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Today on the blog we are interviewing Megan and Sasha. They hired Karla and Narchi for support during their twin birth.
NYC BIrth Village: Thank you Sasha and Megan for joining us for this interview! We’re grateful to have you on our blog today. What made you decide to seek doula care and subsequently choose NYC Birth Village for your doulas?
Megan: Initially, we were anticipating having one baby and we were planning to have a home birth. So we began looking at midwives and just tried to figure out how we could go with the most natural, most comfortable birth possible. And then, we found out we were having twins. Every midwife we talked to wasn’t comfortable delivering twins at home and we heard stories about how there could be a variety of complications. So we began looking at other options like the birthing center and the hospital. It became this big web of trying to find providers that would help us. We saw several different OBs. We were going to go with one provider, but they said that with twins there would be a higher rate of C-section because they were opening another center and they didn’t have enough people. We found another practice that we thought was very good, but it was very based in Western medicine, and it seemed like we were seeing a different OB every time. We decided that we wanted to make this experience a little bit more comfortable. That’s when we started researching more about doulas. We wanted to have someone with us who had gone through this experience before and reassure that it’s ok to ask questions about certain thing. I didn’t realize that a birth plan was important, but that changed everything. During the first few appointments that we went to, the OB said, “You absolutely have to have an epidural,”. The moment I put down the birth plan, the conversation changed. They were like, “Oh if this is what you want,” all of a sudden, “this is a possibility”. But Narchi helped us put those things in writing and have a support system to say “it’s ok to ask for those things”.
Sasha ended up getting some sort of virus. He wasn’t allowed to be in the delivery room for most of the delivery, and missed a lot of the labor process. Without Narchi there, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without her.
NYC BV: In what ways did Narchi and Karla help you prepare prior to your birth?
Sasha: They helped suggest positions that were helpful, body work, and things that we could do to soothe Megan in some fashion. And just talking to us. We have our parents, but their method of advice is, “Oh well this is the way we used to it.” So I think it was good to have that kind of disconnected (historically speaking) relationship with somebody who can look at your preferences, and your way of doing things, and your strengths and weaknesses.
I was a little trepidatious about hiring someone like that. Initially, I thought that was what our moms were for. I think in the end, entering a hospital system is an unfamiliar territory, especially because it’s so driven by not getting sued. They are very objective about how they deliver information and are not conscious about the person’s manner of perceiving information. So I think the birth plan is very cool. All of a sudden you’ve spoken their language and it’s in writing. So now you are running the show with your special counsel, the doula. I was a little skeptical in the beginning, but she was consistent in the way she was treating Megan. So I was like, OK. She needs this and I saw how it could be beneficial.
NYC BV: What do you remember and appreciate the most about the labor support?
Megan: The doctor was trying to walk me through pushing. Narchi said, “You have to push and relax your legs at the same time.” For some reason that just clicked for me. And the doctor just looked at her like, “What ever you just told her keep doing it! I need you to tell all of my patients that” (Laughs).
Even though Sasha wasn’t allowed in the delivery room, she would say to my parents, “You know, maybe you should share this with Sasha, or take some photos or videos of the process and send it to him”. So that was really great and something that I was not aware of in the moment. But It was a really intense labor. She was there from the moment I started having contractions, she was there the entire time. There was a moment when I was having contractions way less than a minute apart. She said, “Maybe you should talk to your doctor”. She has this way of not being pushy, and say, “you can do this”, and say “this is a possibility”. So the doctor actually turned the dose of pitocin down. So things like that were really helpful in the moment.
My parents were there for the delivery process, which we weren’t anticipating either. Because Sasha was sick, the staff let my parents in. But having Narchi there helped to calm all the emotions that were present. I feel like if it were just my friends and family there, it would have been a lot more dramatic, or I don’t know. It was nice to have someone there who was close and supportive, but also on the outside.
If you would like to learn more about hiring one of our birth or postpartum doulas, check out our website at NYCBirthVillage.com !
Edited for Content
This week we are highlighting one of our collaborators, Fiona Pippa. Fiona is an NYC-based massage therapist who works with all kinds of people, but also specializes in prenatal and postpartum massage. Read her interview below.
NYC Birth Village: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into Massage Therapy?
Fiona: I have been working with my hands since childhood. I work as a sculptor, painter and as a passionate gardener. While growing up in Ecuador, I became knowledgeable about plant medicine, body work and shamanic practices. Massage therapy felt like a natural progression for me. Shortly after having my second child I enrolled in the Swedish institute of New York City to become a fully licensed massage therapist.
NYC BV: What are some ways that an expectant parent can benefit from Massage Therapy?
F: Massage therapy can have a subtle, yet powerful, impact on an expectant parent. It can reduce stress, alleviate pain and increase a sense of wellbeing. The most noticeable side effect of massage is relaxation, and in pregnancy this can be a key component of a healthy outcome.
NYC BV: What are some ways that the postpartum person can benefit from Massage Therapy?
F: The postpartum person can experience a range of side effects associated with natural birth, c-sections, breastfeeding and handling baby. Massage therapy can offer many benefits, such as alleviating localized and overall muscular pain, reduce edema (which is a common side effect of c-sections), and balance moods by encouraging the production of “feel good” hormones in the brain.
NYC BV: Is there anything else that you'd like for us to know about you or your services?
F: I am an experienced therapist with strong knowledge of different massage modalities, and I customize my sessions specifically to the needs of my client. I see clients at my Yorkville studio, I visit them in the comfort of their home or in their hospital room.
If you are interested in finding out more about Fiona or signing up for her services, visit the NYC Birth Village Doulas Contact Page!
Written by Neve of WeTheParents.org
“Babywearing may be as old as the human species, but modern science is now revealing some incredible benefits that were previously unknown.
Were you aware that mothers who carry their young become more responsive to their needs? Or that it promotes attachment between infant and mother? How about the fact that slingin’ your bubba reduces the risk that they suffer from reflux, “flat-head”, or otitis media (inner ear infection)?
And that’s just the start!
In this infographic, produced by WeTheParents.org in celebration of International Babywearing Week, 23 compelling studies are laid bare. Each provides fascinating evidence for the benefits of baby-carrying.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Babywearing, our doulas at NYC Birth Village can tell you all about it!
In most industrialized countries, families get much more hands on support than we do. I hear tales from ex pats about drs visits where you are given time to ask questions, hospitals were one midwife is assigned to each family during birth, visits from a fairy midwife postpartum who not only checks in on the mother’s recovery and breastfeeding but also cooks and cleans! In the US and especially NYC, we’re quite a bit far off from that. Cue in doulas!
The Ultimate Guide to Doulas has all the evidence that proves again and again that families do better with doula support!
At NYC Birth Village we specialize, in birth AND postpartum doula support. After years of doing this work, we realized that the one short typical postpartum visit from birth doulas wasn’t enough. Families were being left at a time where they needed more support! So we added postpartum support to cover the first month which can be especially challenging for first time parents who are still trying to figure out the topsy turvy ways of life with a newborn. Shortly thereafter, we got trained in lactation because it turns out breastfeeding is harder than it looks! And then we came to form an agency so we can spread the love and make sure as many families as possible get the support they need. If you need a little love, as you bring life into this world, we’re here!
The last few days of waiting for your little one to arrive can feel never ending. The due date is approaching and you are finally going to meet your baby but before that you are going to go through one of the most physical, intense events of your life. Your family and friends are calling or texting everyday waiting for an update. You are uncomfortable, anxiety levels are creeping up and you ready for all of this to be over. It is a time of in between and it deserves attention.
You took your childbirth ed class, found your doula, read the books, bought the stuff and now you are home, your little one is crying and you don't know what to do. Probably one of the most frustrating and overwhelming parts about being a parent is trying to address your baby's needs when you have no idea what they are asking for. The first few months are a guessing game but to make things a little bit easier, we always recommend watching this 45 min video on soothing techniques. Make it a movie night for the whole family!
The movies paint this picture of a beautiful mother calming feeding her baby while sitting in a rocking chair. What people don't see is all the hard work that it takes to get there. The first few weeks are usually a time of sore, cracked nipples, engorgement and often uncomfortable latches. The biggest culprit to these issues - a shallow latch! It turns out that often breastfeeding doesn't come as naturally as one thought. This video is a great example of how to assist your little one in getting that deep latch. With plenty of practice - a peaceful rocking chair breastfeeding session is likely to be in your future!
Prior to birth, a lot of our families never consider bringing baby into bed with them. Yet, 95% of people eventually bed-share at some point with their baby. And often it is done in unsafe circumstances because no one ever planned for it. Instead of pretending this doesn't happen, let's review best practices to keep it as safe as possible.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - there's a time a place for almost everything. And we are lucky to live in a world where those options exist. One of those such options is formula. And depending on what's going on, you might need to turn to it. Here are more of the common reasons why. And if you're goal is to get back to breastfeeding when possible - reach out for help! The earlier the better. Learn to protect your milk supply and how to supplement with care.
Most mother's come to us because they want to avoid unnecessary interventions. And often pitocin seems to be at the top of the list. However, as we've seen, there is a time and a place for nearly everything. Regardless, despite what I've heard some care providers say, it's not just another form of oxytocin. Learn the differences here.
I'm sure you've heard the stories: that mama "stalled" at 4cm for hours. And that mama "flew" from 6 to 10cm in 30 minutes. Yet there is no rhyme or reason why and it it turns out all to be normal. Studies have shown cervical progression in a normal human labor is unpredictable so forget the number and just breath.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Nothing can be better than having a considerate and loving partner cheering a mama on and taking care of her needs so that she can focus on feeding the baby. Breastfeeding can be tough but the right support can make it better. Check out these ideas here! I'd also add, the partner should get really good at soothing techniques so that in between feeds, the mama can be sent to get some rest while the baby is well taken care of.
It's unfortunate that our culture continues to be one of fear when it comes to birth but especially when it comes to working towards a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Yet, studies to continue to show that it is likely the best choice for a low risk mama and that even if it ends in a repeat cesarean, the process of birth is helpful to mama and baby. You're not crazy and here are the reasons why.
So you're done hearing about or doing kegels?! There are plenty of other options in terms of techniques to strengthen the body for labor. As with anything, there aren't any guarantees but you can't help and wonder what about our sedentary Western lifestyles might have to do with the length of our labors. Learn more here about some regular exercises you can add to the mix to focus on the pelvis.
Unfortunately, our country has yet to join almost the entire industrialized world in offering paid parental leave. Often mamas and their partners have to return back to work before they feel ready. And though it's unlikely you'll feel completely ready, read here on how to prepare. It will get easier with time and prepping for that day in advance will help.
Many experts speculate that a reason our country has such high cesarean rates are because of the high rates of unnecessary inductions. Find out here how to avoid a possible unnecessary induction that could derail the entire birth from the get go.
There's probably little more upsetting postpartum than experience breastfeeding issues or feeling like your newborn isn't gaining weight. Often that despair can turn into self doubt about the ability to produce the amount of milk needed for your baby. This is a great visual to give you a sense of what on average newborns need.
Birth in general can be daunting. Add the bright lights, the dozens of questions in triage, and a laboring mother in the height of her labor trying to navigate her hospital's policies and it can be overwhelming. Regardless, the mother and her partner are the one's in charge. And a lot of the guess work can be taken out of the big day by starting to communicate with your provider in advance. Come into these conversations as the decision maker and be aware of the type of language your care provider uses. Are they "not allowing" you to eat in labor in delivery? Start the conversations now to create an open dialogue. And ultimately, if you find a care provider that is not respecting your right to make decisions, there is always time to find someone else.
Read more here!
Despite most hospital's policies, studies have shown that most women don't have to fast during labor. These antiquated policies come from a time where aspiration was more common. And due to medical advancements, most women should be clear to eat. So pack well ladies and read more here!