Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carrie's Birth Story

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one. 

Please enjoy Carrie's story of the birth of her daughter. 
We met with a super-awesome doula here in Durham named Erin. She encouraged us to go to a meet-the-doulas meeting to meet her back-ups. She said that she had only had that happen once, but that it was always a good idea. So I went with my best friend Jennifer.
While there, I solidified that I definitely wanted to hire Erin, but told her that if I was one of those people who needed a back-up, and the option was there, I would pick Joanne if I could. I just liked her vibe.

Fast forward six months...on August 22nd. I'm at the sewing machine working on the crib skirt for our little girl. We are due on the 25th and CERTAIN she will be late. I'm a twin who was born on her due date and both of my brothers were ten days late! We figured the universe would get me back for my "punny" ways by making me labor on Labor Day! I had even sent Erin an email earlier that day saying that I had only been 1cm at my appointment on Monday and I wasn't feeling anything so I was a sure I'd see her next week!
But at 11pm, after having worked until 8...labor began. And it wasn't "early" labor either--didn't feel a lick of that, I realized later. (At the time I was freaking out, looking at my phone on my app in between contractions and wondering why my timing didn't match early labor!) I messaged Erin who said she was already at the hospital with another mom--she'd send us a back-up doula for now and meet up with us after the mom delivered--the first twin would probably arrive soon. And turns out that not only was it Joanne, she was her only back-up available, so I was certain to get her.

As fortune would have it, Joanne turned out to be the perfect doula for me that day because I was having SO much hip pain and tension in my legs--and Joanne is also a massage therapist! Joanne was there for us at home to help us labor and went with us to the hospital. As it turned out, she was there all the way through my daughter's birth! (the second of the twins was slower to arrive than anticipated!) Erin got to come see us about 45 minutes after our daughter was born, and both Erin and Joanne teamed up to take care of the post-partum. It was wonderful!
I am SO glad we chose to hire a doula. I really don't know that I could've gone epidural-free (and even IV free) without one. They gave me confidence in my own choices, educated me when necessary and were just amazing!
For more information about finding Tulsa Doulas, please see DONEOK, DACO, and DONA International.

Happy World Doula Week!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Archer's Birth

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one. 

Please enjoy Ashley's story of her second birth. Ashley was a client of mine last year and she and her husband are a lovely couple!
With my second pregnancy, our family had just moved to Oklahoma and I discovered that my natural birth plan was not as excitedly supported as it had been in Canada, where I enjoyed such an experience with the delivery of my first son. Nevertheless, I was determined to re-experience natural childbirth again, but knew I would need some extra support to have my voice heard, and bolster my confidence in my plan along the way. 
Enter Missy.  
With our first meeting, I knew that Missy was the person my husband and I would need during this great time in our lives. She was warm, inviting, knowledgeable and supportive of all my ideas and questions. During my pregnancy there were a few hiccups. The first being the slight possibility that I may need a C-section due to a low-lying placenta, and the second being told my midwife/nurse practitioner would be unable to deliver our baby as planned since she herself would be on maternity leave. This meant that I would be left with who was ever on call at the hospital – a thought that provoked a great deal of anxiety for me. In both of these instances, I was so grateful I had Missy to turn to. She alleviated my fears on both fronts by providing reassurances that no matter what happened, I would be just fine and that she would be there to support me regardless of the outcome. Missy and I met a couple of times over during my pregnancy to review my birth plan, meet with the midwife, and to test out some techniques of relaxation and natural pain alleviation that I thought I would want to use during my labor. Every time I left our meetings, I was high on excitement, and confident in my body’s ability to deliver my second son without medical intervention.  
After a couple of false starts, my delivery day finally came! Determined to stick to my plan and not end up on my back in a hospital bed, I spent the day shopping through my labor pains (a great distraction if there ever was one!), and staying in touch with Missy about the status of my contractions. With Missy by our side, we checked into the hospital around midnight, and at 3:31am our big baby boy arrived! During those 3+ hours, Missy walked the hospital halls with me and made sure I stayed hydrated. During my contractions, she supported me, swayed with me, rubbed my back and constantly reminded me to have faith in my body and to relax. Those few short hours were REALLY intense, but I credit Missy to the fact it was only 3+ hours of intensity, and not 12. She was the one who suggested various positions for pain relief, and using the birthing ball to encourage my baby to move down quickly and gently – in fact, this is when my water broke. During the pushing stage, Missy was at my side helping me to focus my energy. Post-delivery, I required a bit of medical intervention, so Missy stayed with me and soothed my remaining fears away. Of all the wonderful and amazing things that Missy did for me during my labor, the one I am most grateful for was when she was ‘my voice’. At points during the process, I was unable to communicate effectively/clearly with the hospital staff about my wishes, so Missy made sure that they were accurately expressed. And when they couldn’t always be fulfilled, she quickly sought out helpful alternatives to ensure that I was comfortable and able to follow my body’s demands.  
I would recommend a doula to any pregnant woman, regardless of what level of medical intervention her birth plan entails. It’s just so reassuring to have support and warmth during one of life’s most intense - but wonderful - experiences!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Corbin's Birth

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one. 

And now, a birth story from another long time friend I used to rock out with to Michael W Smith, Jill.

Five years ago, I had been going to prenatal yoga and had a wonderful instructor, Celeste McNeal, who was studying to be a doula. Through months of yoga with her, she could relax me down with the simple sound of her voice. I read a book about natural childbirth at the urging of many people at the yoga facility. The book described natural childbirth as taking mental control over pain during childbirth. Well, I was studying to be a psychologist and mental power is what I believe in - so now I had to do it!
I asked if she would be my unofficial doula and she agreed. With Celeste as 'the voice' and my husband there to rub my back, the birth of my son went well. I was even induced with Pitocin and had my water broken and was able to do it without an epidural.
I spent a lot of time on a birthing ball and I think Celeste and my husband had to listen to the same song on repeat for about 20 minutes (note to the readers: Celeste interjected here and clarified that they probably listened to that Jack Johnson song for HOURS!) while I was in the zone!
There were some complications with the third stage of labor and I ended up needing surgery to remove the placenta, which was scary, but what I remember most about the birth is the amazing support I had from Celeste. It was such a calm and positive experience I still wanted a natural birth with my second child!

Thank you Jill and Celeste for sharing this story with me. 

For more information about World Doula Week, please see their website here.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Story of Ellie's Birth

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one.

Now, please welcome my dear and long time friend Sarah.

Just a little less than thirteen years ago, I was a teen pregnancy statistic. I was nineteen years old, pregnant, unwed, and clueless. And, needless to say, scared! I was pretty much a kid myself. All I really knew was that I loved my baby before I ever saw her face, and I didn't want to let her down. I wanted to be a good mom. So, I got connected to a fantastic support group called Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. They are a non-profit organization that helps out girls who are pregnant and don't know what to do. They set me up with my first doctors appointment, helped me out with maternity clothes, and I had access to counseling and breastfeeding support. They also run an open adoption service, which is amazing. One of the coolest things they offered was a doula for Ellie's birth. I had never even heard of a doula!
Now, everyone who knows me knows that I am a book nerd. If I can educate myself about something, I will find every resource I can and just dig in. With the support of my doctor and my doula, I researched and wrote a birth plan. I was empowered to decide to do things differently than most birth experiences go.
When I started having contractions, I called my doula before I called my doctor. With her encouragement, I decided to stay home for awhile, and labor in the comfort of my own, well, my shower actually. The next morning, she met me at the hospital with a giant exercise ball and a lot of patience. She was my advocate with the hospital staff. When things started to stall, she made sure I was free to walk the halls. She made sure the people I wanted to be in the room were there. She encouraged me, and told me I was strong. That night, after making it through a natural birth and holding my beautiful daughter, I believed that I was, indeed, strong.
At nineteen years old, facing single-motherhood, there were a million reasons to believe that I was too weak, too young to get through a natural birth, let alone being a decent parent. My doula treated me with respect, demanded respect on my behalf, and taught me to respect my own instincts. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
This week was Ellie's twelfth birthday, and my thirty-second. After all these years, I still second-guess whether or not I'm cut out to be a mom. I would guess that most moms do. I am still able to go back to my birth experience as a touchstone of strength, though. I was able to begin my life as a mom empowered, educated, and supported. It's made all the difference.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story. You ARE strong. You are beautiful, and you ARE a wonderful mother!

For more information about World Doula Week, please see their website here.

For more information about Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, please see their website here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Reorganizing and Letting Go

I have been thinking a lot lately about my priorities and what is most important in my life. My blog is an extension of both my business and my life. When I began writing, it was mostly a way for me to express myself, and sort through the issues in my heart in a relevant way in hopes of connecting with other people who may be experiencing the same things. When I launched my business, I wanted to incorporate evidence based information about pregnancy and childbirth into my already existing blog for my readers.

One way I decided to get organized and keep myself focused on "work things" was to have Mama Monday each week. This corner of my blog was to be the place where at least once a week I made sure to have a detailed and information rich post dealing with important pregnancy and childbirth related content. It worked for a while, but as time went on, Monday would come and go and I hadn't posted a specific Mama Monday article. Then if I wanted to write about it later in the week, I felt like I needed to past-date the post or wait until the next week so it would be on Monday, then it would just never get written. Part of it had to do with the fact that a specific pregnancy issue hadn't come to mind yet as relevant to discuss, but more commonly I found that "life" got in the way and I just couldn't make it to the computer.

As I embrace my role as a full time mom more and more, I realize that "life" isn't getting in the way. Life is the way. Around here, we call it Life in the Hive. I made a choice to incorporate my work into my personal blog because that's how it is with me; life and work and personal are all interconnected. I feel that when I write from my heart about life and love I am doing as much if not more than I do when I share more content based information about pregnancy and childbirth. Over time, as I tried to focus on having a "work" related article each week and then missing that article each week, I slowly stopped writing from the heart as much.

I am missing out on tapping into the emotional and creative ebb and flow that posts like Recipe for Family Night and Inspire Me bring, and I think you are too. So, I'm getting rid of Mama Monday. I will still post pregnancy and childbirth related posts; I just am going to let go and stop pretending that it will happen every week, or every Monday. For those of you that may search for these posts using Mama Monday as a tag, I will leave them tagged as such, but I will remove Mama Monday from their titles.

I work best when I share what's on my heart in the moment and when I'm not constrained by arbitrary rules, even rules I constructed myself! So, get ready for the new and improved Honeybee Mama, which is really just what Honeybee Mama always was and is letting herself be again!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Full Time Mom

Titles are interesting. Line up ten business cards and you'll see an array of descriptive titles like "Vice President of Sales," "Director of Communication," "Acquisition Facilitator," and more. I mean, how many different titles can you use to describe someone in sales without calling him a salesperson? Aren't we all trying to paint ourselves in a little bit better light or project a certain level of power or prestige?

A year and a half ago, when I left my full-time job to stay at home with my kids and launch my small business, I remember having a conversation about this with my husband. I knew it was going to be a while before I really started acquiring clients and creating income with my job and I would essentially function like a stay-at-home-mom for a while. I was very insecure about this. While I had experience as a stay-at-home-mom and knew it was far more than eating bon bons and watching soaps, I was afraid of people judging me for a variety of reasons. 

My husband said, "Well, don't tell people you're a stay-at-home-mom. You work from home now." For some reason, it felt and sounded better to me to be able  to tell people I was a work-at-home-mom rather than a stay-at-home-mom. I held a lot of pride in that, and as my little business has grown I have become a featured blogger for TulsaKids Magazine, appeared on a local FOX morning show, and even received a Gold Award for my blogging through Parenting Media Association. But, that's not the half of my job.

I've also spent a lot of time snuggling, making breakfasts, lunches, dinners, grocery shopped, cared for sick children, driven countless miles, helped with homework and projects for four grade levels, mediated countless arguments and squabbles, taught a kid to ride a bike, pulled a few loose teeth and revolutionized my family's medicine cabinet with whole foods, essential oils and vitamins. I am frequently called "The Best Mom in the World," and I have actually made "The World's Best Enchilada Casserole," just to mention a few of my other accolades!

Something has changed in my heart recently in regards to my life and job title. I think it happened over the month of January when we had all four of our kids full time for a little over a month. Since we're a blended family and Marc and I share our kids with former spouses, we often only have two at a time, with occasional weekends of all four. 

After growing accustomed to having most days to myself to write, sew, network, meet with clients and leisurely accomplish tasks necessary for maintaining our home, it took me a while to adjust to the new schedule. Two of the kids go to school in Glenpool and the other two go to school in Broken Arrow. In addition to that, Carter does his schoolwork online, but attends a study hall class in Glenpool midday. This means morning school drop off, midday trip to Carter's class, and afternoon pick-up rounds, with my computer being hijacked by a sixth grader in the in-between times. It also means that most days I get little more accomplished besides preparing meals, squeezing in exercising, cleaning up and doing laundry before passing out before 9:00 at night! 

I was instantly catapulted into work as a Full Time mom. One day, I was apologizing to Marc for not being able to get more "work" done and contribute to our family income. He so sweetly encouraged me and said, "I don't need you to make money. I just need you to hold everything together. You do whatever you have to do to oget through each day." What I began to realize that day was that while my husband bears the bulk of the financial responsibility for our home, I bear the emotional responsibility of our home along with holding together everything else like school, communication with teachers, doctors appointments, extracurricular activities when we have them, transportation everywhere, bank accounts, discipline, chores, groceries and the list goes on and on. "Just" being a mom is exactly what my family needs from me right now.

As I slowly let go of the expectations I had on myself to still accomplish "work" during this time, I remembered my days as a brand new mother. Aidan was a high need baby, and every night I spent an hour or more nursing, swaddling, rocking, walking, jiggling and shushing him just right until he finally fell asleep. As I did, I reminded myself over and over that this was my job. Somehow it brought me peace to reassure myself that there was nowhere else I needed to be, nothing else that was more important than what I was doing at that very moment. It brought immense freedom to know I was released from any other responsibility, real or imagined. Surrendering to motherhood is actually freedom, not slavery if you look at it with a clear perspective.

Over the last several weeks this realization has taken root in my heart in a whole new way. Yes, I am still a doula. Yes, I am still a blogger. Yes, I still make and sell baby products and do a variety of "jobs." But my first job, my Full Time job is motherhood. When I prioritize my life in this way, I am not frustrated to get to the end of the day or week not having written a single blog or sewn one sling. I know that if I have cared for my children and supported my husband, I have done my job. I know we are fortunate that my income is extra and supplements my husband's provision for us, and if things ever change requiring me to bring more to the table things will have to shift again.

But in the meantime, I am really enjoying motherhood and feel a new energy and desire to give our kids everything I possibly can. Believe it or not, I'm actually entertaining the thought of homeschooling, but we'll just have to see about that one. I am a Full Time Mom with some part-time jobs and a whole lot of passion, and I'm not embarrassed in the least to tell people that.

Maybe I should change my business cards...

Find me at Tulsa Family Doulas

Join me at the 2015 SMTULSA Conference!

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