Saturday, May 17, 2014

Classes forming!

Hey all! I currently have a class forming for June 14-15, 2014!! If you are interested in this class please contact me soon. Classes are filled on a first come basis, and seating is limited. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

October Madness!!

Wow.  The summer seems to have flown by, and the fall is upon us!

There have been some new things happening around here - the first being the re-vamping of the Natural birth preparation class to include new information I've learned in my continuing education this summer!  The Rebozo is one of the ultimate labor aid tools, and you won't want to miss all the crazy and exciting ways it can help BOTH the labor partner and the laboring mother!

The second change is that the two-day series class is now being taught in a single weekend (Saturday/Sunday) instead of spread out through the month.  I hope to be better serving my clients this way and hope everyone gets more out of their class!

So, to celebrate these new changes, I'm offering a gift, and best yet, a gift meant for sharing!  If you and a buddy both sign up for October's class BEFORE the October 1st, you BOTH get a 25% discount!  That's your complete, all inclusive birth class for only $145.  Just be sure you each mention the name of your friend when registering, and your discount will be applied when you both come to class on Saturday!

I'm also opening up a second weekend for class in October so you have more scheduling options!  Register for either the first, or third weekend in October, whichever works best for you!

The buddy discount will also count for anyone wishing to schedule a semi-private class.  Let's find a date that works for your schedule!


*What if my friend is planning a different birth than I am?

My classes are not for just "one type" of birth.  My class is for all births! 
- People excited for a natural birth find all the tools they need to make informed decisions, cope naturally, and be prepared for any deviations from the original plan.
- Those who are planning on making use of our top-of-the-line medical technology will have the mystery and fear taken out of their birth by learn exactly how hospital procedures work, how to prepare for them, and will also be given a thorough toolkit to fall back on (just in case there's a glitch in that technology! ;)  )

Monday, April 22, 2013

You've Got to Be Kidding Me

You know what I love about Facebook?  I love the vast wealth of information.  It absolutely fascinates me how quickly information can be spread to a wide variety of people in just a very short time.

While I'd love to think that there's truckloads of great, helpful, and encouraging information being broadcasted all over Facebook, unfortunately there's also crap like this:

(The listed steps: 1) Pump and measure milk 2) Enter info online 3) receive personalized report)

  Yesterday I came across this garbage in one of the Facebook groups I'm a part of.  My first instinct was to think it was a fake.  I've seen funny photos of phony products (like a cell phone that also makes coffee for you).  Surely this was a scam too!

Oh no.  It wasn't.  The more I realized that it was completely real, the angrier I got.  I wanted to pull my hair out, scream at the top of my lungs and throw my coffee cup through a window.

This company advertises a desire to "give moms confidence to continue breastfeeding", but this product will do nothing but the opposite for many women. 

I understand the common concern women have about how much milk they are making, afterall there are no "ounce" marks on our breasts, nor is our baby able to tell us how much she's getting in one sitting.  I myself was a VERY flat chested woman prior to giving birth, and my son was always rather skinny.  Pumping was depressing because I never got much more than just a couple ounces.  I was constantly worried about my supply.  Since then I've successfully breastfed two more children.  I've learned a few things in that time.

For most women breastfeeding is totally do-able, even for us "flat chested" mamas.  Smaller storage space does not mean you won't produce enough.  It might mean you have to feed more often, but it doesn't disqualify you from being able to create enough milk for your baby.  It's been documented that there are even men who have wet-nursed their children after the mother's died and there was no other option.  MEN!  I promise, if he with his zero "storage space" can do it, you can too.

By the time the above information isn't enough, it's probably time to talk to a professional anyway. 

I'll make you a deal, rather than waste your hard earned money on a gimmick that may or may not ease your mind, why don't you invest that money in a real person?  The package goes for $10, so here's what I'll do.  For $10 I'll give you one hour of my time.  One hour where you'll get to talk to a birth professional and mom who has successfully breastfed three children (and plans on feeding more).  One hour where you have access to a real live woman who understands your fears and is dedicated to encouraging you with real information.  One hour with a woman who will be able to give you encouragement and help point you in the right direction if you really DO need to talk to a professional Lactation Consultant.  The FAQs even state that this product is limited and advice from a professional (or more money and further testing with them) will be warranted if you have concerns. 

Let me tell you something - if you used this product and it told you your supply was fine, you never needed it to start with.  If you used this product and it said there was a problem, you needed more than this product could offer to begin with and you just wasted $10.

Contact me and put that $10 to far better use!  I'll also be happy to debunk all their FAQs for you ;)

*EDIT 4/24/2013*

Today I was ecstatic to read an article stating that the company who produced this product is discontinuing it due to negative feedback.  However, my offer for breastfeeding assessment and encouragement still stands!  I will be labeling this on my classes page with more information about scheduling a phone call!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What's More Excting Than New Babies?

In my humble opinion, there is nothing more exciting than brand new babies. 

The soft fluffy hair. 
The skin so soft you just want to touch it all day.
The tiny fingers and toes.
Sweet eyes and little smiles that could melt your heart.

I'll tell you what - as a mom I often feel like the world could be crashing to an end and everything would feel ok as long as my baby was smiling at me.

Yes sir-ee... new things are fun.  Especially new babies.

But I'll tell you something else - I know what's nearly as exciting as brand new babies.  New classes!!!

That's right, it's finally time to unveil my new class!!! 

Bare Basics of Birth
In these "time is money" kind of days, I realize some people feel they don't have time for long birth classes.  However this is a terrible excuse for not taking one!  It's been well documented that couples who feel more prepared for their births are more likely to find their personal birth experience positive.  I'd love to think that everyone will find time to sit in on my class for two weekends, but if you just can't find that kind of time then this class is for you!

In this new class, we'll explore a wide variety of topics in a quick and efficient way in order to best prepare you for your birth!  Included in this class will be:

Understanding normal birth
Birth partner preparation
Working with your care providers
Natural birth coping techniques
and more!!!

While this class is of course in no way all encompassing, it will put you well on your way toward having a positive and informed birth experience.

Just as we celebrate the birth of babies with gifts, I'm celebrating the birth of this class with two gifts for you!  Through the months of April and May I'm offering all private classes at the public class cost (that means no extra fee unless I need to travel)!  Also, when you call for a consultation or to schedule your class, just mention this post and be sure you've "liked" me on Facebook to receive $20 off your class, no matter which one you take (you must BOTH mention this post, AND like my Facebook page)! 

The first scheduled class will be May 4th, however for the remainder of April I will allow couples to schedule a private class at a time that works for them.

Call or email me to get scheduled for your class today!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ask Me "Who?" Then Ask Me "What?"

Go on, ask me...  "Who?"
The answer?  Everyone!

Now ask me... "What?"

Before I answer, can I ask you a question? 

Do you know someone who has had a baby?  What kind of birth did she have?  Was it in a hospital?  Birth Center?  Did she have any interventions like an epidural or a cesarean?  Was she happy with  her birth?

Now, can I ask you another question?

Did you take any Driver's Education before you got behind the wheel of a car? 
Did you go to kindergarten?  Did you learn that 1+1=2 and 2+2=4 and your ABC's?
Would you consider kindergarten and Driver's Ed to be pretty life changing?

Bear with me, I'm almost done!

Did you know that some statistics show that less than 10% of couples will take any kind of a birth class before the birth of their baby?

I kinda think birth is pretty life changing.  Don't you?

So, to answer your questions...

"Who?"  EVERYONE! 
"What?" Childbirth Preparation Classes!

Sign up for yours today!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Buck Stops With You: Informed Choice

Ok moms.  So you've taken responsibility for your health to help ensure that you fall into the category of "normal".  You've done what you can to create a supportive care team. So what's the next step?  Even if you have no intention of giving up your morning doughnut and your OB is anything but helpful, the next step is just as important - maybe even more so.


When I first began teaching childbirth classes, I named them "Informed Choice Childbirth" because I felt that most reflected my heart. I didn't want women to end up in the position I was in with my first birth - having to make decisions without feeling like I had all the information I could (or should) have had.

You see, with my first birth I felt like I'd done everything I knew to do in order to prepare myself for the birth of my first son.  I WANTED a natural birth. I even went so far as to switch my care provider at seven months pregnant when I finally realized that having a natural birth while under his care was most likely going to be near to impossible.  I read books.  I read blogs.  I read articles I found online.

But I was fishing in the dark.  Oh sure, it was much better than nothing, but I had no guidance.  I didn't know the questions to ask.  I didn't know the places to search for wisdom and guidance.  I looked and looked for a natural birth class in my area, but the closest one I could find was 2+ hours away, ran for a number of weeks, and was mildly out of my budget even before you factored in the gas and time it would take me to get there every Thursday night for the foreseeable future.

With my second, I took a class.  It wasn't a live class but rather a course I could study at home, but it gave me a MUCH better foundation.  The curriculum gave me the guidance I needed to know which questions to ask and how to become much better prepared for the work ahead of me.

You see, just as you are the one to go through your birth (not your care provider, doula, or husband), in the end it's going to be YOU making the decisions.  Your doula will not be the one to wave a magic wand when your OB tells you you aren't progressing fast enough and pitocin (or surgury) is needed.  Your midwife has no magical power to give you the "gentle" or "easy" birth you think you are looking for, and if things start going wrong she will still expect you to make the final decision to change your birth plan.  You may have some help or input from these people, but they won't be making the decisions for you.

But some of those decisions are very hard to make.  Feeling like you have made INFORMED decisions is how you make sure you have an empowering birth, especially if it starts to take a turn outside of the realm of normal.  How do you prepare yourself?

Read, read, read.  Familiarize yourself with NORMAL (natural) birth.  This is most important for women planning to give birth at the hospital where you are more likely to get pressured into unnecessary interventions.  You know how they teach specialists to recognize counterfeit money?  They NEVER show them the fakes.  They make them study the real deal so much that recognizing the false bills becomes a simple matter of realizing that something is just NOT QUITE right.  Midwives are more often trained in this fashion while Dr.s are more often trained to see a problem (often leading to intervention as a "precaution" when it wasn't needed to begin with).  Begin to familiarize and re-train yourself to recognize the normal things of birth.

TAKE a birth class!  Even if you are planning on getting an epidural or cesarean, there are a multitude of benefits to having a class.  Find a live one if you can.  Getting into a birth class has many benefits.  It gives you a starting point for knowing what questions to ask or topics to study.  It will give you the tools you need to be able to gather information quickly if you find yourself in a situation you were not prepared for.  It gives you access to a LIVE PERSON who has experience and knowledge - someone you can keep referring back to if you have more questions down the road.  Childbirth educators are also often very involved in the birthing community and can help you track down a doula or find a care provider that meets your needs.  But taking a good childbirth class can often make up for the lack of ability to create your ideal birth team by giving you the tools to continue to take charge of your birth and make informed decisions.

And I promise, if you are not making decisions, someone else will make them for you.  I can also promise that this is the fastest road to feeling discontent with your birth, even if it is a natural one!  Most women LOVE their natural births, but if you were the mom who went in expecting an epidural and were told you couldn't have one or you get one that doesn't work, you'll be frustrated.  There was no informed consent on your part.  You just got swept up in the tidal wave.  Not a good place to be! 

The buck stops with you mom.  No one will experience your birth but you.  No one will make your decisions (unless you want them to).  Make your own choices!  Just make them informed ones!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Buck Stops With You: Building Your Care Team

Welcome to part two of my series: The Buck Stops With You.  If you've not read the previous posts, Stop Blaming Your OB, and Your Health, please be sure to go back and read them!
So, you've taken control of your health to ensure a normal birth.
Now it's time to discuss your care team.

So who makes up your care team?  Most people think no farther than a care provider (OB or midwife) but don't forget that during the actual birth your care team will also consist of nurses, apprentices, associates, whoever you choose to bring with you (your husband, mother, friend, etc), and possibly a doula.

- Your Care Provider

Ultimately it's best to have a great care team from the get go.  If it's at all possible, discuss your birth desires with your partner, then interview midwives and obstetricians extensively before you even start trying to conceive.  Don't let a practitioner just TELL you they approve of natural birth, look at their birth statistics (and those of the hospital they work with).  This is especially important when interviewing obstetricians.  Remember, if they aren't on call when you go into labor, you will have to deal with the OB who is, and it's a fast road to getting your birth plan thrown out the window if you aren't prepared (this is the voice of experience talking).  Working with an OB who has great statistics but works in a hospital where natural birth is not the norm is not reason to panic, it just means you'll need to be more prepared to stand up for your rights if you end up with a pesky nurse or the OB on call.

Choosing WHERE you will give birth should almost outweigh WHO you get to be your practitioner.  Look into the policies at the place your practitioner delivers, then do a little investigating into his associates and the nurses that work there. Even if you get the most birth-friendly OB in your town, if you choose to give birth at the most NON-birth friendly hospital, you are most likely going to run into problems.  The same goes for your midwife - make sure you like her associates and apprentices before booking her because there is no guarantee she will be the one to make it to your birth.

Of course, you could save yourself a little headache by choosing to give birth somewhere else.  Even if it means driving a little further (or staying in a hotel or at a friend's place the week before the baby is due, or even skipping the drive altogether and staying home), it might be worth it.  You alone can decide what will work best for you.

Oh, and just because you loved the OB you've seen for years BEFORE getting pregnant does not mean he/she is going to be a good fit for your birth care provider.  Be willing to let go without worrying about hurt feelings.  YOU have to make the decisions that are right for YOU, not your favorite OB.  I myself changed midwives between my second and third births.  It meant NOTHING
against my first midwife (whom I adore and still have a great relationship with), she just wasn't a good fit for me for my third pregnancy.  Please let me encourage you: IT IS ALMOST  NEVER TOO LATE to change your care provider or chosen place to give birth, IF you are willing to put the effort into finding another option.

I realize many people have their hands tied when it comes to finances and insurance and that these things play a huge role in determining your care provider.  Discuss where you are going to be willing to make sacrifices.  It might require some big ones, but they will be well worth it for the peace of mind.  In the end, where you can not make sacrifices in money or distance, you will inevitably have to make sacrifices in your time as you beef up your knowledge with more research, reading, and study.  Preparation is a big key to getting the birth you want, and we'll talk more about that in the next post.

So, you've chosen your c
are provider and you are happy with your choice of where to give birth.  Now it's time to think about who else will be there.
- Birth Partner

It's become quite common for women to bring their spouse or partner to the birth (for the sake of sparing my fingers and your brain from too much work, we are going to assume that the birth partner is your husband, although it can be anyone from a friend, to your mom, or life-partner).  This works great for some women, but let me give a little word of caution.  I can almost guarantee, hands down, that your wonderful, kind, and loving husband is NOT going to be prepared for your birth.  Don't worry, that won't automatically make him a bad birth partner, but this is uncharted territory for him, as well as for you, and it's rare for him to be doing as much research, reading, and agonizing over it as you do.  He just doesn't have the same stake in things.  Most men can't read our minds anyway - even less so when we begin to retreat into that fog that is labor land.

So, here's wh
at you need to do.  You need to ask yourself the following questions and be able to answer them honestly.

1) Is my husb
and READY for this?  Has he attended birth classes? Done some reading?  Have we talked at length and do I feel like he's on board with this?  Does HE want to be there?

 - L
adies, trust me, there is nothing you want LESS than a frightened man in your birth room.  I can guarantee at some point you are going to want to be DONE with labor, and a frightened man is going to be the quickest to ask the nurse to bring the epidural, or sign the paperwork for a cesarean. 

are wired to want to FIX things.  They know they can't fix birth, but as soon as you start wanting an out they'll be ready to give it to you.  If you can, get him to read what you are reading.  Definitely get him to a birth class!  Good natural birth classes (not the one at your local hospital) usually have whole segments directed specifically at allying the fears of birth partners, as well as giving them the tools they will need to understand the birth process and feel useful (which is a BIG need for most men).
2) Do I re
ally want him in the room?

- There's no h
ard rule that your husband has to be involved.  Some women are more comfortable with birth being an all ladies affair.  Subsequently, if you and your husband have not been getting along, well, let's just say labor can be stressful enough on it's own.  Do what you can to make your labor as relaxing as possible.  If you will be more comfortable, leave him out of the room.

3) Who else will be involved?

- There's
a theory floating around the birth circles right now that you shouldn't have anyone in the room whom you wouldn't be comfortable making love in front of.  I think that's a mildly extreme scenario, but the point is the same.  Birth is hard work.  Birth is also very private work.  It's absolutely normal for a laboring woman to regress in dilation simply because she's not comfortable in her surroundings or with the people in the room.  One woman regressed from an 8 to a 5 simply because her mother came uninvited into her birthing room.  When mom left, dilation spiked back up to 9cm.

a trend yet?  Relaxation and comfort are key in giving birth, so be sure that all involved will bring that to the room, rather than any form of stress.  Stress is a key way to slow down your birth and increase your pain levels.

- Doula

Finally, there is your doula.  I always highly encourage my clients to hire a doula.  When it comes to babies, next to a birth class, the car seat and the diapers, I believe a doula is one of the things that really deserves your hard saved cash. 

What is a doula?  She is a woman who is specially trained to be an assistant during your birth.  She will provide whatever it is you need - hands off encouragement, suggestions for pain management, education, and even a support for dads!  Her job is in no way to usurp the place of a father during birth, but support, support, support. 

For more inform
ation on what a doul