Free Postpartum Depression plan 

I recently realized that I have something that others may not have when it comes to postpartum depression. I not only have personal experience and really understand it, I have tools that can help. I’m so passionate about this issue because I know how debilitating it can be not only for the mother but for her whole family. Psychologist agree that the mother and her child set the tone for their relationship within the first couple years of life and if that first year is wrought with postpartum depression it can be challenging to come back from. I’m offering my community a free document which I have titled, ‘Get out of my life: postpartum depression plan’. It’s a plan to create with your partner and I will be happy to pass it on to anyone who requests it! Placenta encapsulation can also really help, so feel free to ask me about that as well. Here’s to beautiful postpartum periods!

Beautiful Pregnancy 

I hope you take the time to celebrate your pregnancy,  it can be as simple as snapping some pictures of your belly on your phone,  or spending 15 minutes every night connecting with your baby and partner.  You won’t regret it and it will only make this time and birth more beautiful! XOXO

Doctors, nurses, partners, doula… Oh my! Theres a place for everyone?!

It does seem like a lot doesn’t it?! Plus laboring mom that’s five people right there! It feels like too many to be watching you push a head that feels SO big, right out of you. I know, and it might be if everyone stayed there staring at you the whole time. But while your working your baby down and out, theres all of labor to go through beforehand. Though everyone will be there at the very end, I promise, you won’t care!  

Let’s break it down. First of all, you should know that your doctor plans to only be in the room with you for the very last moments of your birth.  Like, once they  can see the head, they will be there with you and stay until the birth of the placenta. And then they are saying, “Congratulations!” and are out the door. Its not that they dont care about you,  its just that they don’t want to be a disruption. So they do their work and wait to be summoned by the nurses.  At the very end, it’s very exciting, you can feel how close you are and the doctor flies in like a burst of light! They catch your beautiful baby and then is gone to let you mask in the glow of the sweetest baby you have ever seen!

The nurses are in and out of the room.  There’s no way to tell who you will get, and shifts change whether you want them to or not.  They are smiling at you while they monitor you and the baby.  They do vitals, listening to the babies heartrate and charting everything.  If you need ice chips or more pillows, they will be happy to grab them for you.  They are so sweet but usually have other moms to help too.

Your partner is your rock.  They arent leaving your side and are supporting you though every contraction. They are encouraging you,  massaging you and sneaking you honey straws. Your partner is a dream until they don’t know what to do anymore.  Here’s where the doula cones in. 

The doula is the gap filler, the runner, the second support to the partner and laboring mom. It can get tribal during labors, it hurts! Mom can get interrupted, loose her flow and start getting anxious or scared,  feeling out of control. The doula is there to help know what to say, what positions to try next. To remind everyone that this is normal, that we can continue to say yes to the process, and that this is the feeling of your baby getting closer to meeting you! She will also do little things like making sure your cup is full, you are emptying your bladder and that your partner doesn’t need anything. 

Laboring mom, partner and doula are the three constants in the room. While nurses and doctors come in and out, the partner and doula are charged with maintaining a calm and supportive atmosphere, your doula especially is a sponge of things that could effect the couple.  Simple questions, comments, opened curtains are no match for her! 

Really, with a role for everyone, it works together really nicely. You can even add a photographer in there or best friend who’s only job is to hold your hand and it would be great.  

Role of a midwife at an uncomplicated homebirth

Hello! I’ve been asked recently what you can expect from a home birth midwife and I think that’s something that I can talk about… at least as it pertains to expectations of me and the midwives that I directly work with here in Cincinnati.

 It all starts with prenatal care! You can expect a normal scheduling of visits, each prenatal will last about an hour and they will be monthly until your 28 weeks, bi-weekly until you’re 36 weeks and then weekly until you have your baby. Prepare to go deeper in these prenatals then you would with your local obstetrician. This is an opportunity to delve into not only about what is physically and clinically happening with your body but also what is emotionally and psychologically happening in your pregnancies process. Personally this is one of my very favorite parts of midwifery care! 

Once it comes to the day of your birth you can expect that your Midwife will be present with you from active labor on. 

When your midwife arrives she will begin by washing her hands, quietly saying hello and then having a good long listen to your baby using the handheld fetal doppler.  She will then do frequent listens throughout your labor, at least once an hour, remind you to eat, drink, empty your bladder and try to encourage your individual process as much as possible. 

Once it’s time for you to begin pushing she will remain watchful and calmly and quietly await the arrival of your baby. Once she can see your babies head, she will encourage you to reach down and feel your baby, so you can be even more connected to the process. 

As long as everything is progressing really smoothly, the midwife can coach anyone to which the mother agrees to catch her baby. The baby will immediately be brought to the mothers chest and should remain there if at all possible throughout the immediate postpartum period. We leave the cord intact for a minimum of 30 minutes.

The midwife will be closely monitoring from the background. She will deliver the placenta and then again assist the mom to eat,  drink and empty her bladder. She will tuck mom into bed and allow her to enjoy these first impressions of her new baby.  

After the birth team has cleaned up the birth space, it will be time for the newborn exam, clamping and cutting the cord, examining the placenta with the family and processing the labor and birth.  

Finally the midwife will go over postpartum instructions, when to call and set up a time in the next 48 hours that she will return with instructions to contact her if anything were to arise before then. 

Homebirth is really a peaceful and intimate, life changing experience. 

Getting Partners involved in Birth

As a doula and midwifery apprentice I see a lot of dads and other partners at a birth who are standing around awkwardly, just lost, and not knowing what to do. And thats okay, I know how hard it is! I started out that way too, but now I’m deep in this process of supporting women during birth here in the Greater Cincinnati area and have learned some things. I want to prepare you, as partners to a pregnant woman, to be your very best self, one who is prepared, willing to work hard and will meet the mom right where she is.

So there are a couple things I want to talk about…

First: If you get nothing else from this post, I want you to remember that during a birth, you should be calm, grounded, peaceful and know without a shadow of a doubt that she can birth her baby. Everything else after your grounded energy comes second.

For those of you who are list people, here are the top things i think you should have under your belt.

Before the birth, its incredibly valuable if you, as the partner…

  • have met the care provider and established a relationship of trust and respect
  • are friendly, grounded and aware of others in the birth space
  • know the mothers birth plan and a little about each aspect
  • share the mothers expectations of you during the birth experience
  • have practiced different positions and ways to touch her during her labor
  • are familiar with the stages of labor
  • have 2-3 encouraging phrases that you know she will like to hear during her labor
  • know that its inappropriate to be on your phone in her line of vision during the labor
  • are able to establish boundaries around the mom if she needs a it
  • be open to having an experience too

Luckily for you… I have midwifery classes, which means I have to make client handouts, and then want to share them with all of you! So here is mine on supporting moms as partners during her labor and birth : ) PS: its a trifold in case you want to print it out. Partners at Birth.pdfbuiltforbirth-1


Dream Catcher in Doula Mode

Last week i was on call for a doula friend and i was called to the birth! I couldnt believe it! My friend was unavailable for a 18 hour window, and it was the babies due date, so i mean, come on, the odds were SO low. Lesson learned… I am the luckiest!!!! : )

Its been awhile since I have been to a birth as a doula, with all my apprentice/ student midwife work, and man have i gotten good! I kept surprising myself with knowing how to be, what to say to her and her husband, how to touch her and what suggestions to make next. I was with Julie and her husband for 17 hours at the hospital and never once did i get stressed or anxious, I have been struggling with those in my life and it was so good to let go. I have been reaffirmed that birth work is in my blood! Its in my heart and i LOVE it!

So Im moving forward, Im going to pursue more doula work! And ill keep being a student and do placenta encapsulation because i believe in this work, and i believe in women and i believe in the power of birth!

Please let me know if there is someone who could use a doula and i would love to talk to them!

PS: Tolabor is the organization i was trained through, and i would recommend them to anyone. They also have this free podcast, link provided here…. Its called To Raise Questions and they have so many great topics, and one of the ladies who is talking Terese, is the women who trained me. Man! She is great. I listen to this podcast sometimes to connect me with the broader picture and because these ladies and so sweet and they talk about their experience as doulas and its all about honoring women. tolaborbanner-4

Taking Back Breastfeeding

I watch new mothers and babies learn to breastfeed a lot these days. Its a whole trial and error learning curve, for both. Some get the perfect latch the first time they try, just after birth and some take weeks to work out, with tongue tie revisions or torn up nipples.  I feel so lucky to work with clients who are so devoted to breastfeeding that, despite challenges, they dont give up, even if it means donor milk… they keep pursuing a breastfeeding relationship with their child.

Im sharing this video, that a friend shared with me awhile back about laid back breastfeeding. Its just another position to try while your learning, or if you have an oversupply, with gasping baby to show for it ; ) I hope you find it to be another helpful resource. Laid Back Breastfeeding

laid back

For those of you who are learning to breastfeed, I applaud you. For those of you who will be learning soon, you wont regret it! And for those who have, I bet you miss it!

A Day in the Life

My life recently consists of two types of days, both pull at my heart and keep me excited to do the other. My life as a mother and life as a birth worker.

As a mother my life is paced by a sweet baby girl, Everly Ruth. At 9 months old her life is set by naps, and putting everything possible in her mouth. She enjoys playing games with her older brother like, who can crawl the fastest. It is so sweet when he lets her win too! Oliver, my brave and rambunctious 4 year old, keeps me learning and growing. Most recently we have been focused on ‘Birds of Prey’, ‘Big Cats’ and learning all the letters of the alphabet. It’s too exciting to contain!

Being a birth worker consists of going to prenatals, births, and postpartum visits, Meet the Doulas, writing blog posts, and studying in any gaps of time. I’m reading textbooks such as Varneys, Holistic Midwifery, Clinical Practice Guidelines, and Heart and Hands.When I’m not reading books I listen to all the talks I can get my hands on. I often find myself going down rabbit holes learning about nipple pain, fetal heart tones, and practice guidelines. I laugh it off when i get it wrong and keep trying to get it right.

At the end of my days I am both exhausted and anxiously excited. I have pushed myself and remain open to where my path will lead me. I have arrived and I keep telling myself, “what i put in, is what i will get out”.


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Pregnant Bodies

Reading Heat and Hands by Elizabeth Davis last night, I was reminded of how hard it was to continually accept my pregnant body as beautiful, as I gained more and more throughout my pregnancy. I went up 50-60 pounds (I no longer wanted my midwife to weigh me at the very end after I hit 50 lbs!)

Davis explains all the causes of weight gain in pregnancy and they are comforting!

Causes of Weight Gain in Pregnancy:

-Water retention due to hormones

-Increased fatty insulation over the belly and backside

-Increased weight in breasts (One reason i want to get pregnant : )

-Increased blood volume

-Weight gain of enlarged uterus: including the amniotic fluid, placenta and baby

Women lose an average of 15 pounds within the first few days of birth and the remaining weight used for sustenance during the first few months postpartum. Making breastmilk, getting up several times in the night to nurse, and dealing with the stress of caring for a newborn defiantly burn up the fat reserves.

End Heart and Hands.

Now i will tell you that all this is comforting but my pregnancy weight didnt leave until my son was 2!

**I bet you thought your face was blowing up just to keep your admirers away!

Another Reason NOT to fear Homebirth

I have attended a few homebirths lately, And i am continuously awed by the peacefulness, respect and trust that is flowing through the space. I just cant stop talking about it… even around those who i know may think its dangerous, etc.

I found this table recently and am thinking about making a wallet sized copy to flash at people as they scoff at my path of Student Midwife. Hahaha. Really, i know that the best defense will be to become educated, so i study away, every day. 

Check it out: