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Birth Matters – Baby Colette’s Birth Story

Pregnancy for me was such a blessing. My husband and I tried for a while to get pregnant, but after some time, we decided to go see a specialist. Having polycystic ovary syndrome, I knew that I would need a little assistance with getting pregnant. We visited with a specialist on February 5th, 2019. By April 5th, 2019, I received the exciting phone call that we were pregnant! Feelings of joy, excitement, and relief flooded my body, and I was so ready for this next chapter. I could not have asked for an easier pregnancy. Sure, there were moments of restlessness, heartburn, and feeling huge at times, but I really tried to embrace pregnancy, and actually enjoyed it.

With pregnancy comes cravings, and one day I was craving Mexican food. While enjoying our delicious lunch, we made conversation with a couple sitting next to us. The lady was quite lovely and extremely friendly. She had her hands full with her little girl and was expecting another child as well. She asked me when I was due, and if I had a doula. I had no idea what a doula was and was very intrigued to hear more about this. She told me that she does not think she could have gotten through labor without her extraordinary doula, Bonnie. She gave me her information, as well as Bonnie’s on the back of her lunch receipt. I was so grateful to have met her that day.

The decision on where I was going to labor was in the back of my mind, and I was trying to decide if I wanted to do a hospital birth. Having a natural background, I knew I wanted the least intervention possible. I met with one office while making my decision, and after leaving the office that day, I knew that I did not want to go that route. I spoke with my husband and we decided to meet with Bonnie. This was one of the best decisions we ever made. Bonnie came to our house for an interview and was so warm and personable. I knew right then and there that I wanted to do a homebirth, and she would be perfect with helping me on my special day.

I attended all of the birthing classes throughout pregnancy and went to Bonnie with any questions that I had. We even did a private class at our house over the course of two nights, and it was extremely insightful. Things were starting to get real, and I had a sense of calm mixed in with the nervousness, knowing that Bonnie was going to be there with me. One of the most important takeaways during this class in my opinion, was the idea of resting and ignoring the early labor pains.

During the pregnancy process, a question was asked.. “ What does your birth plan look like?” my mind started racing, and I quickly thought of this day. I knew that I was going to have a homebirth, and with that, I would have specific needs. Since I would be giving birth during the Holidays, I wanted the house decorated, twinkle lights, and my favorite Christmas album playing in the background. I also knew that I wanted to bake cookies during the labor process to distract myself from the laboring itself.

When the big day arrived, I woke up at midnight with cramps, but tried going back to bed. By 4:45 AM, I was texting Bonnie and letting her know that the cramps were gradually feeling a tad stronger, and I wanted to keep her posted of the situation. She literally texted me back within the minute! She was communicating with me all morning, and it was such a relief. Throughout the morning, I tried ignoring the cramps, staying busy, and giving my body time to rest. By 11:30 AM, I decided it was cookie time. I started mixing the ingredients and found myself on the kitchen floor during the contractions. Once a contraction passed, I went back to mixing. I continued this process of sitting on the kitchen floor and making the cookies until the cookies were out of the oven.

As the day passed, the contractions were getting stronger, but I knew that I had a long day ahead of me and I needed to manage the contractions by ignoring them. It was about 6:30 PM, and I figured that I better call Bonnie and my midwife. My midwife suggested that I download a contraction counter app on my phone. I sent her the notification from the app which said” Okay, it’s time to grab your bag and go to the hospital.” In hindsight, I probably should have given Bonnie and my midwife a little more notice.. oops!

When Bonnie arrived, I was on the living room floor trying to breathe through the contractions. As soon as I felt her presence and heard her voice, I knew that I needed to just breathe and remain calm. After all, I had a long night ahead of me…so I thought. My midwife arrived shortly after and asked if she could check my dilation. This was around 8 PM. Once she finished, she advised Bonnie and I to go back to what we were doing. My husband and Bonnie asked how far along I was, and when Bonnie came back to sit with me, I anxiously asked” Okay, so how dilated am I?!” She told me I was 8 centimeters dilated, and I was absolutely shocked! I felt such an incredible sense of empowerment, knowing that I was handling this and that I could do exactly what I put my mind to.

The team quickly put together the birthing pool, which was decorated with Christmas lights.. another request of mine. By the time the pool was ready, so was I. I had spent the last hour and a half laboring on the toilet, so I was ready to change positions.

Once in the pool, the intensity skyrocketed. I found my pitch to be on the higher end, but Bonnie gently encouraged me to try aiming for a lower pitch. When she said that, something clicked in my mind, and I was able to make progress with pushing. With each push, I had to allow my body to open and push the baby down. During the transition process, I felt an extreme burning sensation, and it felt like I was ripping apart but I kept telling myself that with each push, I was one step closer to meeting my child.

At 11:04 PM, under the Christmas tree with my husband by my side my beautiful baby girl arrived, and my life changed forever in the most perfect and empowering way.

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QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A PREGNANCY CARE PROVIDER

Your choice of primary care provider (doctor, obstetrician, midwife) will shape your birth experience. Each maternity care provider in the Palm Beach area has its own beliefs and philosophy about birth, as well as their own protocols for care.

It’s important to establish your birth philosophy (What are your beliefs and preferences for childbirth?) and choose a doctor or midwife who will support you in pursuing the outcome you desire.⁠

Do you view pregnancy and birth as:

· A medical condition that requires constant monitoring and management?

· A physical condition with many potential adverse outcomes requiring preventative action?

· Or, a natural process that should be allowed to occur on its own with occasional assistance should something extraordinary occur?

Do not be afraid to interview multiple primary care providers.

Many expectant parents choose their doctor or midwife based on recommendations from friends and family, but that may not be the ideal way to decide if a primary care provider is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to interview multiple doctors/midwives before choosing the one that you feel will align with your family’s needs. There are many questions you can ask to help establish whether or not a primary care provider is a good fit.

Where do you envision birthing?

At a hospital?

At home?

Ask: What is your birth philosophy?

Choosing a primary care provider who has the same beliefs about pregnancy and birth as you do will set the foundation for a positive birth experience.

Ask: How much choice will I have when decisions need to be made about my maternity care or during birth?

Positive birth experiences are about feeling in control and having choices. For some, choosing a primary care provider they trust means the decision-making ends there. You trust your doctor or midwife to tell you what is best. Others prefer choices each step of the way. They choose a primary care provider that they can trust to provide options. They combine the available choices with their primary care provider’s advice and other information they gather to make the best choices for themselves. Which one are you?

Ask: What is your __________ rate?

You may want to know how often your primary care provider performs episiotomies, and under what circumstance. What is their c-section rate? What is the c-section rate at the hospital they work with? When do they recommend a labor induction and how often do they recommend them? How many of their patients give birth with or without medication for pain relief? What percentage of the parents they work with are breastfeeding? For homebirths, what is their hospital transport rate? Will your provider be traveling around your estimated due date? If so, who is their backup? These questions can help you establish whether the primary care provider is prepared to support the birth experience you are hoping for.

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3 WAYS NEW PARENTS CAN BOND THROUGH RITUAL CONNECTEDNESS

Nothing shakes things up in a relationship like bringing home your first baby.

Everything changes the day you become parents. Each partner experiences a drastic shift in needs, goals, time, and priorities as they go from couple to family. It can be challenging to maintain your unique connection when two becomes three.

Communication is the Key to a Lasting Bond

Rituals include everyday traditions, special occasions, and celebrations that shape who we are as families, create connection, and strengthen bonds. These important practices give you and your partner something to hold onto as you shift into your life as parents.

Regular and intentional time to talk as a couple is an important ritual you can create to improve communication and strengthen your bond. Taking just 20 minutes each day to focus on each other, talk about the day, ask meaningful questions, and truly listen when the other speaks can evolve into a deeply meaningful relationship, full of trust and intimacy.

Keep Your Love Maps Up-to-Date

Love Maps is a concept termed by Dr. John Gottman. He has found that couples who have healthy, strong relationships have developed detailed “maps” of their partner’s inner self. This is something most couples do well when they are first dating, spending hours on the phone, talking over coffee, and long walks on the beach. Each partner gathers information about the other person’s goals, preferences, worries, stresses, and joys. Love Maps detail how well you know your partner. Over time, these maps change and evolve. Babies, careers, and busy lives make it more challenging to keep your Love Maps up-to-date.

Through rituals of connectedness, like taking 20 minutes each day to talk alone, you can reinforce and redefine your Love Maps. Meaningful but simple questions followed by uninterrupted and active listening will help you move through life together in a positive way.

You can try asking things like:

What is your favorite way to relax?

What flavor of ice cream do you like best?

What song makes you think about our relationship?

At first, this practice may feel awkward. You may be disappointed in yourself and your partner for losing touch with each other. You may feel like you should know these things and it might be uncomfortable to admit that you don’t. Try working from a list of ‘getting to know you’ questions to take the pressure off.

Handle Conflict Positively

Sleep deprivation and the drastic life changes that come with having a baby make it easier to lose your cool with your partner. Harsh words and blame flow more freely when we are worn out and fed

up, but instead of leading to resolution, attacking your partner is more likely to cause a defensive reaction.

Try your best to address your frustrations before they become unbearable. Use “I” statements and stay away from words like “always” and “never”. Be sure to stick to the present problem and jumping back to things that have happened in the past. By talking about your feelings calmly and respectfully, and telling your partner what you need from them, you can move to resolution faster and without damaging the intimacy between you.

Start Developing Ritual Connectedness Now

Strengthening your relationship can begin at any time. Try scheduling 20 minutes to just talk with your partner each day, work through a list of questions to help you update your Love Maps and be mindful of how you approach conflict. Having a baby can be an opportunity to deepen your bond and develop new rituals for connection, shaping the intimacy between the two of you, and creating a foundation for ritual connectedness as a family in the years to come.

Join us for one of our upcoming Gottman Bringing Baby Home Workshops if you’re looking for a way to grow in your relationship, strengthen the bond as united parents, and fall more in love with one another.

To learn more and to register:

https://coastaldoulas.com/upcoming-events/

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If The Following Are True, A Doula Is For You

A Doula is a beneficial addition to your birth team if

any of the following things are true about yourself:

 

  • Birthing in a hospital, at a birth center, or at your home
  • Your care provider is a Obstetrician or Midwife
  • Planning a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section
  • Wanting an unmedicated birth or planning to use an epidural
  • Trying for a VBAC, anticipating an induction or completely unsure still
  • Low risk pregnancy or high risk pregnancy
  • Married, in a relationship, single mom, surrogate, or adoptive parent
  • Writing a birth plan or planning to simply go with the flow
  • You’re having just one baby or planning for multiples
  • This is your first, second, third, fourth or fifth baby
  • You desire to breastfeed or use formula to feed your baby
  • Working full time, part time or plan to stay home with your baby
  • Want to feel confident, supported, encouraged, educated, empowered, or validated

We believe there are many variables that determine what is best for you as you birth your baby.

Here at Coastal Doulas of Palm Beach we promise to always provide the exceptional care you need and want during this exciting time.

How ever you plan to birth your baby, we are here to provide the care you need along the way to feel confident in your choices and fully supported from start to finish.

We look foward to meeting you!  

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Why is a Birth Plan So Important?

Excitement – that wonderful emotion a couple feels when they learn they’re pregnant and expecting a child. Imagination starts mobilizing… there’s a nursery to decorate and cute baby clothes to buy.  As the day of your precious baby’s arrival approaches, the days are filled with prenatal classes, registering at the hospital of choice, and having baby showers. It’s a crazy time full of new things!  One thing that is commonly forgotten in this mix of emotions and to-do lists is to establish a birth plan.

So many women have an image in their mind of the birth experience they are working towards, this idea can often be formed by what is seen on TV or in the movies. There’s often an idealized view of how everything is going to go, and it is so easy to neglect making a plan to see the vision through. The birth plan is kind of like a the cool headed GPS that helps keeps the trip on track even when detours come.  Birth is so unpredictable and detours are very often inevitable.

 

A birth plan is an excellent communication tool between you and your OB/Midwife, Doula, & Partner. It is a written plan of your preference that you have created prior to labor.  This allows you an opportunity to communicate your desires & goals adequately with your birth team.  By writing a birth plan, you are also educating yourself on the birth process and the procedures you may encounter as you labor and birth your baby. It is a tool to help you understand your preferences so that you are prepared when the time comes.  This planning time also allows you to envision your birth experience the way you desire it to look as you navigate the twists and turns along the way.

Having a birth plan helps you feel more ownership and control in your birth process. Are there sounds you want to hear (or not hear), smells you want to smell (or not smell), positions that you want to labor in, etc. This is a plan where you indicate what your preferences are for induction of labor, the use pain management (or not) or even for planned c-sections.  You can include how you desire your baby to be handled after delivery and your preferences on immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, etc.

 

Keeping in mind that this is a plan and plans don’t always go as we want them to. Think of a road trip to New York from Florida. We have planned our route, our hotels along the way, and where we will stop for gas.  We can plan everything to the minute, but roadwork, and/or accidents on the highway could result in a detour we weren’t expecting. We will still get to our destination, but it may take us a different way than we anticipated.  Birth plans have some detours and exits along the way that may be different from what you desired.  Flexibility is important, but having the plan in place allows your birth team to know your desires and to help you stay on course as much as possible.

Communication is key.  Once you have researched and written your birth plan, don’t forget the most important part: to go over it with your provider.  Discussing it with your doctor or midwife helps ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to labor.

We understand that the idea of writing a birth plan can be overwhelming.   We offer Childbirth Education classes and Birth Planning Sessions in both private and group settings and Doula support to help guide you through this process.  We really want to see you have the birth you envision and we are here to help.

 

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

 

From the time you see the two little lines show up on the stick, you are being inundated with decisions to make regarding you and your baby. These decisions continue all through pregnancy, as you near your due date, into labor & delivery, and after as you decide the best way to parent and care for your newborn.

 

All of the decisions can feel so overwhelming. You want to make the right decisions…but how do you know?

 

There is a wonderful acronym that you can use called B.R.A.I.N.. Whether you’re trying to create a birth plan, considering an induction or undecided about pain medication during labor; stop and use your B.R.A.I.N.

 

 

 

 

B – Benefits: What are the benefits of doing what is suggested?

 

R – Risks: What are the risks to me and my baby of doing what is suggested? Does this affect any of my other plans or desires?

 

A – Alternatives: Are there any other alternatives or options for me to consider?

 

I – Intuition: How does this decision make me feel? Am I at peace with moving forward? What decision makes me feel most peaceful?

 

N – Nothing: What happens if I decide to do nothing? What if I wait longer?

 

 

 

 

Click here for your own FREE  B.R.A.I.N. print out

 

 

Knowledge is powerful! Do not be afraid to ask questions and know your options before making decisions that affect you and your baby.

 

Here at Coastal Doulas of Palm Beach, we are invested in providing you with support, education and resources as you make important decisions for yourself and baby. Let us know if you’re interested in finding out how a doula can help you be fully informed and educated during pregnancy and childbirth, contact us today.