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!







































One of my favorite pictures


I quickly captured this moment of one of my clients while in labor. I absolutely love this picture. If you look closely at her monitor, she is in the midst of hard labor. Contractions coming every minute or two apart. Yet, she is so calm, so peaceful and relaxed. It is such a beautiful and intimate picture that encapsulates the beauty of labor.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let's just promise I am a better doula


I truly had no idea how difficult and time consuming it would be to buy a domain, get it registered, switch the user, point the website and whatever else I had to do to get this thing up and going! I could have never done it with out Crystal Butler. She has helped me so much with all the logo, website, etc. She has such an eye for things. Crystal is a photographer (www.crystalbutlerphotography.com) and is just so talented!
I am overjoyed to get this thing off the ground in Nash County. When I started my doula career in Wilmington several years ago, it took off and I never had to do any marketing type things. But here the term "doula" is not as common, so I am having to do lots of education to teach women about what a doula does and how I can benefit them in one of the biggest life events a woman will ever have. I got a new shirt today that has the definition of doula on it, so watch out Nash County, I am a new walking bilboard for doulas!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Perfect Day

Saving lives


The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women fed their babies breast milk only for the first six months of life, a cost analysis says.The health care system has got to be aware that breast-feeding makes a profound difference," said Dr. Ruth Lawrence, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' breast-feeding section.

The findings suggest that there are hundreds of deaths and many more costly illnesses each year from health problems that breast-feeding may help prevent. These include stomach viruses, ear infections, asthma, juvenile diabetes, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and even childhood leukemia.

The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue.

Among the benefits: Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may make breast-fed babies less likely to develop diabetes and obesity.

About 43 percent of U.S. mothers do at least some breast-feeding for six months, but only 12 percent follow government guidelines recommending that babies receive only breast milk for six months.

But he also said mothers who don't breast-feed for six months shouldn't be blamed or made to feel guilty, because their jobs and other demands often make it impossible to do so.

"We'd all love as pediatricians to be able to carry this information into the boardrooms by saying we all gain by small changes at the workplace" that encourage breast-feeding, Gray said.

Bartick said there are some encouraging signs. The government's new health care overhaul requires large employers to provide private places for working mothers to pump breast milk. And under a provision enacted April 1 by the Joint Commission, a hospital accrediting agency, hospitals may be evaluated on their efforts to ensure that newborns are fed only breast milk before they're sent home.

The pediatrics academy says babies should be given a chance to start breast-feeding immediately after birth. Bartick said that often doesn't happen, and at many hospitals newborns are offered formula even when their mothers intend to breast-feed.

"Hospital practices need to change to be more in line with evidence-based care," Bartick said. "We really shouldn't be blaming mothers for this."

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Let's have a breastfeeding party."


So here's one hazard of being a doula. The things my little guys say. For instance, my 5 year old Rylen will point-blank ask you if you had your baby by way of a "birth canal or scissors?" I know - my husband and I have already started his therapy fund.

Rylen is a lover of all kinds of parties. Every thing is a reason for a party. The other day, I received some of my new marketing materials. I guess this was a reason for a party. "Let's have a breastfeeding party!" he exclaimed. "We can have breastfeeding pudding and breastfeeding strawberries and breastfeeding cookies..." Every. Other. Word. "Breastfeeding."

The next day, Ry found a Breastfeeding Positions poster I had stored under the couch. He took one look at it and was completely flummoxed. "Why is that baby on the mommy's chest?!" Like I said, we're saving for therapy.

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