Monday, August 20, 2018

Welcome After 25 years of educating pregnant couples in San Luis Obispo County and supporting many women in labor I decided I wanted to connect with women in a new way to share the wisdom I had gleaned; my new baby, a doula blog, was born. It is dedicated to all the women who have come before; a gift from them to you. Please use it to help create the birth you want. Read, enjoy, empower yourself! 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

I Believe

Loving Guidance Mama Mentoring

Pregnancy, birth and early parenting are a very special season in the cycle of your life. I believe every woman deserves to be treasured during this transformational process. True care and nurturing for the entire family throughout their journey empowers them and creates deeper bonds. An educational foundation rooted in the natural abilities of women to birth their babies instills confidence and is a critical component of empowerment. My classes prepare the heart, mind and body for the journey ahead. Through the birth of my son I came to understand the critical role a doula plays in helping couples achieve a harmonious and uplifting birth experience. A doula is a vital member of your team no matter where you birth or who you choose as a care provider. As an experienced guide providing one-on-one continuous care throughout your birth I allow everyone to relax and be fully present in their roles. As a communication facilitator I help insure your voice is heard and respected, as well as, translating medical information and options; providing you the opportunity to make your own choices. I have been helping birthing women here on the beautiful Central Coast of San Luis Obispo county since 1992 and am passionate about protecting and preparing women during this most vulnerable time. Please use the words I have written in this blog to learn more about my beliefs surrounding birth.

Certified Intuitive Birth Doula
Certified Intuitive Postpartum Doula
La Leche League Leader
Positive Birth Movement Facilitator
CranioSacral Pracitioner
Ortho-Bionomy Associate
Institute for Birth Healing student
Central Coast Breastfeeding Coalition Member

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Spectrum of Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting Services to Meet Your Needs

After working with San Luis Obispo families for over 20 years I am more strongly committed than ever to helping families find what feels right to them for pregnancy, birth and parenting. I have a broad perspective and a depth of knowledge which is grounded in the work I have done with families making a wide variety of choices. As a doula I have been blessed to be part of over 100 births. Working beside doctors and midwives I have witnessed inspiring births both in and out of the hospital. As a birth educator I have impacted the births of several hundred babies and through my work with the Birth & Baby Resource Network, La Leche League, and the International Cesarean Awareness Network I have touched the lives of countless families in our community and beyond.

I offer a variety of support/education options to match your unique needs. Our journey together may start at any point along the spectrum. Please feel free to mix and match and make the exact support and education package that meets your needs. All classes are offered both as group or private experiences with flexible schedules.

Before You are Pregnant

Private consultations over tea: learn about options & resources in our community or review and process a past birth and discuss possible effects on future births. We can meet in the privacy of your home or at a coffee shop.                              

Early in Your Pregnancy

Classes: learn how to nurture your body, your baby and your relationships in my Healthy Beginnings/Healthy Choices classes.

Preparing for Your Birth

Classes: My small group classes held, in the privacy of a home, foster a sense of belonging as we eat, laugh, learn and share together this amazing adventure. My Heart, Mind & Body series empowers and inspires you to create the birth you want.

For each class group I create a private on-line community for extended sharing of ideas, inspiration, connection and support which continues until your baby is sleeping blissfully in your arms.
Labor Land Practice: My Birth Connection Date Nights are serene spaces where all learning is experiential through relaxation, guided imagery and touch. The focus is encouraging oxytocin, the “love hormone”, to flow between you, your partner and your baby, and to teach you how to move through labor land together. These “practice” sessions are ideal for experienced birthers, homebirthers, or as an expansion of more intellectual birth classes.

Private Classes in Your Home: Every family has different needs; bed resting moms, changing schedules, or simply a desire for privacy. I try to be as flexible as possible to let you create your unique education package. Let my Class Outline be your guide. I am happy to create a series just for you!

Doula Service: I am happy to join your birth team no matter where you are planning to birth; home, birth center or hospital. We start building a trust relationship with prenatal visits in your home. Through listening I learn what you need and want to feel confident about your coming birth. I facilitate thinking and dialogue between partners to help clarify and prioritize what is important to them and help craft a birth plan which reflects these values while being well received by your care provider and staff.

I am available via phone, email or Facebook to answer questions and lend support throughout the pregnancy.

                    Once labor begins. . .

 I will stay continuously by your side
 where ever you are laboring until. . .
your baby has arrived. . .

and is blissfully breastfeeding for the first time!

I will visit your home a few days after your birth to ensure breastfeeding is going well, check on your postpartum recovery, and help you process your experience with tears, talking and laughter. I will answer questions, clarify and enlighten you on issues you may not have understood. I want you to have a thorough grasp of what happened, why, and how necessary it was, to empower you for future births.
After Your Birth

Private consultations over tea: When women suffer after a difficult birth experience it is very helpful to share your story to a listening heart who is knowledgeable enough to review your birth, answer your questions, and help you move forward in your process. I can connect you to resources for your recovery and discuss things you will need to think about for future births.

Private Postpartum Visits: I believe new mamas need to rest and adjust to motherhood in the comfort of their home. I am happy to travel to you. The first days and weeks of parenthood many new families need some additional guidance. A little hands-on help from an experienced mother/doula can give a new mama just the boost of confidence she needs.

Welcome to the parenting community!

Classes: My Fourth Trimester Parenting Support group meets every Tuesday from 10:30-12. I provide this free to the community because I believe deeply that women need support during this important transition in their lives to grow fully into confident motherhood.

Support Group: I lead a La Leche League Mothers’ Meeting once a month in the South County which is free and open to all mothers for breastfeeding advice and support.


Loving Guidance Workshops: These periodic workshops cover my Five Steps to Creating a Healthy, Happy, Whole Family empowering parents to move through the normal ups and downs of parenthood, take control of their own learning, and make their own decisions on how they wish to parent.

Support Group: I created “Whole”istic Mamas and Papas to provide community for families choosing to parent from an alternative point of view; attachment parenting, co-sleeping, extended nursing, baby wearing, individual vaccination choices, homeschooling, etc. It is a safe space; both in our face-to-face play day meet ups and private on-line group for asking questions, gathering information, sharing and learning from each other.

Parenting is much more fun when we share and play with others!

Let's connect! I am happy to answer questions and get you started on just the right path for you.            Call: 805.459.8145

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The First Forty Days
Heng Ou

reviewed by LLL Leader Jennifer Stover

Not all wonderful books will appear in the International League's recommended book list. This book was published in 2016 and is too new to have completed the LLL evaluation process. But I can tell you it aligns beautifully with League's views on the postpartum period. It is a LLL New Baby at Home meeting within the pages of a book. Leaders know cocooning, rest and nutrition is the name of the game if you want to be sure to bring in a full milk supply. All cultures around the globe have known this through the centuries. Taking care of the mother during this critical time in the life of the newborn ensures the infant's survival. The author weaves the ancient wisdom of China, embracing and supporting new parents, with the practicalities of modern American life. Chalk full of tips, recipes and insight into the physical, emotional, and energetic changes happening as pregnancy and birth are over and lactation begins. 

It is broken down into helpful sections. These are the 4 sections I found the most helpful. The Gathering gives you comprehensive lists of what to do to prepare for life after birth. The Gateway divides the postpartum time into 4 phases, each with a unique tone and therefor support needs. Filling Your Cup gives general ideas about the categories of foods you need to consume and why. The last 100 pages are all delicious looking recipes! This book makes it so simple to ask for the help you need.

An ideal gift for a pregnant friend. A must read for your partner so he or she can understand and help you prepare your pantry and your life. Perfect to loan to friends and family BEFORE baby arrives; especially if they plan on helping during your postpartum days. Growing into parenthood doesn't happen over night. It is an unfolding over the first days and weeks. This book will help you get your feet underneath you as you set off on your nurturing at the breast adventure. 

Quotes I Love

"Nourishment is more than a bowl of soup: It is the sensation of being cherished and sustained. It comes from the way you feel inside your home, or the way an intimate friend sees and hears you fully. But it starts with a bowl of soup, because that is the simplest and most satisfying way for your cup to be filled."

"This gentle retreat-claiming the right to draw your world closer around you for a while and stay home to cocoon with baby instead of venturing out-is the first insight of the first forty days. It is a sacred act of self-care and preservation that allows you to be raw and exposed-literally and metaphorically."

"Food feeds the cells and fills the senses, and it also nourishes the vulnerable and hidden parts of ourselves that may be crying out for encouragement and comfort"

"And you've probably experienced more exhaustion, more frustration, and more love than any other woman on earth. Except for that mother over there. And that one over there. And that one..."

"For the new mother, this meant meals rich in iron to rebuild blood, protein to repair tissues and support hormones, fatty acids to enrich breast milk, vitamins and antioxidants to speed tissue healing, and therapeutic herbs and spices to counter inflammation or boost milk flow, if needed."

"No book or healer can tell you more than your own body can. So, rather than following strict rules, use gentle recipes, designed to be low in gas-forming compounds, and focus on baby and notice how he reacts after certain meals."

"When it comes to filling your cup, it's all about the bowl."

"Forty days of care today, is thought to lead to forty years of vital womanhood tomorrow."

Support a local mother owned business.
Buy this book at Len Collective in SLO.

Are you interested in reviewing a book for us?
We'd love you to!
Contact a Leader

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Your Fexible Pelvis

Yesterday this flexible pelvis model arrived. It got me thinking.

Imagine you are in a dark cave. The only way out is through this opening...

At first the walls of the opening appear to be rigid, like stone. But what if they are not?...

What if there are places in the walls of the cave that will move, that can flex and shift if you push against them?

What if someone on the outside of the cave could help you by actively moving these pieces changing the shape and size of the passageway you are trying to squeeze through? What if?...

We are looking through the bony cave that your baby will fit through. We are looking at it from the direction of the top of your baby's head, from above your pelvis, rather than the direction midwives and doctors look at it, from below. At the bottom of the picture is the sacrum bone. The two illia, or hip bones attach to the sacrum and create the sides and front. They wrap around and meet each other at the pubic symphysis  joint at the top of the photo.

Here is the same pelvis from the side. Notice the angle of the sacrum pointing down with the tail bone the sharper point at the very bottom. My hand is holding the pubic synthesis. Notice the shape of the opening in each of the photos.

Now let's go back to our cave with the flexible walls. Bones aren't flexible right? Well actually bones have more flex than we imagine. They are living tissue. When they are alive, versus hanging in a skeleton, they have more ability to move. Plus there are joints! Your pelvis has 4 joints; the pubic symphysis at the front, 2 sacroiliac joints at the back, and the joint between the sacrum and tailbone. All of these should be able to move or shift. Your baby can move them by pushing against them and YOU can move them by activating certain muscles and deactivating others. Certain body positions can either allow or enhance this movement.

Let's look at the shape of our cave if we move the sacrum in at the top and out at the tailbone end.

Wow there is a lot less space at the top, the inlet of the pelvis. The cave just got really tight if I am just beginning to wriggle through but...

Look what happened at the opening at the outlet of the cave! Way more room.

Now let's see what happens to the shapes if we move the sacrum backward at the top. Or our pelvic floor muscles are pulling the bottom third of our sacrum and our tailbone forward.

It is a little hard to see in this photo but the distance from pubic symphysis to top third of sacrum is much longer. So the bone moved out of the way of baby getting INTO the cave but what happened to the outlet of the cave?...

YIKES! That's going to be one tight fit.

In actuality my "flexible" pelvis model isn't nearly as flexible as YOUR pelvis. Your sacrum doesn't just tilt forward and back. The whole sacrum can also shift left and right. It can tip left or right pointing your tailbone either left or right. It can also rotate or tilt taking one side closer to your pubic symphysis and the opposite side further away. To learn more about the mother/baby birth bone dance  and how Moving Toward Ease sessions can help prepare your pelvis to move during birth visit my Moving Toward Ease page.