Thursday, December 16, 2010

Boys!















What a wonderful and whirlwind weekend it was. After way to much stress over how things would turn out, they couldn't have been any better. I had a wonderful birth Friday night! Baby A. was born a whopping 5.5 pounds! He was one of my tiniest babies yet but he made up for it in looks! What a doll.


Saturday and Sunday I taught a weekend class. This class serves a great purpose for patients who are unable to go on Monday nights. We had a great group and enjoyed our intense time together. After leaving the office I called my client that was yet to deliver and gave her full permission to have a baby whenever! (We all know that is a joke!)


About 1:30 that morning she did go into labor and it was a fast and beautiful one. Baby J. was born that morning and it was perfect. This was an especially neat experience because this couple just came over from Germany for his work. I was so excited to learn some about birth in another culture.


What a sweet weekend it was and a perfect way for me to wrap up 2010. I have been blessed beyond measure this year and looking forward to all God has for me in 2011.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

You silly girl

Last week was one of my most stressful weeks I have had as a doula. It all seemed like it was going to "come down" at the same time. Client A was due on Dec. 4th, Client B on Dec. 15th (but had complications that would bring about a baby a week early) and I had a weekend class to teach at the office. Since I truly love my job and wholeheartedly commit myself to these women and teaching, I was a wreck thinking that someone was going to be let down. I prayed and prayed last week and about had a meltdown when they both got their membranes stripped on the same day! I was praying so hard and felt like God was saying, "you silly girl! It is all in MY timing!"
I had sweet friends praying I would be at peace with what happened and I am so thankful to be on the other side of this "crazy" weekend. I had a precious and peaceful birth Friday night, taught a great group of women and partners on Saturday and Sunday and now I am anxiously awaiting the call from Client A that it is time! Blake and the boys gathered around me when I got home tonight to pray and thank God for working everything out and allowing me to be at both births and fulfill an awesome job of teaching childbirth education. To God be the Glory!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Little Turkey




Thanksgiving night I got a call from a client who thought her water broke. She went to the hospital and her husband called to tell me she was 4cm. I let him know I was on my way and immediately got ready and headed up to L&D. Upon my arrival to the nurses desk they asked me who I was there for, when I told them her name, they told me she had already had the baby. I quickly reminded them this was THANKSGIVING, not April Fools Day. When I walked in the room, the doctor was there and dad was holding his beautiful new daughter. I stood there in shock! I have never had such a thing happen and couldn't believe she went from 4 to holding a baby in 20 minutes!


That little turkey gave me another first. I know these things happen to keep me humble and help me to remember never say never!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brestfeeding Group

We will be having a breastfeeding support group meeting this Tuesday, November 16th. This group will be targeting women interested in nursing, currently nursing or women who have successfully nursed a child and want to encourage other women.
I am looking forward to meeting a need in the community and supporting women who desire to breastfeed.
My personal breastfeeding story is one of many hurdles and challenges. The end of the story was success, but I wonder if I had a group to participate in and encourage me, if it could have been easier.
There is a facebook page regarding this group, times and locations if you would like more information!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mind Over Matter




After 24 long hours of "pre-labor" we were told that there was no cervical change and it could be weeks before the big day arrived. Discouraging news was an understatement.


She called back 24 hours later and was having more contractions again with some other signs that this was the real thing. She headed to the hospital, where I joined her later that morning. She was finally in labor! We did a lot of walking, rocking and sitting on the birth ball and 15 hours later she was the proud mom of a healthy baby boy. The total labor lasted 39 hours with out any pain medications. She was so proud of herself and I couldn't have been happier to be apart of her birth story. A loving and supportive dad, great medical staff and a doula made her dream a reality!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I love my long johns!


After completing my first birth, I quickly realized these laboring moms get HOT and I am very cold natured. I started putting a long sleeve shirt under my work shirt and thought that was the answer.

Lately, these precious women have been freezing me out and I pulled out my new secret weapon to handling their crazy body temperatures.... long johns! Sounds so silly to be blogging about it, but during my birth yesterday (which was amazing) I just couldn't contain my excitement about not freezing my rear end off! So come July when I am headed to the hospital, you can believe I will have my long johns on!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rocket Momma




Sometimes I have to wonder if statistics are right because I found myself with my 3rd client in a row calling to tell me her water broke and she was only 1 cm. I thought only 10% of women's water broke to initiate labor! My parents were in town for the weekend so the great part was having built in childcare since it was a Sunday and that is a busy day for a preacher!


Her doctor allowed her to stay home and see if the contractions started on their own. That was music to my ears! The contractions started and continued to get stronger. After church I ran home, ate lunch and told the boys I would see them in the morning (or at least I hoped I would see them before school).


After getting to the hospital, things were certainly in full motion and she worked hard with the labor. A short time later she was checked and she was 8 cm! I thought I might fall on the floor I was so excited she was progressing so fast. Of course, this labor scenario is any woman's dream! She got her second wind and had that baby in no time flat. I was so excited to see her fulfill her desire to have an unmedicated birth and have a beautiful and BIG baby girl!


I didn't even miss a meal......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Firsts




Statistics tell us that only 10% of women's water breaks to initiate labor. That has always surprised me considering how the media portrays where a women is going to be when her water breaks.
I had my first client in 5 years to have her water break at work. I assured her she was the talk of the office and gave her co-workers the most exciting Friday they have had in awhile!
There were several firsts for me at this birth. I love that because it keeps me humble and teaches me every time I get to be a part of a miracle. One first was getting to be a part of a father praying for his daughter during labor. It was a short prayer, but oh so sweet. Also, this was the first time I had worked with a client whose sister was a L & D nurse and attended the birth as well. It was so neat to see her love on her sister and be such an awesome support to her.
We had a long night and some obstacles to overcome, but boy was I proud of another precious women enter the joy (and hard times) of becoming a mother.

Monday, September 27, 2010

PUSH!


I used a new teaching tool with my last class that was so funny and hopefully a little educational! At the last minute I decided to use the dads as my volunteers. I think that is what sealed the deal. They each had a "uterus" and a "baby" inside. They had to use different types of "contractions" to birth their babies. Some pushed too hard, another took a long time to "give birth" while a few others were very "natural" labors.

I thought this was a great lesson on how different each of these women's labors are going to be. No two labors are alike, not even with that same woman. I am a perfect example of that.


On a side note, 5 of the 13 women in this series have hired me as their doula. I feel so insanely blessed to have the opportunity to serve 5 more families as they enter this amazing journey of parenthood! I can only thank God for the opportunity!

One week






These past 7 days I have spent time in Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia and the western part of North Carolina! I was blessed to go do my bride doula thing in KY with the most precious couple and then come home to spend some quality time with my family and some of our best friends in Highlands, NC.



We are now home and I am officially on call again! I have missed my doula job this month, but very thankful for some special time with amazing people!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leaving on a jet plane


I will be leaving in the morning and heading to Kentucky to be a bride doula again! I can hardly wait to share in this special day with Ben and Brittany. They are two very precious people to our family and there is no greater thing I would like to do than to serve them on their special day. I can't wait to post a picture of this gorgeous woman and her pretty handsome husband! As soon as I come home from this special time, we are going to spend some special family time in the mountains and then home to be on call for a special couple waiting to have their first child! I am blessed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3rd Party Reimbursement for Doulas

I read an article today stating there are now over 20 insurance companies that will cover doula expenses! This is a great stride and if anyone needs specific information on how to go about billing your insurance company, let me know. It seems a tad bit tedious, but the more women that demand their insurance companies for this service to be covered, the more likely they will be to make this a standard practice! I personally have done all the steps on my end to make sure this can be possible.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Must See

http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/video/

I have wanted to show this episode of the Office in my classes and finally found it online! Enjoy a few laughs!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Look at that booterus!


I was so thrilled to receive a new childbirth education video for my classes, that I couldn't help but watch it as soon as I got it. As I am sitting there engrossed in the video, Rylen comes up and sits beside me. It was at a point of talking about active labor and the work your uterus is doing. He starts watching about as intently as I am when he yells, "Coleston, come here and see what we looked like in mommy's booterus! We were all crumpled up!"

I just laughed thinking about sending him to kindergarten this week and his teacher asking him what he did over the weekend.....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

End of the Month Report

My closeout for one of my busiest months in a long time.

Client A: Due on August 5th and delivered on August 12th. +7 days EDD
Client B: Due on August 14th and delivered on August 2nd. -12 days EDD
Client C: Due on August 26th and delivered on August 19th. -7 days EDD
Client D: Due on September 6th and delivered on August 22nd. -15 days EDD


Who would have known?! Thanking God I was there for everyone of the these births and was blessed beyond words by each of these women.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Awesome




I can't seem to wipe the smile off my face since my client's birth last night. She went into labor at 9pm and delivered a beautiful little girl at 4:19 pm. The math on this labor was 17 hours and 19 minutes. When you consider the average first time labor is around 18 hours, this is fairly average for a first time mother but for anyone to be on their feet (she hated to sit) and have no medications, this was awesome.
My word for the day was "awesome". I didn't mean to use it a million times, but it was so fun, encouraging, empowering and down right awesome, I couldn't find another word to use. When a mother has no medications during labor, the baby is so wide awake and alert after birth. It is if they understand your every word and stare so intently in your eyes.
I happened to have a sweet friend deliver naturally this week and this was just as true for her baby. She would just look at us as if she knew just what we were saying.
I had to post the picture of this precious mom and the beautiful smile on her face as she held her daughter.
I still can't believe God has blessed me so tremendously to experience this time in a woman's life. It really is awesome.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

answering a few questions

The role of a doula is to provide specific labor-support skills, techniques, and strategies, offer guidance and encouragement, build a team relationship with the nursing staff, encourage communication between the patient and medical caregivers, and assist the mother in covering the gaps in her care. According to DONA (n.d.), a doula's role can be summarized in seven objectives:
1.To recognize birth as a key life experience that the mother will remember all of her life;
2.To understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor;
3.To assist the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plan for the birth;
4.To stay by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor;
5.To provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions;
6.To facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers; and
7.To perceive the doula's role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's memory of her birth experience.
Doulas use techniques such as imagery, massage, acupressure, and patterned breathing to reduce a woman's pain. They suggest position changes to accelerate labor or aid in fetal positioning. They also provide guidance and encouragement to minimize fear and anxiety, and encourage touch and communication between the laboring woman and her partner.

a little miracle


I had another sweet baby reunion last night with my March childbirth education patients. I so enjoy this time to meet their baby and hear about their "birth" day. Birth is so unpredictable. I have no ability to tell them how things are going to turn out for the. Will the baby be early, painfully late? Will she have a c-section or vaginal birth with no medications?

Last night one of my patients from class shared her story of having a premature boy at 32 weeks and spending time in the NICU at Pitt. To hear her story of intuitively knowing something wasn't right and acting upon it literally saved her child's life. Collectively we tried to encourage her and be a blessing.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to follow up with these women and allow them to share their story and their babies!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Headed to the NFL


After 41 long weeks my client came in for an induction yesterday morning. Things picked up quickly and before I knew it, she was ready to push. I like to play a little game with the nurses and parents about guessing what the baby is going to weigh. I knew this was a big guy, so I was going as big as I ever have, 9 lbs. 3 oz. Her sister guessed 12 pounds and almost got kicked out of the delivery room for such an insane number. Both parents were about 9 pounds and our nurse weighed in a 7lbs.

Two hours later we were all told he was 10 pounds 13 ounces! When I got a hold of him, I knew I had never held a newborn that heavy before, but I was not prepared to hear almost 11 pounds!

Needless to say, dad has him on the fast track to the NFL!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Even the planned can go unplanned


For a lot of women the unknown of when the big day will be causes some level of anxiety. Where will you be, who will you be with, what time are a few of the questions that linger in their mind. So if there is one benefit to a planned c-section, it is that those questions can be answered.
But we have to remember even the "planned" can be unplanned. My client having a scheduled section went into labor 12 days early and they had the most precious baby boy early Monday morning. So thankful for opportunity to see another precious life come into this world!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A New Thing


Starting October 2010, I will be branching out and teaching childbirth education from a Christian world view. I will start advertising in churches, and other areas of ministry and offering a 5 week class to couples who want to learn childbirth education from a Christian perspective.

I am really looking forward to expanding my teaching to include this specific type of class. If you know anyone who is interested, please have them call or email me. The curriculum is written by Jennifer Vanderlaan of Birthing Naturally. There are student books that include bible study and everything we will need to teach a comprehensive childbirth education program. Can't wait to see how the Lord uses it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More than I could handle




Tonight was the inception of a dream I have had for the past year. When teaching childbirth education to families I desire to foster a sense of community among the families that are together every Monday for a month. We hear others talk about their fears, concerns, joys and we learn as a group. By the end of the month there is a bond there and my dream was to bring it full circle and have a baby reunion where each family can bring their precious baby and share their birth story.


I was running behind on getting the invitations out and was worried the attendance would be low, but we had all but one family show up. As they started coming in the door, I really felt like it was more than I could handle! I was so overjoyed to see these beautiful babies and their proud mommies and daddies. As we sat around telling birth stories and how things did or did not go "as planned", it gave us all a better understanding of birth and the mystery of it.


As their childbirth educator, to see the things they implemented in birth and the empowerment they felt because of getting better educated on the birth process is priceless. Tonight I go to bed with overwhelming joy to know that my position in educating families is making a difference! Pure Joy.......

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bride Doula





I took the month of July off of being a birth doula so I could do another job I love, being a bride doula. There is really no such thing as a "bride doula" but since the Greek definition of a doula is "woman slave", I think the title fits! Part of my birth doula job is to anticipate needs that couples don't realize they have. Many couples who think they don't need any help and they have all their bases covered, but there are always unanticipated needs that arise. That's when I get to come in and be the "slave" God has called me to be. I can't imagine my life with out the heart God has given me for brides and births!
ps- If you want to check out the coolest wedding video ever, here is the link:
after you watch it to check out the most beautiful bride and her family, watch for someone who ALWAYS has a camera and that is me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Celebration!




Blake and I were able to get away last week on a 10 day cruise to celebrate our tenth anniversary, which is June 17th. We were super blessed to have jobs that allowed us to do this, a grandma that about beat down the door to take care of the boys and a God that showed us an amazing deal and enabled us to afford it! This is the first time in 7 years that we have been ALONE for TEN days! It was a wonderful experience and I am so thankful that after 10 years, I can honestly say I am totally in love with my husband.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Everyone leaves a legacy




Every couple I work with leave a legacy. There were a few things I will always remember about this birth. The funniest legacy will be a saying from dad. We had to go in and get a cervical dilation balloon put in before the induction on Tuesday. This balloon is filled with saline and manually expands the cervix. Anywhere from 20-40 cc's would be a normal amount for this balloon. Well, during the procedure dad tells our midwife to go ahead and put 50 cc's in there because she was "competitive". I thought I was going to fall out I found this to be so funny. A competitive cervix. Needless to say, I used this quote a few times during our many hours together!!


Second, this was my first client to have a c-section. After 30 hours, she was just not dilating and had to have a section. Have you ever heard the saying, "I tried everything but standing on my head"? Well, we tried everything INCLUDING having her about stand on her head. Sometimes there are just medical reasons to have a section. As I left the hospital a bit disappointed for her, I was much more filled with thankfulness that when things don't go the way nature intended there is still a way to have a healthy, beautiful baby. I am very thankful for the wonderful care we received, for the opportunity to watch my first c-section and that this morning there is a sweet baby boy laying in his mother's arms.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I'll never be able to figure it out.....


I decided to take on two clients in the month of April that were due 3 days apart. For a doula with no back up, that is like playing with fire. The second client just had to know if I was with the first client, I would be unable to attend her birth. My "3rd client" and one of my best friends was due June 13th, but we actually thought it would be more around June 17th (my tenth anniversary!!). Well as of right now, my "2nd client" had her baby weeks ago, my "1st client" is a week overdue and going to be induced in the morning and my "3rd client" is in early labor RIGHT NOW! I would have never thought the "competition" would have been between my "1st" and "3rd" clients! I have long ago realized I can't figure out when women will go into labor and just when I think I do, I am wrong. So I am sitting at home right now, not with either one of them and wondering how in the world this is all going to play out. To be continued.....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"No one could ever explain what this feels like."






What I will remember most about this birth is this mom's words after meeting her son for the first time. We had a long, long night and it was exhausting to all of us. There are actually not that many births that I miss an entire night's sleep, but this was one of them. After 26 hours, this precious boy was born and it was pure love these parents had for their child. I have never attended a birth where I didn't think there was pure love, but something about this birth seemed different.
I also absolutely love to capture images of a woman in labor. There is such beauty in the work they are doing. In this birth, dad was so very attentive to her needs and really knew his wife. Some question if my role as a doula is to replace the father and that couldn't be further from my desire. At the end of the day, I desire for the husband and wife to have grown closer through the birth of their child and help dads be helpful to their wives. This dad knew she liked to have her hair brushed, I didn't have a clue. He knew by a look on her face what she was saying, I didn't.
Another wonderful birth written in my heart and mind, have I ever told you how much I love my job?!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Nice Change


My dear friend, Andrea, and I have been through a lot together in the past year and a half. Her precious son, Jones, was in an accident and suffered traumatic brain injury. We spent many nights together at UNC's PICU. Those were some of the hardest nights of my life. I had never so intimately walked with someone whose child was close to death. But today was different, it was the birth of her 6th child and 4th baby boy. What a joy it was to be with her on this special day and be able to rejoice together in new life!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!


Happy Mother's Day! What an amazing experience to get to be with women as they enter motherhood! 3 births for the month of May, it is going to be busy but wonderful.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

a doula and a doctor




We will be leaving in the morning to go to Blake's graduation from Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. Rylen was super pumped his daddy was going to be a doctor until he found out the kind of doctor his dad will be doesn't wear scrubs. I think it would be kind of funny for Blake to preach next Sunday in scrubs to celebrate becoming Dr. Dempsey! I am very proud of B and all his hard work over the last four years. It hasn't always been easy, but he has persevered and it is over! Looking forward to posting a picture of his big day and proud this doula will be married to a doctor!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Doulas delivering help

A CNN article on doulas.
To read the full article: http//edition.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/08/06/hm.doulas/?imw=Y&iref=mpstoryemail

The birth I missed



If any of you have interviewed me as a potential doula, I have told you I've never missed a birth. But that isn't entirely true, I missed my my BEST friends birth. For nine months we planned and plotted how to get me to South Carolina to attend her birth. You see, birth is one of my favorite things and obviously she is too, so this was a birth not to be missed. Her pregnancy was a longer nine months than my own pregnancies. She suffers from degenerative disc disease and has four herniated discs so pregnancy was pretty much miserable. When time came for the baby to be induced, we were all more than ready. The date was set and I had arranged to get in the night before the induction. At her appointment the week before, they checked her and said she was 4 cm and probably wouldn't even make it through the weekend. She called to tell me this and I begged her to stay in bed till I got there. I could not miss this birth. I was able to leave early and when I got there she was still pregnant. I took the biggest deep breath and thanked God I made it. Well, I made it alright..... Membranes stripped (twice), walking and still no labor. Time came for me to leave and I pulled strings to stay one more day. I just knew that was the day, but still no baby. I had to leave (in full blown tears) and drive home knowing I missed on the most special births I could have attended. We are both so thrilled that her daughter is here safe and sound and labor and delivery went well, but there will probably always be a tinge of saddness that I missed that special day. The birth of any baby is special, but there sure is something about experiencing birth with someone you love so dear. We talk about how cool it would be to have pictures of me at her birth and be able to use them on my new site, but I can put her on the site as the only birth I have ever missed. I love you, ABO!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Two of my favorite things



If you have been to my house, you know I have a special artist that I love. Her name is Hope Smith (www.hopegsmith.com). She is biblical in her work and so whimsical and fun. When I saw her latest work on this belly casting, I had to track down the mom of this sweet baby boy and ask permission to put these pictures on the site. I don't know if I have seen anything pregnancy related I have ever loved more! I don't have a belly cast of my pregnancies, but after these pictures, I can promise if there is ever another little Dempsey running around, they will proudly have one of these in their nursery!

Over the years



My first natural childbirth!


Operation Special Delivery Birth. What an amazing experience to be with a woman whose husband is serving our country and unable to be at the birth of their child. It truly raised a new respect for all they give up to serve our country.





My sweet friend, what a joy to attend a birth of someone you love!





Showing off baby at our childbirth education class.





Leaving for a birth on Rylen's second birthday. Praying that is the only birthday I have to miss!









A wonderful birth at New Hanover Regional and a wonderful client! Such a blessing to be able to stay connected to so many of these women!







































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