Thursday, September 20, 2007

Birth #2: Welcome! Welcome! Little One!

This morning at 1:12 am, my second doula client gave birth. The labor was very fast. I got to the hospital at 11:50 pm. Mom was having steady contractions and wanted the epidural.

I could tell that the contractions were very intense and very close together and mom was showing signs that she was in transition. I thought it might be wise to check mom before administering the epidural to see how close we were to pushing. I asked mom what she thought of the idea and when she asked the nurse, the nurse said that they would check again in a few hours but there was no need for that right now! I wanted to shout, "In a few hours, there won't be a need to check because she'll be busy breastfeeding!!" I could feel that this baby was coming fast.

As the anesthesiologist was prepping for the epidural, the nurse was moving the external monitor around on mom's tummy trying to find the heartbeat and I noticed the baby's head between mom's legs. I did my best not to sound like a smarty-pants and just mentioned that it looked like the baby might be arriving. A few minutes later a beautiful, healthy little boy was born.

I'll post pictures once they're available.

Community College, Improv, In-Laws, and Worms!

I have all sorts of excuses for not posting recently. I am extremely busy!

I’m taking classes at Santa Monica College in an effort to fulfill prerequisites to apply to midwifery schools next fall. I am currently taking Human Growth and Development and Nutrition. The Human Growth and Development course is extremely interesting. I wasn’t sure how interested I would be in the topic, but the teacher is very nice and I find that the topic has been of interest to me for a long time, I just didn’t know what it was called. What a nice discovery. The nutrition class will start in a few weeks so I’m getting ready for things to get even busier. I know that I can handle it. Also, I considered taking an anatomy class but then I realized that I would be taking 10 hours of class while working 40 hrs/week, attending births, and working Doula and Childbirth Educator Certification. That’s just too much so I’m waiting to take anatomy until next semester when I will hopefully be able to work less and study more.

As well as taking classes at the community college, Rollo has persuaded me to enroll in an improv class at Bang! Studio. I’m having a really great time. I’m a very playful personal in my everyday life and I love to joke and talk to people. To me, improv class is just a chance for me to play with people who have no choice but to play along. I thought I would just take the one class and then be done with it but I’m hooked and I think that I’ll continue on through the courses and go all the way to the performances. Wanna see a doula do improv? Mark your calendars for late next summer and you might just get a chance.

Along with all of this busy-ness, my in-laws are coming to visit next week. They are lovely people and I always enjoy their visits but with everything that’s going on, certain standards around the house have slipped. So, I am spending all of my free time trying to get the apartment ready so that we can at least pretend that we don’t live in squalor for the week they are visiting. The exercise has been very good for me and I’m slowly accumulating items to have a little yard sale sometime in October or early November, I just have to find a place to put all of the crap while my in-laws are here.

Rollo and I are trying to be more environmentally conscious and our most recent project is vermicomposting. We are already avid recyclers and pretty good about not wasting things. We take our own grocery bags to the store, we try to reuse things when possible instead of busying new, etc. Finally, we have decided to try our hands at composting with worms. I put in the order for the worms today and we will build our little worm hotel this weekend. I’ll post photos and information once the project gets started. I don’t really like worms but I hate to waste, so I think that I can learn to love having worms on my patio if cuts down on our household waste.

I hope that you are well and that you are happy. I promise that as I get used to my new fast-paced schedule, I will get better at posting.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beautiful Birth Stories

I have long felt that we need to stop telling pregnant women horror stories. I have been collecting positive, beautiful birth stories because there really are more than we realize. There are a lot of great resources for happy birth stories. Here are four online that I particularly enjoy:

A homebirth with a midwife and some mild cussing. Very funny. The friend who sent this to me says that "Myrrh yells at me to stand up--I am still sitting on the toilet, and no one wants the baby to be delivered into the toilet itself." is by far her favorite quote and I have to agree!

Dooce's birth which is funny and touching and beautiful. It involves a nurse with a mustache, Janet Jackson's nipple, and the F Word. Very funny!

"Turns out that all the anxiety, stress, and panic I lovingly tended beforehand were a huge waste of time and energy. I could have learned French with that time! I could have become a violinist! I could have embroidered dozens and dozens of onesies!" That's Mighty Girl's first thought on birth. Another beautiuful story involving a bath tub, smoothies, peanuts, and the occasional curse word.

Finally, this is my favorite story of all. Doulicia recently linked to this story at Observant Midwife's blog. It is a must-read, beautiful birth story!

Read the story, then, the next time you're tempted to tell a story about your cousin's boyfriend's sister's terrifying experience while giving birth, stop and tell Observant Midwife's story instead. Tell the momma a story about how birth can be normal and safe and beautiful.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

First Birth!

On Friday, August 17, I attended my first birth. It was beautiful and the baby was beautiful and mom and dad were elated and joyful. I am so grateful that they welcomed me with open arms into the most beautiful moment of their life.

I met a nurse midwife at the hospital who talked to me about her career and I feel inspired now to pursue a career as a nurse midwife. It is an amazing thing to watch a family grow with the arrival of a child. It is a beautiful thing to listen as new parents call their own parents and grandparents to share the joyous news that a new member of the family has arrived. I feel honored that this family would let me be there, would let me rub a shoulder or take a picture of a new dad meeting his child for the first time. I look forward to the hard work ahead. I have found my place in this world.

The resident who attended the birth said that it was the most joyful birth she had ever attended and that the mom was the perkiest mom she had ever met. She then added, "...but, I guess that this is also the first doula birth I've ever attended." What a compliment! What an affirmation! Mom and dad were wonderful so I can only take a portion of the credit but I will treasure those words as I move forward in my career.

I have permission to post a picture of my first birth so please meet the little one.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Doulas and Scope of Practice

I will try to be careful with this post. I am just a new doula. I don’t know what it’s like to be in the delivery room, yet. So, I will attempt to tread carefully while talking about something that I know very little about first-hand but still have strong opinions about.

I think that all doulas should be as well-trained and well-informed as possible. However, I am concerned by some of the language that gets thrown around by people when talking about training. It seems like doulas are looking for information for their clients that go beyond their scope of practice.

Doulas should be models of resourcefulness. If a mother has a question that reaches beyond the scope of practice of a doula (Should I get a cesarean? The baby hasn’t moved today, should I be concerned?) then the doula shouldn’t go and find that information for her, she should encourage the mother to talk to her doctor or refer her to a specialist who is qualified to answer questions and offer advice. This is not only good for the mother because it opens them to a world of resources, it also protects the doula. It just makes professional sense to work within your expertise and avoid opening yourself up to trouble by going beyond your scope of practice.

I am not a nurse. I cannot offer medical advice and while I may have opinions regarding certain medical procedures it is not my place for me to share these opinions with my clients. It would also be completely inappropriate for me to force my ideals on my clients or try to argue with a doctor.

For example, if a mother were to come to me and say that because of certain factors or based on certain concerns that the doctor has, they have decided to pick a date to induce. I may talk to the client about their concerns and help them to find the resources and information to decide how they feel about that decision. If they have concerns, I might encourage them to talk to their doctor after doing their own research. I should not and would not tell the person that I think induction is a bad or good idea and that she should argue or agree with the doctor. I am there to offer information and support to my clients, not opinions.

If as a doula, you feel like you would like to perform tasks that go beyond your scope of practice, there are a variety of other professions to consider. You could become an RN, you could become a montrice, you could even become a midwife (I am currently considering midwifery). However, if you are going to be a doula then you have to embrace and learn to work within your scope of practice.

Bottom line, my philosophy is that it’s your birth your way. If you want to schedule a cesarean and you want me to come to the hospital with you, then that’s exactly what I’ll do. If you want to swim out into the ocean and give birth with the dolphins “nature’s midwife”… Well, I might recommend a doula with better swimming skills but I’ll get the water wings and swim out into the big blue with you. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t attend your dolphin birth, I think that’s way beyond my abilities. I’m kind of afraid of the ocean and you might have trouble finding a human midwife who’s willing to share her duties with the dolphin midwives. Unless one of the dolphins has learned to speak or your human midwife once worked at seaworld and knows how to communicate with the dolphins. Also, being in the water that long would make my fingers and toes all pruney, I hate it when that happens. But I digress…

My knowledge is important, but in the end, my opinion doesn’t matter.

Friday, August 3, 2007

One blog post a month? Does that even count as a blog? In an effort to be more “blogworthy” (is that a word?) I promise here and now to post to my blog at least once a week. There, I’ve said it, now I have to do it!

Things have been going well for me lately. I have a third doula client and their due date is coming up very soon. I’m excited for my first birth. I know that I’ll be ready when the time comes. I just need to finalize my doula bag and buy a good pair of black scrub pants to wear to the birth. So far, the contents of my doula bag are as follows:

1. Birth Ball with cover (Okay, so this doesn’t actually fit in my doula bag, but it counts!)
2. Two extra Birth Ball covers
3. Birth Ball pump
4. Lavender lotion and lavender oil for massage
5. Hot heart! (this really cool little heart that heats when I snap it)
6. My checklist of positions and techniques (just in case I need a reference)
7. Client notebook
8. Extra socks for clients
9. Extra socks and pants for me
10. Toothbrush, toothpaste, breath mints, deodorant
11. Granola bars and water
12. Scope of practice letter and treats for the nurse’s station so that they will LOVE ME!
13. Shower caps
14. My certification forms

I’m thinking that I still need some calming music, a battery-powered mp3 stereo and a little massage rubber. I know things are going to go well and I’m sure that as I become more experienced, my doula bag will change but for now, I feel comfortable with what I have.

Also, I went on my first hospital tour on Wednesday. I wanted to make sure that I was aware of the hospital layout and such before we went there for the delivery. That way, my family can relax and get comfortable while I figure out where the towels are and how the shower works. The tour was really wonderful and when I told the tour guide that I am a doula getting ready for my first birth, she took me to the nurse’s station to talk to a nurse. The nurses were really wonderful and told me that they really like working with doulas. The nurse that I spoke with was really supportive and even told me that I was in the right field. It was really sweet.

I’ve been thinking more about working on building a business. I would like to be able to leave my full-time job and become a full-time doula. I know that it’s only a matter of time before things are happening so I just have to be patient.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Knitting Post

Well, I have at least two clients on my schedule and I’m looking for more opportunities to doula and meet other doulas. I have also been busy crafting. On Sunday, some friends came over and we tie-dyed onesies for my future clients (pictures coming soon) and we used Kool-Aid to dye yarn (again, pictures coming soon). So, with all of this craftiness, I have decided to sit down and make a list of all the projects I have that are currently in progress.

Ella from Knitty
Date started: May (I think)
It’s currently three-quarters finished. I am knitting it on size 5 needles and using Socks that Rock Mediumweight in “Nodding Violet”

Wicked from Zephyrstyle
Date started: July 4
It’s knit in the round from the top down and I am currently knitting my way down the body and getting ready to do the decreases for the waist shaping. I think it’s a little weird to knit a sweater with short sleeves but oh my goodness, that sweater is cute! I’m using size 6 needles and I’m knitting with some beautiful yarn that my parents brought back from Ireland for me.

Somewhat Cowl from Knit and Tonic
Date started: September 2006
This is another sweater that’s knit in the round from the top down. I just bound off the body last night so all I need to do is knit the sleeves and the collar and I’ll be finished after nearly a year. This sweater is knit on size 3 needles with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

Green Cardigan from My Brain! (sorry, there’s no link to my brain) I wrote the pattern using The Big Book of Sweater Patterns and adding shaping to make it a more flattering fit. I found some beautiful yarn while visiting my family in Northern Utah. It’s Donegal Tweed Chunky and the cardigan will be a yoke neck sweater with Fair Isle patterning around the cuffs and shoulders in a rich orange. It’s knit on size 6 needles.

I am also working on two pairs of socks, multiple baby hats, and many kittens in britches
You must love the kitten in britches!!!

I have a plan to finish at least two of the four garments listed above before I can begin working on this, this, this, or this.