Hospital Birth


Birth Options: Use your BRAINS

rains(5)Have you heard of the BRAINS decision making tool? It is one birth support tool I teach to all my clients and it just might be helpful to you as you prepare for your birth and parenthood.

So, how does it work?

When you are coming upon a point where a decision needs to made, think about the following in regards to your options: What are the Benefits, Risks, and Alternatives? What does your Intuition say about it? Does it need to be decided upon Now or do you have more time to think things over? Would this decision provide you with a Safe and Satisfying result?

Big or little decisions can be worked through with the help of the BRAINS tool. It can be helpful when deciding where you want to give birth, which care provider you want, etc.

When talking with clients about their upcoming birth experiences, I see a lot of them trying to learn about everything that could possibly happen. Talk about information overload! Information can be powerful but it can also be overwhelming! Sure, I am all for being as informed as possible, but I also see value in letting things in as they happen. I mean, millions of women gave birth before our generation, and they didn’t have nearly as much information at their fingertips. So, if you haven’t studied up on every possible thing that could happen during labor and birth, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to work through your options in labor when you’re using your BRAINS. Whether you’re giving birth at home or the hospital, whether you’re planning a cesarean birth or waterbirth, learning to speak up for yourself and your baby to get the information you need if a decision is needed can make your experience so much better. Feeling informed, feeling like an active participant in your experience, can make all the difference.

The best part about this tool, it works for parenthood, too! Trying to decide which pediatrician to choose? Use your BRAINS! Should you keep your newly-five year old home for another year or send her off to kindergarten? Dust off your BRAINS!


Meet Casey Yu: A Dissertation on Motherhood 1

In honor of Mother’s Day and a special birthday, I interviewed Casey Yu. I remember the first time I met Casey but it was so HOT that day as I was waaaaay too pregnant for Summer, I’m not even sure I said more to her than a grunt or a defeated sigh. I met her for real when we hired her as our maternity photographer, and we became fast friends. Tallahassee NICU

So, what special birthday? Two years ago today, Casey’s son William was born. The Will of #freewill and #feedwill hashtag fame. His birth was the first planned cesarean I ever attended as a doula, although it was planned last minute for very emergent reasons, as you’ll read below. I remember being nervous and scared for both he and Casey in the days and weeks leading up to his birth, although on the outside I did my best to remain a calm source of support. I spent every single moment of his birth sending good thoughts out into the Universe for the two of them, hoping it would help get them through the hard times ahead. And today, Will and his family celebrated his second birthday halfway around the world! Casey is now using her experience as a photographer and a mother via cesarean delivery in her dissertation research.

What made you interested in writing your dissertation about motherhood?
I have been writing on and off about mothering online ever since I started my doctoral program at FSU, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my youngest that the focus started to change. Will was diagnosed with IUGR in utero, I had high blood pressure, and was on bedrest from 24 weeks until he was born, in all of his 3lb 2oz glory, at 32 weeks in an emergent cesarean section. In all regards, my experience birthing Will was not too bad. I had a really supportive birth team, with a doula, helpful family members, and surprisingly, a midwife from my practice that I’d had my doubts about but she was perfect at the time. The culmination of events from his birth and my recovery led to my interest in writing about and learning about cesarean sections and their impact on women as a whole. His birth, the support I received, the recovery (both physical and mental) path I took – all of this had a profound impact on me as a person, so it was pretty much inevitable that I would end up writing about it for my dissertation!

My dissertation topic explores the use of cameraphone photography in how knowledge is gained and shared by women who have undergone cesarean sections. I argue that the act of capturing images on a cameraphone and sharing them socially can be considered a powerful act, capable of effecting change. I am in the midst of editing the prospectus of my dissertation, which is essentially the first three chapters outlining my argument, the literature review I have conducted, and my proposed method of
answering my research questions. Getting there!
Tallahassee Parenting
How do you hope your research will change the future of motherhood?
One of the most unique experiences women have is the ability to give birth. This process has become progressively more complicated and murky with so many women who have given birth feeling less in control of their bodies than ever. It is my hope that this work will culminate into photographs captured by mothers to describe the experiences they are having, and encouraging all birth professionals (obstetricians, midwives, nurses, doulas) to consider the impact of cesarean birth on women as a whole. The United States performs over 30% of births every year via cesarean sections, when the World Health Organization indicates that the optimal rate for cesarean deliveries is between 5-10%. This huge discrepancy needs to be addressed by everyone – pregnant women and their birth teams.

Perhaps most simply, though: my hope is that my work can empower women in their quest to birth their children – however the baby is born.

Who has inspired you?
Oh gosh, so many have inspired me. I have grown up in a long line of amazingly strong women with my surname – my mother, my grandmother, my two aunts, and my two cousins. They are some of the most badass, strong, passionate women I’ve ever known. Josh’s family boasts some amazing people too – my in-laws have been incredibly supportive of my education and have helped me shape what I want to do. My advisor is amazing as well and has understood the fervor and anger I feel when I write about some of the things I have had to write about to get this prospectus off and running. My husband Josh is, as I term, the best girlfriend I’ve ever had. My three kids are inspirations (and also cause premature greying of my hair!).

But mostly, I am inspired by the stories I have heard from some of the most amazing people I know who have given birth via cesarean section. Having a child in and of itself a transformative experience. Having a child via cesarean section takes amazing courage and bravery that is not recognized nearly enough. They are my inspiration, through and through.

Tallahassee Newborn PhotographyWhat is something about you that we would be surprised to hear?
I asked Josh to answer this for me, and he says, “I think they would be surprised to know that you are actually capable of emotionally connecting with other humans.” I have a pretty tough exterior and my kids will be the first to tell you that I like to get my way, I am sometimes mean, but secretly way down deep (probably inside my little toes), I am a softy.

And now for the fun questions! Where did you grow up?
All over! I was born in Illinois, lived in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, California, and Florida. I spent two months in Alaska at one point too!

If it won’t make you homesick, what is your favorite part about Tallahassee?
The parenting community! I love the small town feel of Tallahassee – every time I went out to run an errand, I am bound to run into a friend and have a moment to stop and chat. It made me feel connected to an entity of motherhood far greater than the effort I put forth at home.

What is your favorite food/thing to cook?
My late grandmother’s sticky rice stuffing, with pork ribs, dried shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms. Mmmmm!
Tallahassee Motherhood

Have you ever won a trophy?

Yes! I ran a 5K in Chicago – my first one. I am 99% sure I got a medal.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both! I am the first one awake in the morning, usually due to the sun that rises early here in Dhaka. And I get my second or third or fourth wind around midnight.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Chinese New Year! Josh and I make a ton of Chinese food and invite all our friends over for a grand feast. I look forward to it every year!

What’s your biggest moment?
Hasn’t happened yet. The second I get to have my advisor hood me and call me Dr. Yu – that will be my biggest moment and you can come back and edit this post to reflect that when it happens.


Tallahassee Birth Photography 1

BBirth 1irth photography is a growing trend in the birth world. While some say they wouldn’t want their births photographed, but I can see the appeal – not only would you get to relive your birth experience over and over again through the photographer’s lens, you’d be getting the opportunity to see yourself in action on your biggest day.

After talking with a few photographers, here’s what you can expect: The typical scenario is that they will meet with you before your birth to get an idea of what types of pictures you would like from your experience. They will then meet you at your place of birth, be it home, birth center, or hospital, once you’re ready to meet your baby.

Although I didn’t have use a photographer for my daughter’s birth, I wish I had and I certainly will hire one if there’s ever a Bold Baby 2.0. I did ask my doula to take pictures, told her she could take whatever pictures she could rather than have no pictures at all. Birth 1-5

I’ve taken photos at births, but because I’m focused on supporting you and your partner during birth, I tend to get very few until after the baby is born – that’s when I usually take the most pictures, and get lots of good ones of you bonding with your little one.

There are several professional birth photographers in Tallahassee, you are sure to find the one with a style that speaks to your vision.

 

Tallahassee birth photography:

Catalytic Camera

Captured by Casey

Christy Baldwin Photography

Jessica Diane Photography

 

If you know of a birth photographer who is not on this list, please email their information to Leslee@BoldBirth.org. I’d be happy to connect with them to see if they would like to be included on my Tallahassee birth photographer resource list.

Please visit my resource lists on Tallahassee Maternity Photographers and Tallahassee Newborn Photographers.


Meet My Doula: Lindsey of Mother Rising Birth 1

To finish off a wonderful World Doula Week, I’ve interviewed MY doula, Lindsey of Mother Rising Birth. In addition to doula work, Lindsey is a Birthing From Within educator, and placenta encapsulator.

While I was pregnant, I had a friend who said to me, “I know two doulas and they both live in Tallahassee. You have to hire her.” And so I hired Lindsey. I cannot say enough how thankful I am that my husband and I had Lindsey to walk by us as we found our next best things during our daughter’s birth. When I returned to birthwork four years ago, we founded the Tallahassee Doula Co-Op and it has been quite a wonderful journey ever since.

Lindsey Morrow Mother Rising

What made you interested in birth and doula work?

A friend of mine told me what a doula was and that made so much sense to me. It was like that job description was made just for me. I always had an interest in birth and loved helping people so it just made sense.

Who has inspired you in birth or otherwise?

Barbara Harper was the first to inspire me about the birth world. Her book, Gentle Birth Choices, was one of those books that changed my life. She opened my eyes to how natural birth works and the benefits of a water birth [You’ve gotta read about Lindsey’s beautiful water birth]. I’m so grateful Barbara taught me so much, so early on. Between her and my mother, they have both taught me to approach birth as an adventure, without stress and with a lot of curiosity!

What is your favorite part about being a doula?

My favorite part about being a doula is that I get to witness sweet compassion from the dads, amazing strength from the moms, and a miracle as a baby is born.

 

Ok, now for some non-birthy questions! Where did you grow up? Lindsey Morrow Mother Rising 2

I grew up in Rochester, NY, and Orlando, FL.

 

You came to Tallahassee for school, what is it you love about this town?

My favorite part about Tallahassee is that I always see someone I know when I’m out and about.

 

What do you like to do when you have some quiet time?

My favorite thing is to clean and organize. I think it helps me cope with stress! A win-win, right?

 

You must have a least favorite chore, though. What is one thing you hate to clean?

Ugh. Despite my love for cleaning, I do not love cleaning my bathroom. I am considering hiring someone to clean that one room.