pressure and just knew we’d be having a baby soon!! I kept waiting for my water to break … any minute it was going to happen. The waves just kept coming, about every 6 minutes. This was definitely labor.  We called the midwife later Sunday morning, about 9:00 am. My dad came over to come hang out with Ben. We decided to head into the hospital about 11:00 that morning. When we got to the hospital, I was doing great. Waves had slowed down during the ride over, but I knew it was OK … our doula warned us that labor can slow down during the drive. No biggie, we’d just walk from the parking ramp like we did with Ben’s birth. We’d have this baby in our arms later that afternoon. I KNEW IT! After a long walk, some more super spicy food, and finally getting checked out by the midwife, we were sent home. Ultimately this was the best thing our midwife could have done. She told us that we could get admitted, but then we’d be ‘on-the-clock’ at the hospital. That they’d have to start pushing for interventions to get active labor started. I didn’t want that. She told me it could be 4 hours or 4 days. I was DEVASTATED. We found our doula and birth photographer in the waiting room. I instantly started crying. I was so embarrassed about going to the hospital when it wasn’t really time. My parents brought Ben to his Christmas pageant at school … we skipped it … I didn’t want to face anybody. I sat in the shower at home and just sobbed. That gut-wrenching, ugly crying. The kind where tears and snot just flow and mix together. My fabulous doula suggested that we get together that night, after our kids went to bed.  I met up with her and we did some hypnosis release tracks, some essential oils, and had some more good venting/crying. I drove home.  I yelled at God in the car and said I didn’t care when this baby came as long as she arrived safely. Monday was better. Tom went back to work. I went to the midwives office for my weekly check-up.  I found out that at the hospital the day before I was 3 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Monday morning I was 4 cm dilated and 60% effaced. I truly didn’t care. I went to the grocery store and picked up everything to make a nice pot roast in the crock pot.  I went home, started the slow-cooker. I watched some dumb TV. Tom picked up Ben from school; we had dinner and I maybe felt two or three waves the entire day. Around 8 p.m. I felt crampy, so I decided to go take a nice long hot shower. That was heaven. Tom and I started watching a DVR’d episode of Saturday Night Live. I started having strong waves. I instinctively got on my hands and knees and was doing child’s pose and other yoga tricks. It felt good. We texted Lindsay… she said to keep her posted. Tom called the midwives, she said to take a hot bath, and that she’d call us in an hour.  This was a little after 9 p.m.

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We got upstairs to our bathtub (Ben was sleeping across the hall). Tom sat with me. Waves were getting stronger but were super sporadic. A few would be 5 minutes apart, and then 7, and then 3, and then 8. No pattern at all. A few times in the tub I knew I had to pee … each time I’d get out of the tub the waves would hit me like a brick wall.  I didn’t realize how great the water was until I was out of it … the waves came much faster whenever I was out of the water. I told Tom he’d better call my dad (to come watch Ben). And to call the midwife and doula again. I didn’t realize this (thankfully), but Tom was trying to get in touch with my dad … but he wasn’t answering his phone. At 10:45 my water broke, in the tub. It was the strangest sensation. It felt like a balloon popped inside of me, and then a gush. I KNEW this was really it for real. (Up until my water broke I kept telling myself this wasn’t real, it was just more weird practice.) Our doula got to the house at a little after 11 p.m. I had gotten dressed, and was on the living room floor, on my hands and knees, seriously working through each pressure wave.  The funny thing is that Lindsay told us that if I couldn’t “feel the head” we’d make it to the hospital. Seriously the waves felt like they were lasting at least 90 seconds and coming every 2 minutes.  This was FAST. My dad still wasn’t at the house … We decided we HAD to leave at 11:15 p.m. Lindsay was going to stay at the house until my dad arrived. I made it down the stairs, and outside into Tom’s SUV. I wedged myself facing backwards into the front seat, with my knees on the ground.  (I couldn’t fit in the backseat because we had 2 car seats installed!!)vIt literally felt like Tom was going 80 MPH+ down our little side streets (he assures me that he didn’t speed at all) … it was a very snowy & icy night too! During each pressure wave in the car I would tell baby to “WAAAAAIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT.” My body had completely taken over. It was pushing and I was trying to make it stop. The amazing thing was that after each wave I was fine. I was actually really calm. We got to the hospital (at 11:45 p.m.), and Tom left the car (running) in the 15-minute loading zone.  The security guard saw us and waved us in; up to the admission desk. I was literally working through each wave, telling baby to “WAAAAIIIIITTTTTTT” (feeling like I’m being super loud, but according to everyone not loud at all.) They bring us to a triage room, and the nurse says, can you get on the bed? So I do, and then another wave. The wave stops and she wants to check my progress. My eyes were closed this whole time and I was really in my own little world. It was 11:50 p.m. at this point. Tom says that as she started to check me, she started waving furiously at people and about 4 people swarmed around my triage bed and whisked me into a labor room. I remember telling the nurses that we wanted a water birth … they said they’d try but didn’t think I’d be able to have the tub ready in time. Our midwife got into the room and asked how I was doing.  I said GREAT! She checked me and said time to push! I did a few pushes on hands and knees, facing the back of the bed, and then somehow (I thought the nurses did this but apparently it was me) my right leg flew up and I almost fell out of the bed. Then I stood up on the bed and the midwife said to squat down. I instinctively started going into a yoga-deep squat and they said “not that low, don’t sit on the baby’s head!” I was able to feel baby’s head … that was AMAZING. Then a few more pushes and she was out.  I was still standing on the bed and my midwife said “SIT DOWN!” Katherine was born at 12:12 a.m. on Tuesday December 10th. Literally less than 30 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.

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I felt no pain at all during the labor and delivery. My only discomfort was when I had a few stitches placed after a minor 2nd degree tear … and I probably wouldn’t have torn if she would have been a little slower in arriving. Sheesh! Baby was on my chest, and nursing after about 10 minutes. This was pretty funny … around that time, they came with all the bands for baby, me & Tom to wear.  s they were putting my admission band on (they never did that because of how labor was going) I happened to look down and saw not my name … something like Angel or Angelina.  Thankfully I noticed that … who knows what would have happened … baby switching?? Just kidding. Katherine laid there with me for almost 90 minutes before we started checking her out (and naming her!). The midwife helped me get to the bathroom to take a shower which was heavenly. As I came out of the bathroom I heard the nurses, my husband, our doula, photographer all exclaim that I had to see how big she was! Baby Katherine was 9 lbs, 7 ounces … almost two pounds BIGGER than Ben! It was the best test of Hypnobabies that I could have had … it was EASY, CALM, BEAUTIFUL, NATURAL, everything I wanted (except missing the water birth…) I can’t say enough that my birthing time was so easy in part because of many things … having practiced prenatal yoga extensively throughout pregnancy, having worked the Hypnobabies program, believing  I could do this again, and having a fabulous birthing support team including my husband, our doula, our midwife, etc. So a funny follow-up … our doula called the birth photographer to come wait at our house for my dad. My dad arrived about 11:45, and the photographer made it to the hospital just in time. It was a REALLY good thing we didn’t wait for my dad to get to the house before leaving or we would have had a baby on the highway! One last thing. I would never voluntarily give birth without a doula and Hypnobabies! It truly is the most amazing experience I’ve ever had! We’ll see if I ever get that water birth I wanted … 20131210_172531-1  

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Pregnancy Poem: “My Body Is … a Beautiful Nest”

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

To capture the essence of pregnancy in writing is no easy feat, and I was taken with poem by an Indiana doula. We’re sharing it with you today, along with the writer’s insight as to how the poem came about. (Check out Tammy’s poem, Radiant, too!) -Alisa

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{by Tammy Knox Sandel} I was remembering when I was pregnant and thinking about how this miraculous body can contain its owner-operator, but also a whole other person with a baby, or the essence of another person with a lover, or the energy of an idea, which is also something that is alive and can continue to grow and develop once it leaves you.READ MORE

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Birth Story: Born in the Caul

Friday, March 28th, 2014

{by Lara B.}

On Sunday January 26th, I was at 38 weeks exactly. We had just finished visiting with good friends and their baby girl when on our way home I started feeling “weird” and cramping. I had been have mild cramping in the evenings for about a week prior to that, but I had figured it was just my body getting ready for its “big work” and as I had been telling myself since the beginning of my pregnancy, “feeling something is good.”

On Sunday night, though, the cramps were strong enough to have me rocking back and forth on all fours and the birthing ball for comfort. After using the bathroom, I noticed some speckles of blood and decided to call the midwife on call. I spoke calmly to her, reminding myself that it was probably not real contractions since I was a first time mom and had been told throughout my pregnancy that first babies usually go past their due date and I had wanted to be okay when I saw my date come and go. (I can be honest now and say I had felt for the majority of my pregnancy that I would be early- always trust your intuition!)READ MORE

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