Our Bodies Are Not Perfect | Preparation Ahead

our bodies are not perfect | Jax, FL Birth Classes, Birth Prep in Jax, FL

Our Bodies Are Not Perfect

Our bodies are not perfect! I feel no shame in saying that. We need glasses when our eyes are meant to see with. We’re born with ears and yet hearing aids are needed. We’re sometimes given legs that don’t walk and organs that grow outside of our bodies. Our bodies are not perfect and it doesn’t hurt us or reduce our existence to admit this.

Death isn’t something we want to think about, yet like birth, we will also all die. Some of us are faced with untimely deaths, this is reality. Spend any amount of time in labor and delivery or working with expecting parents and you realize that not every baby will survive while others beat all odds. I know, it’s HORRIBLE and absolutely heartbreaking to think about, but it’s true.

What’s crazier?

The natural birth culture that pregnant moms face in 2020 often leads to the conclusion that they really don’t accept the preventable death of babies. Say what?!

When we say things such as, “Your baby will come when he’s ready”, “It’s the way it was intended, the natural way” (hello tornados, earthquakes, and rattlesnakes are natural too), “It’s just a guess date, not an expiration date”, we’re ignoring reality. This reality slaps the faces of those who’ve lived through preterm birth, experienced infertility, have a chemical imbalance, and who’ve survived the death of an infant when a pregnancy becomes post-date and doesn’t beat the odds.

We should avoid saying these things altogether.

Seriously, STOP!

By saying these things it shows that the person doesn’t understand the emotional aspect of supporting a person through labor and childbirth. Learning to use better language, ask questions that challenge pregnant people to work through their nervousness, fear, or anxieties surrounding childbirth would be a better course of action or response.

Our bodies are not perfect and it’s totally cool because our self-worth is no way determined by our bodily functions!

Our bodies are not perfect and there’s more harm than I’m willing to assume the risk of by saying otherwise. Our bodies do amazing things and they do weird shit! We’re unique and have quirks. We’re different, and imperfectly perfect, sure, but our bodies are not perfect.

There is no one size fits all approach to childbirth or parenting.

There are just too many variables in play. If care providers step aside and believe our bodies are perfect and all babies will come on their own time every time, we will lose more babies. If they believe they can save every single baby by way of interventions every time, when there’s literally no way to do that, we fail by over intervention. We suffer birth injury and sometimes even death. When we believe inducing everyone at the same exact gestation can lead to more harm than good we lose babies. Vice versa just waiting until the baby is ready to come on his own can lead to post-date infant loss too.

Midwives and OBGYN’s are human beings, extraordinary ones at that!

They’re doing the best they can to the best of their ability, each and every time. Some may be too hands-off while others may be too intervention happy. It happens. They’re trying to do their very best, to save as many lives as they can, and deserve grace and kindness along the way.

Our bodies are not perfect and in many ways, we trade the risk of intervention for the risk of losing a baby.

Who should get to decide that? I believe whole-heartedly the parents should get to decide that, with or without their provider’s approval, but hopefully they’ve talked it through with their care providers, they trust their providers, and have been thoroughly and honestly counseled on the matter.

Our bodies are not perfect. The way of the world isn’t perfect.

Anyone who believes that it is foolish and has never witnessed or experienced trauma in birth. You cant eliminate all death in pregnancy or completely stop birth complications from happening. We can try, but we can’t stop it. There’s a balance that must happen.

Our bodies are not perfect, but nothing in life is!

We can be happy with how things go, we can be terribly sad, or grieve how things go, life isn’t perfect and that’s okay!

We can prepare for childbirth none-the-less!

How?

You can take a childbirth class that doesn’t set you up to feel like you’ve failed. Because there is no right or wrong way to birth, only different ways and ways you accept or ways you do not.

Take a class that helps you learn about birth, the variations, how to communicate your needs, and get answers to your questions. Find a class that is NOT focused on birthing the “right” way or on using the “best” method. The way you give birth is not the first act of love for your child. There is no right or wrong way it is simply the way your body needs to do things. If you start letting your physical functions determine your self-worth things get messy. Most aspects of birth are out of your control. Choose a class that teaches you how to advocate for yourself and prepares you for the worst and the best-case scenarios.

You can find the care providers that feel good to you!

Ask about their philosophical approach to birth. Ask the tough questions. How are your provider’s communication skills? It’s important to trust and feel good about your care providers. Are you treated kindly, respectfully, and with autonomy? You’re looking for woman-centered life-saving care, both are important.

You can line up support for after you give birth! You’re gonna need it, we all do! We may not all get it, but we sure do need it!

Our team is completely present for you as you welcome your baby home or come home with empty arms and broken hearts.

We’re there to lighten your load. We will nourish your body and ease your mind where we can. We listen empathetically, validate your feelings and concerns, and help find real solutions for the solvable issues. Our team is there to help you rest, sleep, and heal. Likewise, we’ll be there to commiserate and comfort you when there is no fixing the shit you’ve endured. People often overlook the period of time after birth, they fail to prepare and they regret it greatly. Don’t skip on fourth-trimester preparations!

Our bodies are not perfect, and we can still show up and slay!

Adjust your lens.

Trust your gut.

Trust your team!

Ask the important questions.

But at the end of the day, your body’s functions do NOT determine your self-worth! The sooner we all get with that reality the sooner we will be happy in this life!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Lochia and Fundal Massage at the Hospital

lochia and fundal massage Jax, FL Labor and Delivery

Lochia and Fundal Massage at the Hospital

You’re probably wondering what kind of sweet treatment and yummy foods they’ll be serving up at the hospital after you give birth to your baby! I can promise you that lochia and fundal massage are not on the list of “good times” you’ll cherish. So, what the heck is lochia and fundal massage if not a kickass Asian wrap and relaxing new mama massage technique? I’ll explain!

A “New Mama” Massage Technique it is!

Fundal massage is definitely not relaxing though! It’s more like a Medieval torture practice. I’m sorry, I typically steer clear of scaring pregnant people, and you shouldn’t really be fearful of it. While it sucks, it’s necessary! So what is it? It’s a massage or kneading on the uppermost part of your uterus. When you go to your provider’s office and they check on baby, remember how your provider palpates your growing belly and measures you? They are measuring your fundal height. Essentially measuring from your pelvic bone to the top of your uterus. This tells them about how many weeks you’re measuring.

Shortly after your baby is born fundal massage a.k.a, the dance of doom is performed by your nurses and or care providers to help get your fundus (the top of your uterus) to shrink down and return to pre-pregnancy size. Why? In short, it’s to keep your uterus contracting so your bleeding will slow down and you risk of hemorrhaging is reduced.

Fundal massage facts:

  • Nursing your baby helps your uterus contract and shrink in size faster.
  • Breathing through the fundal massage will help you relax through it.
  • Contractions after birth are known as after pains.
  • They get worse with each baby you have.
  • They will perform fundal massage after both vaginal and cesarean births.

You probably guessed it by now. Lochia isn’t a yummy wrap!

By definition, lochia is a vaginal discharge occurring after childbirth.  It contains blood, mucus, and uterine tissue. The discharge should smell similarly to menstrual blood. Any foal odor or green or yellow discharge should be reported to your care providers right away. This discharge lasts about six weeks, sometimes less. Basically lochia is the longest, most fun-filled period of your life!

There are three stages of lochia:

  • Stage 1: Lochia rubra contains blood, vernix, lanugo, and membranes. It is bright red in color because of the large amount of blood it contains. Lasting about 3-5 days after childbirth
  • Stage 2: Lochia serosa is thin and brownish or pink and contains exudate, erythrocytes, leukocytes, cervical mucus, and microorganisms. Lasting until about the 10th day postpartum. If Lochia serosa persists more than 2 weeks after birth it should be reported to your care provider because it can sometimes indicate late postpartum hemorrhaging.
  • Stage 3: Lochia alba is just lochia that has turned whitish or yellowish-white. It usually begins around week two after childbirth and typically lasts through the third to sixth weeks after childbirth. It contains fewer red blood cells and is mainly made up of mucus, leukocytes, fat (no weight loss here ladies, sorry), and several microorganisms.

Final thoughts on lochia and fundal massage…

Nope, not really! Women are pretty badass. We can menstruate, deal with cramps, power through pregnancy aches and pains, survive the heartbreak of miscarriages, battle infertility, grow an entire human, bleed three shades of post-baby cray, make milk for another human, and still manage to keep the tiny humans alive whilst having zero issues with hanging a new roll of toilet paper for the umpteenth time. Shit’s pretty clear, lochia is just another magnificent thing we do!

If you are expecting a baby and are in the Northeast Florida area we teach some very unique classes! It’s the place to learn all the things you’ll wish you’d known about if you miss out on our classes! Get in touch and lets rock this!

Also, Costco makes some pretty amazing Asian wraps if you’re hungry now. You’re welcome, friend!

Happy Birth & Parenting,

Elizabeth Luke

Childbirth Education Classes – What I Wished I’d Known

childbirth education classes jax, fl | Best birth classes in Jax, FL | Jax, FL baby classes | give birth jax, fl

Childbirth Education Classes – What I Wished I’d Known

I absolutely love to learn, so when I was pregnant with my first, it was a no-brainer to sign up for childbirth education classes to help us prepare. The hospital where I planned to give birth offered multiple classes and our insurance even reimbursed us a small amount for taking a few. My husband and I signed up through the hospital for a few different classes including breastfeeding and a labor one.

Several months later, I took said childbirth education classes and found them to be okay. Pretty standard.

You see, if you’ve never had a baby, you don’t really know what to expect or what info you need to know. Only after I had my first, my son, did I begin to realize just how unprepared I was. Every hospital is different, so my experience with hospital classes may be very different from yours. The hospital I gave birth at was very new and supposed to be state-of-the-art. However, the classes were too textbook and barely skimmed the surface. I’m not sure why this was the case, but, to my dismay, it was.

In hindsight, the hospital childbirth education classes did little to nothing to prepare me.

It’s both frustrating and disappointing. It also is concerning to me for other parents who seek out childbirth education classes like this in hopes of gaining needed knowledge on labor, delivery, and their lives after they bring their baby home from the hospital. To be honest, I was lost as a new mom. I mean LOST. There are so many things I wish I was taught that would have prepared me better. Here’s a few that initially come to mind:

  • Having a birth plan and being able to assert my desires.
  • The realities of hospital birth and what that entails.
  • Preparing for what happens when your birth plan is thrown out the window.
  • Your rights in the hospital.
  • Not just the physical toll, but the emotional and mental toll it takes on you during your hospital stay.
  • The realities of sleep deprivation and how to cope.
  • Breastfeeding-so many variables I never thought of or learned that I ended up experiencing.

In saying all of this, I strongly recommend you seek out in-home childbirth education classes.

It wasn’t until after I had both my children that I began to learn about the many options available. If I could go back in time, I would have hired help in the blink of an eye. One of the amazing things about hiring outside help is that most are knowledgable about the variations of birth, including cesareans, infant care, breast and bottle feeding, and the postpartum recovery process. Some even teach childbirth education classes in the comfort of your own home like The Jacksonville Baby Company. In my opinion, having a private educator prepare me would have been much more helpful than someone who is staffed by the hospital.

Here are a few reasons why in-home childbirth education classes will likely prepare you better:

  • An in-home CBE allows you to be in the comfort of your home where you feel more comfortable asking questions.
  • The CBE facilitator is not employed by a hospital and therefore can give you more honest feedback regarding what to expect at the different local birthing facilities.
  • The facilitator can personalize the information to what you are desiring through the delivery process (natural vs medicated birth, where and how you’ll labor, formula fed vs breastfed, etc).
  • The facilitator likely has a lot of very recent experience in regards to helping women through labor, delivery, and adjusting to their lives with the new baby. This recent experience means their information and advice is up-to-date to what’s going on currently in the world in which you ‘re living.
  • They will go into more depth and will include important information regarding the realities of having a newborn.

Preparing for childbirth is so important.

In this day and age, where there are so many options for every aspect of pregnancy, delivery, and parenting, it is overwhelming. It is crucial to choose childbirth education classes where you will learn more than hospital policy and skim the surface. It’s important to dig in deep. Find someone who is knowledgable and trustworthy to prepare you for every step and not just birth, but for after birth. Ask those you trust for recommendations and do your research based on what you are hoping for through your pregnancy and delivery and choose the person you feel is a good fit for you.

I encourage you to check out The Jax Baby Company and the services they offer. They are there throughout the pregnancy and provide excellent postpartum support as well.

Authored by: Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woma

Afterpains After Birth

afterpains after birth | Jax, FL Birth | Birth after pains

Afterpains After Birth

When we daydream about meeting our baby for the first time most pregnant people aren’t thinking about the afterpains they’ll experience after they give birth. Partly because it’s rarely talked about. However, if you’ve taken the Epic Postpartum class or our full childbirth education course you’ll have a good understanding of many terms, including after pains. Hopefully having this information in your back pocket will help you be less fearful of it when it happens.

You’ll have contractions of the uterus, often called afterpains, immediately after you give birth to the baby and your placenta!

For those who experience contractions in labor, it may be helpful to know that these contractions are not nearly as painful as the labor contractions. They also don’t last as long or come as often as labor contractions.

For those who are scheduled for a cesarean birth, you won’t have to deal with contractions in labor or immediately post-op because of the power of medicine.  However, in addition to the pain from the cesarean incision, you will have to deal with those afterpains too as the anesthesia wears off.

The afterpains are a necessary part of the process of involution, the process of shrinking your uterus back to pre-pregnancy size and firmness.

Without the contractions of the uterus, you would bleed, a lot. So much so that you would hemorrhage if doctors didn’t intervene. Your uterus pre-pregnancy is about the size of a grapefruit and in pregnancy it stretches to accommodate the baby, amniotic fluid, and the placenta.  After birth, it beginnings to rapidly shrink, but it takes up to a full six weeks for it to return to pre-pregnancy size. In the meantime, you’ll experience bleeding, afterpains, and can still appear to be pregnant.

What triggers the afterpains?

Medication given to you by your providers such as Pitocin, breastfeeding, and pumping are all ways to signal these postpartum contractions. They will periodically just happen, some very mild, others very intense. Your nurses will also come in and push on your abdomen to feel for your uterus and signal contractions. Not fun, not one little bit! Most nurses get right to it and make it as quick and as painless as possible, but they do have a necessary job to do, and that is to see to it that you are safe!

What can be done to lessen the afterpains?

Use your breathing and relaxation techniques if you find yourself wincing in pain. If you’ve not received pain medication it’s ok to ask for something if you feel you need it.

afterpains after birth | Birth Jax, FL

Remember those fundal height measurements in pregnancy? This is the reverse of that. The contractions or afterpains do tend to be much more noticeable with second, third, and fourth deliveries versus the first delivery.

Afterpains are just plain insane! But, like we teach in The Confident Birth and Parenting Class and the Epic Postpartum Class, these pains and labor pains are: P=purposeful A= anticipated I=intermitent and N=normal!

To learn more about our classes or to book a private consult contact our team today!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

Elizabeth
Parenting is like a plate of spaghetti | Jax FL Infant Sleep

 

 

3 Things To Do Before Giving Birth

3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth

Of all the ways you can prepare for birth, there are 3 things to do before giving birth that we think take priority. At The Jax Baby Company, we’ve worked with hundreds of expectant parents and new families. As a professional who works day in and day out with new families, I want to share some insight with you!

3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth:

Take a Comprehensive Childbirth Class

More times than not when working with individuals who have previously given birth, they say that before birth they felt prepared. However, after birth, they say they wish they would’ve prepared in other ways. It’s a reoccurring theme. Parents tell us they took a childbirth class, BUT wish they knew to take a class that prepared them for the unexpected twists (that inevitably) birth threw their way. 

“In the hypno-class I took, they said I could dial down the intensity using hypnosis, but that method didn’t work for me and after that, I didn’t know what to do.”

“I gave them my detailed birth plan, but I didn’t really get anything I wanted.”

“We didn’t really understand the process of birth or what happens after birth. I knew less than I thought I did about dilation, contractions, and pushing, but the instructor didn’t want to “scare us”. She withheld valuable information.”

They didn’t know what they didn’t know to askAnd they took a childbirth class!

Comprehensive research-based classes will teach you the process of birth, the variations of birth, assisted and unassisted tools for comfort, pharmacological options, and alternative options for pain reduction. A great class won’t focus on one way of birth being superior to another. For example “natural birth” outcomes over medicated birth outcomes.  A great class will teach you communication and decision-making skills specific to childbirth and parenting.

The Confident Birth and Parenting Class teaches all of that.

It also helps you discover what “satisfying” means to you, and that not all birth partners want to be a birth coach! We break down the science behind birth in a fun and informative way that will stick! We offer something unique for all birthing people and their partners if they have one! Anyone and everyone has the ability to come away feeling confident and empowered!

Line Up Help for After Birth

Preparing now to have help for a minimum of six to twelve weeks after your baby is born is equally, if not more important than preparing for the birth itself! While we recommend your birth plan (if you have one) be short and sweet we recommend the opposite for your postpartum plan.

To put it into perspective for you we recommend a birth “plan” be no longer than one front page. The emergency plan on the back no longer than 1/2 of a page. But each family we work with gets a 20-page outline to use to for their postpartum planning!

A detailed postpartum plan will cover all aspects of your postpartum period. From meals and chores to hands-on accurate assistance and much, much more. If there is ever a time in your life where you should be surrounded with all the support it’s now!

Employ help! Immediately following the birth of your baby and for two or three days after you have hands-on help from amazing maternity nurses.  Someone there to help you get around, initiate feedings, and change diapers. A black belt at swaddling who bringing you meals, checks on you to see how you feel, gives you your meds, and reminds you it’s been x number of hours since x, y, and z.

Imagine the peace if mind you’d feel bringing one of these angels home with you?!

THAT’S WHAT WE DO!

Our team here at The Jax Baby Co. also helps you feel human again by taking great care of your baby while you shower and get much-needed sleep. We assist with feedings, both breast, and bottle. In short, we’re like an expert parent guide or a wingman for the new parents. We offer practical help and guidance as you adjust to parenting and find what works for you!

Learn As Much As You Can About Carseat Safety & Follow the Guidelines

There are only a few things in life that are unforgiving. Car accidents often end tragically when children are involved. We love babies and families! We can’t not share on this topic! Every parent I’ve spoken with has appreciated my knowledge on this matter! While we truly believe there is no right or wrong way to birth or parent your children here at The Jacksonville Baby Company, the research shows there IS a right and wrong way to install and use carseats.

Some of the most common mistakes we see are incorrect harness position, straps too loose, chest clip incorrectly positioned, seat not installed into the car correctly, aftermarket products being used on/with the seat, and of course turning a child to forward-facing too soon. Many of these things seem harmless enough, but they can be fatal mistakes. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a statement with new guidelines urging parents to keep their kids rear-facing for as long as possible. We want your babies to be as safe as possible whilst traveling so you can enjoy and love on them for all the days of your lives! Here is a great resource for all things car seat safety-related, including where you can find a car seat technician in your area!

May this list of 3 things to do before giving birth be as helpful to you as our classes are to expectant parents!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

From

Parenting is like a plate of spaghetti | 3 Things to Do Before Giving Birth | Jax, FL Birth

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success

 Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Jax natural birth

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success

Devastated, broken, shocked, and disappointed are not words that anyone wants to use to describe their birth experience, let alone feel those things deeply as their own truth. That, however, is the reality for many parents! First Coast Doulas offers the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success in all birthing situations.

With celebrities like Serena Williams, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel bravely sharing their stories, more people are realizing that their reality is unfortunately not all that uncommon.

Preparing for the gamut both during and after birth is actually very wise! Too many times birthing people fall into the “if the mind believes it the body will achieve it trap”, to later find themselves experiencing overwhelming sadness and guilt. That is no way to begin parenthood!

Classes like hypno-yada-yada, and several other method-based classes only teach about the way to have a “natural” or “vaginal” birth.

Therefore, those classes put emphasis on “natural” and “vaginal” being of superior importance over all else in birth. With one in three births ending in cesarean delivery in 2018 why on Earth are parents still being taught that there is only one way to feel good about their birth experience? Why are parents being set up for failure from the get-go?

I don’t care how science-minded you are or how hippy, crunchy, natural you are, this class IS for you! Birth can happen safely in homes, hospitals, and birth centers! This class prepares you for it all!

Since 2013 The Jax Baby Company has been at the forefront in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia as forward-thinking, wave-making, pioneers for birthing and postpartum families! We know that the power of a birth plan doesn’t lie in the execution of the plan, but rather the knowledge you gain and the communication your have in the process of creating it! We know how important and impactful birth is and we have been setting parents up for true success since day one.

The Jax Baby Company teaches the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success no matter how they give birth!

The Confident Birth and Baby Class is woo-free, science and evidence-based classes that do not focus on one way being best or right, because that is just silly and complete and utter bullshit!

So, what does the only birth class of its kind in Jax that sets parents up for success teach you’re wondering!

We teach you the stages and phases of labor, how you can recognize those while at home, how to know when you’re in labor, and how you might feel and be comforted during each stage and phase. You can learn how to feel safer and fear less! You’ll be taught tools you can use anywhere; at home alone, at the store surrounded by people, in the hospital shower, heading into the OR (operating room), during your cesarean, while squatting, lying, or doing head-stands (we joke), with pharmacological pain meds, and without any at all.

We help you get to the heart of what satisfying means to you on a deeper, much more fulfilling level! Your birth partner can discover their own personal support style so that you feel comfortable with their support and they feel empowered in their role!

Not only do we teach on birth, but we also cover the first few weeks after birth. Ya know, the time you’ve really been waiting for! Birth is one day, maybe two, but baby snuggles, pictures, adorable outfits, and all the other things like night-feedings, newborn cues, healing after birth, emotional and physical warning signs and what you can do to not only survive but thrive after birth, those last much longer!

Yes, thirve baby!

These classes help set birthing people up for success by teaching them about both vaginal and cesarean birth because both can be equally satisfying and beautiful. Both can be empowering, both ways can be the “best”, and both can be considered “natural”. Remember torandos, water, and death are natural. Natural doesn’t always equal best!

“How,” you ask?

Take a class and find out! What are you waiting for? Taking this class is the single most important thing you can do to prepare for birth and the early weeks of parenting!  This is a small investment in the big scheme of things!

Don’t take our word for it, read our reviews; on Google, Facebook, and our website!

For the next 4 weeks ONLY The Jax Baby Company is offering an exclusive package for those who read our blog! Get the Hello Sunshine postpartum package and The Confident Birth and Baby Class, an $1,800 value, for $1699. That’s a savings of a whopping $101.

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax
The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax

Mention this blog when you book and receive this exclusive offer! Get ready to feel more prepared, relaxed, and 100% supported as you transition into parenting!

The Jax Baby Company Childbirth Education is Success Kid Approved!

The Only Birth Class Of Its Kind In Jax That Sets Parents Up for Success | Natural Birth Class Jax
“Success Kid” Photograph (c) Laney Griner / Used with Permission

Homage to Doulas | Celebrating World Doula Week 2018

homage to doulas jax fl | Doulas in Jax

Homage to Doulas

Each year from March 22nd to March 28th the World pays homage to doulas! The celebration mostly consists of doulas celebrating doulas; doulas who have come before them, doula colleagues, their own work as doulas, and the future of doulas everywhere.  Families who’ve hired doulas or who have doulas in their family also pay homage to doulas during this week each year.  In my honest and humble opinion it’s a week of reflection,  thanksgiving, and motivation.

Did you know that the average burn out rate for doulas is 3-4 years?

In the “doula world,” there’s a mission to we leave birth and postpartum in a better state than we originally found it. Like a doula’s scope of practice, the mission is open to interpretation. Three to four years is a relatively short time frame for anyone to make a positive impact in any field, but especially in doula work.

Three to four years before the long hours and lack of sustainability consumes them. In that time frame, the majority of doulas will be forced to retire from the work they love and are great at. That three to four year time frame allows them to take a doula training, meet and connect with families and healthcare providers, just begin to find their footing, and become trusted support persons. All just to turn over the reigns because they either were not able to make the work sustainable or they didn’t believe in themselves enough to even try.

What happens when doulas create sustainable practices?

Well, to start with doesn’t most everyone feel better about going to work knowing they’ll be paid for the work they do? Yeah, doulas feel the same. It’s empowering to know we’re earning our own money. Doulas who create sustainability prioritize and take pride in their work. We take better care of ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally.  We won’t resent explaining to literally every person we meet what a doula is or the difference between a doula and a midwife! Sustainable doulas will reinvest in the doula profession to further their education and training. Doulas who create sustainable businesses teach others that this work is a profession, not a hobby. Best of all, we’ll stick around long enough to truly leave birth and postpartum in a better state than we found it.

If you’re a doula toot your own damn horn this week! Toot toot!

Pay homage to doulas everywhere by patting yourself on the back this week. You deserve it! Give a shout out to those who have positively impacted your journey in some way. They deserve it! Sleep an extra hour, get the pedicure, and splurge on dinner at your favorite place! If you’ve grown from an experience or fallen and gotten back up, cheers to you! If you’ve freed yourself from some major baggage you didn’t know you had, your motivation has changed, or you have just become even more strongly rooted in your mission than the day you started, toot that horn doula!

The First Coast Doulas team wants to pay homage to doulas everywhere this week! Try to enjoy the journey as much as possible it can help with longevity. We believe you are capable of leaving birth and postpartum in a better state than you found it. I encourage you to think about what that statement means to you, find your “why”, and toot your horn this week!

Happy Birth & Postpartum Doulaing

~Elizabeth Luke

 

 

 

Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

Induction of Labor Jax FL

Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

It’s true, most babies will come when they are ready for life outside the womb, but sometimes induction of labor is suggested by the care giver or desired by the pregnant person.  ACOG recommendations support a normal, full-term pregnancy lasting between 39 weeks and 0 days and 41 weeks and 6 days as long as both the mother and the baby are doing well and there is no medical indication for the induction.

I’m facing an induction of labor. Now what?

If this suggestion was based primarily on dates alone and you are within the range of normal and full-term (see ACOG above) first ask yourself how are you feeling about this suggestion. Sit with that for a minute and reflect.

Are you feeling kosher with the idea?

If yes, there’s nothing wrong with that. Many moms share your excitement and enthusiasm to have their baby in their arms now rather than later. If no, that’s perfectly normal as well. It’s a very personal decision either way. The next thing to do would be to talk with your provider about his/her suggestion.

Induction of Labor Birth Jax FL

Induction of Labor Jax FL Birth Classes

10 Great Questions to Ask Your Provider are:

1. For what reason(s) are you suggesting induction of labor?

2. Can we try some alternatives?

3. What methods of induction are you familiar with and most comfortable using?

4. What induction method do you recommend for me?

5. What are the risks and benefits of induction of labor?

6. How will this affect my birth preferences?

7. Would you be comfortable sending me for a Biophysical Profile (BPP) and or a Nonstress Test (NST) and reviewing those results with me before scheduling the induction?

8. Can you tell me my Bishop Score?

9. At what point would a cesarean birth be indicated?

10. If I elect to be induced can I choose the date and who my caregivers will be?

Not sure you got an answer or you didn’t understand the answer? That’s okay; communication is the key to feeling heard. Ask again, maybe in a different way.

Again, sit with it and reflect on these answers.

If there is no medical indication for induction you have real time to think it through! Even in medically indicated inductions there’s at least some time for you to process and make decisions.

With medical induction of labor, like any other pregnancy related decision there is usually array of emotions involved.

Here are 5 things you can do now to prepare:

1. Get into a good headspace. While most babies come when they are ready, some don’t and for good reason. Birth can safely take place at home and in birth centers and hospitals. Feeling respected and validated can lead to rewarding birth experiences!

2. Breathe and practice guided meditation, affirmations, and mantras to help prepare your body and your mind for the experience of birth. Some of my personal favorites are: My baby knows where and how she needs to be born. I trust the process. I will meet my baby soon.

3. Become familiar with Informed Consent and Informed Refusal. Let it bring you some peace about being in control as much as possible.

4. Do something for you! Get a massage and a pedicure, take a walk on the beach, swim, or do whatever makes you smile and helps you feel good. If you feel the need to do something more you can visit spinningbabies.com and do some positioning exercises.

5. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Birth can and usually does happen when we least expect it to. Don’t give away your homebirth supplies or throw plan A away just yet.

While being induced increases your chances of having a cesarean birth and can initially bring with it disappointment, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to a bad birth.

When we prepare to embrace the experience rather than the method in which our children enter our lives we can learn so much! It isn’t how we birth or come to be parents that makes us great parents, but rather how we embrace our greatest gift– our children and how we adapt while performing our greatest job–parenting.

Taking a great childbirth preparation class like the Confident Birth & Parenting Class or The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class will increase you and your birth partner’s confidence and help you embrace birth and parenting no matter what you want or need!

Happy birth and parenting!

~Elizabeth

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

private childbirth classes | Jax FL | Best Birth Classes in Jax., FL

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

Childbirth classes and sunroofs, what do they have in common? Are you pregnant and seeking childbirth classes that are right for you? How do you choose? Is a class really necessary? I’ve shared my story in the past, I’ve had moms tell me it was helpful to them during their search for childbirth classes. Those who had a prior birth end in a way they didn’t anticipate found my story especially helpful.

I’d waited nine long months pregnant with my first.

I lovingly caressed my belly and enjoyed being pregnant (mostly). I couldn’t wait to meet him, hold him, and call him by his name. After 18 hours of labor, when I finally got to hold him in my arms, I just felt… exhausted and empty. Being awake for almost two days mostly without food will do that to you. I was frustrated at the expectations I felt by everyone to see my baby before I was even cleaned up after birth.  My hip felt bruised where he had been bumping against it during our labor.  He wouldn’t latch onto my breast. Then he fell asleep while I wolfed down two hospital-made turkey sandwiches with mayo on top.  Tired was an understatement.

This is how I started parenthood.

Exhausted, but also feeling like I should feel more, because I’d had a “good birth”.

It was a vaginal birth like I had planned for. My care provider was wonderful and respectful. My partner was super supportive and loving, and I had a perfect, precious baby in my arms.  It was good, right?  Everyone else was calling it a “good birth” so it must have been good.

Even after a few hours, when I really did connect and bond with my baby I couldn’t stop staring at him. His little nose, toes and everything about him was perfect. When I was really and truly in love…

I wanted more.

I felt like the classes I had taken still didn’t teach me that birth isn’t only about the outcome. In fact, the childbirth classes I had taken (and that many parents take) focused on “a healthy baby”, as if that were the only thing that mattered.

Of course it matters.

No one honestly thinks to themselves, “I want to have an amazing birth experience at the expense of my baby’s health.” No! We want balance. A healthy mom and baby and a satisfying experience no matter how our babies are born; vaginal or cesarean.

As one mom put it, “Sliding right through my vagina would be great, but if she really needs to use the sunroof that’s cool too.”

Oh, oh, oh, childbirth classes and sunroofs do have something in common!

Our birth experiences are about the choices we have along the way. Even then, it really isn’t about which choices we make, but how we feel about making them. My first birth isn’t the reason I became a doula, but it did change the way I write and recommend childbirth classes.

In my professional experience and in my personal opinion birth classes that are worth it should:

  • Be comprehensive and diverse
  • Cover the anatomy and physiology of birth.
  • Teach strategies to help you work through all the decisions you may face.
  • Help you determine a set role for each person who will be with your during your labor and birth.
  • Cover “natural” and pharmaceutical pain relief options.
  • Help you focus on your goals, but also approach birth with realistic expectations.
  • Teach the importance of choosing a provider and a hospital deliberately and with intention, so that the care you receive will align with your philosophy on birth.

In our classes and in The Prepared Parent Childbirth Classes taught by First Coast Doulas we cover all of those important things. We also cover topics like the importance of a special environment for birth. An environment that leaves a birthing family feeling like they really are the center of the world. That’s another check mark for a great childbirth class!

We know that birth is unpredictable and very often strays, or at least wanders a little from the written plan or idea we try to concrete into our mind.

But birth can also be more, so much more!

It’s not simply about whether or not your baby slides through the birth canal or pops the hatch to be born through the sunroof! You can learn how to have a birth centered on YOU! You’ll truly be prepared for the EXPERIENCE of birth. Even if you don’t get most of what’s on your “birth plan” your birth can still be an experience that helps you position yourself for a rewarding start along your parenting journey.

So whether this is your first baby or your last, from one mom to another—find childbirth classes that TRULY help you plan for the experience of birth!

Childbirth Classes in Jax FL | Night Nurse Jax FL

This blog was co-authored by Elizabeth Luke, owner of First Coast Doulas and Victoria McCollum, owner of The Virginia Baby Company.

childbirth classes jax fl | Jax FL Birthing Classes

Victoria McCollum is a doula extraordinaire, Supermom to three amazing boys, and a carbohydrate connoisseur who lives in Fredericksburg with her super handsome soldier.  You can connect with her on Facebook or on Instagram for birth and parenting tips, tricks and updates The Virginia Baby Company serves Northern and Central Virginia, from Arlington to Richmond to Charlottesville.

Placenta Encapsulation is Supported

 placenta encapsulation is supported jax fl

Placenta Encapsulation is Supported

There are people that ask why placenta encapsulation is supported by so many moms and those of us who provide this service? I tell everyone who inquiries with us at First Coast Doulas, there have been very limited studies done on the consumption of the placenta. The studies that have been done are old, outdated, and weren’t double blind. There is no evidence to support or disprove the claims that it can help or hurt anyone. I am very forthcoming that one person’s experience may not be the same as the next. So it’s natural that one might wonder why anyone would support the practice of placentophagy.

Stay with me!

I can’t speak for others. What I can do is tell you why I not only support this practice but why I provide this service to our community.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by First Coast Doulas because:

  1. We always support women in their choices for themselves without judgment or our own agenda.
  2. We want them to be as safe as possible while doing this.
  3. There is no evidence or studies to prove or disprove anything.
  4. I’ve seen enough to believe it can be helpful.

Women want to be support in their choices. One of my beliefs is that they should always have autonomy over their bodies, what they do with them, and what they put in them.

More and more women are requesting placenta encapsulation. I’m here to provide this service to them in the absolute safest way possible. Women do not have to settle for subpar standards and service. When they select an certifed encapsulation specialist whose in favor of highest standards and is prepared for regulation of this otherwise uncontrolled industry they are getting the very best the industry has to offer. First Coast Doulas wants better for women, families, and public health.

There’s information out there about placenta encapsulation, good, bad, and the ugly.

Here’s the thing though, there’s no evidence or studies for or against placenta encapsulation. There have been NO studies to date on a large enough scale to prove anything. There are no studies that have been done to say that eating your placenta after encapsulation is dangerous, a waste of time, is only placebo effect, or has benefits! Zero! None!

What we do have are women who are sharing their experiences with other women. They’re saying, “This is why I did it and this how it helped me. This is why placenta encapsulation is supported by me and I’ll do it again if we have another baby.”

I’ve personally seen and heard enough from our clients to believe it can be helpful.

It’s certainly not helpful to all, but to many who take advantage of this practice, it is! From personal accounts (not studies, remember studies are large scale over time) we hear time and time again that there is a noticeable difference between taking them and forgetting to take them or stopping them.

I would say it fair safe to make the assumption that placenta encapsulation could possibly help.

The majority say they notice a difference in their energy levels when they take the capsules versus when they forget to take them. We hear partners call them “happy pills”. I’ve had moms come to me and say I had to slow down on taking my placenta capsules because I was producing so much milk. It’s also not uncommon at all for our clients to report back that their anxiety and or depression, in conjunction with or without medication prescribed by their doctors was more manageable while taking their capsules versus without.

All these claims and no evidence is a shame, but it doesn’t stop majority of women from trying this practice out for themselves.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by First Coast Doulas whether it’s reported benefits can be proven or if it’s only placebo effect. We say, if your ingesting your placenta for your own personal beliefs or wonderings and you’re doing it in the safest way possible, go for it!

First Coast Doulas’ clients know without any doubts that they are getting a legally licensed and insured business, one that is trained, certified, and practicing safest preparation.

Clients know the placenta they receive in the capsules is theirs and no one else’s and that it was never exposed to foreign microbiome, airborne or otherwise. Their placenta never leaves their possession. They know that access to accurate information and in person, one on one support for their family on topics such as breast or bottle feeding, diapering, and their postpartum body is complimentary and encouraged during our time working together.

Savvy moms and dads already know some of the challenges they’ll face in parenthood.

The new generation who are raising these tiny humans are deciding to be proactive instead of reactive with their health.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by First Coast Doulas and by many parents and providers. First Coast Doulas is happy to meet families where they are at to help them navigate this journey through life transitions!

Happy birth and parenting from your friends at First Coast Doulas!