If you are a client in the Nashville or Middle Tennessee area, you get exclusive access to our complimentary book lending library. It's included in all of our packages for both birth and postpartum clients.
CONCEPTION & FERTILITY
Please contact us if you would like to borrow any of these books or CDs. You can keep them as long as you need. Check back often as our library is being continually updated.
Have you ever wondered? What in the world does a birth doula actually do?
I GET TO KNOW YOU. By the time birthing day arrives, we (me, you & your partner) will have already had several face-to-face visits and phone conversations. We will have exchanged countless texts and emails. I will know your likes and dislikes and your wishes and desires for birth. You won't have to explain why you want this or don't want that, because I will already know. I will have developed a fondness for your family as I do for all my clients and you will feel comfortable with me in your surroundings because we already know each other. Feeling a level of comfort and familiarity is an important factor for moving the birth process along.
I AM A SAFE PLACE. There is nothing you can think, feel, say or do that will shock me. Seriously. Trust me when I say that you will think all sorts of seeming illogical things as labor draws near and begins. This is totally normal. I find it best to go ahead and verbalize it and get it out in the open. I will not judge. I will help you process and move forward. Some women need to vocalize (make sounds) during birth. Knowing I am a safe place gives her the freedom to do that. A laboring woman needs the opportunity to be open and vulnerable but feel completely safe while doing so.
I AM A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE. I remember all the stuff that you are afraid of forgetting. I'm a plethora of info at your fingertips. Yes, I will encourage you to research on your own beforehand but, in the moment, sometimes the details slip through the cracks. I remind you of your birth plan and encourage you to stay the course. Maybe something new comes up that you didn't research. I offer non-medical options to see if they will meet your needs. I make sure that you understand the information your care providers have given you. I remind you to ask them for all of your options - including risks, benefits & alternatives - before making your decision. Best of all, I support your decisions, no matter what!
I STAY WITH YOU. Starting at 38 weeks you have 24/7 access to me. Call, text, or email, and I will respond immediately. When you go into labor and are ready for me to assist you, I show up pronto, and I do not leave until your baby has arrived. I literally do not leave your side other than to go to the restroom or unless you ask for some privacy. In active labor, many women close their eyes and tune in so internally that they lose all track of time and what is going on around them. I give the play-by-play of birth keeping you informed every step of the way. I help you understand what is happening in that moment and what is going to happen next. I'm always there providing encouragement, support, and information.
I HELP YOU. I bring you drinks and remind you to pee. I put lip balm on your mouth before you even notice that you are chapped. I re-arrange your pillows to make you more comfortable. I'm adjusting the temp in the room because I know you are hot but afraid to ask because everyone else might get cold. I pop mints in your mouth to keep you feeling cool and refreshed. I keep the bath water warm and drop in some lavender essential oil to help you relax. I sense that it's time to go and signal hubby to load the car. I know that transition is coming and mentally prepare you as well. I turn on your playlist. I use peppermint or ginger oil to keep the nausea away. I suggest comfortable positions for nursing your baby and make sure that you have something to eat as well. I make every effort to recognize your needs and meet them.
I PROVIDE COMFORT. I suggest positions that relieve pressure and tension. I help you find coping mechanisms that support your progress. I provide counter pressure and hip squeezes and neck massages for hours on end as needed. I hold your hand. I press acupressure points. I encourage you with my words. I repeat relaxation scripts. I cover you with blankets. I take them off. I sway with you, moan with you, walk with you. I use my rebozo to help your baby move into an optimal position. I use essential oils to keep you relaxed, relieve discomfort, center your mind, and address physical symptoms. I press cool washcloths on your forehead. I accommodate whatever position you deem best for the moments right before you meet your baby. I aim to make the day of your birth as comfortable as possible.
I FOLLOW UP. Yes, I am there for the birth but I also make sure that you transition well into motherhood. I remind you to have your guests help with tasks instead of just holding the baby. I give you permission to stay in bed and not overdo it in the early days. I make sure that diaper changes are within normal ranges and give suggestions for feeding and sleep issues. I assess and encourage normal behaviors and activities for mom, dad, and baby. I make sure other children and/or pets are also adjusting well. I give you reassurance and encourage you to contact me at any point should you have questions because babies are constantly changing. If there are concerns for healing, breastfeeding, baby care, ect, I direct you to local resources and make sure that you get the help you need. This is when it can be so helpful to have already established a relationship with a doula because you have a trusted professional to call.
I AM PASSIONATE. Seriously, spend just a few minutes talking to me and it's obvious that I LOVE what I do. I deeply feel that no matter what type of birth you are planning, the entire family will benefit from the consistent, loving, and nurturing support of a doula. It can make all the difference in the world!
It's that time of year again and Cold & Flu will be here before we know it. Some of you may already be experiencing this unpleasantness. Now is the time to take preventative measures to keep families healthy this winter.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. I have included links to scientific research that you may read for more information.
A BIG part of staying healthy is lifestyle, so I always start there first. Simple changes to your daily routine such as proper hygiene, water intake, adequate rest, exercise, and dietary changes go a long way in keeping you healthy.
Below are my TOP go-to supplements for cold & flu season. All products* mentioned are liquid or chewable so they can be taken by children as well.
1. Elderberry Syrup - This is the #1 item I recommend. It has amazing immune boosting properties! It has been shown to both shorten and relieve the symptoms of the flu.
2. Vitamins - Vitamin D has been shown to decrease upper respiratory infections and Vitamin C has demonstrated anti-viral properties. Research also shows that Zinc can shorten cold symptoms by 40% and reduce antibiotic use.
3. Herbs - Astragalus & Echinacea are the way to go here. These two herbs enhance the immune system and increase white blood cells which fight off bacteria and viruses. This combo tincture is great!
4. Essential Oils - If you can only get one essential oil, it needs to be lavender. It has both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Plus, it helps you sleep at night. If you can add others, I would recommend Germ Fighter for purifying and Immune Aid for boosting your system. These pre-diluted roller balls are great to take with you everywhere!
5. Probiotic - It has been said that disease starts in the gut (Hippocrates). The best way to counteract the bad bacteria is by making sure you have plenty of good bacteria. A good probiotic also reduces inflammation in the body.
But, Wait! There's more...
BONUS ITEM # 1: Local, raw honey - This item is not available on Amazon but if you can find it locally, stock up. Not only does it help with allergies but it is full of vitamins and antioxidants. It's also really helpful for soothing a sore throat or cough.
BONUS ITEM #2: Colloidal Silver - This is a new item that I've added to our medicine chest. I don't take it daily but will take it at the first sign of symptoms. It's been touted as a natural antibiotic. It's controversial in the medical community but most natural options are.
Those are my top recommended items for every household this cold & flu season. I think you will find that your family stays healthier and recovers quicker by using these natural methods.
*Amazon links are included for easy ordering. Please note that these are affiliate links.
"We originally sought Staci's help because we had planned a natural childbirth using hypnobabies techniques, and she is well trained in this method. However, our son was stuck breech throughout the entire third trimester, and Staci helped us to do everything we possibly could to turn him (providing exercises and recommendations for acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, and moxibustion). When it became clear our little boy was just simply going to be stuck, Staci gracefully helped us to navigate our options in terms of C-sections and external cephalic version with or without induction without passing judgement. Well, our little guy decided it was time to come on his own while still breech at 38 weeks before we could get to our version appointment. Staci met us at the hospital and strongly advocated for our wishes regarding a family centered a c-section which was not being offered on the Saturday I went into labor. Staci encouraged us to speak up, and in the end my son was able to be placed on my chest while the surgical team closed me up. It was wonderful to have her knowledge of what was happening to us, and to have her there to help us make important decisions and ensure our child was born as gently as possible. I also credit Staci with helping our son to breastfeed immediately and things have been smooth ever since. We didn't get the natural birth we hoped for, but having Staci made the decisions we did face much easier to make. She really goes to bat for her clients and cares about making the birth experience as great as it can be." - Kate, Nashville, TN
There are a couple of different camps when it comes to birth plans.
I'm somewhere in the middle, I suppose. In my experience, birth is unique for every woman and "textbook" births are rare, but I do think having a plan is important. Here's why...
Having a plan is a conversation starter.
I encourage my clients to start working on their birth plan at our first prenatal visit (usually in the beginning of the 3rd trimester). Next, I encourage them to discuss it with their provider. This typically pushes some deeper conversations about how the provider approaches birth and what they feel comfortable with. Often times, this brings to light some deal breakers for my client and they switch providers. Sometimes it confirms they are on the same page and builds trusts. Either way, it helps you and your care provider learn more about each other.
Having a plan helps determine your philosophy about birth.
Writing down what's important to you, helps you to get a grasp on how you will approach your birth. This will also help your birthing team (care provider, doula, staff, family members) gain insight into what is on or off limits for your care.
Having a plan builds knowledge.
Before you can spell out your preferences, you might have to do a little research to know what they are. Learning about the pros/cons of vaginal exams, cord clamping, electronic fetal monitoring, ect. helps you to be knowledgeable about the procedures.
Having a plan engages you in your care.
Because you've done the research, you now know the usual and customary procedures for your birth. So when something deviates from that plan, you naturally speak up and ask why. Being engaged in your own care goes a long way in making sure you received true informed consent and will also help ensure you receive the best care possible for you as an individual.
HOW TO WRITE A BIRTH PLAN
Preparing a birth plan is pretty simple. You simply need to include your identifying information and a list of your preferences. However, I can tell you that long or jumbled birth plans are less likely to be read.
Here are a few key tips when writing a birth plan.
Below is a sample birth plan format that you can use to get you started. Please note that this is just a sample plan. nYn does not advocate for or against any of these procedures.
Click here to be taken to the Google Doc version. You can click File>Download As>Microsoft Word to save and edit this plan for yourself.
Have questions? Need more info? Having trouble with the Google Doc? Feel free to contact me at nurturingYOUnaturally@gmail.com.
Are you looking for a Nashville Doula? Meet the nYn team and learn more about how we can serve you at your next birth.
Staci Bishop, CD, HCHD