Birth Story of Joe H: Unmedicated Birth at Special Delivery Birth Center

Birth Story of Joe H: Unmedicated Birth at Special Delivery Birth Center

I was 38 weeks and 6 days. I went to work that day then left early for my scheduled midwife appointment. Elizabeth said I was 3 cm and that it would be a while- this was at 2pm. I went shopping then went home and took a nap. I ate a snack at about 6, then went to prenatal yoga. My water broke when I sat up at the end of yoga! It was at about 8 pm.

I drove home and told my husband and texted my doula. Contractions started within an hour. I then sat on a birth ball and we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Also, my husband had to install the car seat!

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The Secret Life of an On Call Tulsa Birth Doula

The Secret Life of an On Call Tulsa Birth Doula

One of the weirdest things about being a doula is living the on call lifestyle. Because we have to be ready to step out of our lives and be present for you in labor at short notice, we can be a little flakey with our other commitments. (My friends and family and massage clients are well-used to me hedging any commitment with the phrase, “But I’ll be on call, so I’ll be there if I’m not at a birth!”) Living life while on call is more involved than you might think. I’d love to share some information with you about what it means for me to be on call for your baby’s birth.

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Breathing for Labor & Birth

Breathing for Labor & Birth

Lamaze used to have a reputation as the childbirth education method that was all about the weird breathing. Some students come to class expecting to learn all kinds of breathing exercises, and others come hoping against hope that they won't have to hee-hee-hoo their way through classes each week!

Lamaze International has moved away from patterned breathing as a primary technique for childbirth, but focusing on breathing or using breath as one tool among many for labor is still very helpful for many laboring people.

The following are some simple breathing exercises that may be helpful for focusing and coping during labor.

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Prodromal Labor: A Survival Guide

Prodromal Labor: A Survival Guide

Does this story sound familiar? 

You go to your childbirth education classes, and hear that labor usually lasts 12-24 hours for a first birth. "Ok," you think. "I can handle that."

A few weeks later, you begin to feel steady contractions, and having never been in labor before, you think they feel fairly strong. Over the course of the day, they keep going, but don't ever get much stronger, longer, or closer together. Sometimes you feel a little tired and start to get relaxed and try to rest, and your contractions ease up a little. So you resolve not to rest, not to relax; you are going to stay active and upright and get this baby out! After 18 hours of walking around your neighborhood, rocking on your birth ball, and having your partner press on your sacrum, you figure you must be getting close to having your baby. So you go to the hospital and have your cervix checked, only to find that you are only 1-2 cm dilated and they want to put you on some pitocin or send you home.

So what's going on here? 

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What I've learned from 30+ births

What I've learned from 30+ births

Some doulas gain experience very quickly, routinely booking 2-4 (or more!) clients each month. I've attended births as a doula much more slowly than that. In the past 4 years of doula-ing, I've averaged about 8 births a year, slowly but surely learning more and more about pregnancy, birth and labor support techniques. 

Since attending births here in Tulsa since February, I've realized that I've integrated some really important lessons that I couldn't have learned from reading about labor support - I had to really learn them by watching over 30 clients labor and give birth to their babies.

I hope that some of this information can be useful to other doulas, families preparing for the birth of their baby, and anyone providing labor support.

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Burning Questions #6: What is a Doula's Role in High Risk Birth?

Burning Questions #6: What is a Doula's Role in High Risk Birth?

Last week, I asked people on my Facebook page to choose which of three post topics I should write about next. Other than a vote for all three, the resounding winner was this question from Katherine Ferranti, LMT of Be Free Massage Therapy. And with good reason, because her question is just so good.

“Do doulas experience resistance from doctors when the patient is “high risk” (whether because of age or medically related). Or maybe [...] does a doula have different responsibilities or a different approach when a patient is high risk vs not high risk?”

— Katherine Ferranti

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So you're looking for an advocate

Lots of people tell me they want to hire a doula to be their advocate in labor. I totally get it that people wanting to have an unmedicated birth in the hospital might feel that they need someone to help keep things on track.

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Burning Questions 4: What Can I Do to Help During Labor?

Burning Questions 4: What Can I Do to Help During Labor?
Hey Emily, I have a question for you! My friend is having a baby soon and has asked me to be there when she gives birth. I have only witnessed one other birth (years ago) and I wondered if there was any thing you could suggest that I do to make my friend more comfortable during her delivery? Any tips are appreciated.

— Anonymous

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Resources for aspiring doulas

Resources for aspiring doulas

Every few months, I make a new friend or get reacquainted with someone and I see that twinkle in their eyes when I tell them that I'm a doula. And I know that before long, I'm going to get an email asking me for suggestions of books and blogs they can read to carry on their excitement about maaaybe becoming a doula. I wish I could go out for coffee with everyone who emails me with their maybe-doula excitement, but since I can't, here are my best recommendations to get you thinking about childbirth in America, doula support, and living the life of a doula.

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Four great podcasts about birth & parenting

Four great podcasts about birth & parenting

I love podcasts. I use podcasts to help me get through tedious tasks (washing dishes, collating paperwork, cleaning out closets); to provide entertainment on long drives; and to stay informed on a wide variety of topics that are important to me. I'm currently subscribed to 12 different podcasts that I listen to pretty regularly, and there are at least six more that I rotate in and out of my listening schedule. I favor comedy podcasts, stories, and anything about pregnancy, birth, and parenting.

This last category is what I want to share with you today. There are popular podcasts on these topics that I'm not including here, mostly because I don't find myself choosing to listen to them very often. These five podcasts are so good that I rarely miss an episode. They all cover childbearing and raising kids, but they are each so different! There is something for everyone in this list!

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