Welcome to the Celebration of Life Doula Blog!​

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The Power of Choice

March 1, 2018

You have the power of choice in planning your birth. So many pregnant women fear that their voice will not be heard and that their wishes may not be honored at their birth. This can be a very reasonable concern. The actual experience of giving birth can be so dynamic with decisions that are often made quickly in the heat of the moment. Options can be overwhelming if you wait until you get into labor before you have a real plan in mind. Be prepared. Talk with your partner. Put your heads and hearts together to discuss your desires before the birth. Do the necessary research well in advance to make informed choices.

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What are the most important choices to keep in mind when preparing for your birth? Here are just a few to consider. The foundation for an ideal birth is to find a doctor or midwife who shares your birth philosophy, insurance plan and your choice of hospital. Engage with them to see if they listen to you and answer your questions. Do they make you feel comfortable in their presence? Are they a solo practitioner or do they belong to a group of care providers? Will you be able to meet the other doctors or midwives in the practice so you will feel comfortable when they arrive to welcome your baby? Share any concerns or special needs you may have so you will feel confident that you are in a practice where your wishes will be honored as much as possible. Ask about their experience and if they will allow you to do what you wish to do...such as freedom of movement in labor and having as natural a labor as possible. 

When you enter your last trimester, choose what childbirth education classes you will take. What style of birth suits you...Bradley method, Hypnobirthing or having the comfort of an epidural? Discuss the role of your partner and how they can best support you. What are they comfortable doing and not doing? Are they squeamish around blood and needles? Do they get light-headed in a medical setting? Do they want to take a very active role in supporting you? What choices are important to them? Do you also need the support of a birth doula to complete your birth team? Do your research and interview doulas to find your perfect match. Hire them in advance as their calendars get booked early. 

Are you considering collecting cord blood and tissue? Have you spoken to representatives at companies such as ViaCord and Cord Blood Registry about all of the options available? If you have decided to collect, have you ordered the kit for collection? Order it in advance by about week 37. As an alternative, does your hospital do public cord blood banking? Is there always staff at the hospital to collect it in case you would like to donate it and possibly be able to withdraw another donation if you should need it in the future? Are you doing Placenta Encapsulation? Have you chosen the person to do that for you and booked their time?

Have you packed your hospital bags by week 37 just in case your baby decides to be born early? Have you received a list of what to pack from your childbirth education class? Make smart choices as to what to bring that will make your labor and hospital stay more comfortable. Make sure your home is prepared with all that you need for early labor at the same time.           

When you go into labor, there are new choices to consider. Choose wisely how long to labor at home if you start with natural contractions. You may feel a powerful urge to get to the hospital as soon as the contractions get really uncomfortable. Find out ahead of time how far effaced and dilated you must be to be admitted to save being sent home because you are not ready yet. Will you choose to labor as naturally as possible or will you want the comfort and rest that is possible with an epidural? When is the right time to get an epidural so that it does not slow your labor progression? How long will it take to get it placed and have adequate pain coverage? Will you want an "attending anesthesiologist" to place it or are you comfortable with a seasoned "resident anesthesiologist" placing it for you? You have the choice to request what you want. What are the hospital protocols regarding this procedure? If you have chosen a birth center, will you have to transfer to the hospital if you decide to get pain relief? 

When the baby is born, will your partner choose to cut the umbilical cord? Will you want to delay the cord clamping so that the baby receives some of its blood back again? If you are collecting cord blood, can you still do delayed cord clamping too? I have found that often you can do both depending on how long you delay the clamping and how much blood is in the cord. Research the benefits of delayed cord clamping for the baby.

If you are having a baby boy, will you choose to have him the hospital or at a bris? Choose what is best after careful consideration.

At birth, the nurses will likely give your newborn an antibiotic eye ointment to protect the eyes and a Vitamin K shot to help with blood clotting. You can choose when these will be given...immediately or after 1 hour of clear-eyed bonding time with you. You can often choose to have these administered while the baby is resting on your skin or, if you prefer, the nurse will do it in the baby warmer. Some hospitals require that the Hepatitis B Vaccine be given to newborns within the first hour or up to the first 12 hours of life. Be very diligent about your research regarding vaccine safety. Ask your care providers if the vaccines they are using contain Thimerosal or aluminum as the adjuvant in the injection. These are both serious neurotoxins and can cause side effects. Be a well-informed and proactive new parent. 

Interview your pediatrician before the birth to see what their philosophy is regarding vaccination schedules. Also, do your research about the safety of taking the flu shot. Is it safe or not? Do your own research as some doctors are not up on the latest research. This is an area where your choices can have major consequences. Choose wisely before your new baby receives routine injections so early in their new life before their new immune system is fully developed. Does your pediatrician come to see your newborn in your hospital or will you be seen by the hospital pediatrician after your birth? Have the name of your chosen pediatrician ready at the birth. The choices and decisions you make will affect your newborn in many ways!

You have choices about when to notify family about your labor. Will you choose to notify them when you start contracting, when you go to the hospital or when your baby is born? Will you choose to keep the "Golden Hour" following the birth just for you and your partner before you let excited family members meet your baby? Will you choose to eat and get some rest before you receive your guests or will you have them join you immediately? Will you choose to have photos taken by yourselves, family or friends or have the hospital photographer take formal newborn photos as keepsakes?


You will have the opportunity to choose a semi-private or private postpartum room, if one is available, after you give birth. Think about the cost as well as the availability. It is often the case, that the only way a partner can stay with you overnight after the birth is in a private room. Typically, if you have a vaginal birth, you will stay overnight two nights and come home the third day. If you have a Cesarean birth, you will stay four nights and come home the fifth day. You may also have the choice of what floor you wish and the view. There is usually a cost associated with that floor and view. Do the research so you will make wise choices that meet your budget as the private rooms are usually not covered by your insurance. 

Lastly, you have to choose the best name for your baby! Some new parents choose to know the gender of their baby ahead of its birth. Others know they are having a baby boy or girl and start thinking about names way in advance. Some parents wait to choose the name of their baby until after they meet them. Some names are family names. Some choose to create an entirely new name of their very own. Some parents have elaborate naming ceremonies for their baby. You get to choose what is best for you and your baby. Choose wisely as this new person will wear their name and be known by it in the world for the rest of their life!  

Choice is powerful and governs your experience! Do your research. Have a plan. Have consultations ahead of your birth to make the choices that are right for you. Read consent forms carefully before signing them. Know what is being administered. Ask informed questions. Be confident and ask further questions if you do not understand anything that is being presented to you. Only consent to what is truly safe and best for you and your baby. Have no regrets later. Get the support and advocacy of your doctor, nurses, doula and support team. Create your ideal birth through conscious choices!   

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Celebration of Partners

February 1, 2018

February is the month of LOVE! This is the best time to celebrate your partner and all that they mean to you. Partners are so important...especially when you are having a baby. Your needs and relationship change so much while you are pregnant and when you become new parents. Celebrate the love you have for each other. This is a very tender time for both partners. Roles are changing. Your body and hormones are changing. You may need more support from your partner than ever before in your relationship. Allow them to love and nurture you. Reach out and show them love and appreciation for all that they do for you. Be tender and patient with each other as you prepare to take on the new role of becoming parents.       

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When you are a couple, the love you share is exciting and you savor the private time you have to be with each other...uninterrupted. You work late, keep in touch throughout your day and wait to be together at the end of a long day. You plan date nights, go on vacations or weekend getaways. You are free to be spontaneous! You grab every opportunity to explore and pursue your favorite passions. Most of us are multi-tasking non-stop every day. We wait for the weekends to rest and recharge. We have routines that are familiar and schedules that are predictable. We know what most days will look like if we check our calendar. Well...that is all about to a good way!!!

When you become a pregnant couple, your relationship will change and grow. Pregnancy stretches you in so many ways beyond your belly. You may become more sensitive and your partner will undoubtedly notice that they have to be more conscious of your feelings and treat you with extra tender loving care. Their life pretty much goes on as usual but you are growing their baby inside of you. You feel every kick and stretch...every hiccup! You may feel nauseous at the smell of your once favorite food while your partner is devouring theirs. Communicate your new needs with your partner continually to stay connected and promote better understanding. Let them know what is  going on for you. Invite them to share how their life is changing. Ask them about their hopes and fears in becoming a new parent. For most partners, the pregnancy only really becomes real when labor begins. They do not have the same connection to the baby as they can only experience the baby through you. You have the inside edge! Be considerate of each other. Appreciate and praise all of the little acts of kindness that your partner does for you and tell them so. It matters! They matter!! You matter!!!

When you go into labor, your partner is your lifeline...your hero...your champion! What you may not know is that your partner is just as excited and anxious as you are. They are stoic and do their best to be calm and reassuring for you...regardless of the butterflies in their own stomach. They want to support you and protect you. They want to keep you safe by being your advocate. They want to get you to the hospital and get you a private room so they can be near you to comfort and take care of you. They want you to trust them. They want to take away your labor pain and have no idea how to do that. They want to make wise decisions  and choices to give you the best birth possible. They never want to leave your side. They want to take charge but often do not know the questions to ask to get you the support you need. Show them love, compassion and appreciation. They want the very best for you! They will be stoic all the way through labor. And then...when the baby arrives...they are often a heap of joyous tears of relief that the baby arrived safely and that you are doing just fine.

When you enter the hospital to give birth, you are a couple. When you leave, you are officially parents! Your partner is hustling around trying to figure out how to get your baby into the car seat so you will be allowed to leave the hospital together. They want you to have the finest "ride" available to bring you and baby home in style. They have scurried around the house to tidy up the mess that was left behind when you flew out the door racing to get to the hospital only a couple of days earlier. They are managing friends and family who are driving you both mad with a million text messages and phone calls. When you arrive at home, they are making meals or ordering food in to feed and nurture you while you breastfeed your baby. They are scheduling visits from family so that you both are not overwhelmed with too many at once. Everyone wants to come and meet your baby and watch you breastfeed. Life is a little wild and hectic those first few days! Everyone is exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.

You need your partner now more than ever in surprising new ways every day. Be patient as they fumble with the diaper and swaddling blanket while their eyes are still partially shut from lack of sleep. Love whatever they have cooked for you even if it is not the way you would have done it. Let them know you need them. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them and all that they do for you. Show them how important they are to you. You are beginning a whole new chapter as parents. Cherish and celebrate your partner!!!                      

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A Celebration of Innocence

January 15, 2018

Pregnancy is a celebration of innocence...body, mind and spirit! It is a time of excitement and sacred mystery as you face the daily changes in your growing body. Everything is new. Everything is unknown. Everything is a "first". You, your partner and baby are all innocent going through the high initiation of birth! Some days are a triumph...some days are just melancholy. It is a roller coaster of emotions! You never know what to expect when you wake up!

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I invite you to go within and meet this beautiful spirit that you have summoned into your life. There is a quickening in your womb that is so intimate that only YOU will know. This precious soul has chosen you to be its Mother. Honor this intimate bond that is forming between you. Take some private time to be with your baby as it grows. Be tender and compassionate with yourself as bringing a baby into this world is no small feat! Mother and baby are so brave to go on this mysterious journey together.

Every day, your body makes micro adjustments that are necessary as it builds your baby for you. You go through your day in total innocence not knowing all of the work that is taking place inside. No wonder you are really tired "for no reason"! You are carrying a little passenger who is using up all of your energy and nutrients to build their own body. Be conscious about what your pregnant body requires...what to eat, how much water to drink, how much more sleep you need. Pace yourself at work. Set clear boundaries about what you can and cannot do now that you are pregnant. Don't let anyone overwhelm you with their demands. Find your authentic voice and say "no" when you need to.

Protect yourself from bad news and, movies and the internet. Do not read about difficult birth stories online. Get the birth support you need to have a happy birth. Your birth will be unique to you!

Keep your cell phone far away from your belly and baby. Try to stay away from WiFi as much as you can as the EMF waves have an effect on both of you.

Create an environment of peace, tranquility and safety from the outside world. Be careful with your language and arguments. Monitor your emotions as the baby feels everything you do...magnified! I still remember conversations I heard when I was in the womb!

Get support if you are going through difficult emotions or situations. You deserve to be heard and get the support you need.

Honor and respect fetal innocence and sensitivity. Innocence is fleeting if we do not protect it. Be its champion so that your baby can come into a safer, gentler world. Keep the peace at home and anywhere you go for the sake of the innocent baby growing inside you.

Meditate in the morning and evening by just getting still in a quiet space and focusing on yourself and your baby. Put your hands on your belly and send waves of love. They feel your love and the attention you have placed upon them. Their whole world is energy, emotion and touch. Be gentle...with yourself and with them.

Celebrate all of the "firsts". First flutters in your belly. New gentle baby movements. Sharing your exciting news of your pregnancy in special ways with family and friends. Gender reveal celebrations. First ultrasound pictures. Shopping for all the new baby gear that you will need. Naming your baby. Record all of the happy events in a beautiful birth journal to share with your baby later in life. Remember to stay innocent for as long as you can! Savor it!

This may be the first time you will need to reach out to friends and family for support. Share any fears and concerns with those who can really listen and support you.

Reserve the "golden hour" following your birth for just you and your partner before wildly excited visitors invade your sacred space. Protect your home and nursery from too many visitors when you are just coming home from the hospital. This is an especially innocent and private time for you when you might feel very exhausted and vulnerable. 

Allow yourself to be supported and nurtured. Ask for help when you need it. Accept help when it is offered. Build a soft cocoon around you and your baby to protect the innocence of your new family.

Express gratitude for the blessing you carry in your womb. Your baby will feel it and bask in its glow. Expect the very best for your pregnancy. Relax, enjoy and let your spirit soar!  

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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

I love new beginnings! It is a new year...a time for me to celebrate parents as they welcome their babies into the world! Hopes are high and hearts are full of anticipation! One of my greatest joys is to help parents prepare for the arrival of their new baby. There is so much information everywhere...books, classes and the internet. So overwhelming! Keeping it simple and taking one step at a time is key to getting organized!

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Take some quiet time to connect with your baby, visualize and plan the birth of your dreams. What is your birth philosophy? Where do you see yourself giving, birth center or at home? Do you see yourself having an all natural birth or relaxing with an epidural? Will you be more comfortable in the care of a doctor or midwife?

Create a master checklist of resources you will need to make important choices in your care provider, hospital, pediatrician. You have the power of choice from the beginning. Visualize yourself at your birth. Who is there? What does the venue feel like? See if it looks like a hospital or birth center...maybe even your home. It is much easier to search your heart before you move forward with a care provider. Interview your care provider to see if they share and support your vision of your ideal birth.

Research classes you will take to be prepared and feel confident for that magical day when your baby arrives. There are so many to choose from! There are group classes, private classes and specialty classes like Hypnobirthing. Your care provider can refer you to classes that will suit your needs or feel free to explore through friends or internet resources. 

Learn about Birth and Postpartum Doulas and how they can help you have the birth you truly want. Explore through friends and doctor referrals. Check out Doula websites. Interview several so that you know you have found a Doula who is passionate about supporting you and being your advocate. Have a consultation so you can learn about their birth experience, certification and support services. Ask questions and gain rapport to know if this person will help you feel comfortable and meet your needs.   

Your pregnancy and birth planning should be fun and exciting! Take the time to prepare wisely to create your ideal birth. When you have your perfect plan in place, take some time to relax and be pampered! Choose yoga classes, massage and craniosacral body work. Just allow yourself some time to celebrate you, your partner and your plan for your birth!