Oopsie Doodle

I made a boo-boo.  Yep, I’ll admit every ONCE in a while (ah hem) I lack perfection. Yesterday was a prime example. I had recently renewed my domain but unfortunately in trying to save a buck and wait for a coupon code, I had not renewed my hosting. And of course, I didn’t have a recent backup.

forgot to backup and now that page is gone

I’m working to restore the pages of my website first, then the blog posts. Most of the content is there, but the pictures & formatting have gone poof (I did have a backup, but it was 6 months old, which on an active blog is an eternity!) Please be patient with me as I work to get it all back online, I suspect it will take a couple weeks and I’ll most likely only go back about a year in the blog posts.

If you are looking for something specific, please let me know and I’ll see if I can pull it up for you, otherwise, feel free to see if its available on Wayback. Thanks for understanding!

HOW TO HIRE A DOULA- A CHECKLIST

how-to-hire-a-doula-checklist-1

Once you decide you might be interested in hiring a doula, its important to chat with a few to ensure that your ideas of what they offer align with yours, as well as a good personality fit, and overall approach.

Trust is the biggest factor to consider.  If you feel like she is someone you can trust, someone you can depend on, and someone who can provide the level of support you need, then you’ve found a good match!

Printable Questions for the Doula Checklist

Use the following printable “How to Hire a Doula Checklist” to get down to the most important aspects of her experience, beliefs, and services. This should help guide you to selecting a doula that is right for you.

how to hire a doula

The Doula Interview Should Answer All Your Questions

I’ve also got a few other questions below you may want to ask to drill down further, but the checklist includes the key points, if your potential doula doesn’t by default in conversation cover things like fees, be sure to bring it up, but if being a doula is actually her JOB (compared to just a hobby) she will offer her pricing info upfront in a professional way to ensure you understand both your responsibilities and hers.

Same rings true for things like feelings about epidurals, it should be something that would come up in the conversation about birth philosophy, if it doesn’t then be sure to clarify that point if its important to you.

  • Why did you become a doula?
  • What is your training? Are you certified?
  • What is your philosophy about birth and supporting women and their partners through labor?
  • Tell me about your experience as a birth doula.
  • When do you try to join women in labor? Do you come to our home or meet us at the place of birth?
  • How would you work with and involve my partner?
  • How do you feel about the use of pain medication during labor?
  • Which labor-coping techniques do you think tend to be the most helpful?
  • What does your fee cover? How many visits or hours?

Want to learn more?

The Birth Rehearsal

Why do a birth rehearsal? If you want to know what to expect of normal labor, and how to engage with it, then this is probably the most practical workshop that you can take.

birth rehearsal workshop

 

Birth rehearsals are not like other prenatal classes: they are a unique form of preparation to help prepare you for labor, whether you are having a hospital birth, a water birth or a home birth. Perfect on its own for parents who already know the basics of birth or a great addition to any other childbirth education class you have previously taken.

Your instructor, Brandi Spray, draws from her experience as a two time mom, birth doula, Hypnobirthing Certified Birth Professional and trained Hypnobabies hypno-doula for a fun and inspiring private workshop for both mom & her birth partner.

A WHOLE RANGE OF TOPICS ARE COVERED AND INCLUDE:

  • Optimal fetal positioning and the value of maternal posture in late pregnancy
  • Mental and emotional preparation
  • Top tips for birthing partners – physical and emotional support for the laboring woman (dad gets to be the doula!)
  • How fear affects labor
  • Breath and movement in labor for energy and pain management
  • Massage techniques for pregnancy and labor
  • Visualization and relaxation techniques to promote gentle birth

WE’LL ADDRESS OTHER VERY COMMON QUESTIONS SUCH AS:

  • How can we keep calm?
  • What positions work best?
  • How will I know when I am / she is really in labor?
  • What do we need to do once we know its birthing time?

 

It is a relaxed, effective way to learn practical coping skills for birth. The session works best when the pregnant woman is accompanied by her partner (usually dad, sister, or close friend who will attend the birth.) The class includes a deep relaxation hypnobirthing practice that assists in the integration of the techniques taught for those interested birth hypnosis. You will also receive access to my online resource library only for Fargo Childbirth clients.

Your private session will last about 2 hours & is best suited for moms after 32 weeks. Cost is $75 per couple + $25/add’l friends & family who will be participating in the birth experience.

my newborn baby won't sleep – and other things a postpartum doula can help with

Oh my gosh, when they said “sleep when the baby sleeps” they didn’t know that you can’t because you’re off Googling “my newborn baby won’t sleep”! And using that logic, if you are supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, exactly when, tell me when, are you supposed to eat?  Unless you have 4 arms or a husband who doesn’t mind spoon feeding you while you nurse, its pretty challenging to eat while the baby eats (until you get the hang of it that is!)

The first few days your newborn baby is home is supposed to be a wondrous time of unicorns farting rainbows, is it not?

Sometimes it is and if you are lucky enough to have a great system of family and friends to help, its pretty awesome.  But for most parents, after a few days the visitors go home and reality sets in “exactly how do I take care of my newborn baby?

my newborn baby won't sleep

A postpartum doula can help be the unicorn, but instead of doing it for you, she’ll teach you how to fart those rainbows yourself. All joking aside, this type of doula has the sole purpose of “mothering the mother” providing physical, emotional, & educational support after baby is born. She’s not usually a nurse (a postpartum doula doesn’t do anything medical) and she’s not a nanny (she’s more like your mentor than your employee.) But many things can overlap.  Because her goal is to help give you confidence as a parent, she may help with light household chores, watch baby while you rest or shower, demonstrate various newborn care techniques, and even help you with breastfeeding questions.

While grandmas, best friends, and sisters are irreplaceable, sometimes its nice to just have a totally new perspective. Someone who is specializes in helping mom with her newborn baby. And if you have other kids already, she can help you during this adjustment period to care for yourself and other children. Some postpartum doulas, like myself, offer virtual services online or via phone and text if you don’t need someone there in person. Enjoy this time, she won’t be a newborn baby for long.

Blissborn: Fearless Childbirth Hypnobirthing 101

Free private Blissborn hypnobirthing 101 Workshops Available

Learn the basics of Blissborn hypnobirthing and how it helps during labor and delivery.  It’s a simple, natural and risk-free alternative that is gaining popularity world-wide.  In addition to all-natural births, hypnosis can be used in conjunction with medications and Cesarean surgeries — it reduces the amount of medication needed, reduces bleeding and accelerates healing.  In natural births it shortens labor, reduces or eliminates pain, releases fears, and puts Mom in control of her own body and mind.

hypnobirthing101

Modern hypnosis training empowers moms to use their instincts for calm, confident and comfortable birth in any situation.  Find out if it’s right for you.  See a video of a birth with hypnosis.  Experience the power of your mind through guided visualization.  Pick up a valuable coupon for Blissborn, the full training course, and other free materials.

Childbirth is a natural experience and should not be feared!  Learn how you can have a birth with no pain or anxiety by taking control of the Fear-Fight/Flight- Freeze cycle. Moms, dads, and babies can all benefit from learning how to relax and enjoy the joyous phenomenon of childbirth.

fargo birth hypnosis

I’m a Blissborn Hypnosis Educator, certified Your Birth Experience Instructor, and certified birth hypnosis doula with both Hypnobirthing (Mongan Method) and Hypnobabies. I am our area’s foremost expert in using hypnosis for birth and able to guide you using these techniques to help you have your best birth. Read some of the Blissborn reviews I’ve gotten.

BENEFITS TO Hypnobirthing-

  • Eliminates the Fear-Tension-Pain Syndrome before, during, and after birthing
  • Eliminates or greatly reduces the need for chemical painkillers
  • Shortens the stages of labor by several hours
  • Eliminates fatigue during labor, leaving the mother fresh, awake, and ready to give birth
  • Promotes enhanced bonding of mother, baby, and birthing companion

YOU WILL LEARN –

  • How fear affects labor and how to release it
  • Visualization, guided imagery and deep relaxation techniques to eliminate the fear and tension that cause long labor and pain, replacing it with confidence, calm, and comfort
  • Skillful combined techniques to produce a shorter, more comfortable labor
  • The creation and control of the body’s own natural anesthesia response
  • Deep relaxation method to ease pre-birthing contractions
  • Breathing techniques to facilitate the process of giving birth

See for yourself! Contact me for a free consultation

I'm pregnant, now what? A Postpartum Planning Guide.

postpartum plan

If you are like many women, especially first time moms, you probably have spent a lot of time gearing up for your baby’s birth.  You’ve probably read a book, or two, or the entire internet and you’ve taken your lamaze or childbirth education class. You created a baby registry with all sorts of fabulous items from a new-fangled car seat, to a ducky bath thermometer,  baby carrier, and of course a few onesies with bunnies on them (well, perhaps not with bunnies…) You have a safe crib or bassinet, a cute nursery theme, and have delicately washed and folded all sorts of tiny baby clothes. You have daycare lined up for when you go back to work, or paternity leave figured out so dad can stay home at least a few days after the baby arrives. But, do you actually have a postpartum plan for when you bring baby home?

Make a Birth Plan then Make a Postpartum Plan

Uh, yes, you actually DO need to have a plan!  I have found that in my experience, moms put a lot of time into creating a labor/birth plan, then make a mental game plan for when baby arrives, but don’t really take the time to think about what exactly they will do after they give birth.

Things to include in your postpartum plan

  • After Birth While At Hospital
  • Healing & Perineum Care
  • On the Way Home
  • Back at Home
  • Physical Support (dayshift/nightshift)
  • Emotional Support
  • Meals (include suggestions for visitors to bring)
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Visitors vs Guests (include a list of things your visitors can do to help out)

Here are a few things to think about and consider

Will you have your mom or a friend there to help you transition from the hospital to the car and then from the car to your house?  No seriously think about this, dad will be carrying the car seat, the nurses will help haul out your flowers & balloons, you’ll be proudly toting a flashy new diaper bag.  You may want to consider having an extra hand to assist, especially if you have other big siblings that’ll be “helping” you.

Are you headed straight home from the hospital? One friend of mine stopped for dinner on her way home, I had to stop by Walmart to buy a couple preemie sized outfits for my daughter because she was much smaller than we expected. If your doctor needed to prescribe any meds that you didn’t get at the hospital, you may need to stop a the pharmacy, are you prepared to figure out how to unlatch that car seat to carry baby in?

Your friends and family love you dearly & they want to visit the baby probably more than they want to visit you (sorry mama!) Do you want visitors the first day? Would you rather have them come another day? Its hard when you get unexpected, well-meaning visitors. Make a little sign or note for your door that says something like “shhh, we are resting, no visitors today” and hopefully they will respect that and not have any hurt feelings.

So, you have your mom to help you for a few days and hubby got a week of leave… then what? Who will help you with the older kids? Do you feel safe with baby alone? I had one mom who didn’t have anyone come to help the first few days because she preferred the privacy, but when her husband had to go into work 2 days after the baby was born she lacked a lot of confidence and needed more emotional support than she anticipated.

Hopefully those will help to get you started in your thinking of a postpartum plan. If you spent an hour (or two or five) typing up a beautiful birth plan with details on vaccinations, circumcision, and what to do if you need a c-section, you owe it to yourself to put an effort into your postpartum plan as well. Would you like some help creating your plan?  I’m available to help you create a vision & plan for both your birth and postpartum period.

 

4 Ways to Rock Your Natural Birth

rock your natural birth #wecandobetter

So, your crazy self decided you wanna try to rock your natural birth, huh? **Pretend I inserted a meme here that shows what society thinks, what your mom thinks, what you think, and then of course the reality. Guess what, they ALL might be just a little accurate.**  If you are already considering a natural birth, its pretty likely you might already know a bit about birth.  If not, I offer some pretty fun classes that are designed to help you including one to help you plan your birth.

Perhaps you are already all studied up or have used Google to learn everything there is to know about giving birth naturally.  If not, here are a few tips to help you rock your natural birth whether its at home, hospital, or perhaps birth in the backseat of the car.

how to Rock Your Natural Birth

1. Hire a doula

Um, yeah, this is a doula’s website so it might seem kinda silly that my number one tip is to hire a doula, but hiring a doula can increase your chances of having the birth experience you want.  Seriously, if you do nothing else, do this one, she’s professionally trained to help you with everything else that follows in this list.

2. Learn how natural birth works

Birth is actually pretty simple.  Yes, your BFF might have had a less than stellar experience that she’s told you about in excruciating detail, but that’s just it, its hers– not yours. Part of the solution for this step is to take an EVIDENCE-BASED childbirth education class.  These classes help give you information you need to make informed choices for your birth, which leads me to #3.

3. Know Your Choices

Once you know how natural birth works, you need to understand what options are available to you.  For example, you know that after birth the baby is still connected via umbilical cord to the placenta. In the movies, they show dad quickly stepping in to cut the cord as soon as baby is out.  Well, folks, that’s only one of the choices you have available (others include delayed clamping, cord blood banking, leaving it attached to naturally dry while still connected to the placenta.)  I’ve said this before, but if you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.

4. Involve your partner

This one goes along with #1.  While your doula is an expert in birth, your partner is the expert in YOU.  He (or she) is the one who knows your heart, understands your deepest fears, has seen you before in good times and bad, and is the one who can connect with you better than anyone else. Having your partner become involved with birth shows him that you feel the same way. When you involve your partner, you have another set of hands, another voice to provide encouragement, and another shoulder to cry on.  Don’t underestimate how emotional having a baby is for your partner too, even though he’s not the one with the baby in his belly.

While I certainly cannot promise you that birth will be everything you hope for or expect, I do know that these four ways to rock your natural birth will get you on the right path.

How did you prepare yourself to rock your birth?  If you have more suggestions or tips, leave a comment and help another woman to rock her birth!

now available for sale – birth affirmation cards

These lovely little pocket sized (2.5×2.5) affirmation cards are perfect to carry around, place as reminders on your bathroom window or car visor, give as gifts, or use to inspire yourself.

Affirmations are used to help change your way of thinking and create a new more positive mindset.  Use these affirmation cards to help create that mindset. Printed on a luxurious matte soft-touch paper.

affirmation cards

Inspired by the “love tokens” shared by Blooma Yoga on Facebook, these little affirmation cards can be used as a pick-me-up for yourself or someone you think could use a bit of encouragement.  I’ve made this particular set of affirmation cards good for general use to inspire anyone, not just expecting moms.  I hope you enjoy them.

dearest doula – featured birth worker Brandi Spray

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I was recently interviewed as the featured birth worker for the Dearest Doula podcast. I will have to admit, it felt a little weird about doing a podcast.  I’d never done one before, but it seemed like a fun opportunity. Its crazy weird to hear myself on the recording and in more than one place I hear myself say something and want to do a Homer Simpson “doh” slap on my forehead. But it was still very fun.  If you’d like to listen, you can do that here I’m listed on episode 24.

dearest doula podcast Brandi Spray

Here’s the excerpt from her website:

Brandi Spray is a Birth doula, Childbirth Educator, and owner of Dayspring Doula. It was such a hoot having her on the show, our interview was filled with tender moments between spurts of nervous giggles. A Hypnobirthing enthusiast and birth photographer, Brandi is a woman full of passion for her work and it was great listening to her journey.

DEAREST DOULA COMMUNITY, BRANDI SHARES HER VALUABLE INSIGHTS AND JOURNEYS ON DEAREST DOULA TODAY! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN ON ITUNES

Brandi’s “Elevator Speech” & Origin Story

Moment of Struggle

Brandi runs into a former client and experiences a powerful moment that  helps to reframe her perspectives on the experiences she shares with her clients.

“I was meant to be right here, right now”

Brandi shares her own personal birth story, and expands on how that triggered her passion for birth work.

Success Quote

“Calm. Confident. Fearless Birth.”

-Brandi Spray 

Recommended Resources & Interview Links

Blissborn

Pinterest– you can follow ‘Dearest Doula’ on Pinterest here.

You can connect with Brandi through her personal website, Dayspring Doula or through FacebookInstagram or Twitter .

If you enjoyed todays episode, I invite you to subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes. What you think matters, and I value your feedback! Until next time dearest readers, have a wonderful day 🙂

Sincerely,

Dearest Doula

 

birth support during a c-section delivery

Does a woman having a scheduled C-section even need childbirth education or a doula? I would like to propose the notion that she may actually need it even more. My experience tells me that most scheduled C-sections I hear of are not first time moms. They are a “repeat” C-Section because during mom’s first birth something happened during her delivery that resulted in a cesarean. I will go even further and say of these moms, the unscheduled operative delivery was usually not under ideal circumstances for them either physically or emotionally.

do i need a doula for my repeat c-section

This leaves many women traumatized (some even with PTSD) and they are either told, just assumed, or are doctored into planning their subsequent delivery via C-section. Many, many moms had such a negative experience with their previous birth (that ended in the C-Section) that they gladly accept the choice to schedule the birth of their next child.

c-section delivery & vbac delivery

My son who was born via c-section delivery, meeting his sister, who was VBAC.

There are a number of legitimate medical reasons for a mom to NEED to schedule a C-Section. Now,  will give my biased opinion that I don’t believe most moms have a solid evidence-based reason from their provider to have major abdominal surgery (hint, simply having a previous C-Section doesn’t usually REALLY exclude you from having a natural birth later on…) Regardless of WHY one may schedule a c-section, a doula can be a valuable asset to her birth team.

  • For moms who did have a positive experience with their first birth, a doula can be there to add additional support & encouragement to help mom have another great birth.
  • For moms who plan to have a medically necessary first cesarean, childbirth education is still important to understand how the normal birth process works, what to expect during and after operative delivery, and immediate postpartum planning.
  • For moms who had a difficult delivery or unplanned belly birth delivery, a doula can help provide the additional emotional support that may be needed. Most doulas are very welcoming to assisting moms with birth processing, which basically just means taking the time to listen to your worries, concerns, or dissatisfaction. She may even have suggestions and resources available to help you feel more confident about future births.
  • For moms who hope to have a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean) a doula is the birth expert who can help you navigate your options.  Your medical provider is the only one who can make recommendations for your health, but your doula can help you understand what those recommendations mean and how to negotiate them so that you are able to have a normal delivery. This doesn’t mean having a doula will result in a VBAC, but it generally will result in a mom who feels more confident and satisfied with her birth.

Did you have a doula at your c-section delivery? Send me a comment with your experience.

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