Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Placenta Postpartum

For my second baby (now 2 months old), I tried something new.  Placenta encapsulation!  Sound weird or wonderful?  If you do not know what placenta encapsulation is, please check out the link below.  Basically, you hire someone to collect your placenta after the birth of your baby and they dehydrate and encapsulate the placenta for your consumption during postpartum.  The placenta helps with recovery, including mood and energy.  I was very skeptical.  My only complaint after trying it was that I wish I had more.  I only have a few left!  They gave me a jolt of energy, like having caffeine, but without any negative side effects.  I have not read any scientific studies or analysis about them so I was wondering what other people thought.  Care to share?

Have you tried placenta encapsulation?  If so, what do you think?  If not, then why?

I used Carolina Placenta Lady for my placenta encapsulation. She was great!

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Our Birth Story

I took off from posting for a few (almost 4) weeks to have our second baby.  Our little boy, Noah, was born the day after Thanksgiving (11.28.14).  My water broke just as the oven beeped for the turkey (around 4pm).  I was laying on our bed trying to wake up my toddler from his nap.  I had to roll off the bed and onto our dogs’ bed laying on the floor since I was gushing so much.  It was a little alarming.  I called the midwife and was informed that labor might not start for several hours.  So I relaxed and since I wasn’t feeling anything, we sat down for our Thanksgiving dinner.

By the end of dinner (6 or 7pm), I started feeling mild contractions.  The first few contractions felt more like cramps but they were coming at regular intervals (about 10 minutes apart).  Then the contractions grew stronger but the frequency become inconsistent and varied between 7 and almost 20 minutes.  I tried resting in bed but the contractions grew stronger and made it impossible to sit or lay down.  The best position for me during the contractions was on my hands and knees and I continued to use that position even during pushing and delivery.

The contractions became even stronger and longer in the late evening and by 10 or 11pm I decided to ask the doula to come to our house for assistance.  I later learned that my contractions were more painful because Noah’s arm was up by his head and therefore pushing on my spine.  During this time, my mother, dad and husband took turns trying to get my toddler (2 and 1/2 yrs old) to sleep.  He wasn’t having it – too much excitement.

Contractions increased normally until around 1 am.  At that time, my contractions were still about 5 minutes apart and we starting discussing going to the birth center.  What seemed like all of a sudden, I had a very strong urge to squeeze my husband’s hand and have him very close.  The next two contractions were extremely close together and very long and strong.  We then RUSHED to the car and off to the birth center.  I felt Noah coming during the 30 minute drive to the birth center but resisted the urge to push.  My husband was very calm.  He managed to drive and hold me off as I grabbed his hands and shirt.  The noises coming out of me were primal.  I actually proud of how my body took over.  Our doula followed behind in her car and later admitted she thought we wouldn’t make it!

I’m not sure how I got out of the car but as soon as I walked into the birth center I collapsed in relief (more screaming and gushing).  I was helped to the bathroom and then into a huge tub.  Noah was born before the water filled the tub, which was helpful for the midwife since as I mentioned Noah’s hand was near his head.  The cord also needed unwrapping.  Sitting back in to the tub with Noah on my chest was the best feeling.  I had climbed the mountain and could relax and enjoy the view.  He latched on within 10 minutes (I think it took me about 2 days to figure out latching with our first baby).

I love that the midwives let me sit in the tub for as long as I wanted.  Then they helped me walk a few feet to a nice snuggly, warm bed and wrapped me in towels as we continued nursing.  My parents brought our toddler over shortly afterward and everyone had fun sharing the birth story.  I had delivered within 11 minutes of arriving at the birth center!  After snacking and laughing on the big bed (my toddler ate the most), we all headed back home to sleep.  It was about 3 or 4am.  We only stayed at the birth center about 3 hours!  Snug in our bed at home, Noah and I dozed and nursed for the next few days.  He is a nursing champ (thank you La Leche).  It was an amazing birth and we had a very amazing birth team.  Welcome to our family Noah!

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Made it to 40 Weeks…Now what?

I’m now 40 weeks and a few days along in my pregnancy.  As a doula and having already had one baby, I know my due date is a “guess date” at best.  Every baby is different, right?  BUT there is something about that magical date that changes everyone’s attitude (including mine).  All of sudden you are “late”.  However, about half of all moms (mainly first time moms) will delivery AFTER their due date.  So you should feel “normal” right?  Maybe not.  You may need to work even harder to have a relaxed and positive attitude.

What are some ways to make this time during pregnancy relaxing and fun?     

– Eliminate using words such as “waiting”, “wondering”, or “worrying”

– Repeat positive affirmation – post stickie notes around the house that say things like “Baby is safe and will come at the right time!” or “I love being pregnant!”

– How many date nights can you fit in before baby arrives?  Make it game!

– Get a massage – try a special pregnancy massage

– Walk and stretch – it may be the last thought on your mind but keep moving

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS?  What did you do or do you recommend to moms in those last few days of pregnancy?    




Ina May Gaskin’s TED Talk: Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S. Culture

Ina May Gaskin MA, CPM, PhD (Hon) recently presented at a TEDx in Sacramento, California on Reducing Fear of Birth in U.S. Culture.  She has practiced midwifery for over 40 years.  She essentially brought midwifery back to the United States in the 1960’s after it had nearly been eradicated.  She started the Farm Midwifery Center, where women still flock to have their babies.  As you can hear during her talk, The Farm Midwifery Center has record low rates of intervention, morbidity and mortality and has handled breeches, twins and mothers of more than five babies.  Ina May was awarded honorary doctorates from Thames Valley University, London, England and Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia.  In December of 2011, she received the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize.  In addition, Ina May has written several books (see below).

Spiritual midwifery

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Natural Baby Doulas

I would like to introduce you to some wonderful doulas supporting the Triad area in North Carolina  They have a wonderful website with excellent birth resources.  In addition to doula services, they also provide Bradley Method instruction.  They also rent Birth Pools for water births!  How cool!  These doulas, Sarah, Christina, and Carrie, are partners and support each other in their practice.  If you are thinking about using a doula or wonder about the benefits of hiring a doula, I think their page on “Why Hire a Doula?” provides great explanation!  Every woman deserves a doula!  I did not have a doula during my baby’s birth and that is about the only thing I would do differently next time around.  I was so inspired by my natural birth that I started learning more about birth and then trained to work as a professional doula.  I had the same instructor and training through toLabor as these women.  The toLabor website also has great resources about birth options and the benefits of a doula.  If you live in a different area of the country, there is likely a toLabor doula near you.  You can find the toLabor doula list on their webpage.  Need a baby shower gift?  Give her a doula!  




ToLabor Doula Workshop

I completed my toLabor doula training last weekend!  26 hours of intense training packed into two and a half days.  I spent the weekend with an incredible instructor and an awesome group of women.  For those who don’t know what a “doula” is, the best descriptions I heard during the weekend workshop were educator of birth options, labor assistant, birth activist, advocate for midwifery model of care, and choreographer.  The last one means that doulas help mom and partner do the “dance steps” of labor.  A doula comes to your home to assist with labor before you go to the hospital or birth center and a doula stays with you throughout labor.  They also help the family transition back home.  A doula provides several pre-natal visits focused on education about labor and birth.  Throughout pregnancy and the post-partum transition period, the doula is a resource of information about labor, birth and breastfeeding.

I was trained with an organization called ToLabor, “The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options and Resources.”  Their moto is: “Empowering Families, Honoring Birth, Changing Lives.”  You can read more about their teaching philosophy at the toLabor website.  When asked why I was attending the weekend workshop, I responded that it was the next logical step after having a natural childbirth experience.  Ounce you learn about all the birth options available and the possibilities for women to have the birth experience they deserve you just can’t keep quiet.  Becoming a doula is become a voice for change.  Doulas are the support, the inspiration, and the resource bringing families home.  The workshop I attended was only the beginning.  The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more out there to learn.  I feel very privileged to be part of the community of professional doulas but it really applies to everyone.  Every family and every baby deserves the chance for their birth experience to be about celebration, transformation, and healing.  Now that I’ve made this a part of my life I will be posting information from my research and about the inspiration from serving women and families in my community.  I look forward to hearing about your birth experiences!