doula

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

Trimming baby’s nails. Hard pass.

By Andrea Stainbrook

You stare down lovingly at your sweet bundle. Squishy and angelic. An angel with claws! It is always amazing to see how fast babies can grow their nails. Some come out of the womb with long nails. New babies may need a trim as often as every few days!

While looking at your sweet unsuspecting baby you are thinking, “Nope, not gonna do that. I don’t want to hurt him!” That’s totally ok… for a little bit. There are those little newborn mittens, or even baby socks you can put over your baby’s hands so that they don’t scratch themselves. Eventually though it needs to happen.

Step one: Deep breaths. You CAN DO THIS!

Step 2: Gather your tool of choice.

Clippers, scissors (nail scissors not your kitchen’s junk drawer scissors), or files. Clippers are the most commonly used. They sell mini ones perfect for tiny hands. Some even have magnifying glasses on them. Scissors are typically more expensive but those who prefer them like the control they have. The fear with either of those is accidentally cutting the baby. Files are known not to draw blood and people like that there is no cutting of any kind. Sometimes baby’s nails are soft though so files can be hard to use until their nails are hardened.

It is not a good idea to bite them off or tear them off. Taking off too much nail is easy to do and can lead to ingrown nails or discomfort.

Step 3: Take your time and pick a good moment of the day to trim your baby’s nails.

Some parents like to make this something they do together with their partner or helpful friend, as some babies like to squirm. It is not a bad idea to add it to a routine or schedule if you are following one. Perhaps add it onto bathtime, the bedtime routine, or even tack it on to playtime. “See baby? This is fun!”

You will learn that it is doable! It can be daunting at first because we never want to harm our little ones accidentally. With patience and practice it will become a breeze of a parenting task.

5 anxiety reducing tips in pregnancy

by Andrea Stainbrook

It is normal to worry, or feel anxious in pregnancy. There is a lot happening. Your body is changing, as well as your life is changing! So many things to consider and think about. It can easily be overwhelming. For some you may already have a history with anxiety or have other stress factors compounding your feelings during pregnancy. Always be gentle with yourself.

Give a call to that person who will just listen.

Here are our 5 tips to help lessen the anxiety you feel:

  1. Get your feelings out! Talk about it. And talk about it ideally with someone who won’t judge you and will just listen. Our doulas are trained in this and available to their clients. A good friend or family member can be a great listening ear as well. If you have a partner let them hear you. By speaking about your emotions you will begin to process them.
  2. Get moving! Find an exercise or activity that will let your mind wander away from the pressing worries. Exercise is known to be a mood booster overall and hopefully it can help you think more clearly. Finding a local pre-natal yoga class (or other pre-natal centered exercise class) can be a good option as you can meet others that may have similar feelings and have an understanding of what you are going through. Walking and running are good options as well! Get out and smell that fresh air.
  3. Take a birth class! Many times the fear of the unknown is scary. Often it can be the fear of childbirth itself. By learning more about it and what to expect you can reduce some of the anxiety you have surrounding it. We, at Metro Detroit Doula Services, offer birth classes monthly or will even teach you privately in the comfort of your own home. Knowledge is power, and in this case knowing more about it may bring some calm.
  4. Practice your breathing! Focusing on your breathing is a great tool for coping with anxiety as well as great practice for birth. Long slow deep breaths are ideal. Take a long breath in through your nose filling your lungs, then release it long, low, and slow. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  5. Discuss it with your doctor! It is always a great idea to keep your care provider in the loop with how you are mentally feeling. They will be the best tool to help you come up with tailored ways to address your anxiety, referrals to therapists, as well as know what is available to you if medication is the best path. If you cannot function through your normal daily life or you are having anxiety attacks please reach out to your doctor right away. They will be able to help you navigate your next steps.
A daily yoga practice can incorporate your breathing practice and exercise.

Hopefully you will see some improvement by implementing some of the tips above. It is OK to have worries and stresses. It is normal to need to process your fears. We don’t want those feelings to consume you though. Take care of yourself and give us a call if you need a listening ear!

You matter too! Self-care with a newborn

by Andrea Stainbrook

Self-Care. Self-care seems to be a buzzword now of days. And for good reason! Life is busy, hectic, hard, and we often forget to check in with ourselves. Just like our cars, we all can eventually run out of gas and when we do it can be dark, sad, and lonely.

So life after giving birth is no different.

You have this sweet little newborn. Sweet as a ripe juicy orange, yet demanding, and time consuming. So time consuming we put ourselves last. We are lucky to brush our teeth before 5 p.m. sometimes.

So try not to let things slide too far. Make sure everyday you find moments. MOMENTS. One small moment to yourself can mean a huge deal to your mental load. These moments can look like sneaking in a few pages of a good book while baby naps. Maybe even resting your own eyes.

When feasible set up support. DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR HELP. Have a visitor or a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula? Let them tend to the baby for 30 minutes (or more) while you shower undisturbed! Or read a trashy magazine! Or fill in the blank here! Try to do something that doesn’t require any thought about anything else. Clear your head.

Have a goal each day to do at least one thing that is just FOR YOU.

Something that fills your bucket and makes you breathe a little easier.

Maybe you can squeeze in a relaxing bath when a helper is visiting!

Caring for others can cost us a lot sometimes. So check your receipt! Make sure there are some deposits going in! Take care of yourself and in turn you will be able to better care for your newborn.

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?

 

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 😉

 

 

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Amy Hammer

By Amy Hammer, CEO & Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services

After having a fabulous doula for her own birth over 5 years ago, Amy Hammer decided to join her gifts of compassion and service with her love for families and become a business owner & doula herself.  Amy and Andrea’s collaboration together has been a complete blessing.  Together they support families, support each other, and laugh a lot!  Amy is certified with ProDoula as a Labor Doula and a Postpartum Placenta Specialist, she is also pre-certified as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula.

Amy Hammer, Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services, Certified Labor Doula and Postpartum Placenta Specialist, and Pre-Certified Postpartum & Infant Care Doula

Tell us about your family.  “I’m happily married over 14 years to a super tall 6’8″ husband who I grew up 4 miles away from most of my life and never even knew it, attending rival high schools.  We have a daughter & son who are growing like weeds.  Our animals include a 16 year old grandma grey tabby cat & a black and white Shih-tzu-mix puppy who is exactly that… a puppy!”

What do you love about being a doula?  “I love helping!  I love that my work assists families in enjoying their biggest life moments & helping them realize their dreams.  I was born to help & care for others, it feels so completely natural to me.”

“Having a Doula was fantastic.  I will recommend her to all of my pregnant friends!  I can’t believe the patience and nurturing spirit it must take to do this job.  I can’t imagine how my labor would have gone without her there – it would NOT have been the same at all.” – Labor Doula Client

What are your favorite resources for expecting parents/new families?  “Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Business of Being Born, Birth Without Fear, Active Labor by Janet Blaskas, Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel, Nursing Mother’s Companion, Happiest Baby on the Block, and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  The list could go on…”

What are you reading now?  “A bunch 🙂 Breastfeeding Made Simple by Mohrbacher & Kendall-Tackett for my Postpartum and Infant Care Doula Certification, Chase by Jennie Allen for my Lifegroup, The 5 Love Languages by Chapman for my marriage health, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo for my sanity, and Leadership Promises for Everyday by Maxwell for my volunteer work and business! Phew!”

What is your philosophy for parenting & supporting women and their families through their postpartum transition?  “See a need, fill a need and I have faith in you! Transitioning to family is hard work and everyone can benefit from an extra set of hands. The type of hands needed can change on the daily, but ultimately our goal is for you to feel rested and cared for so that when our shift comes to a close you can enjoy your family & relax. Our families know what they need and have great intuition of their baby’s needs; it is my job to support this, encourage where needed, and advise when asked.”

“You are doing better than you think, you are enough, and you know your child best!” – Amy Hammer

What are your favorites?  “Favorite show right now: Call the Midwife on Netflix; Favorite vacation: somewhere warm, Europe, or tent camping in Michigan; Favorite food: Mexican & Mediterranean; Favorite hobby: Yoga.”

On a day off Amy loves to sleep in and spend quality time playing with her family.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?  “This is hard because teleporting would be ah-mazing!  But, super speed task master with multiple arms would have to be it at the moment, so that I could do all the things I need and also be able to spend time laughing with my family.”

“I didn’t know until recently that I was ‘allowed’ to rest and have consistent help.  We hoped that by hiring doulas for postpartum that we wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed as we had before.  To boot, she offered emotional support, a listening ear, company, laughs, warmth to my children – definitely met and exceeded my expectations!  She and Andrea were a valuable and priceless part of postpartum!” – Postpartum and Infant Care Doula Client

What is your favorite song to karaoke? “Nothings Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship… it’s become our MDDS theme song. ♥”

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today and have Amy complete your dream team!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com

Who is Metro Detroit Doula Services? A Blog Series | Meet Andrea Stainbrook

By Andrea Stainbrook , CEO & Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services

Andrea Stainbrook joined forces with Amy Hammer to create Metro Detroit Doula Services. Together their vision is to bring support without judgement during pregnancy, birth, and as a family after baby arrives.  Andrea is certified with ProDoula as a Labor Doula, pre-certified as a Postpartum Doula, and is currently working on her certification as a Childbirth Educator with ProDoula.

andreafamilydoula-5128

Andrea Stainbrook, Co-Founder of Metro Detroit Doula Services, Certified Labor Doula, Pre-Certified Postpartum Doula, and future Childbirth Educator

Tell us about your family!  “My husband Justin and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary next summer.  We have 2 beautiful, full of energy, funny little girls; Lydia, 6, and Estelle, 3.   George and Jerry are our senior dogs who have been helping us clean under the kitchen table ever since the girls were born.”

What do you love about being a doula? “What I love is watching families grow and how they find strength they may never knew they had.”

If we turned on the radio in your car, what would we hear? “Currently a lot of Sia.  My girls love Sia as much as I do.  You’ll also hear Thrice,  Dustin Kensrue’s solo stuff,  or Rilo Kiley when I get some time to choose as well.”

“As I grieved the loss of the birth I had hoped for, Andrea very easily adapted her support to meet my new needs.  She provided me with a listening ear, supportive words, and many suggestions that helped me emotionally prepare for a cesarean birth.” – Labor Doula Client

Give us 3 words that describe you.  “Fun.  Listener.  Caring.”

What are you reading now?  “Lots of  children’s books.  🙂  I would love to find time to read one of Mindy Kaling’s books or Jennifer Weiner’s latest.”

What’s your favorite show?   “I am very excited for the return of The Walking Dead!  That premiere episode was intense.   It’s shaping up to be a great season.”

What is your philosophy for birth & supporting women and their partners through labor?  “I believe in supporting each family without bias.  Whatever you want and see for your birth I will stand behind you.”

“Trust yourself and be easy on yourself.” -Andrea Stainbrook

Who is your role model?  “There are a few. Truly I am inspired by people who are 100% themselves and just go for it!  My partner Amy is my doula role model.  I’m blessed that we get to do this together.    My husband is a role model for parenting.  He’s so kind and patient.  It’s awesome to watch him with our girls.”

When Andrea gets a day off she enjoys family days together.  She loves baking or cooking her favorite food lasagna with help from her children.  They love lining the lasagna pan with the pasta and sauce!    She enjoys traveling all over Michigan and recently had a great vacation in Disney World!

If you could have a superpower what would it be? “To make everyone happy.  In a perfect world I would love to bring joy to everyone I meet!”

“Andrea was the best Postpartum Doula!  She was absolutely wonderful with my sweet baby girl and was so comforting to me as a new mama.  She made me feel like everything I was going through was normal and was so reassuring.” – Postpartum Doula Client

What is your favorite song to karaoke?  This is a tough one.  Hands down if I am karaoking with Amy (my co-owner) it would be “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” – Starship.  With my hubs I would probably say “Almost Paradise” (from Footloose) – Mike Reno and Ann Wilson.  But ya know a good Beyoncé song never hurts either!  (For the record my singing isn’t so amazing… but my entertainment value is there 😉 )

 

Contact Metro Detroit Doula Services today and have Andrea be a part of your birth team!
586-960-5993
info@metrodetroitdoulaservices.com