Help Me Get a Hearing Aid!   |   Baton Rouge, LA Photographer

Help Me Get a Hearing Aid! | Baton Rouge, LA Photographer

17758197_10210907504176467_6760337439963975761_oAs a child I experienced chronic ear infections in my left ear from an infant on through my teen years.  Due to these infections I had many surgeries as well as two stapedectomy surgeries.  This has resulted in moderate conductive hearing loss, that will only get worse.

So far, I’ve been able to manage through life with my hearing loss and found ways to accommodate and cope.  Now, as a married adult with three young children, I’ll be going back to school after working as a doula and birth photographer for 7 years.  My first goal will be my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) followed up with my Masters as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  AKA, a ton of work.   I want to give myself the best opportunity to accomplish this so I can continue to serve those in my community.

18057639_10211119417754174_8259324342482492220_nI was able to do a week long trial through my ENT’s office and on day 5 of the trial I finally got used to it. It needed additional adjustments because of feed back (think mic too close to a speaker) and feeling like one range/tone is just too high. I wore it all day at the Spinning Babies workshop this past Saturday, full of women talking and interacting.

I found myself not tilting my head as much to hear (this will help with muscular and skeletal issues I’ve been having). I wasn’t squinting to focus on lip reading and hearing. I felt like I was able to focus more on the information and not just trying to hear what was being said. I could hear people clear across the room that I would otherwise end up ignoring, not because I didn’t want to hear what they had to say, but because I can’t typically hear them and it isn’t worth the strain.

I came home and took out the HA (hearing aid) to get a bit of a break and it was such an eye opening, “Man, I really have a decent hearing loss”. Listen to the sound you can hear, now go put in an ear plug. Yep, that’s what I’m hearing.

It it recommended I get a Oticon Opn 2 and will cost $2853 (YIKES!!)  I have two options of payment

$175 down non-refundable deposit 
½ down $1426 and  ½ 30-days later

OR

$175 down non-refundable deposit
Full payment of $2853

So, where do you come in?  I’m trying to gain as much work as humanly possible to pay for this sucker!  I offer a variety of services, some that are new!

20w

Photography

Family Documentary Sessions starting at $350
Newborn Sessions starting at $375
Fresh48 Sessions tarting at $300

 

12w

Birth Services 

Childbirth Education and Preparation Class $300 REDUCED to $95
Encapsulation starting at $245

15w

Please consider booking or sharing this post with those that would benefit from services!  


email me at info@mydoulaheart.com for more information!
mydoulaheart.com  |  Baton Rouge, LA
facebook.com/mydoulaheart

2015 Recap! | Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

2015 Recap! | Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

2015-Review

Whoa!  What a year 2015 has been for me.  It brought me into some amazing people’s lives allowing me to complete 12  Doula Births –  7 girls 5 boys, 6 Birth Stories, 10 Fresh48/Newborn Sessions, and 56 Placentas!!

I’m a solo doula/business owner, and I’d say this was my 2 year, make or break mark with my doula and doula related services. What does that mean?  On average, most doulas do not continue past 2 years.  Either it wasn’t what they expected, realize they pay does not compare to the workload, or they find they do not have the time to commit with personal family life.  

Newborn

The start of 2015 was the end of my certification phase and the beginning of what I feel my “real” work began.  I was no longer a trying to accomplish that initial goal of becoming certified, I was certified.  This was it, I was the expert.

I grew exponentially as a doula, a business, and now venturing into being a mentor, not something I had ever envisioned doing.  Not only did I complete my  DONA, International certification, but I also obtained my  APPA certification for placenta encapsulation.

66w

Photography made a comeback appearance this year as well, the thing that started this whole mess 6 years ago ;), and I’ve fallen right back in love with it.  When I am behind the camera, I see my environment in a completely different manner.  I instantly become a documentarian and remove myself from the storyline.  While I keep the same on-call schedule as I do with my birth clients, it is a completely different experience for me. 

Cesarean Birth

I’ve had the opportunity to make many new professional connections this year in my local birth community, as well as worldwide.  I am so grateful for every single one of them!

 2015 also brought some pretty amazing clients, all with such different and wonderful births. First time moms and VBAC’s;  planned  and unexpected cesarean births;  medicated and unmedicated births.  I was witness to them all, and they were all beautiful.

I expanded my knowledge through several workshops and courses this year, one being a very fun and interactive SpinningBabies workshop with Tammy Ryan… we had SIX of our local OB’s attened… SIX!  We had such a fantastic group of providers and birth professionals from around the state.  Doulas, midwives, nurses, OB’s, chiropractors, massage therapists… it was great!

SpinningBabies

I received a scholarship to StillBirthDay.com University, and starting next week, I’ll be starting their intense 12 week program. It’s never something we think of when we start this work, but it is our reality and we must know how to be there for our clients in the best way possible.

There have been highs and lows, sleep deprivation, happiness and sadness, doubt and certainty. I wouldn’t change it for the world.  It was an amazing year and I hope 2016 brings me more challenges and growth!

Some things you can expect  the first half of the year in 2016!

I hope you all had a fantastic 2015 as well!!

Happy New Year!!

 

Jen

Being a Birth Worker With Young Children |  Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

Being a Birth Worker With Young Children | Baton Rouge, LA Doula & Birth Photographer

This is probably the number one hurdle with becoming a doula or birth photographer and sustaining a steady flow of work.  Having a young family can really take a toll on birth workers, even with one client a month.  We are a family of 5, kids ages 2, 5 (just had a birthday), and 6.  My two older kiddos are in school full days AND I just signed them up for Cub Scouts and Soccer.  What?!  So, how do I stay  involved with my family and be there for my clients?   I have to stay organized!

11145118_10206279864408365_9203147182306481422_oHomework Station

Top row: Important papers, forms that need to be filled out.  Whomever is home is responsible for looking in their backpacks immediately and placing papers from their daily school folder into the appropriate places.  When I get home, I quickly glance at them to see if anything needs replying to immediately.  The clips are cheap chip bag clips with a thumbtack.

Middle Row:  I found this organizational storage thingy (lol) at my wonderful local Target.  I used spray chalk paint to make a section to write their names. We place any homework for the day or week into this section.

Bottom Row:  Here they place their backpacks and school sweaters.  It’s still warm, very warm, but sometimes their rooms can get a bit chilly.

 

Calendar

Calendar of Events

I have way too many calendars going on, but one specifically hung that I print from my iCalendar for kid related events; it helps the husband and sitters keep track better and is there for me to glance at on my way out of the door.  If I have to leave in the middle of the night and one of my kids has a doctor or dentist appt the next day, I’m able to call the office and leave a voicemail notifying them I will not be able to make it.  All my childrens physicians have a note included in their charts that I am a doula/birth photographer and they have waived any cancellation fees (score!). Other things I include on their calendar are:  sporting practices/games, cub scout meetings/events, school and events.

 

 

YumBoxPre Packed Lunch

One word, Yumbox.  I love, love, love these containers!  I am able to pack them the night before or even in the middle of the night.  The seal is so good that sandwiches stay soggy free and apples don’t change color.  Follow their Instagram, @yumboxlunch, they have tons of food ideas each day.  I also use one of our extra ones to pack food into to take to births.  If all fails, I keep money on their accounts at school for school lunches. While my 2yo stays home with me, I still make her a packed lunch in the event I need to head out to a birth.  It’s also great to have when running errands or needing to get work done during the day.  *I always ask if there are any students with a peanut allergy, but still use almond butter in school lunches. There is still a possibility of an allergy, but less likely with almonds.

 

folder Babysitter Binder

When I first created this I thought my sitters would think I was some crazy overbearing parent, but they love it!  It’s more of a guide, than anything else..  I have many sections in my binder including meds, food preference,  school information, emergency contacts, local hospitals, pet information (because we have a whole slew of those too), and much more.  There is also a section for timesheets.  Weird?  Maybe, but I come home like a zombie from births.  This way I can see who babysat, how long they were here, and who may have replaced them while I was gone (I have several sitters I can rotate and rely on if one can’t be here the whole time). They get the option of cash in a few days after I return home or immediate payment using Cash.me from the creators of SquareUp.com.

 To purchase a PDF Babysitter Binder template:

Fill in yourself –  $15
Completely custom binder, you provide me with the info -$35
Payments can be made to: jen@mydoulaheart.com

 

notesNotes for Teachers

At the beginning of every school year (or move), I make my kids teachers aware that I am a doula and birth photographer.  I am the first person of contact on their school emergency cards, but when I am at a birth I will not be able to answer my phone.  I have a laminated card I place into their daily folders that states I am at a birth.  Each card contains who to contact first in the order they are listed in the event of an emergency or if a child needs to be picked up due to illness.  I will usually leave the notes in their folder an extra day so I can really get caught up on sleep.

 

 

 

 

choresHome Chores

Talk to any birth worker that has been doing this work steadily for a minimum of 2 years and they will tell you their home is usually the last thing taken care of next to their own self care.  LADIES!  We HAVE to take care of our homes and selves.  I speak for myself when I say that when my home is clean, I am a happy being.  I used to say, “as long as everyone is alive when I get home, that’s all that matters.”  This did not work and I ended up having more work for myself.  I adapted and love all things FlyLady.  She has all the tools available, but breaks it up into baby steps so you don’t become overwhelmed (which I never do, I jump in head first). I have certain days that I do certain chores: laundry Sundays and Wednesdays; floors Sat/Sun, Tuesday, Thursday;   tidy the bathroom anytime I go in there — a quick wipe down, straighten the towels, take out a trashcan.

 

food

Food

I love fresh food, but it can be difficult to keep fresh veggies on hand, and lets face it, not everyone loves to cook like I do.Once a week, I go to the grocery store to shop with meals in mind..  When I cook dinner throughout the week, I cook double batches for meals we really love and freeze. I place complete meals into ziplock bags, placing individual ingredients into individual bags, and then into disposable tin catering pans with instructions.   Trader Joe’s and Costco have some decent frozen meals, and I’m finding myself stocking up on a lot of frozen veggies.  If you decide to freeze your own veggies, remember to blanch them prior to freezing.  Check out Trader Joe’s Recipe section for awesome ideas!

 

 

funMEMORIES!

Last, but not least, do not forget to have FUN with your family and make memories!  Set work hours for yourself, there is no right or wrong schedule for you as long as you are not burning yourself out and getting good quality time with the ones you love.  We have zoo passes, go to the local splash pads, parks, cook together, even the carwash is fun entertainment for my kiddos (and I get a clean car 😉 )  They are really getting into board games and I just made a maze for them in the backyard.  It’s nothing grand, but they love running it for hours.

For the Love of Laina

For the Love of Laina

L1

 

When my family first moved to Baton Rouge, LA at the end of summer 2013, I needed to rebuild my business in a new city.  I ran a special for Fresh48 sessions and April Blackburn was the first to reply and book a session with me.   April’s session really stands out because I got lost and ended up being late!  I was so stressed and worried; this was my first client in a new town and I was screwing it up!    The session went great and April loved her images.  I also know April through our local online Facebook groups and attending several of our Baton Rouge ICAN meetings together.  See her Fresh48 session here: mydoulaheart.com/alainafresh48/  

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This past weekend, the Blackburn family received some terrible news.   On August 21, sweet Laina, was diagnosed with Pre B Cell Leukemia. She is undergoing treatment at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.  They live about 2 hours from Children’s Hospital New Orleans, no family locally and Laina has an older brother as well. Their needs will be significant and they will need support and prayers.

 

 

 

 


 

THERE ARE SEVERAL WAYS FOR YOU  TO HELP!

  • Follow & Share on Facebook: facebook.com/ForTheLoveOfLaina
  • Care Calendar (locals):  carecalendar.org/logon/218455
                                               Calendar ID: 218455

                                               Security Code: 7395
  • Donate Funds: (coming soon)
  • Amazon Wish List: (coming soon)
  • Book a session with me: Until Laina is better, I will be giving the Blackburn family 40% from all Fresh48 and Birth sessions booked. I will also be holding 30 minute mini sessions soon with 100% of proceeds going to the family.

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   Download and Share this image:  Right click/save

 

 

144044297912524 (1)  Or you can visit this link, upload your profile pic and place a yellow/gold overlay on your picture with text.  
  To do this, click on the icon that looks like this:  Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 1.54.32 PM , choose the same color for top and bottom, there should be a   default yellow available. 
  Text should be: GEAUX GOLD #TeamLaina
   Font:LiberationSans-Regular; size 100 for the top, 90 for the bottom

 

–>  TO BOOK, CONTACT ME HERE <–


 

Read more about PreB Cell Leukemia here:

  • http://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-prognostic-factors
  • http://www.cancer.org/cancer/leukemiainchildren/detailedguide/childhood-leukemia-how-classified
  • http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/207631-overview

Why I Became a Doula | Baton Rouge, LA Birth Doula and Photographer

 Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to breastfeeding much, natural childbirth, healthy eating, anything you’d typically associate a doula with. My mother attempted to breastfeed myself and siblings, but due to misinformation and lack of support, she made the decision to formula feed us. I grew up in Section 8 housing, and I only remember two women breastfeeding out of all the families I knew. One, an immigrant from Ethiopia; the other a family who had lost everything in a fire and were living in our apartments temporarily.

Aside from all this, natural childbirth and breastfeeding was still something that was normal to me. I myself was a homebirth baby and I remember asking, my mother and father, questions about my birth. Why did they choose homebirth? What was the weather like?   Who attended my birth? I had meconium, but was fine, what did that mean? Why did my mom mention I was her Moonlight Lady ever time the song came on? I’d often listen to my birth that my parents had recorded on tape and browse birth books my mom had from her pregnancies.

At 4, I had attended hospital midwife visits with my mom and ultimately the birth of ‘my baby’. I don’t have too many natural memories, but I would routinely watch the video tape from his birth. When I was about 12, I attended our neighbor’s birth with my mother since she didn’t have any labor support. I don’t remember much, except for cutting the cord and looking at the baby on the warmer. While it was exciting, it was also calming and felt so natural. Yes, babies were exciting, but I didn’t understand the big deal (remember I was 12).

As I got older, birth continued to fascinate me, but other things in my life took priority. I was 16 when I found out I was pregnant. I was given a choice of an abortion or a girl’s home/shelter; I refused an abortion. The home I went to had good intentions, but their birth preparation and overall birth/ support was lacking. When I went into labor, I was undereducated and finding myself alone even though several people were in my room. Prodromal labor was induced at 36 weeks and after 24 hours of labor AROM and being 9.5cm, I was taken in for an ‘emergency’ cesarean. Postpartum, I found myself alone again, begging for help with the feelings I was experiencing, and receiving nothing in return. There had to be a better way to support mothers, young ones at that.

Fast forward ten years, I’m married with three beautiful VBAC children, and a birth photography business. At each birth I attended, my clients were starting to ask more questions and seeking guidance. I kept weighing the option of taking doula training, but I didn’t want to become another photographer that was adding doula to their resume for the sake of looking good. It needed to be for the right reasons. I feel women that have had a traumatic experience or an experience that wasn’t ideal with their original plan, need to process it in a similar manner to grief; Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. I needed to make sure I had processed my own births. I needed to make sure I had processed through those emotions, particularly anger. I see many women enter into birth work during this stage, and while there can be some benefits as an activist; it can be harmful as a doula, particularly new doulas.

After attending a documentary showing in 2013, a couple local doulas in my community strongly encouraged me to take a DONA training. I wasn’t 100% sure it was something I wanted to do, but I looked up when the next workshop with Tammy Ryan was going to be in town, and signed up. After attending my training, I knew this was what I was meant to do. It was what I had been missing for the three years of photographing births.

I often find myself being the odd man out in my current community of doulas, as many are strong in activism and creating change. It is greatly needed, however, my philosophy is focus on my client, happy mind, happy labor and K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple Silly.

I didn’t become a doula overnight after an epiphany of my own birth experiences, but believe it was something that had developed over my lifetime, possibly starting at my own birth, as corny as that sounds. I do not believe doula work is the end of my journey working with mothers and families, but only the beginning of what I’m meant to do.

My Baby Turned 2  |  Baton Rouge, LA Birth Doula and Photographer

My Baby Turned 2 | Baton Rouge, LA Birth Doula and Photographer

Demanding・Insistent・Stubborn・Bossy・Difficult・Challenging・Contrary・Rebellious・Defiant・Sweet・Loving・Kind・Silly・Nurturing

She just turned 2 and those are the words that describe her. She can be very opinionated and passionate in the things she wants. While it can be rough as a parent, I’m SO grateful for her strong spirit. I’m excited to see her develop and grow and I only hope I can positively guide her in the path she’s been given.

My baby turned 2 a  couple days ago and I cannot believe where the time has gone.  She is most likely the last baby I’ll be pregnant with.  The last baby I’ll nurse.  The last baby I’ll wrap up in a blanket.  The last baby I’ll wear.  And it’ makes me SAD!

2w

12w

2-2w

17w

Here is my birth story:

One year ago today I was in labor and gave birth to our beautiful daughter at 6:23pm, on 11/17/12, weighing 7lbs 15oz, and 20.5″ long.

Flagstaff Medical Center had recently started allowing VBAC’s again in July 2012 and there hadn’t been too many VBAC’s between then and my birth.  I was an excellent candidate, having 2 previous VBAC’s without complication, but they were still following the repeat c-section rules of scheduling by 41 weeks that had been  imposed on them.  I wasn’t too happy with that, but after interviewing many providers in Phoenix and finally in Flagstaff, they were my best option.  We talked and they were fine with doing NST’s if we did get to the 41 week mark.  As bad as this may sound, they were very supportive and on board with my plan.  I also knew there may be more rules for me delivering at a hospital so new to providing VBAC’s to their patients, but I also knew I would have a successful delivery, and if I could add towards the hospitals number of positive VBAC’s  for future mamas, I was ok with that.  So I transferred my care from a local NP/CNM at 34 weeks (it’s never too late!!).

My last OB appointment at North Country Health Care was on November 16th at 39.3 weeks.  We drove the hour and forty-five minutes north to Flagstaff with everyone in tow (kids, my mom, Jay).  I had my typical prodromal  labor throughout my pregnancy, building up as I went, but this time I wasn’t dilating like I had with my previous pregnancies.  Was I really going to get to the point of needing NST’s and scheduling a repeat after all this?

Without being pushy, she asked if I wanted my membranes stripped, “Uh, I don’t care.  It never worked before, I doubt it will work this time.  She’s never going to come out, we might as well just schedule that section…”   I was 3cm, so she went ahead and did the strip and told me I needed the trifecta:  spicy food, sex, and walking.  So we left the appointment and headed to the Flagstaff mall around 11:00a waiting for a local Mexican food restaurant to open.  I was experiencing nothing!  After 20 minutes, I decided we just needed to go home, so we loaded up and I drove back while everyone else slept.  I had my typical contractions I’d get from every trip from the position I was sitting in and I just cried.  These weren’t real, they were just my ‘angry uterus’ acting up.

We got home around 1:00p and Jay headed out to work about 2:30p.  An hour after that I wanted to be alone.  Thankfully  my mom was in town and I was able to lock my door to do my own thing.  I also started to lose my plug but figured it was just from the membrane stripping and nothing special.  I piddled around, not doing much, having contractions, but nothing worth timing.  We ate dinner around 6:30p, put the boys to bed and I retreated back to my room.

Between 7:30p to 11:30p I caught up on my Hulu and bounced on the ball.  I was still having contractions and losing my plug, but NO regularity.  I  was super emotional and feeling discouraged, I didn’t think it was real labor.  I finally went to bed, but kept being woken up from the contractions.  I knew if I wasn’t truly in labor I wouldn’t be waking up like this but I was still in denial.  I finally got up to pee around 1:15a, having a few contractions and more discharge.  Nope, just a side effect from the stripping, she’s never coming out!

I sent Jay a text with an update as to what was going on and he told me to contact Melody, my midwife/doula.  (We hired her so she could monitor me at home and transfer to the hospital as my doula.  This saved us a TON of trips) So what do I do?  I send her a TEXT!  I tell all my birth clients to NEVER text me in the middle of the night, I won’t hear it, they must call!  Few minutes later I realized what I did and gave her a call, “Hey it’s Jen, this is what’s happening.  It’s nothing, but Jay wanted me to let you know anyway…ugh”  – “I’m getting my stuff and will be over in about 30 minutes”.  Both she and Jay got to the house at 1:45a and Melody checked me.  I was a stretchy 4cm.  Looking back, I should have just gone with what I knew and not gone to the hospital, but everyone was worried about the distance and the fact that this was my 4th delivery.  (for the future folks, my labors are 24 hrs, we have time).

I started waking up the boys and I’ll never forget what William did.  “What?!”  He started getting up and gathering his things (they each had a backpack and goody bag), and I needed him to get on his boots

“I just can’t”
“You can’t what?”
“I just can’t do this, I’m freaking out!”  as he flails his arms around…

We get on the road at 2:00a and I still had no regular consistency to my contractions.  I call the hospital to let us know we are on our way.  When we did our tour, they told us to use one entrance for normal business hours and another for after hours.  Of course I had no clue where to go.   They told us to park at the top of the parking structure and they’d be out to meet us.   We made it there at 3:00a, just an hour after leaving,  which was odd since Jay was not speeding at all and then took his sweet time navigating through Flagstaff.

Once inside, they hooked me up to the monitors to see what my contractions looked like and to make sure Little Miss was doing well.  I met the on-call doctors, doctors I had met in the office before, and we went over my wants/needs.

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Admission

The anesthesiologist came in as a routine and he was pretty grumpy.  The policy was to allow laboring mothers to eat and drink as much as they wanted, even VBAC’s, but he didn’t seem too thrilled about this rule.  I could tell he was “old school”, so I just smiled and said ok.  The doctor that was on-call also “recommended” I not eat and she tried to convince me otherwise for quite some time.  I again politely declined and let her know I knew the risks.  She didn’t bother me after that.  Sometime after 6:00a we gave the boys their Big Brother bags that contained special shirts, and I ordered the famous breakfast burrito from the cafeteria and loved every minute of it.  The nurse even came in at one point asking if I had made sure to order a cinnamon roll “they are amazing!  You have to get one”

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By 9:00a, I sent my mom and the boys off to the hotel to get some rest.  I wanted the boys there for delivery (William was very interested in everything), but they didn’t need to hang out for the boring stuff.   Since Jay had only had a minimal amount of sleep Friday morning, Melody sent him into the rooms insanely large closet with the fold out bed.  She and I chatted for a majority of the time, I updated friends with my slow, but normal, progress.  Noon rolled around and I decided to utilize the bathtub for a little bit.  One minute I’m talking to Melody and the next thing I know I’m waking up.  I figured I had just gone to sleep for a quick 10 minute nap… nope, about 30 minutes or so.  Nice!

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 When I got out, I had progressed to 6cm and was 90%.  Melody and I hung out some more and I was starting to feel bad for her.  I wanted her to rest and eat, but she refused saying that wasn’t her job.

My contractions started intensifying, but still nothing I couldn’t handle, so I had Jay get up and shower.  After this, my sense of time gets a little fuzzy.    The doctor I had been seeing the most and was hoping would be at my delivery came in about 3:00p to check me, I was at 7cm, and we discussed breaking my water around 6:00p.  Both she and Melody agreed that I would probably deliver really fast afterwards if we did this (my water never breaks on it’s own and I usually deliver VERY fast after it’s broken).  Until then she encouraged me to move around, get in the tub, eat, drink, whatever I felt I needed to do.  With my contractions getting stronger and stronger, I got back on the ball with Jay and Melody alternating massage and counter pressure.  Jay and I walked the halls, but that just bored me, so we went back to my room.

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I sent a message to a group of friends that read:

Still hanging out, starting to not want food or water so it’ll be soon/next few hours. Just got off from sitting on the toilet backwards… Who knew lol. Any photog would be BORED at my labor. Literally sitting around chatting. I almost feel like an epi labor.  November 17, 2012 at 4:12pm

 

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At some point, maybe around 5 (??), I started telling Jay and Melody that they needed to call my mom, that I needed the boys there, I didn’t want them to miss it.  I knew I was heading into the serious part of transition and wanted to get in the bath just one last time to try and clear my mind and relax.  I was still in the tub when my mom and the boys got there, and Steven was very insistent on feeding me ice chips, the only thing I wanted at that point.

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I’m guessing I got out of the tub around 5:45p.  It was really difficult for me since my contractions were back to back without relief, the nurse and Melody were very helpful with getting me to the bed.

I was shaking pretty bad when Dr. Ray came in to check on me.  She asked me again if I wanted my water broken and knowing how my previous delivery was with Steven, I wanted it done.  I knew it would be quick with the way these contractions were coming along.  She broke my water at approximately 6:10pm, checked my dilation…. 7cm!  Are you kidding?!  I was in this much pain and still only at a 7?!  I arrived at the hospital with William and Steven at 8cm, this was nuts.  I broke down and Dr. Ray told me to get on my hands and knees to help with pain relief.  Almost immediately I remember telling whoever was listening that I needed to push.  I remember the nurse saying, “Jen, if you need to push you just go on ahe… ok, you’re pushing…”

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I had Melody telling me to slow down  my breathing because I was going to cause myself to hyperventilate,  Jay on my other side telling me I was doing a great job, my two nurses and Dr. Ray also encouraging me.  All the while I felt competently paralyzed.  I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t move.  I wanted off my hands and knees, I wanted all the lights on, I wanted to SEE what was going on.  Two contractions and 4 pushes later on  my hands and knees,  in a panic, I delivered little Emily at 6:23pm.  Dr. Ray was telling me to grab my baby.  How was I supposed to do that?!  I couldn’t move and she was slimy.  Someone, I’m guessing Dr. Ray and the nurse (since Melody didn’t have gloves) placed Emily under me for me to hold her. Waiting for the cord to stop pulsating, I finally said I wanted to flip over.  But not only did I want to flip over, I wanted them to take Emily to the warmer.  I was traumatizing her, I was in shock, I wasn’t ok to hold her.

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We did the normal routine after that, the nurse encouraged me to take Emily back and she nursed for about 40 minutes.  The boys got to say hi to their new little sister, Melody left, and Jay headed out to take my mom and the boys back to the hotel and to get me food.  My nurse got me up and into the shower, the best shower of your life(!), and I started feeling a bit better about holding Emily.  

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I am still pretty bummed that I wasn’t able to find a birth photographer like I was with Steven,  but I’m so grateful for the snapshots Melody and my mom were able to grab.

After nearly a year am I finally starting to accept my birth, write about it, and look at the photos.  I know so many having hospital deliveries would love to deliver the way I did, I had an ideal birth for many, but it wasn’t MY ideal birth.  Looking back I probably had a few things going on emotionally that I thought I had over come.   I also over prepared for this birth.  With my previous labors, I dealt with my contractions very well, I listened to my body, I was able to focus.  This time, I was so focused on making hypnobabies work, that I felt as if I was failing when it wasn’t working.  I should have kept to my normal routine and kept it simple.

Find what works for you.  Try and learn different coping mechanisms.  Mourn your birth if you need to, but don’t forget to enjoy your new baby and the now.   Recognize the amazing job you just did regardless of the outcome and give yourself a hug!  You just created and delivered a life, a human being!!

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