Sunday, June 23, 2013

Three in a Row

A question a lot of clients ask me is, "how many births do you take a month?" They are trying to determine the likelihood that someone else will have a baby on the same day that they do. This is a totally valid question and concern. My answer is that I usually take 1-2 births a month, since I am balancing family life and my career.

June started out like any other month. I had one client due on June 14th and another due on June 28th. This is my normal load and two weeks a part is typically a "safe" time apart and it was. None of my clients had their babies on the same day...they just had them two days apart!

To add to this I was backing-up another doula who happened to have both of her clients (due two weeks apart), have their babies on the same day. So to help her out, I attended part of one of those labors. In less than 7 days, I attended 3 clients' labors. All three of those clients happen to need labor support overnight (anywhere from 8pm-4am). Needless to say I was exhausted by the end of the week, but loved every moment!

So now I am through June and have a bit of a break; but what did I do?...took a July 6th birth! I have another client due July 19th, so I bet they will have their babies during the same week. I love being a doula and figuring it all out. What a fun and rewarding job.

After the summer (and my live-in sister-in-law moves out), I will be back to my normal client load of 1-2 clients a month. I promise...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dialing in on Dilation and Effacement

What does the doctor or midwife really mean when they are talking about dilation and effacement? Sometimes that language can be confusing and all moms really know is that they have to get to 10cm dilated and 100% effaced before the baby can come out. But I'd like to dial in on what is really going on here.

A women's uterus is pear shaped (a very large pear when fully pregnant) and at the bottom of the uterus is the thick opening called the cervix. The cervix is still the uterus-- it is just the opening of it. In order for a baby to be born, a woman's uterus, more specifically the cervix, must open to allow the baby to pass through. But first it must thin out. Think of putting on a turtle neck shirt. First you must scrunch it up before you open it and put your head through. Comparatively, the cervix must scrunch up or thin out and then it can open. Sometimes opening (dilating) and thinning (effacing) happen simultaneously, but the cervix must be completely thin before the baby can be born. So, if you are in labor and you go to the hospital and your care provider does a vaginal check and says you are 3cm dilated but 100% effaced, take heart, you are well on your way to having a baby. Below is a diagram of dilation and effacement that might help clear any misconceptions up. I hope this little anatomy lesson helped you understand dilation and effacement better. Maybe we will tackle station sometime...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pain in the Back

For many women, back labor is just going to be a part of the childbirth process, but there are things that you can do during pregnancy to avoid that terrible "pain in the back". Most back labor is caused by the baby being in the posterior position (which means the baby is face up and the back of his/her head is pressing right into your back). There are things that you can do to get your baby in the most ideal position for birth. They way you stand, sit and the posture you have can really affect what position your baby is in.

Also, once your baby is in a non-ideal position there are things that you can do to change that. Visit Spinning Babies to see how you can change which position your baby is in. Babies don't have to be a "pain in the back!" Have fun spinning your baby :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


What does it mean to be a doula? It means being up all night...rubbing backs until you can't rub anymore...feeling hungry....taking photos of special moments...processing through grief with parents...getting whatever mom and dad need...supporting huge decisions...celebrating life...missing kids and husbands...

Being a doula is hard work, but it is one of the most meaningful and inspiring things I have ever done. More often than not, I leave a birth feeling more blessed than when I came.

On top of the birth experience, families continue to make me feel loved far after their baby is born. The thoughtful notes, words of encouragement and touching gifts that people send me, blow me away.

For example, one of my clients made a birth plan and made sacrifices financially to hire me as her birth doula. As time went on, it was pretty evident that her baby would be breach and require a C-section. She still continued to hire me and actually advocated for me to be in the OR when she delivered. That experience alone was so touching. A couple weeks after her birth, I received the most beautiful gift in the mail from her and her husband. It is a necklace that completely represented me as the "Baby Byrd Doula".  She thought of me and my journey. Words cannot express how thankful I am!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Awesome Gift

Often my clients give me generous gifts for my doula services. Just the other day a received a sweet picture of a former client's baby's toes. I love looking at them in my office and I hope you enjoy them too!


Have you ever wanted to genetic testing on your baby while you were pregnant but didn't want take a risk of CVS or amniocentesis? Well, now there is another test. It is a simple blood test that poses no risk to the growing baby. It is called MaterniT21.

Recently one of my postpartum clients told me the success that she had with the test and how it put her mind at ease during the duration of her pregnancy. Since advance maternal age is a risk factor for genetic abnormalities, she felt that being sure that her baby was healthy was what she needed. You may feel like that too and now you get a test done that doesn't put your pregnancy at risk for miscarriage.

Also, the MaterniT21 test can determine the gender of the baby as early as 10 weeks. So if you are super curious...

Check out this video about MaterniT21.