Dallas Birth Doulas

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Blogging about birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum care from a doula's perspective.
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Keep Them Out!
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As a doula, we often times hear this," Sooooo, we have decided that my parents, my mother-in-law, and my best friend are going to be in the room during the birth of our baby! Isn't that a great idea??!??" Um, nope. Not only is it NOT a great idea, it's a horrible idea. Not because of the effect that it has on the doula, or nursing staff, or care provider, but the effect it has on the mom, especially if mom is going natural. Now, everyone has the best intentions. Grandma feels she is going to be a wonderful, supportive cheerleader,Uncle Earle is going to fetch the water, and your bestie is going to journal every major event," water broke at 4:12 pm!," "sitting on the big yoga ball at 5:06! Go Sarah!," "5:56 pm -Oops, she just pooped....," "6:32 pm- Um, ok...Sarah just yelled at me for talking to her." Ok, so not every grandma, friend, other relative is that bad. In fact, I have been a part of a few (very few) births were family members were very supportive and helpful. That is not the norm, though. 

Birth is a very sacred event. It needs to be bathed in love, support, encouragement, and have minimal people. Laboring mamas appreciate low-lighting and a quiet, soft space.  You may have heard this analogy before, but would you want a lot of people staring at you while you tried to go to the bathroom? No, you need quiet and  privacy. Women that initially have a room full of people during birth, often end up regretting it. They often feel like an animal at the zoo, being watched carefully, everyone anticipating each move. If a woman is faced with that situation and not sure what to do, have your doula or nurse excuse your well-meaning family to the waiting room. I had a nurse tell a couple, "Listen honey, I don't have to sit with them at the table during Thanksgiving. I don't mind being the 'heavy!' "

So to prevent the family drama mayhem, be sure and set boundaries BEFORE go into labor. Don't feel like sending a pointed email to one specific person ( i.e. your lovely mom-in-law) ? It's ok, send out a general email explaining your wishes and boundaries. If you send it out at the very end of your pregnancy, it also creates less time for drama. 

Keep them out of the room and keep them out of your ear, too! Nothing is more frustrating than hearing a lovely text notification in the middle of a contraction!  

My advice is to let all of your well-wishers know beforehand that YOU will be contacting them when YOU are ready. Also, kindly ask them to NOT text or call during the birth , but instead, remind them that your partner will reach out to them when he/she gets an opportunity. Your family should respect your boundaries. They will have plenty of time to love on you and your new baby.  

 Remember, it is YOUR day! 

Dallas Birth Doulas

Poop and Olive Oil
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Ahhhh....the baby's first poop.As a new parent, you will become so obsessed with their poop- is it too much? Not enough? A newborn baby’s first bowel movements are called meconium. Meconium is a dark,stubborn, tar-like substance created in the baby’s digestive system in utero from ingesting amniotic fluid, epithelial cells, etc. In fact, the term meconium is derived from the term meconium-arion, meaning “opium-like”, because of its thick, dark appearance. Meconium is difficult to remove from newborn babies’ bottoms. Diaper wipes and warm soapy wash clothes just smear the substance around. Bottle line, it's a hot mess. Olive oil is, believe it or not, one of the best tricks for removing meconium, and it also leaves a protective barrier on the baby’s bottom, which makes future meconium clean up easier. In fact, some OBs and midwives recommend putting olive oil on the newborn’s bottom before any meconium appears to ease the first diaper change. Some hospitals recommend parents use Vaseline, but it is a petroleum product and it may not be something you would want to put on your baby's skin. Olive oil, on the other hand, is great for baby’s skin and it makes meconium clean up a breeze. So, pack a small bottle of EVOO ( Rachel Ray would be so proud!) in your hospital bag and rub a little oil on your baby's bottom in between changes. You can also use organic coconut oil! So next time you attend a baby shower, give the gift of olive or coconut oil! Hey, why not?

  Dallas Birth Doulas Dallasbirthdoulas.com

Keeping Sane in Early Labor

 So I get this question all the time, "what do we do during the early phase of labor? Because I will go insane if it lasts too long!"

Many times, whenever labor begins, especially with first time parents, we feel the need/urge/desire to time every contractions, contact our family members, start bouncing on our birth ball, stay up all night, and do everything we can to get the baby out QUICKLY. Three words.....DON'T.DO.IT.

When I was in high school, I was on the track team and I remember, in particular, a guy named Oliver. He was a football star, had dreamy green eyes and muscles for days. Because he was a star athlete, Oliver thought that he could excel in ANY sport. He tried out for the track team and made it. Oliver's was placed in the 1600 meter and he thought he knew exactly how to pace himself for it. Even though his coach advised him against it, he would sprint, as fast as he could, right off the block, passing everyone on the first lap. On the second lap, you would see him lose steam and by the time the fourth and final lap came around, he was limping to make it to the finish line. That happened in three consecutive track meets. Oliver never made it to the fourth one.

The scenario often times plays in my head whenever I have a mom trying to "speed things up" or not resting, eating/hydrating, or doing labor "self-care." Believe me, I KNOW it's hard not to get all excited ,or post an announcement on every social media site and stay up all night in anticipation. I've been there. I was 23 when I went into labor with my first born and you better believe I was up all night timing contractions. Little did I know....

You've heard the old adage "Birth is a marathon" and, indeed, it is. It takes time. Lots of it. And patience. And rest. And letting go of expectations. 

So what are some things that an excited, adrenaline- fused mom to do in early labor? I'm glad you asked!

~REST~

If you start feeling contractions at night, REST, REST, REST as much as you can. Your body is used to resting at night, so it is imperative to rest and sleep through as much as you can. Can't sleep? Then take a bath or shower. The key is to "Rest Smart." You will probably not get the best night's sleep, so get into a comfortable resting position and sleep in between your contractions.  

~DO LIFE~

Continue doing life during the day. Please do not sit on your couch all day long and hit the "START" button every time you have a contraction. Once active labor begins, you will need to pay closer attention, but during the early phase, resist the urge to hyper focus. 

Activities you can do to pass the time:

-go for a walk

-go to the park

-take naps

-get your nails done

-get an adjustment at your chiropractor

- have your partner give you a massage 

-cuddle 

-rest some more

-watch a movie

-meditate/pray/breath

-bake some lactation cookies

-wash the baby's clothes

-pick up the house

-take care of any last minute needs of older children

-do some yoga poses

-pack your bag

~EAT AND HYDRATE~

Typically, a laboring mom does not have a huge appetite. It is so important for your body to have fuel throughout your labor. IT IS A MUST. Eat several small meals instead of 3 big meals and make sure to hydrate. Your body needs the reserve.

~PROTECT YOUR SPACE~

As a doula, I cannot stress this enough. Your birth is very sacred and it is a special bonding time for you and your partner. Be careful who you invite it. We hear all the time from second-time parents, " this time we don't want ANYONE in the labor room." In fact, we have many parents who say in subsequent births," we will tell our parents and friends AFTER he/she gets here." Many have lived the scenario of grandma, grandpa, random cousin, and snoring uncle in the labor room. It is a hot mess. As labor progresses, mom will want less distraction, noise, and stimuli. It is hard for labor to continue smoothly with everyone staring a mom like a monkey in a zoo. Trust me, if you have the whole crew, or even a well-meaning grandma or two, it can often times be distracting and have less-than-desirable effects. The best scenario is you, your partner, and your birth team. 

~STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA~

I have been in situations where a family member of the new family posted on their page or feed the "big news" BEFORE the new family had the chance to do so themselves. Focus on one another and your new babe, not on 4 or 500 of your "best friends" waiting on the latest update. Nothing can be more annoying than the constant "bing!" notifications. Everyone will find out soon enough, no reason to rush.

~GIVE IN~

This is your birth, your baby's big day. Your body will be working to bring your little one earth side. This is the big day that you have been waiting for. Give in. Let it happen. Work with your body, not against it. Breathe. Relax. Work. Love. Enjoy. Rest. Revel. 

 
 

Becky Hines, CD(CBI),HCHD,RYT,PE