I thought this was interesting to see what the biggest challenges that working mothers experience and the struggle with work home balance. How do you handle this in your life?
Being a part of this birth was one of the most beautiful blessings I have ever received. What an honor to be able to both witness and welcome a new precious life into the world. Amy contacted me about photographing her birth about a month before she was due to deliver. Having not photographed one before, I was SO excited and thankful that she and her husband trusted me with capturing THE most important day of their lives. I was there to photograph the entire experience, to freeze the intensity and determination of the labor, to witness the love of this new family of three and to be a part of miracle!
Amy called me on the way to the hospital on the morning of February 22, 2012 after having contractions throughout the night. About an hour later her doula called to tell me Amy was 8 cm dilated and I packed up my things and rushed to the hospital. I arrived at 10 am and Amy was laboring in the tub with her doula by her side helping her breathe through the contractions. Her husband took a moment to call family members and to tell them what was happening and then was right back with Amy doing everything he could to help. I loved being able to photograph all of the details of the morning; the clock, the monitors, Amy’s nurse, doula and midwife by her side, her husband patiently waiting to see if there was something he could do to help ease her pain, the laboring, the quiet times between contractions, the tears, the baby’s arrival and most importantly, the LOVE.
My goal as a photographer has always been to tell the story of the people in front of my lens. To allow others to “read” the story through pictures and to feel the emotion of the person being photographed. After three hours of pushing and much exhaustion Amy gave birth to a beautiful 8 lb. 5 oz. baby girl at 2:30 p.m. named Ashley Noel. Healthy, peaceful, perfect and such a blessing.
I look forward to having the opportunity to be a part of many more births in the years to come. I feel so fortunate to have been able to experience Ashley’s journey into the world and to have been able to capture those once in a lifetime moments for her parents. There is no greater miracle than birth and no greater love than the new love between mother/father and child. ~Katherine Forbes
When I was teaching childbirth education classes I found that a lot of the people who were going to be in the labor room felt terrified to be the sole support person of their lovely birthing mom. A lot of information is explained for the pregnant mom and the partner is felt like they are the birth mom’s “groupie”. Well I am here to say, wait a second! This baby is joining a family that has an awesome mom but a equally awesome dad, partner, grandmom/dad, aunt/uncle or really awesome “aunt” (best friends are great!) who wants to be there to support everyone from the beginning.
Here are my Top 3 Tips for Birth Partners:
- Do whatever she wants! I know that sounds really easy but that can make you into a magician. Keep in mind that you can only do your best and that any criticism you may receive from her is not personal. (It might be but you can pretend that it wasn’t!) Just stay the course and ask for help if you need it.
- Hold her hand but don’t put your weight on her. She will let you know if she needs that, but I have never seen that happen and I remember that when I was in labor I liked massage but not my doula or husband’s weight on me. It is a tough one to judge but you can do it!
- Make sure you eat and sleep. It sounds selfish but it doesn’t help anyone if you are passed out on the floor from fatigue or low blood sugar. Ask for help. Get someone to stay with her that she trusts a nurse, doula, second family member. Remember to take a nap, not go to sleep. It is one thing to shut your eyes for a15 minutes and another to get your normal 7-8 hours of sleep. Try not to sleep in front of her. Snoring gets in the way of visualizations. LOL! (A lot of hospitals have cafeterias that are okay but if you are concerned about taste you can have food delivered, Boulder Community Foothills concierge has menus and Exempla Good Samaritan in Lafayette has a restaurant.)
Jaundice is a common in newborns, usually occurring in the second or third day of life. Neonatal jaundice usually refers to the yellow color of the skin and whites of the eyes caused by excess bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells, which is a result of the liver not being fully mature. Your baby’s doctor may recommend a blood test be done in the newborn period to determine the level of Bilirubin. Jaundice usually goes away within one week, but may last a few days longer in breast fed babies (Don’t let this affect your feeding schedule, it just means that it may take a little longer to get bilirubin levels down). If levels are higher than acceptable, special therapy can be prescribed.
To read a study on newborn jaundice at high altitudes visit the National Institute of Health. In Colorado babies are 39% more likely to have newborn jaundice compared to newborns born at sea level.
As a doula I don’t get to get dressed up to go to work, but there are occasionally times when I get to “clean up well”. These are my favorite dress shoes. I wear them with my Colorado dress jeans and a nice black top.
What does this have to do with “what to wear during labor”? I think how you dress can get you in the right state of mind. There are different types of clothing for different types of events. I wouldn’t last a minute in these heels at a 12 hour birth and I don’t wear my comfy “birth” shoes to go out on date night. Clothing in our culture is a symbol of our individuality. Most hospitals do routine interventions like placing an IV once a patient is admitted, not allowing food or drink (except for clear liquids) during labor and continuous fetal monitoring. Having you put on a hospital gown is probably the smallest routine intervention but for some it is the first place advocating during birth begins.
Some women advocate for wearing their own clothes or wearing clothes especially made for birth (like Binsi) or nothing at all. We all say we are too modest for the last option but when you are in labor brain you don’t really care what you have on. Trust me! I opted for the sports bra and skirt option but I can’t remember where those went to afterwards. They ended up back in my bag somehow, probably thanks to my doula doing her magic.
Some of the reasons I have heard about not wearing your own clothes include:
- They will get dirty, there are lots of fluids during labor.
- I won’t be able to get an Epidural.
- They might have to cut my clothes off.
All of these are valid reasons for wearing the hospital gown and I completely understand.
The only thing to keep in mind if you decide to wear your own clothes is cotton is washable and anything you get on them will come out with the right laundering. You probably won’t have it on when the going gets good. Easy access for the hospital staff to all important parts is something to consider, snaps and Velcro are the best closures. Being comfortable is the most important thing and wear what you want, not what you are told because at the end of the day this is your birth!
Our Postpartum doulas are trained in helping families after the baby is born, by taking care of the burdens of daily life parents are able to concentrate on the baby.
I am excited to announce that we have added another postpartum doula to our agency.
Welcome Jennifer Rodehaver!
Jen Rodehaver is a college educated, CAPPA certified postpartum doula. Jen has twenty five years experience with infants and toddlers and has an early childhood education background. She enjoys helping parents discover the unique rhythm of their newborn while getting the rest they need.
Her clients comment:
“Jen has been more than just a night-time nanny, she has been a fantastic listener and sounding board for a nervous first time mom.” L.D. mom of preemie
“She has an excellent breadth of knowledge of infant development.” A.M., MD father of twins
“Jen is extremely gentle and loving with infants”. J.A. mother of twins
Doula is Greek for “woman who serves another woman.” Over time it has evolved into meaning a woman who is a professional labor assistant. A doula can be an experienced mother guiding a new mother through the process of birth and newborn care. A doula does not have to be a mother at all. It is a person who gives emotional and physical support as comfort during labor and delivery. This can be done in a hospital, at a birthing center, or in a home.
A doula does not perform medical tasks such as vaginal exams, blood pressure checks, or give medications. There are many types of doulas: Birth Doulas, Postpartum Doulas, and Antepartum (for high-risk pregnancy and bed rest) Doulas. Doulas are not meant to replace a partner or a family member. They can actually enhance the participation of the partner/family member during labor.