Where My Advice Comes From

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: doula | Tags: , , , |

I frequently get emails from women asking questions about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, circumcision and all things in between. I get phone calls from random strangers or from friends of friends.  I get approached by both women I know and do not know that know I am a doula.  I always have an open ear and I always try to the best of my ability to point these women to the direction of the best information to answer their questions.

I am both a DONA trained birth doula (CD DONA) and have trained as a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE). There is extensive training and worked involved in both of these designations, but especially in the LCCE. I take my exam in April and I will tell you I am preparing for it harder than I ever worked on any high school or college exam and I have an accounting degree if that gives you any indication of the amount of work I am putting into this. While it is true that I am not medically trained I am trained and have been exposed to a variety of topics pertaining to women’s and infant’s health, birth, pregnancy and breastfeeding. I do not give medical advice. When I am asked a medical question, I may give my opinion based on what I know but it is always preceded with ‘ask your doctor.’ What I do is give information, facts, data, research results and how to find this information and decipher it.

I also have spent and do spend a good bit of time talking to both OBs, general practitioners and RNs including labor and delivery nurses. When I attend a birth I ask a lot of questions about the clinical procedures carried out during the birth even it is something as simple as a charting requirement. Of course that all depends on how friendly the staff is and how open they are to sharing information but most are. They see that I am there with the sole purpose of supporting my client and that I am in no way trying to interfere with the clinical needs of her birth and they respect that and are typically happy to answer my questions. They usually realize that I have a genuine interest in both  my client and all aspects of her birth and it makes for a much better experience overall for everyone. It also helps to plant good seeds of thought on doulas for wary staff who have not been exposed to them before me or  who may have had bad experiences with a doula in the past.

My point to all of this is that between the work I have put in to have both the CD (DONA) and LCCE designations by my name plus the practical experience of attending births and exposure to hospital staff and systems I do have a lot to offer a woman who may have questions about her pregnancy or birth or newborn.  Part of my training has included the tools and resources to provide evidence based information to women both in a class room setting and informally by email or what not. All of the information that I give women is fact based and generally given with references and resources so that they can research the information for themselves. I don’t want people to just take my word or believe what I am telling them just because I said it. I want to see people take responsibility for their bodies, births and babies and learn some things in the process.

I am a support person. I am a sharer of information. I strive to do the very best that I can to give good information and resources. It’s up to the individual to do the rest of the work. My hope is that after I have answered a question or sent and email that the asker will go forward and look into what I have told her. I know it doesn’t always happen and because I am human it frustrates me a little. I don’t want to see someone not heed my advice and have a bad experience but I am not also not on a mission to save any one either. It’s at that point I take a step back and not interfere  with what a woman chooses.

Please keep the questions coming. I am always happy to help in any way I can. Please continue to give me your feedback. It is motivating not only to me but to other women who read these blog posts or hear about your positive experience. And thank you for sharing with me, I am always honored to be a part of any birth whether directly or indirectly.

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The Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth (Part One)

Posted on June 22, 2009. Filed under: Birth, Cesarean, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Many of you know that I will training to become a Lamaze certified childbirth educator. I am hosting a Passion for Birth (PfB) seminar in Seoul in October. PfB is a program accredited by Lamaze that focuses on how to ‘stomp out boring childbirth classes.’

I chose PfB and Lamaze for many reasons.I chose PfB because I liked the way the material is being presented. Stomping out boring childbirth classes, that’s GREAT! How many of you have been to a hospital childbirth class that was a full day of listening to someone tell you about when to show up to get your epidural, what the hospitals policies are and how everyone is required to have this or that done to them once they are admitted? How much did you learn about birth? About natural birth? Normal birth? Did you leave more nervous the when you got there? Were you worried about your birth plan being respected? The idea that PfB has of teaching CBE’s how to teach evidence based care and to be fun and interactive at the same time really inspired me. The other reason for chosing PfB is Ann Tumblin. My husband ran across her when I was pregnant with my son. We were searching for doulas in Korea and her name came up as she has been here to train Korean doula instructors for DONA. She was really nice to my husband and he remembered her (and she remembered him) over a year later when I decided to train as a doula myself and looked her up. I was trying to find other doulas in Korea to learn from. She was just amazing with her advice and with how willing she was to talk to me about being a doula and a childbirth educator. When I found out she was coming to Korea again in October, I just HAD to see if we could have a PfB seminar while she was here. I can’t wait!

So with the PfB portion of the childbirth educator training in place, I really had to spend some time learning about Lamaze International, since that’s who my certifying agency would be and whose care practices I would be teaching. I was one of those people who heard ‘lamaze’ and thought of the old school hoo-hoo, hee-hee breathing that I saw laboring women do in the movies. I was apprehensive because I took the Bradley Method when I was pregnant and while I loved the classes, the amount of childbirth education I received and the relaxation techniques, I had gathered that Lamaze was considered second rate to the Bradley Method. Just to set all this straight now so there is no confusion, I really do love and respect the Bradley Method and even considered becoming Bradley certified but I didn’t go with it because it is more of a method. I wanted flexibility so that I can teach normal birth but not necessarily methodically. I wanted a birth philosophy that was in line with my own way of thinking. All that said, I remember my classes making me think that Lamaze was in fact some kind of patterned breathing technique. It was but in the 80’s they changed from a method to a philosophy and that philosophy spoke to me when I started digging in.

I have a very strong idea about what kind of childbirth educator I want to be, about how I want to teach and the way I want my classes to be. For instance, I want to keep my classes to ten couples or less. I would like for them to be in someones home, mine or one of the students. I want to develop relationships with the students and answer their questions honestly and factually with evidence based answers. I want to instill trust of the birth process and of a woman’s ability to birth into my students. I want them to leave my classes with the knowledge and the confidence to have whatever kind of normal birth they want be it hospital, home or even unassisted. I want them to know that they have choices and a voice in the birth of their child. I believe that with PfB and Lamaze that I can accomplish these things and I am looking forward to my seminar very much. I just hope we have enough participation!

The title of this post is “The Six Care Practices that Support Normal Birth”. These are the care practices that Lamaze teaches. They are:

1. Labor begins on its own

2. Freedom of movement throughout labor

3. Continuous labor support

4. No routine interventions

5. Spontaneous pushing in upright or gravity-neutral positions

6. No separation of mother and baby after birth with unlimited opportunities for breastfeeding

I labeled this post Part One because I knew it would get long. In Part Two, I will discuss the six care practices. Stay Tuned!

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