Friday, September 17, 2010

Doula? Huh what?

Doula...It's a word that we have started to hear more and more related to having babies. You see advertisements sometimes plastered everywhere, You Deserve a Doula! You might have even heard of someone who had a doula for their birth. So what is a doula? There's alot of article out there about what doulas are and how they affect birth etc etc. So for some of you this might just be a repeat of what you already know.

What is a Doula? A doula is generally a woman (sometimes a man) who assists and supports a woman (as well as her birth partner and family) through labour and birth. Some doulas provide support afterwards as well but we will get to that. The doula does this through non-medical means. She provides emotional and physical support as well as giving the mother and her family information to help them make an informed decision about their birth choices. There are some different types of Doulas. There are labour/birth doulas who support mothers through the birth and post-partum doulas who support the mom and her family afterwards when they come home. There are also ante-natal doulas who offer support mainly to high risk mothers through their pregnancies.

What do Doulas do? Doulas meet their clients, maybe do some pre-natal meetings, discuss birth plans, assist their clients in making informed choices about their birth, provide them with information and access to community resources. They are there for labour and birth offering emotional and physical support. Some doulas also do extra things like helping plan a blessingway (mother blessing), belly casting, henna, massage etc. Doulas also provide access to resources within the community. Post-Partum Doulas also provide support for the mom and family when they come home. They do a range of things from providing breastfeeding support, to cooking, light cleaning, helping with older children etc. Ante-natal doulas provide support and information through pregnancy and typically do a range of things like light housekeeping etc if a mother is put onto bedrest. No matter what type of doula they are the doula provides a level of emotional support to their clients as well as the physical support.

What are the benefits? There are alot of studies on the benefits of doulas. Most of the studies conclude fairly similar results.

Having a doula present:
Reduced the overall cesarean rate by 50%

Reduced the length of labor by 25%

Reduced oxytocin use by 40%

Reduced the use of pain medication by 30%

Reduced forceps deliveries by 40%

Reduced requests for epidural pain medication by 60%

Reduced incidences of maternal fever

Reduced the number of days newborns spent in NICU (neo-natal infant care unit)

Reduced the amount of septic workups performed on newborns

Resulted in higher rates of breastfeeding

Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal confidence

Resulted in more positive maternal assessments of maternal and newborn health

Resulted in decreased rates of postpartum depression
(from Mothering The Mother: How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier, and Healthier Birth, Marshall Klaus, John Kennell and Phyllis Klaus)
Doulas are a great asset to your birth team, if you are looking for more information on doulas check out or contact your local doula association.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I did it...

I'm not the most confident person, nor do I think I have the greatest body. Let's face it, during my pregnancy with the Lemur I gained over 90lbs...yes over 90lbs!! And really didn't loose alot of it before I got pregnant with the Koala. Fortunately with her I only gained about 30lbs after loosing 10lbs during the first part of the pregnancy due to awful horrible morning sickness. Since then I'm frequently dropping off the pounds without doing much. Hooray for the breastfeeding insta-weight loss program! Sure I go walking with the Koala in a carrier and the Lemur in the stroller (its a great work out) and I try to eat healthy but most of it is from the breastfeeding. I put on clothes this morning that fit me perfectly pre-Lemur pregnancy and well the shirt I'm wearing is way to big now and my jeans I can slip off over my hips without unbutonning them....I've lost much exactly? I don't know, I actually haven't stepped on a scale since I was in labour with the Koala. I've been meaning to weigh myself and see but haven't yet. Although I've lost alot of weight, there's still parts of me that I'm not particularily comfortable tummy...I have that perpetual mommy tummy flab from having two children....all the stretch marks...I have stretch marks on stretchmarks and although to me they are badges of motherhood, I still wouldn't show them to anyone else (ok well except the Hubby).

Anyways...awhile ago a photographer friend approached me about doing a boudoir shoot so she could practice her boudoir photography. I was a little unsure about it because I am a very self concious person and well after having two babies in less then 3 years my body isn't exactly model material and I was feeling really down at that point. So I thought it over and thought it over and finally took a risk and said yes. Unfortunately things got in the way and we didn't get it done until recently...

She finally had time in her schedual and approached myself and a couple friends. Yesterday I was part of a boudoir photo shoot/boudoir party with a couple other mommy friends of mine. We all got together at our one friend's house to get ready and hang out while each one of us got to do a photoshoot. It was soooo much fun. I was a bit nervous at first but our photographer from Indi*claire Photography was awesome, she made me feel really comfortable and beautiful. I bared most of it and felt awesome! So yep I did it! I'm overcoming my negative body image just a little bit. I can still feel sexy and beautiful as a woman and mother. As much as I told myself that this shoot was for my hubby it was really just as much for me.I can't wait to get my pictures back....will I ask her to edit out a few strtch marks maybe...but I think I will keep a few just theway they are to remind myself of this moment on those days I feel really down about myself.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's been awhile...

Well its been awhile since I updated the blog. Life got away on us and went crazy. So here we are in September and we've found ourselves in new uncharted territories. Over the summer we took the Lemur for a speech assesment because we were noticing some delays in his speech and language. Well one thing has led to another and we've exploded into assesments and appointments for everything. AHHHHHH!

It turns out that Lemur has a severe delay in his speech and language and ranges from 12-36 months on most things. We've been working with him at home and he's showing some improvement which is great. He is also going to Pre-school at a wonderful school and we've heard from his Teacher that he will have an aide fairly soon and he gets to do his speech therapy through the pre-school.

Our wonderful speech path at the CARE center suggested we get him some other assesments as well and we've proceeded to do an OT asessment where our OT has said he has a Sensory Processing Disorder and also that he has some low muscle tone which could be attributing to some of the other things we've noticed.

We also met with our behavioural therapist as well today and she said that he has a mixture of speech, sensory and behavioural things going on and that he's a bigger puzzle. That being said we have our first home visit with her in two weeks.

It's been a really crazy ride since June when we took him for his first speech assesment. There's always been things that we thought weren't "right" but we just thought that they were just his little quirks. Its overwhelming right now and I feel like everything is spinning out of control but also I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. As crazy and overwhelming as it all seems I'm reassured in some small way because we are finally getting the help and support we need to learn how to deal with the day to day challenges of raising Mr Lemur. I'm really excited to be working with our "Team" his therapists are wonderful ladies and have been really  nice and really helpful the couple times we've met with them. The next step on our adventure is to consult with a Pediatrician to rule out any chronic conditions that might be causing issues.