The birth of a child is viewed by many as the “finish line”. The life event that requires ALL of their attention and energy. Yes, birth is a life changing experience. Yes, it requires preparation (physical and mental). Yes, it is often the biggest day of a person’s life. HOWEVER, it is also the BEGINNING of a person’s journey into parenthood.
Robin Lim summed it up beautifully in her book, ‘After the Baby’s Birth… A Woman’s Way to Wellness’ when she wrote, “You were pregnant for nine months; you are postpartum for the rest of your life”
When a new life enters the world their family members will all undergo a shift. They will become a “mom”, “dad”, “nan”, “pop”, “aunt”, “brother”, etc. During this time of transition everyone in the family is trying to find their new role. The new parents may find themselves feeling anxious, overcome with joy, overwhelmed, everything in between, or even all of the above. Nan and Pop may want to help but not know how.
Soooooo, here are our top 5 ways to prepare for bringing baby home!
#1: Meal Prep
To avoid getting caught in this seemingly never ending cycle, I always recommend to expectant parents to meal prep during pregnancy. You can do this by picking a day and just going to town, or cooking extra each day for a few weeks and freezing the leftovers. This way, once the baby arrives you will have a freezer full of ready to go meals at your disposal!
#2: Arrange Help Around the House
Household chores can become tedious and overwhelming after the birth of a child. Our society often sets impossible standards for new parents, making them feel like they have to do it all, and do it all perfectly. Luckily for you, that is not the case. It is alright to ask for help, and there are many people out there who you can turn to.
Start recruiting friends and family early. Explain that you might need some extra help around the house after baby arrives, especially during those first few weeks. Tell them if they come in and something looks like it needs to be done, you would love the help. Most people are relieved to have something to do when visiting you and your new baby.
#3: Give Yourself Time to Heal
Whether you give birth vaginally or by cesarean section, your body will need to heal afterwards. Physically you may have an incision or tear that needs tending to, or your muscles might be stiff from pushing.
Emotionally, your body has just expelled the placenta which will lead to a sudden hormone shift. This might leave you feeling overcome with joy one minute and sobbing into your pillow the next. You may also be feeling confused or anxious about your birth experience.
#4: Learn About Postpartum Mood Disorders
Any individual who has given birth is at risk for a postpartum mood disorder. This is above and beyond the “baby blues”, lasting for longer periods of time and often needing help to overcome it. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder, and that it is ok to ask for help!
#5: Build a Support System
And last, but definitely not least; build a support system! You may have heard the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. You and your new baby will need a ton of people in your corner to help you have the best journey possible. It is important to set up these support systems in advance. Your support system might include family, friends, your health care providers, a postpartum doula, lactation consultant and/or local family resource centre.
And there you have it! Our top 5 ways to prepare for bringing baby home! Leave a comment below on how you prepared for bringing your baby home.
In the case of an emergency cesarean birth any or all of these feelings may be intensified. You may feel relief in knowing that it will soon be over and your baby will be here, or you may feel terrified and upset that this is happening to you.
No matter how you are feeling, it is important to know that your feelings are valid! Every woman needing a cesarean deals with this news differently, and every woman is right in the way she feels. It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if your child enters the world vaginally, via cesarean or while you are doing a handstand (this position is not advised ;) ), it is still your incredible birth story. It is your day to celebrate the gift that you have been so patiently waiting for, and as such YOU deserve to be honoured on your journey.
SO...here are 5 reasons you should still hire a doula for your cesarean birth!
1) Help With Preparation: I have had the privilege of being hired for multiple cesarean births over the years. Some ended up in an emergency cesarean, while others were scheduled. Regardless of your situation, a birth doula’s job is to help you prepare for your birth experience.
In the event of a scheduled cesarean a doula can still help you create a birth plan. This allows you to ask questions, talk about your fears and have some say over your birth experience. Being prepared can help you embrace this beautiful birth experience!
In the event of an emergency cesarean your birth doula may have discussed your “backup plan” with you during a prenatal visit. If not, or if you didn’t put much thought into it, your doula will be right there beside you to offer a listening ear, a comforting presence, and reassurance.
2) "Attend" Your Birth: While many hospitals allow a doula to attend a cesarean birth, this is not currently an option in our community. However, that does not mean we serve no purpose on the big day.
Your doula will be available to meet you at the hospital that morning to offer you comfort and reassurance during that last period of waiting. It is not uncommon for an expectant mother to feel anxious before she gives birth. This is a great time to talk with your doula about any lingering fears or uncertainties. Your doula may also offer comfort during any procedures you receive ahead of time (ex: IV or catheter).
In this situation your doula should have been contacted at the beginning of your labour. She will provide all of the support that is given in a scheduled cesarean, but she will also have provided labour support until it was determined that mom needed to go to the operating room.
3) Remain in the Hospital During/After Surgery: Depending on your hospital policies a number of things might happen after your cesarean birth. Ideally, mom, dad and the baby would remain together after the birth to enjoy skin-to-skin and share in the miracle that just happened. However, depending on hospital policy and the health of mom and baby it is possible that a separation may occur. In the event of a separation a doula is there to offer support to whoever needs it. If dad is separated from mom and his new baby he might be worried, confused or feel useless. A doula can offer him company and support during this difficult time. If mom is separated from dad and baby, a doula can help dad initiate skin-to-skin and answer any questions dad may have while he waits.
4) Document Your Birth Details: Regardless of if there is a separation or not, there are so many little details that mom and dad will not want to miss or forget! Your doula can help you document all of those tiny moments through notes and pictures which you will cherish forever!
5) Postpartum Support: Not only is your doula there immediately after the birth to help with breastfeeding support or any other questions/concerns mom and dad might have, but your doula will typically offer at least one home visit as well (we often offer an additional postpartum visit to caesarean moms free of charge -contact us for exact details-)! It is important to remember that your body has just undergone major surgery and that can greatly impact your day to day life. A doula can offer the specific support your family needs when returning home from the hospital. This might include light housework, cooking a meal or helping mom tend the baby and/or older siblings.
Remember, a birth doula performs many tasks! No matter how you give birth a doula is a valuable part of your birth team!
There are so many small moments that slip away with time. I am honored to capture that last baby bump picture. And don't forget your doula holding space while waiting for you to come out of the operating room, or Dad waiting for you to return from recovery! Not to mention those little details of your room, that are so easily forgotten!
Or, if for any reason there is separation, I am there to capture any moments momma may miss while in recovery! This allows mom to feel comfort in knowing that her journey is well documented, even if she cannot be present for all of it.
Having a birth photographer to capture those first moments together is priceless! Mom's skin to skin, dad's loving embrace, family member reactions, and everything inbetween. Such perfect moments you will never want to forget!
By following you on this journey it is a photographer's privledge to share in the joy of seeing baby get weighed and measured for the first time, and those first beautiful breastfeeding moments. As a new parent, you know all of the little details of baby's first moments are being well documented.
These first few hours together can never be replaced, and these early moments cannot be re-staged. Babies change so fast, and in the blink of an eye these moments can be lost. Having pictures of those early hours will forever capture all those perfect first details of your precious baby.
While a cesarean section may not have been the birth you planned or hoped for, it is still your birth story to tell! You have given birth to a beautiful new life and you deserve to celebrate those moments.
Birth photography allows you to walk away from your experience with photos to remember all those perfect, once in a lifetime details! Hiring a birth photographer is something you will never regret!
Quite simply, the answer is NO! Although attending your actual birth is a HUGE part of our job, there is a lot of heart and soul that goes into our work before and after the big day. Every doula offers slightly different packages depending on their qualifications, size of the package and if they offer additional services. In my area a typical Birth Doula package tends to look like this:
Wow! Right? Once you have hired a Birth Doula you will have access to so much incredible information and support! Remember, when you are paying for a Certified Birth Doula you are not just paying for any joe blow to show up to your birth!
You are paying to have up-to-date, evidence based information at your fingertips throughout the duration of your contract so that you don’t have to go scouring the internet trying to figure out what is fact and what is fiction.
You are paying for someone to help you prepare for your birth. Sometimes this means prenatal education, it might mean preparing a birth plan together, it might be talking about your fears and how to move through them. For each family their prenatal needs are different and it is our job to help make sure you have all of your bases covered!
You are paying for 2-3 weeks of on-call support! This means your doula could literally have to leave at the drop of a hat, putting their own family life on hold to share in your special day. It also means no drinking, early nights, eating well and exercising so that your doula is in peak condition whenever that call comes in!
You are paying for someone to attend your labour & birth whether it is 2 hours or 40 hours in length! Check out this great image on what a doula does during labour & birth!
PHOTO: National Partnership for Women and Families
You are paying for support in the early postpartum period (which new families often feel are the most challenging). Your doula can help with breastfeeding, light housework, meal prep or offering reassurance when you feel like “She never sleeps!” or “He is feeding ALL of the time!”
Families often underestimate the importance of support in the postpartum period, when in fact, there is a completely separate type of doula that ONLY offers support after the baby is born. A Postpartum Doula realizes the significance of your transition into parenthood or your journey from a parent with one child to multiple children.
But I digress! Back to Labour & Birth Doulas, you can clearly see that while your birth is a large part of the job, there is also a relationship that is formed along the way between client & doula. This relationship is different from any other relationship in your birth team and most will agree, a Birth Doula is NOT an investment you will regret, and NO, it is not just about the birth!
But is it? I have been talking to moms in my community about what they did to care for their injured perineum after the birth of their child and received answers ranging from using a hairdryer to sitz baths. Each mother had found their own way to cope, but when a colleague introduced me to padsicles I knew they would take home the win! When talking to people who had used padsicles the only complaint was that they wished they had more!
So what is a padsicle? Quite simply, it is a pad that has been frozen like a popsicle (see what they did there ;) !). What people put on a padsicle varies greatly from water to complex mixtures. At Bellies Birth and Beyond we use a mixture of alcohol free witch hazel, aloe gel and essential oil (provided by Healing Earth Apothecary) which acts as a disinfectant, has healing properties, and when frozen offers pain relief. AMAZING RIGHT?!? Who wouldn’t want a padsicle?!?!
$10/bottle Padsicle Mix Available Locally Now!
So you take our pre made mixture (or make your own), spray it on a pad of your choice, wrap it up and freeze it for when your lady bits are in need of some extra TLC! Not only do you get all of the benefits to your sore perineum, but it also catches your flow acting as a two-in-one magic bundle of heaven!
If you would like more information on padsicles we would be happy to answer any questions you have at firstname.lastname@example.org!
First of all, NO, it's not just a bunch of pictures of your vagina!!
Birth photography is all about capturing the moments of your birth. Those intimate moments while you labour. Your partner's loving support, the rush of the contractions, the amazing strength your body has and the power that is you! It is about remembering the details of your birth room, the moment baby was first laid on your chest, the first latch, dad's first glimpse of that sweet bundle of joy, and the moment that you realize you have done it! You have made the most perfect human!!
Let a birth photographer capture those once in a lifetime moments of your baby's life! You would be amazed by how quickly your new baby will change in just a mere few hours. Your birth photographer will capture that beautiful coney head, the slightly squishy nose, that gorgeous cheesy vernix, and all those moments you only get for such a short period of time!
Doesn't that deserve the same attention as the other monumentous moments in your life?! Let a birth photographer take away the worry of missing a shot or the regret that you didn't capture that precious time together! Walk away with your birth captured in a collection of beautiful photos you can hold onto and treasure for the reast of your life! Photos that will tell the birth story of how you became a parent for the first, second or tenth time!
Giving birth is one of the most important journeys of your life, and to have your story captured from beginning to end is amazing! You may regret not hiring a birth photographer to capture the big day, but you will never regret actually hiring one...that's a promise!
First, let’s do a mental backflip! Many professionals in the birth world like to refer to it as a birth wishlist instead of a birth “plan”. Why? Because birth is unpredictable! A plan implies you have a level of control, when in truth, birth is all about letting go.
So if you have no control, why do you need a birth plan?
First, there are many scenarios that may present themselves during your labour and birth. By coming up with a “plan”, you are forcing yourself to sit down and review your options. You might be surprised by what you learn about birth and yourself in the process!
Second, there might be aspects of your birth experience that are very important to you. By bringing a printed copy of your birthing goals to your primary care provider you are opening the doors for communication. Most care providers have a way that they like to do things. Sometimes this is because of a policy or safety concern, and other times it is simply a habit. If you bring in a list of the things you desire most during your labour and birth this will give you an opportunity to discuss your options with your care provider and sometimes promote change!
Third, how can you expect anyone else to know what you want from your birth if you don’t know, or haven’t told anyone? How will your care provider know you would like a mirror to watch your baby being born if you never knew it was an option? How will your nurse know you really don’t want any narcotics offered if they have not been told? Creating a birth plan is about creating transparency.
So now that you know WHY you need one, WHAT should you include?
When deciding WHAT to include in your birth plan it is important to figure out what is most important to you. In order to this you will need to explore the many options that might be available to you! Here are just a few examples of things you might wish to include in your birth plan.
Now that you know WHAT to include, HOW do you make it?
Visuals, visuals, VISUALS! I personally prefer a visual birth plan because it allows your birth team to see your wishes at a glance! Once you know what you want your birth plan to say, you can write out your options or make a visual plan like the one below (the icons I have used were originally made by Seanna and can be found here http://imgur.com/a/PAFkn#0). As well as your eye catching visuals you should also include a little blurb about who you are and your general goals for your birth experience. This is also a great place for you to share your alternative wishes should things not go as hoped.
And there you have it! Your very own birth plan!! It doesn’t have to be beautiful (although that never hurts!) but it should be to the point, easy to read and cover everything that is important to you regarding your birth experience!
Doula, Childbirth Educator and lover of everything pregnancy, birth and babies!
Mom of 3, Birth Doula , CBE , Breastfeeding Educator, CIMI, and Photographer!