the universe is testing me: on yeasayer tickets and doula commitments

guess what! i won tix to see yeasayer tomorrow night here in columbus. if i haven’t told you before {i have} they are my favorite band. i feel very honored to have been bestowed this gift from the universe.

the only problem is that in all likelihood it won’t be able to go.

the situation is that one way or another i’ll be supporting a momma as she brings her babe earthside.

i’ve known about the possible schedule conflict and even entered the contest with the thinking that the baby would make his way here before but you see babies operate on their own schedules.

so i think this has all transpired to test me, to say “are you sure you want this on-call life of missing out on special events, important family occurrences and yes, occasionally your favorite band?”

and i can tell you the answer is yes. albeit, at the moment it’s the kind of yes that would visually be represented by me kicking a rock in the dirt and saying yes under my breath because i reeeeeaaaalllllyyyyy love yeasayer and was digging the idea of seeing them almost an exact year later but it’s a yes. a definite yes.

and it’s ok. it’s more than ok. it means i’m in this. it means i’m committed. and that’s pretty cool for a gal like me.

doula spotlight

hello good peoples,

in addition to birth links i will be adding a new series to birthy goodness fridays called the doula spotlight. my goal is to interview doulas around the country to highlight some of the good things birth workers are doing for our birthing mothers.  each week we’ll be answering 3 different questions about doula life. i’m really excited to start this series and share the wisdom of these women with you.

mchdoulaspotlight

my first kind doula is someone dear to me. she’s been a family friend for years, my wedding photographer, a parenting inspiration and birthwork crush. i think she’s pretty rad and she’s my first doula spotlight. I give you Mary Catherine Hamelin of Magical Days Blog and birth worker and aspiring midwife with Barefoot Birth in Tampa, Florida:

1. when did you decide to pursue doulahood?

I always sort of knew I was more interested in pregnancy and birth than most of my peers–I was 10 when my youngest brother was born and my mother was always very open with us about her births, natural, emergency cesarean, and then a VBAC. I was 12 when my nephew was born and attended a couple of childbirth education classes with my aunt. That old copy of “A Child is Born” with all the amazing in utero photography was well read at my house.

I had strong designs on how I was going to give birth to my daughter, but despite my reading and preparation I was met with the standard “get into bed, put on your gown, time to be monitored” as soon as I entered the hospital environment. I was blessed with a shift change and a nurse who had been a midwife in England who got me up out of bed and moving around the way I knew I wanted to. She essentially served as my doula–hands on physical support, strong emotional support, and then leaving me alone to do my own instinctual thing. I had an awesomely empowered first birth.

After my daughter was born I heard stories from other mothers who didn’t feel as supported, and it seemed so wrong to me–that during such a pivotal time in a family’s life they might feel alone and disrespected, uneducated on their options. The Business of Being Born was released right around that time, and after I watched it I was up in arms. I looked up Midwifery Education programs, learned about doulas, and decided that with a wee baby still in my arms, signing up for a doula training was the first step.

2. what do you think is your favorite part of your support role? what is the most challenging?

My favorite part of serving families is obviously that moment of birth, of realizing that whether things happened according to plans or not, a baby and a family were just born. But also those moments afterward when I get to hear about how GOOD they feel–how they did something they didn’t think they could do, what they learned, when they worried, when they knew everything would be okay…the listening and the learning is my favorite part. And of course, I also love hearing that a family is so glad they hired me. It feels good to know I made a difference in the way a family embarks on their parenting path.

The most challenging thing is supporting families through prenatal choices that contradict what they’ve expressed they want from their experience, saying they really want a certain kind of care or birth but then choosing a birth setting and care provider that are repeatedly meeting them with opposition. It breaks my heart when families feel like they have to fight to have a positive experience.

Leaving my children to attend births is also a challenge. I’m recently getting back to work in a new community after moving from another state, so I’ve had to re-establish childcare support and helpful friends who are available on-call and understand the unpredictability of birth. Having to be awake and ready to parent after an all night birth isn’t easy. My family is on this journey with me for sure, and it’s always interesting!

3. where do you see your path in birth work heading?

My birth work has made a sort of natural transition into studying Midwifery. After a couple of years working as a doula I started feeling called to serve families more directly, to have a greater impact on their care. My original plan was to get my CM or CNM, as most of the homebirth midwives in New York City (where most of my doula experience is from) are, and be able to work in hospital, birth center, and home settings throughout my career. After moving to a very different birth climate in Florida though, I’m feeling drawn to out-of-hospital birth and traditional midwifery.

I’m assisting a couple of wonderful homebirth midwives right now and this Fall will be working on board a rad bus that is serving as a mobile maternity unit for low-income families around the community as well as our own homebirth families. I also teach childbirth education classes and will be helping to facilitate some family support groups. I look forward to continuing as a doula and birth assistant when I begin Midwifery School, hopefully next year.

I’d like to thank MC for kicking off this series. You can find more about her birth work with her partners at Barefoot Birth and you can follow her adventures with her family in their tropical cottage at Magical Days Blog.

in addition, are you a doula that would like to be a part of the doula spotlight? Send an info request to heymomjeanz {at} gmail {dot} com. thanks!

birth links

some birthy goodness for your weekend reading:

1) a brief post from childbirth today about how Fear contributes to complications and adverse outcomes in birth found here.

2) published study findings that planned home births are safer than hospital births.

3) this is my favorite for sharing today! the dudes are getting some love! it is directed towards the fathers, the most common, but not only, birth partner for mom. these are some of the roles a doula can provide if dad wishes for his role to be different but I try to work with my couples and prepare partners to fill these roles in the birth space. these are very important roles. i think one of the best things we’ve done in maternity care was inviting dads into the birth room but we did them a huge disservice of placing high expectations on them and minimal information on how to meet these expectations. i hope these tips help. ladies, you can go ahead and put these in papa bear’s inbox and tell him to memorize them! talk to your partner ahead of time about how you both envision the birth partner carrying out these roles. it will be so very beneficial for you come birthing day.

as always, i’m here for labor support services as well as pregnancy mentoring and postpartum care. best wishes to you for a calm & confident birth.

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how i’m spending my kid-free time

we’re only 2.5 days into darla being gone so i’m still at that phase of feeling i might *finger quotes* accidentally forget *finger quotes* to pick my child up in a few days. this phase directly precedes the phase of feeling lost, lonely and completely void of any life purpose without my child. yep, in a matter of 12 hours the change will set in. what can i say? parenting: making moms bipolar since…forever.

and i just want to say the next time one of you non-spawning people tell my you haven’t had time to do something i will look into your eyes, down into your soul and i will know you are LYING. childlessness provides all the time in the world!!!! i’m like scrooge mcduck backstroking through his vault of gold coins only instead of coins they are minutes and instead of a stingy duck i am me. big hair, big boobs ME swimming in a sea of time.

so here’s what i’ve been doing with myself:

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1. attending concerts – husbeau and i saw grizzly bear and xx one night and japandroids the next. we left japandroids early because we just were not digging it and i think this may be a first for us a couple.  2.  i’ve had more than one lovely bike ride everyday. it’s been simply perfect riding weather.  3. working in a beautiful space and catching up on some birthy reading once all my shop chores were finished. two jobs at one time!!  4. spending time at the library filling out my certification paperwork  5. catching some rays while i  6. take care of some ornery laundry and  7. pay attention to the other growing things for which i am responsible.

all this i’ve been doing while waiting on the call from a momma to let me know her baby is coming earthside! i love the anticipation part of my work.

i guess when darla is gone i’m prone to taking pictures of my legs. can’t say that i’m too ashamed because they’re the only legs i’ve got but it’s possible things will be more visibly stimulating when she gets back.

but until then i’m going to enjoy the peace and calm and excess free time. i might even do some front porch sittin‘ later and now that i think about it recreating this kid-free-zone for myself sounds pretty good too.

sending you positive vibes for a great weekend. happy friday everybodiez!

birth links

i’ve been absent on the friday birth links for a while and i’m attempting a comeback. watch out!

first up is the Midwives Archive from Gentlebirth.org. This is a no frills compilation of A LOT of information. It’s really worth a browse as it is a wealth of information but be prepared for the sheer volume. it’s well-organized despite the large amount.

Evidence Based Birth tackled the Evidence for Induction or C-Section for a Big Baby. I always love the posts and evidence EBB provides for readers. What do you think about inductions and c-sections for suspected big babies after that article?

and lastly i wanted to tip you off to the birth without fear blog. the stories on this blog are always inspiring, and real and even though they deal with the hard issues of birth and life coming earthside they are done so without the tone of fear so often forced upon us. this space truly shows how strong birthing women are.

i hope you find something that helps and inspires. Good Luck. Wishing you a calm + confident birth.

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weekending: birthy

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thank goodness nature gives us may before hitting us with the hard-core temps of summer, right? our weekend was beautiful and my weekend was quite birthy. i finished up my really lovely hypnobabies course. it’s nice to relearn things from a different perspective sometimes { you can hop on over to this post for more information about hypnobabies from maloree munn } and since it was a 6 week commitment it’s nice to have that all wrapped up under my belt. there is a nesting momma on the front porch of my instructor’s house. i took it to be a good omen.  i also did a bit of postpartum work on saturday {sometimes a postpartum momma rings you up and just needs your help to make it to a hair appointment she made 3 mos ago. i’m here for that } and some studying and reading saturday night. little by little this work is falling into place.

but i hope to be more of use in the future so please give me a call if you’re in a family way and need a doula, people of columbus ohio!

doula-do: new informational support sessions via skype

i wanted to use this platform to flush out a new service i’ll be offering. you know that feeling you have when you’ve thought of a really good idea but you don’t know if it will actually work? that’s me right now. but i think i just heard someone whisper “if you build it, they will come.” so i’m going for it. oh, wait. that was just my neighbors’ lawnmower. here goes anyway!

since starting the birthwork trail i’ve happily been a resource for a few friends for prep & planning of their own journey into parenthood. i’d like to pat my own back and smugly say that i think i played a small part of positive birth experiences for a few people. smuggy humor aside, helping folks whenever and wherever is what i’m hoping to do with this birthy brain bank up there.

so what’s a doula to do when she’s got friends across the globe with buns in the oven? skype. the answer to all time/space conundrums.

i will now be offering informational sessions over skype to help you prepare, plan & celebrate the birth of your child. for a nominal fee you’ll get a series of 2-hour sessions with me to flush out all things pregnancy related. in short, you’ll basically be getting prenatal doula support even if distance doesn’t allow me to be at your birth with you.

this is perfect for any stage of your pregnancy! i feel it would be especially helpful in the beginning phase when there is a little bit of that “so we’re pregnant! now what?” going on. i will also provide email information back-up to guide you towards good resources.

is this a good idea? yes? if you think so, please feel free to send my info to anyone you know that is expecting even if they are not sure they’re going to need doula care or not. I have included info about the sessions over at columbus birth arts under the birth work section.

so who wants to be first in line? wish me luck.