Posts Tagged ‘Preparing For Birth’

30 Days of Gratitude, days 11-17: Teaching Tools

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Copy of thankful 2015 day 11-17Wow! Has it really been a week since I posted? Thank you all for your patience. Turns out being off-call doesn’t necessarily make me more efficient at getting blog posts up, does it? Ha! Well, now you all know that I’m a real person, and I make mistakes too, and that can’t be a bad thing to know. So many people look at my life and think that I have it all together, but I very  much do not! I am just doing the best I can, with what I have, where I am, and that, by necessity, has to be enough.

That said, I am delighted to share with you some teaching tools that I am so very thankful for in my work. Without good teaching tools, I would just sit in front of a classroom full of people and yap. Not that I couldn’t do that, but how fun would that be? Not much. (I do enough of that anyway…) So, without further ado, my favorite teaching tools:

Most of all, I am thankful for a great classroom space, that I can arrange and rearrange how I see fit, every time. It’s so much fun to anticipate class needs, and to enhance the group dynamic by making the space our own while we are there.

What are you thankful for today?

Warmly,
Tiffany Miller
Childbirth Educator & Student Midwife

Image links:
Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17.

 

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

Thursday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Fall Childbirth Class Schedule

Wednesday, 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.

Monday, 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.

Dilation Isn’t Everything: The many jobs of your cervix.

Monday, May 18th, 2015

BESTA mother waits patiently on the small triage bed while the nurse concentrates on what her fingers are telling her about the progress of this labor. After a minute, she pulls her fingers out, and chirps brightly, “You are 5 centimeters dilated!” She flips her gloves into the trash can and turns to the computer to chart.

It’s a universal experience going into a hospital in labor. The progress of labor is reduced to a number between one and ten, and nothing else. An hour later, after being admitted to her room, the mother is told she is “still only a 5.” Once again, she isn’t a mother, she is a number. She is left alone to contemplate that, and to deal with it as she may.

Most of us tell our birth stories in terms of this number. “I was stuck at 5 forever!”

What if I told you that this number means very little when it stands alone? What if I told you that your cervix does a whole lot more than just dilate? What if I told you that there are more ways to measure progress in labor than that ubiquitous range of centimeters?

Well, it’s true.

My preceptor and mentor, Desirre Andrews says:

“There is a mystery surrounding cervical dilation and changes prior to and during labor. I like to think of it as the jobs of the cervix. The cervix does so much more than simply opening.”

So, the next time you have a baby, and you are facing a vaginal exam, make sure you ask about what else your cervix is doing!

1. Effacement
Hold up your pointer finger. Touch the second knuckle. From there to the tip of your finger is about the length of your cervix. In order for the cervix to dilate completely, your cervix has to shorten, or “efface,” completely. This is measured in percentages. If your cervix only reaches from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle, you are about 50% effaced. This process must happen before dilation can even occur. In many women, it occurs at the same time or it overlaps dilation. In first time moms, we often see effacement first, then dilation quickly follows. What if our mother was told that, while she was “still 5,” she went from 50% effaced to 90% effaced? That’s progress, people!

2. Ripening
Touch the tip of your nose. (You didn’t know this would be so interactive, did you?) That’s about the texture of a closed, uneffaced cervix. That’s no good for dilation, and it has to soften, or “ripen” in order to do its other jobs. This primarily happens before labor, but can also happen throughout labor. The texture of your cervix must work its way to the softness of your relaxed lips, and then softer still to match the texture of the inside of your cheek. We call cervixes at this stage “soft like butter.” Yet another measure of progress. If our mother were still at 5, but her cervix was much softer and more difficult to feel, that’s progress!

3. Position
To protect your baby, your cervix points towards your tailbone (posterior) during pregnancy, and sometimes even early labor. In order to open and allow the baby to move through it, your cervix must shift its position until it is pointing directly into your vagina (anterior). If our mother were told that though she were “still 5,” but that her cervix was easier to reach, this job has been done, and she has made progress!

4. Dilation
Last, but not least we have dilation. Your cervix must open up from a tightly closed position, all the way up to “10 centimeters.” Really, it’s not 10, though. At this point, nothing can be felt except baby’s head. It’s often now simply called “complete dilation.” The thing to realize about dilation is that it cannot happen unless the cervix is doing all of its other jobs already. They often happen seemingly in tandem, but sometimes a mother will be “stuck at 5” while her cervix is effacing, softening, and moving forward. Once those jobs happen, dilation is a downhill race to the finish (though it may not seem like it).

So, the next time you consent to a vaginal exam in labor, make sure you get more than a number. Ask about effacement, softness, and the position of your cervix. Your cervix is amazing and has a lot more to do than just open. Make sure it gets all the credit it deserves!

Were you informed of the various ways the cervix works before and during labor? How might this change the way you approach your future pregnancy care?

-Tiffany

Brand New Class Offerings

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

spring cleaning

We are spring cleaning at Preparing for Birth. out with the old format and in with the new! We are very excited to now be offering Saturday workshops and 8 weeks of Tuesday night classes.

Classes are now a la carte or bundled. You choose what suits you best in your pregnancy and postpartum periods.

For first time mothers, we recommend our Comprehensive Essentials Bundle. This includes every class we offer as a series.

For those who have had a baby, we recommend our Essentials for Childbirth Condensed as a refresher course and any other Saturday classes of your choosing.

For those with specific needs or require alternate day or night options, we offer in-office private classes designed with your needs in mind.

Our classroom is a comfortable, open, and inviting. It is a home away from home environment. We use modern technology alongside tried and true techniques.

For a complete listing of our classes, click here.

Dad Matters – A doula’s perspective

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Many men in our culture are fairly apprehensive about birth. Most have never seen a real birth, or talked about it outside of sex ed. They are often nervous about birth itself, seeing their partner in pain, the what-ifs, and all that may come after. They doubt their ability to support their partner in her journey, and wonder if they’ll be strong enough.

In fact, they often doubt and fear and wonder just as much as their partners do, but are often not allowed to express it, because they’re not the ones giving birth, so they feel that they don’t really matter. They may feel like they don’t have much voice in the process, and are just expected to go along for the ride, smiling and nodding whenever the experts speak.

Yet, at the same time, they are expected to know everything about birth, protect their partner, communicate her wishes, and support her physically and emotionally without pausing for breath.

Many worry that they just can’t live up to all of that. It really is an awful lot to ask of one human being, after all. Especially since history shows us that there have always been many support people surrounding a mother during birth.

Still, many men don’t realize just how much they are capable of. They don’t realize that they matter, too, and that they can enter their partner’s birthing space with confidence, ability, and strength to meet the challenges of supporting a labor and birth.

 

So, how do we help fathers to step into the birthing space with confidence?

 

We free them to be who they are, that’s how. We let go of our expectations, and help them to form their own expectations and desires for supporting the birth of their child. We help them to see that they alone can define their role in the drama and sacredness of birth.

I would suggest two important things that may help a father gain confidence and acquire tools to help him fulfill the role he wants to play during birth: 1) Independent childbirth education classes, and 2) Hiring a doula.

The more a man knows, the less he will fear birth, and taking Childbirth Classes is one of the best ways to lower anyone’s fear level in anticipation of birth. Many men appreciate information given in practical, interactive ways, and independent childbirth classes are often right up his alley. He can join with like-minded dads, ask questions, and have his concerns addressed more readily.

Information is a great, big factor in helping couples manage their stresses and fears regarding birth—as much for the father as it is for the mother. As an educator, at the beginning of a series, I usually see high levels of apprehension, which quickly fade from week to week, to be replaced by realistic expectations and informed confidence in both parents.

This is just as powerful for the father as it is for the mother. When Dad has confidence in Mom’s ability, she believes in herself all the more, and Dad begins to see that he has power to influence her for the better! Dad is able to acclimate himself more readily to the realities of birth, and begins to realize that he is an important part of her support team. Perhaps the most important part.

He feels a little more ready to step into his support role, and probably has clarified what he wants that role to look like. He will feel more confident about what he can do, and more realistic about what he might not be able to do.

 

In which case, he may begin to consider…

 

Hiring a Doula to help him fill in the gap in the support team he might not be able to fill himself. If he participates in choosing and hiring a doula, he is much more likely to have his own expectations met, as well as those of his partner. When Mom and Dad are both fully supported, Dad is far freer to just be and do what his partner needs him to be and do.

While he will likely remember a lot of what he has read and learned about, that information may become secondary to him during the birth, and take a backseat to more immediate concerns in his mind.

He may become simply focused on loving this woman who is birthing his child. And why shouldn’t he? Why should he have to remember every counter pressure technique? Every massage technique, position change, or even the water jug and bendy straw? Why shouldn’t he be the face close to hers, his eyes beaming his love, concern for, and confidence in her?

A doula allows Dad to be front and center in the support role he always wanted to fill for Mom, in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual relationship in this particular moment. If he wants to be the Expert – he ought to be equipped to do that. If he doesn’t, then he needs the space and freedom for that, too. Or anything in between.

When he is free, all his anxieties and apprehensions tend to fall away, and he finds that birth is a challenging, beautiful, amazing space to be in with his partner. He finds that he is strong to meet the challenge, just like she is. Together, they grow in strength and confidence, becoming truly ready to meet this tiny new person they have made.

Doulas help open wide the door, making the birthing space more navigable, understandable, and pleasant for fathers. This, in turn, can only benefit the mother as she is able to rest in the support of her birth team. She no longer feels concern for her partner, because he shows no reason for her to be concerned. She is able to just birth.

Then, we can just step back and watch, as he exceeds all the expectations we have laid on him, and as he steps into Fatherhood in the way that makes the most sense to him and his new family.

Tiffany Miller, CLD, CCCE

Scavenger Hunt Contest

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Preparing for Birth is having an online scavenger hunt to ring in December.

 

You could win this cute pocket diaper.

 

Here is the scavenger hunt:

Answer:

1)      How many births has Desirre Andrews attended?

2)      Name a doula that is working through Preparing For Birth?

3)      How many on average gel capped pills can be made from a placenta?

4)      What breast pump brand does Preparing for Birth have for sale?

 

Answer these and provide a link to the source:  

5)      What is the most common risk of induction?

6)      What is an evidence based reason for induction?

7)      What is the Bishop Score used for?

8)      What are Daniel Berwick’s three principals of patient centered care?

 

Find:

9)      A picture of a child nursing in a funny position.

10)   A picture of artwork that’s at least 100 years old depicting a woman in labor.

 

Bonus Questions:

1)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related blog?

2)      What is your favorite pregnancy or childbirth related book?

Send your entry to nichole@prepforbirth.com by 9pm Wednesday December 5th.

The winner will be announced Thursday, December 6, 2012, and must be able to pick up the prize in person. Everyone who enters will get a coupon for a free birth or postpartum plan session with one of the doulas from Preparing For Birth.

F.E.A.R.

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I have been thinking on the F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real) acronym.  What else can it mean? Fear itself can be a positive or a negative. Fear can be a stumbling block or a motivator.

I enjoy coming up with affirmations and words that alter the view especially as it relates to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. I have been and know so many who have fear thrust upon them by friends, provider, family, strangers or have deep fear from previous experiences or from the unknown lurking ahead.

Take my words, come up with others and make your own acronyms to work with the FEAR surrounding you, inside you and take away its power.

 

F                      E                     A                     R

Feeling, Freedom, Fix, Fire, Fierce, Forge, Find, Fortitude, Frame, Fight, Force, Free, Forever, Forgive, Feel, Fearless

Everything, Exist, Eradicate, Excite, Envelop, Empowered, Encourage, Enhance, Expectation, Effort, Exquisite, Endearing, Encourage, Enhance, Effort, Expectation, Exquisite, Equal, Excel, Expert, Ease, Engage

Admit, And, Am, Advocate, Amplify, Armed, Above, Answer, Awareness, Act, Assist, Attitude, Ally, Appear, Admire, Ask, Alter, Apprehension, Action, Alive

Rest, Respect, Rise, Release, Rage, Rights, Ready, Resonate, Relief, Repair, Rely, Resist, Rejoice, Roar, Risk, Release, Re-frame, Rephrase, Remain

 

Please share additional words you come up with!