Friday, June 29, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart. 
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

Thank goodness for playdates and best friends, the instant cure for sibling rivalry and Mommy's sanity!

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment!
Happy Weekend, lovies!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Caterpillar Show

On a normal Summer day like any other, the kids were running around between neighbors' houses, our backyard, their rooms, and harrassing me with various questions and statements...

"Mom, can we go to the pool?"

"Missy, can we put the sprinkler under the trampoline?"

"Mom, when's lunch? Can we go to McDonald's today? I want chicken nuggets."

"Hey Missy. Did you know that godzilla...(this is where Carter starts telling me various trivia about Godzilla that I neither understand nor have the energy to care too much)?"

"Missy, when's Dad coming home?"

"Mom, where's Marc? Why is he at work? How long is going to be there? Can we go see him? What's he doing?"

"Hey Mom, what are you doing? Can I sit by you? Click on that! Can I see that picture of your friend's baby? Can we go to CartoonNetwork.com?"

"Can I play on the computer? Can we play the Wii? Are we going to go somewhere? Do we have to take a nap today?"

Then one question from Corrinne broke in among the others:

"Missy, do you have any chairs?"

"What do you mean do I have any chairs?"

"Chairs that we can use outside. Me, Maggie and Mollie are putting on a caterpillar show."

Not soon after did I receive a text from my neighbor, Amy (Maggie and Mollie's Mom), with this picture:


So, I sent Corrinne to get our camping chairs from the garage and went back to my work on the computer for a few minutes.

Within minutes I realized the house was quiet. Really quiet. Thank goodness. Work in peace. No questions. No comments. Aaaaaahhhhhhhh.

Wait. Too quiet. I had already forgotten about Corrinne's reason for needing chairs and got up to go and find the children and see what they were up to. I was pleasantly surprised to find this outside:


The Caterpillar Show! The older girls had tons of real caterpillars and had given all the younger kids several to handle and play with in their laps.


Maggie helped them gather strays, or gave them more if they wanted.


While the kids played with the squirmy critters, Mollie taught about the life cycle of this particular type of caterpillar!


Big, fat, juicy, bright green caterpillars that turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies.


Summer is truly magical, and so are these kids!

Conversations in the Car - Vol. 12

Alec: I wish I had hearing aids so I didn't have to hear anybody.

Me: *turning down the radio* Huh?

Alec: I wish I had hearing aids so I didn't have to hear anybody.

**pause**

Me: What do you mean, honey?

Alec: I wish I had hearing aids so I didn't have to HEAR anybody!

Me: *sensing his frustration and also beginning to feel really confused* Honey, if you had hearing aids it would make you hear better, not worse.

Alec: Yeah, but I can turn them DOWN.

Me: *involuntary laugh* You've got a point there, kid.

**pause**

Me: Alec, why don't you want to hear anybody?

Alec: So I don't have to listen to Aidan or you or Marc.

Me: Ahhhh, you mean you don't want to have to listen so you don't have to obey?

Alec: No, I wouldn't HAVE to obey because I didn't HEAR you.

Aidan: He's got a point, Mom.

Me: *nodding, slowly* He's got a point.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

haiku wednesday

kids need to get out.
tired of me working. me too.
we need sanity.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

haiku wednesday

kids driving me nuts
school year can't come fast enough
my pants are tight too

(ps - i know it's not wednesday anymore. reread the poem.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dads and Doulas

Instead of my typical Mama Monday post, I thought it fitting to focus on Dads since we've just celebrated Father's Day! I hope each of you had lovely Father's Day weekends as we did. We enjoyed some good food and fun family time in the Summer sun!

Clients and friends often ask me how fathers fit in to the childbirth experience when I'm involved as a doula. Some wonder why I would need to be there if the woman's partner is present, and this is a very good question.

First of all, it is not my role as a doula to take the place of a woman's husband, partner, mother or other close friend or family member she wishes to be present as a support person for her birth. In fact, I can't! Though I will have developed a relationship with her over the course of our prenatal appointments, I will never have the history and intimacy she has with those other special people in her life. I care for her but don't have the same level of deep love for her, and frankly she doesn't have that kind of love for me either! As I shared in my post last week about Love and Labor Hormones, oxytocin and endorphins are crucial in the childbirth process and the baby's father is often the greatest help in eliciting these hormones in the laboring mother.

Because of this unique connection between the mother and her partner, fathers have a key part to play in the labor support team. Dads working alongside trained and experienced doulas can be a powerful and effective duo. It is my job to help the father be involved to his comfort level, while making sure the laboring mother's needs are met. Some women prefer their husband's touch over mine when it comes to massage, slow dancing, and assistance in various position changes for labor comfort.


dads and doulas, doulas, tulsa doula, honeybee mama, supported squat for labor, slow dancing for labor


I often notice that fathers experience both a great desire to help their partners as well as a weighty obligation to be the "coach." When we have this expectation of men who have neither birthed a baby nor had any training or experience in the field, we can create an emotional and stressful situation for both the mother and father. However, when I am there to take the pressure off of Dad, help him with suggestions and model effective, empathetic care for his wife, he is better able to support her and also enjoy the experience of his child's birth. This also frees him to be able to leave from time to time to make necessary phone calls to friends and family members eagerly awaiting news throughout labor and delivery, or take meal and restroom breaks.

As the doula, I am also able to remain objective if the laboring mother experience moments of pain, fear or panic. I have noticed that dads often have a very difficult time seeing their partner in pain. Though they want to be encouraging, they may tense up and be unable to help the mother work through a difficult time in labor. Those are crucial moments in labor when I am able to remain calm and help them both focus and move forward with the process. Dads need to know as much as moms do that these occurrences are normal, common, healthy and that everything is going to be okay.


dads and doulas, Tulsa Doula, Honeybee Mama

Even when fathers are very well prepared from intensive childbirth education classes, reading and other preparation, they can run out of ideas when labor is long and everyone is tired. Because of my training and experience, I'm able to be the endless source of suggestions for positions, techniques, and tools to keep morale high and labor progressing.

When fathers are able to be present and involved in the birth of their child, I am delighted to work with them to offer the highest level of care for the laboring mother.  From the beginning I work to involve them in every aspect of childbirth education, preparation for labor and in writing the birth plan. Please contact me if you have further questions about how fathers can be involved in the childbirth experience.

At Honeybee Mama, I'm committed to getting you the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth. If you would like to know more about how your partner can be involved in your birth, contact me or schedule a consultation today!


More pregnancy info!

            

Friday, June 15, 2012

{my moment}


A moment captured from the week that captured my heart. 
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

This one really says it all in the picture itself. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment!
Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Honor of The Grand Reopening

In honor of the grand reopening of Tulsa's very own Admiral Twin Drive-In TOMORROW, I thought I'd share an old post about one of our most favorite and memorable dates!

Original post - August 28, 2010

I love adventure.  I love discovering hidden treasures while running errands or catching wind of some festival or market happening around the corner.  I love knowing you don't have to travel far to find excitement and adventure.  Usually, my kids are my partners in crime (see Robots and Donuts saga, and our trips to the Philbrook), and now I get to drag the boyfriend along too! 

It's been since at least Jr. High youth group that I've been to the Drive-In.  Check out Pinball Rebel's blog about it - great pics!  I simply mentioned it to the boy and he was equally delighted about the idea.  Immediately, we began discussing what would be included in the picnic dinner, how we would arrange the truck for optimal comfort, etc. etc. 

The day we had planned to go, ideally chosen for our mutual lack of offspring, had showers off and on and we were afraid our plans would be rained out.  Thankfully, it rained just enough to cool things off, and by the time we rolled in to our spot the skies were clear and the weather was perfect!
Here we go!

Comfort optimization of truck bed, accomplished by the layering of moving pads, pillows, and a quilt for chills when the sun goes down, check!

774

Snuggle worthy? Check!

776

See, clear skies, told you!!

777

Delightful picnic of grilled chicken, sliced sharp white cheddar cheese, grapes, strawberries, and crusty french bread with butter.  Sam Adams and Lindeman's Framboise in the cooler. 

778

Yum!

780

Toy Story 3 (yes, we are adults who intentionally went to see a kids' movie without the kids, and it was delightful!) on the big screen!

783

Smiles all around.  What a fun, fun, and most perfect date!

782

Here's to adventure; it's everywhere!

Read Channel 6's news story on the soft grand opening here, and get more info about tickets, events, and Drive-In policies on their Facebook page here. It looks like they're not allowing outside food and drink anymore, which means no more lovely picnics like ours, but they have concessions available!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

haiku wednesday

sometimes i think we're
all just waiting for the next
big thing to happen.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Love and Labor Hormones

Have you ever wondered how in the world women give birth? I have, and I've done it twice! When you take inventory of all the nuts and bolts and parts on a woman's body, it just doesn't seem possible that she could grow an entire human being let alone expel it from her body!

For today's Mama Monday I want to talk about the hormones in our body that set in motion the physiological processes that make childbirth possible. Many people will describe childbirth and the rush of emotions by saying it was an "adrenaline rush," when this is actually a misnomer. It makes sense that one would think that way, since adrenaline is the only hormone usually associated with great feats of strength!

The hormones that function in birth are actually the opposite of adrenaline and catecholamines, which are involved in what we call the "fight or flight" response. Adrenaline and catecholamines, while enabling many to get through traumatic events while injured or flee from predators, actually make muscles tense up (which you don't want in labor) and are often associated with fear. In childbirth, adrenaline and dopamine (a catecholamine) will tell the woman's body that it is not safe to birth the baby, and the labor process can slow and sometimes halt altogether. This often results in unwanted or unnecessary interventions.

While one may feel a little uncomfortable coming to terms with it, it should be a rather obvious observation to note that we give birth and feed our young with our sexual organs. Stay with me here. Ever heard the term "oxytocin?" You've probably heard of pitocin, the trade name of the synthetic form of oxytocin given to laboring women to speed up their labor or to induce labor in a woman who has not begun spontaneously. Oxytocin is the hormone naturally released in a woman's body that relaxes tissues and tendons and stimulates contractions necessary for moving a baby down into the birth canal and pushing it out.

Tulsa Doula, Honeybee Mama, Hormones in LaborYou know what else produces oxytocin in our bodies? Love and love making! That "adrenaline rush" many women describe was a rush, but it wasn't adrenaline. It was oxytocin, the same hormone that made them giddy with excitement when they fell in love with their spouse and the same hormone emitted during the climax of the event that produced the baby in the first place! Nipple stimulation and breastfeeding also produce oxytocin.

Endorphins and beta endorphins also occur in labor. Endorphins contribute to what we call the "runner's high," and come into play during exercise, painful experiences, love and orgasm. Other pleasurable experiences can produce endorphins as well (I'd like to think I remember a news story saying that chocolate stimulated the production of endorphins, but that may be wishful thinking)! These are "feel good" chemicals that help us cope with pain. Athletes and trainers know that endorphins make it possible for people to run marathons, complete Iron Man competitions and climb mountains.

Do you see where I'm going yet? Love and labor hormones are the same! When a woman feels fearful or stressed, her brain will pump her body full of adrenaline which will slow down her labor and in turn make it substantially more painful. On the other hand, when she feels loved and safe, her brain will release oxytocin and endorphins which will both keep labor moving along and also help her cope with the pain. There are actually many instances where women feel ecstatic and even orgasmic during childbirth. Don't get squeamish here - remember how we talked about sex organs being the same as birth organs? It's just physiology here, friends.

I often talk to my clients about the difference from the fear cycle and the safety cycle. Watch this:

Cycle of Fear in Labor

Trigger: perception, interruption, distraction or communication, presence of unwanted people
 ~leads to~
Emotional response: fear, uncertainty, anxiety, feeling unsafe/unsupported
 ~leads to~
Hormonal release: stress hormones (adrenaline and dopamine), "fight or flight" response
 ~leads to~
Physical response: increased heart rate and breathing, decreased blood flow to uterus
 ~leads to~
Result: tension, muscle soreness and fatigue, increased pain, less effective labor

Now, compare the above cycle with the following:

Cycle of Safety in Labor

Trigger: safe environment, warmth, darkness, quiet, solitude, respect, loving words and actions
~leads to~
Emotional response: feeling safe, confident, peaceful, loved
~leads to~
Hormonal release: oxytocin and endorphins
~leads to~
Physical response: muscles loosen and relax, increased blood flow to uterus, cervix opens, effective contractions
~leads to~
Result: relaxation, confidence builds, decreased pain, feelings of love and joy, more effective labor  

So, if oxytocin and endorphins are released when falling in love and during love making, and also contribute to successful labor with less pain, wouldn't it make sense to try to incorporate those two experiences more? 

For women giving birth with their spouse accompanying them, imagine this: in the weeks leading up to birth and as labor begins, I would encourage you to take a trip down memory lane and fall in love again! Go on dates to places you did in the very beginning. Talk about what you felt, relive your proposal and your wedding, and make love. Consequently, prostiglandins in semen soften the cervix and prepare it for childbirth. In some cases animal sources of this are used to achieve this outcome; wouldn't you rather use the human source?

tulsa doula, honeybee mama, hormones in labor


Women giving birth without a partner can still help these hormones along by focusing on activities they love and which make them happy. Exercise, laughter, romantic comedies, poetry, music, massage, nipple stimulation and others can all stimulate oxytocin and endorphin production. 

This is all the more reason to have a doula with you and other loving, supportive friends with you to encourage this safe environment during labor and birth! At Honeybee Mama, I'm committed to helping you have the birth experience you truly want by getting you the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth. Schedule your first conversation today!


More pregnancy info!

            

Friday, June 8, 2012

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.


My littles love to help me wash dishes. Aidan had been asking all night to help. The kitchen was a mess and there were tons of dishes, so I filled up and started the dishwasher but left a few out for him. He bebopped down the stairs after his bath and handed me the Superman cape to attach it to his shirt, then went back upstairs to grab his Cat in the Hat hat as if these were just the usual parts of his nightly sleepwear. When you start posting {moments} you begin to be on the lookout throughout your week, your life, looking for the special happenings. Each week I don't know when it's going to happen, but when it does I recognize it instantly. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment. Come on, play along!
Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Legacy of Ina May

I'd like to tell you about a woman that has done amazing things for you, whether you know it or not. If you are a mother, a woman, a husband or a member of the human race, you should thank this woman for her lifetime labor of love to uncover the path to the truth of childbirth. This truth, sadly, has long been covered and muddled by years of modern medicine and maternity care that, in an effort to save lives and rescue women and children from suffering, has instead disconnected generations of women from their birth experience and stripped them of this empowering rite of passage we call birth.

Ina May Gaskin is a pioneer in the birth community highly revered by many and even has a medical procedure named after her. Medical communities worldwide marvel at the incredibly low incidences of maternal/infant mortality, surgical deliveries, and other pregnancy related illnesses and disorders her midwifery practice boasts.


I am privileged to say my parents once lived in a special community called The Farm in rural Tennessee, where they moved in order to give birth to my brother. This community is home to a group of midwives headed by Ms. Gaskin. My mother has always described her birth with Pamela (one of the midwives there) as incredibly meaningful. Though I was born four years later in a hospital setting, I like to think that my mother's experience was the beginning of my own journey of falling in love with the magical process of pregnancy and birth.

Recently, a friend sent me a link to this New York Times article about Ina May Gaskin. She and her midwives are one of the very few institutions in our country who will still deliver breech babies vaginally and boast a cesarean rate of less than two percent. This article, Mommy Wars: The Prequel, talks about Gaskin and her battle to preserve home births in our Country.

I've recently begun reading Birth Matters: a midwife's manifesta, and can't wait to write a book report about it. I'm only a few pages into it and I'm already captivated! What I love about her message is that she is in no way saying that hospitals and modern medicine are bad, rather, that childbirth is an important part of the human experience. I think that most often, when a woman's desire is to connect with her birth experience and truly embrace the entrance of her child into our world on a personal and spiritual level, she will likely lean toward more natural choices than those involving medications and other interventions (barring medical emergencies and complications). That said, my personal passion is that women have choices at all, regardless of whether or not they choose medical pain relief or other obstetric options available in most modern hospitals. Choice is empowering and captivating, and that is the part of childbirth we have lost in our effort to sanitize and manage birth.

I encourage you to read more about Ina May Gaskin and her work and pick up one of her books. Her message is not for women and mothers alone, and I wholeheartedly believe that if more men, women, sisters, friends and members of our communities would begin to embrace birth as the meaningful life experience it is we would be better equipped to support and empower birthing women in our country. I know I'm a dreamer for saying it, but I believe this kind of support of the birth experience could be a catalyst to connecting us again as a human race. Rich, poor, all colors and languages alike, sharing something special.

I am passionate about helping women know their choices and empowering them in childbirth. Contact me if you are interested in Birth Plan Consultation or Doula Services.

Love and Honey,
Missy

More pregnancy info!

            

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday (or weekly when you don't post until Monday morning) ritual inspired by Soulemama.

Last week was a busy first week of Summer, including some not so fun personal issues that needed to be worked out. After an emotional Thursday, it was refreshing to wake up Friday morning and have some reading time with my little bees. They're working on their book lists for the Summer Reading Program. It's so precious to hear them read to me - my six and four year olds completely able to read. I am blessed! 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in your comment. 

Normally I say Happy Weekend, but in this case Happy Monday, Lovies!
 

Find me at Tulsa Family Doulas

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