Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Love Placentas!!!

I love birth.  I love babies.  And I love mommas.  There is something about Mother Nature's perfection that just draws me to be involved in any way I can with birth.  For those of you who don't know this about me already - I also love placentas! 

I am so very confused and distraught by the fact that so many women don't do anything with their placentas, cut the cord immediately, never even see their placenta, and then allow some doctor to dispose of it like it is garbage.  It makes me want to scream!!  Why can't we show our babies' life source some respect??  There are so many benefits to respecting your placenta. 

1. Just leave the cord attached and let the placenta deliver on its own - your baby receiving the last 1/3 of his/her blood supply will thank you.
2. Taking the time to observe this amazing thing can help you to gain more respect for your body and yourself as a mother.  You made that baby.  You made the placenta too - and without it, baby couldn't survive.
3. All of the hormones and the blood and everything you pushed out of you when you birth your baby, is lost.  But your placenta holds all of those nutrients and hormones a woman needs to rebalance herself physically and emotionally.  It is perfect for you because it IS you!
4. And if you aren't comfortable eating your placenta or taking it in capsule form, bury it.  The plants and trees planted on top or around the placenta will thrive (this alone should show you the power of your placenta)! 
Give back to yourself and the earth!  Don't throw it in the garbage.

Now that you know how much I love placentas, I'm sure you can imagine how excited I get when I receive a call or an e-mail to encapsulate a placenta.  !!!  I'm grinning from ear to ear just thinking about it.  I love when women love their placentas!

I just finished an encapsulation today, and loved every minute of it. 
That amazing organ kept a little boy alive inside of his mother for 9 months.  I am so honored that she trusted me with such a precious part of her.  I treated it with the utmost respect as I prepared it through each stage.

And as I bottled up the last of the capsules, I gave the placenta and that beautiful mother/baby a blessing.

Respect and love your body.  Respect and love your baby.  Respect and love your placenta.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Birth Day Reminder

Today at 8:38am my son turned 3 years old.  We celebrated his birthday on Sunday with a small family and neighbor party, and we celebrated all day yesterday with just our family of four.  Mike couldn't get off work today, so we told Stephen that yesterday was his birthday. (Is that bad??)

Our party wasn't to start until 2pm on Sunday, so we had high hopes that we'd be able to finish cleaning up the yard and house before everyone arrived.  At one point Mike called me outside to observe our new honey bees.  As we watched for about 15 minutes, the bees went from a few hundred flying around the hive, to 20,000 (not an exaggeration) in a black, buzzing tornado.  They swarmed their way across our property and into our back field where they formed a tight ball at the bottom of a 4ft sappling - thank God they didn't settle at the top of a 40ft Oak tree.  What an amazing sight to see!  We immediately called my dad (who drove over in record time) and he helped Mike to cut off the branch holding the bees and put them back into the hive box.  During this whole ordeal I began to get extremely stressed, realizing that it was near impossible to make the house presentable before the guests arrived.  Luckily my mom tagged along with my dad and took the kids outside so that I could finish cleaning and get a quick shower in.

Our neighbor showed up with her 3 year old son - who Stephen claims is his best friend - and they took off playing.  One of our other neighbors showed up along with his ex-wife and 11 year old son.  His ex, Brandy, brought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers in congratulations for giving birth to Stephen --- It was at this moment that I forgot about all of the party nonsense and began to remember/reminisce/reprocess the birth of my son.

The rest of my family showed up (Mike's family couldn't make it for various reasons) and the adults sat back with cocktails and good coversation while the kids ran out all of their built up energy.

As usual, we said NO GIFTS.  And as usual, no one Stephen opened them.  Lots of bubbles, trucks & tractors, and Lincoln Logs from the neighbors. 

A Sandbox from my sister's family.  A bunch of sandbox toys from my brother's family.

A fishing pole and tackle box from my parents.

And a real bike with training wheels from us - I can't believe I didn't catch the look on his face with the camera when Mike brought the bike out.

Mike lit up the grill, and dinner was phenomenal!  I pulled out my Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes for the Happy Birthday Song, and they were a hit (a post coming soon about these fantastic cupcakes).  As Stephen blew out his last candle, I looked at the clock.  It was at exactly this moment 3 years ago that my water had broken.  Emotions rushed through me.  I was quietly reliving what I look back on as a nightmare and a blessing.

Everyone began to make their way home, the kids were finally asleep, and I laid myself down to bed.

I tossed and turned and cried all night as I remembered tossing and turning that same night 3 years prior.
"Where are my contractions?"  "Why isn't labor beginning?"  "I don't want to be induced tomorrow!"  I was filled with anger at myself for being stupid enough to believe that I HAD to go into the hospital in the morning and that I HAD to be induced.  Everything I researched and learned about childbirth, and I had no idea how much safer my baby and I would have been if we would have just stayed home until active labor began - or just stayed home...period.

I awoke yesterday morning feeling like a train had hit me.  Mike cleaned up from the party and ventured out to the BMV to take care of his car.  I packed up the kids and we took a long country drive out to pick up a client's placenta.  I was imagining the 30+ minute drive to the hospital. Mike had stopped for breakfast, but I was so nervous and sick to my stomach, I didn't order anything.  I kicked myself in the butt.  Maybe if I would have eaten, I would have had the strength to push through without the epidural and I would have been able to move around to get Stephen into the anterior position to push him out.  Or maybe my body just needed those nutrients to get contractions going on their own.

Stephen's "fake" birthday went on and I thought about the anticipation, the fear, and the pain.  Strapped to those damn monitors with the evil pitocin drip.
Stephen was overtired and grumpy.  We all were.  I couldn't focus on anything but his birth.
I escaped my memories just in time to get in some good playing before bed.  But alas - my bed was waiting for me...and so were my thoughts.
Again I tossed and turned.  I watched myself in that hospital bed like an out of body experience.  I fought all night.  And then I saw myself give up.  I gave up.  How could I do that to my baby?  2am.  Epidural.
My birth story is already written down.  I don't need to recant it.

This morning at 8:38am, I hugged my son.  I kissed him.  I told him how much I loved him and how sorry I was - because 3 years ago I couldn't.  And I would take it back in a heartbeat.

Happy Birthday, Stephen.  I hope one day I can make it up to you for how I brought you into this world.  I love you more than I could ever describe.  And I truly am sorry.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Childbirth Preparation Classes: Why wouldn't you?

I can't even come close to describing the number of women (friends, family and strangers) I approach who are pregnant, who giggle or turn up their noses to the thought of childbirth preparation classes.  Now I'll admit, I was one of them during my first pregnancy - and boy was that a mistake.  Thank God I wisened up and took them during my second pregnancy.

What is it about childbirth preparation classes that makes women giggle and turn up those noses?  Did you read so much about birth that you don't think there is anything more you could possibly learn about?  Do you think your careprovider is actually telling you all need to know to have an empowering birth?  Do you think these classes are just for natural childbirth/homebirth/hippy women?
Are you afraid to find out that childbirth is pretty much NOTHING like that childbirth "bible" you read - "What to Expect When You're Expecting"?  Are you afraid to find out that the careprovider you have chosen may possibly be telling you incorrect information - and maybe it's more about their job being made easier rather than you having a satisfying experience?  Are you afraid to discover that the place of birth you have chosen is not where you feel safest?  Are you afraid to find out that labor and birth does not have to be a horrific, out-of-control painful experience?  Do you not want to hear that labor is HARD WORK that YOU (not your careprovider) have to do?  Are you afraid to find out that all those drugs that your friends and family claim to be amazing because they "hurried it up" and "took away the pain", are actually putting that innocent little life you have created, at risk?

Is the giggling laughter, or is it a defense mechanism to hide the fear we have surrounding childbirth?

Why wouldn't you take childbirth preparation classes??  It can't hurt!!!  It is 1-2 hours, 1 day a week, for about 6-8 weeks.  What else were you going to do?  Watch TV?  Finish up some work?  Clean the house? 
Why can't you take 1-2 hours, 1 day a week, for about 6-8 weeks to focus on you and that beautiful baby growing inside of you?

You will learn about nutrition, drugs and interventions, coping mechanisms for labor, different places to birth your baby and different kinds of careproviders.  You will learn about the hormonal blueprint of labor and how different emotions and environments can effect the entire process.  You will discover your personal beliefs and your fears.  You will be in a safe place to vocalize (or write down) your fears and work through them. 
And on top of all that knowledge, you will walk away with confidence and trust in YOURSELF and YOUR body. 

Is this kind of knowledge and confidence harmful to your pregnancy, labor and birth?  Absolutely not.  It could be the very thing that prevents your birth from becoming a surgical birth - whether it being a cascade of interventions leading to episiotomy/forcep birth, or an unnecessary cesarean made necessary because of intervention. It also can help you process a necessary surgical birth due to REAL complications and not someone else's time limit.

So again.  Childbirth Preparation Classes:  Why wouldn't you???

Don't know where to begin and what kind of classes to take???  Start here with my favorites!

The Bradley Method
Birthing From Within
Also - a lot of doulas provide childbirth prep classes.  Find a doula that you are comfortable with and see if she offers classes or maybe she will have some good recommendations!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So, I took a break from social networking.  I found that my normal embrace of differences of opinion was turning into me feeling attacked and overly defensive - and days after a debate/argument, I was still stewing and yelling at my husband for things he couldn't care less about.  My revelation? (well, I've known this all along...just decided to finally listen to myself.)  Social networking and friends should never leave you angry and bitter for days following a disagreement.  So alas, I distanced myself from the computer and said friends.  :)

I call this my "Computer-Cation".
And what did I do, you ask?
Well I will tell you!

I played hard!

I got a ton of one on one time with Stephen - and realized in the process that he is incredible at talking like a pirate!  ARRRGH! (The pic above is his pirate face)
Stephen, Delaney and I spent countless hours putting costumes on and playing pretend.  We read massive amounts of books and created some new veggie concoction treats so that snacktime was full of healthy treats.

We went to one of our newest and best friends' house for a cookout and let the kids explore and play while we enjoyed some adult cocktails.  We cashed in a "free" babysitting night from our awesome babysitter...she came over to watch the kids, and we never left the house.  We enjoyed our backyard and eachother and didn't have to pay to go out anywhere.

We laughed, cried and stressed over my husband's job situation that went from getting screwed, finding a new job, putting in his notice, to being offered enough to stay - all in a 24 hour period.
Playdates with my sister's kids and a very good friend's kids.
Parks, rivers, hikes, boatrides...
We made delicious dinners out of the little food we had, due to the job situation.  We spent out evenings playing outside with the neighbors or dancing around inside to blaring music off youtube.

I let the house get messy so that I wouldn't miss a moment with my kids.

We gardened - A LOT.
Mike put in an awesome stone pathway up to the house.
Our washing machine broke (sappy country song, right?), and I have learned how to wash clothes by hand - surprisingly, I'm loving it.

I was able to meet some new babies and check in on some not-so-new babes.
I turned down some potential births due to distance and timing :(, but picked up some back-up doula work and a few placenta encapsulations.  :)

All in all, a fabulous computer-cation.  And although my posts are going to keep coming while I nurse my daughter in the quiet darkness of the computer room, I think this vacation is going to become a permanent vacation.  I am happier, less stressed, soaking up the sun, and not missing a second of the Adventures of Stephen and Delaney!

Things are looking up for the DePerro Household!