Posted by doularama | Filed under Uncategorized
On the bus today, on my way to my childbirth education class, I started to read Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway. I read the introduction, not quite three pages long, and reviewed the accompanying map. In a couple of minutes my head was filled with history and vibrant scenes of joy and sadness. My eyes were filled with tears. For me, lacrimal expression is a fine way to judge a book. Already, I love this one.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started reading a novel only five hundred, eighty-six dense pages long. My daughter will be five in November and I am on page twenty-seven.
My husband is a writer and yet reading is something I don’t make time to do. In my defense, I have read since I last picked up that novel, several dozen books on childbirth, breastfeeding, health, herbs, etc.. They don’t really count, though, right?
Now you might think this book doesn’t count either. After all, the full title is Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali, but please just let me ease back into educated society slowly. I may not be considered well-read until my children are well into their college years, but I need to start somewhere.
Anyway, although I only have time to read while I’m on my way to clients’ houses (read more about time HERE) , I do plan to finish reading this book and give you a review. Please send literacy vibes my way!
Posted by doularama | Filed under Recommendations
Following is some concise information from the site Birthing Naturally. I give this to my students and to prospective clients before I am even hired.
Sources of Unnecessary Pain in Childbirth
Tension If you are skeptical of this, try it while you labor. During one contraction, do whatever you want, tensing your muscles. Then, during the next contraction actively relax your muscles. You will feel a difference.
Paying Attention Too Soon Many women become obsessed with timing contractions from the very first contraction. For some, there is a fear that if you do not pay attention, you may miss something. Some of the signs of progress in labor can be subtle, but you will not miss the major signs. When contractions begin, ignore them and go about your day for as long as you can. When the contractions demand more attention, give them only as much as they demand. Contractions will demand your full attention by the time you are in good active labor, which will require a lot of energy. Don’t waste your energy by paying attention too early.
Lack of Sleep A tired body is less able to deal with the stress of labor, causing everything to “feel” more even though your body is not doing more work. Be sure to get plenty of rest in the days leading up to your labor. When contractions begin, don’t be afraid to take a nap. I promise you will NOT sleep through the birth of your baby. If you have the luxury of a slow starting labor, use the early mild contractions to get some sleep.
Thirst If you do not take sips of water or juice between your contractions, you stand a good chance of becoming dehydrated. When your body is dehydrated, your muscle output is decreased by 30%. That means that your uterus will contract just as hard, but it will do 30% less work. Dehydration also heightens feelings of exhaustion and can elevate your temperature. If your temperature goes up, your medical team, intent on ensuring your baby is healthy, will assume this “fever” is caused by an infection and you may begin to receive antibiotics via injection or IV (which is a pain in and of itself).
Hunger Your body uses food as its energy source. If you are not eating during labor, you are depriving your body of energy it needs to labor. Many hospitals now allow you to eat during labor. If your birthplace does not allow eating, understand that most women lose their desire to eat during active labor, so simply stay home until your desire to eat is gone.
Needing to Urinate There will be a lot of activity going on in your pelvic region. During active labor you may not be able to distinguish the need to urinate from the other pressures you feel. Your uterus will put pressure on your bladder as contracts, so the best way to prevent pain from an over-full bladder is to urinate frequently (at least every two hours).
Performance Anxiety Also known as going to the hospital too soon. Some women believe that if they can just get to the hospital, everything will happen faster. That is not true. In fact, the move to the hospital can actually be stressful enough to temporarily slow down or stop your contractions. Waiting until you are in good active labor can help prevent this. Being in the hospital too early makes the labor seem slower than if you had stayed at home and busied yourself with your life. Having nurses and doctors checking on you can make the “seeming slow” labor seem even slower, causing the mom to feel that she has to perform better, labor must get moving. This anxiety can be enough to send some women into the fear/tension/pain cycle.
Lying on your Back When you are on your back, the contracting uterus has to move “up” against gravity, which is much more work than simply moving forward. Also, you can constrict the blood flow to the heart, causing you to be light-headed. Staying off you back can help in preventing labor pain.
DONA International is the Associate Producer for the important film, Reducing Infant Mortality, Improving the Health of Babies. DONA International Founder, Phyllis Klaus, is featured as an expert along with many other wise and caring professionals, including Sarah Buckley and Marsden Wagner.
The film can be seen and downloaded for FREE! It is available on the web site at www.reducinginfantmortality.com.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Parenting
So often I hear people say that there just aren’t enough hours in a day. I can understand the complaint. By the time you go to bed, there are always so many things that didn’t get done. There are leftover projects, in my case some are more than a decade old, and of course the little tasks you just didn’t get to. Today I was going to vaccuum and mop, clean the bathroom, go to the post office, buy a bottle of wine and wrap it in a gift, take my children to the playground, cook, fold and put away some laundry and change my toenail polish. Instead, by 6:30 in the morning, I was cleaning up more blood than should have resulted from a little bump to my daughter’s nose while trying to quiet the wails of the emotionally injured party and my son, the terrified accidental injurer. I could tell by then that we were going to have a busy day (as if my mental to-do list wouldn’t have already given me that idea).
I managed to clean the blood off of the floor and out of my daughter’s pajamas and proceeded to tackle my list. By the end of the day, I had gone to the post office and the liquor store, taken the children to the playground and given them a long bubble bath, folded and put away the laundry, assembled, but not wrapped the gift, made green smoothies and frozen some into pops, heated up leftovers and watched a movie (Doubt- great characters and Meryl Streep is fabulous!) and typed in only the title of this post as “today” is actually yesterday because I was too exhausted to stay up and write it.
By the time I got to the playground, having walked uphill while pushing a loaded stroller in thick NYC August HEAT, I was ready to have the day end. While most people complain that they don’t have enough hours in a day, I think that there are just too many!
I have gotten many an awed and respectful look when I tell people that my children are asleep by 7 o’clock. Frankly, they’ve done so much by then, I wouldn’t be able to keep them up if I wanted to. Then they say something like, “Then you have all that time to yourself.” Sure. That’s when I should work on my art or writing, organize papers, even finish some household chores, ooh have a bubble bath, but by 7:01, I’m ready to go to sleep myself. I usually stay up because I don’t want my husband to watch a movie without me. Often, however, we watch half a movie because he finds me with my eyes closed at some point.
I can’t even imagine what it would be like without my wonderful husband. He does so much for me and still, things don’t get done and everyone is pooped before the end of the day. Time usually moves too quickly for us all, leaving us with more to do tomorrow, but tomorrow will bring more time and, while it won’t be enough either, to me it just seems like too much!
Really, it’s just that I’m a morning person. I would prefer to work for four hours then sleep for six and start again. That way, I’d always be working in the morning. I would be very productive and not at all tired. Alas, my wish list leaves me always wanting.
I’ve never used a rebozo at a birth because, up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t trained and didn’t really know what to do with one. Several months ago, I wondered if one of those five-dollar “pashmina” shawls that are being peddled by any one of the hundreds of street and small store salesmen in my fine city would do as a rebozo until I figured out what to do with a real one and bought it. I threw one in my doula bag, mostly in case someone was cold during a birth, but also in case I got up the courage to use it. I never took it out, as births are usually warmer than cold and my rebozo experimentation never poked it’s head at those times. Recently, when placing an order through the DONA Boutique, I saw that they are selling rebozos for only $10. That is a bargain! To my surprise they had one in black. My doula motif is mostly black and white (and oh, how it isn’t), so that’s the one I had to have. I laughed when my package arrived and I saw that my rebozo looked like it had been purchased by the Nigerian guy on Broadway and 74th Street, same package and all. It doesn’t matter that it cost me twice as much. At least I know that the shawl I already have in my bag will indeed suffice as a rebozo. I’m sure DONA can put the profits to good use too.
The rebozo is a traditional Mexican garment, like a long shawl or Spanish mantilla. In addition to its use as a shawl, it is multifunctional, being used during pregnancy, labor and as a baby or toddler carrier. During pregnancy, it is used to counteract back pain, during labor to help the mother into various positions, for relaxation and to adjust the position of the baby.
When used by a doula, the rebozo is like an extension of the arms, allowing one to help support the woman’s weight and helping to ensure that she is in a good position. During the pushing stage of labor, it can be used like a tug-of-war rope to help the mother focus her pushing and widen the pelvic outlet. The rebozo can be used by a midwife to assist in repositioning a posterior or breech baby.
The most basic technique one can practice with a rebozo is used to relax the soft tissues of the abdomen and the broad uterine ligaments. It is called jiggling or sifting and is pretty much what these names imply. This method can also be used during pregnancy to help the baby get into the optimal position for birth.
For photos and videos on these techniques and more, visit Spinning Babies and Birthing Essentials.
For books and other related materials, check out The Rebozo Way Project.
For more uses, view Midwifery Today’s Transcription of the Rebozo Workshop Given by Dona Irene Sotelo and Naoli Vianver.
So, go out and get a cheap pashmina shawl. Dress it up, dress it down and carry your groceries home from the farmer’s market in it. Then, when you’re pregnant, it will help you relax and get your baby into the right position for birth. When the time comes, it will be right there to help you in labor and even support you in pushing your baby out. How great that you can then use it to carry that baby. On second thought, maybe you don’t want to get such a cheap one.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Birth Stories
Charlotte was in my prenatal class at one of the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital clinics. Charlotte is not her real name. She is fifteen. Being her doula was not the plan for me, but it did end up being a privilege.
In the beginning of our prenatal classes, I ask the women to introduce themselves and to share how they are feeling about their pregnancies and/or labors & deliveries. Charlotte would reluctantly say that she didn’t really care or otherwise convey her indifference.
One day, she arrived very early for class. We got the chance to talk and Charlotte told me that she was unhappy. She said she was being criticized for being pregnant and that she had just moved to a new foster home. By the end of that conversation, Charlotte decided to get a doula (a free doula I would match her with,) and I saw her smile for the first time.
A couple of doulas had agreed to meet her and Charlotte never kept her appointments with them or returned their calls. One woman travelled for two hours to find that Charlotte was out, no one knew where. It was getting to be a challenge getting her the help I knew she needed. A few weeks before she was due, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to get her a doula. At that point, I told her doctor to call me when she went into labor. I wasn’t free to commit to being on call, but I was feeling responsible for this young lady.
On Friday when Charlotte called I recognized her voice immediately. She told me that she was in labor and that she had already been to the hospital a few hours earlier. They had found her cervix to be half a centimeter dilated and had sent her home to walk. Now, the most important lesson in the first class of my prenatal series is to stay home as long as possible. I guess Charlotte had to learn that one the hard way.
I spoke to her foster mother who asked me to get there as soon as possible. I arrived shortly after to find Charlotte talking and laughing through seemingly mild contractions that were sporadic. Within forty minutes of my arrival, Charlotte became much more relaxed and focused. Suddenly her contractions were coming every three minutes. She was willing to go out for a walk with me. Perhaps because she remembered the benefits of walking as learned in my class, or maybe it was because she knew that she had spent much of the day laboring in an unsupportive environment, and this was her chance to change scenery.
Either way, out we went to walk the streets of Harlem at a time of night when I would normally be sleeping. Charlotte felt very free out there to moan and move instinctually. She was doing an amazing job. Hours earlier she had been begging for a cesarean and now she couldn’t deny the power that enabled her to cope so well. I was so proud of her.
Eventually, we all agreed that it was time to go to the hospital. Frankly, by the time we got on the road, I thought we might not make it there before the baby was born, but he did wait about half an hour and that was enough. Charlotte pushed through half a dozen contractions before we were able to meet her son. Once she saw him, she started to smile and I don’t think I noticed a time when she wasn’t smiling after that. It was truly glorious for me to witness the transformation in Charlotte. She had done such a marvelous job and I told her just that. To that she replied that I was the one who had done it, that it wouldn’t have been possible without me. Before I left her that morning, I made sure she understood that all I had done was shown her what was possible, that she had done the job all herself.
And what an amazing job it was!
I’ve just spent a few minutes (because I couldn’t stand any more) watching videos of people saying things like it’s unnatural for six-year-old girls to breastfeed dolls. I don’t see how much more natural it is for them to bottle-feed dolls. Both of my children, and one is a boy, used to breastfeed their dolls. It was completely natural to them because they didn’t even know what a bottle was. I don’t buy dolls, but it’s nice to know that there will be an alternative to pacifiers and bottles on the shelves. Maybe in time for the holidays? Scandalous! I don’t think the shirt is necessary and they should work on the English translation, but it will be nice to have options. That’s a common doula sentiment. Regarding the question posed in the last line below, how sad that we live in a society in which this might be considered a gimmick to shock, and many may actually be shocked.
From today’s New York Times online- Motherlode
The Doll That Breast-Feeds by Lisa Belkin
The doll aisle of your local toy store will have a new offering soon — a baby doll that breastfeeds. Called Bebe Gloton (in Spain, where it is manufactured and sold, that translates to Baby Glutton) it is expected to be marketed in the U.S. next year.
There are already dolls that allow children to care for their babies the way Mommy and Daddy do — diapering them when they pee, giving them a bottle when they are hungry, wiping them when they burp.
But this latest is like nothing else out there. The toy comes with the doll and also a brightly colored halter-top with two strategically placed flowers where nipples would be. There is a sensor in the doll and the flower such that bringing the mouth of the doll into position causes the baby to make suckling motions and sounds.
Videos of the doll in use have gone viral in recent days, with parents and experts discussing among themselves whether this is a natural and appropriate way to teach children about something natural and appropriate, or whether it is a step too far.
Some are even arguing with themselves. Dr. Ronald Cohen, medical director for the Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose as well as director of the intermediate intensive care nursery at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University, told ABC News, “My take is that anything which reminds young girls that their bodies are something other, and more, than sex objects, is a very good thing.” In the next sentence he added: “On the other hand, encouraging young girls to want to have babies at a very young age may not be so great.”
In response, the director of sales and marketing for Berjuan, which manufactures the doll, told abcnews.com: “Breast-feeding is completely natural; it is not something that we have invented ourselves, it is something that is done all around the world. There are studies that discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, and there are associations around the world that are … supporting this.”
True. But there are many other things that are natural for adults that children don’t necessarily need to be mimicking at five, no?
Will you be buying the doll for you child? Is this a way to bring them closer to Mom while she’s nursing, or just another gimmick designed to shock — and sell?
Posted by doularama | Filed under Recommendations
Posted by doularama | Filed under Uncategorized