Friday, December 4, 2015

Oxytocin - Getting High?

childbirth natural unmedicated pain-free

As I prepare to give birth soon myself, and am experiencing those early contractions off and on, I am familiarized again with the strong effects of oxytocin. One fact they don't mention here in the article that I referenced above, is that it is euphoric and can make a contracting mother feel "high". We doulas call it going to "la-la labor land". 

It's pretty cool how God designed this process within the female body. 

Rather than dreading labor, we can relax into it, enjoy it, take advantage of the oxytocin benefits and let our body do its job. Btw, #9 is what I'm talking about!

I'm excited for my hubby and my doulas to walk with me through la-la-labor land :)

Learn more about oxytocin by reading that article, but you can also become a doula by visiting

Hopefully we will have a real-life story to tell you about the power of oxytocin, soon.  

Birthy Love and Best Wishes,

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Epicurl

Might sound like a funny name but we (us birthy chics at Doulas in San Antonio) made it up based on the position and the fact that we use it with moms to curl into a happy C shape and stabilize them while laboring with an epidural.

Now keep in mind, changing positions every 45 minutes a least is very important for progression. Side lying with top leg up and over (with hip and shoulder behind) is another great one to use as long as you have plenty of pillows *grin*
Show you that one another time!!

But obviously, using gravity is best. However it can be tricky!!  When you can't feel your legs or help balance yourself on a yoga ball (because of an epidural) this position, the Epicurl, might just save the day. 

Here's how you make the magic happen:
1. Move bed into throne position. 
Head of bed up, foot of bed down at least 6 inches, depending on how comfy mom is, lower for less flexible mommies. 

2. Have her sit with foot soles together so her legs make a diamond shape. 

3. Here's the most important part: get her bun-cheeks open and tailbone behind her and open those hips wide so she's sitting in a very wide open pelvic stance.

4. Putting a rolled blanket in the small of her back or lower can help wonders with maintaining this position comfortably. 

5. Place the yoga ball in the diamond of her legs. Put a sheet over the ball and maybe a pillow so she can rest comfortably leaning forward. She can hug the ball or just put her arms over the top. If you're finding the ball wants to roll away, roll up a towel and wedge it in front of ball to keep it where you want it.  I've even had moms fall asleep like this. (Nailed it!)

6. Bolster her in with extra pillows where needed, under knees/thighs, like Tasha has in the pic or more behind back, but try to keep her leaning forward. 

7. Don't forget to put the bed rails up. They can help wedge pillows or just give the staff a greater sense of safety - which can help them trust your crazy positioning techniques more ;-)

Labor here for 45 mins or so. Then change position. You can return to this position as often as you want, just remember to change it up. We haven't had to change too many times with moms cause they tend to dilate quickly like this. So keep an ear out for the "I feel pressure/pushy" cues. :)

For those of you like me, who need a visual, my client Tasha (who is all about education) was gracious and let me snap a pic to show others. She pushed out a gorgeous baby girl just a few hours after this was taken. 

Thanks, Mama!

Hope this helps some laboring mamas out there  :)
Don't forget to read some of our other posts, like the Sneaky Psychology of Birth.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

I can't afford to become a doula...

"I want to get qualified to attend births and postpartum moms, but I can't afford the training"

Have you considered the cost of living how you're currently living?
Have you considered the factors involved in whether or not you get a raise any time soon?
Have you considered the cost of traditional college?

Work from home.
School from home.

Consider your education an investment.
Because it is!  For example, entering the Online Doula Training Distance Program with MaternityWise International allows you to get a certification, and your credentials for less money than you would make after serving 1 client.


Plan ahead and save up.
Everything worth pursuing in life is worth planning for.  If you're like a lot of other women, you've been dreaming of becoming a doula or lactation consultant for a long time.  The process of getting certified is not a quick 3 step process.  You'll need patience and commitment to the learning process.  And many organizations have some sort of payment plan.  MaternityWise often has deals and gives discounts like military and cross-certifying doulas.

Another option is to finance it.  
This isn't ever my first choice, but you can make even smaller payments to your credit card than you can to your training organization.  The value of your training might be worth the extra few dollars in interest in the long run.  Oh yeah, and you can pay off the balance in full as soon as you have been paid by your first client!

Do a Fundraiser.
Use or another online organization to help you raise the money for your training.
Are you good at cooking?  Hold a bake sale.  
Have stuff around the house?  Spring Cleaning -> eBay or garage sales
Sell your Doula services or birth classes in advance
Write a letter to friends and family members, explain what you need, and why and ask for a donation or a loan.

Where there is a will, there is a way.  You will find it if you want to.  

People sitting on their couch, complaining about not having money are NOT the ones who are out there changing the world.  I hate to hear women limit themselves with the money excuse.  Stop letting money be the excuse why you haven't chased your dreams!  If you have the will, you WILL find a way!  Brainstorm, pray and go for it!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Attention seeking storytellers

Think about the last five times you have had a conversation about birth with someone and if you can recall, did they (or you) tell a scary, dramatic or exciting birth-related story?

Now think about the average conversation you have with your mother or when you call a friend...   Do you usually tell them the dramatic, exciting things about your day first?

It seems natural to share the things that are out of the ordinary.  Why wouldn't you share something that includes a little flare in the telling?

Please think about the stories you tell.  Are they setting an expectation?  Are they uplifting or frightening?  We are used to it, in the news, on Facebook, etc.  It seems like everywhere we look, we see the highlight reel of horrific events.  We are almost programmed not only to see and hear and look for, but also to repeat the telling of scary things.  negative things.  dramatic things.

... and then to insert our own opinions and judge the person that the stories/events revolve around.

When it comes to birth, we can focus on, and tell the negative and rare events or we can tell the beautiful things that are not so rare.  the positive things that happen every day.  the uplifting, encouraging stories or triumph.  We should spread those things.

Imagine yourself now...  You're getting ready for a big date with your significant other.  They see you as you walk out, ready to go and on time.  They remind you how one day, your hair was a mess and another time, you were late.  During the date, they reminisce on times in the past when your mother made a horrible dinner or when you got a speeding ticket.  At the end of the date, they tell you it was tolerable to spend that time with you, and that you didn't look your best.

How would you feel about yourself, your time, and the one person on the planet who is supposed to love you unconditionally?

Now, imagine yourself...  You're getting ready for a big date with your significant other.  They see you as you walk out, ready to go and on time.  They smile from ear to ear and tell you how beautiful you are.  During the date, they reminisce on times in the past when you've made fun memories and you dream together about your future.  At the end of the date, they tell you it was the best evening they have had in a long time, and that you are still their favorite person to spend time with.

How would you feel about yourself, your time, and your relationship?
Big difference, right?

Ask yourself when was the last time you purposefully told a happy story to someone?
Ask yourself when was the last time you told a dramatic story?
Ask yourself who benefited from the telling?
Did you do it to get attention?  Did you receive the attention you were looking for?

I challenge you today.  If only for 1 day, can you be conscious of your story telling...?
I challenge you to the 1-day-positive-story-telling-commitment.
Let me know if you've done it.  And let me know your results.

Cheers to staying on the bright side! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I can't afford a doula... :(

"I want a doula but I can't afford it."

You may have thought that yourself.

Or you may be a doula who has heard that from women who really want to hire you, but they don't believe their budget allows for it.

This issue isn't about dollars.

This is about perceived value.

Is it common in your community for women to hire a doula for labor, birth or postpartum?

Ask yourself these questions:
  - How many women in my community find a Doula as a helpful part of their birth team?
  - Are postpartum Doulas used? Do women know they exist or what they do?
  - How do women find a Doula in our community? 

Doulas are not just for women who want a natural childbirth. Doulas are for women who want continuous emotional and physical support for their birth and also during the postpartum transition to parenthood.

There is a Doula for every mother out there!

Doulas are a vital tool to moms no matter where or how they give birth. Imagine emotional support from a Doula who has gotten to know you throughout your pregnancy. She is there to encourage you as things go just the way you want or keep you calm and help you to understand all your options as things change and you have to make decisions. 

She is a woman who has most likely given birth before and because of that she can empathize with you as you bring your own baby into this world. The physical support, comfort measures and pain relief in labor comes in many different ways, it can be at home during the early stages of labor, helping you and your partner work through each contraction, helping you into the tub, birth ball, shower, applying counter pressure as you need, massaging your back, neck, jaw or arms, helping move you into optimal positions to help "spin" your baby if they are in a bad position causing painful back labor, being there to support you when it is time to push, helping you and your partner understand the stages of labor that you are going through and offering assurance for this special event.

Perhaps you need a quiet presence to support you, perhaps you need a loud coach. A Doula can be all of these things, that is what a Doula does. She supports you exactly how you need to be supported to give birth how you want.

And afterward, she will support your personal style of parenting. She will gently teach you how to care for your newborn and support your intuition and instincts when it comes to feedings, learning sleep solutions and dealing with gas, colic or other bumps along the way.

Doulas come from a variety of backgrounds and doula training programs.  Some are in-person workshops that last several days, some are online doula training programs.

So the question:  
How much do you value a doula's support?

If you know what a doula does and you recognize your need for her care, most women will find a way to get the money to pay for it.  

Here are a few suggestions so that you can get the support you desire during labor, birth and postpartum:

1. Fundraise.
     Ask friends and family members to donate to your "doula fund"
2. Sell stuff.
     Surely you have things around the house that you could put on eBay or Craig's List?
3. Shower Gift Suggestion.
     Many clients I've had in the past had an additional "joint" shower gift from all attendees.
4. Talk to your insurance company.
     This requires a bit of tenacity, to demand it be covered.
     You'll also need to hire a doula who can help you with insurance claims.
5. Look into Flex Spend Accounts / Health Spend Accounts.
     These will often cover a doula's services 100%.  You just need to ask your HR dept.

If you want a doula, you deserve to have one.  It may take some creativity on your part, but it's possible.  If you're a doula (or a parent) and you want to know more about insurance reimbursement for doula services, MaternityWise has a training JUST for you.  
Call me to find out more. 952-457-6506

Inspired to find a way for all things,
Nothing is impossible!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Spinning Babies - Love that Gail Tully!

You just gotta love a woman who gives like this mother of birth movement education.  I had the privilege what seems like eons (a decade and a half) ago, to be trained as a doula by this remarkable lady.  She is still so near and dear to my heart - even though we've not spoken in months!

When you're in labor, especially if you're experiencing back labor, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to figure out what position you should be in for best fetal motion and tilt and angle and and and...

Gail makes it look so easy.  She's a natural teacher, and so gentle.  Her hands have magical love beams coming out of them.  OK, I might be exaggerating, but only slightly.  I promise.

If you're an expecting parent, get a load of these online classes.  You will be so glad you prepared yourself fully when the Big Day comes along.  If you're a doula/midwife, you cannot afford to practice another minute without these techniques.

Turning a Breech

Trust me, you can take all the usual childbirth prep classes you want, but as a doula, the one thing I use the most in birth is OFP.

OFP = Optimal Foetal Positioning  or MFP = Maternal Foetal Positioning 
(Yeah, Canadian spelling, ey?)

That means we get the mama into her best position/pose/tilt to allow the baby to get into their best position/angle/tuck.  Because babies will.  They want to be born easy.  They do.  Our bad posture becomes an obstacle to baby's proper descent at times.  But you can correct the problem.

Doulas, midwives, partners...  You need to see this movie too.  Understanding these techniques by watching and listening to Gail yourself is like having a secret weapon in your arsenal of birth tools.  These concepts make me a super hero at complicated births.  They really do.  I feel fine to admit that. No shame.  Gail - the Spinning Babies lady turned me into a super hero almost 2 decades ago.  It's her fault that I have such an incredible low cesarean % rate.  Maybe if her techniques didn't work so good, I wouldn't have such an ego.  Thanks, Gail - you are the best!

Do you want your birth to go smoother, safer, easier?  Do you want to help your clients' births to go smoother, safer, easier?  Want to lower your practice's cesarean rate?  Learn these techniques.  Employ them.  Don't wait.  It's totally worth every penny and more.

Imagine me looking at you with that weird eyebrow thing now, where my eyebrows are saying why haven't you clicked the link yet...?  Yeah, I feel quirky today.  Can you blame me?  It's like the weekend has almost started!  And Spinning Babies is accessible right on your computer anywhere in the world.  It's like Christmas!

Have a great weekend, People of the Birthing Planet!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Giving Birth Again

You gave birth.  It didn't go the way you expected, the way you planned, the way you wanted...

Now you find yourself pregnant again and you're a little scared.  Maybe you're really, really scared.
What can you do to make sure that things go better this time?
Did you stuff the trauma you experienced deep down, not realizing it would surface (ever)?
Now you've got a toddler, and your pregnant and there's a lot of emotional work you need to do, but really don't have time or energy for it.  You're not that mom.  You want better and you will find a way.
Because your birth experience isn't just for you - it's your baby's only birthday.

One of my kids told me (you may have heard it somewhere too) that if you repeat the same thing over and over, you will get the same result over and over.

The same goes for birth:
If you were uneducated last time, get educated.
If you were out of shape last time, get in shape.
If you ate a lot of junk last time, get healthier food.
If you were hurt emotionally, physically, mentally last time, get healed.

So you get the idea.  You agree.  
Where do you start?

1. You must swear off the drama.  Don't fall into the drama-trap.  Birth is not a crisis.  You are not sick.  When you look at this process truthfully, you will find that there is no reason for fear and drama, and that will only make you vulnerable to deception.
2. Next, I would sit down with a cup of raspberry leaf tea and a lovely book that will encourage you while educating you: "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin (a birthy, hippy hero of mine)  In this book you will find healthy, happy, normal birth stories.  Read it!
3. Get shopping for a doula.  Find one who has excellent training, current certification credentials, and lots of experience.  Don't settle for the lowest price.  This is your baby's birth.  If you want care that will change your experience for the better, don't be a cheapskate.
4. Start eating right and exercising immediately.  Drinking lots of fluids and eating loads of protein every day is of utmost importance.  Those are your top priority.  Your prenatal vitamin cannot make up for a poor diet.

 Birth Well.

If you have issues still rising in your mind about your previous birth(s), please talk to someone about it.  Residual anxiety can have a heavy impact on how your next labor will go.  One way to work through those feelings is to use your 5 senses.  Explore each sense and ask yourself questions about it.  Often when we experience trauma we don't always store it with words.  Sometimes we store memories of them in the form of sensations.  Those sensations need to be tapped into and cleared away - you don't want them to pop up and surprise you when you're in labor!

If you're in the San Antonio area, consider taking a class to help you prepare.  Tranquil Seasons offers classes monthly on a variety of topics.  Check out the list and see if any draw you.
You can find the list on the website: Doulas and Childbirth Education in San Antonio

If you're not in San Antonio, I can get you into our private, online birth mentoring program.
Just ask me!

Anne Croudace