birth

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Chelsea Myers

When looking for doula support some qualities you may want to look for are compassionate, warm, reliable, and easy to talk to. Chelsea is all of these things and more! Take a moment to learn why we love Chelsea and you will too!

What is your path to becoming a doula?

After having my son in April 2018 and a positive birthing experience, I began talking to other moms and friends about birth. I soon realized that a lot of women did not have a positive birthing experience like I had and that immediately lit a passion inside of me for wanting to do something in the birthing field.  I thought about becoming a nurse, midwife, an OB…but that just wasn’t what I wanted to do. My sister introduced me to the word doula and my life changed.

What do you love about being a doula?

I love knowing that our work truly makes a difference in a family’s life during one of the most amazing times in their life.  There is only one shot at a birth and I know doulas help to enhance that experience.

Tell us about your family!

My husband Jeremy and I have been married for almost 3 years.  He is in the IT field and works as a Linux Engineer. We decided we wanted to grow our family shortly after being married and our son Lucas was born on 4/4/18.  4 was always my lucky number growing up and will always be my lucky number now. We also have a 9 year old pug named Diesel who we love to death. My family is everything to me and when I am not working I am soaking up every minute with them.

Chelsea, Jeremy, & Lucas <3

If we turned on the radio in your car what would we hear?

It depends on if my son was driving with me last or not.  If he was, it would probably be country or top 40 (for now…he’s only 1, can’t tell me to change the station yet, and actually enjoys car rides).  If he wasn’t, it’s usually 90s/2000s hip hop/rap or a doula podcast.

Who is your role model?

My mom and dad. 

They worked so hard for my brother, sister, and I and made so many personal sacrifices so we could dance, play hockey, and have the usual, expensive childhood stuff.  Knowing what I know now about life and bills and money, I truly don’t know how they did it without going crazy but they did. I am so incredibly thankful for them every single day.

What is your fave thing to do on a day off?

Attempt to sleep in, stay in jammies until lunch, then do something fun in the afternoon like head to the park or Partridge Creek mall.

What are you reading right now?

My book club book- An Anonymous Girl by Green Hendricks.

What is your best piece of advice for expecting families?

Listen to your gut, know that you and what you’re going through are 100% normal, and to lean on your village (which includes your doula).  

As you can see Chelsea is one great woman! Call us today to request Chelsea as your birth doula! 586-960-5993

Is it normal? | Wow! My boobs are huge!

And just like that you have a couple of large hard melons for breasts.

For some after giving birth their body changes from producing colostrum (the thick usually deeper in color, yellow or orange-ish first food your breasts produce) to breastmilk unbeknownst to you and your boobs. The first sign is “look honey there’s actual milk dripping from my nipples!” For others as their supply builds somewhere on or between day 2 and day 7 after birth you look down and cannot believe your eyes! Just when you thought they couldn’t get any bigger……

“WOW! My boobs are huge!”

They may get ginormous. They may feel hard. They may be really uncomfortable. This is known as breast engorgement. It is common and it is normal!

It can sometimes feel alarming to feel such heavy breasts. You feel like you are carrying around a couple of bowling balls!

Signs of breast engorgement:

Boobs that feel: Hard, warm, or overall uncomfortable.

The skin may feel tight and even be shiny.

-Some have felt like their breasts looked like very inflated balloons, melons, or balls.

So you determined yes, these breasts are engorged. Know its OK and there are things you can do to help it. For most this will pass in 24 hours. Sometimes it can last up to 10 days especially if not doing anything to prevent or help it.

What you can do to help:

Frequent feeding if you are nursing. One goal given by Le Leche League International is to breastfeed at least 10 times a day.

Ensure that when your baby is breastfeeding it has a proper latch. If your baby is not latched correctly it may not remove much milk from your breasts. This in turn tells your body to decrease the amount of milk it is making, which isn’t great for your supply.

Massage your breasts before a feed. Massage starting from up high near your collarbone and move downward to your nipples. Do this in a circular motion.

-Warm compresses. Applying heat 5-10 minutes before nursing can help ease some of the milk out and make for a less forceful letdown so your baby can latch on easier. It also often feels good. These are good to use if you are bottle feeding as well as it helps release some milk and reduce some of the fullness. Be mindful of these though as too much heat can cause more inflammation.

Using washcloths you can make a warm or cold compress. For a warm compress simply run it under hot water and wring it out before use. For a cold compress you can make an ice bath in a bowl and dip the towels in, then wring them out.

-Cold compresses. Doing cycles of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off can bring relief. It is not recommended to leave cold compresses on for an extended period of time. It is also a good idea to have a layer of cloth between the cold pack and your skin. One well loved product is Booby Tubes. They heat up or cool down!

Cold cabbage leaf compresses. These are recommended to be used with initial swelling but then to switch to other cold compresses once the swelling has reduced if you are continuing to nurse. It is believed that cabbage can reduce milk supply when overused. Simply place the cabbage in the fridge to chill it. Green cabbage typically doesn’t stain versus the red cabbage. Cut out the stem from the center of the leaves. This will help the leaves to fit nicely on your breasts. Place them on your breasts or secure them in place with a bra. Once they are wilted remove them. If not nursing you can use these more continuously to help dry up a supply. I know this one sounds weird but many swear by it to reduce swelling.

-Speak with your health care professional. If you are trying to dry up your supply and need relief from the engorgement there may be supplements or specific recommendations from your doctor or lactation consultant. Also if the pain is intolerable or you are concerned it is always a good idea to reach out to your care provider.

If you do have engorgement don’t panic! Follow some of the tips above to help you. Boobs are rather magical and do all sort of shifting and changing before and after birth!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

What are birth affirmations?

In the process of birth the birthing person typically will need some encouragement and emotional support. Birth affirmations are simply that! They can even be your birth slogan or mantra! The best part of birth affirmations is you can select those that resonate with you and create ones that truly speak to you.

Why use them? Labor can be long. Labor can be hard. And at some point in labor self-doubt can creep in. Having some reminders that lift you up can help you through intense parts of birth. The goal is to make you feel good about the process and keep things positive. These little sentences can act as your own personal cheerleader!

One example of an affirmation for labor.

Tips for finding and creating affirmations:

Check out our Pinterest page of affirmation ideas

-Use lyrics from your favorite songs

-Scan your birth books for parts that truly speak to you

-Buy affirmations already printed out in card form, like these

-Seek inspiration from your favorite movies or books. It doesn’t have to be directly related to birth to be useful and encouraging!

-Take inspirational quotes from uplifting calendars

-Seek out your favorite poet, philosopher, or public speaker for words of wisdom and inspiration

-Ask your provider what their favorite things to tell patients are

Birth affirmations are for every birth desire.

Whether you want a natural birth or an epidural or a planned cesarean birth, encouragement and positivity are always useful.

So you got your inspiring words…now what?

-Your partner, doula, or support person can read these aloud during the birth.

-You can create a booklet of them to flip through.

-Type or write them on cards and hang them around your birthing room.

-Create wish flags or a bunting out of fabric or paper. Then write the affirmations on the flags. String these up in your birth room.

Birth affirmations are simply another tool to help you cope throughout the labor process. You may find them useful and use them the throughout your whole labor. It never hurts to arm yourself with as many tools as you can. Birth affirmations can be an easy and great tool to use and have with you as you bring your baby into this world.

Written by: Andrea Stainbrook

For a Moment Like This

“For a moment like this…. some people wait a lifetime.”  Ain’t that the truth Kelly Clarkson?

When I envisioned my births I envisioned myself like a lot of the videos and pictures I saw and loved.  I pictured dim light and quiet whispers.  I envisioned myself humming and swaying through contractions as they intensified.  I was planning a waterbirth and just thought I would rest there as long as possible. Then at that climatic moment, where I would be so relaxed and quiet, I would pull my baby  up and he or she would crest the water and greet me with a gentle cry and cuddles on my chest.   I could see it perfectly.  It would be beautiful.  

To be clear those births exist.  They are beautiful.  They are a great ideal to envision and strive for.   But know… it is still BEAUTIFUL if it’s not what you envisioned.   My births were not far off from this in many ways.  But in many ways my ideal I envisioned and what it looked like were way different.

You are a version of yourself on the day you give birth.  Who knows what mood and tone you may really take on.  I was not as quiet and peaceful as I imagined.  And although I got my hair done the night before and I painted my nails a few days prior… real life may not be perfectly coiffed hair and runway ready faces.

For my second amazing birth I hired a professional birth photographer.  Worth every penny and it is so great to have these photos forever.   One photo I was so excited to see was what that moment when I see my baby for the first time looked like.  Seeing other pictures of this moment captured I couldn’t wait to see that look of love and that special glow.

My first photo is beautiful.

It shows everything I felt at that moment.  Estelle came in a hurry and the last 15 minutes were intense.  After having a long labor with my first I couldn’t believe this went so fast.  I was processing a lot.  Anyhow I have full on ugly cry, “what in the world,” look.   I’m obviously happy and overjoyed.  You CAN see that too.  I’ll admit it wasn’t at first what I hoped.  I didn’t want to frame it.   Although I did want to cherish it.

WEBfirstlook5757

Birth is so many feelings and emotions wrapped into one.  If you look close enough at this one you may see all of them.  <3

No matter what we strive for, what unfolds, birth and the many faces we wear during it is simply beautiful.

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

When do I head to the hospital?

The day has arrived! You think you are in labor!

First how do you tell if it is really labor?

So you notice you are having contractions and they seem to come and go. You can try timing them. To time a contraction you time the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next contraction. This is how far apart they are. Note the duration of the sensation as well. What you should start to see is a pattern. There are many apps for timing this or you can use an old fashioned watch or clock.

Check out the apps available to you on your phone before labor begins. There are many to choose from!

Longer, stronger, closer together is the key to a labor pattern.

Your contractions should fall into a rhythm of sorts. Maybe they begin at 8 minutes apart lasting about 30 seconds. Then you feel a shift of intensity and you time them again. Now you notice they are 6 mins apart lasting 40 seconds. This appears to be a labor pattern. The sensations are getting longer, feeling stronger, and are closer together than they were before.

When is it time to head to the hospital?

The 5-1-1 or 4-1-1.

When your contractions are 5 minutes or 4 minutes apart, lasting one minute long, for the course of an hour, it is time to head to the hospital. Ideally you will get to the hospital in an active labor pattern.

Notify your provider that your are heading in or you can always ask them if they feel its a good time to come to the hospital as well. Of course talk to your doula as soon as you think anything is going on. She can offer suggestions, listen, and remind you of ways to cope!

Not sure if it is in fact labor? Looking for guidance on how to distract and cope through early labor? Call your doctor/midwife and your doula!

There are some variables that can change when to head in. If you are high risk, GBS positive, or your water is broken, are some instances that can change the timing. It is a good idea to discuss with your doctor or midwife what it looks like when you think you are in labor. Let them tell you what they prefer in your specific instance.

So remember, longer, stronger, closer together and the 4-1-1 will help you decide when it is time to go! Safe travels ahead!

Are you watching “9 Months That Made You”?

I will admit I watch a lot of TV. I watch it to unwind and relax, but I also use it to learn and discover new things. Recently I stumbled upon a PBS series called “9 Months That Made You.” I am one episode in and hooked!

Now I know by being a doula and childbirth educator that this show is right up my alley. I mean it is kind of like continuing education for my work! But if you are growing a human in your body currently, or did grow one, or know someone who grew one, or if you grew in someone’s body, then this show is a perfect fit!

So in the first episode they break down what it is like for a baby to grow beginning with the moment of conception. It then goes on to describe what happens in hours! And then days and weeks. The detailed things they discuss is amazing. How much of our lives that is determined by the processes in the first few weeks is astonishing!

Within the program different families from around the globe are highlighted to show their genetic differences. These differences are due to developmental things that can happen during the time period of growth that they are focused in on in the episode. The first episode even features a scientist studying living a long life and how it may be determined while you are still in the womb!

So yes I am a geek when it comes to science and babies. I can’t wait to finish the series. It really celebrates the variances in humanity. So if you are looking to add something to your queue and you are into learning check out this PBS series on Netflix. You can find out more about it here:
https://www.pbs.org/show/9-months-made-you/

I can’t wait to see what new information I learn next!

by Andrea Stainbrook

How to write a birth plan

Birth plans, birth wishes, birth preferences, or whatever you prefer to call it can be a useful tool. The work of going through what is important to you and your partner in your birth is likely the best part of creating a birth plan, no matter if you actually print it out.

Birth wishlists can be a great way to give the care team you are working with an idea of the ideal birth you hoped for. This way if paths stray from what you envisioned the staff can help keep it as close to your ideal as possible.

What you can include in your plan:

  • Basic information: your name, partner’s name or support person’s name, doula’s name, important phone numbers, your care provider’s name
  • Important items to know about the birthing person: allergies, or medical conditions the staff should be reminded of
  • Ideals for coping and what is important to you in early and active labor: After going through options in birth include those that really stand out to you as what you hope for in this birth.
  • Pushing preferences
  • Placenta plans: If choosing placenta encapsulation services it is a good idea to have this on your birth preferences sheet as a reminder. Also mentioning if you intend to use a cord blood banking service.
  • Cesarean birth preferences: items like clear drapes used, support people you want present, skin to skin if possible after birth.
  • Newborn care: erythromycin eye ointment, vitamin K, hepatitis B, circumcision/intact
  • Feeding preferences: it is nice to note if you are planning on breastfeeding, or formula feeding, or some combination

A smart idea is to write a long detailed plan for yourself that goes through all the options and ideals you have. Then that plan is for you. Trim and omit the unnecessary items to create a simpler plan to hand in to your birth staff. Creature comforts like dim lighting, do not need to be on your staff’s plan.

Pro-tips for birth plans

  • Keep it simple! Bullet points and simple statements to convey your wants is ideal. Also birth plans should not be so detailed you are telling your provider and staff how to do their job. Some plans simply state one item, for example “We would prefer open communication throughout the entire process.”
  • Be positive! Use phrases like “we prefer x,y,z” instead of “NO X,Y,Z!”
  • Thank the staff! Your care providers and nurses want you to have a lovely experience. They work hard and long shifts. Tell them how excited you are to be at that facility with the wonderful staff you have selected.
  • Make it fun! Say what?! If you can find a way to make it funny, or light, or cute in some way, the staff will enjoy reading it. Some clients in the past have made it sports themed, or added a funny comic. One couple made it look like a movie poster!

When making your birth wishes list explore all the things you envision or hope for. It is a great activity to get you thinking about the experience you’d like. A place you can learn about your birthing options is through a childbirth education course. Check out Metro Detroit Doula Service’s offerings today!

by Andrea Stainbrook

Gas, Constipation, & Hemorrhoids. All things poop in pregnancy.

Often people don’t share about their poop issues they experience in pregnancy. They can be all too real. Let’s dive in and learn about these common issues.

GAS

Blame the dog if you want but odds are you will be gassier in pregnancy. This can start early on and at any time. We can thank all this extra farting to the increased levels of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone actually causes the muscles of the digestive tract to relax. Because of this more gas can escape. On top of that, as your baby grows, the pressure in your abdomen also increases which adds to more gas being pushed out.

HOW CAN I HELP REDUCE THE GAS?

-Add more exercise to your daily activity. By doing this you can stimulate digestion and keep the gas moving.

-Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

-Avoid trigger foods. Some foods that can be triggering are: fatty & fried foods, beans, sprouts, broccoli and whole grains.

CONSTIPATION

Constipation can happen very early into pregnancy, and it is known to occur at any point and in any trimester. That pesky hormone progesterone relaxing our digestive tract muscles means that things move more slowly. For some their prenatal vitamins or iron supplements could be the culprit as well.

Pro-tip: Address constipation right away, don’t wait! This can help you avoid hemorrhoids from developing.

HOW CAN I HELP ALLEVIATE CONSTIPATION?

-By increasing your amount of daily exercise, you help keep your body functions moving.

-Increase your fiber consumption and drink lots of water.

Squatty potties help get you in a good pooping position.

-Talk to your care provider about your vitamins and if it is related.

HEMORRHOIDS

The dreaded hemorrhoids. These friends usually pop up in the last trimester. Hemorrhoids are simply swollen veins in your lower rectum. Good news is they usually resolve on their own some time after delivery. Between experiencing constipation and so much pressure on the rectum from your growing baby in your uterus, it can be common to experience hemorrhoids. Sometimes they can cause pain and/or itchiness. They can be internal or external around your anus.

HOW CAN I MAKE HEMORRHOIDS GO AWAY?

-Warm baths, or witch hazel soaks & witch hazel pads, can help.

-Being mindful not to stand or sit for too long of stretches.

-Medicated Tucks pads, Preparation H, or other over the counter remedies ease the pain and calms the itchiness.

-If they hang around after your baby is born and are causing a lot of discomfort it is good to talk to your doctor.

In a perfect world none of us would experience any of these, but odds are we will all likely cross paths with one or all of these in pregnancy. Doulas are never too shy to talk about these so never be afraid to give your doula a call!

Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook

Metro Detroit Doula Services

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? | Meet Yolonda Rabbani

Take a moment and learn all about Yolonda. This driven and thoughtful doula has a fire that burns bright and is dedicated to supporting families. We asked her, and she answered!

What is your doula path?

I believe I found my place as a doula by allowing the journey to organically unfold. A spark occurred while I was in college studying to become a healthcare professional. During my studies, I continued to come across current issues within women’s healthcare that I felt needed more attention. While I chose to continue my studies, I also decided to branch off here and there, attending lectures specifically related to obstetrics hosted by local colleges and healthcare provider networks such as DMC and Wayne State University. Not only was I learning a ton of information about women’s healthcare in today’s society, I was beginning to learn a great deal about myself. The application looked a bit like me, Yolonda, begging all female friends and family (and strangers) to take their reproductive health more seriously and encouraging them to be more engaged in the care that they receive.

While researching for one of my finals, which turned into an opportunity for me to do research for something I actually cared about, I came across an article in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The article shared statistics regarding the birth outcomes for women who gave birth with the support of a doula, opposed to women who did not. There was no question about it, having a doula decreased the potential for many invasive as well as non-invasive interventions. Not only improving the overall experience for the mother and her baby but significantly reducing the infant mortality rates, which at that time (~ 2010) was 44% in the community that I now live in.

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear?

NPR or BBC news, or some classic rock, R&B or gospel song from the early 90’s/80’s, maybe a little TuPac.

3 words that describe Yolonda:

Positive, Inspiring, Truthful

I’ve always known deep inside that my place is in women’s care. I can also say that my love for supporting women of all groups grows exponentially with each new client. Childbirth, to me at least, is a sort of rite of passage. I feel like you become part of a tribe of very, very strong women. Transitioning into motherhood comes with many uncertainties, and can be scary even with the support of family and friends. As a doula, I’m able to provide the additional support needed to ensure that every client I work with feels empowered.

What are you reading now?

I have a few books going at the time; The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson (Love this book!), Oprah Winfrey’s What I Know for Sure, and A Course in Miracles by Dr. Helen Schuman.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Learning life lessons the first go-round. That should totally be a superpower, it would save us so much time.

Who is your role model?

I have a few, and who they are tends to change as I continue to mature. I totally love Randy Patterson, co-founder of ProDoula. I can definitely relate to her personal story. The fact that she is confidently and unapologetically her best self is very encouraging to me who, as a young woman was taught to suppress those things that made me different.

The many midwives and female obstetricians who I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from.

My celebrity role model right now is Jennifer Lewis! I just read her book!

This is a bit different, but one of the closest people to me, my cousin and friend Karissa Holmes. It’s a long story but she has been a huge driving force when I felt my weakest. She really helped me get it together and was an example herself of how to work through some really tough challenges.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

Just having a day where I can do whatever I want, even if it’s nothing, is “a favorite thing”, if that makes any sense (smile).

Give us your best piece of advice to expecting parents/new families?

When dealing with the inevitable unsolicited advice, It’s ok to do what’s best for you (and your family), be confident while doing just that!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite song to karaoke?

Even Flow by Pearl Jam, a classic and a great song!

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today to have Yolonda be your doula!

How to Induce Labor Naturally

by Andrea Stainbrook

For many pregnant women there comes a point where you are ready to be done being pregnant. You want to meet your baby! Sometimes it is out of eagerness, or sometimes it’s because you have been past your due date…for a while. Sometimes your doctor lets you know a medical induction will be happening soon so you want to do everything in your power to coerce this baby to come on its own if you can. Whatever the reason we are all in search of safe things we can do try to and convince our babies to emerge.

First off before doing anything that may be known to cause labor you should check in with your care provider. They will advise you if the option you want to do is a good fit for you.

The number one thing to do is to get oxytocin flowing.

Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.” This hormone is important as it plays a huge role in labor. It causes your uterus to contract! So releasing this hormone is a good way for a body to potentially go into labor.

5 Ways to Stimulate Oxytocin

  1. RELAX- Being chill creates a perfect, comfortable environment for oxytocin to be released. If you are tense, anxious, or fearful you may release adrenaline which will actually counter the oxytocin.
  2. SEXY TIME- Orgasms release a burst of oxytocin. So getting in the mood will help your body get in the mood to give birth. If your partner is a male, the sperm acts as a cervical ripener which is a bonus. Even just simply being romantic helps. Watch your wedding video, or reminisce about the day you first met.
  3. NIPPLE STIMULATION- Our bodies release oxytocin when a baby latches to nurse. By stimulating our nipples we can get our body to react in a way that is similar to when a baby is trying to feed. The trick here is having someone else stimulate your nipples. Breast pumps can be used, or a partner can hand express your breasts to simulate that body sensation of nursing your baby.
  4. MASSAGE- Relaxing into a massage is a good way to get that love hormone flowing. Whether a partner or a friend is willing to help or you go to a massage therapist, the results should be a more relaxed mood and oxytocin release.
  5. FEEL GOOD ACTIVITY- Watch a silly rom-com that makes you smile! Cuddle with your partner! Cuddle your older kiddo! Take a stroll in nature. LAUGH.

If you are feeling good, relaxing the best you can, and releasing oxytocin, you are setting yourself up for labor to begin. Stressing out raises cortisol levels and adrenaline. These fight the hormones that make it easier for labor to start. A relaxed body is one that wants to go into labor.

Other labor inducing ideas:

Getting up and moving is believed to be helpful. It causes your pelvis to move and open. This helps the baby navigate its way down and perhaps baby gets the message to begin labor. Walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, and doing some squats are ok things to try. Swimming is great to alleviate the gravitational pull on your belly. Dancing is a fabulous way to incorporate movement and release the love hormone at the same time! Turn on some music, sing along, and go to town!

Some may use food as a means to start labor. Some of these have scientific backing and some have anecdotal backing. These are good to again mention to your care provider as each provider has their own lines of thinking about these.

  • Dates (These have some science that shows it helps ripen the cervix when consuming 6 a day for 4 weeks.)
  • Pineapple (No official studies exist on eating fresh pineapple per se but it contains an enzyme believed to soften the cervix.)
  • Eggplant or Spicy Foods (The idea is these upset your digestive system, which then can upset your uterus and cause it to contract.)
  • Bananas (The thought process behind these are to help you maintain proper potassium levels so that your muscles contract normally.)
  • Thyme tea (Is thought to bring on uterine contractions.)
  • Red raspberry leaf tea (Although there is currently no scientific evidence supporting it as an induction method is believed to help tone the uterus.)
  • Licorice root (Real licorice, not the candy 😉 , contains the chemical
    glycyrrhizin. This chemical may increase the production of prostaglandins.)

Another option is trying holistic care. Acupressure points can be used. Some massage therapists may be trained in this knowledge. Regular chiropractic visits with a Webster Technique trained chiropractor can help keep your pelvis aligned and your baby in a good position.

As you are waiting for the big day of the birth of your baby you may want to try some of these. Bottom line do what feels good to you and only do as much as you want to do. Doing all the things doesn’t necessarily increase your chances. Only your baby will truly decide when the perfect time is.

Metro Detroit Doula Services