Bringing Baby Home

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Doula Certification

Well, I started my certification for becoming a Birth Doula. For those of you who don't know, a Birth Doula is a professional who provides physical (non-medical) and emotional support in childbirth. I am so very excited about this new journey in my life, and so happy that I'm finally getting started!

Among all the studying and test taking, I also need to attend two births in order to complete my certification. I've already found one client, so, if you know any one who is pregnant or interested in using a Doula, please tell them about me. And don't forget to let them know that I'm offering my services for FREE to one more pregnant mama!

For anyone who may be considering having a Doula attend their birth, here is what some of my previous clients had to say about their experience with me:

(From the mother)

First off, I just want to say that there are several good reasons why I asked Sarah to help me with the labor of my first child. One, because she had a natural birth herself, with no pain medication, and I wanted someone who had had a natural child birth to be supportive of my own decision to have a natural birth. Two, because she had previous experience assisting her cousin during one of her natural child births. Three, because I know that Sarah is a very supportive, creative and assertive person who could help me accomplish my goal of having an all natural birth. Four, because she wants to become a certified doula, and I knew that this would help her with her goal to become one. Finally, because I just love Sarah and thought that it would be great to have her with me during this exciting, yet challenging life-experience.

Before I went into labor, Sarah and I worked on coping skills to deal with the contractions and gathered together TONS of information and tools to help with the pain and help me focus my mind on something other than the pain. When I actually went into labor, it was time to put the information to work. Sarah was AMAZING! She was emotionally, physically, and even spiritually supportive. She gave me immediate insights on how I might be able to improve the coping. She kept me motivated to keep moving through the contractions in order to progress. She read scripture and prayed for us. She catered to such needs as warming up heating bags and setting up my bath with candles and dim lighting, without me asking for anything. She was just on top of everything. My favorite thing that she did was take a long piece of cloth (a moby wrap) and wrap it around my waist and pull when I was having a contraction to counteract the pain. It was wonderful! My nurse was even impressed by this technique. She had never seen it done before, but even she could tell it was effective.

Overall, Sarah did an exceptional job as my doula. And although she wasn’t certified during my labor, she might as well have been. The nurse attending my labor even said that she has seen many professional doulas/birth assistants in her time, and none of them did as good a job as Sarah. I’m not saying all of this to put Sarah on a pedestal, but she did do a really great job. Anybody would be truly proud to have Sarah assist at their birth.

You can view this mama's blog and what she had to say about her Doula experience with me here.

(From the father)

Having Sarah as our acting doula was one of the best decisions we made before my wife gave birth to our son. Sarah’s encouragement extended from months before our son was born through after the delivery.

Months leading up to the delivery, Sarah stayed in contact with us to find out things we might want to happen during the laboring process. During this time, Sarah did extensive research for ideas that would help us during our time during the laboring process. My wife and I even met with Sarah (who lives about 2 hours away) so we could go over a birthing plan in person. Sarah not only listened to my wife for how she wanted things to happen, but Sarah also asked me what I wanted, and she not only listened to me, but also tried her best to incorporate my wishes.

During the laboring process I realized how important a role Sarah played. It was very helpful for me to stay with my wife and not have to “get things” during transitional times. Sarah was always there to make sure we had everything we wanted/needed. One of the things I did not think about before my wife went into labor was having mints. Sarah brought several bags of mints, and my breath stayed fresh for my wife as I helped her with breathing exercises.

After our son was born, Sarah suggested to others that my wife, son, and I might want time to ourselves to continue the bonding experience. This was extremely important because it showed that even though Sarah was excited with us, she was also thinking about our time as a family. Upon Sarah’s return, my family got the chance to visit with her and thank her for all the help she gave. I cannot finish without saying that my family heard from several staff members that they were extremely impressed with Sarah, and Sarah went above and beyond the work staff members have seen from professional doulas. Sarah is amazing and we were blessed to have her help with and experience the birth of our son.

If you're still unsure about a Doula, here is some information about Doulas from Childbirth International (the organization I am certifying through):

What is a Doula?

A doula supports a woman and her partner during pregnancy, birth, and the early weeks of parenting, with reassurance, practical assistance, and information.

A doula is someone you come to know well by the time of your birth, and who is there during your labor, by your side, focused solely on you and your partner. She can encourage you, remain objective, and help your partner feel more confident about how to support you. She can also assist you with practical knowledge on comfort measures for labor, such as massage and suggestions for positioning. A doula can provide information when you have questions, and can help you communicate most effectively with your medical caregivers.

The main focus of a doula's role is often on the birth itself, but doula support can also be invaluable during pregnancy (especially if you face questions about tests or complications), and after the birth when she can help out with feeding and adjusting to life with a newborn.

There are a few things a doula is not. She is not acting as a nurse or midwife, so she does not provide clinical care such as doing examinations on you or checking your baby's heartbeat. The support a doula provides fits together with, but does not replace, the care of your doctor, midwife, or nurses.

Doulas do not make decisions for you, or speak for you. This is your birth, your baby, your life! A doula supports you by providing information and explanations you may want about your choices, but it's always you who decides what's best for you.

Why hire a doula?

Why should I hire a doula? Won't my partner, my doctor, and the nurses help me with anything I need?

Doulas can help you in ways no one else can! Your partner may be a fantastic source of support, as the two of you share a special bond as you become parents together. But partners have their own journey to parenthood, and it can be a heavy load provide support during labor as well as manage their own inner questions and experience. Doulas can help by providing practical support for partners, to allow them a few minutes' break every now and again to rest, eat, and regroup. Many partners also appreciate having an experienced supporter present who can reassure them about what is happening, and offer tips and demonstrations of comfort techniques. With a doula present, many partners actually feel more confident about their role at the birth and are able to be more active.

Your doctor will also play a key role in supporting you. But doctors usually are able to check on you only briefly from time to time throughout your labor, and cannot provide support in your home in the early stages. Doulas can!

Nurses are able to stay with you for longer periods, once you are in hospital, but with shift changes, paperwork, and many other women to care for at once, they can't always give you undivided attention. Doulas can!

What all this means for you is that doulas are part of a whole team where each member has a special role to play in supporting you for your birth.

Partners and Doulas

The birth of your baby is a very private event. You might be wondering if a doula will replace or exclude your partner or intrude.

Many partners, and mothers-to-be as well, are concerned that a doula will be a "third wheel" or will exclude the partner from sharing in the birth. When you talk to parents who have had a doula present for their birth, though, the opposite usually turns out to be the case. A good doula always remembers that this birth is the parents' experience, not hers. She is there to support your wishes and help the two of you to maintain your physical and emotional resources to share the birth together.

If one of you feels reluctant about having a doula, talk about it together. Be honest about what's bothering you. If your partner wants to be the one you rely on the most, he may feel that if you want a doula, it must mean you don't think he will do a good job supporting you. Usually that's not at all true, but it helps to talk it through. Many partners actually find they are more actively involved in the birth when an experienced professional supporter is present.

If, on the other hand, your partner feels a bit (or a lot!) uncomfortable about being present at the birth, a doula's presence means you have continuous support while your partner is free to respect his own limits and come and go throughout labor.

Things you can do to make for a comfortable relationship between you, your partner, and your doula:

  • As a couple, be open and honest with one another about your feelings about having a doula or other aspects of your birth you may not agree on. This won't be the first or the last time you disagree when it comes to your child! Use the chance to work on your problem-solving skills.

  • Talk when you first meet with your doula about any specific expectations you have, or things you want her to do or not to do. Be clear about what you want her role to be so there are no misunderstandings. This is your birth and you are paying for a service. Make sure it is what you want!

  • During the birth, if you see something the doula is doing that you want to be able to do -- maybe massage or a pressure technique, ask her to show you how.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for some privacy if you would like, at any time during your labor. Privacy helps labor progress! And a good doula respects your needs and won't feel put out in the slightest.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Little baby Jackson is no longer a baby. I can't believe how he's grown and changed from the very first picture we saw of him. What a blessing he has been to our family.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing our baby boy into this world, and for orchestrating all our lives in such a way that allowed us to become a family.

Our referral picture (he's less than a month old in this picture)

4 months old

6 months old

The day we met (almost 7 months old)

My big, darling, snuggly, silly one year old boy today!

Birthday Boy

My little baby Jackson is turning one today! I'm so excited about the new ways he's finding independence and love seeing him change and grow. I've told many of you how I really wanted him to start walking before he turned one. Well, the little stinker took his first step this morning! Nothing like waiting til the last minute! We had a sweet celebration just the four of us. Here are some pictures so you can see what a big boy my big baby has become!

A present from mommy and daddy...

... that he totally LOVES!

He was so mad that he had to wait for his cupcake!

Jackers and Mama

My silly boys!

Cute, even covered in cake!

The first step you see him take on this video is the second step he's ever taken in his whole life! How cool that we got it on video! (And by the way, the stuff on his chin is ice cream that he was eating right before we started the video!)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Pictures

We had such a great time while Fred and Marge were here, and we got so many great pictures I just had to post some more! Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Papa Fred and Grandma Marge

Thomas' Dad, Fred, and his wife Marge are here to visit us for a couple of days. We have missed them so much, and are really excited they're here. They haven't seen Brenner for a year and a half and this is their very first time meeting Jackson. Here are some pictures from day one of their visit!

Love these people!

Me and my boy.

Start walking already, Jackson!

Father and son.

Papa Fred and Grandma Marge with their grandsons

Daddy teaching Brenner to fish

Just ignore the branch and this is an awesome family picture!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

These two boys have the best Daddy EVER.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sweet Boys

Pictures courtesy of Sara Bedient