Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

Induction of Labor Jax FL

Induction of Labor | 10 Questions to Ask | 5 Things You Can Do Now

It’s true, most babies will come when they are ready for life outside the womb, but sometimes induction of labor is suggested by the care giver or desired by the pregnant person.  ACOG recommendations support a normal, full-term pregnancy lasting between 39 weeks and 0 days and 41 weeks and 6 days as long as both the mother and the baby are doing well and there is no medical indication for the induction.

I’m facing an induction of labor. Now what?

If this suggestion was based primarily on dates alone and you are within the range of normal and full-term (see ACOG above) first ask yourself how are you feeling about this suggestion. Sit with that for a minute and reflect.

Are you feeling kosher with the idea?

If yes, there’s nothing wrong with that. Many moms share your excitement and enthusiasm to have their baby in their arms now rather than later. If no, that’s perfectly normal as well. It’s a very personal decision either way. The next thing to do would be to talk with your provider about his/her suggestion.

Induction of Labor Birth Jax FL

Induction of Labor Jax FL Birth Classes

10 Great Questions to Ask Your Provider are:

1. For what reason(s) are you suggesting induction of labor?

2. Can we try some alternatives?

3. What methods of induction are you familiar with and most comfortable using?

4. What induction method do you recommend for me?

5. What are the risks and benefits of induction of labor?

6. How will this affect my birth preferences?

7. Would you be comfortable sending me for a Biophysical Profile (BPP) and or a Nonstress Test (NST) and reviewing those results with me before scheduling the induction?

8. Can you tell me my Bishop Score?

9. At what point would a cesarean birth be indicated?

10. If I elect to be induced can I choose the date and who my caregivers will be?

Not sure you got an answer or you didn’t understand the answer? That’s okay; communication is the key to feeling heard. Ask again, maybe in a different way.

Again, sit with it and reflect on these answers.

If there is no medical indication for induction you have real time to think it through! Even in medically indicated inductions there’s at least some time for you to process and make decisions.

With medical induction of labor, like any other pregnancy related decision there is usually array of emotions involved.

Here are 5 things you can do now to prepare:

1. Get into a good headspace. While most babies come when they are ready, some don’t and for good reason. Birth can safely take place at home and in birth centers and hospitals. Feeling respected and validated can lead to rewarding birth experiences!

2. Breathe and practice guided meditation, affirmations, and mantras to help prepare your body and your mind for the experience of birth. Some of my personal favorites are: My baby knows where and how she needs to be born. I trust the process. I will meet my baby soon.

3. Become familiar with Informed Consent and Informed Refusal. Let it bring you some peace about being in control as much as possible.

4. Do something for you! Get a massage and a pedicure, take a walk on the beach, swim, or do whatever makes you smile and helps you feel good. If you feel the need to do something more you can visit spinningbabies.com and do some positioning exercises.

5. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Birth can and usually does happen when we least expect it to. Don’t give away your homebirth supplies or throw plan A away just yet.

While being induced increases your chances of having a cesarean birth and can initially bring with it disappointment, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to a bad birth.

When we prepare to embrace the experience rather than the method in which our children enter our lives we can learn so much! It isn’t how we birth or come to be parents that makes us great parents, but rather how we embrace our greatest gift– our children and how we adapt while performing our greatest job–parenting.

Taking a great childbirth preparation class like the Confident Birth & Parenting Class or The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class will increase you and your birth partner’s confidence and help you embrace birth and parenting no matter what you want or need!

Happy birth and parenting!

~Elizabeth

Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Placenta encapsulation show and tell jax florida

Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

You’ve heard all the hype about you’re placenta curious! Welcome to placenta encapsulation show and tell!

My name is Elizabeth Luke, certified Postpartum Placenta Specialist. I thoroughly enjoy providing this service. Each week on average we receive anywhere from 3-10 calls with questions about placenta encapsulation and I’m more than happy to answer all of them!

People go into this with an open mind.

When most people daydream about their future and having a baby, never in a million years did they think that one day they’d be eating their placenta, but here they are living the dream! Believe me, never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be part of my career! While around half of our clients are choosing placenta encapsulation we understand it isn’t for everyone. That’s okay!

Typically we don’t share pics of placentas, but we’ve had a lot of requests.So…today I get to have a little fun doing placenta encapsulation show and tell!

This blog is in no way meant to serve as a DIY guide. So many crucial steps of the process have been left out. Likewise there’s no blog, video, or online modules that can properly teach this practice. These photos were taken by our clients as I prepared their placentas. While we recognize that not everyone wants to see the placenta in its natural state, these clients, along with about 45-50% of our clients do want to see at least some part of the process.

No one ever has to see it if they don’t want to.

After placenta encapsulation show and tell I’ll answer the BIG question. These photos belong to First Coast Doulas are our clients. They are not to be shared, cropped, or reproduced in anyway. Not all steps of the process are shown.

WARNING: This blog contains pictures of a (beautiful) human placenta. If you really don’t want to see it scroll quickly down to the next blog.

 

 

The first step in preparing the placenta begins with a properly sanitized and prepared workspace!

As the owner of First Coast Doulas I take safety and our client’s privacy very seriously. Training, certification, continued education, and impeccably maintained equipment are non-negotiable. When I arrive to prepare your placenta this is my first line of business, properly sanitizing and setting up my workspace.

Top Must Haves for Expecting Parents in 2017 | Jax Placenta

Without further ado I introduce to you the fetal side of the placenta.

This side of the placenta is the side that’s faces the baby and the side that the umbilical cord is attached to. The umbilical cord is seen hanging from the center of the placenta. This umbilical cord was average length and had one tiny false knot.

Look at that incredible vasculature throughout!

This picture was taken before removing the amniotic sac (shown hanging off the placenta in the picture). Interesting enough the amniotic sac is actually made up of two layers, not one. The inner layer is called the amnion and the outer lay is called the chorion.

 

Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell Jax FL

I bet you never imagine you’d call an umbilical cord cute!

This heart-shaped cord just might make you smile though. Shown here after removing it from the placenta, the umbilical cord is almost ready to be dried into a tiny keepsake for the mom and baby! It can be tucked away in a safe place, displayed in a frame with placenta artwork or you and your child can plant it along side a special tree or plant later.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

In the 1500s the use of dried placenta in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was first documented in Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shizhen.

Similarly to TCM we use a specific preparation method that includes steaming of the placenta. Steaming kills surface bacteria and with this special preparation also helps retain the tonifying or warming properties. Our modern placenta encapsulation process utilizes the very same principles as TCM for best possible results.

Shown here the placenta is being prepared using this method.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

The placenta is sliced and then neatly arranged on trays to begin the drying process.

Some moms and dads comment that it looks like steak. I would have to agree. This step is no more or less critical than any other step. Each part of the process is carefully thought out and executed so every client has the best possible experience every time.

Shown below the placenta is sliced and ready to be arranged on the trays.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Once properly dried and ground up the placenta is put into capsules and a tincture for extended use.

The type of capsules and liquid used to make your tincture will depend greatly on whose preparing the placenta. All of our clients receive the safest tincture base and capsules every single time. Only the best for our clients. On average clients will receive 75-200 capsules that will last them about 4-6 weeks postpartum (after birth). For long term usage a tincture is recommended. The size of your placenta is generally related to the size of your baby. In almost all cases the bigger the baby, the bigger the placenta. Expecting twins and you’ll likely have a bigger yeild.

The next two pictures show the capsules filled and being capped.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

A final count is done, the capsules are put into a jar, and the tincture is made.

After this last encapsulation step the client’s kitchen is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized and put back just the way it was before we began. The first round of cleaning and sanitation of equipment is also done. This final photo shows the capsule jar, tinctures, and the one of a kind cord keepsake. Then we sit down together and discuss how to take the capsules, storage and handling, and  special circumstances and protocol.

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

Jax FL Placenta Encapsulation Show and Tell

The placenta encapsulation show and tell is over, but the process isn’t quite finished.

After encapsulation and the first round of cleaning and sanitizing at the client’s home we then do a second cleaning process following OSHA guidelines to ensure every piece of equipment is sanitized thoroughly.

Now I’ll answer the big question! Why?

1. Energy! The demands of motherhood are insane. Many moms are looking for help meeting those demands.

2. Breastmilk production! They are hoping to get off to the best possible start, and for some placenta encapsulation has been helpful with milk production!

3. Hormonal Stability! Within hours of birth hormones that supported the pregnancy are dumped from the body.  Hormones that support lactation and relaxation are increasing. This hormonal fluctuation can be vicious and many say placenta encapsulation helped them feel more balanced and less outta wack yo!

4. Iron deficiency/Anemia! As if the physical and emotional challenges of life with a baby aren’t enough, a good population of people are iron deficient or anemic. Many report they’ve found some improvement while taking their placenta capsules.

5. Natural healing! They want to help their bodies heal in the most natural way possible. They’ve heard from others who have chosen encapsulation and it helped them heal and recover from birth.

I’m happy to discuss placenta encapsulation open and honestly with anyone who wants to know more. Contact us with questions and we can also set up a placenta curious presentation for you and your group! I understand this practice will appeal to some and turn others off completely. Placenta encapsulation is not for everyone and that is okay!

Happy birth and parenting! ~ Elizabeth

 

Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy | Jax FL Night Nanny

Avoid Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

Among other things, researching ways we can avoid stretch marks during pregnancy is probably on the list of second and third trimester concerns. Those pesky streaks that appear on the growing breasts, belly, thighs, and butt make many people gasp at first site. Donning these signs of motherhood is something we truly all hope to avoid, but can we be proactive in avoiding them?

Just search “stretch marks” and you will be inundated with links to causes, treatment, pics, and stories from all over the globe! All walks of life and races are affected by striae gravidarum. Striae what? Stretch marks! They occur most commonly during a first pregnancy, but have been known to occur for the first time in a second pregnancy.

It’s estimated that approximately 50-90% of pregnant women have stretch marks to some degree.

So, what’s the skinny? Is there a way to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy?

The short answer is yes and no. Stretch marks are caused by rapid stretching of the skin. A possible lack of or reduction of the Collagen within your body is thought to be a factor as well. So, of all the times in a person’s life that they can develop stretch marks, pregnancy seems like the most likely. There may be a genetic link that makes one more likely than another to get them. However, that alone is definitely not the end-all be-all. Cortisone in the pregnant body also weakens the elastic-like fibers within the skin.  Also, sudden and rapid weight gain can play a bigger role in the appearance of these purple tigress stripes.

So, by simply being pregnant it means you may see these little buggers make their debut! It sucks, but there are a few things you can do that will help you be healthier overall and may help you avoid stretch marks in pregnancy.

  1. Start pregnancy at healthiest possible weight that you can for your age and height. I know, sometimes that just isn’t the way it is. That’s okay I hope you love yourself anyway. Growing an entire human is pretty damn remarkable.
  2. Make healthy diet choices throughout most of your pregnancy. I say “most” meaning the norm. Please, don’t let worry of stretch marks stop you from throwing caution to the wind now and again to indulge in those crazy pregnant cravings!
  3. Stay active. That will mean different things for different people and depend on your level of activity before pregnancy. You’ll also want to have repeat discussions and follow any special recommendations or restrictions from your doctor. For most people swimming and walking are great activities that help to keep your body in motion and mind relaxed!
  4. Stay hydrated! Again, water if your friend! While this isn’t proven to reduce stretch marks directly it is proven to improve the body’s overall function and reduce itchiness during pregnancy. Plus, the more you drink the more you urinate and the quicker the baby’s amniotic fluid is cleaned out and replenished.

There are so many things people tell you “should” avoid during pregnancy: coffee, cold cuts, soft-serve ice cream, sushi, and the list goes on.

Avoiding stretch marks is like avoiding a new food sensitivity. You don’t know you have it until BAM one day it’s just there. You can do your best to avoid it, but if you don’t know you’ll ever develop stretch marks you’re probably worrying yourself unnecessarily.

As you progress through your pregnancy try not to fret to much over stretch marks.

Just because your mama and your mama’s mama has them doesn’t mean you’ll get them, and vice versa. Be proactive, by following the above recommendations and focus on the any enjoyable parts of your pregnancy that you can. With the majority of women who have stretch marks you can give society’s idea of normal two middle fingers and breathe a sigh of relief, they usually fade quite a bit with a little time. You’ll also be in the majority and join millions of women who don the tigress stripes of motherhood!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth

 

How Can a Postpartum and Infant Doula Help Me?

postpartum and infant doula jax fl

How Can a Postpartum and Infant Doula Help Me?

You’ve heard the words postpartum and infant doula, but you’re wondering what exactly they mean together, what they do, and how can they help you?! First, you’re not alone! Most people have no idea what a postpartum and infant doula is. So breathe a sigh of relief you aren’t alone in the forest.

The word postpartum tends to get a bad rap.

Most people hear the word postpartum and immediately think of depression after a person gives birth.  Like prenatal and antenatal means during pregnancy, postpartum simply means the period of time after birth. Sure the postpartum time period can entail the baby blues, depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis, but it doesn’t always include those things.

A Postpartum and Infant Doula is a non-medical support person who is by your side after you have your baby!

While we can’t speak for all Doulas, First Coast Doulas are Knowledgeable, trained, and skilled in compassionate care for families with babies!

While every family is different and their needs are unique there are challenges all new parents face. We add value to your family dynamics no matter what that looks like. Traditional family, cool! Single parent home, you rock! Blended family, we love you all too! Polyamorous families we see you!

So, how can a Postpartum and Infant Doula help?

Sleep

Be it your first baby or your fifth sleep is a key component of good mental and physical health. We help parents get the necessary amount of sleep day in and day out!

Nourishment

Keeping up after baby is no easy task. Keeping the body fueled is another component of good health. We prep snacks and meals and bring it right to your bedside. We’ll even run out for your cravings! Life is busier than ever, we got you!

Emotional Support

Having a baby brings out all of the emotions. Your doula knows! We’re skilled in the art of emotional attunement! From weepy, raging, and numb to everything in between we see it, we recognize it, and we are comfortable talking about it and being there to see you through it!

Companionship

You need to heal, rest, and care for baby. That doesn’t mean you should feel like an outcast or be confined to isolation. Ugh, we hear it all the time, “I feel so alone.” Your doula makes going out, or staying in more enjoyable. Your doula can tend to your baby while we all walk Target or grab lunch! On the flip side we can stay in, bake cookies, and watch your favorite episodes wth you too!

Team Work

A second set of hands, eyes, and a compassionate heart! We can wear your baby while you get a nap. Keeping him, her, or them soothed. We’re skilled in the art of toddler wrangling and bathing too! Calling in help doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it may just mean you are wise to value another compassionate human to give your babies attention too!

Self-Care

All this talk about self-care and no time for it sucks! Keep your hair appointment and book that massage, we’ll come along and keep baby happy and unwanted hands off! You can relax knowing that during a bubble bath or a phone call with your girlfriend on the patio your baby is with the very best and only a room away!

So, in short your postpartum and infant doula is like a magical unicorn! She appears when you need her most, anticipates your needs before you even know you need it, and she makes magic happen!

Laundry and dishes, done!

Laughs and a safe place to cry, she’s your girl!

Pizza and drink, just say wine or whiskey!

Ssshhhhh….it’s not really magic, but it sure feels like it! Contact our “magical unicorns” for a complimentary phone consult!

 

Sleep and Help with Meals and Housework After Giving Birth

 Sleep and Help with Meals and Housework after Giving Birth Jax FL

Sleep and Help with Meals and Housework after Giving Birth

This week alone we’ve heard, “We should’ve hired a doula to get sleep and help with meals and housework after giving birth,” at least ten times. Ten times this week alone! That means there is a general consensus that families do want and very much need help after giving birth.

Who more deserving of sleep and help than new parents raising the future generation?

They want to get a healthy amount of sleep, not even an abundance of it. Shoot, most new parents can’t even imagine what an abundance of sleep feels like. For the majority a short 30-60 minute nap along with a minimum of 4-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep each day is enough to maintain mental, emotional, and physical health. Many aren’t getting that though. On average the majority of new parents are only getting three-and-a-quarter hours sleep each night for the first two years of their children’s lives. Sleep-deprivation can lead to unhealthy habits and unsafe conditions for both parents and their children. Someone’s grandchildren!

Food! I think we all speak that love language, amiright?

New parents are praying that someone, anyone will hear their stomach’s cry for a decent meal and that during their night the snack fairy will arrive and save them! After all how will they keep up with their wakeful newborns and maintain a sense of normalcy without nourishing their bodies?

The other universal love language is L-A-U-N-D-R-Y and D-I-S-H-E-S!

New parents may wear boogies as an accessory and the newest eau de spit-up fragrance, but it doesn’t mean they have to start their day that way. To see the mile high pile of laundry and dishes disappear would be like the magic of childhood again! When the subject comes up organically I tell people there are three things you need to know when visiting a home with a newborn.

  1. Bring food for the new family!
  2. Wash your hands upon arrival!
  3. A load of dishes, laundry, or both are required if you’re going to hang out for longer than 5 minutes.

Sleep and Help with Meals and Housework after Giving Birth Jax FL

A great postpartum and infant doula speaks the universal new parent language fluently!

We anticipate the needs of new parents without being asked or without asking a million questions. Many are trained to recognize early signs of baby blues, postpartum depression, anxiety, and psychosis. We help with the most important things: sleep, food, laundry, dishes, siblings, and hello, companionship!

Ask a mom what she needed in the first three months after giving birth and you can bet your first born that we help with it. I’m serious! From sleep to sex, and everything in between we help parents find their groove and do so with less stress and more options!

I absolutely won’t sell our agency short here folks! You want First Coast Doulas on your home team!

Hiring a postpartum doula doesn’t mean you can’t hold down the fort, you totally can! It means your fort can become an impenetrable fortress with hands on, accurate advice, support, encouragement, and help! It doesn’t make you any less of a parent or spouse to bring in a mom and baby professional. You know what it does make you? In the know, a smarty Mc Smarty Pants!

The only down side to postpartum and infant doula support is finding out too late!

However, finding out too late that postpartum doulas help with sleep and help with meals and housework after giving birth doesn’t mean you have to be sad. Okay, maybe a little wallow in the metaphorical mud is okay; after all you could have had a daily shower, food, and sleep! After that though, pick yourself up, clean yourself off and get out there and tell other expecting and new parents that they don’t have to go through this alone!

Often times the most important lessons in life are learned through our own experiences. The fact that we missed out on amazing support shouldn’t be the focus, but rather that we learned from the experience and want to share it with others!

First Coast Doulas is currently offering a few special holiday packages and our gift certificates make thoughtful and extravagant gifts!

 

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville

Exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville leaves more money in the budget for help when they bring their newborns home! In the Greater Jacksonville area we’re very fortunate to have so many choices for birth. Then parent’s come home and exhaustion and isolation set in. Shit gets real! Cue your Postpartum & Infant Doula!

Last night’s meeting at UF Health North was exciting! Jennifer Bettis, a registered nurse at UF Health North Hospital’s Labor & Delivery Department organized and hosted an amazing meet and greet.

First Coast Doulas met with the nurses, obstetricians, and midwives over at the labor and delivery unit located on Jacksonville’s Northside. We collaborated about care for families in our community and toured the facility.

I could write an entire blog series on the differences between hospitals, homebirths, and birth center births, but that is something we can cover in a private one on one birth consult!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Here’s the skinny on what we loved about last night’s meeting. And of course we’re working our way up to the most exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville!

For parents with a low risk healthy pregnancies UF Health North Hospital is definitely a place to schedule a tour! There are twelve spacious rooms all complete with large showers with removable showerheads and magical tubs. Music, flameless candles, essential oil diffusers, squat bars, birth balls, and peanut balls are also available. The birthing person and their baby aren’t separated unless medically necessary or by parent request.

Stay with us till the end because it just keeps getting better!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville Florida | Birth Jax, FL

We were assured that patients are given the choice to move about freely and birth in any position they are comfortable in. In addition there’s no pressure for circumcision. But if your baby boy is having the procedure done it can be done onsite right in the labor and delivery unit. Wireless monitoring is available for many patients and options for pain relief include narcotics like Stadol, spinal block or epidural, and Nitrous OxideThey’re also supportive of those who meet certain criteria and want a trial of labor after a cesarean (TOLAC) and even some twin vaginal births. 

There is an operating room (OR) on site for necessary cesareans!

Clear drapes and gentle cesarean are an option when general anesthesia isn’t used. The birthing person is allowed a birth partner and even a photographer in the room when awake. Mom and baby stay together; baby even rides on mom’s chest to the postpartum recovery room!

Those are amazing things!!

Without further ado we’ve saved the best for last!

As more people are learning about the support of Birth Doulas and Postpartum & Infant Doulas  some decide they don’t want an addition person there for the birth. Others have to decide between spending money for the 8-24 hours that labor and birth can last, a great childbirth education class, or spend it on support when they come home!

Not anymore!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Now expectant parents can plan for a supported birth AND enjoy all the things when they come home too! More sleep, hands on help, accurate breast and bottle feeding advice, yummy snacks, meal prep, emotional support, and companionship! Did I mention more sleep?!

Exciting News for Expectant Parents in Jacksonville, FL

Every person who oversees your care at UF Health North Hospital has taken a Birth Doula training. This means parents birthing at UF North Hospital get great medical care and built in birth doula support comes standard. This is exciting news for expectant parents in Jacksonville! It’s especially exciting for those who want to be prepared for what life will be like after they give birth and bring their babies home!

Not sure what a Postpartum & Infant Doula does? There’s noone better to explain this to you than Jacksonville’s only Postpartum & Infant Doula agency; First Coast Doulas! Get in touch and we’ll schedule up a time to speak with you and your partner by phone!

Happy birth and parenting!

 

Hospital Birth Bag Must Haves

Packing for a Hospital Birth Jax, FL

Hospital Birth Bag Must Haves

As your due date gets closer you’re probably wondering, “What are the hospital birth bag must haves?” It’s one of the questions that inevitably come up in nearly every Prepared Parent Childbirth Class we teach. You’ll likely get some ideas from your mommy friends and your sister, but here’s a peek at list we put together just for you. Having a birth professional who is also a mommy share her point of view is kind of a perk!

I’m including a breakdown of why each of these items made the list! Bonus items added near the end! Don’t forget to grab your free printable!

Hospital Birth Bag Must Haves

Chapstick!

Laboring is hard work. Expect your mouth and lips to get dry.

Fluids andSnacks!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the here and now of labor. This goes double for the birth partner. Back by The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) it’s important to stay hydrated and provide your body with nourishment to endure the marathon. Not to mention if the kitchen is closed you won’t have to wait forever for food after you give birth. If you’ve never been hangry before, you’ll likely feel that way after birth!

1-2 Bendy Straws

There’s nothing like wanting that sip of water or juice and having to change positions just to get it. No way, toss some bendy straws in your hospital birth bag!

Mints or Hard Candy

Noone likes stinky breath, especially someone in labor! It could be their own breath or the breath of someone around her, having mints on hand is quick way to freshen up. Bonus: when/if you feel nauseous, mint can help settle the stomach.

1-2 Hair Ties

Those lovely locks are amazing, but not hanging down in your face as you’re trying to focus inward and relax. It’s distracting to say the least. It also helps to get the hair up off of her neck when labor reaches second stage (pushing or breathing baby down). Tie the hair up off of the neck and apply a cool, damp cloth and you’re golden!

Hairbrush

Matted hair is a new mama’s nightmare, but having to use a hospital comb is just basic torture. Having your own brush with you will be a creature comfort that is small and easy to carry along.

Swimsuit

For the birth partner! I bet when you were thinking about your hospital birth bag must haves, you weren’t considering a swimsuit! The water is a great tool for comfort and relaxation in labor. Getting into the water together and dimming the lights help to create an oxytocin (love hormone)-filled birth ambiance. There’s nothing wrong with both of you being naked. Wearing undies will work in a pinch!

Phone and Charger

You probably won’t forget your phone, for most people it’s like their third arm. The charger is an entirely different story! Pack one now, invest in an extra just for your bag, eventually you’ll need it anyway.

Camera

Your phone doubles as a camera! I know, some of you are thinking, nope, no pictures. That’s understandable, but insider info here: more times than not parents who said no pics, but took pics said they were so thankful to have them. They just deleted what they didn’t want and have the others to cherish forever.

Rain Sounds or Relaxing Melody App

By now your hospital birth bag must haves might feel like they are toeing the line on essentials. Apps on your phone are a glorious thing! Go ahead and add the Contraction Timer App to you your phone while you’re at it!

The sounds of a hospital are less than relaxing. It’s not home. The beeps, the door, and strange voices can break your concentration and focus.  Getting into a good rhythm and groove only to be disturbed is a bad place to be. Prepare ahead by using your app to bring you to a state of relaxation at the end of pregnancy! When you practice you’ll be better able to tune into your relaxed state in childbirth.

Do Not Disturb Sign

You may want to make and take a sign for your door letting those who enter your room know before they enter that you are doing the damn thing and need some P-R-I-V-A-C-Y, sung to the tune of Aretha Franklin’s hit song, Respect! Get creative here, no right or wrong way!

Going Home Outfit

All the fun doesn’t have to be centered around just baby!  After all you grew your little bean, therefor you should come home comfortable and as stylish as you wanna be! Maybe toss in your favorite lip color too!

Ice Bag

Lower back pain is no joke! Heat and ice are tools in your comfort bag.  These work great to fill with hot water from the sink or ice from the freezer!

Tennis Ball

You don’t have to be Serena Williams to get in on this game! A tennis ball is a great massage tool. It can be used to apply direct pressure to areas of the lower back and butt. This tool can be used unassisted against a wall or behind your back on a bed or with a birth partner.

Unscented Lotion

Lotion can make massage more enjoyable, but UNscented is important! Your favorite scents could quickly become the most wretched smell you have ever experienced.

Birth/Yoga Ball

The ball is a phenomenal way to keep you in motion, don’t lose your rhythm! Get the correct size for your height and inflate it correctly! You’ll want a good slow release or anti-burst ball to be safe. The great news is that you can use it throughout pregnancy, labor, and even postpartum as you bouncer or sway with your baby.

Positive Birth Affirmations

The body is more apt to achieve what the mind believes so practice the affirmations that resonate with you and toss them in your bag for positive reinforcement through labor!

Placenta Transport Kit

If you are doing placenta encapsulation your Postpartum Placenta Specialist  makes this process easy peasy! Remind your nurses and provider at time of birth that you are keeping your placenta to be made into capsules. Put your kit with you bag now so it will be ready to go!

Considerables for Your Hospital Birth Bag Must Haves:

Grab that baby book for feet prints

A comfy gown for your post-pregnancy body.

Slippers keep your tootsies comfy and clean.

A nursing bra if you’re planning to breastfeed and maybe a few pads if you are already leaking colostrum.

For all of you who came here wondering, “What are the hospital birth bag must haves?” We’ve included a FREE printable just for all of YOU! Don’t forget to click, print, use it, and of course sharing is caring! We are all about making life as easy for new parents as possible!

 

ACOG Oral Intake During Labor

 

From the Hospital Home after Giving Birth

from the hospital home after giving birth jax fl

From the Hospital Home after Giving Birth

As you transition from the hospital home after giving birth the ride will seem almost surreal. You’ll probably be tired, maybe even a little anxious. Your comfort level will fall anywhere on the scale from 1-10. 1 being slightly uncomfortable and 10 being “holy crap I feel like I was hit by a truck”. I’m sorry, but you can sugarcoat and cricket and it’s still a cricket. We’ve put together a little blog to help your transition be a little less stressful.

First on our list is a pillow!

This one goes out to all you rock star cesarean moms! After being stuck with needles and having your abdomen “massaged”, there’s absolutely nothing that sounds appealing about touching your incision. Holding a pillow against your abdomen while you navigate a seemingly treacherous stretch of roadway will help make the ride less painful. It also helps to do the same when coughing or sneezing. Lord has mercy with those sneezes!

Learn, install, and know your car seat before the big day.

Trying to wrangle a car seat around in your car and having no idea how it works is a rookie mistake! We love rookie and experienced parents alike, we’re only picking on the rookies in good fun! To make the transition easier from the hospital home after giving birth, read your car seat’s manual with your partner. Learn to install it together. Be sure to practice it! You want your baby to be as safe and comfortable as possible, especially in the car! Check out the Car Seats for the Littles, it’s an excellent resource for you!

Make sure baby has fed well before leaving.

Sometimes discharging from a hospital can be a challenge in itself. It can be a hurry up and wait game of sorts. Then a few hours after you’ve all but given up on departing your nurse appears. Discharge papers are finally signed and you can go home now! Take a few minutes to make sure baby is fed well and do a quick diaper change.

Have your Postpartum & Infant Doula at the ready.

And by at the ready I mean book her for the transition! First Coast Doulas are here to help you transition from the hospital home after giving birth and beyond! We’ll meet you at the hospital, provide support and assistance and focus solely on you and your baby! We can show you some ways to safely soothe your newborn on the ride home. When you arrive home your Doula can get you all settled in. Talk about relief!

Grab those Tucks medicated pads!

The hospital has them, you love them! Perhaps you have a love/hate relationship with those things, but I think most of us can agree; they make life a little easier! Just ask for an extra pack to take home when packing your bag to come back home!

Peri Bottle!

It’s like a bidet in a bottle, only better!  That peri bottle can mean the difference between feeling like you’re peeing shards of glass and relaxing just enough to pee with some sense of normalcy!

Mesh Panties & Ice Pack Pads

After this glorious event we call birth you’ll have earned your trophy panties! Your very own pair of sexy mesh mama panties you have heard others talk about!! Welcome to the mom club! Ask for an additional pair to two before you leave for home, they just work!

Take the back seat!

That first trip can be…a trip! Make it as stress-free as possible and maybe snap chat your bestie who is waiting to be flooded with all the baby mush!

Delegating chores early on!

Creating a postpartum chore list will allow you to focus on resting, healing, and bonding with you newborn. For 2-6 weeks let others focus on taking care of you! First Coast Doulas supports new families and helps keep the flow of the house moving. This allows families the freedom to be in the moment and to get enough rest to sustain and thrive!

We love sharing inside tips with new and expecting parents! Don’t miss a beat! Join the Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting group on Facebook for support. Get answers to your questions and of course a little fun too! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for laughs and commiseration. Oh, and Pinterest for all the great ideas we’ll probably never get to do!

Happy birth and parenting!

Childbirth Classes and Sunroofs

private childbirth classes | Jax FL | Best Birth Classes in Jax., FL

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.

Holiday Specials Worth Celebrating

Christmas Baby Jax FL

Holiday Specials Worth Celebrating

This holiday season doesn’t have to be full of stress or a nightmare waiting to happen! First Coast Doulas know how busy it gets this time of year, especially if you are expecting a Christmas baby. Between traveling and/or hosting family and friends, the holidays are overwhelming as it is. Add a new baby, and things get a heck of a lot more difficult. Every new parent wants help and wants sleep, even if they don’t yet know it! It’s a lot harder to get those things with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. However, we think we’ve solved that problem! And we’re adding to the joy because you could win a $20 gift card to Target! How groovy is that?

How can I get holiday baby help in Jacksonville? This town has nothing!

Not so! Hang on there! We come bearing gifts for all the Jax-based families out there. From now through Christmas we are offering special packages tailored just for you and just for the unique needs this season brings. We have everything you need to get some rest, recover, and bond with your new baby while having family over and enjoying that turkey and stuffing.

While you can’t wrap your doulas and place us under a tree, our electronic gift certificate delivered to your inbox is the next best thing and it’s an eco-friendly option to boot!

We’re here to do what we’ve always done in addition to helping you plan and savor the festivities! Want to sit and have an egg-nog with your ma? Great! We’ll hold your sweet babe. Need to plan a meal? Great! We’ll help you scour Pinterest and accompany you and bubby to Publix. Have to get some shut eye before the folks get there? We gotchu. All you have to do is call us! No “bah humbugs” here!

Holiday packages-I need one now!

Our special, limited time packages are perfect! They can even be purchased online and be gifted. Because ’tis the season, right?


Across the Miles Package:

  • 2 Four-hour shifts plus 1 Ten-hour overnight shift to ensure good cheer
  • Perfect gift for a special new mom who may not live close by

holiday baby help in jacksonville florida


Rockin Holiday Package:

  • 2 Four-hour shifts to ensure the tree is trimmed and list is checked off
  • Perfect for last minute wish-lists

holiday baby help in jacksonville fl


Silent Night Package:

  • 1 Ten-hour shift to ensure that all is calm and all is bright
  • Perfect for an exhausted mom or dad!

holiday baby help in jacksonville fl


We know that Santa is working double-time this year, so we decided to include a very special offer for those on the nice list! With each purchase of our special, holiday packages you’ll be entered to win a $20 Target gift card! There are no limits to how many you can purchase, and each time you do, you will gain another entry.

Remember this limited time special offer will end near the end of the year! Drawing for the gift card will be held on 1-31-2018, winner will be contacted by email and an announcement will be posted to our Facebook page!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Love,

First Coast Doulas