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Call the South Bay Doula: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

… mostly, birth and joy! After a few years on sabbatical from doula-ing, I am proud to announce “I’M BACK!” I needed the time away as I reorganized and settled myself through a personal and painful transformation of my own. Believe me, it pained me each and every time I turned away a mama who asked me to join her and her hubby through their journey for labor and delivery.

Now, I am back and fully present and ready to Sherpa expecting couples through the birth process again. I think, like most Birth Workers, the images and memories of the births we attend are so clear and forever stamped in our minds and hearts. I can walk into my local café in Hermosa Beach and likely bump into one of my many Yoga Mamas and/or birth clients! The shriek of excitement never fails. Then the second burst of “Omigod!” when I see their babies now running in soccer jerseys and pony-tails. I say, “she’s in 3rd grade, already? Really?!” And I have no doubt their mamas remember me as much as I remember them.

Here are some of my vivid memories that still inspire me today and reignite my philosophy and passion to TRUST BIRTH:

The mama who said to me when she hired me, “Just so you know, I AM getting an epidural!” During her first birth, she spent most of the time dancing in labor! I was her doula again, as she birthed her second baby, also naturally.

Supporting a mama after nearly 3 days of prodromal labor followed by induction…then when she was finally 10 cm dilated and the urge to push temporarily absent, I encouraged her to just sing in between contractions. […]

By |June 30th, 2017|Birth Rights, Doulas, Homebirth/Midwives, Labor Tools, VBAC, Yoga|Comments Off on Call the South Bay Doula: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

New Book! – BUMPS IN MOTION: PREGNANCY YOGA SEQUENCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

PRESS RELEASE
A unique and innovative step-by-step guide for pregnancy yoga sequences from leading Yoga Gurus from Around the World!
LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 10, 2017 –
Bumps in Motion offers a detailed, beautifully illustrated, precise instruction of numerous yoga poses to support you during pregnancy and labor. Accompanying sequences focus on a range of applications, from quick daily practices to poses for common pregnancy ailments. Woven throughout the book, you’ll find resources to help prepare you for an empowered birth. Filled with modifications, and tips, this is an indispensable text for both beginners and advanced practitioners alike.
Bumps in Motion is a unique collaboration from expert Yoga Instructors from across the Globe. This book is the perfect companion for the experienced yoga practitioner, ideal for Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training. This book is the yoga practitioner’s companion (manual/ handbook), offering practical advice, step-by-step asana sequences, pranayama practices, and meditation techniques, all of which are designed to help new mothers connect more deeply to their experience and prepare for their journey—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Going beyond physical posture practice, Bumps in Motion also includes guidance on meditation, visualization, use of gemstones, devotional chanting, mantras, mudras, and other tools to inspire and nourish you and your baby. Offering pregnant women and yoga teachers with creative sequences available now on Amazon: Bumps-Motion-Pregnancy-Sequences-Around-ebook/dp/B06Y2DP5YP

This book includes:

Mini sequences for specific trimester challenges: morning sickness, fatigue, anxiety, low-back issues, etc.

Specialty Yoga Sequences using Birth Ball, Chair, Ballet Barre’, and Clubbell!

Modifications that accommodate a pregnant woman’s growing bump

A dedicated section on the pelvic floor

Special breathing techniques for labor that encourage natural childbirth

Suggested Music Playlists are included for each Sequence

With special contributions from:
Foreword by Dr. Elliot Berlin of Berlin Wellness Group (www.doctorberlin.com)
Tara Lee […]

By |May 2nd, 2017|General Topics, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on New Book! – BUMPS IN MOTION: PREGNANCY YOGA SEQUENCES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Movement in Labor Helps Natural Birth

What do these pictures have in common? They are using movement to help progress labor and relieve pain and discomfort in labor. It really works! Here are some inspiring images and video to inspire you to get up and move those hips!

Couples striving for a natural birth are utilizing natural pain coping techniques such as the ones learned in the Couple’s Pregnancy Yoga workshop coming up YogaWorks South Bay El Segundo on February 18t, 2017. To attend this valuable class sign-up:
http://www.yogaworks.com/…/couples-pregnancy-yoga-for-birth/

By |February 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Movement in Labor Helps Natural Birth

A Yoga Mother’s Blessing Way!

Recently, I had the honor and joy of attending my fellow Yoga Works Instructor and friend’s Baby Shower. I have known Aimée for many years now. We have taught yoga workshops together; shared tea as we talked about love, life, and, well,…MEN. So when Aimée stopped me after my prenatal yoga class last Friday and asked if I could lead an “impromptu” Mother’s Blessingway Ceremony at her baby shower, I didn’t hesitate to respond, “Of course!”

I firmly believe every pregnant mama and baby should be celebrated. In old Navajo tradition, several ceremonial practices are performed in which a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood is honored. A westernized version of this is called a ‘Mother’s Blessingway.’

A Mother Blessing is a beautiful and unique way to honor a mother-to-be. It helps a mama feel empowered emotionally, spiritually and mentally, for the all-important role of becoming a new mother. She feels ‘held’ and supported by those she loves and respects. Blessingways help instill confidence and strength as she awaits the impending birth of her baby. And there is nothing like a circle of loving women to get that delicious hormone, oxytocin, (the hormone of love and bonding) flowing!

Aimée’s shower was hosted by her very talented friend, Lisa Vitta, who by the way is a yogi and luxury interior designer. Omigod. Lisa’s house was a Pinterest Lalapalooza! Honestly, I am inspired to start a ‘Baby Shower Board’ just so I can pin the heck out of it with the photos from this party.

Decorations aside, we spent the first half of the shower oo’ing and aw’ing over Aimée’s glorious bump and gliding between conversations with each other. Lisa had a generous spread of delicious vegetarian food (also Pin-worthy) from egg […]

By |January 20th, 2016|blessingway, Doulas, Labor Tools, Yoga|Comments Off on A Yoga Mother’s Blessing Way!

Happy Mama, Happy Baby!

As a pre/post-natal yoga teacher I like to stay abreast of natural remedies that can assist women into a peaceful transition into Motherhood. The process of birth can leave women feeling depleted of energy, blood loss, and general post-partum mood fluctuations.

I like Happy Calm Focused nutritional supplements (HCF) because of its carefully chosen combination of Vitamins and nutrients, which actually help “feed” the brain of a sleep-deprived new mama! The B vitamins help the body to convert food into fuel, which is used to produce energy.

During the post-partum period, hormone level fluctuation a new mother can experience hair loss and brittle nails. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver. They also help the nervous system function properly, not to mention mild deficiency of B3 can cause fatigue and depression.

What makes HCF unique is that it does NOT contain added niacin! I couldn’t believe that I noticed niacin added into my other supplements, which already contain vitamin B complexes. High doses of niacin can be toxic because B3 already is a nicotinic acid so adding niacin can a bit overdose unless your medical practioner has recommended such a practice.

I am a mother myself with a very busy work and family schedule. HCF works for me and I recommend it to my yoga students, family, and friends.

http://happycalmfocused.com

By |April 9th, 2015|General Topics, Yoga|Comments Off on Happy Mama, Happy Baby!

Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

There are many questions to encourage dialogue between you and your doctor, especially when you are still interviewing a medical care provider. Here are my TOP 5 suggested questions that will give you a good idea as to the doctor’s philosophy about caring for you and supporting your Birth Preferences.  Ask these questions in a respectful and non-confrontational manner to illicit a healthy dialogue with the doctor. It is a good idea to interview at least 2 or 3 providers. Listen to your Intuition and watch the doctor’s body language. And if during the course of your pregnancy you are getting the feeling your doctor may not be on the same page as you regarding your Birth Preferences, it may not be too late to change providers. It may not be too late to ‘break up with your doctor!’ Please check with your insurance company regarding switching doctors because some insurance companies may have time-deadline restrictions.

 What are your protocols regarding my Due date and post-dates,  i.e. if baby and I are healthy, how long can I go past my due date? 40 weeks? 42 weeks?
If I were interested in having a natural, un-medicated birth, how would you support me? I would prefer freedom of movement and choice of birth position, i.e. push and give birth in side-lying, all fours or squatting positions?
What would you recommend I do if my water breaks before contractions have begun? Assuming I am GBS negative and not running a fever, how long after my water breaks would you recommend before induction/augmentation of labor if it doesn’t start on its own?
How do you feel about a labor support professional such as a doula or massage therapist joining my birth team.
Do […]

By |March 17th, 2015|Birth Rights, Doulas, Labor Tools|Comments Off on Top 5 Questions to Ask when Choosing a Doctor to Deliver Your Baby

Successful VBAC Birth Story After Three Days of Labor!

This is the year for VBACs in my doula practice. I love supporting VBAC mamas; they have this special zing and purpose about them. I suppose hindsight is 20/20 and so these women approach birthing, the second time, being more informed and prepared.

In 2010, The American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologist (ACOG) issued Practice Bulletin No. 115, replacing Bulletin No. 45 which  included the infamous requirement of doctors to be “immediately available” which resulted in a fire of VBAC bans to rage around the country, but primarily in rural areas. ACOG’s current position  is supportive of VBACs stating that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice for most women” with one prior cesarean and for “some women” with two prior cesareans.  Being pregnant with twins, going over 40 weeks, having an unknown or low vertical scar, or suspecting a “big baby” should not prevent a woman from planning a VBAC (ACOG, 2010). That is great news across the country and I anticipate the Cesarean rate to low overall.

The risk of uterine rupture with one prior low-transverse uterine scar is low, 0.5% to 0.9% so for those considering a VBAC, read Katie’s inspiring birth story and the steps she took to ensure VBAC success!

Katie’s VBAC Story – Birth of Rowan
The Previous Cesarean
From my 20-week ultrasound on, I knew that I would be having a scheduled Cesarean Section with our first baby girl, Daphne. Due to a defect in her abdominal wall that would require surgery, the doctors recommended that a Cesarean was the safest way for her to be born. I was heartbroken, fearing that it would pave the way for my subsequent births.
Daphne’s birth was an emotional experience because there were so many unknowns […]

6 Things to Do if You Have an Unplanned Home Birth

We’ve all heard stories about the baby born in the car, on the way to the hospital or born unassisted (unintentionally) at home.  We call it precipitous labor (a labor length of under three hours). While the intention of these couples  was to give birth in a hospital facility or planned home birth, the fact of the matter is that birth happens! I once heard Ina May Gaskin say at a birth conference, “Birth was made to work in case nobody is there.”

Although precipitous labors occur more frequently with subsequent births, the overall percentage of this happening to you is very LOW so no need to rush to the hospital at the sign of your first contraction.  Here are a few statistics I found from the CDC 2004 report. The overall percentage of labors, which were deemed Precipitous:

<3 hr: 2% overall

  .7% chance for first-time moms (primips)  to

  5% chance for 8th-time moms (multips)

In discussing this topic with my midwife friends, Ashley Guntkowsi, CNM and licensed midwife Amy Tinney here are the top six things to do in the rare case that a fast birth should happen to you.  I call it the 6 C’s:

1)  Calm yourself, breathe and stay put.  Don’t freak out, no need to ‘boil the water’.  Stay calm and take a few deep breaths.  Remind yourself your body was made to give birth.

2)  Call 9-1-1 for emergency paramedics or call your midwife if you had planned on a home birth. I personally do not recommend getting into the car to drive to the hospital under these circumstances.  It is wiser to stay put and let the professionals come to you rather than risk giving birth in transit.

3)  Catch the baby.  Lower […]

Modern Day Red Tent – Home Birth Story by TJ

As you can imagine I am surrounded by births and hearing birth stories on a weekly basis.  I thought I should start sharing these amazing and inspiring stories here on my blog as sort of a modern day times, Red Tent.  These stories are meant to inspire, motivate, and educate.  Look for the pearl in every story no matter the outcome.  If you have a story you would like to share please send me a personal email: patricia@serenitybirth.com with the subject like “Modern Day Red Tent Birth Story”.

Let’s start this series with TJ’s Birth Story.  This is the birth of her second baby who also was born at home.  I was her doula for the first birth and because she moved away I was not there for baby number 2 although by the sound of her story, her midwife barely got there on time!  And the story begins…

 

 

I had my second baby (another girl – her name is Eloise but we call her Louie) about a year ago. I did have another home birth but couldn’t use MaryLou because we were just too far away. I used Sue Wolcott – a midwife in Glendale.

The birth was so quick; the midwife almost didn’t get here in time! 
My water broke in the early morning hours after I went to the bathroom but I just went back to bed since there were no contractions. Contractions were very mild throughout the day so we just went about our business. I even made my husband, Tyler, go to work because I felt just fine. I did drive with him though so that I would be near him in case things started up more actively.

I hung out in Westchester […]

Serenity Birth Story – “No Place Like Home Birth” by TJ

By |April 24th, 2013|Homebirth/Midwives|Comments Off on Serenity Birth Story – “No Place Like Home Birth” by TJ