Placenta Encapsulation is Supported

 placenta encapsulation is supported jax fl

Placenta Encapsulation is Supported

There are people that ask why placenta encapsulation is supported by so many moms and those of us who provide this service? I tell everyone who inquiries with us at First Coast Doulas, there have been very limited studies done on the consumption of the placenta. The studies that have been done are old, outdated, and weren’t double blind. There is no evidence to support or disprove the claims that it can help or hurt anyone. I am very forthcoming that one person’s experience may not be the same as the next. So it’s natural that one might wonder why anyone would support the practice of placentophagy.

Stay with me!

I can’t speak for others. What I can do is tell you why I not only support this practice, but why I provide this service to our community.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by me because:

  1. I will always support women in their choices for themselves without judgement or my own agenda.
  2. I want them to be as safe as possible while doing this.
  3. There is no evidence or studies to prove or disprove anything.
  4. I’ve seen enough to believe it can be helpful.

Women want support in their choices. One of my beliefs is that they should always have autonomy over their bodies, what they do with them, and what they put in them.

More and more women are requesting placenta encapsulation. I’m here to provide this service to them in the absolute safest way possible. Women do not have to settle for subpar standards and service. When they select an certifed encapsulation specialist whose in favor of highest standards and is prepared for regulation of this otherwise uncontrolled industry they are getting the very best the industry has to offer. First Coast Doulas wants better for women, families, and public health.

There’s information out there about placenta encapsulation, good, bad, and the ugly.

Here’s the thing though, there’s no evidence or studies for or against placenta encapsulation. There have been NO studies to date on a large enough scale to prove anything. There are no studies that have been done to say that eating your placenta after encapsulation is dangerous, a waste of time, is only placebo effect, or has benefits! Zero! None!

What we do have are women who are sharing their experiences with other women. They’re saying, “This is why I did it and this how it helped me. This is why placenta encapsulation is supported by me and I’ll do it again if we have another baby.”

I’ve personally seen and heard enough from our clients to believe it can be helpful.

It’s certainly not helpful to all, but to many who take advantage of this practice, it is! From personal accounts (not studies, remember studies are large scale over time) we hear time and time again that there is noticeable difference between taking them and forgetting to take them or stopping them.

I would say it fair safe to make the assumption that placenta encapsulation could possibly help.

Majority say they notice a difference in their energy levels when they take the capsules versus when they forget to take them. We hear partners call them “happy pills”. I’ve had moms come to me and say I had to slow down on taking my placenta capsules because I was producing so much milk. It’s also not uncommon at all for our clients to report back that their anxiety and or depression, in conjunction with or without medication prescribed by their doctors was more manageable while taking their capsules versus without.

All these claims and no evidence is a shame, but it doesn’t stop majority of women from trying this practice out for themselves.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by First Coast Doulas whether it’s reported benefits can be proven or if it’s only placebo effect. We say, if your ingesting your placenta for your own personal beliefs or wonderings and you’re doing it in the safest way possible, go for it!

First Coast Doulas’ clients know without any doubts that they are getting a legally licensed and insured business, one that is trained, certified, and practicing safest preparation.

Clients know the placenta they receive in the capsules is theirs and no one else’s and that it was never exposed to foreign microbiome, airborne or otherwise. Their placenta never leaves their possession. They know that access to accurate information and in person, one on one support for their family on topics such as breast or bottle feeding, diapering, and their postpartum body is complimentary and encouraged during our time working together.

Savvy moms and dads already know some of the challenges they’ll face in parenthood.

The new generation who are raising these tiny humans are deciding to be proactive instead of reactive with their health.

Placenta encapsulation is supported by First Coast Doulas and by many parents and providers. First Coast Doulas is happy to meet families where they are at to help them navigate this journey through life transitions!

Happy birth and parenting from your friends at First Coast Doulas!

 

 

How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss

How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss Jacksonville Florida

1 in 4 Women Will Experience Infant & Pregnancy Loss

At some point in life you’ll find yourself wondering how to support someone you care about whose grieving an infant or pregnancy loss. Perhaps it’s you who’s lost a baby and you’re wondering; what sorts of feelings are normal, and what you should share and expect from others during this time. What happens when someone you know is pregnant and they lose their baby, be it 2 weeks or 30 weeks gestation? Losing one of the greatest gifts anyone can be blessed with hurts. Parents will grieve and they’ll need support whether they say so or not.

Life moves on. Meanwhile their life seems to stands still.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.

First Coast Doulas supports families as they bring their babies home and many who never get that chance. We receive more messages and phone calls than you could imagine. People reach out for support and to talk about their loss. We talk with them about what they’re experiencing and about being as comfortable as possible through this difficult time. We also discuss what they might expect next and how their loved ones can support them best.

It’s crystal clear that more people want to know how to support those they care about during pregnancy loss, they just aren’t always sure how.

First, you must understand that supporting others through a loss can pull at your heart strings and may feel awkward.

Imagine how hard it must be for them, they’ve lost their baby. We can do hard things. It will feel terrible and may feel awkward, show your support anyway. Don’t avoid the parents, embrace them. Be prepared to support them in a way that is best for them, not always what you might want. Each loss is different, unique, and tragic. Each baby is special.

Be present for them, even in silence.

Words aren’t always necessary. A silent supporter lets the parents talk, cry, or share any range of feelings they’re experiencing without interjecting their own perception or thoughts. You might make her a glass of warm tea and just be there by her side and acknowledge how much it sucks. There is no need to try and cheer her or fix her. Perhaps you stop by and lend a hand to the partner who is out doing some yard work, little to no words are necessary in this arena. Drop a card in the mail and include a gift card for dinner.

How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss Jax FL | Newborn Jax FL

Talk about their baby, use their baby’s name.

It doesn’t matter how pregnant she was. This little one means everything to its parents. Ask them if they’ve given their baby a name, even if they didn’t know the sex of their baby a name is beautiful way to honor and remember them. When our grandmothers pass away we talk about them and we use their names. We keep their name and spirit alive that way. You can do the same and the parents may appreciate that someone else remembers their baby too!

Do not expect them to celebrate your pregnancy or birth.

Even if this is your best friend, do not expect anything from her during this time. If she does attend your baby shower or comes by after your baby is born to congratulate you, please acknowledge that you know this is difficult for her and that you love her and appreciate her for sharing in your joy.

Never put a timeline on someone else’s pain.

Everyone grieves in their own time. There are stages of grief and people don’t always move through them on the same timeline, some move forward while others move backward and forward. Please do not impose your own ideas on when someone should be “over it”, parents are never over it. They just learn to cope and deal better as time passes, but the place they prepared in their hearts for their baby or babies will always exist.

Tears are more than okay.

In fact, it may be very helpful for her to know that her baby was important and matters to more than just her. Even if you aren’t familiar with the grief of losing a child yourself, knowing you are grieving for her loss because you care so much for her is touching and it just feels good to be loved. Human kindness and compassion goes a long way.

Help out in whatever way you can, but be understanding if they say no.

Bring food, or go grocery shopping. Prepare some food for the family. You might offer to walk her dog or help by tidying up a little. Doing some laundry, taking kids to practice or to and from school help lighten the load. Another mom shares that her co-worker remembered her favorite dessert and she dropped it by with some coffee.

Don’t question or judge her choices. Trying to conceive, waiting to try, and timing are all very, very personal, especially after pregnancy loss. She will share when she is ready.

Allow her to grieve in any way she may need to and time to talk about her loss when she is ready.

Be kind with your words to all, you never know what others are going through.

Don’t forget to acknowledge the person’s partner/spouse.

Don’t dismiss someone’s loss because the pregnancy wasn’t planned or because they have other children.

When you are wondering how to show support through pregnancy loss, please avoid anything that starts or includes:

  • Well, at least…
  • Look at it this way…
  • Maybe this pregnancy wasn’t meant to be…
  • God has other plans…

Replace those with:

  • I’m sorry, that sucks…
  • I can see how much you’re hurting…
  • I’ll never understand why babies are taken away…
  • Your hopes and dreams for your baby were crushed, understandably you are disappointed…

We hope this blog is helpful to you and to those you share it with. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person is a person, no matter how small!”

Authored by: Elizabeth Luke

Owner and Doula at First Coast Doulas, LLC

Baby Jax FL | How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth | Jax FL Birth

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth

There are 5 things everyone should know about cesarean birth! Cesarean birth just doesn’t get discussed as much as “natural birth” or vaginal birth. If it does, it is often in passing or in such a way as to incite fear! As your friendly, neighborhood doulas, we wanted to take a minute and talk about some aspects of Cesarean birth so that whether you are planning a C-section or not, you at least have a little more information on them, because let’s face it, birth is rarely black and white!

  1. Cesarean birth is birth, but it’s also major abdominal surgery

First and foremost, Cesarean birth is unequivocally birth. There is no “right” way to birth. That said, it is also major abdominal surgery. As such, the recovery can be fairly difficult for the majority of the population.  The body needs more time and more gentleness as it recovers from surgical birth (ß—see, surgery and birth!). Just think: the doctor has to cut through multiple layers to get to the prize! That is no easy feat and your body knows it. So, please be gentle with yourself for at least six weeks following B-day!

  1. It could take all day

If you are looking forward to cesarean birth because you are happy to schedule your baby’s birthday and you are arranging it to coincide with visits from the grandparents, this may be a little disappointing.  Yep, that 9:00 AM appointment could actually turn into a 9:00 PM birth. C-sections don’t guarantee that you’ll get to adhere to the itinerary! Emergencies happen all the time which means that your non-emergent birth time could get repeatedly pushed back depending on the hospital’s load and facilities. It isn’t likely, but it does happen often enough that it’s worth being aware.

  1. It can be just as scary

This doesn’t apply to everyone (I mean, really, when do birth scenarios ever apply across the board?), but Cesareans can induce fear and panic even in the coolest cucumber. So while you may enjoy the feeling of control that C-sections provide, you may also notice yourself shaking and trembling when the doctors explain the procedure or when you enter the stark room. This is normal. See point #1!

  1. You will feel

Yep. Even with the anesthesia, you actually will still feel! Before you panic, read on.  As weird as it is, most people report that they were not completely numb; however, the sensations were not painful. You will most likely feel the pressure and the pulling as the surgeon works, but it doesn’t hurt, even if it is unsettling.   This could partly be due to the fact that we can see what it is going on (partially) and therefore our brain expects something, so we perceive the sensations and partly because the epidural and spinal do not always completely block proprioception.

  1. You still need support

A good portion of people think that a C-section is the “easy way out”. Not only is this patently false, it is dismissive to those people who know that it’s false!  We often hear from people who’ve had Cesareans that they were so surprised that it wasn’t easy at all and they didn’t count on needing validation, emotional support, and practical help from outside their close family and friends. As a matter of fact, they felt relieved when they found out that C-sections are just as deserving and demanding of birth and postpartum help as vaginal births are. So, ensure you line up the perfect support team so that you feel at ease during and after the birth. See points #1, #2, #3, and #4

As usual, if you have further questions or would like to add a point to this list, leave it in the comments! First Coast Doulas supports all parenting styles, choices, and needs! If you are planning for a cesarean birth our Cesarean Birth Prep Class is just for you! If you’re hoping for a vaginal birth and to avoid a cesarean birth, but want to be prepared for either, The Prepared Parent Childbirth Class is just for you! We hope you found these 5 things everyone should know about cesarean birth helpful!

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!

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit | Best Doulas in Jax FL

5 Ways to Hold It Together Instead of Losing Your Shit

Today we’re sharing with you 5 ways to hold it together instead of losing your shit! Pardon our potty-mouths for a moment while we get real! Feel free to use any of the following or anything that works in place of the potty word if it bothers you: mind, crap, control.

Childbirth (no matter your baby makes his/her entry) is hard. Parenting is hard. Marriage is hard.Damn, life is hard sometimes!

You can’t always change your circumstances, when you can you do, but you can learn some ways to hold it together and we’re going to help you because we want you to F.L.Y.! (FLY=first love yourself).

#1 Use Your Breath

No, not to yell. Don’t hold it. Inhale and exhale slowly for about 5 minutes. Try to create a 2 to 1 ratio, exhaling for 4 counts and inhaling for 2. When you do this your heart rate slows, your blood pressure drops, and your muscles begin to relax. Guided meditations, simple affirmations, and stretching can help stress management.

#2 Visualize

Using visual imagery can be an effective way to create change within the body. Like a movie playing on the back of your eyelids you visualize whatever it is that brings your peace, joy, and positive energy. Leave the funk, crazy, outta control feeling right there in the water and visualize that shit washing away with the tide. Bye Bye!

#3 Take a Time Out

Yeah, they aren’t just for toddlers or football! Everyone can benefit from a time out and learning to take time outs can help you to F.L.Y.. Time outs can be taken in the bathroom while soaking in the tub! They can be taken the car while taking a drive singing as loud as humanly possible. They can even be taken in the back of the closet with the door locked and your favorite chocolate bar in hand!

#4 Phone a Frand!

Everyone needs a support system. Parents get other parents. We should all have that one friend who knows that sometimes we just need to vent. We just need an ear, someone to sympathize or empathize with us, and sometimes to kick us in the ass as tell us to get up and laugh that shit off!

#5 Say Yes or No Without Apology

Say yes as often as you can to your children and spouse instead of no. Ask yourself, how important it is to fight the “yes”. Equally, learn to say no without apology or regret. To your kids, your friends, hell even your partner sometimes. Simply learning to say “Yes” or to say “No” will give you more freedom and help you to hold your shit together a little easier! Don’t believe? Try it!

We know that these 5 ways to hold it together can work well most of the time, but if all else fails lose your shit!

Parents are human, we have temper tantrums too sometimes. We like to call them shit fits! Much like tantrums parents might stomp their feet, cry, or scream into a pillow. We get it! Who said losing your shit is ALWAYS” a bad thing? It’s wasn’t First Coast Doulas!

It happens and it’s okay from time to time. Blow steam, shake it off. First Coast Doulas wants to help you hold it together and see things run more smoothly for you. Our birth doulas, postpartum and newborn doulas are right alongside parents supporting them as they hold it together, navigate uncharted waters, and as they lose their shit!

Are you seeking the type of support empowering experiences are made of? Then contact us today to put a doula on your team, learn ways to manage labor pains, heal after birth naturally, and get more sleep!

Helping parents hold their shit together is kind of our thing!

My Baby Won’t Sleep, What Should I Do?

My Baby Won't Sleep Jax FL | Team Sleep Jax FL

My Baby Won’t Sleep, What Should I Do?

One of the first challenges parents face is how to get better sleep. I get emails daily, “Help! My baby won’t sleep, what should I do?” Healthy sleep habits are important! Sure, “Sleep when baby sleeps” they say! Who are “they” and do they actually have children? That could work for a first baby, but second and third babies means you’re likely being worn thin and your entire house may seem to be ruled by one, or maybe even two tiny humans.

Woah! Put the brakes on!

Parenting is hard enough! Doing it on little to no sleep is unreasonable. No one functions well or to their full potential when they aren’t well rested, including your baby bean! Healthy sleep habits are so important. For you, your children, and for the family unit as a whole. By learning and teaching your infant healthy sleep habits early on you are helping them master a life skill!

What an empowering opportunity that is!

From my baby won’t sleep to my baby is sleeping so much better?!

What a feeling!

Did you google, “My baby won’t sleep, what do I do?” Do you believe your baby should be sleeping longer through the night? Are you set on getting off to a great start early on? Do you just want to get more sleep while one of our team members works with your little one on healthy sleep practices? #TeamSleep_Jax is First Coast Doulas’ sleep solution for families in Jacksonville, Florida.

Team members of Team Sleep Jax are certified postpartum doulas who work with families at night specifically to help them get more sleep.

Team Sleep Jax can:

  • listen to your concerns
  • validate your feelings through this process
  • teach you about safer sleep and more healthy sleep habits
  • show you some techniques and give tips
  • help you establish and implement routine and schedule
  • help you to teach your baby the life skill of sleep

Parents who are”at the end of their rope”, “out of ideas”, or who just want to get their babies and their family off to a great start are putting #TeamSleep_Jax on their home team. Together we’re creating more peaceful bedtimes and burning less midnight oil! If you want to learn more about the First Coast Doulas’ dream team we’d love to hear from you! We are happy to set up a complimentary phone consult to learn more about the challenges you’re facing and to match you with the right sleep package!

my baby won't sleep jax fl | Team Sleep Jax

 

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Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby Jax FL | Best Doulas Jax FL

Secrets to Having Great Sex when Your Baby Is Nearby

Are there really secrets to having great sex when your baby is nearby? In the beginning new parents sometimes feel disconnected from sex while others do not skip a beat. Both are completely normal, not everyone is ready to engage in sex again at the same time. As long as you aren’t staying in valley too long or taking risks with your health and body in those early weeks, where you fall on the scale is probably pretty normal! For most parents if you want to have time for sex you have to make time, and get creative! You might be wondering if having sex when your baby is nearby by is even possible, it totally is!

So let’s just get right down to business so you can get down to business! Sex is a normal, healthy part of life. It can give you a release that is healing and helpful. Sex can be centered on your partner with no interest in self-gratification too. Sex is about connection, not always about orgasms and thrills! You can learn so much about yourself and your partner during sex through open communication and a trust.

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #1:

Extra Nap or Nap Extended!

Routines and schedules are proven to be beneficial. Sometimes though it’s perfectly healthy to let go of the routine and be “spontaneous”. Let your baby take an extra nap or sleep another hour now and again and engage in some adult activity! It can break up the monotony and create little sparks here and there! Heck maybe even enjoy a glass of wine while you’re at it!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #2:

Room Divider for Room Sharing, not Sex Shaming!

For the room sharing parents, if “All Eyez on Me,” isn’t your thing don’t worry! You don’t need to be Tupac Shakur to feel the “Changes” that parenthood brings! [Cheesy rapper references used] Younger infants have exactly no idea what sex is, no remembrance of their parents bouncing and moaning, and there have been no studies to ever show it will have any effects on them whatsoever.

If your infants tiny eyes are making it hard for you or your partner to disconnect from the rational part of your brains, the neocortex, and slip into the primal, instinctual part of your brain, the Limbic system then a blind fold or room divider are cheap and easy ways to take eyes off your infant and connect with your partner!

Secrets to Having Great Sex When Your Baby Is Nearby #3:

Make Play time, “Playtime”!

As parents we are ALWAYS looking for ways to get a damn shower! Instead of engaging in playtime with your baby today or this hour, why not make shower time double duty?! Put baby in his/her rock n play or bouncer in the bathroom, grab your favorite water proof vibrator, or you know your partner if he/she is home, and jump in the shower! Great sex can happen alone too! A quickie in the shower while your baby plays safely in ear and eye shot from you can be exhilarating as well as refreshing! Double the pleasure!

First Coast Doulas knows you’re human. You have desires, and sometimes no desire! We know what it’s like to need time with your partner, alone! As postpartum doulas we help parents live the healthiest lives possible. Sex is important, kids are important, your marriage or partnership is important, and YOU are important!

At First Coast Doulas our brand is built on the motto, “First Love Yourself,” and we mean it! It’s ok to put your needs and desires first sometimes, your kids will have happier parents because of it; your family will be healthier because you loved yourself first!

Happy birth and parenting from the best doulas in Jax. FL

 

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!

 

You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

you're a rock star | best doulas in jax florida

You’re a Rock Star Even if Nobody Tells You

We’ve got to get something off our chests.  It’s a secret that shouldn’t be. It’s something that doesn’t, for some reason, get said enough or only gets said when the “right” conditions are met.  And it’s a shame.

You’re a Rock Star! Yes, YOU!

Birthing a baby and parenting said baby until they run your refrigerator out the door, is hard work no matter what. Even for us folk who seem to be floating on cloud 9 in the best breeze, there are days that are just hard. And you’re a rock star for showing up.  Giving birth to this tiny human is also an incredible feat, no matter the mode of delivery.

Society at large seems to place a higher value on certain types of birth though.

We’ve even noticed that the professionals with whom so many new parents place their trust have demonstrated public preference to birth and are biased in what they deem worthy of public merriment. As care providers and professional support persons in a position of authority, this behavior implicitly ascribes a morality to this value and as such, shames different choices and outcomes. And while it may be unintentional, many parents end up feeling like shit about their birth.

 

“I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it does. I did all the things. I took an eight week childbirth class, hired a well-known doula, read articles, and I joined a moms group for women who were and had birthed narturally. In the end it was just me, all alone. Noone cheering me on and telling me, ‘You’re a rock star’, or ‘You rocked your birth’ after a 12 hour labor turned cesarean. I was heart broken, it would have just felt good to know others saw how hard I tried. Instead I felt like I let my doula and closest friends down.”

 

Our birth experiences shape us, whether we like it or not. How we feel as we enter parenthood matters! Words matter! Hearing, “You’re a rockstar” matters, and not hearing it matters too!

When the most popular doctor, midwife, or doula in town always posts and shares the “best” births on their social media platforms, and you notice that they always say, “Congrats to this Rock Star mama who had an non-medicated vaginal birth” but doesn’t mention the rock star parents who labored for hours and chose to pursue relief via pharmaceuticals, or the parent who chose a cesarean birth from the get-go, it hurts.

We get it.

We hear you.

Having a “natural” birth (which is a misnomer, by the way) is definitely something to be proud of and it is worth celebration. No doubt, at all. But choosing an epidural or opting for cesarean birth is an equally valid choice and one that deserves the same frequency and intensity of accolades.

This isn’t simply a matter of target market or ideal patients/clients on the part of the midwives or other birth professionals in regards to their statements/behavior online and off, because

a). not all of their patients/clients want the same things for their birth that the provider wants

b.) a provider and/or doula shouldn’t necessarily “want” anything other than a healthy, safe, and happy experience and outcome to begin

c.) they are all held in esteem in the greater health community and because of this, have influence and

d.) even if, by some chance, all their clients/patients did want a completely drug-free/intervention-free, vaginal birth, there will always be some who, for their safety and health, cannot and will not birth as originally intended.

The consequences from feeling like one “failed” at birth are very real and entirely damaging.

Not to mention, it isn’t a test to pass. By saving our “You’re a rock star” for specific people, we are effectively setting people up to believe that birth is a test of their abilities and ultimately, of their parental devotion and/or suitability. By always exclusively referring to these “mamas” (another issue for another day), we do a disservice to all those parents who need and want validation and…shared joy in their hard work.  Because let’s be clear here: non-medicated vaginal birth is hard. Medicated vaginal birth is hard. Cesarean birth is hard. Birth is hard.  So what are we saying?

There is no right or wrong way!

YOU’RE A ROCK STAR. With capital letters.  Unequivocally.  All day, every day!

P.S we recommend surrounding yourself with people who will tell you you’re a rock star without any strings. It doesn’t have to be us-we just want nothing more than your fully knowing your power.

Authored by: Heather Horrell and Elizabeth Luke

Is My Baby Normal?

Is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL

Is My Baby Normal

Babies do all sorts of seemingly oddish things. Things that’ll leave you wondering, is my baby normal? Sometimes their movements and reflexes can look scary to those who haven’t been around newborns or who aren’t well-versed in their behaviors. We noticed that when we work with new parents, we almost always get asked, “my baby does ________, is my baby normal?”

Common baby behavior includes evolutionarily-base reflexes. These can seem frightening and sometimes funny too (shhhh). We delve into each of these ahead and explain why your baby isn’t an actual alien life form.

Rooting is a reflex that helps your baby, well, root.

What does that mean? It means that this adaptation allows your baby to seek out and find a nipple. They’ll turn their heads side to side, lifting their necks, with their eyes closed.  It’s actually an early indicator of hunger, shortly before they cry and scream emerge.  When they root, they’ll sniff you if you are holding them! If they are by themselves or in a bassinet, you might notice that they put their whole fist in their mouths!

Tonic Neck reflex is a much more subtle reflex.

Fencing or Tonic Neck reflex is when your little one looks like he/she is the “On guard” position when they lie on their back. Some may describe the baby as looking like a little fencer! It serves as an important clue to their neurological development.  For instance, if your baby is never or always in this position, or continues this reflex past six months, it’s important to mention it to the pediatrician.

Is My Baby Normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL
Fencing or Tonic Neck reflex

The Startle or Moro reflex is simultaneously intriguing and funny.

When you make a loud noise or sudden movement, like unswaddling, your baby will throw his/her hands upwards and their body will jolt. Sometimes, though, it seems to happen when the house is as quiet as a library. This particular reflex is another leftover evolutionary adaptation as it helped our prehistoric ancestors respond to danger.  Notice how their hands grasp while they move their arms upwards?  Since we are primates, this ensured that the baby would hold very tightly to the mother as she escaped danger.  Speaking of grasping…

The Grasp or Palmer reflex works in conjunction with the Moro, but is important on its own.

If you put your finger on the palm of your baby’s hand, he/she will instinctively close their hand around yours. This is one of the cutest, most enjoyable reflexes a parent, family member, or caregiver can expereince. This serves to keep them safe as discussed above, but it also is the beginning of fine motor development.

is my baby normal | Childbirth Classes Jax FL
Grasp of Palmer reflex

The Plantar or Babinski reflex refers are associated with the feet of the newborn.

Just as the Palmer reflex is a reaction of the fingers curling to grab, the Plantar, or Babinski, reflex is the foot’s way of responding to stimuli and helps the body to begin developing gross motor skills. Stroke your finger along the sole of their feet, right under the toes and you’ll see some extreme monkey ability!

Sometimes, parents will notice that their baby’s eyes are rolling into the back of their head!

This is really common and completely normal. As babies come out of or are going into a deep sleep, their state of consciousness is shifting and thus, their eyes will roll under their eyelids. Sometimes, their eyelids open a little and you see all the eye movement. (Generally speaking, there is no need to worry, but like anything, if you’re concerned call a medical provider.)

While we’re on the subject of beautiful baby eyes I want to also mention that if your baby’s may appear crossed from time to time. That can be normal too. It usually always straightens out by the baby’s first birthday. Talk with your pediatrician if you are concerned, but at each well-check they will examine your baby’s eyes to make sure they are developing correctly!

Periodic Breathing

Have you ever noticed that your baby, particularly when asleep, will start breathing short, little breaths like gasps and they’ll whimper? Well, this is another scary newborn event, which is also completely normal! Babies have immature respiratory systems and this is their body’s way of strengthening and regulating oxygen intake (similar to yawning releasing carbon dioxide).  They may whimper and make sounds during this bout of Periodic Breathing, but baby should not however, appear to be struggling to breathe or stop breathing altogether.

You’ll find yourself time and time again wondering, is my baby normal? As you grow as a parent, you’ll begin to wonder, “what is normal anyway?” Then, you’ll begin to differentiate between normal and abnormal behavior. It’s always good to know that some of the strangest baby happenings are absolutely normal.  And if you are still anxious, well, your pediatrician is only a phone call away!