The agency model of doula care isn't for everyone. It works for us though! Early Saturday morning while I was already at Desert Regional with one amazing couple, another informed they were on the way! Due dates were several weeks apart. Poor sweet Alyssa was not on call this weekend but rushed right down. No "backup" doula they didn't know as we do most interviews and prenatals together. I was blessed to support both moms as they welcomed their first baby's into the world and both families had continuous support with our model of care. The more births Alyssa and I do together the more we realize two doulas in the room is better than one. Fingers crossed it works out we're both present for our last August birth! *not even a filter could hide the fact I had a full day of work under my belt including a postpartum shift before heading to birth #1. Taking one for the doula team though since Alyssa looks gorgeous!
I'm in the process of starting a 501(c)(3) non-profit called Desert Birth & Wellness Scholarship Foundation that will fund some services provided by Desert Birth & Wellness. My initial goals are to fund a Lactation Clinic here in Joshua Tree and provide 4 hours of in home postpartum doula care for at risk low income families starting in the Morongo Basin and ideally serving the Coachella Valley down the line. While I've worked with non-profits for years setting this all up was outside my scope so I contracted a legal firm who is helping me. Things are moving much faster than I anticipated and it looks like I need to form a board asap!
I'm seeking volunteers for executive officer positions and board directors. You don't have to have a background in this field, organizational skills and great ideas are a huge plus! Coming from someone who often spreads themselves to thin please only volunteer for a board position if you are able to commit to 1-2 meetings a month. There will be plenty of opportunities for general volunteers in the future!
Please spread the word those who are interested can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm really trying to blog more. With a total of 6 girls between my husband and I, I'm not sure why I haven't blogged on each of their birthdays. Live & Learn! So much of my own experiences as a mother has helped me in my career.
Karley, my now 16 (wow, I'm getting old!) is the reason I'm a Lactation Consultant. She was a NICU baby and was NPO (nothing by mouth) for awhile. I pumped religiously in the mothers pumping area at Sharp Mary Birch. I remember everyone being divided by curtains. I was already discharged yet still pumping drops while I could hear everyones milk splashing into bottles. I was exhausted, emotional, confused and frustrated with most of our NICU stay. I had Hayley, my then 2.5 year old at home needing her mom just as much as her sister. We lived about 45 minutes away from the hospital. I made the difficult decision to stay home in the evenings. Depressed was an understatement when it came to pumping alone throughout the middle of the night. I can see where a postpartum doula could have been a huge asset for me.
Soon my milk came in and I proudly brought bags and bags of little bottles filled with yellow transitional milk. Karley was cleared to start eating and while she did great with a bottle she wouldn't latch onto my breast. My first while I had to help perfect her latch loved nursing from the second she was born. What was I doing wrong? I called in back up requesting an LC. She ended up seeing our "neighbor" first who celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday. His mom and I were Doula partners a few years later in San Diego! You never know who you will meet even when life isn't going as planned. My LC was sweet but very busy, she handed me a shield and showed us how to supplement at the breast. That worked... occasionally. By 3 weeks Karley was completely off bottles. It was hard work for both her and I. Months later when I was in my Lactation Educator course at UCSD I realized she had/has a tongue tie. Breastfeeding was established and we were both happy so I left it be. At 16 she has no problems with it. She's unique with her heart shaped tongue!
Karley has always been petite, she was "term" at 37 weeks, now considered near term. We've dealt with some Failure to Thrive diagnosis's in her early years. She has shown me to look at the baby/child not the charts or books. She's always been proportionate, active and reaching all her milestones. Her spunking attitude makes up for her size, with now two of her younger sisters (12 & 14) taller than her. I have no doubts her baby sister who is 6, is shortly behind them. She is an amazing dancer who loves yoga and just made her high school cheer squad. She loves music unless its country! She's driving with her permit but I know she'll be getting her license soon. I'm so proud of the young woman she's becoming!
Oh and statistics were on my side when it came to her birth. My second labor was drastically shorter than my first!
I am happy to announce that Desert Birth & Wellness is going paperless for our Doula clients! I've been planning this for awhile but this old school doula is finally saying goodbye to her love hate (ok, mostly hate!) relationship with the printer.
For those that don't know my husband and I also own a local eco tour company, Joshua Tree Excursions . Kelly and his professional staff pride themselves on being responsible hiking guides that conserve the environment and wildlife.
Ecotourism is about connecting conservation, communities and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement and participate in responsible tourism activities should follow the following ecotourism principles:
- minimize impact
- build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
- provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
- provide direct financial benefits for conservation
- provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
- raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental and social climate
So join me by saving paper, saving trees and saving the world! Not to mention end the frustrated of dealing with those stubborn printers who seem to have a mind of their own!
Photo Credit: Kelly Crawford, Joshua Tree Excursions
10% off all birth & postpartum doula packages until Easter, if paid in full. Love some bunny? Gift certificates are available! Hippy hoppity on this deal! Hire a doula for peeps sake. Hop to it! Hope this message puts a little spring in your step. (I warned you all I'm no blogger!)
I've been hesitant to jump into the blogging world. Despite having so much to talk about I've never been good with words on paper. As both a Lactation Consultant and Doula I practice non-judgmental support so I'm hoping our readers do the same with my writing!
I should probably talk a little bit more about myself. The picture above reflects my biggest inspirations (thank you Memories By Tasha!). These 5 gorgeous girls continue to teach me about motherhood. They've shown me every pregnancy and baby/child/teenager is different. Most importantly, they've taught me this precious time goes by too fast reminding me to slow down and appreciate every moment.
My bio which can be found here, goes over all the basics with experience and why I do what I love! I'm also the Treasurer for the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce and a Director with the High Desert Pregnancy Clinic. Two non-profits that I feel do amazing things for my little community. If volunteering paid the bills I would do it full time. I have big dreams of Desert Birth & Wellness being a non-profit, where I can help every mom who needs it while still being able to provide for my family. In due time...
I knew I needed a solid back up and partner if I was going to start accepting doula clients again. I don't think a lot of people realize the stress of an on call life. On call 24/7, 365 days a year is hard and sometimes impossible. Working with other doulas allows me to have days off like everyone else not to mention being able to stay at home with a sick little one or go on vacation without any worries! At Desert Birth & Wellness our contract states we are on call from the moment it's signed. Birth is something that can't be planned. Babies don't always come between 38-42 weeks. You get two doulas from day one. You get to know both doulas during your pregnancy, allowing you to be comfortable and confident with whichever one of us is on call when the big day comes. While our practices are very similar its also an added bonus to get 2 different perspectives when it comes to pregnancy and baby related questions. Every amazing women who is apart of Desert Birth & Wellness, present and future are women I would hire myself. I expect nothing but the best for our clients.
Let's talk breastfeeding! As much as I love birth, the postpartum period is my favorite. I often miss my time as a hospital LC. Mostly the NICU as I was able to watch those babies improve and grow while forming relationships with Mom. Follow up is very important to me, I wouldn't have nursed my own babies without the support of breastfeeding support groups. Even if breastfeeding is going well, mom deserves support and encouragement. We offer breastfeeding support groups every other week currently. After the first of the year I would like to start a group lactation clinic that would reduce the cost of a consultation for those who need help but can't afford it. Please if anyone truly needs help don't be afraid to call or email. We can always work something out. I'm happy to accept payment plans for any of our services.
I'm off to drop off my wreath for CMC College Foundations 7th Annual Festival of Wreaths. If you're around this weekend its November 20th at 2pm. It's held at the Bell Center at CMC and tickets are available at the door for $10 each. There's a competition brewing between my husband and I. Fingers crossed Desert Birth & Wellness wins! https://cmcfow.wordpress.com/2016/10/17/let-the-competition-begin/