Posts Tagged ‘postpartum’

Preparing For Birth – Question of the Day #2

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

How did you react to and what were your feelings, words or thoughts after your baby was born (within the first one or two hours)?

What might a cesarean get you? Often more than is bargained for.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

This is a  slight re-do from a popular blog post from early 2008. The information is vital and pertinent to the near 1.5 million women (based on previous CDC data) who will have a cesarean surgery this year.

Having a cesarean section will almost always  get you a baby.  Generally there is much more to it and anyone could bargain for or anticipate even in the best of recoveries.

Let me count the ways in no particular order:

  • A scar that in no way makes a bikini look better. Sometimes described as a shelf or a pouch.
  • The feeling of failure, guilt or less than deserving of motherhood.
  • The struggle of living with the huge dichotomy of loving your baby and perhaps hating the birth.
  • Higher probability of losing your ability to have more children either through physiologic secondary infertility, pregnancy complications, self-induced secondary infertility, hysterectomy or lack of sexual intimacy in relationship.
  • Higher probability of difficulty in breastfeeding.
  • Postpartum depression or PTSD, especially in an unwanted cesarean.
  • The feeling of failure as a wife or partner.
  • Having others discount your feelings and needs. After all you “just” had a baby. Really you just had MAJOR surgery, perhaps by coercion, a true medical indication, or completely from interventions and medications.
  • Living with the idea that you failed to pass induction, you failed to push out your baby, you failed because _________ (fill in the blank).
  • Obtaining your records to find what you were told and what was written are different. Could your trusted care provider have lied and cheated you?
  • Simply finding out that no one told you and you didn’t think it would happen to you. That being induced, getting the epidural, allowing AROM, not getting out of bed, etc. is why you had the cesarean. Is maternal ignorance and fear enough to quell what you feel and make it okay?
  • How can you trust yourself as a mother when you ignored your maternal intuition and kept saying yes, because the nurse, midwife or doctor told you to?
  • The way your marriage or partnership takes a turn toward hell or in the least a divided place.
  • Living with dread when a hungry hand sweeps over your scar. Being sexual can be extremely difficult physically and emotionally.
  • Having great fear of becoming pregnant again.
  • Having great fear of going for a VBAC and ending up in the OR at the end.
  • Not being understood and having others say to your face how lucky you are that you got to take the easy way out.
  • Pain.
  • Difficulty moving, walking, getting up, rolling over, coughing, laughing, tending to personal cleaning…. You get the idea. It is surgery.

Though not every woman will experience what is on the list, many do.  For all of these – there a stories layered and interwoven for too many women.

Every thirty seconds a woman is surgically having her baby delivered. Light her a candle. Offer her a meal. Let her speak. Listen to her intently. Don’t judge her. Send her to ICAN. http://www.ican-online.org/.

The Doula Seed

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Whenever I am asked why I am a doula, I need to stop and think for a moment.  My response every time is that as a doula I am filling the gap (along with others)  that is missing in today’s transient and autonomous society. When I respond, I am thinking of the days when girls and young women learned the ways of pregnancy to all things postpartum at the feet of their grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and other women in their community.  What a beautiful and age old scene that is.

Then that scene brings me to my own journey in becoming a doula.  Here is my “why” story.

Living without my own mother since I was 10 years old, I yearned for the mentoring and teaching that I am called to act upon in my life’s work.   Even without my mother, I was blessed to grow up around some other women who modeled breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and natural birth for me.

I also think of the journey that brought me to being a doula for real.

I had an epiphany one day almost 25 years ago when a close friend and I were waiting for the bus to get home from work.  She described her birth – left by her partner during pregnancy, her mother refused to come since she was unwed, and she was at an overtaxed county hospital where the staff was barely in the room to support her.  She was utterly alone and scared.  My heart broke for her and her daughter. No woman should ever be alone to fend for herself under those circumstances.  EVER.  In looking back, I can say at that moment my doula heart seed was planted though it would be years before the seed came to full bloom.

Fast forward a couple of years and I had a knack for mamas and babies.  I could help a baby latch and mom grow confidence in breastfeeding.  I knew how to calm a mama when she was tired and at her wit’s end. I understood the pregnant mama and could easily encourage.  I was invited to attend a birth of a family member I was very close to.  She delivered in a freestanding birth center.  It was an amazing natural birth with very little requirement of her except to labor and birth.  An atmosphere of encouragement, freedom, and calm. I will say it was one of the most comfortable places I have ever been in my skin supporting her.  I didn’t understand the job I had done with her, but it was good.  I think I was on a birth high for weeks.  The doula seed was beginning to ferment.

I attended birth along the way for friends and other family, assisted in breastfeeding and talking through general pregnancy issues. Mind you I hadn’t had my own children, was educated and worked in fields that had nothing to do with birth.  I loved the mamas and families that I knew.  When I started having my own family, it seems the mojo went into high gear.  I was asked questions all the time about many things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding related, no matter where the place or situation.  Even my husband began fielding calls when I wasn’t home from friends who needed baby help.  The doula seed was slowly sprouting.

When my dear youngest boy weaned himself, I began wondering OKAY now what am I going to do while maintaining being a SAHM? My sister-friend “J” found the CAPPA website and told me I needed to take the trainings and then I could really support the families in my community as an extension of what I was already doing.  Get the education she said.  I went to the site, spoke to my husband at length and took the leap.   Three trainings in 5 months.  Then I began to to seek out clients, put together curriculum, and found a local doula group to join.  The doula seed exploded into a blossom of great fragrance about me.

I ill not say the work is easy. Anything worth any value is not.  From the prenatal meeting, to the birth while looking into a mother’s eyes encouraging her down the path so many have walked before, to the early postpartum time in assisting with breastfeeding, attachment and family health, I am honored and blessed doubly.  Participating in the most intimate time possible, witnessing the transformation that so often occurs in a woman (and her huband/partner/family), and hearing that first sound of life when her baby “speaks” is beyond description.  A miracle takes place each and every time.

The doula blossom has deep roots now.  On occasion it needs some pruning, soil treatment, and large doses of sunshine as all beautiful plants need to maintain health and well-being.  Still it is very good.

Preparing for Post Birth –

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

Putting effort into the initial postpartum period is in my opinion equally as important as preparing for pregnancy and birth.  Sometimes it is even more important due to circumstance or birth outcome.  Too many focus solely on the labor, delivery and perhaps the “stuff” that goes with having a baby while completely forgetting to look at all incredible change that occurs with having a new baby 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.

Below is a listing of important information to think about, investigate, understand and/or plan for.  Make a note of people in your immediate life that can be a resource as you go through the list.

Look carefully at class descriptions you may take in your local area, some are very thorough and others do not go into information you need in detail.

Here’s to postpartum preparedness!

Common Physical Changes for the Mother

Uterine Change and Bleeding

Breast Expectations and Breastfeeding Norms

Hormones and Symptoms

Recovery Requiring Attention

Vaginal Tearing, Episiotomy, Cesarean, Extreme Soreness or Swelling, Hemorrhoids

Nutrition

Common Psychological Changes

Mother and Father/Partner Changes

Processing the Birth Experience

Processing Becoming a Family

Postpartum Mood Disorders

Peer and Professional Support Resources

Understanding Your New Baby

Babymoon

How Baby’s Feed

Attachment

Infant Development

New Family Dynamic

Coping with Sleep Deprivation and Exhaustion

Managing Stress

Grieving the Changes

Siblings and Pets

Knowing How to Get the Right Support

Postpartum Doulas and Practical Support

Making Your Best Decisions

Defining Parental Roles – Financial, Baby Care, Changing the Status Quo

Choosing a Health Care Provider for your Baby

Early Infant Health Care Decisions – Vaccinations, Circumcision, etc.

Parenting Philosophies

Developing Your Parenting Style

Where Baby Will Sleep

Boundaries with Family and Friends

When to Seek Professional Help

Relationship Care

Realistic Expectations

Sexual Intimacy

Practicalities of Life

“Dating”

Priorities

Single Parenting

Arranging Practical Support

Making a Community

Parenting Needs

Unexpected Outcomes

Processing a Difficult Birth

Babies with Medical Needs, Coping and Advocating

Dealing with Loss, Grief, and Trauma

I offer a Postpartum Strategies class privately in the Colorado Springs area that goes into more detail on many of these topics.  My Bookstore lists several helpful books as well.