No doubt you did not plan to give birth during the corona virus pandemic! We are in chaotic and very stressful times as our country navigates through this global pandemic. Childbirth Concierge has always dedicated our work to Delivering your peace of mind! We spoke with Dr. April Merritt of Delany Park OB/GYN located in Orlando Florida to hear what patients were concerned about birth and corona virus and to gain guidance from what she is sharing with her patients.
If you need support and classes we are here for you. During the month of April our classes and virtual doula support is complimentary!
Reach out at https://childbirthconcierge.com/contact/
https://womenscarefl.com/provider-pro… Dr. April A. Merritt is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a member of the American Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery. She is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Merritt practices general obstetrics and gynecology. She also practices high-risk obstetrics and handles minimally invasive laparoscopies and same-day surgeries and performs vaginal prolapse surgery such as anterior and posterior repairs. She is a wife and mother of two handsome boys.
I found out I was pregnant about three months after suffering the loss of my first pregnancy. I was anxious and scared but welcomed the morning sickness. Everyone told me that morning sickness was a good sign that my pregnancy was progressing along. According to that sign, it was progressing but the further along we got, the worse I became. The realization came when I drank about 2 ounces of blue gatorade and close to 20 mins later I was begging for the car to be pulled over so that I could vomit at the gas station. It got to where even water wouldn’t stay down. This prompted a visit to my midwife, who kindly explained that some women suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum and some to the extreme of needing to be hospitalized.
What is HG
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a rare disorder characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that may necessitate hospitalization, as described by the National Organization for Rare Disorders. According to the HER Foundation, HG is the leading cause of hospitalization in early pregnancy, and is second only to preterm labor as the most common overall cause of hospitalization during pregnancy. I was excited to have a diagnoses because in my mind at that point, it could be treated. I could not have been more wrong. HG is rare and there is not enough research to know or understand where it comes from or why it happens. The way it affects each woman and each pregnancy varies.
Not Your Typical Morning Sickness
HG is not the typical morning sickness that you often hear about associated with pregnancy. HG is much more severe, at times causing hospitalization and even loss of pregnancy. As a two-time HG survivor, I would describe it as morning sickness on steroids. I, fortunately, never experienced being hospitalized for a period of time during either of my pregnancies. But did end up in the emergency room countless times needing IV fluids due to dehydration. The nausea and vomiting were so bad that it caused petechia around my eyes and often my throat would bleed. Weight loss to the tune of 40 pounds average during both pregnancies was overwhelming, especially when I should have been gaining weight.
It’s Not in Your Head
So many times I was told, “Try some ginger.” “Use SeaBands, they worked for me!” “Eat some saltines.” I wanted to scream in response. I was already being treated with anti-nausea meds that they use to treat cancer patients, and it only slightly helped. The comments became unrelenting. “Oh I have morning sickness too.” “I had it so bad for a couple weeks. Yours will go away soon.” Mine did not go away, either time, until I gave birth. I can remember thinking at one time, “Why am I even pregnant? This is utter hell.” Immediately guilt set in. This is when I began to search for more information on HG. The HER Foundation also says that nearly 20% of HG pregnancies are lost to therapeutic terminations, citing “no hope for relief.” This is heartbreaking and yet dare I say, I understand where these mommas come from. HG is relentless. It is 24/7 nausea so bad that it is difficult to move from the bed. Walking to the bathroom feels like a marathon, imagine caring for a family or working a job.
Even Royalty Can Suffer
Over the years, more awareness has come regarding HG. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton suffered HG with both pregnancies. Today is HG Awareness day and in honor of all the women and babies that have survived, I will leave you with this. If you know someone suffering with HG the best thing you can do is be there. Whatever you do, do not tell her;
1.“It must be in your head.” – I can promise you it is not. The suffering would be over if it was as simple as changing a thought.
2.“It will be over soon” – Delivery might be two days away but it will still feel like I lifetime.
3. “Eat some ginger.” – Ginger most likely will do nothing to stop the vomiting.
What a mommy who has HG needs more than anything is support. Send encouraging notes, donate towards research, offer to clean her home, watch her kids, cook her family dinner, and most of all love on her. When she finally makes it full term and gives birth, celebrate! Bring her the food that she has missed out on for the last 9 months. And remember that post traumatic stress after HG is a real thing. BE kind and most of all, simply walk alongside her and support her.
Kara Bradley is a mother of 2 young boys who while pregnant lost on average 40 pounds due to HG in pregnancy. She is a writer, teacher, and a Certified Perinatal Educator.
Sleep. Everyone loves sleep. Especially parents of a newborn baby! Just ask any mom or dad that has brought home a baby within the last couple months how important sleep is to them. As adults, our bodies have adjusted to sleep patterns. It takes an infant’s body much longer to be able to sleep through the night! And by the way what does “sleep through the night” really mean anyway? Immense exhaustion and fatigue leads to frustration and life can become overwhelming in a matter of sleepless nights.Some families try to “train” their newborn to sleep though the night without understanding normal sleep patterns.Additionally there are a sleep training methods out there that may not always best support the breastfeeding infant and can actually contribute to shortened duration of breast-feeding times.
Some methods and tips that work well and are more healthy for parents and babies! Consider the following tips to help take back your sleep. Heidi Brooks PhD, a Certified Lactation Counselor and Certified Child Sleep Consultant shares her top tips for parents of newborns.
Brooks says, “Remember this is all new for baby. Baby has been in a safe space up til a few days ago! It was not dead silent! There were heartbeats and the sound of whooshing blood. Get a white noise machine and run it when baby is asleep so that they fully relax and outside noise is blocked out.”
“When baby slept in the womb, there was hardly any light. So let’s replicate that in the fourth trimester. Make sure the room baby is sleeping in is dark when baby is sleeping. It allows for them to get super restorative sleep!”
TIMING, TIMING, TIMING!
“Timing is everything. I can’t stress this enough. Newborn Babies can’t be awake for hours. They need to be put down to sleep every 45/60 mins in the first few months. I know this sounds unreasonable however, that’s how it was in the womb! They slept on and off all day. Why? Because their circadian rhythms haven’t developed and won’t til about 16 weeks. An over tired newborn will not know why they are tired just that they are and THEY HATE THIS FEELING and will cry themselves til exhausted and fall asleep. An overtire baby is one of the hardest things to deal with as a new parent and one of the easiest things to avoid. “
DON’T FORGET YOU!
“Take time for yourself. When baby is asleep take a shower, eat something, have a coffee or a nap! I know everyone says this but take the help when you need it. That plus the above newborn sleep tips will have you rocking through the newborn phase.”
If you would like additional support to get more sleep, reach out here.. Heidi is ready to work with you to get your little one sleeping better and Deliver YOUR PEACE OF MIND, no matter where you are located!. Also consider a postpartum doula to support you as you transition with your little one to better sleep.
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.
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 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.
“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.”
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.