Support Louisiana Flood Victims. Donation collection for moms and babies.Read More
Support for New Orleans families. Every Wednesday.Read More
A New Orleans Doula tells you five questions to ask when choosing a doctor (OB) or midwife for your birth.Read More
Happy World Doula Week!
(I'm not running a sale.)
I'm happy this week is here, this doula and many of the doulas of Nola Nesting have had a very busy month and we are definitely deserving of a week . . . .of call? Yah, most of us are on call for some beautiful expecting families so we have our phones on us 24/7, every commitment we make is followed by a 'so long as I'm not at a birth,' and we our packed bags are never far. We work hard for our clients even when they don't know it. We are thinking about you and gathering a holistic picture of you in the days preceding your labor. We answer our phones when you call us in the middle of the night and help remind you what's normal, to cherish this time and to honor yourself in the last days of pregnancy.
We help you connect with your partner. It's been said I've saved a marriage. Now, I really hope that's not true, but we are there to support you in a way that you deserve to be supported every day of your life, but unfortunately probably are not because of our busy schedules and responsibilities. We are there for you - pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Although we may try to catch a nap while you labor, you are our priority and we work hard to care for you and honor your wishes. Our hearts are with you and they sing when yours does and they cry too with yours sometimes, but we help you find a positive place and keep going. We help you navigate breastfeeding and the early days of parenting.
We give of ourselves mentally, physically and on a very personal internal level full of emotion and intuition.
Doula week is a week to celebrate us. I will celebrate my doula friends and thank them for all the support they give me. The doulas of Nola Nesting are the most amazing women and I am infinitely blessed to know each of them. I will celebrate the doulas who have made change in the birthing world and all of us who only want the absolute best for women! Through birth work and activism we are with you even when you don't see us. So, I won't be reducing my rate in celebration of my work. A sale only devalues what we do, and what we do is priceless. I'm thinking this is more akin to Teacher or Nurse Appreciation week! Gifts aren't necessary and are not expected, but we do absolutely love to hear how you are doing and see pictures of your growing babies, and we won't be discounting ourselves in celebration of . . . ourselves.
Interested in becoming a doula? Well, then here's a chance to win a discount you don't want to miss out on! You could win a chance to come to Birth Boot Camp DOULA training for 33% off!
Professional Doulas do a lot of things. We drop our lives with a phone call, work with very long periods between meals and often with no meals at all, can take a nap anywhere, have both a clinical and sacred understanding of birth, our work is both physically and mentally demanding, and we have learned to manage all of this with very little or no sleep. But I think the most important skill a doula can have is the ability to establish an intimate relationship quickly. As I teach in Birth Boot Camp DOULA, it is this relationship, it is the heart I bring, my faith in your ability to birth that will enable me to support you in the best way possible.
Unless you're in my childbirth class, we've probably spent a total of 5-6 hours together, including our interview, before I join you in labor. Our meetings were casual, our time spent discussing your pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. You were excited, anxious, nervous, hopeful and glowing with your round belly. When you call me to your birth, you are your raw self. You are exposed and primal, powerful and vulnerable. You are likely naked or in some state of undress. If you are uncomfortable being in this laboring state with me present, then I am an intervention who is in the way of your labor. That is not good. This could stall or slow labor.
We do carry a 'bag of tricks' as some of my clients have called it. Really, there is nothing particularly magical in that bag and if I forgot it at home I can still do my job. This is because I bring you my heart and this relationship that we build is love. I have to make myself vulnerable to you in a way very similar to how people fall in love. My own oxytocin levels are high and are rising as you progress through your labor. Oxytocin is the love hormone.
I read this article that has been circulating on facebook and I thought to myself, "THIS! THIS is how we do it!" If you haven't read it, here's the synposis:
- two strangers enter a room and sit near one another.
- they ask one another a series of questions of an increasingly intimate nature.
- they actively listen to one another.
- they hold eye contact for a prolonged period. Then, they fall in love.
(And as the author discusses, this experiment can be repeated in a bar - how New Orleans is that?!)
Now, here's the doula synopsis
- We sit together at a coffee shop and talk about your birth, my profession and you ask me questions about my role
- We sit together in your home, discussing an increasingly intimate number of things. I am sure to make eye contact.
- I listen to you and work to gain an understanding of who you are, your wishes and how I might best support you.
- I join you in labor and at some point, we have prolonged eye contact.
The rest is labor history.
You see, they are very similar. In the article it is noted that both individuals were open to participating and to love. This is not very different from us. You seek to be supported, unconditionally and wholly, through your labor and birth and I am making myself available to you.
I loved reading this article because this is one of my favorite parts of my job. When this happens the best way it can, you feel supported and cared for even if your labor and birth are different than what you had wished and how you envisioned it. When this happens in the best way it can, I will never forget your birth because it is in my heart and I am genuinely so proud and happy for you; I look forward to seeing pictures of your baby grow and it makes my heart happy when I run into you around town and see you as a mother and father.
I also think that this exercise, similar to how it is done at the bar, can be a very powerful thing for couples to do when preparing for birth. Take the opportunity to share eye contact and really focus on one another. Talk about nothing and let it build to sharing your intimate feelings and experiences, especially those concerning your pregnancy and birth. It may not be over a beer, and you're no stranger to one another - but doesn't everyone love falling in love?
Cheers! Holiday Mocktails for all the pregnant ladies!Read More
One of the most common questions I'm asked in interviews is what I bring to a birth. What you find in my bag might disappoint you. It's all pretty normal stuff. In fact, you probably have much of it around your house.
What I want you to know is this: You aren't hiring me for the tools in my bag, because what I bring goes beyond my bag.
Birth brings you to places in yourself you have not been. Others may question your journey, you may doubt yourself and your way may seem unclear, but I know that you hold within you the wisdom of the women before you, power you are just beginning to discover and a mother's intuition.
We are so excited to welcome Courtney Jarecki to New Orleans! Louisiana has the highest cesarean rates in the nation - and this means as birth workers, health care providers, mental health care providers, lactation consultants, and all others who support new moms we already know how severely unexpected birth outcomes can affect new moms. This workshop is an opportunity for us to learn more about how to best support women planning homebirths who transfer for a cesarean as well as women planning unmedicated births whose path brings them to medical management with or without a cesarean.
We invite all those who work with expecting and postpartum moms to join us in this workshop and open our hearts and minds to how we can best support all mothers through all births.
When: January 10th, 10:15-7pm
Where: New Orleans, 4011 Baronne St.
Birthing with dignity and power, from home to operating room.
Homebirth Cesarean (HBC) is the name given to planned out-of-hospital births that end in hospital cesarean.
Facilitated by the author of the book Homebirth Cesarean: Stories and Support for Families and Healthcare Providers, this workshop is for all birth professionals who want to learn to fully support mothers, families and themselves through traumatic births and cesareans.
The information, insights, tools, and strategies shared have been gathered from over 200 interviews with homebirth cesrean mothers, partners, midwives and birth professionasl from around the world on:
-What birth professionals can do to prepare clients who are reluctant to engage in the topic of cesrean birth
-Assessing a client's risk for suffering trauma during or after a difficult birth experience
-How to broach the transport conversation during labor and prepare the family to make the physcial and emotional move to the hospital.
-Supporting the partner through a difficult birth
-How birth professionals can care for themselves during difficult births
-Caring for the cesarean mother and partner in the hospital and at home
-Postpartum Mood Disorders (PMADs) and PtSD after a traumatic birth
I've been watching a bit of this cute mom's youtube channel. She has a great sense of humor and is fun to watch, but when I saw this video of her second babe's birth, well, I just had to jot down some thoughts. . . .
First off, let me just say this - aren't they a sweet family? What a cute little baby and big sister! Like any birth, this one had me shedding a tear. Congratulations to them on their new addition and to this mother for breastfeeding their sweet babe in the NICU.
1. Rather than arriving at the hospital early, the information and confidence gained in a childbirth class like Birth Boot Camp and having a doula would have enabled them to stay home longer, hydrate and rest. Laboring at home helps to decrease cesarean risk by limiting interventions and allows a woman to make greater progress in labor by feeling safe and comforted. Our bodies and brains have only one way to interpret lights, noise and distraction during labor - risk. When our primitive selves perceive it is not safe to have our baby in this time/place birth does not progress.
2. Movement! This beautiful laboring mom finds that she feels better standing and then later we see her in the bed again. Lying in bed is a terrible labor position as it restricts movement and is very painful. When women move in labor they help their baby come down and are more comfortable. With a doula present dad would have been encouraged to walk with her and help relieve her discomfort using movement and touch techniques.
3. The Epidural!!! An epidural that doesn't work is the WORST! This is why EVERYONE, even those planning medical pain relief during labor, need childbirth education. Really, my heart goes out to moms that experience an epidural that only works on half or not at all. When you have only prepared for an epidural and don't have the support of a doula and skills learned from a class to help you labor, this is torturous - far far more painful than a natural birth with support and education.
4. Oy! An infection. Now, who knows why this sweet mom had an infection or why she ran fever. We do know that epidurals and fluids can cause a maternal fever and that vaginal exams and artificial rupture of membranes (breaking your water) increase risk of infection. She also said she hadn't slept in quite some time and was likely dehydrated. It's hard to stay well hydrated at the end of a pregnancy. Again, a doula and class would have helped her be informed (potentially decreasing vaginal exams, the need for an epidural and interventions) and stay hydrated.
This mom is no wimp. She brought her child into this world full of love and desire (and with a half-functioning epidural! ouch!). I do not know her or any details of her pregnancy and birth that are not shared in this video. Congratulations, Elle and family! Give us a call if you'd like some more support next time around!
Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.
41 weeks and 3 days pregnant is uncomfortable, but at that point I was kinda on autopilot. I was used to it and just trying to wait it out and not be impatient. Liam was 10 days "overdue", but I realize that my kids take longer to "cook". My babies are never big, they have been 6lb. 9oz., 7lb. 11oz., and now 8lb. 2oz. So not too big of babies and two of those were "overdue." Also, I am not fond of going by due dates because there can be so many flaws with that. But I won't get started on all that. On Wednesday, February 19, I had my regular doctor appointment and like usual I took the kiddos with me, but they (mainly Cason, who is 2) were exceptionally crazy that day. It was a really stressful day to say the least, and when we finally saw the doctor she said what I had feared. She legally had to put an end date on when baby had to come (which is so wrong and even she agreed). So she said she would strip my membranes that day and see if that did anything, but if nothing happened that I would have to come in Monday and try something else (breaking my water bag, or....Pitocin). Neither of which I wanted! So she stripped my membranes and said I was 4 centimeters and she didn't know how I would NOT go into labor at that point. She laughed that some people get epidurals before 4 centimeters! lol This was at 1:30 p.m. I left the doctor's office to go pick Bradley (my husband) up from work. I started having contractions approximately every 5 minutes but didn't think too much about it since I had heard many stories of people getting their membranes swept, having contractions, then the contractions dying down. I kinda kept count in my head how close together they were but didn't think a whole lot about it. We got home and I started washing dishes and cleaning since it was possible that the contractions would stay. But when I was standing my contractions went away! I was disappointed and thinking, hello? this is backwards. So I decided to just sit for a while and luckily they picked back up. Bradley made dinner and I cleaned some more and by the end of dinner the contractions were definitely there to stay I thought. So I let my parents know and let a few others know what was going on too. By 6:00 the contractions were getting uncomfortable so I let my wonderful [awesome Doula, Grace], know what was going on. We finished up dinner and I got the kids to bed. After I finished reading Cason a bedtime story I went to put him in bed real quick because I felt a contraction but he got so sad and said "Please rock a baby!" Which means that he wanted more cuddle time and rocked, so of course I rocked that baby!!! After that I walked around some and was getting very "discomfortable" and remember saying to Bradley that it kinda sucks how we forget these pains because right about then I was annoyed and wanted them to go away. They were 2-3 minutes apart but only lasting 30-40 seconds which meant that I probably wasn't as far along as I thought I was. Thats a disheartening thought. I text Grace again and she suggested getting in the tub/shower. So I decided to get in the tub and it was ok but I was seriously just annoyed and the bathtub is too long at our place so it was just frustrating more than anything. So by 8:00 the contractions were really wearing on me and I was kinda panicking, I will admit. I was thinking I can't do this, this is ridiculous; I mean I had only been "hard" contractions since 6. How was I going to last several more hours (my other births were both 12 hours from start to finish)? At 9:00 I laid on my side on the couch and felt so defeated. Then what happens?...a MUCH worse contraction with some weird pressure that felt like Liam did a huge flip or something. So I got up only to realize that my water leaked! (it never did more than that for the rest of the labor) I text Grace that and she came right over and helped me with assessing where I was in labor and to get a few things straightened out. I really wanted to go to the hospital, actually I wanted to BE at the hospital already, I was just so.....annoyed for lack of a better word. I even snapped at Bradley a bit! lol So we left for the hospital around 9:20 and got there at 9:36. Grace helped me check in while Bradley parked the car. This was a lifesaver! I say that because I personally would have killed all the ignorant people we ran into on the way to the Labor & Delivery! I got checked in and hooked up to monitors around 10:15. They checked me and guess what? It was like a dream come true, I was 10 centimeters!!!! WOOHOOO!! No wonder I was in so much pain! This boy was coming fast! I felt like I needed to push a little so I got on my knees on the bed while I hear the nurses calling for my doctor to come. I reallllly wanted to wait until she got there but I was in soooo much pain. I pushed maybe 3 times and really just felt like it did nothing, like he wasn't ready yet. At some point Grace was just standing by the bed and patting my back for comfort then she saw Bradley trying to get pictures so she got the camera from him and said for him to go stand by me. Well, Bradley goes to put HIS hand my back and my immediate response was "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" Or so I have been told. This makes me laugh because I do NOT remember doing that! At some point between then and 10:30 my doctor got there and I decided I wanted to try to get in the tub, so they filled it pretty quick! The water immediately felt wonderful, I think it helped to release some tension I had since I was really tense this whole labor. I just couldn't get focused enough to go with the pain. I felt like I was fighting against it which, for me, makes it worse. So around 10:40 I tried some pushing but found it gave no relief, unlike pushing when I had Cason. This birth was so different than Cason's! At this point I am in the tub and here is what is happening around me: Dr. Lap is sitting in a chair beside the tub just chatting away with the 100 people (slight exaggeration, there were only maybe 6-8 people) who decided to be in the room. I really didn't care that there were that many people there, I barely noticed at the time. Here is what did annoy me (but as you may can tell I was just a bit irritable this whole labor): my doctor is chatting away about the Winter Olympics....at MY birth...while I am in pain, she has the audacity to be chatting it up with the nurses! lol In all seriousness this only annoyed me for a minute and then I realized how wonderfully laid back she was about all this. No one was telling me what to do or how to do it! She was letting me labor and push on my own. I seriously love this doctor! She is the best! I tried pushing a little but swear it hurt worse. With Cason it gave a little relief, but not so this time. After kinda moping to myself for a minute I decided that I needed to suck it up and get his baby out. I tried to push a couple of times but felt nothing different after each push. I felt like I was pushing and nothing was happening except more pain. I wanted the pain to stop so I just figured I needed to try harder and I did. I had to push a lot more with one than with my others, and Liam may have moved down some on his own if I would have waited but I didn't want to deal with the contractions that much longer. Dr. Lap and Grace were there to encourage me, and help keep me going. Grace gave me water a few times and I'm sure a lot things were said and done that I just don't remember or wasn't fully aware of at the time. I had a wonderful support ream. Oh yeah and Bradley was there, taking pics and making sure my birth mix playlist was playing soothing tunes. After what seemed like forever of pushing (in reality it was only 20 minutes at the most), the doctor said that started encouraging to push a little more and to keep going because he was getting close. At some point someone said he was crowning, which for me was obvious...OUCH, but I didn't have the same intense burning like I did with Cason. It was a little less intense. I did manage to to feel his head which was so cool! I pushed 3 more times I think (I can't remember a lot from the pushing phase) and out came Liam at 11:05 p.m.! Dr. Lap immediately hand him to me (I had wanted to get him myself but I couldn't muster up the strength, I was just like FINALLY!) and of course I was elated but more relieved than anything. Something I forgot to mention was that during my last few doctor visits Dr. Lap had suspected that Liam was posterior, which means he was face up instead of the way he should be; face down. She would mention it but never showed any real concern while I was slightly worried and had tried some techniques to get him to turn. On the last day I went in to see her she still acted like it was no big deal, which frustrated me! I say all that to say this. The reason the doctor even had time to make it to my birth was obviously because Liam was posterior (maybe not even all the way, but at least partially), and he was trying to flip over, which he did. He born face down, like he was supposed to. lol The following moments were packed with so many emotions it makes my head spin to think back on it all. First of all, when I was handed Liam, I was just like relieved...like YAY it's over. It really took me a minute or two to kind of come back to reality and realize I was holding my precious baby boy. Then it took me another few minutes to realize that no one was bothering me or baby. No one was rushing to "fix" anything, were just there with some towels over Liam of course, and he was looking around, just checking things out. Dr. Lap then checked the chord, which I had totally forgotten about. We got to let it pulse for several minutes (which I was elated about), until all of sudden I said ahhh...the placenta...and then it just kinda plopped out. lol. It was a crazy feeling, but once again, it happened on it's own, no one needed to rush it! Soon after, we got cleaned off and moved over to the bed where my little man continues staring at me and also happens to latch on nearly perfectly several times! Also, one the best parts about having a natural birth, and breastfeeding, the crazy adrenaline and oxytocin rush! With Cason and Liam the rush of hormones kept me up most of the night that night. Once we FINALLY got put into a room about 2 a.m. I was too excited and spent the night just staring at my little boy. He stared back at me most of the night too. Just content to be in mommy's arms.
1. The office/hospital is beautiful.
A beautiful office sure makes for a nice place to sit. I'll give you that. But, are you going to labor and birth in that office? Are you moving in? Is there a correlation between wonderful, respectful health care providers and new/modern/spa like space? nope. This might be a great way to choose a nail spa or even a spot for dog grooming, but not your health care provider. This is NOT important. Bring a book and take off on a fictional journey while you wait and snack on raw nuts.
You want to birth in a beautiful space? Who can blame you. But you know what - when the day comes you won't be aware of the color of the walls or how fine the linens are. It's a wonderful bonus if you get a beautiful birthing space and an awesome motherbaby friendly provider in one birth-perfect package. But, a well designed room won't matter much to you if you're not happy with how things go down. Your provider has a greater impact on this than a room color and fixtures.
2. The staff is so nice!
So, the office staff isn't making the calls on game day. It sure is nice to work with pleasant people, that's for certain. I prefer to eat at restaurants with great wait staff and stay in hotels with amazing service. When it comes to making the big calls concerning your health and birth - it's the provider that matters. However rude or nice the staff, ultimately they make up a very small part of your pregnancy experience and none of your birth experience.
3. Appointments are always on time or have short wait times.
How is it that some providers always run on time or close to? I'll tell ya- they're not at their births and if they are their induction and/or cesarean rate is likely high. Health care providers who are patient enough to allow labor to start and continue as it is intended and attend their clients' births rather than relying on the on-call doc and scheduled births, have clinic-scheduling difficulties. Add to this the fact that they are told how many appointments to take/hour, appointment scheduling is out of their hands, and this amazing provider is probably spending more time with you than the 5 minutes you are truly allotted. When it's your time to labor and push you're never gonna feel bad for those people waiting and you will be gratful to have your patient, skilled provider caring for you.
A caviat to this is that it's unfair to compare those in private or shared practices to those working for a group/hosptial and midwives to OBs. Midwives, by the nature of midwifery, allow for longer appointments and have fewer patients. In shared practices it's easier for the person not attending births on a given day to keep up with clinic appointments. This is great! But a provider's ability to run an on-time office is in no way a measure of his/her quality of care.
4. He/She makes me laugh.
Laughter is the best medicine, of course! While bed-side manner is awesome and definitely a plus, being funny and/or super polite does not equate to being an awesome health care provider. This is just not reason enough to hire someone.
It's great to have a connection with your provider. But ultimately this is a professional relationship and you aren't looking for a bestie - you are looking for someone that you can trust to leave you alone when it's appropriate and to only intervene when needed. You need someone that will be there for you when you are ready to birth your baby. Someone who will trust your own ancient birth wisdom and support you while you labor and push as your baby and body tell you - not to say "sure you can do whatever you want so long as you and baby are safe" then procede to flip you over to a standard stirrup position to "make things easier." If and when this person looks in your eyes and says "I think we need to move to an induction/augmentation/cesarean" you know that all else has been exhausted and you can move forward in this direction with confidence in the decision and respect and honor for your birth.
5. My sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's-cousin's-mom uses him/her.
This is probably a great way to choose a hair dresser. A health care povider, not so much. Unless of course your sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's cousin's mom and you have a lot in common in regards to your motherbaby care birth plans. You may like the same jokes, love the same music and read the same books, but have very different ideas about optimal motherbaby maternity care. Take a good childbirth class and look for red flags. Hire a doula and listen to what your doula has to say. What care providers are doulas choosing? Who do her clients see? You hire a doula because of the knowledge she holds, because of what she has seen - this person has had far more experiences with birth than your sister/friend/cousin/mom/friend's cousin's mom (unless of course that person is also a doula).
6. I don't want to cheat.
There is no cheating in health care. If you feel uncomfortable with the care you have received in the past, with the suggestions your doctor or midwife is making and the conversation that takes place there after, if you find you and your provider have different comfort levels with pregnancy gestation, baby size, natural labor, inductions, pitocin, skin-to-skin contact, vaginal breech birth, etc. . . this isn't a reason to cheat - it's NOT cheating. It's your RIGHT. Get another opinion, transfer care to another health care provider, you have options! It's important you are a good match with your provider. This will allow you to trust this person's suggestions and decisions regarding your care rather than questioning him/her the whole time, which, truly, is frustrating for everyone involved.
7. The office/hospital is so close to my house.
Okay, if you live in the woods and have a history of precipitous labor, this might be important. But for the average woman with an average labor there are at least two hospitals within a half hour of her, even in traffic. Proximity to your house at a place with a 50% cesarean rate vs. drive 30 minutes further for a care provider with a much lower cesrean rate . . . even in transition this mom of three would choose the 30 minute drive.
8. He/She says "whatever you want to do" when I ask questions.
See number 4 above. Be sure you are actually hearing what is said and what isn't said, not what you want to hear.
9. My partner says this is best.
YOU are a strong, intelligent and capable woman. In a perfect world you, your partner and provider will have an actual discussion. You CAN and SHOULD BE making decisions about your health care and while your partner may have valid input and legit concerns, ultimately you are the one going through this and your input and concerns are not invalid. It is you that will labor and birth this baby and you are capable of that AND choosing your provider.
10. I NEED my toes painted in the hospital the day after I've had my baby.
It's no secret, postpartum isn't always when we look our best. New moms are tired, swollen and sore after a vaginal birth. Add a major surgery on to that and yah, some pampering might be nice. A pedicure is a great way for mom to grab some alone time and treat herself - but let's revisit that section rate, your birth options, your provider's availability for your labor and birth and faith in your body to grow and birth a healthy baby - would you give all that up for pretty toes? Maybe you work it out where you get it all. Maybe not. But don't let some polish, even organic formaldehyde-free polish, be the deal breaker when chosing a health care provider.
Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.