April 10, 2014

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A Peanut in your hospital bag?

 

It's the latest tool making a buzz in the childbirth world, but is the peanut ball really something that you need for your hospital bag?  

I say, YES!

Below you will find my favorite articles and videos on the subject of peanut balls.

Research on the Peanut Ball

Decrease the Length of Labor with the Use of a Labor Ball with Patients That Receive An Epidural

Great Articles on the Peanut Ball

Peanut Balls for Labor - A Valuable Tool for Promoting Progress

Peanut Balls Reducing C-section rate

Videos of the Peanut Ball in Action

McKee Medical Center in Loveland Colorado released this how-to

Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa released this how-to

 

My thoughts...

I bring my peanut ball to every birth.  Usually if my client is planning a low intervention birth and desiring to be active I leave the peanut ball in my car. It the client decides to get an epidural or spend time laboring in the bed then I run out to the car and retrieve the ball.   If my client is planning on an epidural I go ahead bring the peanut ball with me.  I definitely turn a few heads walking into the hospital with my doula bag, birth ball in a cover over one shoulder and peanut ball in a cover over the other shoulder.

Since adding a peanut ball to my doula tools, I have used it every time I have a client with an epidural.  My clients find it fairly comfortable and it is so much easier than trying to prop mom's leg up with pillows, stirrups or even the bedside table.  I think as I try more positions with the peanut ball, it will become a key item in my doula work. 

As a childbirth educator, I have just started to introduce the peanut ball in class.  As I see the success of the ball in my doula practice I feel more confident teaching about this option to my childbirth students.  Birth balls have become more available in laboring rooms, but peanut balls are only available in a few hospitals.  Until they are readily available, I recommend these for both doulas and moms packing their hospital bags.  

April 04, 2014

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YourDoulaBag On the Road In 2014

One of the most exciting aspects of owning a doula products and services company is being able to connect with doula around the world.  I connect with many doulas virtually through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but connecting in real life is the best.  I have been fortunate enough to travel to many doula conferences in the last 4 1/2 years and have many events setup for 2014. 

YourDoulaBag Events for 2014

 Date Event Location
April 24-27, 2014 Midwifery Today Conference Harrisburg, PA

July 2014 (exact date tbd)

YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Cincinnati, OH
July 2014 (exact date tbd) YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Detroit, MI
July 2014 (exact date tdb) YourDoulaBag Trunk Show and Networking Event Toronto, ON 

September 10-13, 2014

ICEA Conference Asheville, NC

September 18-21, 2014

Lamaze DONA Joint Conference Kansas City, MO
November 12-14, 2014 Maternal-Infant Safety 2014 Conference Atlanta, GA

 

Can I tempt you to attend one of these events?  I'll have great doula items up for sale and an abundance of great doula conversation! Let's meet! 

February 19, 2014

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ACOG Finally Gets It!

 

I am beyond excited about the new statement released from ACOG.  It is absolutely incredible.  I CAN'T WAIT for this news to travel down to actual changes in care.  I want to print out this statement and carry it in my doula bag.  I want to give a copy to all of my childbirth education students.  I want to shout the information from the rooftops! 

There are so many great things to be happy about with this statement.  Lamaze's Science and Sensibility Blog does a nice job summarizing the information. Some of my favorites include:

1) Published data indicate that one of the most effective tools to improve labor and delivery outcomes is the continuous presence of support personnel, such as a doula.

2) Active Labor is now 6cm

3) Induction of labor can increase the risk of cesarean.

Send me a photo of you jumping for joy and I'll add it to the page.  Let's show ACOG how happy we are!

Allison is jumping for joy in BC, Canada! (her bumper sticker says "if I'm speeding...she's 8cm")

Carrie is jumping for joy.

 

February 15, 2014

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Doula Tip: Grab their attention with Logo Rice Socks

If you are ready to be remembered, give your contacts something more memorable than a business card.  How about a rice sock with your business logo on it?

5 steps to GRAB the attention of a potential client

1) Contact your referral partners and ask if they will give away rice socks to their pregnant clients.  Their clients get a free tool for labor and it is at no cost to your referral partner. 

2) Create logo rice socks 

3) Attach a business card to the rice socks with a rubber band. (this step is optional)  You can add a discount coupon to the card if you are running a promotion.

4) Deliver rice socks to referral partners

5) Wait for the referrals to come flooding in!

February 02, 2014

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Why birth is better than the Super Bowl

Most of America will be gathered around the TV watching the big game today, but I would much rather be working.  Being a doula is way more exciting than the Super Bowl.  
There are several similarities between the Super Bowl and birth.
1) Both are displays of great physical exertion
2) Both events are anticipated
3) Both end with a prize 
But...can the effort put forth by a birthing mother really be compared to that of a pro football player?  I think the birthing mother is on top here.  Laboring and giving birth can last for hours and sometimes days.  A football game is 1 hour of play and most players do not play the entire game.  In a birth there are really only two key players, mom and baby.  They aren't allowed a time out, commercial break or a half time show with Bruno Mars or the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  While the events are anticipated, the Super Bowl schedule has been set for months but the birth of a child is (usually) completely unpredictable.  Birth has the element of surprise, how exciting is that!  And while the Vince Lombardi Trophy is certainly something to be proud of, it just doesn't compare to a new life.  
January 31, 2014

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Doula Business Goals - Keeping In Touch With Past Clients

 

In the first few weeks of the year my top priority is to set the goals for my doula business for the upcoming year.  I used to scribble this down on paper, then started keeping the list electronically.  For 2013, I made the leap to a more professional and FUN method of tracking goals called "Create Your Amazing Year".  This women-centric workbook just begs to be completed with its fun artwork and great fill in the blank style.  One of the goals that I have written down for the year is to keep in touch with past clients.

Why I keep in touch with past clients

1) It makes me feel good.

I get so much pleasure out of seeing recent photos, hearing stories and just connecting with people that I have worked with in the past.  Doing things that make you happy can't be bad, right?

2) I love referrals

I love getting a referral from a past client.  If you clients will send their friends your way then you know that they were please with your work. Booking up with referral makes you job of marketing much easier.  You won't have to spend time looking for clients if they come looking for you. 

3) I love repeat clients (even more that referrals)

How fun is it to work with a couple again?  I love it!  Once you have established that working relationship it makes number 2 or 3 or 4 much easier and so fun too.  Keeping in touch will help your client remember to make you one of the first people to tell about their pregnancy. 

How I keep in touch

My favorite way to keep in touch with my clients is by remembering their child's birthday.  I'll admit that some months go by without me remembering to do this (and that is why I have made it a goal!).  If you are a YourDoulaBiz user then this process is very easy.  At the end of every month, YourDoulaBiz users receive a Birthday Reminder Report for the following month.  This report contains a list of all clients who gave birth in the upcoming month and all of the important information (name, gender, birthdate, email, address).  Once I get this report, I will either send a birthday card or an email with my birthday wishes.  If I have a new childbirth class or service offering I might include a little note about what I'm up to and how I so appreciate their referrals.  

 

Keeping in touch with past clients is a big goal for me this year. Will you add it to your list?

 

January 20, 2014

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Why I cover my birth ball

5 Reason I cover my birth ball
1) The Birth Ball Cover makes the ball easy to transport.
If you are a doula or childbirth educator and have the need to carry your ball around with you then a ball cover is invaluable.  Carrying a giant ball without a cover is beyond awkward.  How many times have I  dropped that ball in a hospital hallway and had to chase after it?  The handle allows you to sling the ball over your arm and securely transport it without worry.
2) The Birth Ball Cover makes the ball easy to manage
I love being able to manage the birth ball in the labor room thanks to the handle on the ball cover.  If mom isn't using the ball I hang it up out of the way and off of the germ ridden hospital floor.  
3) The Birth Ball Cover makes the ball clean
Pop on the cover and you have covered over any dirt, hair or lint that might be on your ball.  The ball cover itself can be machine washed so that you can have a clean cover for every use.
4) The Birth Ball Cover makes the ball soft
The cover nicely softens the plastic of the birth ball.  This is great when used for leaning on.  Who wants to put their face on plastic?
5) The Birth Ball Cover is just plain cute!
Your cover makes a statement.  Show your personality with the cover you put on your ball.  Are you a floral girl or camo lover?  You can even get your logo put on the ball to turn your ball into an advertising piece. 
"But I use the hospital ball. Why would I want a cover?" See reasons 2-5 above. 
January 10, 2014

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The unpredictable, crazy and wonderful life of a birth doula

 

When I decided to leave the world of database programming and enter the field of doula work I never imagined how my life would change.  Life as a birth doula is so hard to describe.  Let me attempt to explain the profession by boiling it down to 3 words: unpredictable, crazy and wonderful.

un·pre·dict·a·ble 

  1. Difficult to foretell or foresee:

One adjective that describes all childbirth is unpredictable.  In this world which is so planned, controlled and scheduled this aspect of birth makes it quite unique.   Due to its unpredictability, doulas never really know when they will be working and therefore spend a lot of their time living life on call.  For a doula, life on call means living your life in a way that you can pick up and leave at a moment’s notice.  It involves a series of contingency plans and usually requires village of support who can step in when the doula is called to work.   Once at work, the amount of time required is also unpredictable.  It could be a 5 hour process or a 40 hour process.  There is really no way to reliably foresee.  

While the unpredictability of the job makes it challenging for sure it also makes it exciting.   Each birth involves different people, often different locations and different requirements.  The unpredictability definitely keeps away boredom!

crazy 

adj-zier or -ziest

  1. insane
  2. fantastic; strange; ridiculous
  3. (postpositive; foll by about or over) extremely fond (of)
  4. very good or excellent

While the first definition listed for crazy doesn’t apply, #2 (fantastic, strange, ridiculous) definitely describes life as a doula.  How else would you describe staying up for hours on end and then deciding to turn a hospital bathtub into your bedridiculous…crazy!   Spending hours fanning a mom while making low ‘ooohs and aaahs’ with her is a bit strange…crazy.  Helping a mom switch positions which results in her baby descending, crowning and birthing in minutes is surely fantastic…crazy.

What birth doulas actually do at work probably seems crazy to most people.  We do what needs to be done and doulas are usually pretty open to doing whatever will help.   We are a blank slate, a clean page, we are ready and willing to do whatever we can even it might be crazy.

won·der·ful  

  1. Capable of eliciting wonder; astonishing
  2. Admirable; excellent: 

Witnessing a woman labor and birth a child can definitely be described as wonderful.  I am often in wonder at the power and strength of a woman in labor.  The process of labor and birth itself is excellent…wonderful.

The way I feel being a doula can surely be described as wonderful. Receiving a thank you note from a client that says “I don’t have words for how powerful and empowering it was to have my desired birth experience.” is absolutely excellent…wonderful. Knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives of others during such an important life event is wonderful.

 

It’s not your typical 9 to 5 job by any means, but the fact that it is unpredictable, crazy and wonderful is why I think it is the best job ever.

 

**thanks to my awesome 2 time client for letting me use this beautiful photo of her daughter!

January 07, 2014

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Setting Doula Business Goals for 2014

your doula business

 

I love January.  It's fresh and full of possiblities.  The year stretches out before me and is full of potential.

Every January I take time out of my normal routine to set my goals for the year and work on a plan to achieve them.  I always enjoyed this process, but I didn't have an organized method until I found Leonie Dawson's Create Your Amazing Year Calendar + Workbook. This workbook really makes goal setting and planning enjoyable. The workbook is loaded with important questions to consider such as income growth for the year and social media goals.  It also suggests that you start by examining 2013.  I would often skip this step when I planned on my own.  I was too excited about thinking about the upcoming year that I forgot to check in on how the previous year went (duh!).  Beyond the content of the workbook, the female-centric look and feel makes me smile.  It doesn't feel like a cold accounting ledger.  It's kind of dreamy and that's the attitude I like when planning for the future!

 

I think most doulas are called to the work and are passionate about it.  That doesn't mean that we shouldn't treat it like a real profession and want to earn a living doing this work that we love.  I don't know for certain if writing down goals makes them more likely to be achieved, but personally it is a requirement in my life.  I must write my goal down.  I must make a plan to achieve it.  If I don't take those steps them my business doesn't grow and I don't grow. I highly encourage everyone to take some time to work on their goals and plans for the new year.  It will take time and effort, but I think the payoff is worth it.

One of my personal goals: Teach 8 childbirth class series and teach 15 private childbirth classes in 2014

Care to share one of yours?

December 31, 2013

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2013 Doula Bag Memories

2013 Doula Bag Memories

 

If my doula bag could talk I think it would have this to say about 2013.

 

2013 was a busy year for me.  Thanks for letting me share some of my memories....

  • 3 times I got to the hospital room, but the baby arrived before I could even be opened! 
  • The spare set of clothes was used in May, but not washed and returned until June.
  • I was left in a hot van for days on end waiting for a client with a history of fast labors
  • The Battery Operated Candles were used at almost every birth
  • The snacks supply seem to come and go, sometimes I carried lots of snacks and sometimes not many at all.  The mocha flavored almonds must not have been a bit because they remain untouched and are probably stale. 
  • I visited several homes during prenatal appointments and private childbirth classes where I got a chance to show off my contents.
  • I was left on the hospital floor too many time to count.  I really prefer sitting on a shelf when I visit a hospital. Have you seen what ends up on those floors?
  • The Portable Ice Bin was sometimes returned to the bag wet (I don't like when that happens)
  • Honey Sticks were popular this year and seemed to disappear as soon as they were stocked. Apparently doulas and their children like them too.
  • 2013 was the year of FLAIR for me.  I now wear a tiny Uterus Pin and a tiny Placenta Pin along with my doula button. Now I really look like a doula bag and not just a backpack
  • The end of October and beginning of November were insane.  I traveled to different 4 hospitals and was used at 5 births.
  • My new friend is the Peanut Ball.  She seems to travel with me to most births.  She usually gets left in the car, but we get her if we need her. 

I wonder what adventures I'll go on in 2014!

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