labor

Check Out These Birth Books

By Amy Hammer

It doesn’t matter how far along you are or how many kids you have.  There is always new information coming out regarding pregnancy, labor help, birth prep – however you want to address it.  If you have found yourself wondering, what do I need to know about labor and delivery?… or what is happening to my body in labor?  There is a resource for you.

Tell your friends about these great birth book finds!

Pregnancy help can be found in all types of media.  You have choices with so many outlets in our digital world like podcasts, websites, etc… but some of you may want to simply hold a book in your hands while you soak in the experiences and knowledge to help you along this far-out journey!

Keep reading for our list of helpful books for birth:

The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

  • This is a great book for support partners giving guidance on the ins and outs of labor. 
  • With it’s objective, factual approach it sheds light on all sides of birth, examining the risks, benefits, and alternatives – our B.R.A.I.N blog explains this more in depth – and presenting both sides of options including natural and medicinal alike. 
  • It finishes off with sections regarding the postpartum period.

Birthing From Within by Pam England

  • If you like art and lean a bit more toward the holistic or “crunchy” side of life, this book may be just the one for you. 
  • You will find positive birth stories galore! 
  • This book’s approach is about finding strength in birth, viewing birth as a self-discovery, and acceptance of your birth outcome however it needs to unfold. 
  • There is also highlight help for new parent and marriage adjustments after baby arrives.

Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland

  • It’s great to see what is happening inward as you grow outward!  As it says in it’s title this is a weekly reference guide with ideas for To-Do Lists as you move along in pregnancy. 
  • Genevieve also touches on how to form your birth-team, giving a shout-out to our certifying and training organization ProDoula
  • She also dives into nourishment, your environment, and a number of newborn topics. 
  • If you haven’t visited her resourceful website, check it out.

Birth Wisdom Yoga Remedies & Journal by Julia Piazza

  • Who doesn’t want to feel as comfortable they can in pregnancy?!  Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to create some peaceful space for you and baby. 
  • This book is introduced by both a midwife and an obstetrician, is broken into trimesters (including ailments & solutions), and provides you with 30- & 60-minute flows that you can do at home, when you can’t make it out to a class at Earthside Prenatal Yoga with our friend & fellow boss babe, Lori. 
  • We were also delighted to find pelvic health floor information highlighted, a great bonus one of our very own team members, Ashley Gammon would much appreciate.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

  • With 30+ years of experience, Ina May is extremely well known throughout the natural birth community and is a treasure chest of information with her focus on unmedicated birth. 
  • You will find absolute confidence in the physiological process of birth, a variety of topics including the best ways to work with your doctor, and a collection of positive birth stories throughout.

Natural Hospital Birth by Cynthia Gabriel

  • Many families prefer to be as natural as possible in delivery with an open mind to medical options when necessary. 
  • That means being in a hospital for delivery with all options available while having the support of a provider who views birth the same as you.  We can not stress the importance of this enough – it is more important than the distance to the hospital and the types of tiles on the walls. 
  • This book helps you to be proactive in pregnancy so that you don’t have to be reactive in labor, giving you the best of both worlds.

Dive into some of the best books on birth around!

It’s easy to pick one of these titles up, just throw it in your cart – a little holiday gift for yourself – while you are cruising on Amazon.  Go on!  You deserve it.  There may even be an audio version you can download to listen to while you are driving or getting things done around the house.  However, you do it – enjoy this adventure of growing your family.

Of course, there is a collection of other childbirth books out there.  If you have a favorite that wasn’t listed, we’d love hearing about it – please share it with us in the comments below or reach out to us for more information.

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.  

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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!

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.

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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

Why Did You Hire a Doula?

As a professional doula and owner of Metro Detroit Doula Services I love hearing all the reasons people decide to hire one.   So I asked around.   These are actual quotes from people who hired doulas.  

 

“Because I was DEATHLY afraid of labor and knew I wouldn’t stand a chance without one.” 

Doulas are there to help you process and work on your fear and anxieties regarding pregnancy and childbirth.  We are always available to listen and discuss how you are feeling and we will work together to get you to a place with more confidence. In labor we are there to support you and help you obtain the wishes you have for your birth.  Doulas bring comfort and a calming presence to the experience.  We remind you of what is normal and you don’t have to feel alone in your journey.

 

“I needed support for my VBAC.” 

“I hired a doula for both of my c-sections…so thankful I did.  [She was] a calming supportive presence.”

Metro Detroit Doula Services supports all types of births.  Every birth is worthy of a doula.  1st baby, 2nd baby, and more!  We attend VBAC s (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean),  natural births at the hospital, natural births at home with a professional caregiver,  medicated/epidural births, and planned and unplanned cesarean.  We tailor to your needs for your birth journey.   Every birth is truly unique.  We serve them all.

 

“My husband isn’t a birthing professional. I wanted to add a key player to our birthing team basically.”

“Because I wanted and needed an expert, someone there only for me, and someone who knew what I needed before I did. Also to help my husband to help me better.”

Metro Detroit Doula Services firmly believes in becoming a part of your birth team!  We have a non-medical scope of practice.  You chose your care provider for a reason and we will help you work with them to achieve the wishes you hope for.  We also want your partner to be your partner.  Their connection with you is something we can’t and don’t want to replace.  We will help him/her  support you.   With a doula on the team there will always be continuous support for the laboring woman.   This makes it easier for the partner do self-care as well, like going to the bathroom, resting, or eating without feeling like they are abandoning their partner.  We can offer suggestions of techniques to do, positions, or words of encouragement to say.  Birth is a journey for the partner too!  We are also there to help the partner feel safe and comfortable.

 

Laboring Mom with Spouse

Metro Detroit Doula Services will be there to help your partner support you.

 

“I wanted a natural birth and had read the statistics on how helpful a doula can be in achieving that goal.”

There have been many studies and the statistics are in; the presence of a doula reduces the need of interventions. From Evidenced Based Birth, “Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections.”

“I wanted someone knowledgeable about birth whose ONLY job was to focus on me.”

That’s right, our job is to offer continuous labor support to you and only you. From the moment you want us to arrive we are there by your side supporting your needs.  Emotionally and physically we are there to be with you.  Listening ears, calming words, and helping hands to assist as you navigate your experience.  Doulas are a positive presence dedicated to only you.

 

“Because I wanted the loving care of a mom without it being my judgmental Mom.”

Metro Detroit Doula Services offers non-judgmental support always.  Feeling heard and respected is of utmost importance to us.  New parents receive advice from all angles.  As your journey unfolds we follow your own path, on your terms, how you want it.   Knowing you have someone there for you without worrying about how they will think of you for your choices is comforting.

No matter what the reason, a Doula’s sole job is to support YOU and YOUR FAMILY.  What will your reason be?