Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rosh Hashanah Baby-A Cross Post

This is a cross-post from my personal blog:
A few days before I left for Isabella Freedman for the Ride I had the most vivid dream-My 1st Doula Mama was in labor! I woke up with a start and looked over at my phone (which was on vibrate but I slept through) she’d  text messaged me contraction times. As I looked at her text, the numbers and calculated quickly in my head I saw that she was having “pains” as she said about 10 minutes apart-not yet in active labor. I called her, but it was an hour after her text so she’d fallen back asleep-definitely not in active labor yet.

While in the woods I got a message from my back up doula that my Mom was starting to lose her mucous plug. Her contractions were still sporadic with no clear patterns so I didn’t fret too much.

She had a planned induction because of age and a variety of other factors and while we hoped that she’d go early, even if it meant I would miss her birth, we thought it would be best that she give birth as naturally as possible. We knew that if they started an induction, the likelihood of her going on to have more medical interventions was greater.

This Mama was a single woman so my back up doula  and I met with her at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon…and I didn’t leave her side until early Thursday morning after she gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Wednesday evening at 10:56PM.

The birth was long and exhausting and in the end, she only pushed about 6 times before her baby boy made is entrance into the world. It was, without a doubt, the single most life-altering experience of my life. And I haven’t said that since being in the Holy Land.

On Rosh Hashanah, it is said that the world is born and on this Rosh Hashanah, the Head of the Year, the beginning of 5774 I watched a life be born. I cut him from his mother and my arms were the second arms this little one was cradled in. That little boy was the first baby I was a doula for and since him I've scheduled four other Mamas. Being by his Mom's side on Rosh Hashanah, holding her hand and comforting her while she brought life into the world was the most precious gift I could've ever received. It was the best and in the end, the only way I was supposed to spend Rosh Hashanah this year. I could've been at shul, and I heard Amichai's service was amazing, but being in that hospital exhausted and at the very end of my rope supporting a Mother in labor; emotionally, physically and mentally was truly magical. It was exactly what I needed to start the year-a reminder that life is always changing, always evolving and that life exists so that we can live it.

It was also confirmation that the choice to be a doula is the right one. The one-on-one support between a doula and a mother, especially a single mother, is so vital and I feel incredibly blessed to be walking down this path.

Monday, September 9, 2013

What Mamas Need After Baby is Born

I attended my first birth last week!
More on that later, but for now this amazing list of what a Mama needs AFTER the birth. She can, of course, call a postpartum doula as well.
Re-posted from Gloria Lemay Birth Blog
After the Birth, what a family needs
Posted on October 28, 2008 by gloria
 “Let me know if I can help you in any way when the baby is born.” … “Just let me know if you need a hand.” … “Anything I can do, just give me a call.”
Most pregnant women get these statements from friends and family but shy away from making requests when they are up to their ears in dirty laundry, unmade beds, dust bunnies and countertops crowded with dirty dishes. The myth of “I’m fine, I’m doing great, new motherhood is wonderful, I can cope and my husband is the Rock of Gibraltar” is pervasive in postpartum land. If you’re too shy to ask for help and make straight requests of people, I suggest sending the following list out to your friends and family. These are the things I have found to be missing in every house with a new baby. It’s actually easy and fun for outsiders to remedy these problems for the new parents but there seems to be a lot of confusion about what’s wanted and needed…
1. Buy us toilet paper, milk and beautiful whole grain bread.
2. Buy us a new garbage can with a swing top lid and 6 pairs of black cotton underpants (women’s size____).
3. Make us a big supper salad with feta cheese, black Kalamata olives, toasted almonds, organic green crispy things and a nice homemade dressing on the side. Drop it off and leave right away. Or, buy us frozen lasagna, garlic bread, a bag of salad, a big jug of juice, and maybe some cookies to have for dessert. Drop it off and leave right away.
4. Come over about 2 in the afternoon, hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.
5. Come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment.
6. Put a sign on my door saying “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in 7 days but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.”
7. Come over in your work clothes and vacuum and dust my house and then leave quietly. It’s tiring for me to chat and have tea with visitors but it will renew my soul to get some rest knowing I will wake up to clean, organized space.
8. Take my older kids for a really fun-filled afternoon to a park, zoo or Science World and feed them healthy food.
9. Come over and give my husband a two hour break so he can go to a coffee shop, pub, hockey rink or some other r & r that will delight him. Fold more laundry.
10. Make me a giant pot of vegetable soup and clean the kitchen completely afterwards. Take a big garbage bag and empty every trash basket in the house and reline with fresh bags.
These are the kindnesses that new families remember and appreciate forever. It’s easy to spend money on gifts but the things that really make a difference are the services for the body and soul described above. Most of your friends and family members don’t know what they can do that won’t be an intrusion. They also can’t devote 40 hours to supporting you but they would be thrilled to devote 4 hours. If you let 10 people help you out for 4 hours, you will have the 40 hours of rested, adult support you really need with a newborn in the house. There’s magic in the little prayer “I need help.”
First posted online August 2001