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

 

Delivery Room Etiquette

Delivery Room Etiquette

Delivery Room Etiquette best doulas in jax

Wedding and delivery room etiquette blogs are becoming more popular for good reason. This blog goes right along with some of the benefits of hiring a doula to support you and your partner while you’re giving birth to your baby. This blog was inspired by the above linked blog!

 

To Rest or Not to Rest

Your doula can give your partner a rest. Your doula actually helps both you and your partner to get sleep and rest that’s beneficial through-out labor. yes, sleep and rest in labor. It looks different at different stages in labor and depending upon the couple’s needs.

Phone Calls or Power Off

Your doula phones home! She can reply to text messages or stay with you while your partner steps away to update family and friends if that is needed. Your mom, mother in law, best friend, and sister all need an update. You don’t have to choose, your doula is happy to help in several ways to support your birth experience!

Paparazzi or Nah

If you opt to not to have a professional photographer join your team in the delivery room your doula is happy to snap the pictures you want and leave off the rest. Sometimes support is holding your hand and helping you remain “in the zone” and sometimes it’s getting pictures using your camera or phone, we have you covered!

Feeling Faint

Doulas are there to support your partner too, our top priority is to support you both in the way that is best for you specifically. That may look like hip squeezes and counter-pressure through a few contractions and getting your partner a cool glass of water and a fan in between.

Complaints or Compliments

Partners bust their ass! They are expected to be and do so much through pregnancy, labor and birth. Hold down the calls and texts, carry the bags, get your drink, hold your leg, stroke your skin, take care of older siblings, and stay awake. All of that with no complaints! They are amazing, but doulas are there so your partner can be an intricate part of the birth experience. With a doula there to support and help lighten the expected load your partner is able to attune to you and be “in the moment”.

T.V. On or Off

Let’s face it, if your partner is a sports fan and it’s on television they may be apt to watch the game or at least the highlights. Perhaps it’s the love of the game, or perhaps it’s just needing a way to release and refocus. Doulas have you covered so mom is not alone when she needs support and you don’t have to feel guilty for stepping away for 5 minutes.

Advocate or Support

The last piece to the “delivery room etiquette” puzzle: no one takes the birthing woman’s voice from her. Her voice is powerful and can be a source empowerment for the mother. Often times people say my doula stopped my doctor from x, y, and z. Doulas have a non-medical scope of practice and we have one job, one very important, underestimated job. Our job is to support! Support, period. That is not to say we can’t help the mother articulate with her own words her wishes and desire. We do not argue with care providers or “make sure” things are done as outlined. We will remind you of your wishes, validate your feelings, and help you find your own words!

Delivery room etiquette can be easily achieved with First Coast Doulas by your side! Our clients love the unique support they receive. Your birth experience is one you will carry with you for a lifetime.  With First Coast Doulas you will gain confidence and feel supported on your path to birth and parenting.

 

Lip and Tongue Tie, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision

Lip and Tongue Tie, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision

I often use the term doula and refer to the doula as she, but there are many professional doulas who are men.

 

Lip and Tongue Tie, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision Jacksonville Florida

When couples hire a doula they believe that non-judgmental support comes standard.

However, that is not always the case. Lip and tongue tie, breastfeeding, and circumcision along with vaccines and ear piercing are hot topics that come up often in doula work, but not for the reasons you might think. Parents have questions about these things sometimes, and others know exactly what they want. It’s not the parents of the babies who have issues with these topics most of the time. It’s also not the professional doulas who have an issue with these topics as they relate to their clients. So who then has issues with them? Birth junkies, birth avengers, activists, and intactivists disguising themselves as doulas are the ones who have problems with these topics.

What do those terms mean exactly? Let me give a brief synopsis of each.

Birth junkie: someone who is dependent upon or obsessed with the high they get from being present at births.

The “birth junkies” call themselves this, it’s weird! A birth junkie will do all they can to be fulfilled from your birth, whatever that means to them! They might offer to come to your birth without being asked or paid. A birth junkie might make a couple feel as though they “need” a doula to have a satisfying birth experience. Those birthing without doulas have something to say about that arrogant mindset.

Birth avenger: someone wants to make right (by their terms) the wrongs that were done to them during birth through your birth experience.

A birth avenger has experienced something personally that has affected her deeply. So much so that she’ll do whatever it takes not to let it happen to you. Yikes! Seeing a therapist might be a better option for a birth avenger, bringing her own issue to your birth space seems very selfish and is unprofessional.

Activist: someone who opposes or goes against a choice made by you and your partner or suggested by your provider because an activist believes that by doing so she is rallying for a greater good.

An activist may continue to feed you information on a subject you have already made a decision on, in effort to sway your decision to an “informed” one. She would even go so far to get between you and your partner on the matter. She’d never say it, but she’ll try to make you feel as though she just knows better than you! They’re huge on pushing informed consent and evidenced-based information onto you. They don’t quite know when to back off. Activists think it’s their job to “inform” you of everything, everything you are doing different than she would that is!

Intactivist: a person who participates in an activist group or as an individual for the rights of children to remain genitally intact.

They’re anti-circumcision under all circumstances and even have some irritating words to share about piercing baby girl’s ears, yes even for your child. Funny though, while they are very openly anti-circumcision they seem to be fine with having lip and tongue tie revisions. Revisions consists of a clipping or using a laser to release/cut the frenulum (the bit of tissue holding down the tongue, and with lip tie it connects the lip to the gums at center in front).

So where does First Coast Doulas stand on lip and tongue ties, breastfeeding, and circumcision?

Right where we belong alongside you! Away from those disguising themselves as doulas, supporting you in your choices as new parents! We attune and stay as emotionally connected to our clients as they need during our time working with them. We are not emotionally invested in your choices though, because we are professionals. We know where to find evidence-based information, but won’t cram it down your throats.

We’re not birth junkies, activists, birth avengers, or intactivists. We know that every family has different needs, desires, and circumstances. We respect your decision, always! We are not apologetic for that. In fact isn’t that the way it should be?  We don’t bring our feelings about any of that into your space, ever!

We know that your experience is neither our experience nor our place to inject our feelings, thoughts, or ideas about how we would do things. First Coast Doulas knows that every decision our clients make for themselves and their babies in birth and parenting are made out of love for their children, we support that. Informed or just winging it Love wins!

Pregnancy, birth, and parenting are tough. Making decisions one way or another on lip and tongue tie, breastfeeding, and circumcision and hard ones. Why make it harder than it has to be?

Two questions you can ask when hiring a doula are:

  • What is your philosophy on birth and parenting?
  • What one word describes what you do as a doula?

In addition you could ask more specific questions about topics you want answers on. As they answer tune into their responses and see what your gut instincts tell you!

Hire First Coast Doulas today, skip the drama, and enter parenthood confidently. Get the support you deserve when hiring a doula!

Lip and Tongue Tie, Breastfeeding, and Circumcision Jacksonville Florida

 

Google Is Not Your Doula

Google Is Not Your Doula

google is not your doula best doulas in jax

Google is not your doula! Let’s face it, the internet, a.k.a. the World Wide Web, a.k.a the information super highway is exploding with information, lots of information. Good, bad, and some just downright nasty information! D.I.Y. videos, recipes, home remedies, studies, articles, and diagrams, it’s all spewing all over the place.

Every topic imaginable and even the unimaginable can be found online.

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with the internet. At time there seems to be too much information to sort through online. Understanding what is legit and what is bunk can be daunting, especially when you are pregnant!

Commonly googled questions pregnant moms ask include:

  • I am spotting, could I be having a miscarriage?
  • I am worried about x, y, and z, is this normal? I feel like something is wrong.
  • I feel so tired, why?
  • Will my body know what to do in labor?
  • How will I know when I’m in labor?
  • Which vaccines are best for my baby?
  • Should I circumcise or leave my baby intact?
  • Is massage o.k. during pregnancy?
  • When should I get an epidural?
  • Can I breastfeed with small breasts?

And the list goes on and on!

As a newly pregnant mom, be it the first time or third, there’s a really good chance you’ll google at least one question. Parents can be left feeling unsure and even scared after they google.

Everyone can google, we know that, but Google is not your doula!

One benefit of hiring a First Coast Doulas is not having to sift through the sea of craziness that is the internet!! You’ll love being able to email, text, or call us with questions or concerns anytime day or night 24/7, from the moment you hire us. Your concerns about your pregnancy are our priority and we support, comfort, and guide you through this time in life because when you choose us as your compassionate guides you are getting a Sherpa, a birth Sherpa if you will.

“Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labor is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas you’d both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!” – Pam England

A couple of our clients have actually said, “Google is not your doula”, you should blog about that! We love this and decided to share so others are in the know!

First Coast Doulas doesn’t replace your internet. That’s obvious, but we’re in the know and help you make sense of the info overload. We also don’t take over your partner’s role. We support the both of you! We listen to your concerns and help you sort through how you feel about it all.

We do all of this, wait for it… without an agenda!

What does “without an agenda” mean you ask? In simply means judgment -free, we stand for what you stand for along your journey. We do this confidently and with our whole heart because we know this isn’t about us, it’s about you!

Let me dig a little deeper into this.

Many women think that doulas are for those who want a natural birth, that they don’t like vaccines or Pitocin, that they are hippies who love homebirths and avoid obstetricians and hospitals like the plague.

Well, that’s a misconception with First Coast Doulas it’s a misconception! We come to you agenda and judgment-free, guaranteed. It’s one of the reasons we are proud to say that we are the best doulas in Jacksonville, Florida. We say it un-apologetically and with all confidence because we live up to our word.

We don’t force unsolicited advice or studies on you; you want information and a natural birth, great we can help you with that. Do you give no fucks about studies? Great, we support you too!

We can support your without needing you to explain anything, ever!

First Coast Doulas can, if you’d like help you look at risks versus benefits for everything under the sun; homebirth versus hospital, un-medicated versus medicated, moving around in labor, versus just lying still.

In the end though, no matter what you decide you will be supported, not tolerated. You will feel validated, not shunned, because that’s how we roll!

Simplify your life during this pregnancy, hire First Coast Doulas. Remember Google is not your doula and First Coast Doulas supports you!

We Won’t Jump Ship If Your Plan Goes To Shit!

We Won’t Jump Ship If Your Plan Goes To Shit!

 We Won’t Jump Ship If Your Plan Goes To Shit

 

 

First Coast Doulas is here to support you in making your dreams come true, but we won’t jump ship if your plan goes to shit! By shit, I don’t mean “shit” at all; I mean the plan or the vision changes course!

As adults we know that life rarely happens just as we envision it.  I think most of us can probably agree that although life can throw us some crazy twists and turns it’s those same life changing spins make it interesting, unique, and fulfilling. It’s through some of the hardest times that we learn how we handle or manage stress and become more flexible. When our plans or vision “goes to shit” we are also made stronger because of our ability to persevere.

Some shit is harder to overcome than others.

Planning or envisioning what we want helps us have a jumping off point!

There you are at the edge of the pool about to dive in, you try and calculate how long it will take you to swim from one end to the other and maybe back again. You plan how many times you’ll resurface for air and then you jump! When you’re under the water you swim towards that goal you envisioned or planned for. Then you resurface and reevaluate where you are. Finally you either move forward with your original plan/goal or with a new plan, or  maybe you just wing it if that feels best to you.

Whether you prefer to plan things out in depth, wing them completely, or a combination of both, First Coast Doulas is cool with that! We support your plans or lack thereof! We know that your birth and parenting choices are just that, yours, not ours! You deserve judgement-free, unwavering support and with First Coast Doulas you get just that!

We have no pre-conceived ideas about what birth or parenting should look like for your family.

You don’t have to feel pressured to create a plan, have to justify why you want what you want, or feel bad for wanting to wing it!

We know life throws curveballs; birth and parenting are no different. We are here to do things your way!

Planning an all-natural birth or envisioning a birth where you just wing it and take it as it comes, we doula that!

Hoping you can have a vaginal birth with a medical induction by (fill in the blank) weeks, or be supported before and after your elected cesarean birth, we doula that too!

Do you know you want to circumcise or leave your baby boy intact, great!

We doula parents, their way!

 

Contact us today, we’d love to get onboard with your dreams! We won’t jump ship if your plan goes to shit!

Shifting Gears with First Coast Doulas

Shifting Gears with First Coast Doulas

Shifting Gears With First Coast Doulas jacksonville doula

Yep, families love shifting gears with First Coast Doulas! Let me explain!

Some of our clients are determined they’ll have it their way and some know that there’s a chance they might “give up” or “quit”, although I like to refer to this as shifting gears, or changing routes! They know when they hand over their hard earned money to us that realistically they may or may not get their VBAC or their all-natural birth, but we encourage and support them through their journey because that is exactly what they hired us to do.

They know that we can’t “save” them, and we don’t guarantee any birth outcomes or promise they won’t face the depths of postpartum depression, because noone can do that.

Noone!

They know we don’t refund if their birth shifts gears or changes routes because we will never give up on them when they shift gears.

We are highly sensitive to people’s needs as they transition from one gear to the next and by attuning to them we learn to speak their language.

They know that we take the good with the bad. Everybody whines, bitches, or moans sometimes in labor. Why wouldn’t they, this is time of growth and change. There are times that clients want to process a horrible birth, or are struggling with postpartum mood disorders so bad, they cry, they shut out the outside, and they say, “I quit, I give up.” They paid for a service and will, no doubt get the support they paid for and earnestly deserve with First Coast Doulas!

I have personally spent time in postpartum psychosis terror, I will never forget it. I have dealt with and recovered from it, and it’s because I have dealt with it that I am able to move forward and grow. It’s still hard to talk about or describe. I don’t like to re-live that with a client experiencing postpartum mood issues, BUT I DO!

Why?!

Because they are worth it! They believed in themselves once. They can believe in themselves again. It took time for me to work through the postpartum junk. Why in the hell would I expect my clients to work through things any faster than is right for them and their journey?

Life is simple, you live and then you die.

Life simple, but not easy.

Birth is simple, but it’s not easy.

Breastfeeding is simple, but it’s not easy.

Birth and the first year postpartum, like a few other things in life, are made so much better with one simple thing;

Support!

support: To serve as a foundation. To undergo or endure, especially with patience or submission; tolerate. To sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction.

First Coast Doulas may recommend or encourage you to do certain things to help you along the way. Some things are easy by some people’s standards and hard by others. You can choose to do those things or you can choose to do it your own way, in your own time, we promise to shift gears with you, not beat a dead horse, but revisit those things later. We support you!

We’re here to hold your hand, rub your back or feet, hand you a tissue, pick you up when you fall, hold your gown closed when you walk down the hospital hall way with your backside hanging out. We are here to hand you the studies and science if you need that information.

We are here to say, “If you’re shifting gears I’m right here with you. I will not leave you!”

So, don’t be afraid that shifting gears scares FC Doulas, we’re not scared! We come to listen, we come to guide, and we come to support!

Don’t be afraid to hire us for support, the year surrounding birth is not easy, but it’s worth it! It can be calmer, more understood, shared, and fully support with FC Doulas by your side!

If everyone knew first-hand how much FC Doulas enhanced their birth and postpartum experience they would join the other families who have already had this experience. People don’t know what they are missing until they have experienced First Coast Doulas for themselves!

While navigating birth and parenting a new baby, our clients feel love and light, and enjoy the laughter we bring to their experience.

Be Fully Supported When Shifting Gears with First Coast Doulas If;

You are confident, or lack self-confidence

You consider yourself wise, or feel foolish or ignorant

All you can do is think of the very near future, or you can envision the long term

Be Fully Supported When Shifting Gears with First Coast Doulas!

Do you want support without judgment, and with complete compassion? Then we’re your Doulas. If you want to crawl under the table and hide because you need a break or need help creating a plan to help you shift gears, call FC Doulas!

We’re there every step of the way, time spent with FC Doulas is an investment in your life and your family! You are worth it!

 

Pushing In Labor; Don’t Push Me!

Pushing In Labor; Don’t Push Me!

pushing in labor jacksonville doula

There she was, growing physically tired after hours in labor.

She was ten centimeters dilated and soon to enter the second stage of labor, pushing. As I wiped her forehead and held her straw to her lips she sipped and then asked me, “Did we lock the back gate before we left the house?” Then she asked, “Will I know when to push?” I reassured her that her body would do it when it was ready, she would know, but if I noticed she was ready before she realized that I was there to help her remember to follow her body’s cues just as she wanted. She asked, “Is this the lull we talked about at our prenatal visit?” I shook my head, and she smiled, and closed her eyes.

***

It’s not uncommon for women to experience a lull during labor and sometimes they even get to enjoy it!

When a lull happens this is a chance for the woman to rest, doze off, or just regain her bearings, but often times the lull is missed. A lull can seem strange to a laboring woman, a place of in between where they aren’t quite sure what to do. It can last five minutes and up to a few hours depending on baby’s positioning, typically not more than about five to sixty minutes.

Sometimes this lull is missed out on when people are directing and encouraging a woman to push when she doesn’t feel quite ready to push yet.

This directed pushing is known as purple pushing. It’s perfectly fine to push with direction and encouragement if that is what the woman wants, but it isn’t necessarily necessary, at least not most of the time. Women can feel “pushy” before ten centimeters dilated and also not feel the need to push once she is complete at ten, both are variations of normal. The female body is designed to birth, and get this, she can actually birth without anyone directing her most of the time.

Now, I say all of that to says this; labor is hard work, no doubt women work very hard pushing in labor and to labor their babies down, but their bodies use instincts and do the work without needing to be told what to do, and most of the time it actually works quite well without their minds over-thinking it.

***

While my client rested peacefully on her knees with her chest on a pillow and her husband stroking her back they prepped the room and called the attending obstetrician so he would be there for the delivery.

She opened her eyes and looked up at her husband and I and said, “I’m not ready, no purple pushing,” she reminded us firmly.

I smiled at her and told her good job listening to her body. Her husband spoke to the nurses and explained that she was listening to her body, and she doesn’t want to be coached to push unless medically necessary.

The nurse said, “She’s complete at ten, we need to get the baby out.” Her husband smiled and said, “We understand, noone wants our baby out more than us, but if it’s not a medical emergency she wants to wait and listen to her body.”

The nurse agreed that there wasn’t a medical need and was accommodating to her patients, my clients.

I was focusing on my client and making a soothing sound that has helped many of my clients stay peacefully in their lull until they were ready to emerge. I remained alert to what my client’s husband was doing, saying, and how he was reacting to the nurse, his wife, and the room filling up as they prep for the birth of their baby.

About ten or twelve minutes past from the time my client’s nurse checked her cervix and gave her the green light to push and the time I felt my client’s body curl inward as my hands were on her back and shoulder blade.

I could hear my client gently grunting through quiet moans.

I signaled her husband to come close at this point, as they had previously expressed the desire for him to remain at her head during pushing. She wanted him to say a prayer during this stage of labor to help her have strength. He was her rock. He looked nervous as he stood in front of me; his eyes told a very beautiful story of a man becoming a father.

I took his hands and placed them on hers, he knelt down and she grabbed his hands. She then lifted her head with eyes wide and said, “This is it!” He looked up at me as though he was thinking, this is it what do I do?

I know that look all too well, and so I leaned in close to them and said, “You made this baby together, you have spent months preparing for this, together you can do anything!

Keep listening to your body. Keep encouraging her.”

He nodded and half smiled at me, and then she was pushing.

There we were less than an hour later, a strong woman who listened to her body, a supportive husband who encouraged his wife, trusted her, and kept her space safe. A doctor and his nurse who respected their patients wishes and were happy to do so. And a Doula who was honored to guide this couple through the most memorable, most challenging day of their lives together.

As her doctors waited patiently for the third stage of labor, delivery of the placenta, my client announces to all of us, “I did it! I did it without anyone having to tell me. I listened to my body and my body did this!”

And just like that a mother, a father, and a baby were born!

 

 

 

This story was shared with permission from my clients. Names, dates, and information that could jeopardize my client’s privacy were left out intentionally.

For more information about labor patterns, lulls, and baby positioning check out Labor Patterns Spinning Babies.

First Coast Doulas In The News

First Coast Doulas In The News

 

First Coast Doulas in the news today. We talk about what we do as professional Doulas, the services we offer new families, and the support group and gathering we founded and host each month, The First Coast Mom’s Hang Out!

Watch the Video Here “First Coast Doulas In the News”

 

What is a Doula?

In short a Doula is someone who provides emotional, informational, and physical support to women and their families during pregnancy, into birth, and through the first year postpartum. First Coast Doulas are knowledgeable on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum related topics. We provide non-medical, non-clinical support. We are your personal trail guides through birth and postpartum We provide completely non-judgmental, rock solid support at a time when things are up in the air and ever changing. Assisting women with resources and helping them create a game plan that ensures they feel completely supported and validated through their entire birth and postpartum experience.

How common are Doulas?

Less than 5% of women are utilizing Doulas for their birth, but that number is growing as families begin to understand the benefits that last a lifetime. First Coast Doulas are working hard to elevate the role of Doulas. We offer a professional service that stands out in Jacksonville, Fernandina Beach, and the surrounding areas.

What if women have a plan, but it falls to the wayside?

We wrote a fantastic blog post that paints a nice picture, you can read it here. Our clients know that our support doesn’t end if their birth plan “falls apart”. We support all births from “all natural” un-medicated births to planned and emergency cesareans, home births attended by licensed midwives and hospitals births. Your providers are there to focus on healthy baby, healthy patient, and we are there with the sole purpose of helping our clients have a happy baby, happy self, and happy partner. First Coast Doulas don’t have a hidden agenda, we understand wholeheartedly that it’s your birth and parenting journey. You’ll never feel pressured or that your voice has been taken away. It will always be your decision, your way, and you’ll be supported 100% through all of that.

What’s the difference between a midwife and a Doula?

This is a very common question and the short answer is that Doulas provide non-clinical, non-medical support. We help you get information, better understand informed consent, provide comfort measures and tips and techniques in labor and birth. First Coast Doulas explains the process to you and your partner as you go through it. Even if you take a great childbirth class and are the top students, it’s not unheard of for couples forget bits and pieces that you learned and with us you won’t feel lost when it happens because we’re there to walk and talk through it with you both. Midwives are there to ensure healthy baby, healthy mom. They are the ones recording fetal heart tones, doing cervical checks, and recording your blood pressure. They catch or deliver your babies while professional Doulas do not. Professional Doulas do not take your voice or become your advocate, we really work hard to work as a cohesive team in your birth space. We also don’t take the place of a family or your partner, we fill a role that is as unique as you are.

What is the First Coast Mom’s Hang Out?

First Coast Mom’s Hang Out was founded by Elizabeth Luke and Heather Horrell in June of 2015. It’s a gathering for moms in and around the Jacksonville area to have a safe space to share their birth, adoption, trying to conceive, loss, and mothering beginnings. This monthly discussion group is the place to connect with other pregnant/new moms and to chat with the area’s professional Doulas for support. This event is hosted at various locations throughout Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach. This is First Coast Doulas small way of giving back to the community. Come on out, connect with other moms, find solutions for problems you might have, empathize, commiserate, and share your struggles in a non-judgmental space. We look forward to meeting you!

 

first coast doulas ikn the news

Evidence For Doulas

First Coast Doulas In The News

If My Birth Doesn’t Go As Planned

Have you ever wondered; what if my birth doesn’t go as planned?

if my birth doesn't go as planned

From the moment I saw two lines on that stick I started planning and preparing for the birth I wanted. The last thing I ever thought about was; what if my birth doesn’t go as planned?

We found a great provider, we hired professional Doulas who were knowledgeable and provided continuity of care with placenta encapsulation, and postpartum Doula services which we planned for too. I had the best chiropractic, acupuncturist, and massage therapists around. Our chiropractor even adjusted me in labor.

Months went by and we finished the nursery, researched and bought everything we needed, and we hired a photographer. We met with our Doulas who assisted us in creating an official plan for our birth and also helped us create a contingency plan.

We also decided it was best to take a series of childbirth classes. Our Doulas recommended one based on our goals for our birth, we took it. The classes were incredible, informative, and as much as a class could prepare us for something we had never experienced, it prepared us in every way for labor and birth. I was healthy, baby was healthy, I ate healthy, and attended a great prenatal fitness class, and my pregnancy was textbook perfect. Baby was ready, I was ready, we were all ready!

Then my due date came, and it went.

I stayed in good spirits, but the naysayers began texting, calling, and messaging me. Strangers would put their two cents in and the pressure I felt from well-meaning family and friends was overwhelming in every way. Surely they must know I wanted to meet my baby much more than they did, surely they knew I would announce her birth after I had her!

Labor started on its own.

It began with contractions that increased in intensity, duration, and began to come closer together. Textbook first-time labor. Our Doula recommended we sleep, rest, and get into a groove together through this part, and we knew she was right, we learned about this in our classes. This was early labor.

About six hours passed between the start of labor and us requesting for one of our Doulas to come. She arrived, reassured us, explained things to us, and helped us get things ready as I labored. Several more hours passed, our other Doula arrived, and things began to become more intense, requiring more focus. This was active labor. Our Doulas helped us decide when to call our provider.

Everything progressed as a normal labor for a first time mom would have.

We trusted the process and everyone we hired to be there. Our Doulas encouraged me to eat to keep my energy up, but I still rested a lot during the first twelve hours to conserve energy. I didn’t sleep, but dozed here and there. I stayed hydrated; our Doulas ensured that I had cool water ready. I labored in positions that were favorable, danced with my partner, utilized water therapy, moaned, rocked, utilized the techniques our Doulas had in there toolbox, and did everything to help my cervix soften and open. I listened to my body, welcomed my baby to come, and followed all recommendations made.

About twenty hours after labor began I started feeling like I needed to push, my husband helped me into positions and our Doulas guided us through this. I pushed in every position imaginable for several hours, maybe six or so. Then, I rested again. I talked with my provider and made some decisions and I continued on, doing what I trusted my body to do and pushing and resting in between. Listening to what my provider suggested, our Doulas helping us through the many aspects that goes along with this.

After about 2 hours I reached a point that I didn’t think I could continue laboring with literally no change in the progress I made. I was fully dilated, effaced and baby remained healthy and safe, but with no new downward or outward motion. I was running out of steam. After almost thirty hours of laboring and six hours of pushing with no drugs I needed some relief.

So my husband and I talked with our Doulas and provider and I decided I wanted to get an epidural. I knew the epidural would help me relax enough that I could rest and get some of my energy back to push my baby out. So that is what we did.

Our Doulas knew our desires for our birth, and they kept that in mind, but they also helped us navigate in muddy waters, they supported us completely in our decisions and it was nice not to feel pressure or disappointment from them in any way.

I rested, but didn’t sleep and I pushed again in every position I could.

After another six hours baby and I were still well, but I was worn out. I found more energy after the epidural, somehow. I value my sleep, and take naps any chance I get. How I even make it this long is amazing to me and everyone around me kept saying how strong I was! I couldn’t go on and I didn’t want the birth to turn into an emergency situation. So I knew instinctually what my baby and I needed, a cesarean. We were fully supported in this decision.

In the operating room we were fortunate to have received a clear answer as to why our baby wouldn’t come down, many never find out.  We knew the problem wasn’t something we created and there was nothing we could do to correct it, but we still wondered why.

How do you do everything “right” and still have this happen?

Well, just like many things in life birth is just unpredictable. Life and birth is journey, a progression of things, the ride is unique, it truly is. Our Doulas told us this early on in pregnancy, but no matter how they could have explained it we would have never fully understood this until we walked through it ourselves.

Neither of us could imagine doing this without our Doulas, both of them were incredibly helpful and in so many ways. While we knew the first time how important they were because everyone told us they would be, we now had first-hand experience with our Doulas and it’s impossible for anyone to put into words the importance of hiring a Doula. Our Doulas were a huge help to both me and my husband. Trust me when I tell you, hire professional Doulas, you won’t regret it.

Our provider was terrific, she made sure baby and I were safe, for that I am forever grateful.  I am grateful for modern medicine and machines, I needed them this time. The support from the women in my fitness classes and our childbirth classes couldn’t be replaced. Everything I did and learned humbled me when it came down to delivering our baby.

We don’t regret doing any of these things, they were all things that were important and beneficial to us. Ultimately we’ve chosen to do them again, only a very short seven months later we are pregnant with our second! Only difference, we now know without a doubt that if my birth doesn’t go as planned, it’s okay because we will be fully supported and have set ourselves up for the best birth experience possible again whether un-medicated, medicated, vaginal, or repeat cesarean, it will be just as it was supposed to be.

Stuck In My Head Sex

Stuck In My Head Sex

The first time this ever happened to me I was pregnant. There I was naked, sporting a larger than normal belly, feeling less sexy than my pre-pregnant self, not really feeling too desirable, and about to have sex.

What was happening, I was really turned on, but it wasn’t like pre-pregnancy, hot, steamy, I need you NOW kind of turned on. Weird, I thought to myself.

The first time or two this happened I chalked it up to no big deal, crazy pregnancy hormones, I was somewhat correct in that. Then I began to be more mindful of it, each time it sat there in the front of my brain. Why couldn’t I let go of my inhibitions and reach climax?

Then I realized I was overthinking it and it was frustrating.

I was experiencing what I later named, “stuck in my head sex!”

Well, this started to happen more frequently and each time I was reassured I was sexy, that everything from foreplay to intercourse felt amazing, same applied to what I was experiencing, and yet still I was struggling with stuck in my head sex. When I say, “Stuck in my head sex” I mean, you want to orgasm, it feels great, but you just can’t make it over that wall to ecstasy.

I know woman can relate because I’ve heard these challenges mentioned a time or two and when I hear it I’m like, YEAH, I get it, stuck in your own head, sex!

Like he tried all his best moves, we were in positions that worked extremely well normally yet there I was stuck in my own head not able to orgasm. That feeling of I want to orgasm, but disconnecting from my neocortex (my rational mind) to allow my Limbic system (my instinctual mind) to take over just wasn’t happening automatically.

Why not?! Why couldn’t I let go?

I feared I may be doomed to this forever! Was this some kind of karma coming back on me, LOL?

Being a professional doula and having done lots of reading and research. I know:

  • Decrease or increase in sexual drive during pregnancy is normal.
  • Sex is generally less desirable in the first and third trimester than in the second.
  • Dryness or extreme wetness can occur vaginally.
  • Gas and peeing a little during sex (and every time you do just about anything) is normal, especially in the last trimester.
  • Some women report pain during sexual intercourse while pregnant.

These things are a wide variety of normal during pregnancy and most of the time they relieve after birth, women are not doomed to this forever.

So, this feeling of, “Am I doomed” was non-sense, but I felt it therefor it was real, and valid!

It’s also true that the same hormones that are present in labor and birth are present during sex. So oxytocin is responsible for helping with orgasm and that overwhelming feeling of love, and endorphins are those hormones that help you relax and become more in the moment for birth and sex, and help to contribute to that slightly sleepy feeling after sex and birth (once that high wears off).

Those hormones help to allow your rational mind to take a back seat to your instinctual mind. When adrenaline is present in labor and birth, they can stall or stop a woman’s labor completely. Can you guess what happens in sex? You guessed it; orgasm can become hard or impossible to reach.

So, I need to let go of my rational mind, and let my instinctual mind take over, I really needed to figure this out. This stuck in my own head thing was starting to impact him too, he was worried he was losing his touch, that perhaps I wasn’t as “in” to him, and even expressing that perhaps it would be our new normal, WHAT?! No way. You know men and their egos, we love them dearly, but their egos can become affected.

sex during pregnancy jacksonville

 

So, HOW? How do let instincts take over?

I put some real thought into what may be holding me back from letting instincts take over, from going over that wall, and came to the conclusion that I was feeling a little insecure because so much was changing inside me, and outside. It was happening so fast it was almost hard for me to accept.

So, I know you likely came here to find out what, if anything worked.

Well I had to change up some things to find what worked. Normally sex in fun places at spontaneous times was great for us, but during this time of transition it didn’t. Here’s are some things that may help;

  • Remove all expectations from yourself (time, orgasm, being able do specific things, etc.)
  • Make sure you try to empty your bladder.
  • Black out the room. (black out curtains, lights out, doors shut etc.)
  • On the opposite end maybe you could benefit from lights on, maybe you will benefit more from the visual.
  • Turn on and up some sounds like specific music, or nature sounds, etc.
  • Spend some extra time kissing and just being together.
  • Try different positions. Side lying, elevated with pillows under your bottom, and on you being on top may be more effective and enjoyable to you. Try them all!
  • Getting creative. For example before this pregnancy I was able to orgasm faster with penetrative sex, I found that sometimes with this pregnancy I enjoyed non-penetrative sex or outercourse better. That’s not to say we didn’t have intercourse, but
  • Changing my views on sex helped me tremendously:
    • Reminding myself that the end outcome is more about making a connection and growing closer to each another than it is about the physical act of orgasm.
    • I found solidarity just knowing that I am not alone in this, many women experience this same struggle during pregnancy and it’s a temporary thing.
  • If you really feel like you are reaching your breaking point you can try coming to the show alone, or to be more direct, masturbation, either alone or with an audience. There is nothing wrong with that at all!

 

DISCLAIMER- Always make sure that you have been given the go ahead from your provider to have sex during your pregnancy before attempting anything mentioned here.

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