30 Days of Gratitude, Day 7: Support

November 7th, 2015

thankful 2015 day 7One thing that all of us have been able to join together in gratitude for is the support inherent in Preparing for Birth. Desirre has built not only a strong community in the Pikes Peak Region, but has been a mentor and steady support for anyone who decides to join Team Preparing for Birth. When we sign an agreement with Desirre, we can feel confident that we can reach out and gain the support we need, whether it’s discussing a sticky situation regarding a client or student, or help in organizing our business finances.

Following her example, I have tried to step into the mentor’s shoes to ease Desirre’s workload, and I find myself delighting in this role. It’s challenging and new for me, because I never thought I would be in a place in which I became the mentor, rather than the mentoree. Even in this role, I’m still able to reach out and get the support I need in order to succeed at mentoring others.

Our Team PFB doula puts it this way:

“So grateful to be a part of Prep for birth. I have been so blessed to work with Desirre and Tiffany who believe in me more than I believe in myself at times. I have learned so much from them and am thankful everyday for their mentorship.” -Tanya Park, Labor Doula & Midwife Assistant

Early this year, Sabrina Stewart joined our team as a breastfeeding educator and pregnancy fitness educator. This area has been the most challenging for all of us, but we have all learned so much together as we seek to reach women in every area of need in their perinatal year. We are very proud of Sabrina’s milestones, and the work she is learning to do as she walks out the rigorous educational path she has chosen for herself. She’s beginning to find herself strong, because of support. She expressed it this way:

“I am grateful that we have the group at Prep for Birth where we can ask for help or talk about births, breastfeeding, pregnancy, and education for the moms we serve without rudeness. The ladies here lift up, support, and encourage each other to be successful.” -Sabrina Stewart, Pregnancy Fitness & Breastfeeding Educator, and Certified Lactation Counselor

We none of us could do this work without solid support. In Team Preparing for Birth, it’s one thing we can all count on. And for this, we are each thankful.

What kind of support have you received this year?

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Student Midwife, Childbirth Educator



30 Days of Gratitude, Day 6: A Warm Bed

November 6th, 2015

thankful 2015 day 6The days may have been warm, but the nights are getting pretty darn chilly in these parts, so we are all finding ourselves thankful for our warm beds. There is nothing more satisfying to on-call birth professionals than falling into our own warm bed after an all-nighter. Except, maybe, that first cup of coffee upon awakening. I think it might be a tie.

“It includes lots of my favorite things: my pillow, quilts, sleeping, and (usually) solitude,” quothe Erin, one of our midwife assistants and childbirth educators.

I think it’s safe to say that it goes for all of us.

Beds are incredible places, full of dreams, cuddles, and the cool side of the pillow. Our beds are our havens. Some of us have a little coffee station close by, so as to be able to drink that first cuppa without leaving the cozy sanctuary.

Some have beds full to the brim with children, those natural hot water bottles of cuteness.

Some have beds that move, making reading in bed more luxurious, and lower back pain less noticeable.

Many have bedside tables stacked with books, and have a hard time choosing which ones we’ll be reading from evening to evening.

Some have our beds gloriously to ourselves, and it has become our haven when we are overstimulated and touched out from a day caring for other humans–whether they be our own tiny humans, or our clients is immaterial.

Beds, beds, glorious beds on a cold and biting autumn night, or a crisp day after a long birth. They are things of beauty, whether made or unmade, spartan or covered in fancy pillows, king size or queen or full or twin. They are our beds, and we thank God for them on this lovely day in November.

What are you thankful for today?

Warmly (possibly from my bed),
Tiffany Miller
Student Midwife, Childbirth Educator



30 Days of Gratitude, Days 4 & 5: Beautiful Weather & Colors of Fall

November 5th, 2015

thankful 2015 day 4Several of us in the Preparing for Birth office space are grateful for the gorgeous Indian-summer sunshine we have experienced in the past week! The weather has been truly delightful, with blue skies, incredible cloud formations, perfect temperatures, and just the right amount of crisp in the air to justify boots and hoodies.

The vivid yellows that characterize fall leaves in Colorado (thank you, high altitude and aspens) are an added source of light, and bathe us in sunny hues even on the days that bring some overcast skies.

Jennifer Green and Ramona Webb have both expressed their gratitude for the sunny weather we’ve had, and the colorful leaves presiding in radiant glory over our parks and lawns and gardens all across the city. Their thankfulness has reminded each one of us that, no matter the season, there is always beauty to be had.

Our steps have been lighter, our hearts more ready to receive the message of surrender that autumn brings us.

11231161_10206638472333892_3252314865851918149_oWe all anticipate this winter to be especially cold, with a lot of heavy snowfall. Who knows, really? So, enjoying the dying days of autumn help all of us to slow down, breathe in the scent of earth and wind and leaves, and let go. Even Desirre, who detests the parting of summer, has been inspired to find hope in the falling leaves.

In our hearts, though we know that autumn is but a preparation for the death of frost and winter, we also know that Spring will surely come. That resurrection is the rule, not the exception on God’s green earth.

And that is truly something to be grateful for.

What do you like best about autumn? What are you thankful for today?

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife



30 Days of Gratitude, Day 3: Community

November 3rd, 2015

thankful 2015 day 2Today, Team Preparing for Birth is grateful for the community of birth professionals and birthing families here. We have a special dynamic in the Colorado Springs area, thanks to a few pioneers of community building here–Desirre Andrews among the most vocal supporters of a unified community for her entire career. She says:

We live in a unique region that has excellent in-person and online connecting points for pregnant and postpartum families. Midwifery care for home or hospital birth is readily available. There are all types of doulas, several educational options, and fantastic lactation support accessible locally.

I’m thrilled to have Preparing For Birth as part of this thriving community since January 2003.

Specifically, Desirre has cultivated a strong community in the Preparing for Birth office space. We share our space with three other midwives and their assistants, as well as childbirth/breastfeeding educators, and a doula. (I’ll save those for another post!)

The four midwives confer regularly, share the client load when needed, and back each other up regularly. This is one of the safest ways to offer home birth, for both our clients and the midwives. Desirre has worked hard to build a solid foundation, and it proved itself invaluable this year. It was a tough year for all the midwives in the office, but they have walked it with grace, unity, and a stalwart courage I have never seen the equal of.

I am proud and grateful to be a part of the community here, and I hope to contribute to its structure as I grow in my own career as a midwife.

It’s Day 3. What are you grateful for today? Share in the comments, and link to your own blog post, if you have one!

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife



30 Days of Gratitude, Day 2: Mentors.

November 2nd, 2015

thankful 2015 day 3Today, I want to share my gratitude for (and to) my mentor, Desirre Andrews, CPM, RM.

There is no single person who has contributed more to my growth and development, both professionally and personally, than she has in the past several years that I’ve known her. Truthfully, I don’t even quite remember how long I’ve known her, she has become such an integrated part of my life.

She is the big sister I never had. I cannot help but turn to her for advice on everything from Diva cups to marriage to grief to birth to business and even faith. She is always ready with answers that leave room for my own thought, my own application. I am free with her to pick and choose what advice makes sense and applies to my life, and which advice can be filed away for a rainy day, or passed on to someone to whom it will have more value.

Desirre is the best butt-kicking fairy a person can have, and she has more than earned her wings in my life! She is never one to just tell me what I want to hear. Instead, she calls my attention to nooks and crannies of thought that I might never have reached for, dusting off the dark corners of my common sense and intuition and helping me bring them to light.

I cannot talk about Desirre without mentioning how beautifully our brain squirrels work together. Whenever we need new marketing material, or need to brainstorm new formats for classes, we have the most fun with a whiteboard and a thesaurus. It’s really quite ridiculous. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

I cannot thank God enough for bringing her into my life, and I look forward to a lifetime of sisterhood and friendship with her.

Do you have a mentor? Whose influence in your life are you most thankful for this year? Share in the comments!

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife



30 Days of Gratitude, Day 1: Opportunity

November 1st, 2015

opportunity
It’s that time of year again. The time when we all start feeling the need to look on the bright side. The world, even while brilliantly hued in its golden and crimson glory, can seem a duller place as the days get shorter and the darkness closes in. Living things seek sleep, going brown and dormant, and the air regains its bite. At a time when we most need things to slow down, the pace of life grows to breakneck speed as we rush and tumble and scramble to make and fulfill our holiday plans. Our lives are filled to brim with commitments at which we give and give and give, and we begin to run on fumes.

One blessing of social media is this new tradition of sharing one thing we are thankful for everyday in November. It’s so easy to type out a quick Tweet, a short blog post, or a Facebook status outlining something we can be grateful for. We all have something, and it bolsters our spirits to see everyone diving in and appreciating life. I really do believe it can make a difference for many of us, to make sure that we zero in on the beauty and joy of this life, rather than the busyness and challenge.

It’s no different for us at Preparing for Birth, or for the other midwives and assistants who share our office space. We, all of us, need this time to recharge, to refocus, and to remind ourselves of what we are grateful for. I asked everyone in Team Preparing for Birth, as well as our awesome office-mates, to share with me what they are grateful for, and I plan to share that with you here all month long.

For today, Day One/Thirty, Tiffany Jorgensen shares her first thought of gratitude. Tiffany finds herself grateful for Opportunity today. Specifically…

The opportunity to be a midwife & work with the women I love in the setting I love! Though it’s not perfect everyday, having this opportunity is fabulous! ~Tiffany Jorgensen, CNM

I find myself in hearty agreement with her. I never expected to be called to this journey, yet here I am. I think I speak for all of us in the office when I say we feel humbled, honored, and amazed that we get to join with women and their families to welcome the newest human beings with kindness, respect, dignity, and skill.

It is an opportunity none of us can turn down, nor would we want to.

What an unadulterated blessing it is to become a midwife. To be “with woman.”

To past and current clients: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to care for you, your baby, and your family!
What are you grateful for today? Share your own gratitude blog post, or leave us a comment telling us what you are thankful for today!

Stay warm!
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator, Student Midwife



Fall Childbirth Class Schedule

August 5th, 2015

Fall Childbirth Class in Colorado Springs
Thanks so much for your patience as I took a break from blogging while I was away at the CAPPA conference in Tucson, then hit the ground running with several births nearly as soon as I landed back in the Springs! That said, we are gearing up for a busy season.

Our fall childbirth classes are on the calendar, which you can check out HERE.

What I want to highlight are the names of our Saturday workshops. Since we began offering them in the spring, I have gotten a lot of helpful, specific feedback from Saturday students, and am excited to offer our new “Tool Kit” Saturday schedule!

It’s shorter. It’s sweeter. It’s more relevant than ever.

Plus, we have way more fun than is probably good for any of us!

Here’s the nutshell version of each new Tool Kit class:

  • Early Pregnancy Tool Kit: Nutrition, fitness, specialty diets, what to expect in the 1st and 2nd trimesters, care providers, and birth locations.
  • The Natural Birth Tool Kit: Planning a natural or home birth? This is the class that will equip you to handle labor, birth, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Epidural Tool Kit: Planning to have an epidural? This is the class just for you! What you can expect, how it all works together, and that first “golden” hour.
  • The Newborn Care Tool Kit: More than just diapering, this class covers what you really need to know about your “4th Trimester.” Getting out of the house, parenting styles, babywearing, bonding, and more.
  • The Postpartum Tool Kit: This class covers topics rarely discussed. Relationships, family planning, emotional/mental health, and even basic logistics.
  • The Breastfeeding Tool Kit: Everything you need to know from nipples to normal feeding to nursing in public. Bonus: This class is for your partner too!

We also have some fabulous specialty “Tool Kit” classes:

  • The VBAC Tool Kit: This class is especially geared for those going for a vaginal birth after cesarean(s). The nuts and bolts of stacking the deck in your favor, no matter where you are choosing to give birth.
  • The Teen Tool Kit: This class is in the works, so stay tuned for the first scheduled appearance! It will be a two- or four-week Tool Kit just for teen moms and their support partner(s). We’ll cover the basics of coping with labor, breastfeeding, and sex ed.

Also – we are so excited to be planning the first ever Preparing for Birth Trunk-or-Treat on Halloween this year! Watch for details as we let our nerd selves loose in a Comic-con style costume party! Sherlock, Doctor Who, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Stark Trek, Star Wars, and more! Bring the kids, get your blooming belly painted, and get your geek on with us!

Thanks for hanging around!

Warmly,
Desirre & Tiffany



Drink More Water: Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated in Pregnancy.

July 6th, 2015

Click to see more posts on healthy pregancy.

Click to see more posts on healthy pregancy.

“Drink more water.”

It seems to be the pregnancy panacea. Having a lot of Braxton-Hicks? Drink more water.

Feeling tired? Drink more water.

Having headaches? Drink more water.

Constipated? Drink more water.

How many of us feel like we are paying our care provider to tell us to stay hydrated? In Colorado it’s doubly tough, because of the arid climate and extreme temperature changes. It feels like we have to drink twice as much as those in other areas of the country to maintain any decent level of hydration, even when we are not pregnant.

Of course, the best way to stay hydrated is to drink water. So, since we should drink more water, we don’t want to drink water. We begin to crave soda, sweet tea, and chocolate milk instead. This is because we are drawn to that which we should not have, by our very nature. Silly humans!

Still, we do get bored drinking plain water. Especially when we think our choices are between crushed or cubed iced. Hydration doesn’t have to be boring though! There are myriad ways to stay hydrated, and here are just a few–some with recipes linked–to get you started:

  • Herbal teas, hot or iced. Most do not contain black or green tea, and are naturally caffeine-free, if that is a concern for you. They also come in a plethora of flavors. The fruit flavors are especially delicious iced in the summertime.
  • Infused water. This is the “in” thing right now. At least it’s in for a reason–it’s delicious! Explore Pinterest for infused-water recipe overload! Like these unique combinations, or these that have an interesting twist.
  • Flavored sparkling water. This works better if you make your own. That way, you can avoid sugars, artificial sweeteners, and artificial dyes. Just mix up some sparkling water with a little bit of your favorite fruit or vegetable juice. Add ice, and enjoy!
  • Eating high-water fruits and vegetables. Think watermelon, cucumber, celery, and others. Of course, you can’t measure those in ounces, but every little bit helps!

“That’s great,” you might say. “But how am I supposed to get that enormous quantity of liquid into me in one day? The simplest way is to treat yourself like a toddler. Rewards. Positive consequences. Bribes. Whatever you want to call it. The simplest form of this is to make it your goal to get your water in by dinner time. Then, if you reach your goal, treat yourself. A square of chocolate, a scoop of ice cream, that movie you’ve been dying to watch, or any other treat that will help you stay on track.

Hydration is important in pregnancy, for so many reasons, but that’s another post for another day.

What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated in pregnancy? What are your least favorite?

Warmly,
Tiffany & Desirre.



Registration OPEN for Summer Childbirth Classes!

June 29th, 2015

Summer Class ScheduleSummertime is in full swing, and classes at Preparing for Birth are now available to fit your summer schedule! Come cool off in our air-conditioned classroom space while gaining tools, techniques, and knowledge you can apply to your own pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding decisions.

Did you know that every student who registers receives a free gift? Every student receives a binder or folder with all the relevant class information, with room for notes, as well as additional reading and resources. Also, you will receive a free tumbler with a lid and straw, which you can fill with our clean, cool water to stay hydrated in these hot summer days!

Tuesday Evening Classes (6pm-9pm – $150 each, $285 for both)

  • 7/7/15 – 7/2815 Essentials for Childbirth Series
  • 8/4/15 – 8/25/15 Essentials for Postpartum Series

Saturday Workshops (10am – 2pm, $60 each)

  • 7/11/15 Early Pregnancy Workshop
  • 7/18/15 Essentials for Childbirth Condensed Part 1
  • 7/25/15 Essentials for Childbirth Condensed Part 2
  • 8/1/15 Life With Baby
  • 8/8/15 Essentials for Postpartum Condensed
  • 8/15/15 Breastfeedign Basics

NOTE: We are currently working on our online registration — there seems to be an issue with the payment step. So, if you would like to register for one of these classes, contact our educators at info@prepforbirth.com, or call 719-323-8414 and leave a message. We will get back to you by the following business day.



Passenger or Driver: The Importance of Informed Consent.

June 15th, 2015

PASSENGERYes, it almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss-ism – “Would you rather be a passenger or a driver?” Most of us would rather be the driver, I would venture.

In every other aspect of our lives, we exercise informed consent. We want to be involved, in control, and overseeing every detail. Take for example the research we do in buying our next car, cell phone, or home. Think about how much we invest in knowing our stuff, so we can avoid the sales pitch and just get exactly what we want because we desire to make a responsible informed decision.

Yet, when it comes to our health care–prenatal care in particular–we often content ourselves with being a passenger. We readily abdicate responsibility for our health by laying down our questions and concerns to take the word of a stranger. We leave our right to informed consent in the waiting room.

Why is that?

“But, they’ve gone to medical school for a million years! What do I know?” Of course, their expertise is invaluable. Their advice is often sound. While they have an intimate knowledge of the human body and its various pathologies, they do not have an intimate knowledge of your body in particular. Its quirks and signals that are all too familiar to you.

What many fail to realize is that, no matter which role we choose to play in our health care, the consequences of any and all decisions are carried by the patient. By you and me. For the physician, it is out of sight, out of mind, not because they are inhumane, but because they are human.

When it comes to prenatal care in particular, we see a unique dilemma, because the health care we receive has more to do with a physiologic process, rather than pathology or disease. This isn’t a broken femur, a tumor, or a chronic illness. It is not even a parasite, in spite of the tongue-in-cheek proclamations of many. It is something our bodies do naturally, without a lot of help. It is a process more in need of general oversight, rather than active management.

Pregnant or not, it is imperative to understand that the practitioner is hired for his or her advice. It is up to the patient to decide what to do with it. We have many options.

1. Follow the advice without question.
2. Question the advice, decide what to do.

  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are my alternatives?
  • How does this advice apply to my personal case?
  • What happens next if it doesn’t work?

3. Get a second opinion.
4. Discard the advice in favor of an alternative outside traditional medicine.
5. And more…

Medical decisions are rarely black and white.

The key is to remember who it is that carries the weight of the risks. It is ultimately the patient. There are many factors that play into the reasoning behind your doctor’s recommendations–not all of which are health-related. (That’s another post for another day, however.)

In the end, all you have to do is decide which set of risks you are most willing to live with. That is true informed consent.

Only the driver can decide that. Not the passenger.

In which seat will you choose to sit?

Thanks for reading.

Our best to you,
Desirre & Tiffany