Delivering Your Peace of Mind!

Delivering Your Peace of Mind!

Can we say MIND BLOWN???? How can it be that as owner of Childbirth Concierge I am still a #birth junkie at heart all these years later?

It was her fault

On March 26 in 1989 I gave birth to my first daughter Kara Ann after 26 hours of a Pitocin induction for pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks gestation. Even though I did it without an epidural and had a forceps delivery, I could not have imagined that her delivery would be responsible for catapulting me into a career of helping women have a positive birth experience. Months after her delivery I kept processing my experience. I was educated, had gone to childbirth classes, had midwives and Obstetricians and yet I was left feeling like what happened to me?

And her fault too

The same year my bestie Beth was pregnant, and her bag of waters ruptured prematurely at 34 weeks. Having only been to one childbirth class, she called me to come help her breath since I had given birth a few months earlier. It was a pretty fast labor, as I stood across from her husband at Cape Canaveral Hospital in Florida encouraging them both. When their daughter, who now has her master’s degree, was born I experienced something I will never forget. I remembered thinking I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I now know that “feeling” is referred to as the “birth high”!

He thought I was crazy

Doula was not a popular word then and only found in the Greek dictionary. For that fact (don’t tell anyone) the internet wasn’t even a thing. But I had to figure out how to keep doing what I had just experience. When I came home from that birth, I certainly was a chatty Kathy. My now ex-husband said “What is that you want to do? Become a nurse? Midwife? Doctor?” I replied “No, I just want to be beside with the momma and do what I did”!

My first training

A year later I wanted some kind of training for what I wanted to do. I called all over and went to the library to look a micro phish. Some of you will need to google to even become familiar with that word. Go ahead, go Google I will wait for you. Needless to say I found an article that mentioned the word doula but it referred only to the postpartum period. I eventually called the Dept. of Professional Regulation and the lady said she would mail me a copy of a brochure she had just received for a training in Tampa Florida for $150. I remember borrowing the money from my mom and mowing her lawn to work it off. That Childbirth Assistant training took weeks for me to process with so much new information and concepts for my mind.

I will pay you to be at your birth

As I set out to gain my experience needed for certification, it was very foreign for someone extra to be at a birth. I practically had to beg mommas to allow me to be there. In time Beth had a son Asher. I was able to support her and Greg again but this time as a “trained” doula.  Over time I gained more and more experience and became the first certified Childbirth Assistant in Florida with the former National Associated of Childbirth Assistants out of California. Over time I became an instructor for them and served on their Board of Directors.

Starting new things

In 1992 I borrowed 4 grand from my brother (my first business loan) and hired a top attorney to create the former Childbirth Enhancement Foundation (CEF) a non-profit organization. I developed a training and certification program and set up 14 hospital-based Doula and Internship Programs. In Santa Fe, NM I was contracted to help the hospital foundation write a $350,000 grant and then run the Doula Program. CEF trained hundreds of women and provided services to many communities. I am awe struck when I count how many doulas CEF trained that went on to become midwives. Three own local birth centers in the Greater Central Florida Area. I think last count was 14 midwives that began at a CEF training.

Times Change

During these growing years I went on to have 4 more children, 2 of which Jennie Joseph, LM, CPM delivered. I was working part time at a hospital in Orlando teaching childbirth education and had become an IBCLC. As with all things life happens and I went through an unexpected divorce, house fire and found myself questioning how to go on. I had come to a place where I was willing to walk away from it all and find a full-time job in corporate America. I took a year off from “birth work” and recharged and refocused. About that time Jennie and I decided to merge the training and certification work together in to her non-profit Commonsense Childbirth, Inc, and so CEF was put to rest. It was a hard but needed action. And in due time Childbirth Concierge was born.

No Time to Slow Down

So here I find myself pinching myself after all these years I still get to support families and now on a larger scale, than just myself. I have been blessed with an incredible team who upholds integrity and the spirit of service that are so important to me. Thank you Kara Ann for your birth that left me feeling empowered that I did it naturally, but yet wondering how I could have been more educated and empowered. Thank you Beth, Greg, and Laura for calling me in to my first experience of being beside with a family. Blessings to all the women who have allowed me to impart knowledge and wisdom and to the families who have trusted Childbirth Concierge to deliver their peace of mind!

Postpartum Doula: Indulgence or Necessity?

Postpartum Doula: Indulgence or Necessity?

“Postpartum services are so under-utilized and they don’t have to be!” Those are the exact words of second-time mommy, Meghan Manella of Orlando Florida, who used a Postpartum Doula for the first time after the birth of her second son. So, what exactly are Postpartum services and how could a new family benefit from them?

What Postpartum Doulas  Offer

Postpartum Doulas offer non-medical care and support to help transition the new family. In our mobile society, new parents are often away from helpful family members.  A Postpartum Doula is the perfect way to help you become comfortable with all the care your new little one requires. Some of the services Postpartum Doulas offer are mother care, newborn care, breastfeeding support, light house keeping, light meal preparation, and running errands or grocery shopping.

A Postpartum Doula can be with you night, day, or both, to be a second set of hands.  They provide families with the ability to get some much needed sleep or time for oneself to regroup. Meghan found herself plagued with sleepless nights and difficulty breastfeeding. When her baby turned 4 months old, she and her husband hired a Postpartum Doula.

Help Arrived

“Kathy set us up with a night nurse who not only immediately provided me with the sleep I so desperately craved.  Her experience and expertise helped guide us through dealing with a very headstrong baby. While at first I felt that having a night nurse 4 nights a week felt a bit indulgent, it turns out that it was exactly what my entire family needed! I was able to rest and recharge. The service allowed me to be more present with my 4 year old during the day, perform at work, and not be a shell of a person when my husband arrived home from work at the end of the week.”

Emotional Support

Postpartum Doula Services also provide the emotional support that may help lighten the effects of postpartum blues and the stresses of transitioning into a new family. Two major contributors to postpartum depression are fatigue and lack of support. A 2009 study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing found that postpartum doulas effectively promote maternal responsiveness and competence in new moms.

Getting much needed help and rest is priceless.  Costs for services range from $20 -$45 per hour, depending on where you are located in the US.  Most postpartum doulas provide care from a 4 hour minimum to 12 hour shifts.  Kathy Bradley, owner of Childbirth Concierge says, “We have had families need as little care as a few days to get over the hump.  Some have had grandparents gift them $10,000 worth of care. Our families come with different needs and time frames of care.  But all look forward to getting that extra help and/or rest when the postpartum doula arrives.”  Many women spend months and months planning for a wedding.  Few realize the importance of planning for their birth and postpartum experience.

Author Michelle Peterson of Seven Sisters for Seven Days: The Mothers’ Manual for Community Based Postpartum Care, encourages expectant mothers to choose seven friends who are willing to commit to check in on her.  These friends should be available for a meal, or to sit and rock a baby while mom showers on their assigned day of the week for 6 weeks. This is a great option for those who may not have the advantage of being able to hire a professional postpartum doula.

Happy New Mom

Meghan is just one of many mothers that have benefited from the services offered by a Postpartum Doula. “I now share my experience with so many friends as they transition from one to two children.  Some just simply find themselves feeling overwhelmed after the arrival of a new baby.” Whether it is your first baby, or your fourth, consider utilizing the services of a Postpartum Doula to ease the transition of such an exciting new time!


Kara Bradley has a degree in Early Childhood Development and is a Certified Perinatal Educator. She teaches at a private school, loves to write when she is not wrangling her two young boys.