Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Placenta Prints and Sand Dollars



Fort Worth doula, Barbara Davis, shares about Placenta Prints and Sand Dollars

 

One of my favorite memories from when I was growing up was, hands down, our trips to the ocean.   


We would start each day with Grandma and a walk along the shore collecting shells and other treasures.  Then we would spend the rest of the day swimming and playing in the waves.  It was heavenly.

It was our goal- a race even between my sister and I- to try to find at least one sand dollar before we left.  I can still remember how excited I would get if I were the one to claim the prize!  We found many lovely trinkets but the sand dollars were always the best.

Fast forward- now I’m a doula and placenta encapsulation specialist in Fort Worth.  As such, I often have clients that request placenta prints along with their capsules.  And, I must say, it’s my favorite part!  I’m always excited to see what each placenta has waiting for me…


Every print is different- some remind me of fall leaves, some really do look like a tree of life, others have gorgeous heart shaped outlines.

But, imagine my surprise when I pulled back the watercolor paper on a recent placenta print to discover a beautiful sand dollar looking back at me.


There it was.  There was the prize!


I was instantly transported back to my childhood- the sound of the gulls, the crashing waves and the much desired, but ever elusive, sand dollar.

Nowadays I don’t make it back to the beach near as often as I’d like.  Being a doula in Fort Worth keeps me busy but I took a moment that day to reminisce.

Then I booked a long overdue family trip to the ocean.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Day I Lost My Daughter

 

In light of the recent gorilla uproar and public shaming that has ensued, I want to share my story.


7 years ago, I would have been the person in your news feed sharing articles that shamed the boy's mother.  Ones that said the gorilla was doing a better job protecting the child than she was.  Ones encouraging moms to put down their cell phones and parent their kids.  I was a sancti-mommy before I was even a mommy.

But last week, I lost my daughter.


We were in a convention center attending a high school graduation.  One moment my not-quite-two-year-old was standing by my mother, the next she was gone.  It was like a scene from a movie.

And do you want to know the very first thought that ran through my mind??

"Oh, my God.  I'm going to be on the news.  They'll tear me apart."


I was terrified.  All of a sudden my legs weighed 2000 pounds each.  Panic welled in my throat.  I took off in one direction and my mother took off in the other, each frantically looking and calling her name.

We found her in less than a minute, but let me tell you- that was the absolute longest minute of my life.  And, it was in that minute, that I realized how quickly life could change.

So please, stop the shaming.  The judging.  The mean comments and eye rolls.  They aren't helpful.  


Instead, reach out.  A kind word.  A kind look.  A smile, a nod.  Grace.  Understanding.  These are the things that make a difference in this world and they just so happen to be the things we need more of.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spotlight On Rabbi Mike of Easy Circumcision

 

 

Circumcision.


No doubt a touchy subject, but it's a conversation that usually happens with each of my clients at some point.  We discuss it in YourBest Childbirth Education and we watch a teaching video as well.  Information is power, after all.  There are many reasons one might or might not choose circumcision for their son, but this isn't the blog for that.

Instead, what I'd like to do here is shine a much deserving spotlight on Rabbi Mike Rovinsky.


Rabbi Mike, as he is known, is a certified Mohel and has been practicing since 1988.  He has performed over 13,500 circumcisions and has additional training from Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital in dealing with unusual and more complex circumcisions.  The man is fantastic at what he does.


  

 

Recently, I was invited by a client to attend the circumcision of her son and I graciously accepted.  Not only was I thrilled to be able to support her and her family but I was curious and excited to see the process first hand. Afterward, we visited about her experience.



1.  Why did you choose Rabbi Mike?

Rabbi Mike's name had come up several times in my prenatal visits and everyone talked about him with such great respect, and word of mouth recommendations mean a lot to me.  I decided to look up his website and after reading up on his vast experience and how the procedure is done, I felt completely comfortable scheduling with him.  My pediatrician backed my decision 100%.  She would have referred me out to a circumcision clinic, but after hearing about what I had researched and learned about Rabbi Mike she said that I likely made the right decision for my family and situation.

In addition, at the circumcision clinic it would have been one patient right after the other.  The amount of time for any local anesthetic to set in with that type of situation is likely not ideal, and Rabbi Mike's method calls for very little need for anesthesia.  It would only take 20-30 seconds, whereas the clinic would need at least 20-30 min for the procedure.

When I ultimately called to schedule the visit, Rabbi Mike himself answered the phone and was so nice.  He confirmed with us the week before and made sure we knew where to go and when to be there.  That personal attention was shocking (especially in this day and age), but was so comforting.  All of these small details added up to us choosing Rabbi Mike.



2.  How do you feel about your experience using Rabbi Mike?

I was nervous about traveling out to Dallas to have the procedure done, but rightly so...as any parent of a newborn would be.  Although we were one among many that day, I felt comfortable with the procedure since I had already done so much research and Rabbi Mike made sure that everyone was well taken care of.  I pretty much knew what to expect, but Rabbi Mike talked us through each part.  My doula was with me (for moral support) and he had her hold the baby's legs. That was such a huge relief because I had already been through a tongue tie revision where I had to hold my newborn while his lip and tongue were being lasered.  I appreciated the break.

He had an intern with him observing the procedure and even had him participate in the beginning.  He asked for permission before he did anything with the baby.  The procedure was very quick.  Rabbi Mike kept a bit of humor through the whole thing which lightened the mood.  Although I may not have caught all of his jokes and puns (he laughed about giving us "tips" before we left), I appreciated that he was helping us to release some stress!

Although the baby cried when his arms were swaddled, he immediately stopped crying after the procedure when Rabbi Mike let his arms loose and handed him to me to hold.  That made me feel so much better! I knew he wasn't in extreme pain. Recovery was super quick, completely healed within ~4 days and baby wasn't fussy like with my other 2 boys.

"I'm so happy that we made this decision and went a bit more non-traditional (as in, not what would happen at the hospital) for this baby.  It's so great to know that there are so many options for things like this that many parents wouldn't even think about!"



 

 

Snoozing away after his circumcision

 

 

My Thoughts on the Experience


1. It was so, so different that what I expected.  To be honest, I'm not quite sure what I expected walking in... but what I experienced was a good surprise.  Rabbi Mike is such a genuinely nice- and funny- guy!  It is obvious that he cares about each family he encounters and each baby is treated with such respect.

2. It was so, so quick!  The procedure is incredibly quick- literally 30 seconds or less, even, from start to finish and there was very little blood.  It is obvious that Rabbi Mike is very skilled at what he does.

3. The baby reacted very differently than I expected.  I was hardening myself for wailing; the gut-wrenching type that makes your heart break into a million pieces.  But, it just didn't happen.  I was holding the baby's legs so I had a front row seat but the baby let out a small cry and that was it.  It was over before I realized what was happening and baby went immediately to its mother and that was that.


For more information on Rabbi Mike Rovinsky, give him a call at 314-863-6986 or find him at www.easycircumcision.com

Friday, May 20, 2016

Doula Barb Dishes: Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili

Doula Barb Dishes: Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili

 

Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili


This one was a HUGE hit around my house- enjoy!

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (I added more because, well, garlic)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped chipotle pepper in adobo (I doubled this but watch out- it has a kick)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (I added a bit more because, well, cumin)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cans (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
Optional:
Avocados, tortilla chips, fresh cilantro 


Instructions

1. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, saute onion bell pepper and butternut squash in olive oil until onions are translucent.
2. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, spices and chipotle peppers.  Combine and cook until blended.  Add black beans, tomatoes, and broth.
3. Cover and cook for an hour, stirring occasionally.  Taste about halfway through to see if you'd like to add more chipotle peppers.
4. Dish is done when squash is tender and liquid has reduced a bit.

Bonus:  I'm betting you could do this up in a crock pot, too.  If it were me, I'd probably dump everything in, stir to combine and turn it to low for 8 hours. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Doula Barb Dishes: Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps



A few months back, I began a journey to clean up my diet.  The last few years of on-call work and late night births has lead to a less-than-optimal eating style.  No more!  I've put in a lot of work finding the recipes that work for us, and I want to share them with you.

So, introducing, Doula Barb Dishes- healthy, tasty dishes from my family to yours.  Enjoy!

Curry Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps


I love this quick and easy recipe for a quick lunch but it's even better the second day!

Prep: 15 minutes
Doula Barb Dishes- Quick & Easy Curry Chicken Salad | www.doulabarb.com4 Servings

Ingredients:
  • 2, 10oz cans chicken breast meat, drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, more or less to taste (I am soy-free and LOVE this safflower mayo
  • 1 tsp. curry powder (more to taste- I ended up pretty much doubling this)
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • Juice of one lemon or lime
  • Lettuce leaves for serving
Optional: Add in chopped apples or golden raisins


Instructions:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine mayo, curry powder, and lime/lemon juice.
2. Add in drained chicken.  Fold to combine.
3. Serve immediately or chill for even better taste.
4. Enjoy!


Here's a link to my inspiration: http://goodcheapeats.com/2015/07/curry-chicken-salad-lettuce-wraps/


Monday, May 9, 2016

National Nurses Week 2016


To celebrate National Nurses Week, I'd like to take a moment to give a huge, loving shout-out to all the wonderful nurses I've had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with.


National Nurses Week 2016 | www.doulabarb.com

This beautiful moment was captured by Smiling at You Photography at a birth I attended recently with Grace OBGYN & Midwifery at Texas Health Harris Southwest hospital.  This little one and her family was treated with so much love and respect and it was truly a joy to behold.


Here's to all the nurses out there; without your love and support, birth just wouldn't be the same.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top 5 Baby Items I Can't Live Without

 

 

As a doula, I get asked to look at nurseries a lot.  And, I LOVE it!  I mean, who wouldn't love getting to peek at all those gorgeous rooms arranged just so?


But here's the thing- you probably don't need all that stuff.  And thangs.


To help out your bank account now, and sanity later, I've put together a list of the Top 5 Baby Items I Can't Live Without.  



5. White Noise Machine



This is something that we used for both kiddos.  It helps keep your sweet little one from startling awake by drowning out background noise- think doorbells, dogs barking, etc.  I like this one and we've been using it since Lola was born.  When she was tiny, we would turn it one before we took her in to put her down for naps and bedtime.  Now, she gets to turn it on at night before bed.







 



4. A Diaper Pail


Newsflash- diapers smell.  Really bad. With my first, I used disposable diaers and my friend was kind enough to loan me a Diaper Champ and it was awesome.  It holds up to 30 or so diapers, uses regular kitchen trashbags, and does a really good job controlling smell.  Bonus- it's kiddie proof (meaning they can't reach in and pull out "goodies").  With my second, I chose to cloth diaper so I went with a Diaper Dekor.  While it doesn't do as great of a job containing smells, it works MUCH better than other methods I researched for cloth (a bucket in the bathroom?  No thanks.)  It has a flip top lid, a lock button to keep the toddlers at bay and it came with 2 wet bag liners so I could dump the whole bag into the wash- win!





3. A Pack-n-Play or Other Type of Play Yard


Here's a link to one that I love.  It has a reversible napper and changer (oooh, fancy) and the height is adjustable, meaning the bottom pad can be placed higher up so you don't have to bend your postpartum self all the way over when placing baby down.  I have literally gotten years of use out of mine.  My Graco lasted through both kiddos (6+ years and going strong) and has served as a place to sleep and change diapers for my newborns, a place to play safely as a toddler and even as a portable crib for overnight trips.  Definitely money well spent!






 



2. A Swing


Get this- I refused to use a swing with my first!  I was scared my son would become "dependent" on the swing and then not be able to sleep anywhere else.  Then, I had my second.  By this time, I couldn't care less if Lola needed the swing to sleep- I was just interested in her sleeping!  And, I had read The Happiest Baby on the Block, so I knew Swinging was one of the 5 S recommendations.  You better believe I used a swing this time around!  And you know what?  It worked.  And guess what else?  Lola used it for about 2 months, outgrew the need and that was that.  This swing is popular with my clients but I used a (borrowed) Graco swing and it worked beautifully.




1. A Good Carrier or Wrap (or both)


So, with my first, I had only recently heard of baby wearing and the only carrier I'd heard of was a Bjorn.  I tried it once but it was incredibly uncomfortable so I never tried it again.  Fast forward 4 years and my, how things had changed!  I knew all about baby wearing and to be honest, was a bit overwhelmed with all of the options (an opinions) out there.  I tried several different carriers and settled on a gauze wrap for my newborn (July in Texas + postpartum hormones + baby furnace = HOT) and a Boba.  I loved them both for different reasons.

The gauze wrap was great because it gave me awesome versatility and security without being wrapped in what felt like a blanket.  Loreal, the owner of Hand Dyed Baby Wraps, helped me pick out the right size and showed me how to wrap like a pro and I will be forever grateful!  Once Lola got a little bigger, I switched over to my Boba and fell in love all over again.  I could pick her up, strap her in, and GO!  No more wrapping in the parking lot or trying to adjust my rails- it was great!  She is 21 months now and still gets excited when I get the Boba out.

 

 

 

Well, there you have it!  No fancy wipe warmers, car seat covers or other gadgets you'll never use.  Remember, your sweet little one needs very few things: food, warmth, and love.  And, it just so happens YOU can provide all of those things!  Hug those babies tight and just breathe.  You've got this!

 

Tell me, what would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below!