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Aunts are Important

Whether your child has a related aunt or a close friend who acts like an aunt to your child, they are important to your child’s growth. You see, our children need more than just their parents love and care. Aunts provide the love and support of a parent with the confidentiality of a friend.

Moms, when an aunt says they would like to take your kids for a play date or something, let them. They enjoy taking your child to the park and watching them smile and laugh. They get to be in a position to take them to do something fun and bring them back. You may be getting a break which is fantastic! You are also enriching your child’s and your child’s aunts life. Your child is with someone you trust, so they feel safe. Safe enough to break free and not be afraid to fall, but if they fall they know their aunt is their safety net to help them out. Their aunts get to be in the unique position to see the child grow and push boundaries that may not be pushed as far with a parent present.

She sees your children as innocent humans who want to have fun and play. She sees you overwhelmed and overworked and wants to help. Whether she’s a mother herself or not, the despair in your eyes of “I just need a minute” is seen by her.  Aunts see the mom as the person she felt she was, before kids. In the moment of crazy, when Aunts come in and handle the kids. Moms have this brief moment of,  “Wait! No don’t take over I can handle this.” Then it leaves her, she knows you aren’t judging her parenting, you are simply there to help. When the moment is over and done, she thanks you profusely. You tell her its no biggie! To you the kids are easy to handle, but to the mom you just made her day. You stopped the mad house from getting further out of control. If you are an aunt who doesn’t have children, you may not understand the whole reason she is so thankful. If you are a mom yourself you get it cause you’ve been in her position before. 

~ Katy Schmidt                                                                                                                                 The Nurturing Doula, LLC                                                                                                          Birth Doula, CPST and CBE                                                                                                           805-791-8325                                                                                     http://www.thenurturingdoula.com                                            thenurturingdoula@hotmail.com

-This blog post is dedicated to my wonderful sister in law Whitney, She has helped me with my kids on more occasions than I can count.

 

 

birth story

JM’s Birth Story

My first experience with child birth was a beautiful but extremely scary experience. At 22 weeks my son was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome so I had to deliver at C.S. Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor which is 3 hours from my home. Because of that they scheduled to induce me at 38 weeks. When they began inducing me they started with a prostaglandin strip but it had to be removed because with every contraction his heart rate would drop so instead they had to dilate me with a foley bulb manually. I went almost my entire labor with no pain medication and I received help from a doula that the hospital provided for me and she was great. She helped me find a variety of different positions to labor in and positioning balls to use. About a hour before he was born I received a shot of morphine and an epidural. Shortly after the epidural I was moved to an operating room to deliver as a precaution. My son was delivered by a student with assistance from her teacher and placed immediately on my chest for momentary skin to skin and my husband got to cut the umbilical cord. Then he was taken to another room attached to the OR for evaluation and I got to see him momentarily on my way back to my room. It was a scary experience but I was always reassured by my nurses and doctors and when the whole thing was overwhelming they would step back and give me some space to collect myself. With my second son my water broke the morning after my due date and I was admitted to the hospital. I was there for 24 hours without going into labor so they started me on an antibiotic drip and pitocin to induce me. I went through most of this labor with no pain meds but received stadol shortly before he was born. The nurses helped me labor in a variety of positions which allowed the whole process go the way I wanted it to go. When he was born he was placed on my chest and proceeded to pee on me right after my husband cut his umbilical cord. He was able to stay in the room with us and it was a very rewarding experience all around.

Thank you for reading my birthing journey.
~ JM
birth story

LM’s Birth Story


My birth history has been quite a journey and the difference between my first delivery and my fifth couldn’t be (much) more vast! I’ve learned so much between babies and grown to know how my body works so much better and have been amazed to be able to put the things I’ve learned into practice. I’ve also been able to look back at previous births and see where I could have improved the outcome.
My first pregnancy, I played entirely by the book. I diligently tracked my progress with ‘My Pregnancy Week by Week’ and attended every appointment. I went to the hospital’s childbirth education classes and paid special attention to the part on epidurals. That was the one thing I knew for certain from the beginning. My mom had epidurals and that was how it was done.

Not long after midnight about 10 days before my estimated due date, my water broke. I called into the hospital and they said to come on up. As soon as I got there, they confirmed that my water had broken, put me in a room, and hooked me up to the monitors and pitocin. Not long after, I was in pain like I’d never known. I’m pretty sure it was dialed up too high. I’d gone from not ever having felt even a Braxton Hicks contraction to going through the roof with each wave. There was no gradual progression, just went from 0-1,000. I was told I couldn’t have any pain relief until I was dilated to 3. They checked and I was only 1.5. I couldn’t even imagine being able to live through this long enough to get to 3! The next Dr that came had mercy though and allowed me an epidural. I ‘rested’ for several hours before being told it was time to push. I don’t know for sure how many hours I pushed, flat on my back, with little progress, but it was to the point that my husband was panicking and the doctors told me I didn’t have much longer before I was taken for a cesarean. They then tried the vacuum extractor and I finally was able to get him out.

I was exhausted beyond belief and kinda laugh/cry to see the pictures of me right after. Looked like a freight train had gone over me. I don’t recall any bonding really… It was just so ridiculously traumatic.

Next up was a relatively delivery though I still have my regrets. I agreed to an induction because I was at 40 weeks and my doctor was on call. There were no extenuating circumstances, the doctor just said we’d do it, and we did. As far as inductions go, it was perfection. Pitocin was dialed in just right, it progressed well, and she came before the epidural even kicked in.

While I understand inductions are sometimes necessary, or simply just what works best for families, I do wish I’d have waited. She was 2 lbs lighter than any of my others and we struggled to breastfeed. I just don’t feel like she was ready and I wish I’d have given her more time.

Third and fourth deliveries were pretty similar. Water broke, contractions progressed, epidural given, a few hours of rest, then some coached pushing. Nothing really noteworthy.

Some time after my fourth was born, I decided to train as a birth doula. I researched everything I could find, read so many books, and attended a childbirth education class put on by an experienced doula. The difference between this class and the hospital one was amazing! I learned so much more about how women’s bodies work and was astounded at how little I’d learned before. It was also interesting to analyze my previous deliveries with this information. I could see what I wish I’d done differently with my first. Especially not going straight in before I started contracting and not having anything to eat for over 24 hours before going into the one of the most physically exhausting things I’d ever done. That set me up for failure from the beginning

Shortly after training, I got pregnant again and while pursuing being a doula was put on hold, I was excited to use all my newfound knowledge in my next delivery! I continued to read everything I could get my hands on and worked towards creating a birth plan for the first time. I ate dates like crazy, drank my raspberry leaf tea, got adjusted by my chiropractor, and my amazing hubby listened to everything and learned with me. I was excited to try for an unmedicated delivery!

The big day came and was so completely different. I thought I might be in labor but needed time to myself so hubby watched the kids while I went to the grocery store. On my way I was timing my contractions on an app and was getting more sure. I labored in the aisles, swaying and breathing through contractions easily. When I got home, I let hubby know and we set off to drop the kids off at Nana’s. I checked in to the hospital already dilated to a 6 and my water still intact.

I got checked in and put in a room, got set up at the foot of the bed, bouncing on a birth ball. Hubby sat behind me, applying counter pressure and being amazing. I vocalized through each contraction once they got more intense. I had asked to not be hooked to the monitors and the nurse came in quietly every so often to check heart tones. I was mostly left to labor how I wanted. Then transition. I could recognize it in a distance sort of way. I got panicky and didn’t think I could do it anymore. My awesome nurse helped me on the bed and was going to check me when my waters bulged out, she paged the Dr immediately. Seconds later, just as the Dr was getting to the foot of my bed, my daughter literally shot out with my water breaking. Cord left uncut until it stopped pulsing, immediate skin to skin… Bliss! I felt so empowered to have learned all I did and so fortunate to be able to put it into practice. I can’t even believe how much more in control and less afraid I was. I know birth can be so unpredictable, but to have gone into it with informed decisions was so wonderful. It’s been a journey for sure and I’m honored to have had the chance to grow and put these things into practice.
Thank you for reading my birthing journey.
~ LM
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Car Seats

Did you know 3 out of 4 car seats are installed and/or used improperly? That is outrageous! The following is for rear and forward facing children. (Booster seat safety to follow)

When you first get your hands on your child’s carseat look through the manual. Read it all the way through. I know it seems silly, if you do you will know the ins and outs of your car seat. Once you are done look over your car seat. Make sure you know where the model number, manufacture date and expiration dates are.

Tighten and loosen the harness a couple times, so you know the motions.

Before you install your seat into the vehicle you want to fit your child into the seat. Trust me when I say its a whole lot easier to adjust the harness in your home vs outside. If this is not possible fitting your child outside of the home is doable.

Fitting your child:

Rear facing child age: newborn –  at least 2+ 

Fully loosen the harness, separate the chest clip and crotch buckles. once separated place  the left piece on the left and the right on the right.

place the child in the seat, making sure their bottom is all the way back and they are not slouching

now slide the child’s arms into each shoulder strap

Buckle the crotch buckles

Slide the chest clip buckles as far down to the crotch buckles as possible

Tighten the harness until you can not pinch any of the webbing, safekids.org says “Make sure your harness is snug enough by doing the Pinch Test. After you buckle and tighten the harness, pinch the harness at the shoulder. If the harness is snug, your fingers will slide off the webbing. If the harness is loose, you will be able to pinch the webbing between your fingers. A loose harness is a common mistake and is not safe.”

Check the thigh area make sure no extra webbing is there. If there is some pull the slack through the buckles so the slack is near the chest clip. Tighten again and repeat the pinch test

Chest Clip: The chest clip should be placed at armpit height. Tip: If you take your thumb and pointer finger to make L’s. Then place each pointer finger in the child’s armpits with your thumbs pointing towards each other. Your thumbs should hit the child’s chest that’s where the chest clip goes.

Harness height: a rear facing child’s harness should be at or below their shoulders. If your child’s harness is above their shoulders upon testing the fit of your child refer to the car seat manual. If you do not have your manual, most companies have the manual listed online you can look through. You can also contact The Nurturing Doula, LLC.

 

Forward facing child age: 2+ 

Fully loosen the harness, separate the chest clip and crotch buckles. once separated place  the left piece on the left and the right on the right.

place the child in the seat, making sure their bottom is all the way back and they are not slouching

now slide the child’s arms into each shoulder strap

Buckle the crotch buckles

Slide the chest clip buckles as far down to the crotch buckles as possible

Tighten the harness until you can not pinch any of the webbing, safekids.org says “Make sure your harness is snug enough by doing the Pinch Test. After you buckle and tighten the harness, pinch the harness at the shoulder. If the harness is snug, your fingers will slide off the webbing. If the harness is loose, you will be able to pinch the webbing between your fingers. A loose harness is a common mistake and is not safe.”

Check the thigh area make sure no extra webbing is there. If there is some pull the slack through the buckles so the slack is near the chest clip. Tighten again and repeat the pinch test

Chest Clip: The chest clip should be placed at armpit height. Tip: If you take your thumb and pointer finger to make L’s. Then place each pointer finger in the child’s armpits with your thumbs pointing towards each other. Your thumbs should hit the child’s chest that’s where the chest clip goes.

Harness height: a rear facing child’s harness should be at or below their shoulders. If your child’s harness is above their shoulders upon testing the fit of your child refer to the car seat manual. If you do not have your manual, most companies have the manual listed online you can look through. You can also contact The Nurturing Doula, LLC.

Installation 

video Rear Facing

video Forward Facing

If after you watch the video you still need help with your installation, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/

~ Katy Schmidt

The Nurturing Doula, LLC

Birth Doula, CPST and CBE

805-791-8325

http://www.thenurturingdoula.com

thenurturingdoula@hotmail.com

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Last Precious Weeks….

Those last weeks of your pregnancy are very important for your babies development. Those last weeks are also very trying on your body and mind. You could have trouble sleeping or trouble staying off the toilet from having a baby who is lower than it has been your entire pregnancy. Braxton hicks contractions could be making you wonder is this the real deal or not? Those pesky Braxton Hicks contractions are preparing you for labor and delivery. Take them as a chance to practice your breathing. Take a big deep breath when it starts and breath normally throughout the contraction then a deep breath at the end.

Those last weeks help your babies brain, lungs and liver get the time they need to develop. March of Dimes says ” Babies left to gain more weight have an easier time regulating their temperature”.

Some thing to help occupy your mind are:

  • Pamper yourself
  • rest
  • catch up on your favorite show
  • prepare a basket of necessities for when you are feeding your little one
  • prepare your hospital bag
  • have one on one time with your significant other

Of course there are times when waiting it out, is not an option. Sometimes health issues arise in Mother or baby. If those times arise remember to breath and look to your birth team for support. You got this!

Remember these last weeks may be rough but your baby and body know when it’s time. Remember to breath through those contractions. You can handle anything! You are strong! And it’s never too late to hire your birth doula.

March of Dimes- https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/why-at-least-39-weeks-is-best-for-your-baby.aspx

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The Value of a Doula

You and your significant other heard one of your friends mention a doula

You wonder what’s a birth doula?

You wonder why they charge so much?

A birth doula is a professionally trained birth worker, who supports you mentally and physically before, during and after delivery. Your doula supports ALL births where ever and however it happens. She can be your sole support or your 2+ support person. She helps you and your significant other help navigate labor and delivery and its many obstacles. A doula can provide comfort measures for pain relief or teach your significant other comfort measures. There are times when moms need multiple comfort measures at once. There are also times when moms need to be observed and not touched. Sometimes significant others do not realize when this happens. A doula is there to help your significant other navigate these moments. As your doula I focus on your face and take note of your expressions. I am a firm believer in letting birth happen and not resisting. I will frequently remind you to breath and relax your body and face.

The Nurturing Doula’s prices behind the scenes. From the time you sign her contract to about a month after deliver, your doula is ready to answer questions, hold your hand, listen to you, teach you, and care for you. That’s missing family functions at the drop of a hat. Missing dance recitals, martial arts testing and scouts rank advances. Leaving your significant other on their anniversary, to be with you on your wonderful day.

And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

She’s sending you links and articles. Answering texts, emails and phone calls from you at all hours. Attending your appointments as needed. When it comes to in person time. Prenatal appointments last a couple hours. Birth lasts anywhere from 6-40 hrs, she stays with you the entire time.

So heres the break down:

  • 35 hours : average 30 min per day spent researching, emailing, texting or phone calls thats
  • 0-15 hours for prenatal and postpartum meetings
  • 6-40 hours for the birth

 

You see being your doula means I’m there for you 100% leaving all of my baggage at the door. You have my full attention. I love my doula work, I put all of my heart and soul into it! This is a special moment I do not take lightly. I do not take over anyone else’s position in your life, I simply place myself where I am needed.

All my best!

~The Nurturing Doula, LLC

Katy Schmidt

http://www.thenurturingdoula.com

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The guilt of formula feeding.

You hear it all the time “breast is best” but what about when your milk supply never keeps up with your baby. What about moms who just don’t want to breast feed. What if you are a mom who tried breastfeeding but it just isn’t working for you or baby and because of that you need to formula feed. Or if you are someone who choose formula over breast feeding from the get go. Whatever your reason, you made a fantastic choice on how to feed YOUR baby. Don’t let other peoples opinions about how you feed your baby affect your feelings. You made an educated decision on what was best for you and your child. FED is BEST! 

I personally know the feeling of failure while breastfeeding, Im not going to tell you, a mom who desperately wants to breastfeed, not to feel guilty. I also will not tell a mom who chose to formula feed from the get go to feel guilty either. Try not to be so hard on yourself. If you are a mom feeling this mom guilt, remind yourself you are doing your very best and what you feel is best for your child. Us moms need to stop making other moms feel guilty for their choices, we need to pick each other up! Being a parent is hard enough without people judging us for our choices. 

So and so said that “formula feeding ruins my bonding with my baby”. Formula feeding does not equal less bonding. Bonding with your baby happens when you do anything with them. Bonding with your baby comes in all different forms. The best bonding happens when you are focused solely on your child no distractions. Talk to them even as babies, cuddle them, read to them, sing to them, most of all love on them. 

There are many different routes in which you can feed your baby. Knowing your options is half the battle. I can be here for you on this journey. Please don’t hesitate to ask for help. All my best on this new journey! 

IMG_1259.JPG~The Nurturing Doula, LLC

Katy Schmidt

http://www.thenurturingdoula.com

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Moms need a break

Time and time again moms stay at home or working, loose their mind. A lot of men don’t realize we need a break. They see us as the strong ones who hold the family together, and we do. We moms need to remember we DESERVE a break more often. I know I know “but its so hard to stop and take a break cause such and such is going on”. Life is hard enough on us! Taking a break, even if its only 5 minutes, helps. Just some time to stop and clear our mind from the stresses of life. As a mom you take on many tasks and hold your self accountable. I myself find it hard to keep every plate balanced. Sometimes we need to not take on so many things, so we aren’t as stressed.

Husbands take note when your wife/partner seems a little more moody than normal, or short with you and the kids, let her know she’s doing a great job. Then tell her you’d like to give her a break. Take over for her, whether she’s cooking dinner, helping with homework what ever is going on. Tell her you love her and you want to give her a break. You realize she may feel stretched thin. I know myself as a mom I feel like because I’m the “stay at home” parent I feel like i have to do it all. This isn’t the case, no matter who you live with everyone can help out.

Moms when your husband/partner helps out and they aren’t doing it the way you would step back, they’re handling it. Unless its a child, who could get seriously injured, then by all means step in. But if your husband/partner who NEVER fills the dishwasher starts to, walk away and let him/her. Go take a much needed break.

 

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Don’t forget about your friends. A girls lunch, girls night or just coffee helps a lot! Meet up with your person. They know you. They are there for you when life gets crazy. If you are a mom who doesn’t have that person. Go out of your comfort zone and find one! You need a person who will stand beside you, accept you for you, and tell you when your loosing your mind that you are a great mom! Because YOU are a GREAT mom!!

 

~ The Nurturing Doula                                                                                                         ♥Nurturing families through pregnancy, birth and parenthood♥

P.S. Sometimes self care is you showering while your family is eating dinner without you, because you know you’ll be too tired to shower after you eat dinner.

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Your marriage after baby

Having a baby can be draining. Draining on your body, on your mind, on your partners mind and body, but also on your marriage. I may not be a marriage expert, however I do have 10 years under my belt and its still going strong. These are some things to hep your marriage after having a baby, or even if you have kids now.

Help each other with the house hold duties every day. If one of you works away from home and the other doesn’t, that doesn’t exclude them from helping. Helping out could mean something as little as taking out the trash or starting a load of laundry. Something little goes a long way.

Take time out each day for each other to regroup. Even if its just 5 minutes. Keep each other in the loop about what happened while one was away. Tell each other about your accomplishments that day and your struggles. When one of you struggles the other should be there to lift you up and remind you to keep trying.

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Have a date night or a date day once a month at least. When those important marriage milestones come up, 1 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and so on, make sure to make your date nights a little more meaningful. Dates do not have to be extravagant, away from home or kid free. Dates have to be about the two of you, talking and enjoying each others company.

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Try to take care of each others needs every day, no I don’t mean in the bedroom. I mean, do something for them, something they already have planned to do. Ie: make their lunch, prep the coffee.

Hug each other, at least 20 seconds long. It has been proven hugs can increase your serotonin levels. Serotonin helps decrease stress, reduce anxiety, reduce tension and much much more. Try googling hugs and why we need them.IMG_0264

Kiss each other good night, Every night. Try your hardest not to go to bed angry at each other. Yes, even the happiest marriages have fights. Whats important is you need to talk about it. A resolution doesn’talways happen

Remember, when life starts getting crazy remember how you were together before kids. Remind your spouse of that funny memory. It helps life slow down a little.Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 10.32.02 AM

Take a break from each other. Sometimes you need a break to regroup your self and thats ok. I don’t mean a break where you don’t come home, I mean take a couple hours to your self or go out with a friend.

Friends have friends that are both of yours and friends that are just yours. Have friends who respect you enough to “lie” to you when your butt really does look fat in that outfit, and to tell you the truth when you need it. Friends who you count on to just let you vent so you aren’t so angryat your spouse.

Sex as often as you both agree on. It is important. Sex makes the two of you open up and communicate on a deeper level than you do with anyone else. When you open up and communicate in the bedroom, its easier to open up and communicate outside of the bedroom.

Remember to talk, hug, laugh, cry, have sex, and care for each other!

~ The Nurturing Doula

Katy Schmidt

thenurturingdoula@hotmail.com

805-791-8325

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Fear and Birth

The arrival of your baby is an exciting time in your life. You’ve had your first ultrasound and you’ve prepared the nursery. Now you are taking child birth classes. A mother of two previous children chimes into the conversation, she says how her previous births went. Your excitement quickly dissipates and becomes fear. What ifs rush into your head. What if I don’t make it to the hospital? Am I going to have my baby in the car?! My husband works an hour and a half away… what am I going to do if my water breaks and he isn’t home? I don’t feel comfortable showing everyone my lady parts. Labor and pushing is going to hurt so much. Can I handle labor? My mother-in-law says I should get an epidural, but I do not want pain medicine. I don’t want the doctor to tell me what is going to happen, as if I don’t have a choice. I don’t want to tear like that woman in class did. Cesarean section sounds so scary. If my baby and I have life threatening complications, what will happen to us? What if the baby isn’t healthy? My baby is going to need so much, how am I going to take care of her? What If I can’t handle being a mom?! Stop, take a breath, its all going to be ok.

Your mind is powerful! When a negative thought comes into your mind before labor it places a negative impact on your birth. When your mind and body are fearful of labor and birth, it will cause tension, which in turn causes pain and then more fear. This is a vicious cycle. Am I saying you wont feel any pain at all? No, I am saying there are ways to help ease the pain so fear doesn’t over come your brain. Tension and fear can stall or stop labor. This may introduce an intervention you do not want. Fighting the pain causes more fear. Negative thoughts make fear more powerful. Which makes your pain feel worse. All you’ll want to do is run away from the pain. Running away won’t help. Let positive images flood your mind and the pain will lessen. ““We need to always remember that mothers who are afraid tend to secrete the hormones that delay or inhibit birth””

Oxytocin is a hormone our body produces, it is often called the love hormone. The love hormone is released during sex. This love hormone is what gives women contractions. When your body is in labor, having contractions brought on by oxytocin, contractions can be stalled and or more painful because of fear. Adrenaline rises from fear and stress. This stops the release of oxytocin. A reduction in oxytocin slows and/or disrupts labor progress in early and active labor. In transition, adrenaline rises to help the laboring mother push through to the end.

Do not let fear take over your mind before labor. Try preparing yourself and your body for birth. Know all your options. Gather the person or people you would like on your birth team.  Talk to them about what you would like to happen and what you would do if and when unforeseen circumstances come to light. This is YOUR birth. Take charge of your contractions. This pain is not forever. You can get through this, you will get through this!cropped-999088_10201507010546126_1972500760_n.jpg

Remember all pregnancies and all labors are different. Birth can be wonderful, just remember to take the contractions one at a time and just breath. Its going to be ok, you’re going to be ok! I hope you have a wonderful birth. If you would like more information on creating a great birth team please contact The Nurturing Doula, LLC.

~Best Birthing Wishes

The Nurturing Doula, LLC

Katy Schmidt

thenurturingdoula@hotmail.com

805-791-8325