Monday, June 6, 2016

What I Love

Being a doula, I get to be involved in some of the most magic moments in the world.

I love helping families welcome their newest additions into this world.  There is nothing quite as amazing as childbirth, no matter how it happens.  I am honored to be a part of it every single time. I love the look on parents’ faces when their baby emerges.  But those are the selfish things I love about being a doula.

My job entails giving emotional, physical, and informational support to families during labor and delivery (mostly). This is the very heart of my job.  Families call me, often in the middle of the night, to come help them get through labor.  I get to go to their houses while they are in the throes of labor and talk to them about what’s been going on so far.  I get to help the laboring person move around, massage them, and tell them when I think everything is going alright. Rarely do I have to help them make a decision to go to the hospital, though I did once have to tell a mom to stop pushing and get in the car unless she wanted a homebirth.  Physically, it can be taxing sometimes. I can squeeze hips for hours, but at some point the rebozo and partner are going to have to help. 

As a childbirth educator, I also love the looks on people’s faces when they learn something and have that a-ha moment.  Their faces light up with surprise and their eyebrows raise when something has peaked their interest or they make a realization that changes their perspective.  Those are the moments I live for in the classroom.

I also love when hospitals have overwhelmingly supportive staff who go above and beyond time and time again.  When a nurse catches me standing on a bed doing a rebozo technique and asks me how to do that and why I’m doing it instead of yelling at me to get out of the bed. I love a nurse who is more than happy to hold a monitor on a pregnant belly while a mom labors in any position she wants.  Let me not forget to give a major shout-out to the nurses who get the stick on the first try.  Thank you so much for not turning my clients into pincushions. 

Providers who respect a family’s rights in childbirth are another great professional love of mine.  A doctor who patiently waits as a mother pushes her baby down is invaluable to birth. A midwife who catches babies in any position is amazing. A provider who waits for laboring down to take its full effect and lets gravity and the uterus do most of the work before pushing even begins, that is a great provider.

Most of all, I love my job as a doula and a childbirth educator.  Every moment that I get to help families as they grow is amazing, and I truly try to cherish them all. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

You Say Pospartum, We Say...


I've noticed that some people equate the word postpartum with postpartum depression, that is not what it is at all. Anyone who has a baby goes through the postpartum period as the defition of postpartum is the time following birth. By now, I assume you know what doulas do during pregnancy and the birth process,if not check out some of our other blogs about what we do! We also offer pospartum doula services.

A postpartum doula comes to you and helps out after baby is born. We can start as soon as you get home or any time you may need us. Nights? Weekends? Whenever you want help.

Your postpartum doula can:

Hold the baby while you rest.
Teach you the magic baby hold.
Clean your house while you feed and bond with baby.
Troubleshoot feeding issues, I (Candice) will soon be a CLC.
Help create a routine for you and your family.
Sterilize bottles.
Do laundry.
Walk the dog.
Do any heavy lifting you aren't supposed to be doing right after giving birth.
Wear your baby and teach you to use your carriers,carseats,and strollers.
Go along on errands to help with baby, or run them for you while you relax at home.
Decipher cryptic babygear instructions and help choose items that work best for you.
Entertain your older children.
Help out with bedtime.
Guide you through the dreaded witching hour.
Run interference with visitors.
Decode the loads of parenting information out there. We help find what works for YOU and YOUR baby.

This list is just some of what a postpartum doula can do for you. We will gladly provide whatever support you need during your childbearing year. There is no limit on how long you can have a postpartum doula working for you, you can book as little as 3 hours up to as many hours as you need. Check our website for more information. We welcome chats on facebook too!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The 12 Hour Clause?

Official Doula Group of Evansville Statement:
We will never have a 12 hour clause in our contracts.

Who uses the 12 hour clause?
Many doulas have started to have a 12 hour clause put into their contract.  The argument goes that they should be making a living wage when it comes to births that they attend.  While seductive, we at DGoE find that we can make a living wage without this type of clause.

What is a 12 hour clause & when is it invoked?
A 12 hour clause is when a client will be charged an hourly rate (typically $20-50) after the doula has been present at your birth for 12 hours. That mean that if I have joined you at 6am and you have not delivered your baby by 6pm, I would start to charge you an hourly rate for my services. You would then be billed after the birth for the “extra” hours that I am with you.

Why some have it?
The biggest argument for the 12 hour clause is a sustainability one.  Can a doula sustain her working passion on her set fee without invoking this clause?  Can a business model be sustainable if you are not compensated for your time beyond 12 hours?  Many have argued that the 12 hour clause should not be a problem if you have properly educated your clients to know when to actually call you, i.e. when they’re on the way to the hospital.

We choose not to have this clause for several reasons.
1.      When we set our fees, we want to make sure they accessible to the most amount of people that want a doula.  We also set them to take care of our expenses and time spent with the laboring family.
2.      Sometimes the 12 hour clause scares people away from your services and/or coerces them to wait to call their doula until after the time when they needed support.  Early labor can be challenging, and we don’t want a client to need our attention and be afraid that they are calling too early and will have to pay for extra hours if they need us for a longer period of time.
3.      We have found that in the end, the lengths of time we are with clients varies GREATLY and eventually evens out over the course of our business year.  Yes, we have clients that need us for 38 hour labors, but those are the exception and not the rule.  For every lengthy labor and delivery we have, we tend to have several very short ones that make up for that “extra” time spent with another client.

We are not bashing those doulas that have a 12 hour clause in their contract.  They have a business model that works for them and the clients that hire them.  We have simply chosen not to go that route with our contracts. We firmly believe that every woman that wants a doula deserves one, and sometimes simply affording our flat fee is difficult.  So why would we want to make our services possibly even more out of reach for more potential clients?

We at the Doula Group of Evansville pride ourselves on the fact that once you hire us, you will have open access to us via multiple different communication routes. We are happy to answer any and all questions you may have about pregnancy, labor, delivery, breastfeeding, and more.
We will NEVER put a 12 hour clause in our contract so that our clients can rest easy knowing that they have a doula who will be waiting for their call WHENEVER they would like us to join them, even at home.

Hillary Melchiors is the owner of the Doula Group of Evansville.  She has a PhD in Medical Anthropology and a Masters Degree in Public Health. She is currently awaiting her DONA certification approval, and will take her Lamaze Certification exam for childbirth education in October.  Helping families welcome their newest members into the world is her passion! 

Monday, March 7, 2016

That's Not How Any of This Works!

Hold on, stop the presses! This blog is circling the birth community again: . I'm sure she was well meaning and had the best intentions for her readers,but she was way off base.

Our role as your doula is to support you through your birthing experience. We are not your coach,we do not replace your partner. We are on your birth team that YOU choose. We all work for you,the birthing person. The nurse works for you. The doctor works for you. You are the boss who has hired all of us to help bring your baby earthside. If any of us are not meeting your needs,you should show us the door,even during labor. Yes,even during labor. We are not there to be adversarial to your care provider or even be your advocate. The doula is there to support you and empower you to make the decisions that you need to make for your birth.

Doulas are supported by evidence. Check this out.

That snark about Medicaid moms needing to reassess finances if they hire a doula is uncalled for and disrespectful. Hilary(NOT our Hillary) dear,who are you to decide who deserves support and who doesn't? That's mighty judgemental coming from someone claiming to be there for her patients. Oh, and doulas SAVE the state money. Yes, there's a study about that too,you might want to do a little reading.  This article is a great starting point.

Doulas do not replace or stand in the way of the partner. We help the partner support the birthing mother. Sometimes labor is long and dads need rest,food,or a bathroom break. With a doula present partners are able to be supportive while having their needs met too. Labor can be overwhelming for all involved and we are happy to guide you through the process.

Hiring a doula is a personal choice and when interviewing one trust your instincts. Evansville has plenty of great doulas to go around and we have a great working relationship with hospital staff in the area. There is a lot more I could say on this subject,but I'll save some blogging for later.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Upcoming Childbirth Education Series

FREE Childbirth Education for expecting parents!

Who: Hillary Melchiors PhD of
Doula Group of Evansville

Where: First Presbyterian Church 609 SE 2nd St, Evansville, IN 47713
When: 6:30-8:30 for 6 Thursdays
March 17, 24, 31 & April 7, 14, & 21.

10 Reasons You Should Take a Childbirth Class:

    1.   Get insider information from a childbirth expert
    2.   Get answers to your burning questions
    3.   Review & build upon what you’ve already read
    4.   Learn practical tips for labor and delivery
    5.   Practice what you learn
    6.   Set realistic expectations
    7.   Address fears & increase confidence
    8.   Meet other parents
    9.   Get your partner to learn something too

    10.               It’s FUN!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

2015 brought loads of excitement for the Doula Group of Evansville. We were sad to lose Megan to Austin, TX, but we gained Abby in her place. We were able to help more families welcome their new littles into the world than 2014, and hope to continue that trend through this year. A special thanks to all the families that allowed us to attend their births in 2014. You are the reason we do what we do!  

We have all learned so much through all of the births we have attended, things we could never have learned in a classroom. We've made friends at both hospitals and continue to develop a reputation of compassion, cooperation, and care with all of the doctors and nurses with which we have had the privilege to work. We are so excited for the changes that continue to be made at both hospitals! We are also excited to have been able to attend several home births! What a difference in perspective those births have given us!

2016 will bring many changes for the DGoE! Candice is set to become the first non-hospital-affiliated lactation consultant in Evansville. Hillary will be getting her Lamaze Childbirth Educator certification, and will start teaching CBE. Abby will continue her journey toward her nursing degree too!  

We are excited to be helping with the establishment of the Ruby Grace Fund, which will pay for doula services for families that want a doula but cannot afford one. This has been more than a year in the making, and we are really looking forward to the possibility of serving more clients through this fund. Did you know that a previous client of ours is the catalyst and leader of this fund? She's an amazing woman, and we promise to publish the whole story of how this came to be at a later date.

We may have a few surprises up our sleeve for 2016 too. 2016 is set to be our busiest and most rewarding year to date, and we could not be more excited.

All the love and light in the world to you and yours as you begin this new year!
Abby, Candice, & Hillary

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Natural Induction?

I am going to go straight to the point. There is no such thing as a natural induction. There I said it. Non pharmacological inductions,certainly. To actively bring on labor is induction no matter what method is being used. In cases of healthy full term mothers carrying healthy babies,the body simply will not go into labor before it's ready. No method of induction is without risk. There are times when potential benefits will outweigh potential risks and that is when induction is the ideal choice for a mother and her baby.
Here are some of the claimed methods of natural induction:

Castor Oil: This is a laxative. The logic behind using this as a method of induction is that it triggers contractions of smooth muscles in the intestines which will trigger the tightening of uterine muscles. Research shows this is successful in about 50% of women. Realistically would you want diarrhea on top of contractions? Or just end up suffering stomach cramps and excessive pooping without bringing on labor!?

Membrane Stripping: A care provider will often do this during a cervical exam. They use a gloved finger to make a sweeping motion inside the cervix to detach the membranes from the cervix. This is thought to bring on labor in the next 48 hours. Side effects of this procedure are usually some spotting and cramping. On occasion premature rupture of membranes can occur (PROM).

Evening Primrose Oil: EPO is used to ripen the cervix, but there is little proof that it induces labor. The only studies regarding EPO are about consuming it orally. There are no studies about the safety of EPO used vaginally. It has not been found to shorten pregnancy or labor.

Black Cohosh: Black cohosh is an herb that is thought to bring on contractions. There are no reliable studies with evidence supporting this. Women with issues with estrogen should avoid black cohosh as it behaves similarly to estrogen.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: This tea, not to be mistaken for raspberry flavored tea is used as a uterine tonic. Some women drink it throught pregnancy and some wait until closer to full term. Red raspberry leaf tea may cause Braxton Hicks contractions in some women, while harmless this can be uncomfortable.

Pineapple: Pineapple is a prostaglandin, which will soften the cervix. For this to work large amounts of the pineapple and core must be eaten. Canned pineapple and store bought pineapple juice will not work. The jury is out on whether or not labor will start soon after doing this. If you love pineapple, maybe it's not the worst idea out there.

Sex: Semen is a prostaglandin and may help soften the cervix  Good sex, I know a full term pregnant woman can have trouble with this, with an orgasm for the woman can help move things along. Orgasms trigger uterine contractions,so maybe an orgasm could bring on labor contractions.

Spicy Food: Spicy foods trigger prostaglandins in the digestive process,which is thought to encourage labor. Extremely spicy foods can cause an endorphin rush. There is little evidence to back this claim up,but if heartburn isn't an issue in your pregnancy, why not hit up the Indian buffet?

I made this list starting with the most aggressive and risky methods of induction and ended with things that are harmless and even fun. Relax and enjoy your pregnancy. If the need to induce comes up bring these up with your doctor if you want to skip the Pitocin. You are in charge of your body and birth, there is no expiration date for pregnancy. No one has stayed pregnant forever.