Thankful For Cesareans

Chances are you have a plan for the birth of your baby. Maybe you’ve been religious about your diet and exercise while pregnant. You’ve been doing all the yoga, Pilates, and chiropractic work to make your body ready to bring your baby into the world.

Even the best laid plans can change. Your plans can change. You can change your plan, or maybe your baby has a plan of their own. After all, the baby holds all the power.

It seems as though people are quick to judge cesarean birth, and I think there is so much misunderstanding about it. This misunderstanding leads some parents to feeling disappointing in themselves, or their ability to birth their baby.

Did you know that not everyone’s body is made for making babies. Your body may be perfect for it, but others have minor problems that make birthing a baby vaginally near impossible.

Some people need cesareans. Some people don’t need a cesarean every time they birth their baby, but some do. Some women need cesareans regardless of their body’s ability to birth vaginally. Some women chose cesarean for a variety of reasons, and none of those reasons are wrong.

Some people question the ‘olden days’ saying “What about in caveman times when they couldn’t have cesareans, or epidurals, or gas, or therapeutic rest! People just listened to their body, and pushed out their baby! Why are we sectioning all these women?” First of all it is demeaning to compare cesarean to any cutting, slicing, or sectioning. It is the way these mothers or babies are choosing to bring life into the world, and it is awe inspiring. Many people did birth vaginally with no problems, but many did have problems. But childbirth wasn’t as safe then as it is now. In fact it was quite dangerous. It wasn’t uncommon for mom, baby, or both to be lost during birth.

You know what makes birth safer now? It’s medical intervention. It’s inductions, and steroids. It’s testing, and regular doctor appointments to make sure everyone is healthy and on track. It’s also cesarean. Because if your baby isn’t tolerating labor well, they need to be born.

So that’s why I am so thankful cesareans exist. It is amazing that we have this option. Instead of losing your life, or the life of your baby, you can have a cesarean. If your baby’s heart rate drops, you can go into the OR and meet your baby safely. Because who doesn’t want a safe option to bring your baby into the world? 

If You Don’t Hire a Doula

If you decide you don’t want a doula to attend your birth, you will still have a baby, and hopefully a positive birth story. You should still feel respected in the delivery room, and your birth team should still support you. However, if you don’t have a doula on your team you will miss out on a few things.

If you don’t hire a doula, you don’t have an expert available to answer all your questions 24/7.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t get cheerful emails about the amazing work you’re doing for your baby already.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have an expert on comfort at your labor.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have someone to call and ask “Am I actually in labor?” or “Does this seem normal?” or “Was that my mucus plug?” or “Can I have sex yet?”

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have her there to keep you grounded and under control.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have her assistance making a birth plan.

If you don’t hire a doula, you could be alone for portions of your delivery.

If you don’t hire a doula, you could be alone when you bring your baby home.

If you don’t hire a doula, you could forget your plan, or what questions to ask.

If you don’t hire a doula, you could doubt yourself in the moment.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have someone to interpret your subtle cues.

If you don’t hire a doula, you will have to find the latest and greatest research all by yourself.

If you don’t hire a doula, you might not have someone to remind you the process.

If you don’t have a doula, your partner may not be confident in supporting you.

If you don’t have a doula, your partner won’t have someone there to support them too.

If you don’t hire a doula, you won’t have her hand the hold when you need it.

If you don’t hire a doula, you may regret not having them at your birth.

So your birth experience could be perfect without a doula. You could easily rock pregnancy and birth with just your partner, but we believe the individual, and intimate, touch a doula adds is something worth investing in.

Why am I Hearing my Baby Cry?

Standing above her crib, you hold your baby who is peacefully asleep. Finally. Snuggled up in her cuddly little swaddle blanket, you know she’s safe and comfortable. So you gently lay her down into her little bed. Eww what’s that smell? Oh. It’s you. It’s ok, mommy funk is totally acceptable, especially with such a fresh little baby. You decide it’s the perfect time for some self care, as she sleeps.

A shower sounds nearly divine. You put your spit-upy shirt in the laundry, turn on the hot water, and climb in. It feels amazing. You close your eyes, letting the water fall onto your hair, and down your face. Suddenly you hear her. Your baby is SCREAMING. The water shuts off. You hastily wrap yourself in a towel, and rush down the hall, dripping water the whole way. You push past her door and find, she’s still asleep. What was that? You could have sworn she was crying.

That was a phantom cry. And although the crying isn’t happening, phantom crying is real.

Some parents, or caregivers of small babies, will hear a baby cry when there is no actual crying happening. Phantom crying happens at the most unfortunate times. Usually when you know your baby is safe and doesn’t need you, so you attempt to care for yourself. While your showering, catching a quick wink of sleep, or cooking, just to name a few. This phantom crying can make you feel like you are going crazy. But you’re not. It is a real experience, with a few possible solutions.

If you’re feeling especially frustrated, you may consider a video baby monitor, so you can see if your baby is crying before you end your task. You may be over tired, and need to enlist the help of a friend, family member, or postpartum doula so you can get real sleep. If it’s affecting your daily life or giving you anxiety, you should talk to your doctor.

Early parenting will probably be stressful, but you should be able to enjoy parts of it. If you’re struggling to adjust to life after a new baby, find your village, talk to your doctor, and get on track to enjoy your postpartum experience.

Celebrate Yourself

As members of the human race, we put so much pressure on ourselves. We pressure ourselves to look a certain way, feel a certain way, dress a certain way, all of this pressure! This pressure that makes us have regrets, or find disappointment in ourselves. But it’s not fair, and it doesn’t improve your life.

Being a child care and birth professional (preschool teacher and doula agency owner), I see so many parents putting pressure and labels upon themselves. I see it in person when a parent struggles with a choice. “Should I start feeding her puree, or should I do infant lead weaning? My mom says I should start with rice cereal.”

I see physical struggles when newly postpartum moms feel like they are supposed to bounce back instantly. Celebrate your body, it just created a new life. You may never do something that awe inspiring and amazing ever again.

I read it online. So many facebook pages have women labeling themselves “I’m a regret momma, I didn’t know better!” or “I’m a loss mom.” or “I’m a bad dad today, I let my toddler eat a bowl full of chocolate.”

Just like that postpartum mom, let’s be gentle on ourselves. I believe that language is so powerful. Instead of giving yourself a negative title, give that title to the moment, and let that moment pass.

Sometimes we regret, sometimes we struggle, but we always do our best. Seeing where are, and moving past that moment is worth celebrating. Celebrate yourself. Celebrate that you left the house for the first time, with your new baby. Celebrate that you will be able to laugh about your toddlers candy meal years from now. Celebrate the challenging moments that you have overcome. Spend your life celebrating your triumphs instead of focusing on your failures.

My Heart Based Business

My job as a doula and owner of Southern Pacific Doulas here in San Diego, is a heart based business.

It’s so clear for me, that to be a great doula your heart must be in the right place.

My job and passion is to be empathetic and make a genuine connection with people. The relationship I have with my clients is incredibly close. People will talk to me as their doula about deeply emotional topics, things they don’t want to say to their mother, bff, or even their husband. They are comfortable confiding in me, because they know I won’t judge them. They know I will validate their feelings, no matter what the rest of their community or circle of friends may think of that choice.

Not only am I easy to connect with, but I can become a rock for parents during a turbulent time of life.

Not many life changes are both permanent and every changing, but having children is both.

Some people see a doula as their guide during this new chapter. Some people look back at their birth, and wonder how much more challenging it may have been without the presence of their doula.

So with the nature of supporting parents through this intimate time of life, being a doula is heart work.

Being a doula fills your heart.

Seeing parents become strong fills my heart. Seeing women do something they didn’t think that they could fills my heart. Seeing a dad realize his baby is really coming home with them is amazing. There are so many parts of my job that truly fill my heart.

With all of this heart filling I receive, some people think I’m willing to work for free. I can’t offer free work. My time is valuable, and people are valuable too.

My clients deserve a highly qualified doula, I don’t know anyone who deserves anything but the best.

Additionally, it wouldn’t be fair to offer a discount to some clients, while charging full price to others. I understand life happens, and some people are left in situations that they never expected. I also understand that professional support is expensive, but I’m never going to assume that anyone can’t manage their own finances.

This doesn’t mean I’m heartless or uncaring. I recently offered to host a community event benefiting a family who experienced an incredibly painful loss.

One of the reasons I opened Southern Pacific Doulas was to support the community of San Diego.

Supporting the community through strong business ethics, fair practices, and engaging San Diegans in supporting each other. These pillars of my business are so important to me.

So when you ask me to work for free, understand that I am not being insensitive or greedy. I’m being fair.

I’m eager to utilize my business to support families, especially those who truly need my support the most.

But instead of asking me to work for free, ask how can San Diego support this person? How can Southern Pacific Doulas rally other San Diegans into supporting them? And, how can we elevate this family, without degrading them?

After all, even in a heart based business “We need to fill our own cup first and allow the world to benefit from our overflow.” -Steve Maraboli

What is a Doula?

You sit laptop in hand ready to surf the web and discover everything you need to know to have the best birth experience. Your hand finds your belly, where new life is beginning to grow. You imagine 10 tiny fingers, 10 tiny toes, but who’s nose will this baby get? You find yourself reading the word doula quite a lot. “I had a doula at my birth, and she made me so much more comfortable!” one woman boasts online. “My doula met me at my house as soon as I wanted her support!” another shares in excitement. “My postpartum doula came to my house after baby was born, and talking to her made me feel so much better.” These stories leave you with some questions about doulas. What’s a doula? Do you need a doula? How do you even say the word doula? Maybe you’re having a planned cesarean, will a doula even support you? I have a few answers to those questions.

First, there are actually two different types of doulas. Postpartum doulas, support you after baby is born. Labor doulas support you during pregnancy and after, but they get the most face time at your birth. Labor doulas are the most common kind of doula, but the benefits of having a postpartum doula are catching on quickly.

A labor doula will provide you with nonmedical and unbiased support you during pregnancy, birth, and shortly after. A doula is there to help you feel as comfortable as you can, during an uncomfortable time. They simultaneously support you physically through comfort measures, while tending to your emotional needs. A professional doula will take a client who is planning for any type of birth. Natural, medicated, cesarean, epidural, induction, multiples (yes twins, triplets, and beyond), lotus birth, your birth.

If you so desire, a doula will be happy to educate you on your options, and help you come to a decision that makes sense for your individual family. If you chose no extra education, that’s perfectly fine as well. Your doula is prepared and knowledgeable about the hospital your birthing in, what’s standard there, what your doctor and/or midwife is like, and with the many of the other questions and options you’ll have during pregnancy.

Some people believe that hiring a doula makes you have a more positive birth outcome. Although many people do report that their doula felt like an essential, it’s important to recognize that a doula has no control over how your baby decides to come into the world. Your doula can not, and should not attempt to fix any problems that arise. She supports your changing plan to the best that she can, makes your comfortable, and may help you process what is happening.

There are some statistics people like to use to explain what doulas do. One study showed that when births were attended by a doula, they saw less use of pitocin, increase in spontaneous vaginal birth, decrease in the use of pain medication (think epidural), decrease in cesarean, and a few others. These statistics aren’t anything a doula can promise, additionally they continue to stigmatize epidurals and cesareans. Many women desire an epidural, and planned cesarean, and that’s ok. When you hire a doula it should be because you want extra support during your birth, not because you want a specific type of birth. At the end of the day, you’re the one who is having a baby, no one can do it except for you.

That’s right, a doula can not promise you any type of birth. This is why it’s important for a doula to support all births. The unbiased support may lead to some powerful work, but sometimes babies have different plans. A doula certainly can’t promise a positive birth experience, but being open to a changing birth plan can. Having a doula who supports that change can be very important.

A doula shouldn’t be advocating for you or any single type of birth. Like I said earlier, unbiased support. Say a doula is advocate for natural birth. Even if that’s your plan, plans change, and you need a team who supports changes. You have a voice, and they can remind you to use it. Advocating for you isn’t going to make you feel in control. You will feel empowered when you are making the shots about your birth, not when someone else is speaking for you.

A professional doula is going to let you keep your experience as your own. They don’t share your story, or pictures without permission, and they never interject their emotions onto your experience. Being a doula leads you to some heart work, and part of that heart work is taking your own emotions out of the picture, it’s better to reflect the emotions of the new parent/s and their team.

A doula is so many things, and isn’t so many things at the very same time. It’s never too early, or too late to hire a labor doula until your baby has been born. A postpartum doula will happily support any parent with a new baby. Maybe now you have a better grasp on what a doula is. 

If you live in the San Diego area, and are looking for support reach out to us. Southern Pacific Doulas is happy to provide San Diego families with the best support.

Why I Became a Doula

Why I became a Doula

I can give you an elaborate story about how I found my calling in life. How I’m pushed to support others. How my life’s mission is to bring joy to not just parents but all of San Diego. But you already know that. Just be being a doula it’s so obvious that I feel compelled to support those who need it.

 

There are so many reasons I became a doula. There are so many fabulous parts of my job. From seeing a couple become a family, to seeing a new parent well supported and empowered. I love my job, it’s truly a labor of love that fills my soul.

Although I love babies, my love for little people is not what lead me to become a doula. Although I love being a business owner, I could have opened any type of business.

I chose a doula agency because I love parents. I love seeing parents making empowering choices.

I became a doula because I love seeing mothers feel supported.

I became a doula because I love seeing fathers feel supported.

I became a doula because I love providing that support for them.

I became a doula because I love helping parents find their network, or being their network.

I became a doula because I love seeing parents make confident decisions.

I became a doula because I love seeing that first empowered decision turn into more.

I became a doula because I love seeing how confident parents raise confident children.

I became a doula because I love seeing happy families.

I became a doula because I love San Diego.

I became a doula because I love supporting San Diego businesses.

I became a doula not because I love children. I became a doula because I love supporting families. Seeing parents be the very best parents that they can be, and supporting them through their journey is amazing. It’s what drives me to be the best doula I can be.

Labor Go!

If you have experienced prodromal labor I do not envy you. Prodromal labor is early labor that can last days or even weeks. Early labor can be so fun and exciting, it means you’ll be meeting your baby soon! However, when those irregular contractions happen for days it may become far less exciting.

The mild contractions can make mother uncomfortable. They happen while she tries to sleep. Imagine being very pregnant, and unable to sleep. Not so fun. Many mothers will be looking for way to get labor moving.

Sure you could walk on the curb, use nipple stimulation, or other lotions and potions supposed to rev up your labor. Or you could do something possibly even more awesome.

You could play Pokémon Go! This does 3 things to get labor moving.

  1. It distracts you!

            Early labor contractions are typically not challenging to work through. If you can give yourself something else to think about, it may distract you from that discomfort. Pokémon Go maybe just enough distraction to help you focus on something other than your contractions.

  1. It gets you moving!

            Many women find walking to be their favorite ways to get labor moving. The stretch can feel good, and open up your pelvis to allow baby to prepare to be born. So take a walk around the block in search of that elusive Abra. How do you catch Abra? I’m not sure, but I think you should try until labor gets going, or you do catch them all!

  1. It’s fun!

            Games are fun! Especially free and lighthearted ones. This is the beginning of your baby’s birth story. Why not have some fun during your early labor?

So pull out your phone and start walking! You’ll either become a Pokémon master, or you’ll be a little closer to meeting your baby- both of those are pretty cool!

In all seriousness, prodromal labor is nothing to joke about. Although there is no remedy, there are several techniques you can use to make you more comfortable. Talk to your provider about yoga, chiropractic, therapeutic rest, or ask what they recommend.

Free Doulas are Icky

Everyday people are taught a lie. These people are expecting women, fathers to be, and the friends and family of those couples. Since nearly everyone knows someone who is pregnant-that is almost the entire population. Every single day people are taught that it’s ok to find a doula to come to your birth for free.

This is bad. It’s bad for the doula. It’s bad for the expecting woman. It’s bad for the other professional doctors, nurses, and midwives. It’s just all around bad for everyone.

It’s bad for the doula because she will get burnt out. Her family will suffer. Her work will suffer. Her family will suffer because they will miss her. She may be paying for childcare, and she’s certainly paying for parking and gas. She will not be able to give you 100% of herself, because she’s sacrificing her own time for no reward. Well maybe she is getting a reward. Maybe your birth is giving her nothing but the ‘feel goods’.

That’s gross. Do you want someone getting personal satisfaction from witnessing the birth of your baby? Some doulas get so much personal  enjoyment out of births that they become Oxytocin Vampires. They literally feed off of the Oxytocin you and your baby create, giving themselves a ‘birth high’. That’s one reason why it’s bad for the family- it’s just icky. This is your birth story. Only your friends and family should gain any emotional satisfaction. The nurses, doctors, midwives, doulas, or any other assistant should recognize the passionate work they do supporting you, but they should not be getting off from attending your birth.

Another reason it’s bad for the parents, free Doulas aren’t always reliable. When no money is exchanged, they can’t afford to pay backup. If you hit active labor at 2am, and your doula says “my husband doesn’t get home until 8am, I’ll head over after that so he can be with my kids.” you’re going to feel abandoned, because you were.   If there is a transfer of money, that equates to accountability. If you pay someone a living wage for a professional service, they are going to show up. Because they are professionals they are going to support you. If they are too tired, or unable to attend your birth for some unforeseeable reason, they are going to have reliable backup. This backup doula will be as amazing as the doula you hired. They will not be found by posting in a face book page “I have a mom who just went into labor! Who’s available to meet her at the hospital right now?”

The consistency of seeing the same professional doulas is good for care providers. Doulas makes connections with care providers. They see the same care providers over and over. The doctors and midwives see the doula do the same amazing job with each client. If you don’t pay your doula, you aren’t getting a professional, and it’s only the professionals that truly care about building bridges. Knowing care providers allows your entire birth team to work together, and that gives you a better birth experience.

There are doulas who believe doing free births is similar to the ‘probono’ work a lawyer would do. Here’s a key difference: a lawyer is helping you solve a problem. Pregnancy is not a problem, it does not need solving. Yes, support is awesome, everyone should have support during pregnancy and birth. However, your baby will be coming out whether I’m there or not. Having a doula can improve your birth experience, but it is not essential to the process. Even low income or struggling families don’t need doulas. Chances are they need diapers, wipes, food, bottles, formula, breast pumps, not a onetime luxury service.

If you are a doula who truly wishes to help these families- start a nonprofit. Run a diaper drive. Volunteer your time at an established nonprofit, or shelter. Do not give families a one-time service because they aren’t prioritizing a doula, give them the tangible items they need.

No one needs a doula. Having a doula is awesome though. Everyone who wants a doula will make the choice to prioritize for that service. When something is important to you, you make it happen. There is never a reason for a doula to ever attend a birth for free. There is never a reason for a family to skip a professional, and use a lesser service. Moral of the story: Free Doulas are Icky

Half of the Year

Wow. Are we really already half way through 2016? Suddenly it’s July first. Did you know that July first is the halfway point of the year? 182 days behind us, 182 more ahead (well 183 counting today).

What did you do this year? Did you have a baby? Did you get married? Buy a home? Adopt a dog? Find a new job? Discover a new part of yourself?

I’ve done some of those. I’ve had some tremendous triumphs, some soul searching, actually lots of self discovery, and I experienced some struggles too. I like to reflect, and project. 2016 is a huge year for both.

I look back on what I’ve done, and it’s exciting for me. I’m proud of myself. In 2016 I brought something new to San Diego, a doula agency. This doula agency. Southern Pacific Doulas has become the poster child of my 2016. Everyone around me hears about my business a lot. Birth, support, parents, child, and baby snuggles are the focus of my life right now.

I hope you did at least half as much soul searching as I have done. I know I’m more empathetic and slower to judge. My doula training has taught me to see the world through a new lens. Instead of jumping to conclusions, I try to really think deeply about what drives other people’s actions. At first we may think it’s out of hate, but in 2016 I’ve been trying to see that hate is just a cover up of other emotions. I think this has been a guiding principle for me through the first half of the year.

Try this in your life. When someone is projecting hate ask yourself “What struggle are they going through? How can I support them through this?” It’s so much more satisfying to be humble.

I look forward to the remaining 182 days because I see success. I see growth- personally, and professionally. I’m attending more training, and a huge ProDoula conference. I’m looking forward to more adventures. I love adventures. I’m looking forward to seeing where Southern Pacific Doulas goes. I see the good I’m doing, and the support I’m giving San Diego. I love getting to support more than mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, and family. I love supporting San Diego. Real local businesses like my own. Businesses with people you can call and actually talk to the owner.

These entrepreneurs are the heart and soul of what make San Diego so amazing. I can’t say it enough, I love getting to be part of the amazing culture we have here.

My projections for 2016 are limitless. Although half of the year is already behind us, I see the remainder shall be the better half. That’s saying a lot, because so far 2016 has been a pivotal life changing year for me. 2016 July- December, I’m coming for you. I’m ready for the curve balls, the easy parts, and the hard stuff too. To everyone watching and supporting Southern Pacific Doulas thus far, I love and appreciate you. I can only imagine the greatness coming to me during the next, better, half of 2016. My wish for you, is that you spend 2016 empowered, humble, and open.

Be open to the greatness that awaits you, and the journeys you’ll find yourself experiencing.