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Monthly Archives: February 2013

VBAC in the Water…Oh My!!!

Not only did this beautiful couple have the vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) that they so wanted…but they had the birth in a warm pool of water…all at Women’s Hospital of Greensboro, NC. Congratulations to everyone!!!

(Click through the pictures)

What’s a Doula do anyway?

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Emily, a new mommy and client of mine, interviewed me for her website,

                            DiapersandDumbbells.com

                               I thought I might share.

Be sure to check out her website and Facebook page, Diapers and Dumbbells.

 There are some awesome exercises, recipes, and stories of how one woman experienced her pregnancy, birth, and now parenthood.

 

                                                  

Posted on February 13, 2013

I have had tons of questions about my experience working with a doula including everything from “What in the world is a doula?” to “do you need a doula and a midwife?”.  I had the pleasure of working with a fantastic doula during my pregnancy and childbirth and it is my pleasure to introduce to you, Kenny Shulman CD (DONA) to answer some  of the many questions that I have received from my readers.  Enjoy!857970_402171406543516_1364736430_o

 

D&D: Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to become a doula

KS: After seeing my son complete college and retiring from my own business of being an independent recruiter, I chose to follow my passions. Two of these passions are empowering women and giving back to my community. The doula program at the YWCA was my first avenue for helping young women find their own voice within the medical community. It also provided the opportunity for me to offer free services for teens, women without homes, and others who might be having difficult times. A third passion of mine is every aspect of developing a thriving business. And thus Triad Birth Doula was born. Actually being able to witness new families being born…priceless!

What do doulas do?

A birth doula provides physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother and her partner before, during, and just after birth.

My personal services with Triad Birth Doula include the following:

  •   I will meet with you and your partner a few times before labor, as well as communicate by phone and email, to become acquainted; to explore and discuss priorities and any fears or concerns; to discuss and help you develop your birth plan; to learn how we might work best together. I also want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and perhaps practice breathing, positions, and visualization.
  •  I usually wish to go with you for at least one doctor visit, preferably towards the end of your pregnancy. This gives me additional information so that I might best serve you.
  •  I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. I usually need approximately one hour to get to you from the time you ask me to come. We will also decide where to meet – at your home, the hospital, or the birth center. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I will remain with you throughout labor and birth. If there is a limitation on the number of people who may be present, it is to be assumed that I will always be present, continuously offering physical, emotional, and informational support.
  • I usually will remain with you for one or two hours after birth; until you are comfortable and/or your family is ready for time together. I can also assist with initial breastfeeding.
  •  I am available to answer questions about the birth or your baby and would like to visit while you are still in the hospital. I would then like to get together about a week after you return home to see how you and your baby are doing, to deliver a special letter and CD to your baby, and to review your experience.

What should a pregnant woman consider when deciding if a particular doula is right for her?

She and her partner need to feel a sense of connection and trust with the potential doula. This is one of the most important, and intimate, times in a couple’s life. They must feel comfortable with whom they are sharing. The woman also should feel nurtured and safe. Without these qualities, it is almost impossible to be an effective doula.

In addition, the couple should ask about her training and experience. References, in my mind, are a must. If there are special circumstances, this should be covered, such as experience with a VBAC or hypertension. I’ve always thought a good question might be if she, the doula, has any preference in the type of birth or environment.

What issues or areas of concern do you most advocate for women and babies in your practice?

My clients probably wish they had a dollar for every time I said “It is your body, your baby, your choice.” And when a woman makes a choice, or a decision, it is my job to offer information so it can be an informed one. Most important, I wish every woman to know that no one has the right to do anything to her body, or her baby, without her consent. This belief of mine carries through to having an IV, eating during labor, wearing her own clothes, what and when medications are given to herself and to her baby, having her membranes stripped, help with breastfeeding, having a cesarean…the list can go on and on.

What type of training do doulas have?

First, I must say that in my opinion, a woman should not function as a doula without appropriate training and eventual certification. One of the main reasons for certification, other than proof of education, is that it demands accountability. A DONA certified doula cannot do just anything she wants but rather she has a Standard of Practice and a Code of Ethics.

As to the specifics of training, I can only speak to my governing body, which is Doulas of North America, International (DONA), the largest and oldest of the doula organizations. There is a combination of various classes, required reading, written papers, attending qualified births, numerous medical and maternal evaluations, and then a final, in depth, review by DONA. Once certification is acquired, there is then the process of continuing education, birth attendance, and re-certification every three years.

Which ares do you feel are most lacking in “traditional” hospital births today? Please know am generalizing. The concept that the woman is giving birth rather than being ill; that she is an intelligent, thinking woman; that her maternal instincts are strong and valid, that she is the only master of her own body. In addition, I feel there is a lack of training, experience, and support in natural childbirth (to include waterbirths), in the skin-to-skin concept, in the “Family Centered” Cesarean, in “Kangaroo Care”. I know some areas of our country still need to work on supporting breastfeeding while others are bordering on obnoxious, due to (or lack of) government funding. And I am still very concerned about the “snowball” of interventions so many medical people wish to use.

You somewhat specialize in water births- what led you to this practice?

I first heard from Vicki Latham, a midwife, of the new possibility of waterbirth at Women’s Hospital. After Vicki explained all of the reasons the water is so helpful to mother and baby, I became intrigued. After attending such a birth and seeing firsthand the difference it made, I was amazed, and continue to be so. Being that business minded person, I recognized the opportunity of making waterbirths my special niche. I now have attended over 30 births that have used the water, own two pools that I rent to my clients, and teach a class at Women’s Hospital, Waterbirth Basics.

  What are some things that a woman should know about water births? How it helps her and her baby; how it is safe for her and her baby; how it is not for every woman and every birth; that only midwives attend waterbirths. That many hospitals have not yet embraced waterbirths.<

 

In your opinion why is “conventional” medicine so against water births?

My opinion (which, of course, doulas never have) …fear. Fear of liability. Fear of loss revenue. Fear of control.

  How can our followers contact/follow you for more information?

My email is: KennyShulman@aol.com

My mobile is: 336.312.4678

My website is: TriadBirthDoula.com

My Facebook page is: facebook.com/TriadBirthDoula

 

 

Your Nurse’s Impact on You

imadfghgesYour nurses while you are at the hospital can make all the difference in the world as to how you perceive your birthing experience.They even impact your labor and your breast feeding experience.
And I can tell you, there are some outstanding nurses at Women’s Hospital in Greensboro, NC….in Maternity Admitting, Labor & Delivery, Mommy Baby rooms….well, just everywhere!imslages
But please remember, nurses are people, too. And not every person is a personality fit to every other person.
If you feel the least bit uncomfortable, all you need do isask to see the Charge Nurse and tell her, with kindness, you would like to have a different nurse, if at all possible.

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In all likelihood, if you are feeling uncomfortable, your nurse is probably also feeling some tension. Changing nurses is therefore a win win for all. As we all know….tension is not good for anyone….. not for you, not for your little baby, not for your nurse!!!
    
                       As always…….Your birth experience is important! It matters!!! imagdes