Give Light: Stories from Indigenous Midwives

Check out this amazing project that needs our support.  There are two events this week (read about them at the bottom) you can attend to show your support.  But you know what's really important?  Some dollars.  This project is in need of some funding by the 12th - can you pay it forward a dollar or two?

Check out this intriguing documentary by local director Steph Smith about indigenous midwives. In Give Light: Stories from Indigenous Midwives, hear indigenous midwives discuss a time when birth was a natural event and they assisted women to bring the light of a child into this world.

Meet indigenous midwives from the Himbas tribe in Namibia, Africa; the Yawalapitias of Brazil; the Kogis of Colombia; the Andeans of Peru and elsewhere. Travel to developed countries and the United States to explore what indigenous midwives did before modern medicine denounced them and their practice.

Learn how today, many midwives fear persecution and risk having their practices outlawed; while the medical industry refuses to acknowledge their specific skills and knowledge. This same industry has taken great measures to prevent women from using their midwifery vocation to generate income - while creating a global cesarean epidemic.

Give Light: Stories from Indigenous Midwives seeks to inspire, entertain, and spark dialogue and action regarding the future of maternity health and the role of midwives in contemporary society.

To complete this film, the Kickstarter must reach it's goal by December 12. Please support this wonderful documentary by backing it on Kickstarter!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/164156992/give-light-stories-from-indigenous-midwives

Here are some upcoming events, all proceeds to go support the Kickstarter campaign:

December 9, 2014

7:30 pm Tasseology, 1228 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd Suggested Donation $5-10

Upcoming event! Join the filmmakers for a screening of the short film Give Light at Tasseology, 1228 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Afterwards, Erika Busciglio, founder of Sacred Women apparel, will lead a water ceremony at the P3 Divine Community and Water Alter exhibit. This ceremony, originating in Colombia, is used to bless and honor our sacred waters and waters of the world. Suggested donation, all proceeds will go to the film's Kickstarter campaign. - http://kck.st/1EBonpa Tasseology site - https://www.facebook.com/tasseologynola

December 10, 2014

6:30 - 7:30 pm King and Queen Emporium Int’l, 2500 Bayou Rd Suggested Donation $5-10

Join us at the King and Queen Emporium Int'l, 2500 Bayou Rd, for a screening of the short film Give Light: Indigenous Midwives Lore. Sula will be offering a blessing for the wombs of mothers and the wombs of the earth! Director Steph Smith will be in attendance and will host a Q&A afterwards. All proceeds will go to the film's Kickstarter campaign -- http://kck.st/1EBonpa King n Queen Emporium Site: https://www.facebook.com/KingQueenEmporium.

What does a doula bring?

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.

Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

How Do I Become a Doula?

So, you want to be a doula?

We totally get it! It's a good life! We get to witness that new baby, birth warrior high; then go home to some rest . . . . or truthfully, probably to our own busy kids!

We're often asked how you can become a doula, how to improve your business, or how to become a Nola Nesting Doula - so here it is!

Have you already attended a training?

Nola Nesting emphasizes the importance of being a Professional Doula. Meaning that regardless of how many clients you take on per month, you honor your work and yourself as any professional does. The business side of being a doula is often completely forgotton in doula trainings (it's thorougly covered in Birth Boot Camp DOULA) and is abbreviated at best. This means that new doulas need some support in this area, and also probably some clients to finish up those certifying births. Nola Nesting can help with these areas and more in our Mentor Program, you can read all about it here. Then, send us a message here to get the ball rolling!

Are you looking for a training? Or looking for more from your certification agency?

We are also happy to announce that Amanda Devereux is co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA! By certifying with Birth Boot Camp DOULA you gain not only amazing doula skills, but all you need to launch into business, advanced business training from two successful doulas and business women, marketing training and on-going marketing support, advanced lactation training for doulas by an IBCLC and more.

You're already an awesome professional doula and would love to be a part of Nola Nesting?  

We totally don't blame you . . . it's good stuff!

Contact us here to set up an interview and start getting to know the inspirational women of Nola Nesting.

We can't think of better ways to make your dreams of being a birth doula a reality!

A Sibling Doula. The Perfect Support When There's Another Babe on the Way

When your pregnant with a babe that isn't your first making plans for baby means also making plans for your children during the labor and birth. Becoming a big brother or sister is an important transition for a little one and a Sibling Doula can help make it seemless, impacting the familial balance and sibling relationship forever in a meaningful, loving way.

Children do not bring to birth the society fed fears and concerns that we do. Their honesty, open hearts and age-defying undestanding of it all is a beautiful thing to be witness to. With the right support and care children are able to fully experience and share in the experience of their sibling's birth, whether they are present for the birth or nearby eagerly awaiting the moment that they can first meet their new baby.

Juliet crafts with Franki while mom labors nearby.

Juliet crafts with Franki while mom labors nearby.

Franki Batten is both a Birth Doula and Sibling Doula. As a Sibling Doula, Franki spends time getting to know these pint sized memebers of the family during prenatal visits that are all about them and their new role. When mom is in labor Franki is there to care for the child and help them participate in the birth of their sibling as is appropriate for them and their family. Sometimes this means making a card for mom and the new baby, working on some crafts at home while mom labors in the hospital, or being with mom and offering her a cool towel for her head.

Juliet meets Ava.

Juliet meets Ava.

One of the most rewarding parts of laboring with our second child was having our 2 year old daughter, Juliet, present. Our sibling doula, Franki, with Nola Nesting made this possible. We met with Franki on a couple of occasions in preparation for Eva’s birth; her calm sweet demeanor just captivated Juliet... they were instant friends. As an already experience doula, Franki was awesome at our birth. She kept Juliet involved by encouraging her to count while mommy pushed. Franki talked to Juliet about the sounds mommy was making and why. She put a positive twist on what may have been a worrisome situation for a toddler. Since Juliet enjoys coloring and crafts, Franki captured Juliet’s attention through these activities in our labor suite while waiting for baby to arrive. It was so sweet to experience Juliet’s excitement and curiosity as she watched her sister being born. She was able to bond with Eva (“Baby Eba” as she affectionality calls her) immediately after birth. A week later, Franki visited and brought a folder containing the art projects from that day along with an outline of events from her and Juliet’s perspective. I am so glad that we found Nola Nesting and Franki to enrich our family’s birth experience.
— Anne and Adam, parents to Juliet and Eva

Whether at home or in the hospital, a Sibling Doula allows you to concentrate on the hard work of labor with the confidence that your older child is well-cared for and ready to welcome their new sibling.

Read more about Sibling Doulas here or contact us for more information.

 

Are You Prepared for Your Best 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.  

Wanna know what else I see?  A family that really could have used the support from a comprehensive childbirth class and a doula.  How so you ask?  Here goes!

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.

More New Orleans Birth Options are the Best! (a new midwife in new orleans)

So, here's the big news . . .

there's a new midwife in town!

How exciting is this? It wasn't long ago that hospital midwifery was virtually unheard of in our crescent city, homebirth midwives were only found by carefully listening for the whispers of others and VBACs were rare at best.

We were invited to meet Alison Clark, CNM and chat with her about her new home with Crescent City Physicians at Touro's Family Birthing Center. She has been practicing in Mississippi and is thrilled to be growing some roots in New Orleans. She's looking forward to supporting women in using water to labor and birth, encourages movement during labor and also offers pre-conception care.

Midwifery offers women care that includes a philosophy that

birth is normal.

This is different from the medical model of care ascribed to by physicians (although we are super lucky to have some amazing physicians in our area that have a great perspective of birth). Every woman, baby, pregnancy and birth is different and will have differnet needs. Options are what women need. Women deserve the ability to have a conversation with health care providers and choose what route, what provider, is best for them. In a city that is often (sometimes) endearingly slow, we are rapidly seeing more birth options and this is beautiful progress!

We are thrilled to have Alison Clark's midwifery practice in New Orleans and are looking forward to meeting the other midwives joining her. And we were VERY happy to hear that whether you are planning a natural birth or a medicated birth (epidural) she is available to support you. While cesareans are out of scope for midwives, this midwife will be supporting VBAC moms!!! (can you feel our excitement?) You heard me right ladies, bring on those healing births! She is bringing holistic care to women, is supportive of her clients inviting Nola Nesting Doulas to their births, loves Birth Boot Camp and she's working with some great OBs to offer women the care they need should medical reason arise.

"I look forward to working with Nola Nesting and providing childbirth options and being part of normal healthy birth designed to the mother and baby's natural abilities."

"I look forward to working with Nola Nesting and providing childbirth options and being part of normal healthy birth designed to the mother and baby's natural abilities."

Alison Clark, CNM

3600 Prytania Street, Suite 30 New Orleans, LA 70115

504-897-7700

The Midwife's Hail Mary

There is no man in the moon. She is a dark and quite tomb, a female's mighty womb. Bleeds dark life giving blood. Whispers to me as I walk this quite path. Leads me with her wisdom as I fall amongst the stones. Gives me her strength to rise and meet life. Night after night she bathes me in her beauty. Kisses away my tears, soothes my fears. She quiets my cries.

She tells me this is her way, she has chosen my soul to do her bidding. Uses my hands and breath to do her work. Stands above me as I make mistakes during the sweet delirium she has provided. She guides me, she rises me, she illuminates my darkness.

One dark and quiet night my soul will rise to rest amongst her stars. She will cradle my weary bones. She will speak to me like my true mother. She will tell me why I have been chosen to walk amongst her light, to rise during her mighty hour to witness life. To sometimes be still and watch life enter with no need for my skill or knowledge.

Why she has chosen me to give of my own soul to breathe life in. To watch a mother cry as her child screams his first life's breath. I will thank her for the rise and fall of his tiny chest. I will weep in her arms and my weary soul will truly rest.

Poem by Sally Acosta. Inspiration from a night's beautiful birth.
Baby Joshua was welcomed to this earth weighing 5lbs 10oz.

 

Sally Acosta, of Let it Be Midwifery, is a Louisiana Sate Licensed Midwife (LM) and a NARM Certified Professional Midwife (CPM). She lives in Covington, Louisiana, and originally hails from New Orleans. She provides midwifery care to anyone within an hour and half of Covington.

Hiring an OB or Midwife: 10 Things That Are NOT Deal Breakers

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.

Breastfeeding and Mardi Gras

I wrote the following post back in 2011 as I prepared to nurse my second baby through his second Mardi Gras. This year will be my sixth Milky Tuesday after taking 2012 'off' to be very pregnant!

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Mardi Gras is a huge day in our family and our costumes are nearly ready. You can find us in the Quarter people watching, second lining and maybe even as contestants in the Bourbon Street Awards! And I'll most definitely be nursing on our bench in Jackson Square.

So, without adieu, here's my story and my tips for a great Mardi Gras with a nursling.

Carnival and Boobs - Tips for a Breastfeeding Mardi Gras

Amanda Devereux is founder of Nola Nesting, a Doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, co-creator and trainer of Birth Boot Camp DOULA and mom of three breastfed babes.

My Grandma's Walls - The Beauty of Heirloom Photography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .

In a world where cameras are affordable, the digital-age has removed the pressure to selectively open the shutter and photoshop is a click away, it can be hard to see the value in professional photography. We have some incredible shots of our family that tell the story of our lives and adventures. In a time when we spend so much on so many disposable items, like the latest ipad or baby gadget, I want to spend my family’s money more carefully. I want to spend it where it will last. So why do I spend my family’s hard earned money on something I can seemingly do myself?

Because I can’t do it.

I can do a lot of things, the ability to operate a camera is among them. But, I do not have the talent to see the light, the framing, the heart of my subject and make the camera work to capture that the way my mind’s eye sees it the way a truly talented artist and skilled professional photographer can.

What I what I want is an heirloom. I don’t want a large package deal or a hundred pictures. I don’t want to pay for over-edited pictures or for someone to dump ‘professional’ shots in a photoshop package to give them all a trendy look. I am capable of taking those shots. I want my walls to have the feeling of my grandmothers’. I don’t want awkward family pictures and trendy props. I want my children, in all their creative, beautiful and spirited glory frozen in time. I want my grandchildren to see how amazing their parents were as children and see all the love and joy I find in them, how they have made me laugh and how we treasured their tiny rolls and milestones - and I want it conveyed in an image. I want to leave this heirloom for my children and theirs.

Olivia has captured the birth of my son, his newborn moments, has revealed my children’s most inner selves and captured the essence of our family in a way that we, ourselves cannot. Seeing the people I love more than anything on this earth through her lens, through her eyes, moves me in a way true art does. Not like a snapshot. I am grateful to her for sharing her gift with me and providing me the opportunity to feel the joy of my son’s birth, smell his newborn head, remember young sibling love and see how our family has grown each time I look at my wall.

So, yah, some things are expensive. And some things are priceless.

Amanda Devereux is co-owner of Nola Nesting, a doula, Birth Boot Camp Instructor, and mom of three breastfed babes.

 

Raffle to Benefit GNOBAC at BREASTMILK the Movie! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (New Orleans Doula, Breastfeeding)

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Here's an opportunity to support a great cause, the Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Awareness Coalition and their nolamom campaign, win some incredible items and have a good time!

The response to support the New Orleans premier of BREASTMILK has been so amazing that we've decided to spread the wealth and hold a raffle to benefit GNOBAC. We love the work they are doing and are loving this opportunity to support our New Orleans community. So, now you can too!!

Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 and can be purchased in advance or at the film. (see below for details)

To purchase in advance you can send payment via paypal to support@nolanesting.com, please include your contact information in the comments section and select 'gift' in stead of 'services' so that all the funds can go to increasing breastfeeding awareness in New Orleans!