Mother Interview: A Beautifully Healing Birth

vaginal birth after cesarean VBAC birth storyName (Age): Charity (34)
City: Dexter
Birth Location: St. Joseph Mercy – Menon, Miller & Midwives

 
SRS: When did you decide to hire a doula? Was it always in your plan, or was there a moment when you decided?
Charity: With my first I wanted and planned for an unmedicated birth but ended up having a c-section due to him being breech. So when I became pregnant with my second, just 5 short months after my first was born, I knew immediately I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)! I knew hiring a doula would greatly increase my chances of that VBAC.
SRS: ring sling VBAC newbornWhat was the single most helpful thing a part of your birth team did for you while you were in labor?
Charity: Have confidence in me that I could have an unmedicated VBAC! 

SRS: Did you seek out a specific care provider when you knew you wanted a VBAC?
Charity: ​I didn’t seek out a specific care provider as I was already with a midwife.  I did take a class with Beth about VBAC’s which was extremely helpful!​
SRS: What two things do you wish you would have been told before you were pregnant?
Charity: Your baby only needs YOU! Be confident in yourself as a mother.
SRS: What do you wish no one would have said to you while you were pregnant?
Charity: You’re pregnant again? Wow, that was quick!
SRS: What is the most indispensable thing that you have needed as a new mom?Charity: Help with everyday household needs!
siblings meeting birthSRS: What were you not able to do while pregnant that you couldn’t wait to do again?
Charity: Sleep on my belly!

SRS: What was the biggest surprise with the immediate postpartum time?

Charity: How quickly I adjusted to having 2 little ones. And how much easier nursing was the second time around.
SRS: What other life event should have a “doula”?
Charity: Death.
 
 

Mother Interview: Really Drawn Out Change of Plans

We’re going to start doing small interviews with our past clients, not necessarily about birth, but about some of the little things surrounding birth.  What was hard, what was the best advice you received, etc…  We hope that in sharing these candid little parts of pregnancy and new motherhood, we can normalize this experience for everyone.  We so often only see the most beautiful parts, or the hardest struggles, of  this major life change.  There is so much more!  All titles for the interviews are chosen by the mothers themselves.
This is MY interview!  Nothing profound, just a casual chat.  If you would like to be interviewed, please let us know, we would LOVE to hear from you.  We hope to have a new interview every month or so. Love, Katy

Katy and Ross get to know baby ZOG
Love at First Sight

Name (Age): KG (31)
City: Ypsilanti
Birth Location(s): Home Birth Transfer to University of Michigan Hospital

SRS: When did you decide to hire a doula? Was it always in your plan, or was there a moment when you decided?
KG: I actually didn’t call on a doula for support until about 36 weeks. I had people who were attending who would be great doulas, so it wasn’t until about 36 weeks that I realized I needed one of them to “take the lead” in managing all the little things that doulas do.
SRS: Who did you have on your birth team?laboring, support, labor
KG: My partner, Ross, my midwife, Beth, my mom (who has worked as a Birth Assistant), and Grace, my best friend (also a trained Doula).
SRS: What do you wish no one would have said to you while you were pregnant?
KG: Are you sure there aren’t twins in there? And all the horror birth stories. All I could think was: Why didn’t you have a doula!
SRS: What 2 things do you wish you would have been told before you were pregnant?
KG: Oh geez… 1. This is probably TMI, but, vaginal discharge! I know a woman’s body goes through all sorts of changes, but man. It wasn’t gross or anything, just like glue! Ugh. 2. I didn’t realize that pregnancy would affect my appetite so much. I didn’t have any interest in food for most of my pregnancy. I didn’t have terrible “morning sickness” but did have mild nausea the entire pregnancy.
SRS: What kept you up at night during your pregnancy?
KG: Insomnia. Which I learned was normal during my late night researching because I couldn’t sleep.
SRS: What were you not able to do while pregnant that you couldn’t wait to do again?
KG: Drink a nice strong beer!
SRS: What is the most indispensable thing that you have needed as a new mom?
KG: Baby carriers. The Moby wrap early on, and my woven wrap into toddler-hood. These are indispensable when trying to get around or get anything done with an infant. At 2 years old, Z also still loves to fall asleep being all wrapped up.
SRS: What was the hardest part about your postpartum time?
KG: Depression.  This was also great, because while depression is hard, I had never been told I was depressed.  Postpartum exacerbated my symptoms, but also helped me see I have been suffering years.
SRS: What was the biggest surprise with the immediate postpartum time?
KG: How much I actually knew about what was best for my baby. Trusting my instincts hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

I get to teach! Birth and the First Three Months

Update!  I am no longer teaching for Pregnancy Arts as Deb has retired from CBE and commenced her career as a Certified Nurse Midwife!  It’s very exciting for her, and our area is very lucky to have her in that roll.  Therefore, I will continue teaching at Ypsi-Arbor Childbirth Education, Ariana and my joint venture.  Check us out!

It’s happening!

I get to teach childbirth education! This has been a dream for awhile, and while I have taught a few private classes here and there, I haven’t found a class model that I really wanted to teach in a group setting. Well, that’s not quite true, but the style of class I wanted to teach was already being taught, and by a Man_150x390fabulous, inspirational teacher.
Deb Rhizal, of Pregnancy Arts and Mara’s World, a doula, mother, and wellness coach, has the most fantastic, evidence-based, and feel good class I have attended. So much of her class has gone directly to my clients, as I try to emulate the feelings I left her class with, and share them with new families as they ask me questions about what to expect, and how to manage labor, birth, and the postpartum time.
Recently, Deb has been super busy with all sorts of new life adventures and letting go of the 6 week course was a necessary change to her schedule. I jumped on the opportunity! I believe this class, Birth and the First Three Months is important to have in our local Childbirth Education resource list. I think that it is essential to have available to help families really prepare, to be empowered to make the right choices for them and their birth.  So, I asked if there was a way I could be entrusted with her curriculum, and continue to share it with the community.  And she said YES! 40-weeks-pregnant-term-internal-large
The reason this class is so great is that it does an amazing job of speaking to all people.  We all come to pregnancy and birth from a different place, with different stories, and different belief structures.  This class can speak to everyone, from those planning a home birth, to those who feel most comfortable in the care of an OB.  It covers labor and birth, but also the postpartum time, as families really do the hard work of adjusting to the major changes that come when you add another (tiny) person into the fold.  This class is truly about encouraging women to do their research, both by reading, and asking questions, but also by looking inside and seeing what feels best.
babyandsacinfoSo, here we are, just a month away from the start of class, and I am so excited!  I am working on perfecting my presentations, and getting some feedback as I go along.  It is going to happen, and I am so honored to get to work for Pregnancy Arts in this way.  Check out all the great information Deb has on her website about the class, and please let your friends know that there is a really great class starting up again this fall!   Registration is on the Pregnancy Arts website.  I will be teaching at Indigo Forest in Ann Arbor.
Deb also teaches this class in a condensed version, as well as a breastfeeding class.  Check those out too!

More babies?!

passive solar house in the woods
Halfway through painting the trim.
There have been big changes going on lately in the Gladwin family. We have officially moved into our new house! (post about that coming soon!) This house has been a dream or ours for many years. Over the last 3 years we have put innumerable hours into dreaming up, designing, hiring, firing, redesigning and building this amazing house that we will live in for the rest of our lives.
baby in a hat
He absolutely loves this hat.
During this time, we also got pregnant and had a baby!  Zachary is an awesome, almost-2-year-old.  He’s full of wonder, too smart for his own good (and mine for that matter) and frankly, a handful.
We have always said we would have 2 kids, for a number of reasons.  The most important to me being that I have always felt like that would feel like a complete family to me.  I grew up with 3 little siblings, and while I love them all and wouldn’t change a thing, I also think that I would have a very hard time giving as much attention as I would want to 4 children.  One has always felt lonely.
Now, I have to admit, I’m not so sure.  Can we just have one and feel like a complete family?  We do, though there has always been the expectation of another soon.  Will I always want another baby?  Even if I have another one, will I still always want yet another baby?  I have plenty of friends who are very happy with the number of kids they have, yet still long for a newborn, and another chance to experience the magic that comes with all the ‘firsts’ of a new life.
I had a difficult postpartum period, Zachary was great and healthy, I was physically healing well.
doula walking Ann Arbor
Out for a walk. Zachary really loves to be walked to sleep on my back. Outside walks always work faster, and he sleeps longer.
Mentally, I was a mess.  It took me almost a year to realize I was dealing with postpartum depression.  I didn’t realize that spring and summer had happened and that we could venture outside until mid-June.  Zero sex drive. Attending births was too scary.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had belly-laughed.  I started several treatment routes, and began to feel more human by September.  The last 10 months have been hard, lots of uprooting and shifting ground, but I have for the most part been able to stay even-keeled and emotionally healthy.
Now, here we are, at the time when we always imagined trying for number 2, and I feel like we JUST got a hold on real life.  So, do we just go for it, know it will be amazing, and life changing – again? Or, do we hold off, wait for things to settle further (will they ever settle?) and then have the conversation again? I’ll let you know where we land.
We built a house!
We had great help through the whole build! Friends and family help us move in on building day.

Lactation Nut Butter Balls

When I was newly postpartum, a lovely friend brought me these amazing lactation friendly peanut butter balls that were so nice to have around and just grab when I needed a snack.  I scoured the web looking for the recipe that matched.  I found this one at TheBabyGoat.com and it is amazing!

lactation recipe for oatmeal nut butter balls
The tiny ones are for the toddler 🙂

I have changed it A LOT though over the past year a a half, and have added even more nutritional yumminess!  I have also doubled the recipe (sorta).
edited version:
In stand mixer mix: 

  • 2 cups dry rolled oats + 2 cups finely ground dry rolled oats
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed and chia seed (in whatever ratio you like)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, and/or hemp hearts
  • 4-8 tablespoons brewer’s yeast (optional – though a GREAT source of nutrients and protein)
  • 1-2 tbsp turmeric and/or cacao powder. (optional)

Add, while mixer is running: 

  • 1-2 tbsp vanilla or almond (or both) extract
  • 2/3 cup honey – mix well

mix in:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup room temp butter (depending on how okay you are with eating lots of butter 😉

At this point add nut butter (peanut, cashew, sunflower seed, almond, etc) until it holds together to be able to form balls.
I then add:

  • 1/2-1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped nuts

Roll into balls, put into bowl, eat all the time! (or as I all too often do, don’t make into balls, eat with spoon out of mixing bowl every time you walk by the kitchen…)
These are so yummy and addictive.  They are chock-full of healthy ingredients, so you can snack guilt free.  Enjoy!