I love working as a doula and supporting birthing families in their adventure into parenthood. I enjoy working as an advocate and educator, as well as the physical nature of direct birth support.
Why Doulas Are Important?
A doula is an important part of the birth team. It is often the doula who is called to support through the day-to-day struggles of families, the economic hard times, the nutritional deficiencies, the battered, the abused, the coerced and the forgotten as birthing families wade their way through the medical care birth system. Doulas have joined the birthing community to enhance options for birthing women and continue to improve maternal/fetal outcomes in both a positive and empowering manner. We understand that the birthing woman is a human being and not just a medical patient. She needs compassion, understanding and patience.
The role of a husband.
The memories I have of my husband's support are irreplaceable. Yes, I could have done it without him, but I would never have wanted to try. His love, humor, comfort and support are what kept me going, smiling and feeling supported through it all. I feel our birth experience started at conception and was completed with each birth. Our relationship became stronger, our love grew with our family and we shared moments we could never have obtained elsewhere. I love him dearly and my fondest memories are of his gaze, his touch and the care he took of me. When working with families, it is important to me that the couple find support in each other. I am there as needed, but the goal is for those who love the birthing mother most to be her primary support. This includes grandmothers, sisters and frinds when they are present.
Breastfeeding and Babies
Breastfeeding creates a bond between you and your baby that cannot be replicated. If at all possible, a mother should always breastfeed her child for the first few months of their lives. I was fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed all of my children. It wasn't easy, but it got easier with each one. My first child only benefited for 6 weeks, my second for 4 months, my third for 8 months and my last for 3 years. It can be challenging, tiring and sometimes problems arise that bring the stop to breastfeeding. However Iíve never heard a mom say she wishes she had never breastfed, it's always the opposite, mothers who choose not to or cannot always wish they could have. There are options such as supplemental feedings and even breast milk in a bottle is a good alternative. A mother who could not lactate could look into a milk bank. If a mother does have the need for formula the close contact between her and her baby should not be altered. A baby thrives and grows on touch, interaction and stimulation, especially a bottle-fed baby should be held close and spoken softly to.
My Births: My births include: A very low intervention, unmedicated, spontaneous vaginal birth of my first daughter with midline episiotomy. She weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces at 40 weeks 3 days.
I encountered augmentation of my second labor following an allergic reaction to antibiotics for Group B Strep that stalled my labor at 5cm. I then birthed vaginally after 6 hours of Pitocin augmentation without pain medication. Our daughter weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces at 37 weeks.
My third child, and first sonís birth was three weeks of Prodromal labor with contractions every 2-20 minutes around the clock, followed by a induction using Artificial Release of Membranes. I chose a dose of narcotic Fentynol with his labor because I was extremely fatigued and very nervous. A quick active phaze insued, and just 4 hours later he was born vaginally without assistance, posterior (sunny-side up) with his arm alongside his head. He weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces at 38.5 weeks.
My last son was born spontaneously with only a week of Prodromal labor. This labor was long and unproductive; it took me 8 hours of active labor to progress from 5cm to 7cm. At that point, I consented to a Pitocin drip to augment my labor, but requested an epidural first. Interestingly, the anesthesiologist was unable to place epidural catheter due to a slight curve of my spine, so instead placed a spinal narcotic bolus which lasted about half and hour. When I laid back, I was complete and pushed my beautiful son into the world in two pushes. He too was born posterior (sunny-side up). He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces at 36 weeks. My husband was with me my main supporter during our births. Our love and happiness shone in his eyes at the moment of each birth.
Growing a happy family starts at birth! Even before birth a woman needs to prepare her body, mind, and life for the presence of the new baby. We know through research how important the health and well-being of the mother is during pregnancy.
Living as stress free as possible, eating correctly, keeping toxins and chemicals out of her meals and body and meeting the bodyís need for water keeps both mother and baby healthy. On top of good prenatal care, keeping interventions such as testing and examinations to a minimum of what is medically necessary helps to ensure both mother and baby stay healthy.
The next step is choose the birth that is best for your baby. Low intervention birth in a supportive, compassionate environment with a care provider and birth team that know and care for you can make all the difference in your emotional and physical recovery after birth and allow you to become the best parent you know how.
Then comes parenting, holding, loving and caring for your newborn will create a bond of security and happiness for both mother and baby. Breast-feeding, attachment parenting and co-sleeping are all options available to increase the physical, emotional and lifelong health of your new baby.
Parenting starts at birth, but families are created out of love.
My Credentials and Work
I initially trained privately for my doula work, studying clinically and non-clinically for a year in 2000. I then decided to certify as a birth doula with Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association or CAPPA. I am currently enrolled in Childbirth International CBE diploma program with a goal to become a certified childbirth educator, which will better enable me to serve my clients. Along these lines I found that an increase in education would help me to better support my clients. I started working towards my RN (nursing degree) in the fall of 2006. As a nurse my hope is to continue to assist birthing families while having more access to those who most need support. I have worked as a birth doula and a childbirth educator since 2001. Once I became a doula I felt it imperative to be involved in my community. I searched for ways that I could help and found them. I have in the past few years written several articles for various publications on birth and the birthing family. While living in Arizona I spoke at Childbirth Education classes at both St. Josephís hospital and The Bradley Method with Nancy Capo. I found these classes fulfilling and would take the opportunity to remind parents of their abundance of choices during their birth. I was the Arizona, Minnesota and Illinois State Representative for Operation Special Delivery and did several Television interviews about doulas and OSD. I also served as the CAPPA Minnesota State Representative for a short time. My goal is for every birthing family desiring birth options and support to have the information and support to obtain those options, for this reason I co-created the prenatal letter of intent with a fellow doula. I am currently continuing my nursing education as a BSN student with Capella University. I intend to continue in birth work for many years to come.