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QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CHOOSING A PREGNANCY CARE PROVIDER

Your choice of primary care provider (doctor, obstetrician, midwife) will shape your birth experience. Each maternity care provider in the Palm Beach area has its own beliefs and philosophy about birth, as well as their own protocols for care.

It’s important to establish your birth philosophy (What are your beliefs and preferences for childbirth?) and choose a doctor or midwife who will support you in pursuing the outcome you desire.⁠

Do you view pregnancy and birth as:

· A medical condition that requires constant monitoring and management?

· A physical condition with many potential adverse outcomes requiring preventative action?

· Or, a natural process that should be allowed to occur on its own with occasional assistance should something extraordinary occur?

Do not be afraid to interview multiple primary care providers.

Many expectant parents choose their doctor or midwife based on recommendations from friends and family, but that may not be the ideal way to decide if a primary care provider is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to interview multiple doctors/midwives before choosing the one that you feel will align with your family’s needs. There are many questions you can ask to help establish whether or not a primary care provider is a good fit.

Where do you envision birthing?

At a hospital?

At home?

Ask: What is your birth philosophy?

Choosing a primary care provider who has the same beliefs about pregnancy and birth as you do will set the foundation for a positive birth experience.

Ask: How much choice will I have when decisions need to be made about my maternity care or during birth?

Positive birth experiences are about feeling in control and having choices. For some, choosing a primary care provider they trust means the decision-making ends there. You trust your doctor or midwife to tell you what is best. Others prefer choices each step of the way. They choose a primary care provider that they can trust to provide options. They combine the available choices with their primary care provider’s advice and other information they gather to make the best choices for themselves. Which one are you?

Ask: What is your __________ rate?

You may want to know how often your primary care provider performs episiotomies, and under what circumstance. What is their c-section rate? What is the c-section rate at the hospital they work with? When do they recommend a labor induction and how often do they recommend them? How many of their patients give birth with or without medication for pain relief? What percentage of the parents they work with are breastfeeding? For homebirths, what is their hospital transport rate? Will your provider be traveling around your estimated due date? If so, who is their backup? These questions can help you establish whether the primary care provider is prepared to support the birth experience you are hoping for.

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3 WAYS NEW PARENTS CAN BOND THROUGH RITUAL CONNECTEDNESS

Nothing shakes things up in a relationship like bringing home your first baby.

Everything changes the day you become parents. Each partner experiences a drastic shift in needs, goals, time, and priorities as they go from couple to family. It can be challenging to maintain your unique connection when two becomes three.

Communication is the Key to a Lasting Bond

Rituals include everyday traditions, special occasions, and celebrations that shape who we are as families, create connection, and strengthen bonds. These important practices give you and your partner something to hold onto as you shift into your life as parents.

Regular and intentional time to talk as a couple is an important ritual you can create to improve communication and strengthen your bond. Taking just 20 minutes each day to focus on each other, talk about the day, ask meaningful questions, and truly listen when the other speaks can evolve into a deeply meaningful relationship, full of trust and intimacy.

Keep Your Love Maps Up-to-Date

Love Maps is a concept termed by Dr. John Gottman. He has found that couples who have healthy, strong relationships have developed detailed “maps” of their partner’s inner self. This is something most couples do well when they are first dating, spending hours on the phone, talking over coffee, and long walks on the beach. Each partner gathers information about the other person’s goals, preferences, worries, stresses, and joys. Love Maps detail how well you know your partner. Over time, these maps change and evolve. Babies, careers, and busy lives make it more challenging to keep your Love Maps up-to-date.

Through rituals of connectedness, like taking 20 minutes each day to talk alone, you can reinforce and redefine your Love Maps. Meaningful but simple questions followed by uninterrupted and active listening will help you move through life together in a positive way.

You can try asking things like:

What is your favorite way to relax?

What flavor of ice cream do you like best?

What song makes you think about our relationship?

At first, this practice may feel awkward. You may be disappointed in yourself and your partner for losing touch with each other. You may feel like you should know these things and it might be uncomfortable to admit that you don’t. Try working from a list of ‘getting to know you’ questions to take the pressure off.

Handle Conflict Positively

Sleep deprivation and the drastic life changes that come with having a baby make it easier to lose your cool with your partner. Harsh words and blame flow more freely when we are worn out and fed

up, but instead of leading to resolution, attacking your partner is more likely to cause a defensive reaction.

Try your best to address your frustrations before they become unbearable. Use “I” statements and stay away from words like “always” and “never”. Be sure to stick to the present problem and jumping back to things that have happened in the past. By talking about your feelings calmly and respectfully, and telling your partner what you need from them, you can move to resolution faster and without damaging the intimacy between you.

Start Developing Ritual Connectedness Now

Strengthening your relationship can begin at any time. Try scheduling 20 minutes to just talk with your partner each day, work through a list of questions to help you update your Love Maps and be mindful of how you approach conflict. Having a baby can be an opportunity to deepen your bond and develop new rituals for connection, shaping the intimacy between the two of you, and creating a foundation for ritual connectedness as a family in the years to come.

Join us for one of our upcoming Gottman Bringing Baby Home Workshops if you’re looking for a way to grow in your relationship, strengthen the bond as united parents, and fall more in love with one another.

To learn more and to register:

http://coastaldoulas.com/upcoming-events/

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I BLAME IT ON THE DOULA: DADS AND DOULAS

Anonymous Guest Post

My husband is an amazing man. He works hard to provide for our family. Showing me he loves me every day, he brings me coffee in bed, reads stories to our children, cooks, and even does his own laundry on occasion. He is a wonderful father, not just to the daughter we created together but also to my other children. They know he loves them fiercely.

It was difficult for him to understand why I wanted to invite a virtual stranger to one of the most intimate events of our life, but he knew better than to argue with me when I had my mind set on something.

I hired a team of doulas while he was away on business. They were like friends and confidants all throughout my pregnancy and they will always have a special place in my heart. He didn’t meet either of them until I was in labor. I called as soon as I was sure things were happening because I wanted support from the very beginning. The doula on call came right away.

When I think back to the day our youngest daughter was born, I can not imagine feeling more connected to my husband or more supported by him, but he swears he owes it all to our doula.

She showed him how to touch me and where I may want to be touched.

When I seemed to be out of my mind, she reassured him all was well and normal.

Our labor doula stayed with me so he could take time out to recharge his batteries, eat without eating in front of me (my doctor didn’t feel that I should eat during labor and I decided this was okay with me), and check on our other children.

When complications arose, she helped us gather the information we needed to make the right decisions for us.

Experienced, our doula had attended many births at the hospital we were at. She knew where the warm blankets were and the fastest way to the kitchen for water and ice chips. She had positive professional relationships with the hospital staff and was even able to assist the nurses

and doctor (at their request) when they needed an extra hand. These were things a partner might normally be asked to do but because we had a doula, he remained focused on me completely.

Our doula’s gentle suggestions and reminders kept me in good spirits, my bladder empty, and my body hydrated.

She took the only photos we have of the day our daughter was born, perfectly capturing us both as we met the person our love had created.

I fell so much deeper in love with him that day. He gave me all of him. I will never forget looking deep into his eyes during the really hard parts and feeling like I could reach out and touch the love between us.

My memories of that day have gotten us through some tough times over the years.

He was able to give his all to me because of the reassurance our doula gave him, the breaks he was able to get to care for himself, and confidence he had with her guidance and encouragement.

Our daughter is 4 now but when I bring up the incredible support he provided that day, he squirms a bit, gets a little gleam in his eye, and says “I blame it on the doula.”

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PLANNING FOR THE FOURTH TRIMESTER

Crying over everything and nothing, leaking breasts that feel like they might explode, and a tiny new person who depends on you to meet their every need. Postpartum.

The fourth trimester, a term coined by Dr. Harvey Karp, refers to the first three months after your baby is born. It’s a time of healing, growing, learning, and transition. The beginning of a new life, yours and your baby’s together.

Cultures around the world have traditional practices that guide the way mother and baby are cared for during this time, but in North America, we are just starting to understand the need for postpartum practices and traditions.

Not unlike a birth plan, a postpartum plan will help you navigate your recovery from birth and transition into parenthood. We suggest you start planning for the postpartum period while you are still pregnant. Embrace this time as one that will set the stage for your new life as a parent.

So how do you plan for your fourth trimester?

Explore Cultural Practices From Around the World

Almost every deep-rooted cultural practice for postpartum recovery includes a lying-in period. This is a time when mother and baby rest together and are nurtured by others while they focus on bonding and rest. This time of rest ranges from one month to 100 days, depending on the culture. Lying in may include other traditional practices, health beliefs, taboos, rituals, and prescriptions. For example, in China, postpartum women “sit the month”, called zuo yue zi. They may be cared for by a yuesao, similar to a postpartum doula, who bathes baby, prepares nourishing meals to promote postpartum healing, and incorporates other traditional practices.

How do You Want Your Baby to be Cared for?

Immediate care of your newborn can be covered in your birth plan. How you would like your baby to be cared for beyond their first few hours of life fits into your postpartum plan. Include things like feeding preferences, medications, diapering, vaccinations, skin-to-skin time, and bathing. Not sure what to include?

We can help you ensure you’ve covered everything important to you at our My Postpartum Period workshop.

Set Boundaries with Visitors

Decide ahead of time who you would like to visit you and meet your new baby, both at the hospital and at home. You may want to limit visitors to immediate family for the first

few weeks or even avoid visitors all together while you are learning to breastfeed and getting to know your baby. You do not owe your friends and family time with your baby. Some people even wait to have a baby shower until after their baby is born, allowing them to avoid visitors in the early weeks but giving friends and family a date to look forward to.

Need support when wording your preferences for visitors and requests for support from friends and family? You’ll find information about our My Postpartum Period workshop at the end of this post.

Consider how Household Chores and Meal Preparation will be Managed

The first few weeks after your baby arrives should not be filled with laundry, dishes, and mopping. Will you enlist friends and family to help out, trade baby snuggles for home-cooked meals, rely on your partner to carry the responsibility, or hire a postpartum doula?

You have many options for keeping up with your home while you get the rest you need.

This is Your Postpartum Period

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Don’t Let Go

As I am laying in bed next to my 3-year old so that he will fall asleep I cant help but miss the days when he was an infant and wanted to cuddle with me all of the time. I reflect on how my baby boy isn’t a baby anymore and is growing up. As I start to maneuver my arm off of him and attempt my way out of the bed, a hand reaches over and grabs my arm and he says, “Mommy, don’t let go.”

I am reminded of one of those million times that people say to hold on to these moments because they don’t last. Each time they say that, I always smile, nod in agreement, and move on, because really it needs to speed up so I can finally get some sanity and peace, and maybe just get something done, right? At this moment I finally got it. I finally understood what they meant. My son wanted me next to him, not to let go, and to just be there in that moment. How much longer will he want that from me?

Each day my kids get older, and each day they need me less and less. Yes, that is something you hear everyday, and yes, I agree it gets really old and annoying after the 10th time hearing it, but think about who you hear it from. You hear this wisdom from those moms and dads that no longer have the little ones running around and remember what it is like for the time to fly by and possibly not appreciate all that you had in that moment.

Today is “No Housework Day”. What does this mean? It means take a step away from the day-to-day tasks, the “job” of motherhood, and really enjoy this day. Those who have a job they go to get vacation days or days off in some way. You deserve a day off. Maybe you still need to be a mom and a wife, but the laundry can wait, the dishes will be there tomorrow. Savor the time you have as a mom today and really enjoy just being with your kids or even just taking some time to do something that will take your mind off the day-to-day housework chores. Sit, and don’t let go.

 

Enjoy letting go today,

Amy

 

 

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If The Following Are True, A Doula Is For You

A Doula is a beneficial addition to your birth team if

any of the following things are true about yourself:

 

  • Birthing in a hospital, at a birth center, or at your home
  • Your care provider is a Obstetrician or Midwife
  • Planning a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section
  • Wanting an unmedicated birth or planning to use an epidural
  • Trying for a VBAC, anticipating an induction or completely unsure still
  • Low risk pregnancy or high risk pregnancy
  • Married, in a relationship, single mom, surrogate, or adoptive parent
  • Writing a birth plan or planning to simply go with the flow
  • You’re having just one baby or planning for multiples
  • This is your first, second, third, fourth or fifth baby
  • You desire to breastfeed or use formula to feed your baby
  • Working full time, part time or plan to stay home with your baby
  • Want to feel confident, supported, encouraged, educated, empowered, or validated

We believe there are many variables that determine what is best for you as you birth your baby.

Here at Coastal Doulas of Palm Beach we promise to always provide the exceptional care you need and want during this exciting time.

How ever you plan to birth your baby, we are here to provide the care you need along the way to feel confident in your choices and fully supported from start to finish.

We look foward to meeting you!  

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Imagine a Day

 

Take a minute and imagine having your very own Postpartum Doula for a day.

You are meant to be a mom.  There are often times as a new mom that leave you feeling like you were not meant to do this. It is too hard.  Your body is sore, you need your sleep, and you just don’t know how you are going to get through the day.  Every time you try to use the bathroom, sit down to eat, or rest on the edge of your bed for a moment, the baby starts screaming.  It’s almost like they have a sixth sense or something.  We promise you, you can do it.  What you may need though is the right tools to help things run a bit more smoothly.  Your attitude & perception of this parenting journey can be much more positive by having someone you know and trust walk through the early days and weeks providing guidance, assurance, expertise and support.

 

The postpartum period is often called “the fourth trimester” and having a doula come to help during this time is valuable in more ways than you may realize.  Your postpartum doula is there to help navigate this wonderful experience through all of the highs and lows that come with parenthood.  She is there to help you figure out how you can shower, make meals, keep up with laundry, and take care of yourself, all while also taking care of your beautiful newborn & the rest of your family.  Your doula is there to provide the opportunity for you to catch up on sleep without the guilt of feeling that you’re letting important things fall behind in the process.

 

With a newborn, there’s a good chance you and your baby have been up the majority of the night.  There is also a darn good chance you’ve only had 3 hours total of sleep, and it was probably in 30-45 minute increments.  As you greet the day once again, with little sleep under your belt, you may begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to get a shower or a much-needed nap.  Stack many sleepless nights like that in a row, and you may find being a new mom extra challenging.  It takes time to adjust while you recover and figure out life’s new routine.  In fact, forget even finding a routine in that state of mind, you’re just wondering if the engorgement in your breasts will ever subside.  Navigating through the normal daily challenges that come in those first weeks & months is what your postpartum doula is there for.

 

So what is it like to have a postpartum doula? Postpartum doulas are not nannies or babysitters. They are there to support YOU as the new mom in all that you need.  Maybe you just need a simple recharge that looks like a nice hot cup of coffee and a warm breakfast.  We know the value of these and many other little resetting experiences.  You deserve to be able to take a breath and have someone nearby who can reassure you that the way you feel  is normal and won’t last forever.  A postpartum doula can arrive in the morning, make you a cup of coffee, & cook breakfast while you nurse or feed your baby.  She then provides you the opportunity to enjoy your breakfast while it’s still hot while she burps & changes your baby’s diaper and then folds the pile of baby laundry that’s been sitting on the couch for the last 3 days.  Sometimes just the ability to take a nice deep breath in the morning is exactly what you need to make the day successful.

 

Your postpartum doula genuinely cares about you and your family.  She listens and offer encouragement through the struggles & tears.  She’s there to celebrate and share in the joys and parenting wins you experience.  She fiercely believes that you are the very best parent for your baby.  She helps answer those non-stop questions that are constantly running through your head.  How do you find the right bottle?  What is the best baby carrier?  How often should my baby eat and sleep?  Never will she judge decisions or choices you choose to make.  She will encourage you to be the mom you want to be as you navigate through and decide on your parenting philosphy.  There is not one right way.  There is your way, and that is what we think is the right way and what we choose to support.

 

 

Here’s just a glimpse into what a day with your postpartum doula can look like:

 

You are exhausted, but you know your doula will arrive soon. When she gets here for her shift she:

  • Greets you with a smile
  • Listens as you tell her all about the night you had
  • Takes the baby so you can go take time to shower and freshen up without worrying about your baby
  • Has a hot cup of coffee and a nice warm breakfast made for you at the table to sit down and enjoy
  • Has cleaned up the dishes, and the dishwasher has been emptied, and your baby is happy
  • Helps with the laundry that has been piling up for days because you just don’t have the time or energy
  • Changes the baby’s diaper when needed so you can continue to rest
  • Helps to prepare a snack for you
  • Lets you take a much-needed nap while taking care of the baby
  • Provides suggestions for you with any breastfeeding or bottle-feeding problems that you’re experiencing
  • She helps you figure out how to use the baby carrier
  • Has prepared you lunch & put dinner in the crockpot while you were snuggling your baby
  • Has most importantly, helped you to be able to TAKE CARE OF YOU!

 

The main job of a doula is to take care of the mom. As moms, we spend so much time caring for others that it’s easy to neglect taking care of ourselves so that we can be the best moms we are called to be.  A doula is there for you in the transitional postpartum period to allow you the support you need to gain confidence in knowing that you are not alone, that you are an amazing mom and that you can do this!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mom Dating, It’s A Real Thing

Life after having a baby changes things, as I’m sure we can all agree. While you may stay close with your pre-kids friends, you may now find yourself seeking the friendship of other women who are in the same stage of life as you. But what do you do when your girlfriends either haven’t had kids yet or have older kids that are in a different stage? When this happens, it may be time to put yourself out there a bit.

 

I look back at the first playdate I had with my now best friend, and I just laugh, because it was a complete disaster! I was very pregnant with my second child and I had invited her over along with her 2 young kids. Our 2 years olds were playing so nicely in my son’s room and we were busy chatting and getting to know one another.

 

After 10 minutes of quiet we decided to check on them, only to discover they had snuck out of my son’s bedroom and were in my bathroom covered from HEAD-TO-TOE in bright green Irish Springs body wash. Oh, and let me also mention they had decorated the ENTIRE bathroom; mirror and all in the body wash.  Oh how I wish now that I had a picture of it all, lol.  Needless to say we were both mortified. Our green gooey children now realizing they were caught and started wailing at the top of their lungs. This only added to the chaos. Our darling angels had never done anything like this before, so of course we were both secretly blaming the other kid.  My kid of course would NEVER do such a thing on his own.  I fumbled around and said I’d clean everything up, while she grabbed her green gooey child, muttered “I’m sorry” and headed out the door. Thankfully neither of us let this disastrous first date end our friendship. 6 years later, all four of our kids are now the best friends just like their moms, and we can easily laugh about this first mom date fail.

 

If you’re still trying to find your group of friends, don’t give up! There are so many ways to find close friends to do life with. It may take a little extra effort & time on your part, just like it did when you were first dating. Here are a few ideas:

  • Mommy & me yoga, music or gymnastic class.
  • Local libraries often have story time and other activities designed for moms to bring their babies and meet other moms
  • Some local churches offer a MOPS program or women’s studies that cater to moms and typically provide childcare
  • Work out classes that allow you to bring your child(ren)
  • Local moms Meet Up network
  • Playgrounds – introduce yourself to another mom with a child around the same age
  • Local Facebook parenting groups

 

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The Valley of Wait

Guest Post from Taffney L.

Valley:

Noun – an elongated depression between uplands, hills, or mountains, especially one following the course of a stream.

Noun – any place, period, or situation that is filled with fear, gloom, foreboding, or the like: the valley of despair.

 

When my husband and I decided to grow our family, we were living in the Valley of Wait.  Wait two weeks to see if this is finally our month.  Wait two weeks to try again.  Repeat, repeat, repeat.

This valley was a very lonely and isolating place filled with feargloom, and foreboding.  No matter what we did, we just couldn’t make it up the mountain that was in front of us.  It seemed as though everyone around us climbed that mountain with such ease.  Yet we waited in the valley month after month.

 

Here is our story…

We tried for over two years to get pregnant.  This is not long compared to many, but it was long enough for me to know the pain of infertility.  After about a year of trying, we sought out a specialist and began testing.  We came to find out that we were dealing with male factor infertility.  However, I was technically the “patient” since I was the one to be pregnant.  The doctors prescribed pills and injections to help me release more eggs (more eggs, more chances).  We went through three rounds of Intrauterine Insemination (six inseminations).  All failed.  We were then told we would not get pregnant without In Vitro Fertilization.  Through lots of prayer and discussion, we decided we would not pursue IVF.  This was the hardest thing for me to accept.  Having to come to terms with the fact that we would not be parents was near impossible, but we felt that God did not want us to do anymore treatments.  He had other plans for us.  In December 2015, we found out we were pregnant with our miracle baby.  Our daughter is now 6 months old.

On days when the valley felt especially long, I was reminded that God has called me to be a strong warrior during the times of waiting.  He is my help and my shield.  I could let go of the fear, gloom, and foreboding and rejoice in Him.  I had hope, because I trust in His holy name. (Psalm 33:20-22) I trusted He would use this time of waiting for my good and His glory.

All that waiting sure wasn’t easy, but I look back and give thanks for my time spent in the valley of wait.  Now I can help other women as they navigate their own valley.

Everyone’s cause of infertility is different.  The treatments we do, or don’t do, are different.  Still, we all have the same desire for a child in our hearts.  During our time spent in the valley, I wished over and over I had someone to talk to and to ask questions.  I was thankful no one I knew was going through infertility, but that also made me feel even more isolated.  Now I am using our journey so that no other women feel alone.

 

If you have any questions about the infertility journey, are interested in a local infertility support group, or you just need to say “this is awful!” on the hard days, I would love to connect with you! Please email me at group.taffney@gmail.com.  And always remember that you are not alone in your valley of wait.

 – Taffney

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Choosing the Perfect Pediatrician

Prior to becoming a parent, one of the important decisions you will need to make, is to choose a pediatrician.  Upon first thought, you may think this is going to be an easy task, right?  Thanks to the internet you can look up local pediatricians in our area and find quite a lengthy list of options to choose from.  And if you ask on local Facebook moms groups for a pediatrician you’ll more than likely be given a long list of options as well.  The problem though, is that not all pediatricians are the same with the same ways of doing things.  Each one has a different personality and passion.  They all have different views and ways of handling things like vaccinations, antibiotics, introducing foods, & growth.  How far away from your home and/or work are they located?  What is there approach on breastfeeding and formula feeding?  Some practices provide a small staff of doctors which allows for more individualized care; while larger practices often provide more options for evening and weekend appointments.

In the same way it’s important to find a doctor or midwife during your pregnancy that aligns with what’s most important to you; it’s just as important to choose a pediatrician that aligns with how you plan to parent.  There are many decisions as parents that you will have to make that not everyone is going to agree with, and THAT’S OKAY.  Guess what, you will never please everyone….you just won’t.  Do your research, talk to your partner and make decisions based off of your own convictions and beliefs.  Then choose a pediatrician who respects you as a parents and most closely aligns with what you need and what’s important to you.  We’ve created this list of questions to use in your quest for the perfect pediatrician.

Click here to download your Pediatrician Questionnaire now.

Helping you navigate through these choices, as you discover your parenting philosophy is something we love to do.  As always, we are here to support you on this parenthood journey and if we can help don’t be afraid to ask.