Labor Doula

Car seat safety in a crash

by Andrea Stainbrook

In a snap things change forever.

Let’s get some candy on the way to the movies.¬† It’s a relaxing family day so seeing a new movie with a bucket of popcorn overflowing, ice slushies, and candy sounds just right.¬† We snag our favorites hop in the car and head towards the movie theater.¬† One left turn.¬† The car turns left, headlights glare, a horn honks, then BANG!

First thought: What happened? Is everyone alright?¬† I look back at the kids.¬† They are OK.¬†¬†Second thought: Thank heavens I know my kids were in the best car seats for them and appropriately.¬† ¬†We are safe.¬† Just minor bumps and bruises.¬† Mainly scared and anxious about what just happened.¬†¬†To be clear our accident wasn’t as severe as many are.¬† But it was severe enough to see the importance of all the safety features.

We continue to relive the accident.  Every day the anxiety lessens a bit.  The accident is good for my children.  How so?  Lydia, my oldest, so badly wanted to just sit on the seat with no booster.  She recently switched to a small seat adjuster.  Now she wishes she could be the right size for a five point harness high back booster again.  We all see how vulnerable we all were in that moment.

I am fortunate.¬† I work with and am friends with a CPST, Child Passenger Safety Technician.¬† ¬†Dana Lange, who is on our Metro Detroit Doula Services team,¬† has helped me through every car seat purchase and placement.¬†¬† Dana has said, “I hope your car seat is a waste of money.”¬† Meaning she hopes you are never in an instance to need one but she wants you to use them correctly for those moments that they are needed.¬† ¬†Thank goodness for car seats! Our youngest in the high back 5 point harness booster was the least injured.¬† Those car seats do their job.¬† My kids are 8.5 and 5.5.¬† These ages are less educated on appropriate seating than infants believe it or not.¬† ¬†I feel like many parents I know are always wondering:

When can my child switch to a  booster seat?

Is my child ready for just a seat belt?

What is the best brand?

Check out these graphics Dana created to answer your questions.

Booster SeatSeat Belt Ready

 

Safety does not have to mean the most expensive brand on the market.¬† Choose your budget, then choose the car seat that is needed for your child at the stage they are in that fits within that budget.¬† Remember that your child’s height and weight matter more than their age.¬† ¬†Also keep in mind that your child will likely be in a booster until ages 10-12.

Dana’s tips for when to use a booster:

There are 3 criteria –
1: Child fits weight and height requirement for specific booster
2: Child fits in the booster well, and
3: Child is mature enough to stay seated the entire trip (no bugging siblings, reaching for fallen toys, slumping over when sleeping, etc)
Dana’s tips for selecting a booster:
Features to look for:
1: Specific weight/height requirements that may be tailored to your child’s needs.
Examples:
  • If your child has a long torso, a higher height limit seat is good based on shoulder slots.
  • If you’re moving it between vehicles often, choose one that you can quickly and easily install properly. Maybe take the weight of the seat into consideration as well.

 

Car accidents are scary.  Taking comfort in having us all secured the best we knew how brings me some peace.   If you are not sure what your children need,  where to begin, or would like a car seat/booster check give us a call.  Dana will come to your home and guide you.

Be safe!

 

 

What’s love got to do with it?

by Andrea Stainbrook

Love and labor go to together.

Common questions doulas are asked are:

“How do I get labor started?”

“What keeps a labor going?”

“What can help me in labor?”

These are all fabulous questions.¬† Some are surprised to hear our answer for all of these questions is love.¬†¬†What’s that?¬† Love?!¬† Yes.¬† Let’s break down love and labor.

Oxytocin is the “love hormone.”¬† It is the feel good hormone that your body releases during labor to keep your uterus contracting.¬† Do you know when else oxytocin is released?¬† Whenever you have that warm and fuzzy feeling.¬† You know when you watch a romantic comedy and we all see the plot, we all know how this ends, but you find yourself smiling and feeling nice anyway?¬† That is good ole’ oxytocin working.¬† Hugs feel nice,¬† sharing a meal with another, memories of favorite vacations, these all stir up that hormone.

So anything to release oxytocin in labor can help get a labor moving or started, and also help you through labor by making you feel good while it continues to progress.

You can use to this knowledge in the birth room.¬† The uterus needs to keep contracting to bring baby down.¬† If you have a partner you care deeply for they can be useful in labor to keep that oxytocin flowing.¬† Getting into positions where you are facing one another can help facilitate that exchange.¬† ¬†My favorite position is “8th Grade Slow Dancing.”¬† ¬†The birthing person can place their hands on the shoulders of their partner while the partner places their hands on the birthing person’s hips.¬† You both can sway and dance together during or through contractions.¬† You may giggle at first and that is OK because giggling is good too! Laughter releases the love-hormone.

Romantic love of a partner is just one form of love.  Other oxytocin inducing ideas:

  • Hang up photos of a vacation you truly enjoyed

Thinking about our favorite spots can make us smile.

  • Set out framed photos of your other children, or loved ones
  • Place favorite movie quotes around the room
  • Positive birth affirmations
  • Music that gives you the feels
  • Being told funny or heart warming stories

Love is such a wonderful thing!  As you can see it can play an integral part of your labor.  What other things do you think you can do during labor to keep the love hormone flowing?

 

Baby outings? Can I really shop with my baby?

By Andrea Stainbrook

An outing with your baby doesn’t have to be hard!

Babies are squishy and adorable and well frankly a lot of work!  Normal outings like heading to the grocery store, or to shop for some new clothes can feel like daunting tasks.  I know I sometimes rather wait for my hubby to come home or ask grandma for help so I can do these tasks alone.

And while alone shopping is super fun at times it may not be practical to try to plan for every outing without our cute little tag-a-long.

Oh hey Mom great choice!

Babies can become a part of the mundane outings or the fun shopping days!

Here are tips for successful shopping days out!

Think ahead!  

  • Make a plan.
  • Limit where you will go for the day just in case baby isn’t up for it.¬† If you are prepared to only hit up¬† a store or two and not conquer a marathon of shopping you will be setting yourself up for success!
  • Prepare the best you can and remember keep your expectations low!

This cute face may make the outing even better!

Baby gear for outings!  

  • Bring with you whatever feeding items you need.¬† Whether it be bottles, or your breasts, or baby is old enough for snacks, kiddos get hungry.
  • Favorite toys are a must!¬† Anything to help with distraction.
  • Some people like those cute little shopping cart covers.¬† Sometimes you are able to attach toys to those.
  • Remember if baby is in it’s bucket car seat still always place it in the bottom of the shopping cart.

Where do we go?

  • Grocery store.¬† Bring a list!¬† Many grocers try to get the kids excited now with either finding the store’s mascot while you are there or offering free fruit.
  • Superstores.¬† (Or Book and Toy stores.)¬† Just want to get out and go somewhere?¬† Let your kiddo explore the toy or book aisles for fun.
  • To your local baby store!

Make it a fun day to remember!

Local Baby /Children Stores

These tips should help you as you venture out.  As a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula I have even become a part of these outings too and help parents feel more confident doing so.    Fill out our inquiry form if you rather shop with us!

Where do you think you will head first?

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Erin Hendrickson

Erin is new to the Metro Detroit area and is ready to support families of all types!¬† She is one of our newest Labor doulas and will do even more.¬† We are so glad she’s with us!¬† She is energetic, caring, and ready to change the world.¬† Keep reading to learn more about Erin!

What do you love about being a doula?
I love being a doula because seeing women feel empowered and confident makes me feel good!  Being able to help women and being there to support their family during the most life changing event is liberating.

I have been dating my boyfriend John for four years now. We recently moved from Grand Rapids to the Metro Detroit area after John graduated from college and landed his dream job at DTE.¬† Together we have three cats and they are seriously like our children!¬† They are the nicest cats you’ll ever meet.
– Erin

Erin & her sweetie John


What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?

I have really been enjoying listening to parenting pod casts.¬† The Birth Hour is one that I currently have been listening to.¬† I also really like reading ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ by Ina May Gaskin.¬† There¬†are so many wonderful empowering stories in this book and some great birthing tips as well!

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

In the summer I love to do anything and everything outdoors. I love going to the beach and going for walks.  I love bike rides and fishing too.  One thing I wish I did more of is going camping!so that will be my goal for this summer.  I also love exploring, especially living in a new area.  I hope to do a lot of that coming soon.  In the winter I enjoy reading a book or cuddling with my fur babies and watching movies or TV.

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

That’s tough.¬† If I could try all the superpowers out for one day, I think I’d appreciate that!¬† Otherwise, if I had to pick one I think I’d say water breathing.¬† I would love to go into the ocean and swim as far down as I could and see what strange creatures that are living down there.¬† At the same time I’d choose invisibility so I wouldn’t get eaten.

What is your favorite song to Karaoke to?

The most recent song I did karaoke to is ‘DoReMi’ from sound of music. I will sing to anything at anytime, I love it!

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Erin as part of your support team!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Your birth space matters ‚Äď why you should surround yourself with people who support you

Think about the people in your life who love and support you unconditionally. Who would be there for you, with your best interests at heart, in a crisis. In a time of joy. In a time of sorrow.

Hopefully, you have a handful of people in your life who fill that role. Human beings need each other for love, support and friendship and that is always very apparent during life‚Äôs transitions ‚Äď like giving birth.

Birth is a transformative experience that can have a lasting impact on your life. And your birth space matters greatly. Who you have with you in your birth space is an important decision and sometimes, it isn’t easy.

Some people in your life may want to be in your birth space, but they may not always be a good fit. Maybe your mom makes you nervous, or your mother-in-law rubs you the wrong way. Families are excited to be present with a new life enters the world, but that presence may not be the best thing for the parents-to-be.

A birth space that feels off, is stressful or has other issues can impact a woman’s ability to labor. Feeling relaxed, safe and supported is the best way to give birth and who you surround yourself during the process is crucial to a good experience.

Here are some tips for creating a relaxing and supportive birth space:

Hire a doula

Of course, we ARE doulas so we fully believe that hiring a doula for your birth is one of the best ways to achieve the kind of birth you want and deserve. We are there to solely support and advocate for you and your partner. We can make sure your wishes are carried out and that you are fully able to concentrate on delivering your baby. We are trained, experienced and knowledgeable and we don’t have any issue telling pushy family members to back off (in a nice way, of course!).

Talk to your partner

Have a frank and open discussion about your needs in a birth space is a healthy way to set expectations and boundaries. Also, after you have a baby, those expectations and boundaries become even more important as you bond and grow with your new baby. Becoming a family of three (or more!) is a big transition and it should be all about you in the first few weeks. Having these talks now ‚Äď before baby arrives ‚Äď is a great decision.

Talk to your health care provider

If you are having a hospital birth, it’s a good idea to talk to your provider about who can and will be in your room as you labor. It’s different at every hospital and sometimes, there can be multiple nurses, medical students and other staff present. It’s OK to say no to these things and set the tone for a peaceful birth with as few interruptions as possible.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

At Metro Detroit Doula Services, we are honored to help create relaxing, safe and supportive birth spaces for our clients. Contact us today if you have questions or concerns.

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Beth Smith

In this weeks blog, we introduce Beth!¬† Beth has joined our team as an experienced Labor doula.¬† We are so glad she’s with us.¬† She is well loved, fun, and super easy to talk to.¬† Keep reading to learn more about Beth.

What is your doula ‚Äúpath‚ÄĚ story?
I began my journey as a teacher working with infants and families in a childcare setting.¬† Supporting new moms and babies was something that came naturally to me.¬† I completed my bachelors degree in early childhood education in 2004 at Rochester College.¬† I journeyed down the path of being a doula in 2005 after a friend suggested that I be present for the birth of her son as her labor support person.¬† After doing a little research about what a doula is and what one does, I joined my friend for her son’s birth.¬† It was truly amazing!¬† Afterwards I knew that being a doula was definitely my calling and I haven‚Äôt looked back.

My family is AWESOME!  I’ve been with my high school sweetheart since 1997.  We’ve since married and have the pleasure of raising 4 beautiful, spirited daughters.  We also have the luxury of having my mom live with us full time since her retirement.  Our pets include a Flemish Giant (a breed of rabbit) named Franklin and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Ladybug.

I love supporting women and families as they transition into parenthood.  There is nothing else more moving than supporting a new life’s entrance into the world. Being a part of a lifelong memory is something I feel honored to be a part of.  РBeth Smith


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

Top Pop amongst other things!¬† I love listening to music that you can sing and dance to. The 80‚Äôs, 90‚Äôs and today‚Äôs best music ‚Äď I‚Äôll listen to it all!¬† Things I have in my play list include: Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Radiohead, Muse, Pink, The Black Keys, Twenty One Pilots, and Luke Bryan (yes, even country).

What are some positive comments made by others about you?
That I have the ability to remain calm and serene in the face of chaos.

Caring, Warm, Confident

What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood.  It was a fast read, and quite entertaining.

What is your philosophy for birth & supporting women and their partners through labor?
I believe what families need most is nurturing and gentle support.  I believe that each labor and birth is a unique and miraculous experience and the emerging family is the center and focus of that experience.  While the course of labor and birth is unpredictable, each family should be able to choose for themselves how they would like to respond to it Рwhere they feel safe, who they want to deliver their baby, who else they want with them and whether they want to use pain medications and other medical interventions.

Favorite Show: This is Us
Favorite Vacation: We try to go to Topsail Beach, NC every other summer.  My family has also taken a liking to Grand Haven, MI.
Favorite Food: Pizza, anything with buffalo sauce and cake.
Favorite Hobby: Reading, Gardening, Crafting

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
What is this ‚Äúday off‚ÄĚ you are speaking of and where can I find it?¬† I enjoy keeping busy, starting my day at the gym before my kiddos are awake and sneaking a cup of coffee before they‚Äôve started their day.¬† My dream ‚Äúday off‚ÄĚ would be sleeping in a bit, reading a good book in a quiet caf√©, and getting a massage.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to clone myself so I can be in 2 places at one time.

Metro Detroit Doula Services

You will love having Beth as part of your birth team!  Give us a call or connect with us via email at info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com, also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Why Doulas Are Just Like “Sadness”

Did you watch the Disney movie “Inside Out”?¬† There is one scene that as a doula resonates with me.¬† ¬†The character Sadness sits down next to Bing Bong after his magical rocket is lost forever.¬† Bing Bong is clearly upset.¬† Joy tries to cheer him up.¬† But Sadness… Sadness listens to him.¬† Just listens.¬† ¬†She sees him upset and starts with, “I’m sorry that they took your rocket.¬† They took something that you loved. It’s gone…..forever. ”¬† Then as Bing Bong opens up she asks questions about the fun he and Riley had on that rocket.¬† ¬†Sadness lets Bing Bong feel his feelings.¬† By letting him feel his sadness and talk about it she validated his feelings.¬† A warm embrace and then Bing Bong felt a little better and was able to continue the journey.¬†¬†film (1)

This is important to doulas.¬† This is a role we strive to provide.¬† Not to be “Sadness” per se but to be support that hears you .¬† We don’t believe you should be a certain way, we just want you to be.¬† We do not tell you how to feel, we let you feel.

This transcends our doula life and is useful in all relationships.  Parenting, friendships, relatives.  Sadness has it right:

Listen.

Validate.

Support.

That movie has such great lessons to all ages on communication and emotions.  We thank Sadness for being her.  Let us support you and be your listening ear!

 

 

The Fear of Giving Birth Again

“You have done this before. ¬†You know what you are doing!” ¬†Anyone who has given birth once and is now preparing to birth baby number 2, or 3, or 10 has probably heard someone say this. ¬†Maybe you feel like, “Heck yeah I got this!”, or you maybe you want to reply, “Do I know what I’m doing? ¬†Is it too late to back out?”

Just because you have given birth before does not mean you:

A) Know what to expect this time

B) Feel good about giving birth

C) You don’t need any help, or guidance

D) Are not nervous

Let me be the first to say it is perfectly OK to feel HOWEVER you are feeling about giving birth AGAIN.  Whether it is indeed excitement, or happiness, it is also OK if its not.  Perhaps you have fear of giving birth again.

No matter what you are feeling there are things to do to help you cope with birthing again.

  1. Make a birth plan. ¬†This isn’t just for first time births. ¬†You can perhaps even use what your previous birth was like to help you choose things you for sure know you want to happen again, and things you know you absolute do NOT want to repeat.
  2. Process your feelings.  As you are growing your baby and awaiting your due date it is a good idea to explore your feelings when you are ready. Talk to your partner or doula.  Sometimes you just need someone to listen.
  3. Take a Childbirth Education course.  Maybe you skipped this the first time.  Maybe you need a refresher.  It is always good to learn about as much of the unknown as you can so you can feel more confident.  If you take a group class you may even make friends with someone feeling just like you are!
  4. Surround yourself with positive support. ¬†Your family, your partner, your care provider, your doula and your friends. ¬†Try to keep positive people near you. ¬†People who don’t dismiss your feelings but validate them.

It’s also normal to have your feelings change. ¬†Every pregnant woman at some point or another takes a moment to think about what the upcoming birth may be like. ¬†And with that comes some emotion. ¬† Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your processing and feelings.

push birth labor

What can be cool about giving birth again is maybe you do have an idea of what it is like.  Some of the unknown may be known!  This may allow you to focus on other details.  You may have an idea of what helped you.  Use these to prepare for this next birth.  Use your previous experience as another tool in your tool-belt.

For example, “I thought having family in the waiting room would not bother me. ¬†But I remember feeling bad that they were waiting so long out there.” ¬†Use this as a tool to know you would prefer all excited family to wait for baby’s arrival at home until they are notified to come be with you.

No matter how you are feeling about birthing again, remember you are not alone and there is support to help you!

How Will I Know? | Early Signs of Labor

The weeks of pregnancy are coming and going. ¬†Soon you find yourself nearing the end of gestation. ¬†You are close to your estimated due date. Every pregnant person wonders how will I know if I am in labor? ¬†Ask around and you are sure to hear the advice of, “you’ll just know.” ¬† How helpful is that?

The main thing about early labor signs is that they are not always an absolute guarantee that labor is beginning.  Some things like water breaking means baby needs to come, but others could happen and you have days or dare I say weeks before baby actually arrives.

This list below will give you an idea of what to look for and notice.  Take note that some of these will happen before labor begins, and some will happen during labor.

 

1) Lightening- No, not talking about the weather but when baby moves down into the pelvis.  You may feel able to breathe easier.  This is because as baby drops down it is no longer pressing up on your diaphragm and lungs.  You may notice more pelvic pressure as well since baby is lower and now pressing in that area.  

 

2) Bloody Show and/or Loss of the Mucus Plug The opening to the cervix is actually protected by the mucus plug.  This keeps the bacteria out while you are pregnant.  It isn’t so much of a cork but a long and stringy plug.  You may notice more discharge that can be gooey or not.  Sometimes it will be blood tinged.  That is known as bloody show.  These are both signs of cervical change!

 

3) Nesting- Did you wake up with an urge to get things in order?  Can’t get settled until X,Y, or Z is done?  Do you feel energized to get these all accomplished NOW?!  Then you may be nesting.  A sense of urgency to complete things coupled with the actual energy to do them are classic nesting signs.  

nesting image.png

Packing your hospital bag?  Checking things off a list?  These are common nesting items!

 

4) Contractions- A low aching sensation, or period like cramps coming and going, may be the beginning of contractions.  In early labor they can be pretty spread out (even as far at 20 to 30 mins apart).   If you notice a pattern setting in try timing them.  They will gradually get longer, stronger, and closer together as your uterus is working to bring baby down.   Longer, stronger, and closer together contractions are one difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and labor.  

 

5) Water Breaking- At some point your body will cause your membranes to rupture.   For some women this will be the start of labor.  Very few women will feel a dramatic gush like the movies.  Much more likely, you won’t know if you peed yourself or your water broke.  It can feel like a gush or a constant trickle.  If the fluid leaking is odorless it may be amniotic fluid.  Take note of the color of the fluid, odor, how much fluid leaked or is leaking, and the time of the water breaking.  Update your care provider on this information.  

If you are experiencing some of these baby may be coming very soon.  While you are waiting for one of these signs rest, hydrate, and enjoy the last days of pregnancy!

April the Giraffe | The Watched Pot… Stays in Labor?

It is amazing to witness a birth.  Seeing a human enter the world is a beautiful and spiritual thing.  Watching animals birth is equally awe-inspiring.  How they seem to just know exactly how to move and where to go.

Miss April the Giraffe is about to give birth. ¬†She’s a Giraffe in New York anxiously awaiting her baby. ¬†For the last month she is believed to give birth any day.

 

And the world is watching……….And still watching.

Good news is she likely doesn’t know it.

In labor it is common for people to be so excited and supportive to their loved ones they think they will get to watch the birth.  They may wait in a waiting room or hope to enter the labor room.  They could be at their own home waiting on updates and continue to text or call worried.

So when you birth who do you want watching? ¬†It’s OK to do what you feel. ¬†For some the idea of lots of close loved ones near by is reassuring. ¬†For others it can create the feeling of “the watched pot never boils.”

giraffelegs

Typically in labor a woman will experience pain or intensity.  Which can be hard for others to see.  The woman may be coping well but all the loved one sees is suffering and wants it to end.  A laboring woman will have different levels of intensity at different points of the labor.  The mood of the room will change.  If the people in the room do not acknowledge that change it may become annoying or frustrating to the laboring woman. As well as anxious energy in the room can radiate to the laboring woman.  Ideally the room will radiate relaxation and calm.

Some find themselves feeling bad if the baby doesn’t come fast enough because all their family is waiting. ¬†This can all lead to mind games. ¬†The mind and body are very connected.

I personally thought I was OK with the number of people who attended my first birth in the beginning. ¬†Which included some unplanned but caring loved ones. ¬†Then my labor was long. ¬†Long enough for the visitors there to dwindle down to who I originally thought would be at my birth. ¬†And then… things picked back up and baby girl arrived. ¬†I truly believe the added people watching and waiting played ¬†a role.

You need to take a look at yourself and what serves you.  What will you feel if your labor is long?  Are you comfortable asking people to leave?  Some say birth is as intimate as the act to create the baby.  Who do you want watching then?

So April, Good Luck sister! ¬†You’ll do great! ¬†I won’t be watching ūüėČ