Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Congrats to the M Family!

I was very blessed to work with a wonderful family on the 23rd as mom welcomed her beautiful baby girl into the world. Baby V. was 7lb 11oz and 19 inches long and as soon as she was placed on mom's chest, we were all crying tears of joy. Photos coming soon! Congrats to the M. Family on your beautiful new addition!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Officially Certified!

I am so happy to announce that I have graduated from my course and am now officially CERTIFIED as a Birth Doula through CBI! I want to thank everyone that has supported me and encouraged me as I have worked through the various requirements needed for completion. I also very strongly thank the wonderful families that have thus far allowed me to attend and aid them during one of the biggest days of their lives. There is a special place in my heart for you all and I literally could not have done this without you. In the future I promise to give 1000% to any other families that choose to allow me the same opportunity. I am so blessed right now! Thank you!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Everyone needs a laugh!

What a better way to make someone's day than awkward pregnancy photos! Along the same line as Awkward Family Photos, it bring a nice touch to pregnancy! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

No Thanks, Dr. Lisa!

There is nothing wrong with old fashioned vaginal birth!

Doulas More Effective than Staff or Mother's Family, Friends

Researchers compiled data from the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register. Twenty-one studies with both published and unpublished studies that compared the effects of doula support to standard care were included in the review. Information from more than 15,000 women and their birth experiences were analyzed by two authors who independently reviewed all of the data.

Monday, November 7, 2011

On call again :)

As of today I am on call again for another great mom as she awaits the arrival of her sweet little one :) I can't wait to share the exciting news of her birth afterwards. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exciting Updates Coming!

Great News! Exciting new changes coming soon to my website! For starters, I am soon purchasing my domain name and am currently in the redesign process over at another server, so as soon as it is completed a full upgrade is coming.

Also, I am in the process of learning new techniques to be able to better support mothers during their birthing journey and about to start a special Hypnobabies training course to add to my certification. Coming in February (that's the plan) I am looking to attending a workshop to learn different skills to aid a mother in turning a breech or malpositioned baby.

And coming within the next couple of weeks or so, I will be posting some photos of the births that I have attended along with some things that the families would love for you to know about me as a doula and how I was able to work with them for their births.

I look forward to be able to continually update on these new changes coming soon!

Also there is a great pricing special happening now. Please contact me for more details!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bigger than Myself

On August 15th, at 4:42pm I was with an amazing mom as she birthed her beautiful new daughter into the world.  Welcome to the world sweet baby girl!

As I write this, I am awaiting a call from another incredible mother as she brings her own new little one earthside.

I am so blessed to be a part of these miraculous events! Witnessing and playing such a big role in the biggest events of a families life is definitely proof of something much bigger than me! Stories and photos coming soon!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Great things are coming soon!

As of now, an East Texas Birth Network is in the works. Soon enough the local resources and support that we have always needed for this area will be all in one easily accessible place.

Also, in the near future East Texas will be home to it's own International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) Chapter!

‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead

Monday, August 1, 2011

On Call

Right now it is in the homestretch for 2 wonderful ladies who will be birthing their babies very soon.

My bag is packed and I am ready to go at a moments notice...
I am very excited for the opportunity to be at these amazing births!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are 94% of births really complicated?

C-Section Rates are Higher than EVER!

Rates of Cesarean section deliveries in the United States climbed to 34 percent in 2009, hitting an all time high, a new study says.
Florida, New Jersey and Texas had the highest rates, while Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado had the lowest of the 19 states included in the study.
"Obviously, a 34 percent C-section rate is far too high," said Jacqueline Wolf, a researcher at Ohio University who wasn't involved in the study. "Medical reasons alone cannot possibly explain why more than one in three American women need major abdominal surgery in order to safely give birth."

A C‐section (cesarean section) is necessary to remove the baby from the uterus when a vaginal delivery could risk the health of the mother or the baby, or when a prior C‐section makes vaginal delivery difficult or dangerous.
"In many cases of C‐section in recent years, the benefits may be questionable and important healthcare organizations, including the Joint Commission and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have endorsed safely reducing C‐sections rates in certain types of pregnancies," wrote the study researchers.
The new study was performed by HealthGrades, a company whose website allows patients to search for and rate physicians.
Rising rates
The researchers examined C-section rate from 2002 through 2009 in the 19 states with publicly available health data. The rate increased from 27 percent to 34 percent during that time. Separate studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the national rate to be 32 percent in 2007.
Of the 19 states studied, Florida, New Jersey and Texas had the highest percentages of C‐sections (38.6 percent, 38 percent and 35.9 percent, respectively). States with the lowest rates of C‐section deliveries were Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado (22.4 percent, 25.1 percent and 27.3 percent, respectively).
Risky surgery
Groups such as the World Health Organization have suggested that the Caesarean rate should be 15 percent. The Joint Commission, a non-profit that accredits and certifies health care organizations, noted in their standards of care manual on C-sections that "there are no data that higher rates improve any outcomes, yet the C‐section rates continue to rise."
National C -section rates are on the rise for many reasons, according to the new study. Some factors include common practices such as labor induction and epidural use, which can lead to complications that in turn, can lead to C-sections. Factors that lead to risky deliveries in general — including obesity, diabetes, multiple babies and increased age — are also on the rise.
Some mothers and physicians opt for C-sections just so the timing of the birth is convenient for one or both, the study said.

The rising rate isn't without risk. "Although C‐sections are generally considered safe, it is important to understand that a C-section is still a major surgical procedure that includes serious risks to mothers and babies," the study authors wrote.
Pass it on: C-section rates continue to climb, and many may be unnecessary.

A Surprising Downside of Epidurals

Epidural anesthesia remains the most popular form of pain relief in labor. Nurses, physicians, and many midwives like epidurals because the mother is comfortable and quiet, resulting in less work for hospital staff.

Laboring women like epidurals because they can remain awake and alert, while feeling little or no pain during labor.

Many negative aspects of epidurals have been debated among researchers. Downsides to epidurals reportedly include delay in labor, increase in vacuum/forceps deliveries, and increase in c-sections. But aren’t these possible side effects outweighed by the positive effect of a pain-free labor?

In one research study, investigators found that women who had pain eliminated during labor still reported that they suffered! Concluding that no pain did not necessarily mean no suffering, Wuitchik¹ emphasized the need for women with epidural anesthesia to have continual labor support available. In this study, women described distress over itching, numbness, and nausea–all side effects of epidural anesthetic. The women also reported concern over the baby’s well-being. A common effect of epidurals is a prolonged drop in the baby’s heart rate. While hospital staff may take this in stride, it can be very frightening to the laboring woman. Another interesting finding was that women reported feelings of incompetence and fear over being left alone once they were “comfortable”. Wuitchik concluded, “With epidurals, pain levels were reduced or eliminated. Despite having virtually no pain, these women also engaged in increased distress-related thought during active labor. The balance of coping and distress-related thought for women with epidurals was virtually identical to that of women with no analgesia”.

Women who had epidurals expressed just as much need for continued support as women who had unmedicated births, concludes another research study.² In fact, satisfaction with the support received during labor had more influence on the woman’s satisfaction with her birth experience than her level of pain relief did, according to Mother-Friendly Childbirth — Highlights of the Evidence.

If you are planning an epidural, or even if you are not planning an epidural but plan a hospital birth — do yourself a favor and hire a doula for continuous labor support. It can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with your experience. I think the fact that continuous support influenced birth satisfaction more than pain relief explains why many studies conclude that women who had unmedicated births (most often these are women who have doulas and/or midwives during labor) were happier with their experiences than those with medicated births. It’s not the medication or the absence of medication that made the difference, but the presence of someone there to give continual support. A partner may give excellent support, but partners need support, too! Partners get tired, need to eat, go to the bathroom, get discouraged, just like laboring moms do. A doula is there for both of you, and a good doula will give you your space when you need it, time for just the two of you when you need it, yet be there with just the support you need at the right moment when it is needed.

1. Wuitchik M, et al. (1990) Relationships between pain, cognitive activity, and epidural analgesia in labor. Pain 41:136-142.

2. Lally JE, et al. (2008) More in hope than expectation: A systematic review of women’s expectations and experience of pain relief in labour.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Days are Coming Soon!

Big days are coming soon! Or births, I should say :) Everyday gets closer to the 3 amazing births that I will be blessed to attend soon. I am looking forward to every moment of helping the mothers as their children are born. What a blessing!

And hopefully, should things work out in my favor, I will be attending a two day doula workshop in October. Several other local doulas in my network have been a part of past workshops and have given amazing reviews so I am very excited to possibly be a part of the upcoming event and add to my skills.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are YOU an Informed Consumer?,0,2941171.story

Pregnant women show an amazing lack of knowledge about childbirth options, study shows

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
June 14, 2011
Fewer pregnant women and their partners are attending prenatal education classes these days and appear to be quietly following whatever advice the doctor or midwife recommends, researchers said Monday.

Doctors, led by Dr. Michael Klein of the Child & Family Research Institute and University of British Columbia, surveyed 1,318 healthy pregnant women. They found many seemingly unprepared to make their own decisions regarding childbirth options, such as whether to have natural childbirth or a Cesarean section.

Caesarean sections are a major factor in pregnancy-related deaths, report finds
Fewer than 30% of the women, all first-time mothers, said they had attended prenatal childbirth classes. Many said they used the Internet or books to become informed about childbirth. Still, a shockingly high number could not answer basic questions regarding the pros, cons or safety issues associated with epidurals, episiotomies, Cesareans and other childbirth options. The women who were receiving obstetrical care from midwives tended to be more informed about their options compared with women receiving care from a medical doctor.

"[E]ven late in pregnancy, many women reported uncertainty about benefits and risks of common procedures used in childbirth," Klein said in a news release. "This is worrisome because a lack of knowledge affects their ability to engage in informed discussions with their caregivers."

The study was published in the June issue of Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.

The type of provider mattered greatly in terms of what kind of care women received. The researchers published a related study in May in the journal Birth that showed younger obstetricians were much more likely to favor the routine use of epidurals and expressed more concerns about the safety of vaginal birth compared with older obstetricians. The younger obstetricians seemed to view C-sections as the preferred option for childbirth, the authors noted. In the United States, efforts have begun to reduce C-section rates. About one-third of all U.S. women have a surgical birth.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do You Need a Doula?

Welcome to the World!

On June 1st, 2011 at 6:04 pm I gave birth to my second daughter, Skyla Rose Joiner. She was a very healthy 8lb 1oz and 21 inches long. Her delivery was a bit hectic since she decided to be born in the mentum anterior presentation (face first),but she was delivered VBAC. My birth story with her is coming soon, as it is a LOT to process.

New Baby Announcements
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

10 Common Questions about Water Births

Courtesy of The Birthing Site.

1. How long is the baby under water after birth?
The amount of time the baby is under water will not harm or help the baby. Many practitioners usually bring the baby up within 10 seconds or mom or dad can lift baby out of the water themselves. There is no physiological reason to leave the baby under the water for any length of time. There are several water birth videos that depict leaving the baby under the water for several moments after birth and the babies are just fine, because babies can breathe under water as long as they haven't taken their first breath of oxygen.
Physiologically, the placenta is supporting the baby with oxygen during this time though it can never be predicted when the placenta will begin to separate causing the flow of oxygen to baby to stop. The umbilical cord pulsating is not a guarantee that the baby is receiving enough oxygen. The safe approach is to remove the baby, without hurrying, and gently place him into his mother's arms.
2. What is the cost of a water birth?
The cost of a water birth is significantly less than that of a hospital birth and some provinces and states are now insuring them as standard coverage. The rental of the pool can be anywhere from $0 if you use your own home tub or a pool (or your midwives have them to borrow), if you rent or purchase it can be a few hundred dollars.
3. What should the water temperature be in the pool?
Water should be monitored at a temperature that is comfortable for the mother, usually between 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit as it could lead to an increase in the mother's body temperature which could cause the baby's heart rate to increase. It is a good idea to have plenty of water to drink and cold cloths for the mother's face and neck. A cool facial mist from a spray bottle is a welcome relief for some mothers as well.
4. When should I get into the water?
You should get into the water whenever you feel you are ready. When you begin to feel strong contractions, you brain will desire comfort, this is usually a good indicator. However, test the water prior to immersing. When you enter the water, your brain sends relaxation hormones to your body within 20 minutes of entering the pool and peak around 90 minutes. It is recommended to get out and walk around as a change of scenery and reimmerse to re-engage the relaxation chemicals in your body.
5. Who should I have with me?
It is recommended to have a midwife or doula at all times to monitor the baby and you. You may have any other support people around to encourage and relax you as this is the most important goal. You can even have a spouse or partner in the tub with you for periods of time.
6. What should I wear in the pool?
You can wear anything that feels comfortable that will not impede the delivery of the baby or many women wear nothing at all.
7. How long does a typical water birth take?
A water birth takes as long as any natural birth. The water is a means of relaxing. There is no evidence that it speeds up or slows delivery.
8. What if something goes wrong?
Have a backup plan and be flexible. A birth does not go always as planned and may move faster or slower than expected. There are many things that can be remedied by itself through birth and listening to your support staff and doula or midwife for their guidance. If a medical intervention is required, ensure you have items packed prior to the birth and any other support measures needed on call.
9. What can prevent the baby from breathing under water?
There are four main factors that prevent the baby from inhaling water at the time of birth:
- Prostaglandin E2 levels from the placenta which cause a slowing down or stopping of the fetal breathing movements. When the baby is born and the Prostaglandin level is still high, the baby's muscles for breathing simply don't work, thus engaging the first inhibitory response.
- Babies are born experiencing mild hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Hypoxia causes apnea and swallowing, not breathing or gasping.
- Water is a hypotonic solution and lung fluids present in the fetus are hypertonic. So, even if water were to travel in past the larynx, they could not pass into the lungs based on the fact that hypertonic solutions are denser and prevent hypotonic solutions from merging or coming into their presence.
- The last important inhibitory factor is the Dive Reflex and revolves around the larynx. The larynx is covered all over with chemoreceptors or taste buds. The larynx has five times as many as taste buds as the whole surface of the tongue. So, when a solution hits the back of the throat, passing the larynx, the taste buds interprets what substance it is and the glottis automatically closes and the solution is then swallowed, not inhaled.
10. What types of pools can I use?
There are many types of pools women choose to use or rent. There are designated water birthing tubs you can rent for about $300-$500. Many women suggest using a deep kiddie pool, a trough or your own tub if it is large enough as these are often the same benefit and a smaller price.
Further Reads and Resources Sources
Last modified on Saturday, 28 May 2011 11:07

Friday, May 27, 2011

Promising News for Homebirthers!

ATLANTA – Home births rose 20 percent over four years, government figures show, reflecting what experts say is a small subculture among white women toward natural birth.
Fewer than 1 percent of U.S. births occur at home. But the proportion is clearly going up, study by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The new figures are for 2004 to 2008. Home births had been declining from 1990 to 2004.
The increase was driven by white women — 1 in 98 had their babies at home in 2008, the most recent year for which the statistics were available.
Only about 1 in 357 black women give birth at home, and just 1 in 500 Hispanic women do.
"I think there's more of a natural birth subculture going on with white women — an interest in a low-intervention birth in a familiar setting," said the lead author, Marian MacDorman of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.
For all races combined, about 1 in 143 births were at home in 2008, up from 1 in 179 in 2004.
Geographically, 27 states had significant increases during those four years. Montana, Vermont and Oregon had the most home births — about 1 in 50 births were at home in those states.
Alaska's rate was nearly as high, and it's clear that some home births occur because women are in remote locations and are not able to get to hospitals in time for delivery.
The increase is notable because doctors groups have been increasingly vocal about opposing home births, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has for years warned against home births, arguing they can be unsafe, especially if the mother has high-risk medical conditions, if the attendant is inadequately trained or if there's no quick way to get mother and child to a hospital if something goes awry.
Doctor participation in home births declined by 38 percent from 2004 to 2008. The percentage of home births attended by certified midwives and nurse-midwives grew, meanwhile.
Home births increasing? "From our perspective, that's not the best thing for the overall health of babies and women," said Dr. George Macones, an obstetrician at Washington University in St. Louis who chairs ACOG's Committee on Obstetric Practice.
Exactly how unsafe home births are is a matter of medical controversy, with studies offering conflicting conclusions. And some argue that hospitals present their own dangers of infection and sometimes unnecessary medical interventions.
The CDC researchers did find that home births involving medical risks became less common from 2004 to 2008. Home births of infants born prematurely fell by 16 percent, so that by 2008 only 6 percent of all home births involved preterm births. That's less than half the percentage in hospitals.
The study was done by two CDC researchers and a Boston university professor. It was electronically published Friday by a medical journal called Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.

Doula Support: Before, During, and After Labor

This was originally written by my friend, April, over at Birthing Beautiful Ideas, but the way that she writes it is in so much better terms than I ever could.

If you ever have any REAL doubt as to what the actual ROLE of a doula is, then here is the best explanation I have seen so far! Go April!

Doula Support: Before, During, and after Labor

Posted on May 27, 2011 by BirthingBeautifulIdeas

For those who still view doula support as something mysterious and strange (do they say incantations?  strike up fist-fights with hospital staff?  sprinkle a magic potion over laboring women?), the reality of just what doulas do can seem quite unclear.
But for the most part, what doulas do is not all that mysterious and strange.  And what a doula does varies from each individual pregnancy and birth to the next.  What’s more, a doula’s work is often not limited to labor itself but generally extends from pregnancy to the postpartum period.
What does this work look like?
Doulas often schedule one to four prenatal visits with their clients, both to get to know them and their desires for their births and to help their them prepare for their births.  During these meetings, doulas might:
  • help their clients prepare a birth plan or birth preference list
  • refer their clients to community resources, such as chiropractors, massage therapists, and pediatricians
  • offer a safe space for their clients to discuss past birth experiences
  • attend a prenatal OB/GYN or midwife appointment with their clients
  • prepare handouts, books, or website referrals that address their clients’ particular needs or circumstances
  • help their clients to prepare for both their “ideal” birth and any unexpected circumstances (such as breech position, induction, long labor, cesarean section, etc.) that may arise before or during labor
  • discuss and work through emotional preparation for birth and parenthood
During Labor
Because each birth is different, a doula’s work inevitably varies from birth to birth.  Among the varied and unique births they attend, doulas might:
  • help to reassure their clients and their support team about the normalcy of their labors
  • foster communication between their clients and the hospital staff when labor strays from the norm (or even when it is a normal, “text book” labor)
  • offer massage, counterpressure, and other types of touch techniques to help their clients cope with the intensity of labor
  • use acupressure, aromatherapy, rebozo work, and/or guided relaxation to help comfort their clients
  • suggest position changes to encourage fetal rotation and descent, to enhance labor progress, and/or to provide comfort
  • work to maintain a calm and peaceful atmosphere for the laboring woman
  • create emotionally safe spaces for their clients–for like any mammals, such spaces are all but necessary for good labor progress
A doula’s work is not done after their clients birth their babies.  The vast majority of birth doulas offer some postpartum support, both immediately after the baby is born in the weeks following the birth.  Doulas can offer this postpartum support by:
  • guiding their clients during  early breastfeeding
  • helping the new family to get “settled in” after the birth
  • making referrals to community resources (such as lactation consultants, pediatricians, parenting support groups, and postpartum doulas) where appropriate
  • discussing common concerns about postpartum healing and baby care
  • helping their clients process their birth experiences
  • talking about ways to be mindful of and respond to postpartum mood disorders
Thus, rather than being strange or mysterious, doula support valuable, unique, and fairly “normal” work–and work that has consistently shown to have “clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants“!
In what other ways did your doula help you prenatally, during labor, and after your baby was born?  What other types of support do you incorporate into your own doula work?
This post is a part of my “Different Types of Doula Support” series honoring International Doula Month.  I’m also giving away a copy of YOUR CHOICE of a fabulous birth book in honor of International Doula Month. Please see my original postin this series to find out how you can win!

Preparing for the big day

A lot of things are changing around here, and very quickly at that. My guess date is coming up very quickly and I know very soon I will be holding my new baby girl in my arms. I have to admit, though, that I am scared of this new transition. Scared because of my toddler.... I adore her to death but realistically, I am more scared that she will think that mommy doesn't love her anymore because of all of the attention lavished on her new sister. It is definitely tough to face this with her being so young... I will miss these little moments with her as an only child.

As for the business, I am currently getting close to starting a curriculum to add a certification as a HypnoDoula through Hypnobabies to my CBI certification coming soon. As a mom working with Hypnobabies myself, I feel as though I already offer a slight advantage to mothers wanting to use this program, as I am familiar with the cues and the tracks. I am excited to be able to offer the full certification experience to mothers in the future.

Well, that's my update for today :) Hopefully one of my next ones will be my birth story of my precious little one.

Blessed to be(coming) a doula!