Doula Services Amidst Covid-19

I know that right now feels like extreme chaos. Right now is chaos. With the ever changing hospital regulations, it is with a heavy heart that I also adjust my business practice(s).

If you are pregnant and still want the benefits of a doula, but are worrying about hospital policies (that have literally gone back and forth, changing every day) and/or exposure, I am working vigilantly on moving to a much more virtual way of providing services. In order to keep privacy standards up, all virtual appointments and services will be done via Zoom.

While nothing compares to another set of hands when you’re in labor, and especially while you are newly postpartum, I am continuing to come up with the best plan of action for services as can be devised during times such as these. So be aware that as things change in our world, so may the words on this page. What won’t change is the fact that we’re in this together, and I am still here, continuing to offer my support it any way I can.

We all need someone in our lives who, when things are dark says “I’ll keep you company.” … -@notesfromyourtherapist Allyson Dinneen

Virtual Birth Doula Services 4 Prenatal Appointments to help you plan and prepare for your birth. We will go over your (and your partner’s) questions, concerns, birth plan, ways to help you cope during labor, etc. I will teach you various methods to help give physical comfort and provide emotional comfort and support. Once labor starts I will be 100% available to you by phone, text, email, as well as as-close-to-in-person as I can be, via Zoom, to give you ways of coping and continuing labor. I will stay available for your needs after delivery to help you settle in and help you establish breastfeeding/feeding as necessary. This will be followed by 2-3 postpartum visits where we go over any and all of your postpartum needs.

Virtual PostPartum Services Sometimes you just need someone (in a professional capacity) to tell you that you’re doing a good job and your baby is normal. Someone who can say, “Here’s a great tip for a better latch/night’s sleep/recovery!” We can still do this! You can schedule daily video chats and e-mails to go over feeding, mental health, and planning. You will have text, email, and/or phone/virtual support to answer any question you have along the way and during your day-to-day activities. Also includes 2 prenatal appointments to help you do some ahead-of-time planning!

Virtual Sleep Consults A virtual prenatal appointment to get you set up with a plan for good, healthy, normal sleep habits for your newborn. And 4 follow up virtual appointments to help your family’s sleep stay on track the first year of your baby’s life!

Virtual Childbirth Education All of my classes are still available, only now in virtual!

If you just need to ask a few questions or a place to vent about how hard your pregnancy is, the state the world will be in during your birth/postpartum, lactation questions, and even sleep advice. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or send me an email at laborsofwonder@gmail.com. DM me! Message me! Text me! I’m here for it!  Make sure you include your name, how far along you are, or how old your baby is so that I can give you my best answers as quickly as possible! 

Birth Plan Demonstration

Labor of Wonder’s Birth Plan Demonstration:

Keep it short, simple, and to the point. And acknowledge the staff’s part in your birth! Remember that they are an invaluable part of the birth team that you picked when you chose your provider and hospital!

  1. Labor
  • I want to move around as freely as possible
  • I’d prefer a heploc if necessary so that I can maintain movement
  • I’d like access to a birth ball and/or peanut ball and shower/tub.
  • I would like to not be asked for pain management. I will be sure to ask you if I need it. If I have an epidural I’d like to rest with a peanut ball. If possible I’d like it to have worn off by pushing so that I can be able to move during that phase.
  1. Delivery
  • I’d like to push in whatever position I feel comfortable in
  • I will ask you if I’m needing direction in my pushing, otherwise I’d like it to be mother-directed pushing
  • If a cesarean becomes necessary, I would like my doula to join me as they put in the epidural and prep, with my husband to follow once prepped.
  • Baby & After Care
  • I would like the baby immediately on my chest
  • I would like to delay weight and measurements until after the first hour or so has passed to have adequate time to bond and breastfeed

I understand that birth is unpredictable and healthy baby is top priority. As long as everyone is, and stays, healthy, the above are my top wishes and I so appreciate your help in helping me to attain my goals and creating these memories with me.

 

Words From a New Mama To an Expectant Mama

Hi there, mama.

I hope this letter finds you well; know that I wrote it with you in mind. I’m so glad you’re doing research to create the best possible birthing experience for you and your precious little one(s). My first child is five weeks as I am writing this, and I have had a sufficient amount of time to process my birth story- things that went well and things I will change next time. I will tell you that hiring Sara as our doula is something that will most certainly happen again. Over the course of my pregnancy, I met many doulas. They were all wonderful, but there’s a reason Sara was the one I needed. Many reasons, actually. Here are a few perspectives to consider.

There are many doulas, wonderful doulas, who love their job (or themselves) so much that they credit themselves for the success of their clients’ births. I am so thankful Sara is not one of them. Sara is humble. She is patient and kind. She will support you because it is the right thing to do, not so that she can get recognition or credit. This may not be a trait that you recognize right away in someone, but it is definitely one to look out for.

There are many doulas, wonderful doulas, who claim to support you in your decisions but will actually try to push their own agenda on you. I’m so thankful Sara is not one of them. I don’t quite know how she does this, but Sara has a way of presenting information in such an unbiased manner, you leave the conversation feeling empowered instead of swayed one way or the other. This. Is. Critical. I was overwhelmed by the amount of decisions I needed to make not only during pregnancy and labor, but afterwards for my child. I know for certain that I would have made uneducated decisions if it had not been for Sara’s guidance.

There are many doulas, wonderful doulas, who unknowingly take the place of your significant other during your birth. I’m so thankful Sara is not one of them. When I think back to the birth of my son, I think of how grateful I am for my husband’s constant support. When my husband thinks back to the birth of our son, he thinks of how grateful he was of Sara’s constant support. She calmed him, showed him how to help me, and stepped in when necessary.

For me, Sara was not just a doula. She made the difference between a woman in labor and a bunch of people trying to help, and a birthing team. My desire for every woman is that they would be able to experience the power and harmony of a birthing team. My desire for every woman is that they would birth feeling empowered and respected. I believe Sara is the perfect addition to anyone’s pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum journey.

 

With love,

Molly Hale

IMG_1475

Inspire Your (Laboring) Self

Hey, hey! It’s Day Two of World Doula Week! Here is day two’s blog post!

 

Labor is work. For some it’s brief, furious work. For others it’s slow, continuous work. For some it’s a calm work. For other’s it’s intense, and intentional work. You see what I’m saying, right? It can be glorious, it can be slow, it can be fast… but it’s still work. Even if you’re one of the crazy few who blink and then have their baby. Chances are, your body was doing work without you even knowing it.

One thing that more and more women are choosing to do to motivate themselves, be it in their career, relationships, or yes, even birthing, is to make inspiration boards. My office is full of them! Pictures of past clients over the years (I love getting updates!), words that are meaningful to me, or events that were game changers in my life. More and more I’m seeing women transpose this office idea into the labor room. Weather it be printed flash cards of words that make them feel most empowered, relaxed, and comforted, or a literal board with words written on it!

inspirationboard

I’ll admit, I had this chalkboard on hand and just quickly drew spots to write encouraging words on. But it got the job done! So pick up a small chalkboard (or make one!) and write yours. Or print out your favorites and put them all together. I’ve even had clients laminate theirs so they could take them into the shower with them! Some even fill theirs with pictures instead of words! Whatever speaks to you, whatever encourages you to do whatever you need to do!

I have an exclusive Pinterest board devoted to this idea entirely: Labor Inspiration Board

 

5 Things Your Doula Won’t Tell You

  1. That we take the place of your Dr/Midwife. We will never diagnose you. Have a medical question? We’re going to calm your nerves with accurate information on your specific situation, followed by the words, “Call your Dr.”  Want accurate statistics on something having to do with your pregnancy or your baby? We can get you those. Want a diagnosis on what you are going through? We’ll refer you to your primary care provider.
  2. That we know something we don’t. Don’t get me wrong, as doulas, we’re the culmination of education and research on all things pregnancy, labor and delivery, as well as local resources. So in a large sense, we do know everything about everything in the pregnancy and baby world. But we also want to make sure we are giving you accurate and up to date information. So if you ask us a question and we respond with, “I’m not sure, let me look into that and get back to you.” You can know that I want to make sure you get the best information, from the most reputable sources.
  3. If we don’t love your OB/DR/Midwife. While we often talk you through how to choose your care provider and things to look for/listen for, we can’t choose for you. And if you’ve already chosen one, our job is not to talk you out of working with your OB. We give you the tools/information you need to make decisions for yourself. Even if we know the particular OB has a habit of something you that may or may not like, you have already made your decision and our job is to support you and the decisions you make. End of story. (Plus if we are going to be working with them, letting anyone know of our feelings doesn’t do anyone any favors.)
  4. This isn’t “real” labor. Mom is 37 weeks and has an occasional contraction, or more frequent but short, and no regularity/pattern to them. I get an excited phone call asking “Is this the real thing?” The real answer is: Yes! And no. Labor is so hard to predict, that as your doula, I would be remiss to say definitively your labor is going to do any specific thing with any specific time frame.  (But imagine my popularity if I could!)  Often labor has lots of little bursts in the weeks leading up to delivery. But that doesn’t make it any less real. Whether your body is practicing, doing little bits at a time, or it quickly escalates into delivery, it’s all real.
  5. If you cussed, yelled, whined, cried, or even pooped while you were in the process of having your baby. And the truth is, we probably won’t even remember any of those pieces after the fact. What we will remember, and what we will definitely tell you: You were strong. You were brave. You birthed your baby exactly the way you needed to.

 

Want to find out more about what Sara will tell you, educate you, inform you, or reassure you about during your pregnancy and post partum experience? Click here now!

 

 

 

Why Do You Want a Post Partum Doula?

  • The most obvious reason is that you DESERVE one, and will likely need one! Who doesn’t need some extra support while venturing out on a new journey?!
  • Speaking of extra support, having a post partum doula at your side enables you to find your own groove, your own way, at your own time. It’s all about supporting you so that you can smoothly transition.
  • And you don’t have to worry about being judged about your choices or the things you still need to learn! As your doula, I am happy to discuss various parenting philosophies and options with you! There are so many options and opinions when it comes to parenting; I am just here to give you any information you’re wanting and support you and your family in all of the decisions that YOU make.
  • Early breastfeeding can definitely have a learning curve! Having an experienced doula supporting you during those still-getting-the-hang-of-it feedings can be extremely helpful.
  • Who is going to nurture YOU while you’re busy nurturing your new baby, along with any other siblings?! I will give you reminders to eat, and to keep yourself hydrated as they are often forgotten when all your attention is going to your new baby. Taking care of you as your body recovers after delivery (no matter the form of delivery!) is so important to your recovery!
  • If you’ve had babies previously, you know that information changes and products change even in short time spans! What was great for your first baby may not be recommended by the time baby #3 comes around! And it’s so hard to stay on top of it all! It is my job to be an expert on everything baby and to have the most up to date information!
  • Sometimes it’s hard to just focus on the importance of bonding during those first weeks/months. And not just between mommy and baby, but also daddy and baby, and the whole family unit together! There’s laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, post office runs, kitchen clean up, dusting, playground time with the siblings, etc. The list goes on and on! Let me help. I can help you. I can run those errands. I can make those meals. I can take siblings to the park or the backyard. I can clean up after the day. I can clean & fold laundry. All while keeping you company, should you like.
  • I can also hold your baby while you have a moment to eat, to shower, to SLEEP, to have a few moments with older siblings. And you can relax knowing that you are in the hands of a trained professional. So that you can truly have a moment (or a couple hours!) to let yourself rejuvenate and recover.
  • I have been trained to recognize the array of signs and symptoms of post partum depression. There is a wide array of what is normal, what’s edging into the depression pool, and sometimes it’s hard to see where you’re standing until you’re on the other side of it. I can help to advise you on what’s generally considered a “normal” part of recovery after birth and when you might need some help.

I love this work and the families I work with. Let me help you as your family transitions, be it from a first baby to the 5th! 

Thoughtful Things

My dear friend, and former client, wrote this sweet blog post in honor of Doula week last month, and I couldn’t help but share:

 

Who’s your Doula?

 

^^^That person is me!!

 

What is a doula?

Doula–  A kick ass women!!

……..And the proper definition…

Doula– Derived from the Greek word “doule”  meaning “woman who serves”.  She is the support woman for a mother in labor.

I with my whole heart believe EVERYBODY deserves a doula in the birth process. They are good for Everybody involved.

Now how did I come to this conclusion? Let me explain.

When I first was pregnant with Cadden the researcher in me decided to go find everything that had to do with being pregnant, giving birth and everything in between. I drove my husband crazy being online ( I still do). Well one day I came across the Child birth Collective in a random pregnancy Google search. While checking out the website I found they offered FREE classes!   I am pretty sure I was more excited about the free part than the classes themselves. Well I talk my husband into going and off we went…… Well we get there and it was held a yoga place. I saw women on exercise balls on the floor etc along with their husbands who all looked like ” why the heck did I agree to come to this?’ Well all of these women were showing pregnant. I was maybe 10 weeks and was slightly embarrassed that I deiced to go to a class so early in pregnancy ( I then learned its never to early to learn about pregnancy or the birthing process).  Well this lady introduced herself saying she was a doula. I had never heard of a doula and at that moment I pictured birth being something out of ‘Dances with Wolves’, in which there is a scene and the lady is squatting down in the forest pushing a baby out with a stick in her mouth. Well she explained who she was and what she did I thought ” oh this is pretty cool”. Then like anytime I find something pretty cool she mentioned money. At that moment I put the idea in a little suit case in my mind and packed it away. We did not have 500 bucks to spend on a doula ( I also noticed when money was mentioned Chad had his head down and wouldn’t look up. I don’t know if this was because of the money or the fact the doula had start nursing in front of the class). Fast forward

We had an awesome nurse who acted as a doula and I had the birth I wanted……. Kind of.  Well I then found out I was pregnant with Lyam. I went along in my pregnancy hadn’t thought about having a doula until my friend Mrs S mentioned she was in the process of becoming one. I jumped at the opportunity. Well I mentioned this to my hubby who lets say at the time was not happy about it. We one night had argued about it and he said ” Well you and your doula can go have the baby without me and I will sit here and watch t.v.” Turns out he thought our doula would take his place.  Turns out he loves her and can sit down and explain why everyone needs a doula. In his world she was very Kick ass.

Why our doula was kick ass

  • When into pre-term labor she was there at the hospital
  • Explained why Chad should catch baby (this created a bond between Chad and Lyam that will never go away)
  • Came over when I thought I was in labor and walked around the block
  • Listened to my whines
  • To get labor going she lounged up the hill out side of her house with me and walked around the neighborhood all day. ( I went into labor later that night)
  • Let me grab onto her neck even though it hurt her when trying to push
  • Came over after L was born to give nursing tips
  • She also gets kick ass points for just being a doula.

As you can tell I really loved my doula… It also helps that we are friends.

Yet have a doula offers more benefits some that I never thought of

Benefits of a Doula

  • Decreases the need of a c section by 50 %
  • Can mean shorter labors for mom
  • fewer interventions
  • mom has greater success in breastfeeding
  • Chances of epidural goes down

 

Now………Where the heck do you find a doula???

Ask around. Birth centers usually know someone, even some doctors offices ( side note if you want a doula and your doctor laughs at you…. maybe find a new doula friendly doctor… or go with that doctor and let them see the benefits them selves). There are many websites that will help you find a doula too ( will list at the end)

Last thoughts

Doulas are really awesome women. Having a Doula at your birth may seem like the latest hot trend, yet I promise its not. Women have been supporting women throughout their pregnancies and labors since we have been on this earth. Oh and yes if you do have a C – section yes I still recommend having a doula present. My doula will always be a part of my life in some way whether its being friends or her being present in the stories I tell my son of his birth. Though I truly love my husband there is something about the emotional support that another woman can provide another who is bringing a life into the world. I truly believe their is a bond made during that time that can never be broken. March 22nd- 28th, 2013 is World Doula Week. If you have had a doula remember to give her another thanks. Remember to let her know she is kick ass. I mean to get up at midnight and be calm during a birth is a secret talent of a doula.

 

Mrs S….. Thank you!!! You are a kick ass women!

0917121132

 

 

And yesterday I got an email where her husband included these kind words:

“When my wife first mentioned a doula, I though it was just one of her weird things, so I ignored it. Yet when she found out Sara was becoming a doula, she talked me in to it. To be honest, I thought Sara would come in and take my place at the birth of our son. ,I for the longest, resented this whole doula idea. Yet Sara turned out to be great. When my wife went into preterm labor Sara was there. When my wife thought she was really going into labor Sara was not only there but walked around the block with her at midnight. The day before Lyam (our son) was born… Sara walked up and down the hill in front of her house with my wife all day. No complaints. The night my wife went into labor Sara didn’t take my place at the birthing center; she helped me  She helped me help my wife. It was as she was there but wasn’t, but was a silent presence. She recommended that I catch our son when I had doubts. To this day I am proud to say I was the first to touch my son as he entered this world. I am happy my wife introduced one of her crazy ideas. I would recommend Sara to every mom and father to be.”

104_1417

I always tell families that my hope is that they’ll think I was helpful, but that they’ll walk away feeling completely like their birth was their own and that I was just part of the instrumental background that (hopefully) helps to ease things along and also further improves the partnership as well by giving them tools to support their partner, sometimes without them even knowing. And that’s the best.

Why You Need A Partner And A Doula

As a mama who’s had 3 births where my partner was so important, I can see why many women (and their partners, whether partners in life or in birthing) feel that a doula would be unnecessary or take the place of a birth partner. Some couples feel that letting someone else into their very private and special occasion is unnecessary and invasive. In truth, a doula attends a birth in addition to the partner, not instead of.

I believe, for women in a partnership, that birth is a key point in their relationship. It has the ability to change how they relate to each other and the way they depend on each other, as birth is one of the biggest moments of a mama’s life. How her partner supported her, is going to make a difference. Doulas understand that the importance of a birth partner and how they hold a unique and critical position as they know, love, and care for the mom in a way no one else does! Which is exactly why sometimes it’s an unrealistic expectation for them to also be prepared to coach, inform, comfort, educate, advocate, and make decisions in a situation that they may have never been in before, or can only focus on their partner being in pain or have feelings about not be able to control the situation (and wishing, for their partner’s sake, that they could!). Often, the partner feels more able to participate because they feel the pressure has been relieved and they can be involved at their comfort level. A doula can focus on the “coaching”, freeing the partner to focus solely on loving emotional support.

Doulas can help partners by modeling (and explaining) specific pain relief techniques, explaining procedures and labor progress (into lay-man terms), and giving much-needed breaks. Bathroom breaks and quick snack breaks are important! Laboring mamas rely on their partners strength, so it’s important they can keep it up! A doula provides a confident reassurance that all is going well and normally. And something that I feel is of great importance is that a doula is often the only other participant who stays with you from beginning to end!

Another thing that I love, for families that want this, is the inclusion of any other family members during a birth (whether it be grandparents or siblings). It is so special to be able to facilitate in ways that makes the loved ones feel like their a natural part of things. (Like having the laboring mama’s mother rub a can on her back through a contraction, or having her be in charge of the cold washcloths.)

There are lots of reasons why having a doula is fantastic! After the birth of our first, my husband told every expecting family we knew that they had to get a doula. He frequently expresses that he walked away from the birth feeling like he was the one that was “doula-ed” and I walked away feeling like my partner was so amazing and supportive. He’s now admitted that our doula told him what to do every step of the way!

Here are some other great sites that answer all the “Do I need a doula if…” questions: threeriversbirth  and Making Mothers Birth Doula Services.

And perhaps my favorite of all is Birthing Beautiful Ideas. It’s a must read for all expecting families. If you want a doula- read it. If you don’t want a doula- read it. I’m telling you, I just love the way she words things!

Welcome!

Welcome to Labors of Wonder! Before becoming a doula, I was a blogger at Labor of Wonder (I still blog, just not as regularly!) along with a stay at home mama. After becoming a doula and trying to create a website name… I kept coming back to the one I already had. Much like my belief in intentional living and that life is always a labor of love but sometimes it’s also a labor of wonder… real labors (the kind that bring babies into the world) are also labors of wonder. It is a wonderful thing to witness the birth of a brand new person!

Babies are a wonderful way to make people!

And thus it was born, labors of wonder. I’m looking forward to helping many mamas along their labors; labors of love and wonder!