Monday, January 27, 2014

Twin Visit

Today I got to bathe a 10 day old twin.  Upon walking in the door for a postpartum visit with my twin mom, I was greeted as "Aunt Lisa" and handed a baby.  When my first guess as to which one it was was wrong, and they told me his name, I wittily responded, "That was going to be my second guess!"

He was starving and looking for a food source as soon as they placed him in my arms, so my next step was to feed him 2 oz. of breast milk from a bottle, which he readily latched onto, while Mom ate some lunch.  Ten days in with twins I think anyone would be looking for reprieve, and they welcomed the extra set of arms.

As we were discussing umbilical cords, the subject of a bath came up, and this little guy had not had his yet.  One thing led to another and Dad was suggesting I demonstrate the first bath for Mom to see, since she had been recovering from surgery in the hospital at the time they had received their baths there and had not seen it done.

He squawked a little at first, but ultimately we were able to get him calmed down and enjoying the warm water.  At my first mention of getting him out, he became quiet and content and mom asked, "How does he know?"  It was then that I got to explain how babies are very intuitive.

After mom wrapped him in a towel and we got him dressed, it was markedly nap time.  I sat down in a chair and I think this little guy could've gone for a nice doze in my arms, which is unfortunate because mom and dad were half-way there too and it was time for me to leave.  The instinctual part of me wanted to stay all afternoon and facilitate a much-needed nap for all, but I was out on business and had my own children to get back to.  Thank goodness they have no short supply of extended family.

I take it as a huge compliment that my clients would call me "Aunt Lisa," and I guess 2 days of labor will bond you like that.  It's an honor, and a privilege, to be serving families in the capacity that I love.  I read a great quote on FB yesterday by C.S. Lewis: "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career."  Myself included, being a mother is the ultimate calling, and it is a privilege to assist others in that work.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Losing Teeth

Noah and Kaitlyn lost teeth within 10 minutes of each other tonight.  It was Kaitlyn's first lost tooth, and she was so happy she nearly cried.  I thought it was pretty darn cute.  On a side note, Jacob lost his first molar last night (didn't get a picture.)  Keeping the tooth fairy busy.

Holding up their lost teeth.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Doula-ing and my 2nd Qualifying Birth

These are pictures from Emily's birth, which she so graciously gave permission to share.  Emily was fortunate enough to have a professional photographer at her birth and I think the pictures turned out wonderful.  They tell the story beautifully.  
Emily was attempting a VBAC, after a less-than-desired outcome with her first.  We labored at home until she was a 6/7, then decided to go in.  Here she is being so strong.

These two worked together very well.  Counter pressure seemed to be much-needed with this birth, and she later found out her baby was posterior.

Walking the halls in active labor.

Staying hydrated, despite the hospital's policy.  I never deny my clients nourishment during the hardest task of their lives.  ;)

Breathing and relaxing through contractions.

The birth ball worked well, despite having deflated a little bit on the drive down (we forgot to factor in altitude pressure.)

Rejoicing in a job well done.  Best. Feeling. Ever.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Of Birth Work and Inspiration

 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6.

2 years ago I embarked on the journey of becoming a surrogate,  doula, and childbirth educator.  It was at a time when we were getting ready to lose our home in Cameron Park and be taken up the hill to what we have now come to know and love as Pollock Pines.  It was a tiny house and I did not know how I would make it work, but it has, beautifully.  As I come to the close of my studies and efforts towards certification, it is once again time to move on.  I believe we have accomplished what the Lord set out for us to do and new doors are opening for us to move forward.

My experience with the twins' birth shed great light on my work as a doula and childbirth educator.  I take forward with me new insight, knowledge, experience, compassion, and a greater understanding in helping women.  I only pray I can align myself with His will to serve in that capacity, that I may always be ready.

As I await the call from my twin mom who is due this month, I look towards buttoning up my DONA and IBWP certification, for hers will be my 3rd and final qualifying birth.  I am humbled by the way things have fallen into place, and the series of events, that are so divinely and intricately entwined in helping me to move forward.  Many of the course materials overlap and it has been a joy to work on both simultaneously, combined with the timing of my experiences.

They say birth work is a calling, not something one can choose, like a profession, and I see why it would be important to view it as such.  Attending births and teaching couples requires much mental, emotional, and physical energy that comes from none other than a spiritual level.  I wouldn't know how to do it otherwise.  Perhaps my biggest challenge has been taking something so personal as birth and making it professional.  While there is an element of professionalism in establishing a business, marketing yourself, and being legitimate with certification, perhaps it is not meant to be separated from the personal, for I believe it is our personal experience, convictions, intuition, and passion that make birth workers what they are.  One thing's for sure and that is that birth work, from attending births, to meeting couples for the first time, to teaching classes, takes a lot out of you which makes self-care and rejuvenation so important.  I always need at least a day of recovery after a birth.

I am grateful for the experiences that have been given me, and for the opportunity I've had to complete the work I've set out to do.  There have been some amazing people placed in my path and I feel the women I serve teach me just as much as I (hopefully) teach them.  I believe an integral part in the birth process, whether giving birth or serving in that capacity, is taking what you've learned and applying it as you move forward.  There are no "wrong" experiences, or "bad" choices (assuming they are informed and based on intuition,) and in my mind no regret to be had.  I wish to empower women to grow from their experiences and apply what they've learned to subsequent births, if applicable.  Birth is a learning process and no one gets it "right" the first time.  There is always room to grow and improve, and life lessons to be learned if one will listen.  I have come home from births completely mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted, sometimes questioning if this is what I'm cut out to do, but after a good night's sleep (or two,) calling on my sisters from my collective, and having time to process, I feel I always come out stronger on the other side.  In the words of a wise student midwife and mentor, if I continue to "suit up and show up," I know the experiences and lessons that need to be had will come and I will move forward.  Here's to the change another year will bring.

Sunday, January 12, 2014