Dallas Fort Worth Birth Photography – Birth Unscripted

Birth Unscripted is a trio of talented birth photographers (and my friends!) who deliver an amazing service and experience for families, and I could not be more excited to share a little about them today!
 Natasha Hance, Amanda Gipson, and Jamie Cain are each talented and accomplished photographers in their own rights. Birth Unscripted was born out of a desire to give families the best when it comes to birth photography, and have balance in their own lives by sharing the on call load and lifestyle with each other.
What made you guys want to be birth photographers, how did you get into it?
We each have our own story about how we got here but what brings us together is that we are all super passionate about birth! Something changes in us when we give birth and we get to capture that for our clients so they can physically SEE it and hold on to those moments forever. How cool is that?! We each respect birth and our clients’ sacred space so much. It is just such an honor to be there and capture these beautiful, soul changing moments. We truly love what we do!
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What are the common myths or misconceptions you think are out there about birth photography?
When we tell most people what we do, they squish up their face and say, “You take pictures of WHAT?” Most people associate birth with the actual physical [act] of baby being born but it is so much more than that! While we definitely will capture the actual birth if our clients want that, it is not at all necessary to document your story. Your birth story is unique and we are there to capture the love in the room; the way your husband looks at you in awe as you face yet another contraction, how he wants so badly to take the pain away, the way your family anxiously tapped their feet in the waiting room, your care provider’s joy as she watched you deliver your baby, the relief, joy, tears on your face as your baby is placed on your chest. THOSE are the moments that matter. These are the memories that get fuzzy over time or you won’t remember at all because you were working so hard to bring your baby earthside. Another misconception is that we will be invasive in your birthing space. The last thing we want to do is disturb your birth. With over 300 births under our belts, we are experienced in blending in to your birthing space so that you barely notice us, if at all. Many clients don’t even know we are there until after their baby is born! Again, your sacred birth space is so special and we do our best to capture it just as it is!
{This was definitely my experience! Women get to a place in labor where everything else slips out of focus while your body takes over, so they don’t even notice who’s in the room. Amanda ran in when I was pushing, and I had no idea until after!}
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What makes the Birth Unscripted team unique, and why did you guys decide to team up and offer this?

We are unique because we can guarantee that our clients will always get one of us, not a backup that they aren’t familiar with. If one of us is sick or out of town, there are two other photographers available. We have trained together so we shoot and edit the same. No matter which one of us attends your birth, you can feel confident that you will get the same amazing images. The way we work also allows us to be off call for our important family events so you never have to worry that your photographer got called away from their child’s birthday party or other important event. When we are at your birth, we WANT to be there, we aren’t thinking about where we should be. We decided to offer this because we needed to be able to take better care of our clients AND ourselves!

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What have been some of your favorite experiences capturing birth photography, what are some of your favorite aspects about what you do? What kind of response do you get from parents about their photos?
 We have so many amazing moments! Seeing a mama’s face as she catches her baby will never get old! Our favorite thing about what we do has to be seeing everything come together and showing our clients their slideshows and/or films at the movie premiere! We bring them in to watch it for the first time on our big screen. We serve wine and have a popcorn bar. They can invite their birth team, friends, family or it ca just be them! We love getting to watch them laugh, cry and feel all the feels while watching their video. We snuggles their baby and reminisce about their birth. It is such a fun time and a great way to close out this chapter in their lives.
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 I LOVE the movie reveals. Mine was so special to me. It’s such an amazing idea. Here’s what one client had to say:
“All during pregnancy the mama is showered with attention. Your birth is this incredible transformative experience, but once it’s all over it’s over. The attention shifts, nothing is about you anymore, this great transformation has happened yet you don’t feel seen or even celebrated. Most of the time you feel isolated. By taking the time to have movie reveals you are saying ‘What you did was strong and brave and important, we see that – we see YOU and want to celebrate with you.’ It’s so validating and empowering and so very important.”
Natasha says this is exactly why they do them, and I agree- it is such an incredible acknowledgement and celebration of your birth, your baby, your experience, and you and your partner’s parenthood.
I actually hired them for my own birth, so I can tell you from experience- they’re amazing! I treasure the images I have, and sometimes watch my slideshow and video back to marvel at the miracle and all the little details I would’ve never remembered or known about had they not been there to document them.
Thank you Birth Unscripted for all that you do to capture and celebrate the beautiful stories of new life joining their families here earthside.
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Birth Unscripted can be found at www.birthunscripted.com/ and contacted at birthunscriptedtx@gmail.com.
Their studio where they offer the movie reveals, portraits, maternity and newborn photography, and more is located north of Fort Worth in Keller, Texas.
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Vaginal Birth Under Special Circumstances

Last week Tarrant County Birth Network and ICAN presented a meeting on vaginal birth after special scar cesarean, featuring Dr. Frederick Cummings and Katie Grannan Perez, LM, CPM. 

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Dr. Cummings is the go-to guy in DFW if you have a special circumstance and want a vaginal birth. When everyone else says no, he says yes. Dr. Cummings catches babies at Denton Presbyterian hospital, and limits his case load to only those families that won’t be supported in their goal of a vaginal birth anywhere else. Vaginal births after multiple cesareans (VBAMCs), after special scars, breech vaginal birth, and twin vaginal births are all welcomed by Dr. Cummings.

Katie Grannan Perez is a three time cesarean mom, one with an inverted T incision, and had a successful hospital VBA3C with Dr. Cummings. She was a doula and is now a licensed homebirth midwife and self-proclaimed VBAC geek who loves reading and studying literature about VBACs. She also loves helping moms achieve this goal safely. Katie is also a founding board member of Special Scars~Special Women (www.specialscars.org/ ), a group that is committed to supporting women who have had special scar cesareans.

The Dallas Fort Worth area is very luck to have these two providers, and I know I was not the only one who felt inspired by their talk and the discussion after. Here are some highlights-

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Question- why are doctors telling women they can’t VBAC, that their risk is too high, that their uterus will rupture?

“Because they will say anything to prevent you from pursuing a vaginal birth. Very few doctors want to do VBACs, because it takes time, and the liability goes up. But if the Vegas odds were 99.90% to win, you’d bet every OB in the country would put money on that. But then you take 0.07% rate of uterine rupture and they won’t touch it.”

Dr. Cummings was trying to reframe the statistics and the way we look at them. Uterine rupture is most people’s biggest concern with VBAC, and the rate is commonly cited at around 0.07%. He also looked at uterine rupture like any of the other potential labor or birth complications- something to be watched for and fixed when it comes up. He conveyed two stories of uterine rupture, neither of which were catastrophic to baby or mom. They may be more accurately described as dehiscence. He described them as holes or tears in the uterus, one that required repair and one that didn’t. It’s commonly misunderstood that the rate quoted to those planning a VBAC is the rate at which catastrophic ruptures occur, but even of the small percentage only 6% are catastrophic. More info on this here.

Dr. Cummings on his tough love, no fear approach-

“My office is a no fear zone. We don’t do fear when you’re in labor; depend upon your God, depend upon yourself, your doula, your partner, your doctor.”

“There’s no magic about what I do or how I feel about it, women have their babies.”

 

Katie Grannan Perez, LM, CPM on Special Scars Special Women:

“Our group doesn’t exist to promote one birth over another but to offer support to women with special scars.”

Katie also shared some statistics from her group – 64 women VBAC’ed with inverted T scars.

 

With everything Dr. Cummings does to support women having vaginal births, I asked why he does what he does-

“Because when I graduated from medical school I signed up to be an OB.”

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Planning a VBAC, breech delivery, or twin vaginal birth? Hire a doula! Contact me to learn more.

 

-VBAC – Twins – Breech – Natural Birth – Fort Worth – Dallas – Denton – Doula –

Olympic Birth Team | Dallas Fort Worth Doula

Olympic Birth Team | Dallas Fort Worth Doula

 

The 2016 Summer Olympics are inspiring and captivating us all right now, and I’m loving the Rio games! Like expectant parents, these athletes have long prepared and planned for this day, and they have a team of support around them to help them reach their goals. It got me thinking, what would an Olympic birth team look like?

Cheering Partner

Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s husband jumped, cheered, and couldn’t contain his excitement and pride at her impressive physical feat. He is SO proud of his partner, and yours is too! Your partner cheers you on, has walked this journey with you from the beginning, prepared with you, and supports you through the whole thing.

 

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Keeping An Eye Out

Your midwife or OB has a job like none other, but in Olympic terms is sort of like the referee- they keep a close eye on you and your tiny teammate to keep you safe and healthy and rocking your game. They intervene when necessary, but their primary job is to facilitate a good game, or in your case a healthy birth! Sometimes though they’re more like a coach, and they support you in your goals too.

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Doula/Coach

You have a coach to help you get where you want to be; you need someone who is trained and experienced to help you reach your goals. They understand the way the game works, offer encouragement, physical support, and tips to help you do your best. Your coach can help you feel calm and relaxed, and keeps your eyes on the prize. Your coach’s only goal is for you to feel supported, because when you receive incredible support it’s a win win!

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If you’re giving birth to your own little Olympian, congratulations! Contact DFWdoula to add labor support to your Olympic birth team.
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Fort Worth | Dallas | Doula | Natural Birth | VBAC | Epidural | Twins | Postpartum Doula | Cesarean | Birth

Photogaphy in Weatherford: Birth, Bump, and Babies

One thing I love about Dallas Fort Worth is the local community we have full of resources for expectant parents. I’m often connecting my families to photographers for birth, maternity, and newborn, so today I wanted to share a local photographer, who happens to be a former client of mine!

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A sweet new family session by Dashing Darlings Photography

Brittany Jenson is the talent behind Dashing Darlings photography, a lifestyle photography business based out of Weatherford.

Brittany is a mom of three, so she totally gets what families are looking for when wanting to capture not just memories but the little details that make a family what it is. We chatted about babies, birth, and photography, here’s what she had to say!

DFW doula :Tell us about Dashing Darlings, how did you get started?

“I have been doing photography for a little over 5 years. It started as just a hobby that I have grown to be completely obsessed with. I have done everything from newborn sessions to weddings to ‘last memories’ sessions.  I have found my niche to be bumps, births, and babies!”

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DFW doula : You do beautiful outdoor sessions that look so lovely but still natural. How would you describe your photography style?

“I am a lifestyle photographer. I prefer natural settings and not really posed! I love shooting in my client’s own element.”

DFW doula: What is your favorite thing about doing what you do?

“I love that I get to capture memories. Pregnancy only lasts [around] 40 weeks, births happen in the blink of an eye, and babies grow like weeds. I love capturing a moment in time. I love capturing emotions. I LOVE being able to give a client something to look back on and remember forever.”

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Brittany can be reached via the Dashing Darlings Facebook page. With fall family photos coming up I highly recommend giving her a call! Let her know Sydney sent you 😉

 

 

-Fort Worth – Dallas – Birth – Doula – Maternity – Newborn – Postpartum – Weatherford –

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Birth Class in Mansfield

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WRBC is a complete birth and baby class like none other. With emphasis on what evidence shows to be safe and healthy, expectant parents receive a well rounded education covering pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, newborn care, postpartum, and parenthood.

This 6 week course will cover:

  • Healthy pregnancy: how nutrition, exercise, position, and chiropractic care influence your health and your birth
  • Labor as a natural process: learn the process, trust the process.
  • Signs and stages of labor
  • Comfort measures by stage of labor
  • Building the birth plan (and plan B)
  • Common interventions, when they may or may not be appropriate.
  • Your birth plan & getting family centered care
  • Breastfeeding 101- basics, optimal latch and positioning, how you’ll know your baby is getting enough milk, common obstacles and how to navigate them.
  • Entire class devoted to postpartum education- what to expect, what’s normal and what’s not: hormones, baby blues, postpartum depression, & perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Prepares parents to have a healthy postpartum & recognize (and have resources) if they need more support.
  • Bringing home baby- newborn care, navigating the “fourth trimester,” babywearing, parenthood, and getting enough sleep!

This class will be held at Bridge Family Chiropractic in Mansfield, Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30, August 17 through September 21.

Sign up today, space is limited!

 

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– Birth Class – Fort Worth – Mansfield – Natural Birth Class –

Can’t My Friend Be My Doula?

Can’t my friend be my doula? If your friend is a trained doula, absolutely!

In the second post in my series on what a doula does and why they’re so beneficial, I’m covering the difference between a friend or family member offering emotional and physical support in labor and a trained doula.

Sometimes families want the support of a doula and well meaning friends or family members offer to act as a doula. Even though moms love and cherish these people, usually for their second birth they end up hiring a trained doula! Here’s why.

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The Cochrane research review made note that labor support is most beneficial when provided by a person trained as a doula, not just an attentive and supportive friend or family member (although they are great to have too!).

Your friends and family love you and are invested in you and in this baby. Usually they aren’t so much invested in labor or your birth plan. As a doula my job is just to help you reach your goals, and I’m in no hurry to meet your baby like friends or family may be.
In labor women may moan, cry, curse, get naked, puke, gush water (amniotic fluid), and a host of other body fluids and reactions. To a friend or family member, this would be cause for concern! And they may not let you live it down. To a doula, all these things are normal and welcome sights, and we are professionals who respect your privacy.

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If you call your friend/fam support person in labor, they may or may not be able to leave work, arrange childcare, or even wake up in the middle of the night! Your doula is on call and has everything lined up to support you when you need it, even if it’s 4am.
If your friends or family see you in pain, they want to help or take away the pain, even if they don’t know how, and because they love you they’ll worry about you! For mom this can cause a snowball cycle of tension. Your doula does the opposite. If she sees you in pain she knows what comfort measures will help, she knows how to encourage the sounds and movements that will be comforting and offer progress. Unlike a friend or family member as a support person, with your doula you don’t have to worry about any baggage- she brings none (well, metaphorical baggage. I do bring a small doula bag of tools and personal necessities) 😉

What if baby is positioned funny? Not descending as expected? What if your provider mentions your baby is posterior and -1 station, will your friend/fam know what to do to offer comfort and facilitate progress? Doulas do! What if your provider wants you to consider an augmenting agent like pitocin, Foley, or AROM? Does your labor support know what those things are? Doulas do, and can give you information, listen to your concerns, and help you know what questions to ask your provider. A friend or family member may say “I think you should do it,” or “I don’t think you should do it.” Doulas won’t do that; they won’t offer or undermine medical advice, they support any decision you make.

All that said- I do really love supportive friends and family! I love to work alongside families. Women benefit the most from trained labor support, and friends and family make amazing assets alongside a doula. They can be incredible emotional support- they know you and your doula knows labor! I’ve seen them whisper the perfect encouraging words, help keep mom and dad hydrated and fed, wipe sweat from mom’s brow, and I’ve witnessed families work as a team along with a trained doula.
Let your friends and family do what friends and family do, and let your doula do what a doula does!

Next week- what about your nurse? Won’t they do all these things? Or if I have a midwife, why would I need a doula?

Do you plan to have a friend or family member present for labor support? Why or why not?

What Does a Doula Do?

Recently a first time mom came to me and said “My midwife said I need a doula. So I think I need you. But don’t take this the wrong way, I don’t even really know what you do!” We laughed, I told her no offense was taken, and I let her know how I can help, what a doula does, and why it’s beneficial. This is a common reaction, expectant families have heard hiring a doula is helpful, but they’re not totally sure what they do.

I totally understand the confusion. I’m happy to explain! In another post I’ll go more into the studies and evidence on their benefits, but today I just want to tackle what it is exactly a doula does. There’s much info online about how the term doula comes from Greek for slave or servant, and how this applies to expectant families, but I kind of feel that’s all a bit outdated. I’m not so much a servant as more of a pregnancy and birth concierge, a helpful guide, or a supportive team member for your birth. It’s kind of a lot to cover, because if it’s just a support person can’t your friend or family member do it? Won’t your nurse or midwife fill that role? I’ve created a series that will answer all these questions, and today we’re going to cover “what does a doula do?”

What does a modern doula do?
As a doula in this day and age, I offer support and resources to my clients to assist them in planning and achieving their best birth. There are three stages that I’m able to be helpful to you, all included in my birth doula packages.

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Pregnancy

During pregnancy I listen to concerns, answer questions, and support families as they plan for their baby and birth, however that may look. I have referrals for resources you may need in pregnancy- from OBs to midwives to birth classes to chiropractors and photographers- all people I’ve worked with and trust. I visit you in your home to go over early labor coping strategies and I help you think through what your goals are and assist in building your birth plan. We talk relaxation, concerns, and plans. I offer guidance and reassurance, without any agenda but to support you and your goals. I help you feel prepared for baby’s birth day.
Additionally, I offer cloth diaper classes, Babywearing 101, and birth classes.

 

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photo courtesy Birth Boot Camp

 

Birth
On the big day, I join you in labor when you feel you need the support, usually in active labor. It varies from family to family and birth to birth, and you may only need the presence and quiet encouragement of your doula, or we may use several tricks and tools, but these are some of the things I may do- use a rebozo or positioning techniques to encourage baby’s optimal position for birth, encouragement and emotional support, utilize non medical means to facilitate labor progress, use birth balls and peanut balls, encourage and show partner how to be involved in whatever way you’d like, if desired use your essential oils in labor to curb nausea or discomfort, keep you and partner hydrated, help create an ideal space where you can be comfortable and labor in, as well as what most people look forward to- the physical comfort of touch, massage, hip squeezes, and counter pressure. I never take the role of or interfere with your care provider, rather I’m an asset to be used as a part of the team supporting you in birth. I never take the place of your partner, we work together on this team to support you. Doula support is beneficial for everyone, whether it’s a water birth, cesarean birth, induction, epidural, etc. No two births are the same, and most of the time physical and emotional comfort measures are all that’s needed, but studies show having a trained support person for your labor helps moms need fewer interventions and feel more satisfied. My goal is to help you reach your goals, and make sure you feel supported the whole way.

 

Birth Photography 2016 DFW (87 of 92)

photo courtesy Kourtnie Elizabeth Documentary

Postpartum
In the immediate postpartum I help with a smooth transition for mom and baby. I have specialized lactation training and if you plan to breastfeed I’m able to help with that first latch and comfortable positioning, or if needed I can help with pumping and bottle feeding. Sometimes the immediate postpartum support a doula offers is overlooked, but it’s so beneficial for moms and babies. In the case of a cesarean birth I talk to parents about what to expect, comfort after surgery, and how to balance a new baby with recovery. I encourage mom and dad to have skin to skin time and bonding with baby, but mostly step back and allow parents to soak in their new baby. I help you understand what comes next and then leave you to relax, rest, and bond with your new baby. I’m still available to answer questions or listen to concerns in the postpartum period, whether it’s about baby, breastfeeding, or adjustment to postpartum life. Once you’re home and settled, I come visit you at home within the first 6 weeks. Most visitors are oohing and aahing over baby (and of course I can’t help but ooh and aah at the cute babies too!), but I come to listen to you, let your process your birth, see how you’re doing, and if you’re overwhelmed or struggling I can refer you to resources should you need additional support. The postpartum period is such a sacred and vulnerable time, my clients know they still have my support. I also offer belly binding to encourage physical healing and recovery, and postpartum doula services should you want more in depth help and support.
That’s a lot, right? This is a long blog post, because it truly is a lot that a modern doula does! They walk alongside the expectant family from pregnancy to postpartum and support them the whole way through. Now that I’ve said all of that, what I offer can all generally be summed up in professional and compassionate physical and emotional support and resources. That’s the short version!
The next posts in this series will talk about how a doula is different from an untrained labor support person like a friend or family member, and then how a doula’s support is different from the support of a nurse, midwife, or OB. Then finally a post detailing the evidence for doulas for all the study and statistic nerds like me! I hope you’ll check those out too!

Was there anything on this list that surprised you? Before you read this, what did you think a doula was?

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-Dallas – Fort Worth – Doula – Natural Birth – VBAC – Cesarean – Epidural – Water Birth – Birth Center – Hospital Birth – Postpartum Doula – Belly Binding – Cloth Diaper Classes – Birth Classes – DFW Doula –

Birth Center and Home Birth – VBAC in Fort Worth

The Tarrant County Birth Network and International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) of North Texas co-hosted a meeting last night in Fort Worth about birthing outside a hospital after a cesarean. Since around 1 in 3 women in Texas have a c-section, birth after cesarean is a hot topic. The old saying of “once a cesarean always a cesarean” is more myth than truth, and even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends vaginal birth as a “reasonable and safe” option after a previous c-section. (Read ACOG’s VBAC practice bulletin here.)

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Taking notes at the #TCBN meeting.

What options does a woman have when planning her next birth after a previous cesarean? For some women, planning a repeat cesarean may be the best option because of health indications for baby, or for their own physical and emotion health and well being. This is ok! DFWdoula supports all types of birth, and can help you plan a family centered cesarean if desired.

According to ACOG– “most women with one previous cesarean delivery with a low-transverse incision are candidates for and should be counseled about VBAC and offered TOLAC.” (TOLAC stands for trial of labor after a cesarean, which is the language some providers will use.)

When planning a VBAC, the most important component is a VBAC supportive provider. In Dallas Fort Worth we are lucky enough to have amazing provider options, from nurse midwives or OBs in a hospital to home birth midwives.

The VBAC panel discussion included area midwives and was led by a local ICAN leader. They discussed the reasons for planning a birth center or home birth after cesarean (HBAC), factors to consider, and experiences catching VBAC babies. Some highlights from their discussion-

“Our first job is to rephrase the way we speak about these women and the way they speak about themselves. You are not a VBAC. You are not a c-section. You’re not your birth. You are a mom. When we label these women as their births they can feel like failures if things don’t go according to plan. They are mothers planning a birth like any other mom.” – Kristine Tawater, CPM, LM

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“We are more hands off, we aren’t interfering with bonding.” –Terry Gyde, CPM, LM

“The best collaborative care in the nation is happening right here in Tarrant County. I have great relationships I can utilize if things come up. We work together.” – Jenee Ohrvall, CPM, LM

-Birth is a physiological process, we trust that it’s going to work instead of planning that it won’t.

-Moms should be an active partner in their own health and prenatal care; nutrition, exercise, chiropractic care.

-Look at operative report and overall overall health, consider additional risk factors- blood pressure, blood sugar, health history, etc.

-Discussed transport, monitoring and signs of uterine rupture.

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CPMs, LMs: (left to right) Audrey Stucker, Kristine Tawater, Jenee Ohrvall, Terry Gyde

 

 

The meeting overall was really informative and empowering! I loved hearing about the collaboration happening between providers when risk factors or complications indicate it, and these midwives’ passion for helping women reach their goals was so evident.

If you need more help to plan your birth after cesarean, contact me! Whether hospital or home, it’s a special passion of mine since I walked the same journey too.

Did you have a cesarean? A VBAC? Where were you babies born?

 

 

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Just for fun – #selfie with my good friend and fellow doula Megan Martin at the meeting!

 

 

 

 

– DFWdoula- Fort Worth – Dallas – VBAC – Cesarean -Natural Birth – Epidural – Twins –

 

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Postpartum Resources Dallas Fort Worth

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Part of what you get when you hire a doula are her resources. My job is to make connections in the community and know the resources available for my clients, and that extends to after birth! Your doula’s support doesn’t end when your baby is born, it’s so important to me to help new families transition smoothly postpartum. Here are some local Fort Worth and Dallas area postpartum resources I share with my clients that may be helpful after baby arrives!

 

Services that DFW doula offers-

Postpartum Doula

Wouldn’t it be great to have someone trained in breastfeeding and newborn care in your home to help you postpartum? A postpartum doula can assist with breastfeeding, latch, and positioning, and help assess when a baby and mom need referrals to more specialized support from an IBCLC. I help moms and dads navigate the fourth trimester, educate on parenting philosophies and gentle sleep, and love to teach babywearing to moms and dads so they can keep their babies close!  A postpartum doula listens, offers guidance and how to, helps new mothers process their birth story, and facilitates a smooth transition for the whole family.

 

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photo courtesy Birth Boot Camp

 

 

Belly Binding

The traditional art of Bengkung belly binding wraps the mother’s abdomen to support the muscles stretched through pregnancy and aid in physical healing.

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photo courtesy Mother Naturale

 

Other Resources-

Placenta Encapsulation

Moms report that encapsulating their placenta helped with milk supply and mood regulation. Professionals pick up your placenta, process it into pills for you to take, and deliver it within the first few days of baby’s life!  DFW Encapsulation is one of my favorites, along with DFWPlacenta Let them know Sydney sent you!

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Photo courtesy DFW Encapsulation

Lactation Support

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants are the most knowledgeable and qualified people to help with any issues outside of the normal scope of nursing. I totally adore the whole team at For Babies’ Sake, and they offer home visits, office hours, and latch clinics.

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photo courtesy For Babies’ Sake

 

Counselors

There are many reasons a mom may want to see a counselor after having a baby- whether to discuss and process birth or trauma, get tools for mom and dad to adjust to their new roles as not just partners but parents, or when postpartum depression is suspected. There’s a wide range of postpartum experiences including baby blues, ppd, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Sometimes reaching out is the hardest part, giving any of these options a call can be a great first step to feeling better.

 Jessica Sheppard, Hurst, http://www.littlelovecounseling.com

 Kimberly Kertsberg, Dallas, http://www.dallaspps.com

 Courtney Causey, Grapevine, http://www.beyondthebluesupport.com

 Reva Sheppard, Fort Worth, http://www.uccsolutions.com

 Ann Dunnewold, Dallas, http://www.anndunnewold.com

fort worth doula postpartum placenta counselor

Changing Hospital Birth: An Evidence Based Approach

Tarrant County Birth Network hosts meetings in Fort Worth every month with topics that entice doulas, birth professionals, providers, and consumers alike. This month the topic was Changing Hospital Birth: An Evidence Based Approach, and I was beyond excited to hear Carla Morrow, DNP, CNM and Steven Suba, MD speak on this topic!

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The two (in addition to the rest of the CNM team) make up Grace Midwifery & OBGYN, and Carla Morrow has been on the forefront of advancing evidence based and family centered practices in our area for years now, starting with Texas Health Cleburne and now expanding to Texas Health Harris Southwest in Fort Worth.

carla and suba

Carla Morrow, DNP, CNM & Steven Suba, MD   photo courtesy Bonnie Bee Photography

Side note: I’m also SO excited that Grace will be opening an office in Willow Park! I’ve had clients from and attended births in Weatherford (it’s my home town!), and it’s my goal to help meet opportunities that will make Parker County a better place to have a baby. Weatherford parents having the option to attend their prenatals close to home in Willow Park and then deliver in a birth center or hospital in Fort Worth will be amazing for Parker County parents!

Back to the meeting! I’ve had the honor of attending a client’s birth with Carla at the Fort Worth Birthing and Wellness Center, and she is an incredible midwife as well as visionary in advancing family centered maternity care. I loved hearing her perspective on how each of us can effect change.

Here are some highlights!

Carla started by sharing some of the statistics of Texas Health Cleburne both before and after her tenure there. Previously the hospital had a nursery separate from the labor & delivery unit and mostly scheduled inductions and cesareans. The Grace midwifery team took the unmedicated birth rate from 17% to 52%, and episiotomy rate from 16% to 4%.

If those number don’t convince you of the change that’s possible, I don’t know what will!

But why are things the way they are in some hospitals? If evidence shows that midwifery is associated with better outcomes, that episiotomy has very few benefits and shouldn’t be routine, or that newborn rooming in benefits baby and mom and should be encouraged, then why are these things not happening across the board?

Carla shared a “study about studies” that shows around 17 years pass between research being found and it’s practice implemented in healthcare settings. Plus, obstetrics is a field steeped in tradition. The American Society of Anesthesiologists now recommends freedom to eat and drink in labor so that women can keep their energy up, yet at many hospitals in the Dallas Fort Worth area moms will still be limited to only ice chips in labor. Why does the care environment not echo the evidence?

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The traditions stick around, and it takes change agents to see challenges and meet them head on. So what does her model of change encourage?

  • Midwifery model of care; low tech, high touch
  • Promote physiological birth; labor starts and progresses on it’s own
  • Collaborative care
  • Respect the birth plan and birth team (they LOVE doulas!)
  • Certified Nurse Midwives drive change at provider and administrative level, education for staff
  • Family centered care

*(when appropriate & in the absence of health indications risk that rule out these options)

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So how can we affect change? Carla mused that relationships are the key to driving change

  • Necessary first step is to build trust by learning the environment, listening, and building relationships
  • Identify issue; what could be better? How can we get there?
  • Establish the team
  • Implement change
  • Monitor accountability

When she took questions, I asked how to handle the so called “hostile environment” where it seems tradition itself carries a defensiveness to change. Carla and the UNT midwife team in attendance talked on this and answered my question, how it is important to be a team player, and how we enact change by asking questions, listening and engaging with those able to push things forward, and how as consumers even just by spending our healthcare dollars with providers and at facilities that respect women and respect birth we send a message.

Carla wrapped up with talk about where we’re headed next- goals for water birth, hydrotherapy, and nitrous oxide to be more widely available, as well as in her own practices promoting early discharge, bedside resuscitation (when appropriate), and to do away with hatting! (The practice of wiping away vernix and putting a hat on babies, which studies show may hinder bonding and has no clear benefits)

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photo courtesy FWBC Facebook

The Grace Midwifery & OBGYN team is an incredible care option I highly recommend to my clients, their website is linked here and they’re on Facebook too. I love working with them! Contact me if I can help!

I left the meeting feeling inspired and charged up to be a change agent in our community. How will you enact change? What do you think needs to change about hospital birth?

 

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Sydney Williamson, certified Birth Boot Camp DOULA

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Childbirth Education – Birth Class – Cloth Diaper Class – Babywearing Instruction – Birth Doula – Postpartum Doula – Weatherford – Fort Worth – Arlington – Mansfield –