Monday, November 1, 2010


So sorry to my faithful followers. I currently have a new website and blog in the works and it has been consuming my time. When it gets up and running I will let you all know what to convert to. Thanks for understanding on the lack of posting lately.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

FREE TICKETS - Only 20 Hours Left

BOLD is nearly here! As it quickly approaches, we are so excited to have media recognition for our event. We will air on Good Morning Texas on September 22nd at 9am, be sure to tune in if you are local. Also, The Dorsey Gang on 96.3 will play our interview on their station the week of the show. And, The Star Telegram is doing a special feature article. What great news....literally!!

You still have until 10am on Friday, September 17th to enter to win FREE TICKETS to see "Birth" on stage.

See details below on how to enter and visit the BOLD website for more details on the event happenings.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Tickets to BOLD

In the post below, I told you all about BOLD Fort Worth.

Girls Night Out, date night with hubby, or spend an afternoon with your mom! This event is on Saturday, September 25th!

The play will be fantastic. The professional actors have volunteered their talents and time to make this an awesome show. Curtain times are 2:00pm and 7:00pm.

Before or after the show you can head over to the free Birth Fair and Silent Auction (12:00pm-6:30pm).

There will be many vendors at the Birth Fair for you to peruse and enjoy.

The Silent Auction will boast items from local and national companies. You don't want to miss it. Some of the items include: baby girl bedding, restaurant gift cards, spa gift certificates, jewelry...but I don't want to give it all way. You definitely want to show up and bid on these amazing items. (all proceeds will benefit the Tarrant County Birth Network)

Now it's time to win a pair of tickets to the play!

How to enter:
1) Comment on why you want to go to this event - 1 entry
2) Become a follower of my blog - 1 entry
3) "Like" my Bellies In Bloom Facebook page - 1 entry
4) Write about the event on your blog (1 entry) and if you live and blog in North Texas (2 entries)

Be sure to leave a comment and tell me how many entries you earned!
Winner will be chosen on Friday, September 17, 2010 at 10:00am.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fort Worth Birth Event

Birth, a Play by Karen Brody, Birth Fair and Silent Auction
ADVANCE TICKETS: $ 10 (available through

Fort Worth, TX - BOLD Fort Worth is presenting a day of focusing on mother-friendly childbirth choices on September 25, 2010. Theatre goers will gather to see the DFW premiere of Birth, a play by Karen Brody, and a Birth Fair will offer new, expectant and future mothers access to professionals and companies who follow the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative.

All proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships will benefit the Tarrant County Birth Network. The event is part of BOLD (Birth on Labor Day), a global arts-based movement aspiring to create childbirth choices for mothers around the world.

“Childbirth today is a human rights issue for low-risk pregnant mothers,” states author Brody, who spent a year interviewing over 100 low risk women before writing her play. “Choices in childbirth have been severely restricted for this large population of pregnant women despite strong evidence-based research supporting a wide variety of birth choices.”

Brody founded BOLD in 2006 with the intention to use her play to raise awareness and money that promotes childbirth choices that work for mothers. As Brody explains, “Pregnancy today is typically viewed as an illness and emergency. BOLD uses theatre to raise people’s consciousness that childbirth is normal. Once this is recognized people will start demanding a childbirth model of care that is compassionate, evidence-based and puts the mother at the center of her birth experience.”

Producer Shannon Blackwell became interested in the play after the birth of her second child in 2009.

"My two different births and the care I received during my pregnancies from my providers showed me the huge difference in experience a woman can have," she states. "Being educated and knowing your options are significant factors in walking away from a birth feeling empowered. It is a milestone in a woman's life and we should celebrate that."

Blackwell recruited Christi Moore-Murphy, an established theatre director and long time friend, to direct “Birth” after Moore-Murphy delivered her second child via emergency c-section earlier this year.

"We have an amazing group of actors, an unbelievably talented director and a fabulous group of volunteers who are coming together for one day to change the way Fort Worth views birth," Blackwell continues. "And the best part is that our advocacy efforts will continue through the funds we raise for the Birth Network."

Since 2006 nearly 100 BOLD locations have raised over $130,000 for childbirth organizations. Tickets are available online at The play is PG-13 and not recommended for younger children.

The Tarrant County Birth Network is a community organization, with national roots, whose mission is to provide information about, and advocacy for, evidence-based, Mother-Friendly care for expectant Tarrant County families seeking a healthy, informed, and enjoyable pregnancy and birth.

# # #

BOLD Fort Worth is a small group of (mostly) women in the DFW area joining others around the world in September 2010 in performing the play, Birth, by Karen Brody.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Book I Cannot Be Without

I am a natural birthing, breastfeeding, baby wearing, sleep sharing, non-circumcising mommy and this book helps me do that the best way I can.

The Baby Book my Dr. William Sears and Martha Sears is my go to book for all kinds of questions. I have referred to it for anything from newborn procedures, to potty training, to growth and breastfeeding. This book has it all.

One of the reasons I really like this book is because it coincides with a lot of the beliefs I have about how to care for my baby. This 28 chapter, 767 page book is written from a non-biased prospective and points out both sides of issues and questions I have. But, I like the fact that my questions regarding parenting from a somewhat non-mainstream point of view are answered.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Are you overwhelmed by the idea of cloth diapering? Does it seem too time consuming? Or, are you kind of grossed out by all of it?

There are many reasons to use cloth. It is cost effective, eco-friendly, there are many brands and styles available, and they are so comfy on your baby's bottom, not to mention healthier too.

We have chosen to cloth diaper for all of the reasons listed above. Let me tell you why I absolutely love to cloth diaper.

The average cost of diapering a child from birth to age three with disposables is between $2,000 - $3,000. Cloth diapering for the same amount of time can cost about $300 - $800 depending on the diaper choices you make. And, you can reuse them for subsequent children - an even better savings!

So far for our 7 week old we use organic cotton prefolds and little beetle hemp diapers. I bought three sets of a dozen prefolds in three different sizes to use as he grows for about $15 - $18/dozen from Hip Green Baby and the Little Beetles were hand-me-downs from my sister. Although you change diapers more often and do laundry about every other day, cloth diapers are less expensive in the long run. And, if you line dry, you are saving money on your energy bill too.

Cloth diapering allows you to reuse and recycle. It makes me feel good to know that I am not contributing to the landfill. And, being open to using hand-me-down diapers helps out our wallet as well. We use flannel washcloths to wipe his bottom when changing him which also helps reduce the use of disposable baby wipes. I have a large pail lined with a washable bag from Hip Green Baby and a small bag for holding dirty diapers so that cloth diapering can be just as convenient on the go. If you have a baby like mine, you can often times change several diapers within a matter of a few minutes. Think how little time that diaper spent on that little bum compared to the hundreds of years it will spend in the landfill.

Cloth diapers have come a long way in the past few years. If you are thinking messy, hard to fold cloths with scary diaper pins and plastic covers, think again! There is quite a variety of choices when it comes to using cloth diapers. Cloth diapers are snug fitting, waterproof (in some cases), breathable, and have user friendly covers with Velcro or snap closures. We use a leak free, inexpensive diaper cover from Terra Tots over the prefolds and Little Beetles, as well as the diaper cover from gDiapers that we place a prefold organic cloth diaper in. As he grows, there are many adorable cloth diapering options including FuzziBunz, BumGenius, Swaddlebees, and many more.

Thankfully my little guy hasn't had a diaper rash from the little bit of disposable diapering we have had to do. But, many babies get diaper rash and their bottoms can become irritated by the chemicals in disposable diapers. In addition, the toxins associated with disposable diapers have been known to cause respiratory problems and asthma. Disposable diapers are made with Tributly-tin (TBT), a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. They also contain a harmful ingredient called Sodium Polyacrylate which is the gel-like, crystal substance used as a super absorbent. Other harmful ingredients include: polypropylene plastic, petrolatum, stearyl alcohol, cellulose tissue, elastic, and perfume.

Consider investing in the health of your child, planet, and your pocketbook. It is well worth it for you, your baby, and the environment.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

My last post was on breastfeeding, but in light of it being World Breastfeeding Week, I would like to share a few more thoughts.

Did you think about breastfeeding when you were pregnant? I did. And, in my mind I really thought it would be a cinch. I would just buy a special bra, slap in a nursing pad, and feed my baby when he got hungry. Ha ha, if only it were that easy. I have a tendency to be an optimist when it comes to these things.

While pregnant, I had been glancing through several of my breastfeeding books, but honestly, the information doesn't make as much sense until it is actually happening to you and you are trying to figure the whole breastfeeding thing out as you go.

My experience hasn't been as challenging as some, but I can say that I understand why women quit just like I understand now why women want to be induced and get epidurals. But, I was one determined mommy to not do any of the above. Having cracked, bleeding nipples is not fun though. My toes curled up and I would clench my teeth each time I latch him on. I consulted a lactation consultant during the first weeks of breastfeeding and I contribute my healing to her suggestions. Ultimately, I think it came down to the Medela Soft Shells for Sore Nipples that made the difference. After four and a half weeks of painful feeding 8-12 times a day, I used the shells for three days and, voila!, my nipple was scarring over and healing. And, now, he latches on and I have no pain. It is just a joy to feed him now. Ladies, please hear this...DO NOT quit until you have tried to get help from a professional first. It is worth it for your sake and your baby's.

To all the women out there who are dealing with early breastfeeding issues, listen to those who have come before you (just as I did) - IT DOES GET BETTER, I promise.

What a joy to know that I am giving my son the wonderful gift of breastmilk. It is building his immunity, our bonding, and it is so healthy for us both.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Joy of Breastfeeding

Yes, it is a commitment. Yes, it can be challenging. Yes, it takes a bit of an effort to learn. Yes, it takes a lot of mommy's time. Yes, there can be soreness and trauma. But, it is OH. SO. WORTH. IT!

I love to feel little fingers tickle my back as his arm dangles under mine while he eats.

I love when he locks eyes with mine as he is suckling and he smiles at me.

I love that he is getting the best nutrients on the planet from his food.

I love the bond I feel with him when I hold him close to feed him.

I love that breast milk helps build his brain with the natural omega-3 fatty acids DHA and ARA.

I love that I don't have to get up and fix a bottle at 2:30am.

I love that it it doesn't cost $1,200 a year like formula does, not to mention the cost of the bottles and all the equipment involved.

I love that it is easy on his delicate digestive system.

I love that it doesn't create extra work for washing, sterilizing, and drying bottles.

I love that it is rich in natural, well absorbing lactose, iron, calcium, and zinc and DOES NOT contain corn syrup like formula.

I love that it is building his tiny immune system and protecting him against germs in the environment.

I love that it lowers my risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

I love that breastfeeding is helping me lose those extra pounds gained during pregnancy.

I love that it is a natural form of birth control.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Mom Style

While I was pregnant, I got a lot questions.

Things like...

Will you use pacifiers?

Are you going to pump?

Will you co-sleep?

What kind of slings are you going to buy?

Will you use cloth diapers?

...and so on.

I was kind of determined not to set myself up for disappointment by deciding ahead of time what I would be doing. In my gut it felt better to say I would just play it by ear. Now that he is here, I take his cues for what his wants and needs are. There is a lot of conversation surrounding this topic. Some people call it attachment parenting vs. scheduling your baby (Babywise), but, for me, it feel right to do what he is asking for and not put a label on it. I don't really want to be put into a category of what kind of parenting style I have.

So, this is what I do....

I feed him when he wants. If that means a half hour after he just ate, than that is what I am doing. I have never had to pump because his eating habits have encouraged an ample milk supply. But, if he goes more than three hours at this point, I start to feel a little engorged and sometimes that to wake him to eat.

He sleeps in our bed with us because to us that feels best. Plus, I can just pull him close to feed him while I can somewhat continue sleeping.

I wear him in a sling or wrap a lot and he sleeps on my chest for his naps throughout the day. I like to have him close. Sometimes I think moms get caught up in getting the baby to sleep so they can get on to the next project or cleaning or whatever, but to me, the early weeks and months are so important for bonding with your baby so he or she can feel safe and secure. I am not worried one bit that he will become spoiled or to used to being close all the time.

He has always fallen asleep at night right after he eats, so I don't stress about staying awake during the day so he will sleep better at night.

I was hoping not to use a pacifier. I had always heard and believed it caused nipple confusion. But, I tried it one night. He likes to have it in as he falls asleep. I take it out when he is soundly sleeping, but it has become a necessity now.

One thing that I have put a lot of emphasis on is my diet as I am breastfeeding. I am staying away from gassy, hard to digest foods such as dairy, beans, tomatoes, chocolate, broccoli, etc. So far, he has only had one bout with gas...I ate a bean fault. However, he doesn't scream and cry with the gas, he seems to get more squirmy, toots, and he finds it hard to fall asleep.

Talking to him is also very important. I treat him like the little human that he is. He deserves to know what is going on when I am changing his clothes or giving him a bath or will feed him right after I go potty myself.

He wears cloth diapers because it is better for the earth, his little bottom, and our wallet. Ya, it is a little more work to clean them and you have to change the baby more frequently, but it is so worth it.

I also believe in the importance of allowing Daddy to be involved too. He changes the baby's diapers and I have left the baby with him on several occasions to run errands. Dads should form a special bond with their babies from the beginning as well.

My baby will be three weeks tomorrow. Besides two visits to see the midwives, I have not ventured outside the house with him. I have had a few visitors, but for the most part I think he is too itty bitty to be out and about and be passed around to people. I have started to get out a little bit more myself, but for the most part, I have been taking it easy and trying to recover from the birth. It has been a big help for my family to be around to help care for me. I know that a lot of women don't have this luxury, but allowing yourself to rest and recover before trying to get back at it is very important.

I am still learning myself and I am not saying that I have it all figured out. But, following the cues of my little guy is important to me and works well him and for my mom style.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Birth Trauma and Breastfeeding Remedies

Wouldn't it be nice if our bodies and babies came with a guidebook specifically for written for each of us?

We could know ahead of time that labor could potentially be 25 hours long. We could plan on how to deal with the back labor and the third degree tears. The cracking, bleeding nipples from breastfeeding would be anticipated and we could seek help before that ever happened. We would know that the hormones that are trying to balance out are going to give us some serious ups and downs and that just looking into the sweet eyes of our baby will make us cry for no reason at all.


That isn't reality.

Thankfully, they write books to refer to once you know you are dealing with these issues.

I have been referring to The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears and Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett. In addition, I have been consulting a fabulous lactation consultant in my area.

So, here are some of the things I have been doing to recover from birth and baby.

Repair "Down There"...
For the first two days after the repair of my third degree tear I used herbal ice packs on the inflammation. These were made from soaking sanitary pads (overnight and regular size) in the herbal bath blend and freezing them. I changed them as needed. They melted, so I put this frozen pad onto another large pad they gave me at the hospital when I went in for the stitches after my home birth and then I put on a Depends. It isn't the most glamorous look, but for anyone who has had a tear that needs comfort, you know you don't even care at that point. After day two, I spread Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm onto a pad and it soothed the area. In fact, two and a half weeks later, I am still occasionally using this balm. It is definitely some amazing stuff.

Nipple Trauma and Repair...
For some reason, I have had issues with my left nipple. The right one has been just fine. My baby has a really great latch. If he happens to latch on incorrectly, I take the time to reposition and relatch as much as I need to until it is correct. My left nipple, however, started cracking and bleeding. I "toughed it out" for a few days and it just wasn't getting better. Just so you know, I don't recommend "toughing it out". Consult your lactation consultant right away if you think you may be having a issue with breastfeeding. But, I knew he had a proper latch according to the book and my knowledge of breastfeeding. When reading up on sore nipples and nipple trauma in Breastfeeding Made Simple, I discovered I had all of the following...
  • intense, toe-curling pain
  • pain throughout the feeding or between feedings
  • broken skin, blisters, or color changes
  • a burning sensation during, after or in-between feedings
  • persistent soreness that does not improve after a day or two of trying to correct the problem
My book suggested that if I have any of the previous issues, to contact a lactation consultant immediately. The next morning, I called Mellanie Sheppard, IBCLC first thing. Her advice was to ensure the proper latch, use a saline wash after each feeding. I make this from 1/8 teas. sea salt and 1 oz. water in a shot glass and seal it over the nipple and areola to soak for 2-3 minutes. Don't soak for longer than 2-3 minutes or the nipple will get too soft. After the soak, I apply colloidal silver directly to the nipple as well as take 1 teas. orally to prevent further infection. Then, I use either Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter or a Lansinoh Soothies gel pads to ensure that my nipple does not stick to the nursing pad and cause further trauma. She also suggested to use a product by Medela called Soft Shell for Sore Nipples. I haven't tried those yet. In addition, she recommended taking supplements to boost my immune system in order to not fully develop mastitis. So far so good. My nipple is slowly recovering and I can tell a difference with each feeding.

We can't always prepare for all the what-ifs before they happen, but we can consult some great books and wonderful professionals for their advice once we know what kinds of things we are dealing with after birth.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Very Own Birth Story

As I reflect back to a week ago, I am glad we are through that. But, I am sad that my baby is already almost a week old. We are definitely cherishing each and every moment - even the night time feedings. A week ago I was in labor. In fact, I was about to start active labor this very moment I am writing. Whew...again, I am glad it is over. I need a little time to gather my thoughts before I write out the entire birth story. I have had many people anxiously waiting to hear it. Maybe it is because I am a doula, and pregnancy, birth, and babies are my work that everyone is expecting an amazing, incredible, joyous, peaceful birth story. You know, just because I am a doula, I think that I had to experience a birth that was quite far from this. My work with women will ever be changed by my birth experience. It was long. It was very difficult at times. We had some unexpected things happen. But, in the end, Eli was born at home. He was born in the middle of the living room in the water in the presence of 5 midwives, 1 chiropractor, my mom, my sister, my husband, and me. He is perfect and healthy in every way. As of right now, it is difficult for my family and husband to talk about this experience. When I am able, I will post the whole birth story, but here are some highlights.

My mom arrived on Monday night, June 14th - the due date. On Tuesday, the 15th, I went to work at Gladney. I stayed for about an hour and then didn't really feel up to being there so I came home. Mom and I ran some errands and did some last minute shopping instead. That afternoon we did a belly cast out of plaster of paris strips which was so fun. I am excited to paint it when the inspiration comes to me. When Scott got home from work that night we ate dinner and then game 6 of the NBA finals was on. Scott watched that while Mom and I played Racko. I was feeling uncomfortable, but nothing far different than "normal". I did have to sit on a ball for a while because of the slight cramping. At about 11:15 we decided to call it a night. While filling my water and taking the evenings vitamins and herbs, I felt a little wetness. I went in and sat on the bed to have a small contraction and felt more water come out. Then, I got up to go to the bathroom and when I sat down I felt a small gush. It wasn't a lot, but I called out to Scott and Mom that I thought my water had broken. They kind of got excited. I watched it for a few minutes as more came out and discovered it was not clear. Because of the presence of meconium, I called the midwives. They decided it would be best to come and assess the situation. They arrived at about 1:00am. They checked me. Eli (still Baby R at this point) still had a bag of water over the head, but it definitely was water that was leaking. At that time, I was 3cm and 30-40% effaced. His head was kinked. I had my wonderful friend and chiropractor, Rachel, on call for me so we gave her a call to come and adjust my pelvis to see if this would help relieve the pain that had started in my back and the kink in Eli's neck. When she left, I tried to rest. I got a short massage from Mom because my back was beginning to hurt and then I went to bed. It was 4:30am. The midwives had decided to stay and sleep at the house and at 6:00am they came in to check my vitals. I was definitely in labor by this point. Throughout the morning we did things like eat breakfast, go for walks, climb stairs, hula on the birth ball, etc. Labor became very intense at about 1:00pm. From this point on, it wasn't very fun. I will continue from here when I am ready, but for now I will just tell you that it became a long, hard journey.

Here's why...

I was born with a fusion in my lumbar 5 vertebrae. The left side of my L5 is fused to my sacrum. I found this out about 8 years ago when I had x-rays at a chiropractor for the low back and sciatic pain I had been having. Because of this, I thought I may have a difficult time during pregnancy so I was receiving weekly adjustments to keep things mobile. For the most part, the sciatic pain stayed under control. I had a lot of round ligament pain and some sciatic pain, but by late in the 3rd trimester, I really was not experiencing any back pain. I could not have imagined that it would show its UGLY face in labor. My pelvis just does not open or give in that area of my low back. Needless to say, I experienced intense, almost unbearable back labor for the remainder of the time until the moment he was born. This is that part that is difficult to recount for everyone there. So, for now, I am going to skip it. But, apparently, according to several chiropractors I have talked to about this, it is a true triumph to have succeeded to have a normal, unmedicated birth with this type of sacralization in my back. I feel so happy, blessed, and brave to know that I defied the odds. And, I had the most amazing group of women surrounding me while I have birth. They all supported and prayed for me throughout the entire process. They encouraged me. They loved me. They believed in me. When I said no, they said yes. I love them all for that.

I never once doubted I could do it. I never once wanted to go to the hospital. It truly became a matter of sheer will and determination that I was going to birth this baby and he was going to get here safely in our home no matter what it took. Something in me decided that I wasn't going to allow anything to stand in my way. Let's just say that the midwive's new line for me is "I am woman, hear me roar!" Um, yes, I was uninhibited that is for sure.

Eli Scott Reasoner was born in the water at 12:24am on June 17th. He weighed 8lbs and was 21 3/4 inches long. And, after all that, I tore. My worst fear of birth was tearing. The midwives warned me that often times your worst fear is the thing that happens to you in birth. Well, it did. In fact, I had a 3rd degree tear because Eli (precious baby) decided to come barging out with a fist and arm flying. Scott thinks he was working on his blocking out skills for basketball. Ha, ha Daddy. Because my midwives didn't feel comfortable in their experience in repairing 3rd degree tears, they suggested that I go to the hospital and I agreed that was the best idea. We called several hospitals to see who was on call and who would be willing to come in to do the repairs at 4:00am. After feeding Eli and getting him settled in and crying my eyes out that I had to leave my new little family, (I wasn't about to take my newborn to the hospital with me) Mom, one of the midwives, and I loaded up and headed to the hospital. We got there about 4:30am. I was immediately taken care of by the nurse who was waiting for me to arrive. She was so wonderful and had had 3 babies of her own at a birth center. I also had an amazing doctor who came in especially for me. They cared for me and worked quickly so that I could get home to my baby. At 5:45am we were on our way home. I was so eager to get back to my family. Scott was anxiously awaiting our return and came out to meet us. We walked in the door to discover Heidi (my sister) had him wrapped up on her chest and he had been sleeping with her for the entire time. I was so grateful to know he was being taken care of so well. She had sent us a text while we were at the hospital to assure us he was doing just fine. I took my baby in my arms and Scott, Eli, and I went to the bedroom to rest. This is when I discovered how difficult the past 12+ hours had been on my husband. He was very emotional and concerned for me and was trying to block most of it out of his mind. All I could say and do at that point was look at our sweet boy and reassure my husband that all I had gone through was worth that precious face we were gazing into.

In the past week I have discovered so many wondrous things about my son. Because he was a chiropractic baby from 10 weeks pregnant to moments after birth and he had a drug free birth, I credit this to Eli being able to track his eyes and follow our voices to look around already. He likes to be swaddled, but only from the armpits down. Those hands and arms must be free. He likes to take naps on the Boppy. He giggled out loud yesterday and he often smiles in his sleep. I know he dreams about milk. The little guys nurses like a champ. He can sleep through getting a diaper change. He only fuses when we keep him from food too long. He loves to be naked in the sun. There are just so many things that I find out daily that make me so happy. I have looked at him and cried at the sheer joy I feel for having him as my son. I love him to pieces.

Scott is the best daddy and husband I could have ever asked for. He was my rock at the birth. He is my sons amazing father. I cannot tell you how he has surprised me as a dad (he has changed more diapers than I have) and how much I see the love he has for his son. We are so blessed as a family. The love I have for my husband and the love he has for me has increased a million times over since going through this and bringing our son into the world together.

If you are still reading, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share my story. Thank you for your support and love as friends, family, clients, and passers by of my blog.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Upcoming Fertility Awareness Classes

Many couples desire to become pregnant, want to prevent pregnancy without the use of invasive birth control methods, or just want to track their reproductive health.

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a natural method that helps women and couples understand fertility based on four main fertility signs. This Fertility Awareness Method is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly and can also help women understand if and when they need to seek a health care provider regarding any health issues they may find while charting their cycles.

This class is designed to teach you the basics of FAM. Once you gain an understanding of the basics, you may find you need one on one consulting to discern your specific signs and your charts. One on one sessions are available for you and your partner upon appointment.

* This class is open to individuals and couples.
* Nursing babies are welcome

Saturday, May 8th, 2010 - 10am - noon
Saturday, June 5th, 2010 - 10am - noon

Registration and Cost: Space is limited, so please RSVP to or call 214-783-3668 to reserve your spot. Classes are $20 per person or $35 per couple.

What you will learn:

- How to chart your fertility signs
- How to tell when you are fertile and infertile during your cycle
- How NFP can help you get pregnant or avoid pregnancy
- How to chart for general reproductive health
- How to determine if you need to seek a physician based on your body's signals
- Fertility Awareness while breastfeeding
...and more!

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you believe may benefit from attending this class.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Preparing A Way

A couple of days ago I realized that I am going to have a baby! That may sound crazy considering I am 30 weeks pregnant, but it hit me...I will be giving birth to this growing being inside of me.

I am not sure how much all the things I am doing leading up to birth will actually prepare me for what I will experience, but I am preparing none the less.

Some people assume that because I am a birth doula, I will be more prepared than most. Maybe. But, although I have attended many births and advised many pregnant women, nothing can compare to my own experiences during this pregnancy. It is so different actually experiencing it yourself. I am sure this all will make me a better doula as well.

So what am I doing to prepare you ask?
Here are a few things....
Reading Up On....

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way
by Susan McCutcheon-Rosegg and Erick Ingraham

Birthing From Within
by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

The Thinking Women's Guide to a Better Birth
by Henci Goer
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn
by Penny Simpkin, Janet Whalley, and Ann Keppler

The Parent's Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations
by Lauren Feder


The Business of Being Born
Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein

Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret
Debra Pascali-Bonaro

In and On My Body...

Organic Food Based Prenatal Vitamins

Olympic Labs Pea Protein
added to my fruit smoothie in the mornings....YUMMY!

Lots of WATER....Obviously!

Organic Coconut Oil for lathering up my belly and skin

Earth Mama Angel Baby Products
I love them all, but I have been using the Stretch Mark Oil, Happy Feet, and Mint Herbal Lip Balm!

We are also taking Bradley Method Childbirth Classes with my friend Donna. And, I am getting weekly chiropractic adjustments from my friend Rachel.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

When Is Your "Due Date"?

Do you even know how they come up with that day?

Ever wonder or get frustrated about why your "due date" changes as your pregnancy progresses or after you have a sonogram? Do you really want to rely on a sonogram to tell you the date you are due?

And then, do you get hung up on all those dates they are throwing out at you?

Unless you know the exact day you conceived or you have a 28 day cycle on the dot every month, combined with the fact that you were trying to conceive, you may not know that the "due date" you were given could be off.

Did you know that your caregiver is taking that pregnancy wheel out and calculating your "due date" based on a 28 day cycle? What if your "normal" is a 35 day cycle and you have been that way for years? Your "due date" is going to show that you are due a week earlier than you really are.

Or, what if you haven't had a period in 6 months and you become pregnant?

As women with such wonderfully fashioned bodies and intricately designed cycles, we should be aware of how our bodies work. Women who observe and chart their cycles and what is happening with their body throughout the month will find it much easier to formulate a "due date" for pregnancy. This is because you will know exactly the days you were most fertile and what day you most likely could have conceived on. In fact, you may be able to tell your care giver when you are due instead of the other way around. It is a great feeling to know you have that knowledge!

And, remember, before setting your sites on that magical "due date"...
  • Your baby does not know its "due date".
  • First babies tend to come late.
  • As long as the baby is inside of you, it has everything it needs.
  • Patience is a wonderful thing when it comes to giving birth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Green Your Clean for Baby

We all want to live in a clean, disinfected home, especially when we have a baby.

Have you ever stopped to think about the chemicals that your baby is exposed to?

How about bath time? Or baby learning to crawl on the kitchen floor?

Did you just bleach the tub, mop the floor with chemical disinfectants, or put down carpet deodorizer before vacuuming?

What happens to the chemical residues left behind after these harsh cleanings? They probably get absorbed into the bath water or rub into the baby's skin when on the floor. And, as we all know, a baby does not have a sense of "yuck", they will lick and taste anything.

So, how do you get your house clean and disinfected without these harsh cleaners? Here are a few items and recipes you can use for some natural household cleaners that are safe for you and your family.

Common Household Items:

Baking Soda
- Extremely versatile, baking soda is an all-purpose, nontoxic cleaner. It cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains.

Borax - (sodium borate) It deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap. It also prevents mold and odors. Great alternative for those who do not want to use bleach.

Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs, you can use this to replace expensive "baby powders" also.

Ketchup - great for cleaning copper

Lemon juice - great for whitening items, but vinegar is cheaper . It also cuts through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain

Pure Soap - cleans just about anything and is mild

Salt - regular table salt makes an abrasive, but gentle, scouring powder

White Vinegar - very cheap and versatile, great for whitening, also fantastic for cleaning hard surfaces, windows and shining up metal surfaces. Removes mildew, stains, grease and wax buildup. This is another natural cleaner that whole books have been written on!


All Purpose Quick Shiner
Mild and safe to use for all surfaces

1-1/4 cups white vinegar
1-1/4 cups water
22 ounce spray bottle
4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Pour vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Shake gently to combine. To use, spray on and wipe off.

Homemade Dust and Furniture Polish
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Pour oil and lemon juice into a squirt bottle or jar. Stir to combine. To use, dip dust cloth or rag into oil, blot the oil by folding the cloth together, and then dust your furniture.

All Purpose Window and Glass Cleaner
Vinegar cuts grease and leaves windows sparkling clean. Best of all, this mixture is absolutely safe. It's the best choice if you have young children in the house.

1/4 cup white vinegar
1 quart of water
4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Pour vinegar and water into a bowl or container, or mix the ingredients in a spray bottle. Clean windows directly with a sponge dipped in the bowl of cleaner or spray on and wipe clean.

Sink, Shower, and Tub Cleaner
Combine equal parts baking soda and salt to scrub stainless steel.

Combine baking soda and vinegar to make paste. Add 4-5 drops of essential oils (optional)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby Talk

Talking to your baby from conception to birth can be such a beautiful bonding experience. Even though your baby has not fully developed hearing very early on, I believe it is important to recognize the connection you have with your baby and start talking to him or her from the moment you find out your are pregnant. Encourage dad to talk and bond with the baby too. When that baby is born he or she will be able to recognize your voices.

So what exactly should you say to your baby in the womb?

As the mother, your baby is going with you everywhere. As you drive in your car, take a walk, do housework, or whatever you may do throughout your day, tell your baby what you are doing.

When you sit down to eat a meal, share with your baby about the delicious food you are both about to eat.

At times when the baby is especially active during the day or night, talk to the baby out loud or just in your heart. What may be making the baby so active and what can you do to help he or she to be calm? Listen for the answer. You will be surprised what you may hear.

At bedtime, have daddy tell the baby about his day and have him read the baby a children's story.

When you go to see your caregiver, tell the baby what to possibly expect. Do you have an ultrasound or other prenatal testing that day? Prepare the baby for what will be happening.

Do you feel especially emotional some days? Do you cry or feel overwhelmed at times? Explain to your baby the feelings you are having.

Are you reaching the end of pregnancy? Tell your baby and your body the kind of birth you want. Ensure the baby that what is about to happen during birth is a lot of work for both of you and you will be so excited to greet him or her in the end. Tell your baby the position you would like he or she to be in for the best birth.

Establishing a relationship before birth will help you to continue once the baby is born. Because you have been talking to the baby for so many months in your womb, it will be very easy to continue that bonding once you are holding him or her in your arms and going about your day after the birth.

Don't underestimate the awareness of your baby. Just because your baby is very tiny and young doesn't mean that he or she doesn't understand what is going on it's environment. Babies know more at a young age than we will ever understand.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amazing Body of a Woman

Have you ever stopped to really ponder and appreciate what amazing beings we are as women?

At birth we have all the eggs we will have for the rest of our lifetime. These give us the ability to conceive.

When puberty begins, we start our cycle. At that time we are given physical signs by our body as clues to our fertility and reproductive health.

The womb was created to grow and nourish a little life.

Our body's unique design has the ability to birth life into the world and our instincts tell us we can do it.

That little life we give birth to is sustained by food from our breasts.

Eventually that baby with grow up and the cycle of life will start all over again.

And, that is just the beginning.

I believe so strongly that a woman should know and understand her own body even before she begins puberty. It opens up an whole new understanding, appreciation, and responsibility for our cycle and our reproductive health. Talking with your daughters about their cycles is an important dialogue. It is so much more information than "the birds and the bees" talk. Girls can gain an understanding on a new level. Moms, it is important to know these things for yourself as well so that you can relay them in a way that is mature and understandable to your adolescents as they grow into young women themselves.

Fertility Awareness is much more than knowing when you are fertile in order to achieve pregnancy. It empowers girls and woman to understand their bodies by observing many things that are happening and changing during her cycle. Knowing and maintaining optimal gynecological health from puberty to menopause, appreciating your womanhood, and nurturing your marriage relationship are all beautiful experiences you can have when you are aware of your body and what it is doing.

Upcoming Fertility Awareness classes will be March 27, 2010 and May 8, 2010. Please contact me at for more information.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Green Products I Love

Recently, I attended a cloth diapering demonstration and met Kristi Rooks from Hip Green Baby. I bought all kinds of organic and eco-friendly baby products for our little one on the way. Here are just a few of the products that she carries that I LOVE and highly recommend!
Mommies and Mommies-To-Be, I believe it is so important to preserve our delicate planet by consuming eco-friendly and reusable products. Not only is it important for the planet, but for the precious little baby we care for each day.

Please visit Hip Green Baby to see what products you and your baby can enjoy to support a healthy lifestyle and conserve our planet.

It is never too late to start going green!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Organic Coconut Oil for the Blooming Belly

Recently, my mom was in town and brought with her some coconut oil she uses for everything. I love to cook and bake with it myself, but hadn't yet tried to lather it on my belly yet because I have been using my new Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil (which I love, love love!). My mom also suggested I try to put it on a skin tag that had conveniently popped right under my bra line during my pregnancy. It was becoming irritated and painful but was still hanging on for dear life. After putting coconut oil and a bandage over it for three days, it fell off and I am happy to more irritation.

Thank you, Mother, for leaving your Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil with me. I have been lubing up my belly every night this week. Personally, I love the smell of coconut and don't mind the slipperiness of it on my belly at night. Knock on wood, the only tiny stretch marks that have appeared are coming from my appendectomy scar and the two very low scars from my ectopic pregnancy surgery. I am hopeful and determined to steer clear of stretch marks with the use of all of these great oils.
Gotta love a product with multiple uses! Coconut oil can also be used for:
  • Skin Care: Besides stretch marks, it is a great moisturizer for dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin conditions.
  • Stress Relief: Massage a bit into your skin in sore or stressed areas.
  • Aiding Digestion: It has anti-bacterial properties. You can swallow it plain or add it to your cooking to help the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Fitness: It can stimulate metabolism, improve thyroid function, and increase energy levels.
  • Healing: Apply to cuts and scraps to protect against bacteria and virus and can speed the healing of bruises.
  • Hair Care: Can be one of the most nourishing products for your hair. Use it to prevent dandruff and dry scalp.
Anyone else had great success with coconut oil?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Body, My Baby, My Birth

Pregnancy and birth has become so high tech. Makes you wonder what they did all those years ago when women just got pregnant and nine months later had their baby.

Here are some of my thoughts and views regarding my pregnancy and birth.

My First Prenatal Appointment: Although I was having regular blood testing in the beginning of this pregnancy for low progesterone levels, I did not have the first prenatal appointment until 17 weeks. The group of midwives we chose were eager to help me over the phone before hand as I needed though. I love the attention that I get from such nurturing care. I spend 5 minutes in the waiting room and 45 minutes in my appointment....not the other way around.

Routine Testing and Procedures During Pregnancy: So many tests are dne while you are pregnant - many of which have declined! I give a urine sample at each appointment which is very inevasive. I plan to have an iron test done which involved a stick and is fairly inevasive. I have opted out of taking tests like glucose and many of the other unnecessary (in my opinion) blood testing and other screenings. And, I definitely steered clear of the flu and swine flu vaccines.

Ultrasounds: Before I was pregnant, I vowed not to have an ultrasound. But, when I began spotting at 5 weeks and it continued until week 12, I felt it best to ensure the safety of the baby and pregnancy. However, I am not a fan of ultrasounds. There is too much evidence out there that shows ultrasounds to be very dangerous to the health of the baby. Have you ever had an ultrasound and your baby was moving and kicking around a lot? The technician may have even joked about how much your baby was moving. Did you know that the ultrasound waves sound like a freight train to your poor, innocent little baby. Their tiny ears are just trying to acclimate to normal noises like the voice of Mommy and Daddy. Imagine how harsh those loud sound waves must be like.

Because we have not an ultrasound with this pregnancy since the bleeding at 12 weeks, we will not find out the gender of our little one. People's reactions are very interesting. Some say, "Oh, that is wonderful. There are so few surprises in the world." Others say, "I am too much of a planner to not find out." I find the latter response amusing. You see, I am a first born and a Virgo. I plan, organize, and research to the max. But, when it comes to having a baby, I prefer taking a simpler approach.

Childbirth Classes: Whether you birth at home, birth center, or hospital, I highly recommend taking a childbirth class to prepare you for the birth. We are taking The Bradley Method with my friend Donna. Bradley encourages the father to play a large role in labor and birth of the baby. It teaches many techniques to support a natural birth and avoid unnecessary interventions. ABC News did a recent report on the best childbirth classes to take. Check it out here.

Our Place of Birth: Home. For us, we could think of no better place than our home to welcome our little baby. It is a peaceful, quiet, safe place for my husband and I to have a calm and relaxing birth experience. And, our baby will be born into an environment free of bright florescent lighting, gloved and masked care givers, and cold, stark air. ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) states "Choosing to deliver a baby at home is to place the process of giving birth over the goal of having a healthy baby." All I can say to that is that those doctors have obviously never had the joyful experience of welcoming a baby into the world in a homebirth setting. They must often see babies born under severe distress due to the birth they highly intervened in with the use of drugs, induction, and/or cutting them open to get the babies out. I believe that my body and baby will be just fine at home. It is just pure, natural instincts for a woman to know how to have a baby. What kind of birth she decides to have is largely based on her ability to not be afraid of her own body's normal, natural function to give birth.

As a mother-to-be, I feel very strongly about the choices we have made about this pregnancy and the birth of our first born. I know this isn't for every mother and her baby, but it is right for us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Dad's View During Pregnancy

What is it like for the husband leading up to the birth of a child? First, there was the day when my wife, Hannah, showed me the pregnancy test and tears of joy came out of my eyes when I saw the plus sign. After that, I began to feel pressure because once the baby is born I will have to provide for my family. Then I began to imagine what Baby Reasoner is going to look like. Will he or she be long legged like me or shorter and more muscular like Hannah. Of course the thought of having a son or daughter who wants follow in my footsteps and play basketball would be special too.

The toughest part of the whole pregnancy was watching Hannah during the first trimester with nausea. I felt so helpless and wish I could have done more. There was also the second and last sonogram we will have this pregnancy. I looked at the sonogram and felt like Baby Reasoner looked like me. Hannah laughed. Now we have begun our Bradley class so I can prepare for June 14th or whenever the baby decides to come. This class is going to help me be a great coach for Hannah during birth. Also, I have been working on the Baby's room but must finish the kitchen first.

Finally, the last thing I always think about is holding Baby Reasoner in my arms for the first time and having that first bonding moment with him or her.

Fertility Awareness Classes

Many women desire to become pregnant, want to prevent pregnancy without the use of invasive birth control methods, or just want to track their reproductive health.

I am now teaching the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) of Natural Family Planning (NFP). It is a natural method that helps women and couples understand fertility based on four main fertility signs. This Fertility Awareness Method is 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used properly and can also help women understand if and when they need to seek a health care provider regarding any health issues they may find while charting their cycles.

Due to limited space at this time, classes are designed for women. If couples desire, I do one on one consultations after the initial class.

Upcoming Classes:

Saturday, March 27th 10am - Noon (Fort Worth, TX)
Monday, April 12th 6:30 - 8:30pm (Northwest Arkansas -Location TBA)
Saturday, May 8th 10am - Noon (Fort Worth, TX)

Registration and Cost: Space is limited, so please RSVP to or call 214-783-3668 to reserve your spot. Classes are $20.

* Nursing babies are welcome.

What you will learn:
  • How to chart your fertility signs
  • How to tell when you are fertile and infertile during your cycle
  • How NFP can help you get pregnant or avoid pregnancy
  • How to chart for general reproductive health
  • How to determine if you need to seek a physician based on your body's signals
  • Fertility Awareness while breastfeeding
  • ...and more!
My husband and I have been using FAM for almost four years now. I have achieved two planned pregnancies and avoided pregnancy during the first part of our marriage by only using these Natural Family Planning Methods. I have also been able to chart irregularities in my cycle when trying to achieve pregnancy and consult with a physician for these issues. (More on that if you come to a class).

Please feel free to share this information with anyone you believe may benefit from attending this class.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Protein in Pregnancy

"Eat your protein!" That is what everyone seems to be telling me. "It helps the baby grow." "You need 80-100 grams while pregnant."

Apparently I have been having trouble getting adequate protein. Now, I am keeping a food diary to account for every gram I eat for two weeks.

I am not a big meat eater. In fact, I am not a big eater in general. But, while pregnant, I do understand the importance of eating adequately for my baby's sake.

I like beans, nuts, fish, turkey, and chicken for protein. But, did you know that raw, organic fruits and vegetables can also be a great source of protein? Meat is not the only way! I found a website that helps me calculate every type of food for its protein content and am happily calculating each bite of fruits and vegetables into this amount as well.

I also like to have a protein smoothie with pea protein powder. A typical smoothie consists of 1/2 a banana, 1/2 c. peaches, 1/4 c. blueberries, 1 c. rice milk, a handful of raw spinach, and a scoop of protein (all organic ingredients of course). This is at least 35 grams of protein in this powerful and filling breakfast.

Looks like I will be browsing some cookbooks for some new recipes to spice up my diet. I am open to suggestions for vegan and vegetarian recipes too!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sore Nipples

Thank goodness for the mommies who have gone before me. I admittedly don't know everything about pregnancy, childbirth. and beyond and I welcome the advice and support.

My first trimester of pregnancy was a bit rough. I had spotting from 5 weeks until 12 weeks. On top of that, I was nauseated and throwing up from week 9ish to week 13ish. Now that I am feeling EXCELLENT in my second trimester, I am going to try and relay my own personal experiences, concerns, and questions about pregnancy and childbirth.

Many women have sore breasts and nipples during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In fact, my first pregnancy symptom was very tender breasts. But, I never expected to have such sore nipples. There were days in the first trimester that just the graze of a shirt across them or water running on them was so painful. As a breastfeeding advocate, I plan to put my baby to my breast the moment after birth. Although my nipples have toughened up during this 2nd trimester, I am nervous that I may experience sore nipples in my breastfeeding journey.

I am open to any suggestions, personal experiences, organic products, etc... I know Earth Mama Angel Baby has wonderful products for nipples. What else worked for you? Anyone had the same concerns or experienced what I am feeling? Did you prepare your nipples and breasts for breastfeeding in any way?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stretch Marks Anyone?

Currently, I am trying two different products on my 24 week, growing, stretching belly. I believe it is really important to be careful, especially during pregnancy, about what you put on your skin. What you put on or in will get to baby. Use organic, chemical free, paraben free products that aren't made with artificial preservatives when at all possible.

One product I love is made by Earth Mama Angel Baby. It is an organic shea butter stretch mark lotion called Earth Mama Body Butter. Made with chamomile and calendula essential oils, it goes on very nice and smooth and feels very nice on the tummy.

The other is called Tummy Honey and it is a thick, oil-based formula that smells of sweet, natural cocoa butter and feels amazing. It glides on easy and does not leave a sticky, greasy residue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Is Your Fertility IQ?

As many of you already know, I am an advocate of Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness Methods as a form of birth control, pregnancy achievement, and maintaining the optimum health of your reproductive system as a healthy woman.

Using the these methods, I prevented pregnancy for 2 years with my husband before we chose to start our family. I have now become pregnant twice by utilizing these methods and find them very effective. And, not only is this an excellent way to prevent and become pregnant, but I have also been able to detect specific reproductive issues while charting and was able to contact a health professional for a healthy women's consultation.

So, What Is Your Fertility IQ? This quiz comes from The Garden of Fertility website. After you take the quiz, you can check your answers at the bottom.

1. The Rhythm Method is another name for Fertility Awareness. True or False

2. To conceive from sexual intercourse which takes place before ovulation, three things are required: sperm, a mature egg, and ________ _______.

3. A girl can get pregnant before her first period. True or False

4. A woman can have intercourse on Monday and conceive as a result on the following Friday. True or False

5. Fertile cervical fluid (CF) can keep sperm alive in the cervix for how many days?

6. Cervical fluid and arousal fluid are the same thing. True or False

7. It is possible for a woman to get pregnant if her partner does not penetrate her or ejaculate. True or False

8. Pre-ejaculate contains enough sperm to become pregnant or cause HIV. True or False

9. Lambskin condoms are as effective as latex in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. True or False

10. A woman can conceive as a result of intercourse that takes place while menstrating or breastfeeding. True or False

11. Females are born with all their eggs already in their ovaries. True or False

12. The lifespan of a mature egg:
(a) 3 days
(b) 6-8 days
(c) 6-24 hours.

13. Beginning at puberty, how many sperm do healthy males produce per second?
(a) 100
(b) 10,000
(c) 1,000
(d) 10

14. ____% of infertility issues are due to problems in the male; ____% are due to problems with the female; ____% are due to problems with the couple.

15. Which of the following can decrease sperm count?
(a) hot tubs
(b) hot weather
(c) tight pants
(d) marajuana
(e) environmental toxins
(g) all of the above

16. Before ovulation, the women's basal temperature is warmer or cooler than after ovulation?

17. A man's testicles are like a woman's (a)________. A woman's fallopian tubes are like a man's (b)____ _______. A man's seminal fluid is like a woman's (c)________. The penis is like the woman's (d)________.

18. Charting fertility signals can alert a woman to thyroid problems, vaginal infections, propenstity of miscarriage, propensity of ovarian cysts, ideal times for surgery, etc. True or False

19. Fertility Awareness and The Pill are equally effective forms of birth control. True or False

20. What are the two most common forms of birth control in the U.S.?

(1) False (2) Cervical Fluid (3) True (4) True (5) three to five (6) False (7) True (8) True (9) False (10) True (11) False (12) 6-24 hours (13) 1,000 (14) 40%, 40%, 20%, (15) all of the above (16) cooler (17) ovaries, vas deferens, cervical fluid, clitoris (18) True (19) True (20) Female Sterilization and The Pill.
See website for an explanation and more information for each answer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cesarean Section Stats

As I approach the 23rd week of my pregnancy, I am very much looking forward to the birth of my baby in a few months. We are planning a homebirth and are very excited to birth in the comfort of our own home. I chose a homebirth because I want to feel safe, secure, loved, and in control of my birth experience.

More than 4 million women give birth each year. Around 98% of those women birth in the hospital. There are some interesting statics surrounding hospital births. Did you know that in 1975 the c-section rate was 7%? Today it is almost 30%. In North Texas, where I live, it is an astounding 50-60%. I believe this to be due mostly in part to continuous electronic fetal monitoring as well as the adverse effects of the use of medication during birth. The World Health Organization recommends the c-section rate to be 15%. And, CIMS, the Coalition for Improving Maternal Services recommends a 10% c-section rate in community hospitals and 15% in high risk situations.

Ina May Gaskin is a well known midwife and author of many wonderful books on birth and related topics. She is the director of the Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee. According to the documentary, Pregnant In America, over 2,000 women give birth at The Farm and of those births, less than 1.5% ended up with c-sections.

What makes these statistics so astonishingly different? What does this say to you about the care given in hospital verses birth centers and homebirths?

There are several documentaries on birth that I recommend to anyone who is planning to give birth in any setting: Pregnant In America, Orgasmic Birth, and The Business of Being Born.

On May 13th from 7-9pm, the Tarrant County Birth Network will be hosting its free monthly "Round-Up" at Grapevine Public Library in Grapevine, TX. We will have a speaker on the topic of Cesarean Section and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). A panel of moms will also speak on their personal experiences. If you live in Tarrant County or the surrounding area, you will want to attend this meeting!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tarrant County Birth Network - Update

The Tarrant County Birth Network is now up and running after much hard work and many ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. We have a lot to do to prepare for our first meeting on Thursday, March 11, 2010! We hope Tarrant County families, birth professionals, and expectant parents will come and be educated about their choices in pregnancy, birth, and beyond. So exciting!

If you are interested in receiving information about membership or the free monthly meetings please email me at Visit for information, as the Tarrant County Birth Network will be a branch off the
National Birth Network.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Acupressure Workshop - March 26-27, 2010

On March 26-27, 2010 there will be a two day workshop on Acupressure and Childbirth for Birthing Professionals held in Wichita, Kansas. It will be lead by Dr. Lorraine Jones, who has been practicing acupuncture for many years and is extremely knowledgeable. Among other things, this class promotes and educates on healthy pregnancy and safe birth for expectant mothers, families, and their babies.

As as doula and massage therapist myself, I have had a small amount of training in acupressure from Dr. Jones. I have had wonderful success helping mothers begin labor and have successful natural births. In fact, I just had another mom have a successful natural birth this past Friday morning after doing acupressure with her on Thursday night to help enhance and facilitate her labor. This is just one of many amazing testimonials that I have from happy clients. It is well worth the knowledge, time, and expense as a birthing professional to take this training!

For more information about the instructor, Dr. Lorraine Jones, please visit her website at

If you are interested in receiving more information on this workshop, please forward me your physical address and I will ensure you get the information and registration forms by mail. If you have any questions about this workshop, you can contact me at or 817-386-3355.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Acupressure for Labor and Birth - Fort Worth

The majority of babies born in the U.S. show signs of stress or traumatic imprinting which begins with their fist interaction with the outside world - namely their birth. Natural, non-invasive techniques such as acupressure, acumassage, and gentle Asian massage techniques can prevent such trauma and help the mother and child to bond and enjoy their first moments of physical interaction. These techniques also aid in the process of giving birth and can eliminate some of the issues that can arise during this precious time.

  • Facilitates labor to start for post due babies
  • Encourages labor to progress at a steady pace and may prevent the use of medical intervention
  • May help baby to position correctly for birth and/or help turn a breech baby
  • May help to maintain the mother's and baby's vital signs and prevent unnecessary medical interventions
$60 per hour
outcall fee - $15

Postpartum Doula Services - Fort Worth

As a Postpartum Doula, I have been supporting families with postpartum care with their families and babies since March 2009. I have many years of experience with newborns, infants, toddlers, and older siblings. I understand that a new baby can be quite an adjustment for a family and I enjoy helping ease the transition and nurturing the new family.


A "doula" is a "woman who serves". She is trained to support women and their families in the days and weeks following the birth of a new baby.

  • The work of a postpartum doula depends on the needs of the family. Postpartum doulas do whatever a mother needs to enjoy and care for her new baby. This may include, but is not limited to: light cleaning, the baby's laundry, breastfeeding support, new baby care, and playing with and supporting other siblings.
  • She focuses on helping to nurture the family to become independent as they adjust to their new family dynamics. As the family experiences success and knowledge, the needs of the professional support will diminish.
  • The doula will share information about infant care with parents as well as teach the family and siblings to "mother the mother".
  • Depending on the needs of the family, a postpartum doula can work during the day or overnight shifts to care for the family and baby.
For more information on the role of a postpartum doula, visit the DONA website.

The cost of postpartum support may vary depending on the families needs and the length of time spent with the family. The general fee can range from $15-$25/hour.

*Please do not allow financial limitations to hinder you from getting the care that you deserve. Payment plans can be arranged for postpartum care.

Birth Doula Services - Fort Worth

Supporting growing families is my passion! I have been a Certified Birth Doula through Doulas of North America (DONA) since May 2009 and have been serving pregnant and birthing women through doula and massage work since 2005. I serve pregnant women who plan to birth at home, a birth center, or the hospital.

"Doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.

Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier, and they breastfeed more easily.

  • Recognize birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life
  • Understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a women in labor
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying our her plans for birth
  • Stay with the woman throughout labor and birth
  • Provide emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman and her family get the information they need to make informed decisions
  • Facilitate communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and her clinical care providers
  • Perceive her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience
  • Allow the woman's partner to participate at his/her comfort level
2-3 Prenatal Visits
Acupressure to Facilitate Labor in "Post Due" Pregnancies
Support for Labor and Birth
1-2 Postpartum Visits

*Please do not allow financial limitations to hinder your from getting the care that you deserve. Payment plans can be arranged.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Babywearing - Slings and Wraps

Last fall I attended a presentation on babywearing. There are so many choices when it comes to how to wear your baby and what is most comfortable for you and the needs of you baby. Below are several different types of wraps and slings. When searching for the best babywearing option for you, I suggest trying them on with a weighted baby to see what fits you best. While I was at the presentation, I was attracted to one sling in particular, but when I put it on, it wasn't a good fit. I ended up liking the one I thought I would least like.

MOBY WRAP (starts at $40) - two shoulder carrier, best for newborns, carries up to 15 to 20 lbs., stretchy, can be hot in summertime, one size (6 yrds).

MAYA WRAP (starting at$65.95 for regular fabric and $94.50 for organic) - great for newborns, carries up to 35 lbs., one shouldered, cool for the summer, best for nursing, sized by height of wearer.

GYPSY MAMA (starting at $69 - $74) - gauze and stretchy (6 yrds.), great for newborns, for babies up to 35 lbs, two shouldered, sized to fit wearer, most versatile. For more photos in how to wear the gypsy mama, click here.

(starting at $129) - soft structured carrier, for newborn up to 40 lbs., unique features such as cinching at bottom to allow smaller babies to sit with legs out, most versatile carrier, and two shouldered.

ERGO (starting at $105) - soft structured carrier, two shouldered, for newborn up to 40 lbs., best for 5 months and up when baby can straddle, has an infant insert for babies less than 4 months, great accessories.

BECO (starting at $140) - for newborn up to 40 lbs., two shouldered, front and back soft structured carrier, no need for infant insert.

Visit for more fun babywearing ideas!