Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

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Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

Childbirth classes and sunroofs, what do they have in common? Are you pregnant and seeking childbirth classes that are right for you? How do you choose? Is a class really necessary? I’ve shared my story in the past, I’ve had moms tell me it was helpful to them during their search for childbirth classes. Those who had a prior birth end in a way they didn’t anticipate found my story especially helpful.

I’d waited nine long months pregnant with my first.

I lovingly caressed my belly and enjoyed being pregnant (mostly). I couldn’t wait to meet him, hold him, and call him by his name. After 18 hours of labor, when I finally got to hold him in my arms, I just felt… exhausted and empty. Being awake for almost two days mostly without food will do that to you. I was frustrated at the expectations I felt by everyone to see my baby before I was even cleaned up after birth.  My hip felt bruised where he had been bumping against it during our labor.  He wouldn’t latch onto my breast. Then he fell asleep while I wolfed down two hospital-made turkey sandwiches with mayo on top.  Tired was an understatement.

This is how I started parenthood.

Exhausted, but also feeling like I should feel more, because I’d had a “good birth”.

It was a vaginal birth like I had planned for. My care provider was wonderful and respectful. My partner was super supportive and loving, and I had a perfect, precious baby in my arms.  It was good, right?  Everyone else was calling it a “good birth” so it must have been good.

Even after a few hours, when I really did connect and bond with my baby I couldn’t stop staring at him. His little nose, toes and everything about him was perfect. When I was really and truly in love…

I wanted more.

I felt like the classes I had taken still didn’t teach me that birth isn’t only about the outcome. In fact, the childbirth classes I had taken (and that many parents take) focused on “a healthy baby”, as if that were the only thing that mattered.

Of course it matters.

No one honestly thinks to themselves, “I want to have an amazing birth experience at the expense of my baby’s health.” No! We want balance. A healthy mom and baby and a satisfying experience no matter how our babies are born; vaginal or cesarean.

As one mom put it, “Sliding right through my vagina would be great, but if she really needs to use the sunroof that’s cool too.”

Oh, oh, oh, childbirth classes and sunroofs do have something in common!

Our birth experiences are about the choices we have along the way. Even then, it really isn’t about which choices we make, but how we feel about making them. My first birth isn’t the reason I became a doula, but it did change the way I write and recommend childbirth classes.

In my professional experience and in my personal opinion birth classes that are worth it should:

  • Be comprehensive and diverse
  • Cover the anatomy and physiology of birth.
  • Teach strategies to help you work through all the decisions you may face.
  • Help you determine a set role for each person who will be with your during your labor and birth.
  • Cover “natural” and pharmaceutical pain relief options.
  • Help you focus on your goals, but also approach birth with realistic expectations.
  • Teach the importance of choosing a provider and a hospital deliberately and with intention, so that the care you receive will align with your philosophy on birth.

In our classes and in The Prepared Parent Childbirth Classes taught by First Coast Doulas we cover all of those important things. We also cover topics like the importance of a special environment for birth. An environment that leaves a birthing family feeling like they really are the center of the world. That’s another check mark for a great childbirth class!

We know that birth is unpredictable and very often strays, or at least wanders a little from the written plan or idea we try to concrete into our mind.

But birth can also be more, so much more!

It’s not simply about whether or not your baby slides through the birth canal or pops the hatch to be born through the sunroof! You can learn how to have a birth centered on YOU! You’ll truly be prepared for the EXPERIENCE of birth. Even if you don’t get most of what’s on your “birth plan” your birth can still be an experience that helps you position yourself for a rewarding start along your parenting journey.

So whether this is your first baby or your last, from one mom to another—find childbirth classes that TRULY help you plan for the experience of birth!

Childbirth Classes in Jax FL | Night Nurse Jax FL

This blog was co-authored by Elizabeth Luke, owner of First Coast Doulas and Victoria McCollum, owner of The Virginia Baby Company.

childbirth classes jax fl | Jax FL Birthing Classes

Victoria McCollum is a doula extraordinaire, Supermom to three amazing boys, and a carbohydrate connoisseur who lives in Fredericksburg with her super handsome soldier.  You can connect with her on Facebook or on Instagram for birth and parenting tips, tricks and updates The Virginia Baby Company serves Northern and Central Virginia, from Arlington to Richmond to Charlottesville.

Your Baby is Your Team Mate

 Your Baby Jax FL Doulas Birth

Your Baby is Your Team Mate

If I told you that your baby is your team mate would you believe me? Raise your hand if you just know that labor starts when your water breaks? Or raise your hand if you believe contractions start with a vengeance with no break. Or maybe you think that labor is intensely painful throughout the whole ordeal. Many people think that’s exactly how and when labor starts and how labor will be. No thanks to movies and popular TV shows, by the way!

Nod if you believe that the birthing person’s body is solely responsible for birth.

Huh? Who else would be responsible in the process? One hint: the uterine occupant. Your baby bean. It’s not all about you! (well, it is, but it isn’t). Your baby is your team mate! Yep, your baby is a team player in their pursuit to be born! This perspective can be encouraging, empowering, and even used as an affirmation in labor!

The mother and the baby have to work together.

There are various mechanisms by which the birthing person and baby work together, whether we, as a society, know it or not.  It’s probably why labor is so incredibly difficult to describe to many people or even to understand ourselves, sometimes. How cool is that? Totally rad, right?

How does this happen though?

Surfactant Release

When the baby’s lungs are fully developed, anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, their body will release a substance called surfactants into the parent’s body. Surfactants are necessary to keep the lungs inflated. Without them, we could not breathe. Premature babies often lack the necessary volume of surfactants. When the baby is ready though, their body will produce them and the molecules will disperse throughout the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and the mother’s uterus.  The pregnant body will miraculously recognize this compound. Then, the uterus will become agitated and begin to contract. Sometimes, the contractions will be small, light, and irregular if the cervix isn’t quite “favorable” and other times, the contractions will be full-force with the “textbook” pattern. Thus, labor begins.

Main Squeeze

During labor, the uterus contracts, or squeezes. At the same time, the baby will actively move downward and/or move into a more conducive position (face down).  Babies usually attempt to be in a positon called occiput anterior so that way they can tuck their chin and leave the pelvis rather smoothly.  They feel the uterus pushing them downwards, further into the vaginal canal. Your baby responds by using the stepping reflex they’ll will be born with that allows them to do the breast crawl. Many women can actually feel their babies subtle and not so subtle movements in labor as the twist, squirm, and step into the right position for them! Your baby is your team mate and will move until they crown and then spin to face upwards upon birth.

Fetal Ejection

As baby moves further downward and puts more pressure on the cervix, the weight of their head and body, and the amniotic sac if it hasn’t ruptured, will influence you to dilate and efface further. When the baby is as low as he/she can be, right before crowning, the pressure will activate the nerves and muscles within the pelvic floor. As your baby crowns, you and he/she will work together to push-you might even feel experience the uncontrollable ejection of your baby! This is what’s called the fetal ejection reflex; a reflex that allows your baby to be born without any active pushing Don’t worry, whether you experience that overwhelming sensation or not is irrelavant because your baby will still be born!

Knowing your baby is your team mate, you can prepare yourself and your birth team with some affirmations to share with baby in the throes of labor. It also helps to know this too, because when things seem to be taking their time or are otherwise frustrating, it can be reassuring to think about the baby also being an active participant.

If you’re curious to learn more about the labor and birth process check out The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class.

Birth is definitely a team effort, and the most important duo is you and your baby! Go team!

Birth Methods Suck

 birth methods suck | childbirth classes jax fl

Birth Methods Suck

I’m gonna come out and say it. Personally and professionally I feel that birth methods and childbirth education that focuses on a single “method” rather than the individuals needs/desires suck.  Their inflexibility notwithstanding, they generally come with top-secret, super miraculous teachings that all but guarantee you’ll have the best birth. Not only is this misleading, I believe it creates more problems than it seeks to solve, even if unintentionally.

As the Jacksonville community and as previous First Coast Doulas clients know, we believe there is no one right or wrong way to birth or parent. Why would we believe there is one “right” way to approach childbirth education and coping with birth or parenthood?

We only argue that pineapple does go on pizza!

One of the biggest problems with specific childbirth education or birth methods I see is in their lack of flexibility and how that translates into real-world application.

If you have a stringent process or step-by-step “how-to”  for learning something that is completely unique and dependent on the person, their circumstances, etc.  how do you accommodate for individual and large-scale changes? While the information regarding the biology of pregnancy and childbirth are fact-based, and thus, simple enough to teach, the information dealing with helping people wade through those facts, their options, and their effects is entirely based on the individual family’s needs, goals, and values.

These birth methods employ a precise way to learn and apply that learning in handling pregnancy and birth with no room for deviation by the student or by updated hospital or care provider policy. Meaning, a method easily becomes too dogmatic and not realistic for our humanity of shifting expectations and requirements.

So what happens when a person learns a birth method in the hopes and anticipations that it will totally, or at the least, mostly work and then it doesn’t?

Well, unfortunately, they’re left with no Plan B and only a few ways in which they can deal. This is especially true the more obscure and branded the method is since oftentimes, the education component is lacking and the method built up hopes and dreams by the very nature of its superiority and its uniqueness.

While the birthing person may logically know what a contraction is, they may not know why and how it happens nor do they know all the various ways in which to alleviate the pain associated with them. They were counting on that one thing that no longer serves them.  Which leads to my last point…

Disappointment and guilt.

Parents become wrecked with guilt when their birth experience ends up disappointing, or worse, became traumatic. Parents feel guilty that they failed at the method; the one tried-and-true answer that has worked for everyone else, everywhere (or at least, that is what it feels like). They feel guilty that they invested time, money, and confidence. They feel guilty that they didn’t do it “the right way”.

This is even more pronounced when the birth plan is drastically changed from a stringent list, and it’s not fair.

It’s not fair because this guilt is unwarranted and can be prevented with comprehensive education that inspires expectant parents to fully understand the birth process, to learn multiple ways to deal, to explore all their options, and to make a Plan A and Plan B, and even maybe a Plan C.  Will it prevent feeling disappointment? No, nothing can ever be 100% and that is the point here. But, when you give yourself flexibility and adaptable ways to approach something as unpredictable as birth, you are increasing your chances of feeling successful, and thus, less guilty.

The solution is to put your family’s individual needs first and be a prepared parent!

Learn a bit of biology and birth physiology. Learn about effective communication and relationship building with your providers and birth team. Learn about the multitude of ways to deal with anxiety, fear, and pain. Learn about ways to research options and about differing techniques used in decision-making.

Skip the birth methods and focus on putting together all the pieces in a way that works for you! Remember there really is no right or wrong way, only different ways!

 

Cesarean Birth Prep Sessions

cesarean birth jax, fl | birth classes in jax, fl

Finally, a class for parents having a cesarean birth!

Will you be welcoming a wee one or ones by way of cesarean birth? Are you supporting someone before, during, and after a cesarean birth? Feeling anxious, nervous, or out of touch with what to expect on the big day and weeks following the birth? First Coast Doulas understands the diverse needs of families. Our Cesarean Birth Prep Session is a unique resource for parents in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Find out what couples are saying about the Cesarean Birth Prep Session!

Our Family 1st Birthing Classes are comprehensive and encompass the wide variations of birth choices and options including non-medicated and medicated vaginal birth, home and hospital birth, and of course cesarean birth. This break-out session, focuses entirely on the process and beauty of birthing your baby via cesarean without all the other song and dance!

Do you want to learn more about the process?

Are you aware of what comfort techniques are available?

Are you clear on what options you have?

Have you considered your partner’s role?

In the Cesarean Birth Prep Session you will discover all of those things as well as things no books tell you about!

Offered in the privacy, comfort, and convenience of your own home! We come to you, no travel or traffic required. Not only do we answer all your questions and more, but we also discuss the first hours after birth, the fourth trimester body, breastfeeding, and post-birth healing and recovery.

First Coast Doulas is dedicated to providing families with truly non-judgmental support, education, and options. We’re here to help you transition more smoothly, confidently, and in the way that is best for you and your family. Whether you are selecting the Family 1st Birthing Class or the Cesarean Birth Prep Session you will get all of your questions answered and have it all laid out for you in a professional, friendly, and reassuring way.

Not sure which class to take? No problem, contact us and we will work with you one on one to help you decide!

Your Newborn Baby; 5 Things You’ll Want Know

Your Newborn Baby Jax FL

Your Newborn Baby; 5 Things You’ll Want to Know

As delivery day approaches you’ll have all kinds of feels. The idea of your newborn baby in your arms can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time. As a New Family Support Specialist I want to help enhance your experience. So today I’m sharing with you 5 things you’ll want to know about your newborn baby.

1. Your newborn baby will cry.

I’m sure that comes as no shock, after all, babies cry, it’s sort of their thing. The feeling you get when you hear the sound of your baby’s cry can catch you off guard though. I mean, you know babies cry, so why all the emotions? Damn hormones! Hormones and instincts are to blame. We are wired to respond and be attentive to our newborns most of the time. Your newborn baby has very few ways to communicate with you, crying is the most recognizable one and gets the most attention quickly.

Babies cry for a number of reasons; hunger, discomfort or pain, startling, and sometimes they just cry. Yes, for no known reason. Write this one down folks! No, in fact just print this blog, frame it and hang it in the nursery as a reminder! It will be ok. You try “all the things”, and at the end of the day you remind yourself that you did the best you could and that is enough. As your baby grows you will begin to learn what cry means what. For some it’s an intuitive feeling, but for most it’s a learned art, it takes time, and that’s ok.

2. Your newborn may have a mini period and swollen breasts.

Maternal hormones from the mother’s body are responsible for these happenings. Again I say, damn hormones! In the first couple of weeks of life your newborn baby girl may shed a tiny amount of blood from her uterus into her vagina, and make its way to her diaper. This is normal and perfectly healthy. We’re talking a very small amount.

Your newborn boy or girl may have swollen breasts. Yep, boys can have boobies too! For a limited time only, usually lasting around six weeks of age your baby’s breast tissue can appear raised, swollen, or full.

3. Your newborn will have mucus, and may sneeze frequently.

Your newborn spent his entire life surrounded by amniotic fluid. Stepping, sucking, practicing acrobatics, and he was taking practice breaths of fluid. At birth most of that fluid is cleared via a good squeeze as he passes through the birth canal and is suctioned away by the provider. In a cesarean birth babies are suctioned more thoroughly because they need a little more help clearing that fluid. Some of that fluid still remains in your newborn no matter how they were born.

Your newborn will pass that mucous over the next couple of weeks and will need your help being suctioned occasionally. Hearing your newborn with mucous in his mouth and throat can be a little unsettling, but have no fear, its normal and will pass with time. Sneezing is one way your baby clears his respiratory passages. Using a bulb syringe or similar product like the Nose-Frida you will help remove what they cannot clear themselves. As long as the fluid is clear or milky like and not yellow or green there is no reason to be alarmed.

In the Family 1st Birthing Classes we cover birth, but we also cover what to expect in the first two weeks after birth. The classes are comprehensive and customized to your unique needs.

4. Your baby’s eyes may look crossed from time to time.

You could stare into her eyes forever! Don’t be surprised if one day while staring back your newborn’s eyes are crossed. In the first few months of life it’s very common. The eyes are surrounded by muscles. Majority of the time when the eyes are crossed some muscles may be a little weaker than others and just need more time to gain strength.

Your pediatrician will examine your baby’s eyes at each visit to make certain that everything is developing properly. If there is reason for concern you will be referred to a children’s eye specialist where further testing may be done.  If you are concerned or notice it happening more often absolutely mention it to your pediatrician.

Sometimes a baby’s eyes may appear to be crossed, but actually are not. This illusion is called pseudo strabismus and usually happens when a baby has a wide nasal bridge.

5. Your newborn will signal you when hungry.

You won’t hear the ringing of a little bell or get a, “Yo mom, when’s dinner?” No, no, you have a least a decade before that occurs, but your newborn will signal you when he or she wants to be fed. We all recognize crying as a sign of distress or hunger, but crying is actually a late indicator for hunger.

Catch your baby’s cues early and you can make feeding time a more enjoyable experience for all. If you wait until the late signs of hunger are displayed it may be necessary to calm your newborn before feeding her.

Early signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • licking or smacking lips
  • opening and closing mouth
  • sucking on anything (lips, tongue, finger, hand)

Active signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • the rooting reflex or turning their mouth towards your chest
  • crankiness displayed as breathing faster
  • squirming around, increased movement or stirring

Late signs of hunger in your newborn include:

  • crying
  • moving head from side to side
  • frantically moving around

Follow us on Facebook for more great informational blogs about pregnancy, birth, healing, your newborn, relationships, and parenting! In these early weeks of your newborn’s life it’s tough, really tough, but there are ways to feel more supported and transition more smoothly. Contact us today to learn more!

Baby Feeding Cues Visual

Cubs Celebrate World Series Win and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Are Born

Cubs celebrate World Series win and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are Born

Cubs celebrate World Series win and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are Born birth, pregnancy

Cubs Celebrate World Series Win and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are Born.

Co-Authored by Elizabeth Luke and Heather Horrell

Cubs Celebrate World Series Win and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are Born. What an incredible day for the Cubbies as they make history and win the World Series! Fans everywhere, including the First Coast Doulas team, watched, cheered, and anxiously held their collective breath for this long-awaited win!

Baseball aficionados and everyday Americans alike rejoiced to see Marty McFly’s prediction become eerily accurate, save for a year difference.

An incredible week indeed.

Just to see this level of enthusiasm resurrected, hopefully to create new fans and inspire family trips to the ballpark is magical and reminiscent of simpler days.

It seems baseball is the talk of the town. As a matter of fact, our town! Yep, our home group here in Jacksonville is busy renaming their baseball team. I could hardly believe the news. In fact, like many Jacksonville natives, I thought this must be a joke when I heard the name.

Then I fact checked.

Our Jacksonville Suns are now The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. *Crickets*. No, not crickets. Shrimp. Jumbo Shrimp. What the what?
So, will it now be, “Baseball’s never been hotter with the Jacksonville… Jumbo Shrimp?” It doesn’t flow from the tongue quite as effortlessly, but hey, maybe the motto changes too. Time will tell. Or, for another option, maybe it will be, “Shrimpin’ ain’t easy with the Jacksonville Shrimp!” Okay, I am just goofing now, but seriously, whoever has the task of the rebrand/rename/marketing surely has some work ahead of them.

Godspeed.

I’m not sure I even know this city anymore! What’s happening? Why is everything changing? (melodramatic pause).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through supporting families and through raising my own children, it’s that growth and change can sometimes be difficult. It’s in those difficult moments that we find some nuggets of truth. We learn a lot about ourselves, our own abilities, and about growing into a new “us”. Our identities change, sometimes more rapidly than at any other point in our lives.

Just like the Cubs are now 21st Century World Series Champs. Just as the Jacksonville Suns are now the very locality specific Jumbo Shrimp. One was a forced change and one was chosen (or maybe a little of each), but both represent where the teams are now and where they are going. Their changes indicate their abilities, their values, and how others see them.

It may be a difficult adjustment and still be welcome.

This is true each time a family dynamic changes as well. This is why I love what I do and what First Coast Doulas offers. We are that guide, that support, that confidante who recognizes your new identity for all its challenges and beauty.
So, just as the Cubbies step into the World Series title and grow, and we embrace new stages in parenting our children, so too shall our Jumbo Shrimps grow!

Our city will pick fun (as us Southerners like to say) and ask, “What in the hell?,” but I bet most will embrace the new name of our baseball team in time.

Right now everyone is frantically googling, “The World Series and The Jacksonville Suns are now The Jumbo Shrimp,” trying to understand how this new change affects Jacksonville’s identity as a baseball team and as a city.

I have confidence though, that even if on the surface this name change seems silly, our citizens will look deeper. In time we’ll see it as a good thing so that we will grow, we will change, and we shall find out a lot about who we are in the process…The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

If you think you might benefit from doula support or birth classes through the process of birthing a child in a town with Jumbo Shrimp as their baseball mascot, contact us Jumbo Shrimp loving doulas today!

 

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

You’ve bought the crib, car seat, and all the adorable little pieces of clothing! You’re ready to bring your baby home, but what else? No worries. We’re sharing the top must haves for expecting parents in 2017! We will give details on the top three and then provide you with a list and links for everything else! Preparation simplified!

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

#1 A Great Childbirth Education Class

Parents welcoming babies is 2017 live demanding lives and require a childbirth education and preparation class that is both comprehensive and engaging. In a great childbirth class like the Family 1st Birthing Classes (F1BC) you and your partner will learn about the physical happenings of pregnancy and birth, common interventions you could face, and how to cope with and embrace the process. In addition, the F1BC will help you build upon your relationship whether your main support person is your mother, partner, or best friend.

Classes in general can vary greatly and focus on just one “method” like hypnosis or partner advocacy. F1BC is more in depth and teaches a variety of techniques and tools. Classes can be taught in a group setting or a more intimate setting like your home. More parents are opting for a course that is one on one and completed within a couple of days as opposed to classes that can last four, six, or twelve weeks in length. Contact us to find out more about F1BC and how we can customize your

Jax Birth Classes | Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

#2 Placenta Encapsulation

Hear me out. I know that ingesting your dried, powdered placenta in capsules is not something you’ve likely ever considered. You probably only know a couple of women personally who have done it, quietly amongst their peers as to not be judged for it. Unless you have given birth and experienced extremely fatigue, low milk supply, sadness, or had a hard time healing you won’t truly connect with why some many women are choosing to partake in such a service.

Women who have ingested their placenta in capsules report that placenta encapsulation gave them more energy, helped with their breastmilk supply, reduced the incident of postpartum sadness, and helped them feel a sense of well-being overall. The capsules are no different than any other dried, powdered capsule supplement you may have taken except that it is made for you, by you and contains what you may need specifically!

Professional placenta encapsulation is something to consider, but your safety should always be of the utmost importance. Here are a few ways to help you stay safe and benefit from your placenta rather than worry with unsafe practices.

  • No one should ever pick up your placenta and drop off capsules.
  • You should always be provided a face to face visit.
  • Your “specialist”should have attended an in person training, hold a certification which they can show you, and run a legal business.

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017 | Jax Placenta

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017

#3 A Postpartum Doula

Lets begin with the end in mind shall we. It’s been a week since you came home with your baby and everyone is getting back to life as usual. Well, except you. You haven’t slept more than a solid hour in days, maybe a week. Sleep deprivation is taking its toll.  You have this perfect little human in your arms that you are “learning” and who looks to you for everything. You’re nursing every thirty minutes, cramping, changing diapers and running to the bathroom to change pads so you don’t leak out onto your new sexy mesh panties.

You are not feeling very sure of yourself or your abilities at this point and know you could really use some support, but you don’t want to ask and you’re not even sure what to ask for exactly. No one told you about this part. The books never described this. I mean maybe it did, but it’s hitting home now.

Now, imagine you have someone who comes to your home 2-3 times a week to focus on helping you! A postpartum doula has specific training in all things postpartum. This type of doula can do things like; light housekeeping, teach hands on all things baby related, run errands for you and with you. A postpartum doula listens and sometimes she is just there for positive support and cup of tea and conversation. A postpartum doula is a wealth of knowledge and she encourages healthy habits.

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017 | Jax Childbirth Classes

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Be sure to check out our complete list of baby registry products! Contact us today for more information on any or all of our services. Enjoy life simplified with First Coast Doulas!