Insights from a Portland Birth Doula

Is Labor a Marathon?

Is Labor a Marathon?

Labor is often compared to a marathon. And it’s a comparison that goes a long way (see what I did there?)... but it doesn’t go all the way. I’ll tell you what I mean. The analogy works when we think about the fact that labor is quite a journey and often takes a long time too. Coping with labor can be like coping during a marathon when we think about “staying in the moment”, “putting one foot in...

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Reflections: Surrogacy Home Birth Story

Reflections: Surrogacy Home Birth Story

Last year 2 years ago, at about this time today, I gave birth for the 4th and last time. How many times have I said it was my last? Well, 3, but this time I think it’s really true. I turned 40 41 this year, I have a teenager and another almost-teenager, and the last two pregnancies were for families other than my own. I’ve done more gestating than most! I’ve wanted to write this last birth story...

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Why do partners feel so helpless during birth?

Why do partners feel so helpless during birth?

When I teach childbirth classes and meet with my doula clients, the number one thing that most partners want to know is how they can help.  The good news: You can help.  The bad news: Help in labor doesn’t always look how you think it looks.  For labor support, it’s less about what you do and more about how you are. What does that even mean, “how you are?”  Well, are you tense, stressed, and/or...

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“I might have been a little cocky going into this”: My birth story as I remember it

“I might have been a little cocky going into this”: My birth story as I remember it

*Warning: this birth story contains all the gritty details, read at your own risk. 😉 I love giving birth. The way it forces me to be completely in my body and completely in the moment is incredible. I relish the intensity of the process. Strange, perhaps, but true. It's my style of thrill-seeking, I guess. And I feel like it's something I do well. Author and social anthropologist, Sheila...

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Aren’t Doulas Just for Natural Birth?

Aren’t Doulas Just for Natural Birth?

Every doula I know smacks her palm to her forehead whenever she hears or reads some version of the headline above. But guess what?  We hear it a lot… so our foreheads are pretty sore. And we must be somewhat to blame. It would seem that our efforts to educate are falling very short. Of course, this perception doesn't come from nowhere. Definitely, doulas tend to relish birth in all of...

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Surrogacy: The Most Hands-On Professional Development I May Ever Get

Surrogacy: The Most Hands-On Professional Development I May Ever Get

For those of you that haven't heard, I have some big news: Once again, I'm carrying a life. This life is a kicking, somersaulting little boy who, when born, will be handed back to his parents, two Dads who live in Utah.  He is due on May 3rd or thereabouts. I might be crazy, I'm not sure. But this has been an amazing journey so far and one that is still teaching me. One thing that everyone...

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Take Nothing for Granted: What it Feels Like to Come Home from a Birth

What do you feel like when you come home from a day of work? Tired? Energized? Cranky? Cuddly? When I come home from a day (or more) of being with a laboring mom I feel like I've been in another world. A world where life and death hang in the balance. A world where lives are changed dramatically and forever. A world where women and their partners exhibit amazing feats of endurance and remain...

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Ripe for the Picking

Ripe for the Picking

It's late summer now. Middays are hot, but the mornings are chilly. And the blackberries--my favorite berries of all-- so ripe a few weeks ago, are starting to shrivel and go dormant until next year. Sure I have some guilt for loving this invasive plant, but somehow I can't help myself. Ahhh... blackberries. And the picking of berries makes me think of--what else?--pregnancy and birth, of...

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Finding Your Voice

I was at a networking meeting for birth professionals recently and in small group discussions we asked a question: "What do you wish more people knew about pregnancy, birth, postpartum or breastfeeding?" There are a lot of answers to that question, but immediately one doula said (and I paraphrase), "I wish more women knew... that they had options."  Options*. Yes. You have tons of them. But...

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Epidural: Friend or Foe?

Well, I asked for suggestions for a new blog entry and someone helpfully suggested one of the most controversial topics in maternity care: THE EPIDURAL. Is this too much for one blog entry? I guess we'll find out because I'm going to take it on. But don't expect me to come down on one side or the other. I've never seen this stuff as black and white and I don't support arguing over it. What I...

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You’ve entered the judgement-free zone

Everybody has opinions. Everybody has biases. I'm no different. Lets just get that out of the way right here. Something else to get out of the way: I am a birth junkie. It's what I geek out on. When I had my two babies, I had not one second of doubt about whether I would be able to give birth at home without drugs. Don't ask me why. I just...knew. But I'm not on some high horse. It's just a...

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Wonder Woman for a Day

It's kind of a funny story. I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR on the way to pick up my daughter from school and Terry Gross was talking with Jimmy Fallon about how he came to be on Saturday Night Live. It turns out that Jimmy Fallon wanted to be on SNL almost as far back as he can remember. He said that when he would blow out birthday candles, he would wish to one day be on SNL. I was...

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Eeny meeny miney mo

Life is about decision-making. Some decisions are small (Do I wear the rainbow-striped socks or the green argyle ones?).  And, of course, some decisions are BIG, like, "Where should I have my baby?" And you would never make that kind of decision based on a child's game like 'Eeny, meeny, miney, mo,' right? Or would you? It seems ridiculous. And yet... there are times when all the research is...

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What to read when you’re expecting

I'm kind of picky about my birth literature. Weeell... I'm maybe I'm not that picky about what I read, but I'm super, über nit-picky about what I'll recommend.  I'm a Virgo. I'm critical. What can I say? The list of 'can'ts' is long. It can't be too preachy, too fluffy, too scary, too bland, too rigid, too slanted or too, uh, new-agey, let's say. I know, I know, what's left?  Not much,...

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Compassionate Care

Does every woman need a doula? I'm a doula, so I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to answer this question with an unequivocal "yes."  But that wouldn't be quite honest, would it? Because, like most things, it's more complicated than that. I can't answer "yes" to that question because here's my little confession: I had two children and I didn't have a doula, nor did I feel like I needed one at any...

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Scarlett Lynsky on DaoCloud