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.
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.
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.
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!
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!!
This is a scary word for many, because postpartum goes with depression, right? Wrong.
You CAN have a happy and healthy postpartum period with the right preparation and support. We are meant to be doted on and helped after we give birth, however, our society has drifted far away from this. With your partner, create a Postpartum Plan and include ways family and friends can help out. Here are some ways you can achieve that before baby arrives.
Visitors can be a help or a hindrance. A way to get a little use out of them is to give a task when they come over. Anyone that has issue helping out, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule and baby is a bit older to visit.
Invite some friends over for a day of cooking freezer meals! Or, create a meal train online and appoint a friend or family member to activate it once baby has arrived. Ask friends and family to bring a small bag of groceries with your staple items when the come over to visit with you and baby. These are simple and easy ways to make sure you are getting good nutrition without worry or hassle.
IS SO IMPORTANT! Having a baby is an amazing and wonderful time, however, we can sometimes lose ourselves while taking care of a newborn (and siblings). Make sure to carve out time in your day for a shower. Wash your hair, brush your teeth, wear something comfortable yet new and clean (you can sometimes find yourself in the same yoga pants on Wednesday that you put on Monday), maybe even put on some light makeup. Seriously, you’ll feel like a new woman and more importantly, YOU.
Yes, the house can get a little messy, but if this is something that will induce anxiety, come up with a chore list to help keep up. Ask visitors to pick a small task when they come over. Move clothes from your washer to your dryer. Load or unload the dishwasher. Wipe down counters. Again, anyone that has issue, really should be waiting until a later date when you’ve gotten a bit more of a schedule to visit.
“Sleep when baby sleeps!”
Everyone says it, yet sometimes this can be difficult because it may be the only time you have to yourself, but sleep is so important to your physical and mental health. Sleep deprivation can contribute to PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorders). If needed, feed baby and then hand him/her off to a family or friend so you can get a few hours sleep uninterrupted.
You really should spend a minimum of six weeks snuggling with your baby. Even though you may feel recovered by week two or three, really take it easy and relax as much as possible. Relaxing can be lying on the couch, or it can mean taking a light walk with baby in the sunshine. Sitting or napping outdoors is also a wonderful way to relax, all while still getting a good ol’ dose of vitamin D. (make sure to keep both you and baby protected from the sun to avoid sunburns)
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let your guard down and allow your ‘village’ to come in. People love to help out and you can use it, whether this is your first baby or your fifth. Recruit those that will help you with your needs, but not tell you how you should be doing something. If you ask them for advice, will they be able to give you good information that aligns with your beliefs? Postpartum doulas can also be a great help in this time.
If you create a plan, have great support, and still experience symptoms beyond baby blues (lasting between days 3-10 in approximately 80% of women), do not hesitate to seek professional help. You are not alone with the feelings you may be experiencing and there IS help available.
If the “Baby Blues” persist for two weeks or longer and/or if symptoms of the blues intensify, it is then considered to be a “Postpartum Depression” (PPD). 10-20% of postpartum women will experience PPD. Onset of PPD can be anytime during the first year after delivery, with the highest incidence of onset between 4 and 8 weeks postpartum.
PPD may last from 3 to 14 months or longer, if left untreated. Though most women recover within a year, the condition may become chronic if it goes untreated. Chronic depression may have significant effects on mother-baby attachment and bonding.
Symptoms of PPD include:
- Frequent crying
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty concentrating/making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Racing thoughts Agitation and/or persistent anxiety
- Anger, Fear, and/or feelings of guilt Obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a person/parent
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Lack of concern about personal appearance
- Feeling a loss of control
- Feeling disconnected from the baby
- Possible suicidal thoughts
Although most symptoms of PPD are similar to those in a Major Depressive Disorder, many symptoms are unique to PPD, including feelings of anger, fear, or extreme feelings of guilt, obsessive thoughts of inadequacy as a parent, extreme exhaustion yet difficulty sleeping, agitation, feelings of disconnection from the baby, and feeling a loss of control over one’s life.
Read more about PPMD’s: http://psychotherapy.com/mom.html
PPMD Resource Guide
Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center
24-hour Crisis Counseling and Emotional Support Line
National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Website
Baton Rouge Resources
Cathy Figg Gaston
7920 Wrenwood Blvd, Suite D
Baton Roouge, LA
Trauma and PPMD Counsling and IBCLC
Victoria S. Benton, LPC
10985 N Harrells Ferry Rd #200
Baton Rouge, LA 70816
Onnie Perdue (Christian Counselor)
Murphy Toerner & Associates
17170 Perkins Rd
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Birth Center of Baton Rouge
Healing Birth Circle
3rd Monday of each month at BCBR, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Free, but please RSVP http://birthcenterbr.com/healing-birth-circle
New Moms’ Hope: A Pregnancy & Postpartum Support Group (FREE)
2nd Thursday of each month, 7-8:30 p.m., in the Staff Development Classroom
Lane Regional Medical Center
6300 Main Street
Dana LeTard Vicellio, Ed.S., LPC-S, NCC, NCSC
Baton Rouge General
Behavioral Health Services
8585 Picardy Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Louisiana Postpartum Depression Support Group (must be invited in)
Life Line Crisis Chat http://www.crisischat.org/chat
Ochsner Baton Rouge
17000 Medical Center Drive
Jan Floyd, CNM
Bethanie Genre, CNM
Amanda Lewis, CNM
Melanie Weaver, CNM
Sharon Hedges, MD
Juan Vargas, MD
100 Woman’s Way
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Ryan Dickerson, MD
Louisiana Woman’s Healthcare
Elizabeth Buchert, MD
Associates in Women’s Health
The placenta is a mysterious thing. So much so, it’s never fully been studied.
I never get two that look the same and they can tell you SO much about pregnancy and birth. Some are perfectly round, while others are asymmetric; some are stained with meconium while others are a deep red from being frozen. There are times I look at a placenta I’ve received and been thankful the membranes ruptured on their own.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below!
World Doula Week begins with World Doula Day on March 22nd and will go through March 28th annually. March 22 was chosen because it is the spring equinox, which represents the return of fertility in countless cultures. Read more here.
My journey as a birth professional began in 2010 as a birth photographer. I absolutely LOVED my ‘job’, but I was lacking something. Two wonderful and amazing doulas encouraged me to attend DONA training in 2013; I was hesitant but went and there was no turning back! I’m now able to balance both hands on doula work or quietly documenting a clients beautiful birth.
Because I am SO incredibly grateful to all my clients that allow me to do what I love – doula, photography, and encapsulation – I am giving away FOUR amazing prizes for #WorldDoulaWeek! Enter for yourself, your friends or just support by sharing!
Don’t forget to Pin and Share with #WorldDoulaWeek ! GOOD LUCK!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prizes include: 1 birth planning & comfort measures visit ($200 value); gift card towards one placenta encapsulation service ($225 value); gift card towards one fresh48 session ($500 value)
Winner must be delivering in the Baton Rouge area. Travel fees may apply for Birth Planning & Comfort Measures visit if outside of the Baton Rouge area. Prizes cannot be exchanged for monetary value.
Three winners will be chosen on 3/29/15 and announced on my blog and Facebook page.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!
Find the right encapsulation specialist for you and make sure they are processing safely. Here are the top 10 questions you should be asking.
1. What type of training have you received?
Certification for encapsulation isn’t always necessary, but proper training is. Who did they train with and do they have a good mentor to rely on?
2. Do you obtain certifications & practice according to your states food handlers and OSHA bloodborne pathogens standards?
Every encapsulation specialist should be following proper food handling and procedures with a current OSHA bloodborne pathogen certification.
3. What is your sanitation process?
While you can’t expect a specialist to share their exact processes, they should be able to give you proper sanitation guidelines according to OSHA bloodborne pathogen standards, along with following them.
4. Where do you encapsulate?
Some encapsulators process in their home kitchen, some have a dedicated space within their home, others have an office space dedicated to encapsulation processing.
5. Do you offer in-home service options to clients?
There are some certification organizations that teach their specialists that by law, you can only encapsulate within the clients home, this is not true. Some specialists choose to only encapsulate in a clients home and others offer it as an option to their clients.
6. Do you use agreements?
Why would an agreement be needed? This is to protect both the client and the professional. To the client that the specialist will follow proper guidelines and pickup/drop off within a certain timeframe. It ensures to the specialist that the client will follow through with payments, notification, and health status.
7. Do you require HIV & HepB testing results?
While the risk of a client having either of these diseases is low, every client should be assumed to be infected to keep standards the same with every client. It also allows the specialist to request processing in the clients home.
8. Do you have refund policies?
If you paid for services, but your placenta was not able to process due to hospital mishap, medical condition, or failure on part of the specialist, does the professional have a refund policy in place? Is it in their agreement?
9. Do you pick/deliver or require the placenta to be brought to you? If you pick
up, during what hours?
Some specialists will include a pickup/dropoff cost within their fee, others may charge extra or require for you to arrange pickup and dropoff. Asking set hours is also important. Some hospitals require the placenta be removed from your room within a few hours after birth. Will your specialist be able to accommodate those hours or will you have to arrange for storage until their pickup hours?
10. Do you know the transport laws/regulations for your area?
Each state has different regulations regarding transport of placentas. By asking if your specialist has knowledge of these regulations can be an indicator of their overall knowledge in encapsulation.
*** THIS POST DOES CONTAIN PLACENTA IMAGES***
I never had my placentas encapsulated. At 17, it wasn’t even on my radar. Shoot, I barely knew anything about birth! Eight years later with my husband and I’s first, I didn’t know about it. (more…)