Hey. I know you. I know you planned a natural birth. I know you wanted to avoid as many interventions as possible. I know not following your plan makes you feel like a failure. It shouldn’t. Really.
1) You’ve been up a reeeeaaaalllly long time. Labor can be long. Labor often begins at bedtime or in the middle of the night after an already really long day. It’s not too long and you find yourself having been up for 36 hours and EXHAUSTED. Sometimes you need a nap. It’s okay.
2) It’s really intense. Sometimes labors can be fast and quick. And sometimes they start out with a bang and you don’t have time to catch up. They talk all about labor that starts with contractions slowing getting closer together. Sometimes, contractions start 3 minutes apart. Sometimes it’s just a lot more intense than you expected.
3) $&%# happens. Sometimes there are complications or your water breaks without labor and you need to be induced. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to birth your baby without an epidural even when you are induced and yes, some women say they didn’t notice a difference between natural labor and induced labor. But sometimes it’s just plain harder and longer. I have to say that if I had pre-eclampsia and were stuck in bed on a mag drip as well as a pitocin drip, it’s unlikely I’d power through. If you did, that’s amazing! If you aren’t or weren’t able to, it’s okay.
4) Your past. Sometimes there are things that happened to us in our past that make birth difficult. If you are finding yourself having flashbacks or associating what’s happening during the birth of your child with something in your past you’d rather not and an epidural will help that, it okay to make that choice. It need not be anyone else’s business either.
5) You changed your mind. Truly, it’s okay to change your mind. Sometimes it’s harder than you expected. Sometimes you don’t have the emotional energy that day to do it. Sometimes you don’t need to have a reason.
6) You want one. Maybe you didn’t plan a natural birth. Maybe you planned all along to get an epidural. That’s cool too.
There might be other reasons too. We are so fortunate to have the interventions available to us that we do! Are they overused? Probably. But there are really good reasons to take advantage of what’s available sometimes too. Doulas, at least ones worth having, don’t go away (except maybe to nap at the same time you do) after you get an epidural. A good doula continues to offer that support you knew you needed during your birth. Of course, there are lots of reasons to not get an epidural as well and I’ll post about that soon!
Looking for childbirth classes? Or planning a VBAC? Click these links!
I love my job! This is truly my calling. I love working with new, expanding families. I love being part of their transition. This is such an amazing, sensitive time of life. One that the mother remembers forever. Not one birth is the same and each is an honor to attend. It is way more than just a job for me.
This week marks the 4 year anniversary of the first birth I attended. That mother will always have a special place in my heart. I learned so much that day about birthwork, about motherhood, and about myself. I was her only support person. This was her third high risk pregnancy and her third induction. We both thought it would be pretty straight forward and easy. We were wrong.
I spend 25 hours with her walking the halls, holding her hand, wiping her tears. Then her birth started to mirror my own first birth as a mother. When her baby’s heart rate dropped and her room filled with medical people, I was there. I was with her in the OR and took pictures and held her hand. She was terrified and I, being new at this, wasn’t sure what to do and I truly didn’t know if I would be okay. But I was and so was her baby.
Here's a recent photo of that beautiful baby girl:
"Esmae" Story and photograph were shared with my former client's permission.
My very first birth as a doula, I held another’s hand and walked with her through my own worst (and best) day and came out the other side. I knew without a doubt that I could do this work and do it well. That day left me with a feeling of coming home.
Birth almost always is normal and straight forward and and proceeds as planned. And sometimes the situation has a mind of its own. As a doula, I join you on the journey and do my best to make sure you and your partner have what you need through whatever comes.
Interested in doula services? I'd love to work with you!
Have I got a treat for you! This coming Saturday, from 9am-noon, at Founder’s Park in Carmel, I’ve partnered with Paola Williams of Paola Williams Photography to bring you Mom to Be! Paola, a talented local photographer, will be offering mini maternity sessions, Mimi Sosa of Yoga Garden, an amazing yoga instructor and doula, will be there talking about her fabulous prenatal yoga classes, and I, doula and childbirth educator, will be there talking about planning a positive birth.
This is a unique opportunity to talk with us about what we do and how we might enhance your life either Saturday, or sometime in the future. Come! Get some great pictures taken. Celebrate your pregnancy! Start thinking about a plan for your birth and the beauty of motherhood that come after! This is a low-key, fun, rather informal event and if you already have kids, they can play at the park! If you are interested in the maternity sessions, I’d suggest you arrive earlier so you can sign up for a time slot.
This is an outdoor event and will be postponed if we get crazy Indiana weather so if you’re questioning, check out the event on my Facebook page. Also, please note that the intersection of Hazel Dell and 116th is closed so the park is only accessible coming from the north down Hazel Dell. This happened AFTER we chose the location of course. ;) If you need to be rerouted, message me and I’ll be happy to help you figure out how to get there. See you Saturday!
I am so excited to announce GentleBirth: Confident VBAC! As any of you who have read my blog in the past know, VBAC is near and dear to my heart. Women consider or pursue VBAC from a variety of past birth experiences and for a variety of reasons. They make different choices too, and should all be encouraged to make the right choices for their unique situation from a place of information.
There are so many misconceptions out there about vaginal birth after a cesarean, some even perpetuated (either intentionally or unintentionally) by care providers. 70-80% of women who pursue VBAC, will be successful and 99% of moms will have no issue with their scar in labor. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s, more commonly known as ACOG, guidelines say that VBAC is a reasonable option for most women with one scar and even for many women who have had two cesareans but fears, misinformation, and barriers persist.
If you are considering a VBAC, this 4-hour course is for you! It covers recent research, risks/benefits, questions for your care provider, barriers, and how to increase you odds as well as a review of labor and comfort measures and finally, a hypnosis session at the end. But maybe more importantly, it also covers some of the emotional work that needs to happen as women face birth again. A one month subscription to the GentleBirth app to add to your birth toolbox, whether your ultimate decision is VBAC or not, as you prepare is also part of the registration fee.
The first class will be offered on July 8th, 1-5pm in Fishers. Subsequent classes dates will be found on Fireweed Doula's class page and on my GentleBirth page where registration is handled. Please, if you or someone you know is considering a VBAC, this is a class not to miss!
Next class will be February 3rd, 2018!!
I had the opportunity to sit down with a former client of mine, Casey Glassley, who had an amazing VBAC back in January. She was incredible and was willing to share a bit about what helped her prepare. Of particular interest to me was her fitness routine. I've noticed that fit, flexible women tend to, in general, have an easier time with birth. While prenatal yoga is awesome and I don't intend at all to minimize it's impact, pregnant women are capable of much more! (Always talk to your doctor, particularly while pregnant, before starting a new routine!) It was difficult to even find a photograph that showed a pregnant woman doing more than yoga.
You had a successful VBAC back in January, can you tell us a little bit about that?
- My first child was born via scheduled c-section due to him being breech. When I was pregnant with my second child, I considered having a repeat c-section. After careful consideration and a lot of praying, I chose to try for a VBAC. I'm happy to say I had a successful VBAC with my daughter. My labor lasted over 24 hours and was the most mentally and physically challenged I have ever felt. However, with the help of my amazing husband, doula, and hospital staff, I was able to give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl without any medication. The recovery process was so much easier after the VBAC than it was after the c-section. I am so grateful I chose to try for the VBAC and feel blessed for such an amazing and empowering experience.
How did you prepare?
- The process for preparing for my VBAC involved a few different steps. I did a lot of research about child birth in general, including reading articles about VBAC vs.repeat c-sections and understanding the benefits and risks involved with each process. I attended a couple of meetings through ICAN of Greater Indianapolis to talk to others about their experiences. I also had a doula who provided support while I was pregnant and during labor and delivery. My physical preparation involved trying my best to eat a healthy diet and exercised consistently throughout my pregnancy. I enjoyed taking brisk walks, chasing after my active toddler, and attending barre classes a couple times per week.
You did a barre class throughout your pregnancy, correct? What was it about that class that appealed to you?
- Yes, I began taking barre classes back in 2013 and continued to take classes during both of my pregnancies. A variety of classes are offered where I attend. They range anywhere from high intensity intervals to toning to fun, dance-inspired cardio. All classes are both physically and mentally challenging. I love group exercise classes in general, but especially enjoy the atmosphere created in the barre classes. Instructors lead clients throughout the 50 minute class by providing guidance on proper form and motivating everyone to push themselves to their full potential. The combination of the upbeat music playing over the speakers and the dimly lit rooms create the perfect space for getting the best work out. It really allows you to get in the right mindset to connect with your body and mind while pushing out all other distractions from daily life.
Where was it? Who was the instructor, etc?
- The barre classes I take are offered at The Barre Code Indianapolis. It is located in Fishers, just off of Cumberland Road and 121st Street. The studio owner is Danielle Hacker. Not only does she run the studio while being a mom to a toddler and a baby, but she also instructs quite a few of the classes. Most of the class formats I was able to attend during my pregnancy were the Barre Code or Barre-dio classes offered during my lunch hour. The lovely ladies that instruct these classes are Lily Slonaker, Heather Pohland, Kimberly Moore, and Sarah Hetrick. These are just a few of the instructors I've had throughout the years. Each has their own personality and vibe that shines through in each class.
What kind of modifications did you need to make as your pregnancy progressed?
- I had to modify ab-work once I was no longer allowed to lay flat on my back in my second trimester. As my pregnancy progressed, I had to stop doing push ups and planks on the ground and just did them at the barre. The instructors were available before and after class to discuss ideas on different modifications I could use to help with anything I felt uncomfortable doing. During classes, they also give instructions on modifications that can be used if something just doesn't feel right. It is important to listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard.
Have you started back? If so, what has it been like after?
- Yes, I started back about ten weeks postpartum. I have only gone to a couple of classes and have been easing myself back into it. Since I took a few months off, my body needs some time to build back up to what it was once able to do. I continue to make modifications depending on how I feel that day. Ab exercises are probably the most difficult. I still feel a little sore where my scar is from my c-section with my first child. Overall, it feels great to be back taking classes and gives me more energy, which is needed now that I have two little ones who need me!
Do you have any advice for women considering VBAC or looking at exercise options during pregnancy?
- My advice is to make exercise a priority, especially while pregnant. It will make labor, delivery, and recovery much more manageable. Find something that you enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it. For women considering VBAC, I encourage them to have a great support system, whether that be their husband, family member, doula, etc., who can provide encouragement while they are in labor.
Adina Nelson, CD(DONA)
I am a birth & postpartum doula and chlidbirth educator practicing in North Idaho.
She was there every step of the way for me and my husband...I thank Adina for everything she helped us with. She truly is a special person and we will be forever grateful for her! ~Erin