an awesome link

December 5, 2010

Tired of googling, clicking through links of links of links? Well, I just stumbled upon this post about the top sites for midwifery, doula-y things and all things involving women’s rights and health care. I am mainly posting it here so I know where to go to when I am looking for several, international midwife’s opinions.


Check out this article in the Austin American Statesman. The founders of Get Babied Doula Collective are interviewed in it about more mothers saving their placentas. The comment section, as always with issues that toe the line, is hilarious and sad all at the same time.

Kate made my day

November 24, 2010

Y’all. Kate Winslet was in our store and I was inches away from her and I never freak out about seeing celebrities, but Kate Winslet holds a special place in my heart.
Here’s why:
She always stands up for her body. When I saw her today, she was wearing a running outfit and her body looked like any other healthy woman of her age, maybe even younger. She was not emanciated or waif-like. She was beautiful, strong and confident.

So, that’s why I love Kate. She is also an outstanding actress (hello…The Reader? Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful).

So, thanks Kate Winslet for coming into our store today in Austin, Texas. You have so many fans here because of your wonderful talents and self-esteem that you share with the world.


I am training for a half marathon. Really. I am! I have started this process before, however. What is so different about training this go-around? This time, I am actually going to run a half marathon race. I even already registered for it. In times past, I would start training, put off registering until I felt more confident in my training schedule and then….well….life would happen. I wouldn’t feel like running or when I was running, it would get hard. I could never actually imagine putting in the leg work when it got closer to race day. I could never see myself running 10 miles in training.

But then I had a baby. Her birth was exhilarating and there was never one moment during the labor and delivery where I thought “I can’t do this.” I completely, utterly just went with my body. Granted, Laurel’s labor and delivery was a lot faster than most first time moms. I am thankful for some wide birthing hips and some good genetics. But even moments after she was born, I thought “I could do that again”. Not right away of course…

So, later on, after re-gaining the baby weight I lost at the delivery of my daughter, I had to re-evaluate how I view my body. Why was the birth so fast and relatively easy for me and running so much harder? Why didn’t I trust my body to push itself? I gave my body plenty of trust during childbirth, couldn’t I do the same when it comes to exercise?

The answer is two fold: yes. But it was really my mind that needed the pushing. After having Laurel, my mind could finally see the unbelievable things my body was capable of doing. I felt strong, proud, and started viewing my body as a thing of wonder, a thing of strength instead of something to be compared to or with. I stopped worrying about my rolls, about my weight…I started taking care of my body instead. With that came the weight loss.

And there was something else. I didn’t want to pass along my low self-esteem of my body to my daughter. I want her to see her body as a thing of wonder. So, I started running. Then I ran in a race and all those memories of my younger racing days came flooding back and I knew I was hooked again. I signed up for the half marathon on Jan 30th here in Austin. I turn 30 on January 25th, so the marathon is not only a goal but also a milestone. I want to say, for my 30th birthday, I ran a half marathon.

I started thinking about this post a couple of days ago when I read this article on the site Jezebel.

My favorite line from that article? “Your body was made for kicking ass.”

Why yes, yes it is. Thank you.


PS On a side note, even if you choose or unable to have a natural childbirth, your body is still strong and you should still be proud. Even forming life, carrying and sustaining is a feat of strength in itself. Go mommas!

This is something I have been thinking about lately.

I was shown Laurel’s placenta after she was born. It was the coolest thing to see. Not that it actually looked cool, but knowing what it was used for and how much life it contained made it cool. My mid-wife showed me how it worked, where it was attached to me and commented on healthy it looked (go me!)

But when she asked if I wanted it, I hesitated. I thought about our freezer and the likelihood of the placenta ever making its way out of the freezer and it just sitting there….until years later, we removed it, thinking ‘What in the heck is this?”

Now, though, when I think of Laurel’s placenta, I think of that organ’s life force and how it gives itself to the baby. I wish I had said yes to keeping it and at least planted it underneath a newly planted tree. Maybe even a Laurel tree.

So, next time I have a baby, I am keeping it. Not for medical use (although one can certainly do that since the placenta is a wealth of vital nutrition and, in some cultures, important religious and spiritual rites) but because I think the placenta is another process of pregnancy and birth that we need to acknowledge. Does it mean something that it is common in our culture to just throw the placenta away as biohazard waste? As if, you did your job, now get out of here. Actually, in hospitals, it is not even looked at as ‘you did your job’ but rather something else to whisk away as soon as it comes out. Again, a biohazard material. I feel respecting the placenta is just another step in respecting life, the miracle and the connection to the past, present and future.

What are you going to do next time with your placenta? Encapsulate it? Eat it? Plant it? Save it? And why….?

You must go over to my dear friend Joy’s blog, The Joy of This, and read about bra sizes. The link, drumroll please:

Even as I type, I know I am wearing an incorrect size. Mainly because I lost some weight and really wanted to finally shop at Victoria’s Secret. The salesperson was too young and perky to understand what my mammies needed. I was too hungry to argue and think it through. The next time I buy a bra, probably after Christmas, I will definitely be going someplace where they can actually measure you. Or I will just have the hubby do it, he is very thorough when it comes to the girls.

So pull out the measuring tape, get the right bra and flaunt it ladies.


(PS There is even a section about bras for our breastfeeding gals!)


Come on Rebozo!

November 11, 2010

Back in August, I ordered a Rebozo from DONA. I probably could have made one cheaper or purchased it from somewhere else, but I wanted to support DONA and their boutique.

I am still waiting for my order.

Apparently they are changing offices (to a whole new state!) and things tend to get lost in the cracks. Bless their hearts, they are doing the best they can especially since Doula interest has skyrocketed and more people than ever are getting certified to be doulas.

But let’s talk about the rebozo and why I can’t wait for it to get here! The rebozo is a long shawl/piece of fabric that can be used during labor and delivery. I know of doulas and mommas that have used them and love them. I remember meeting with my doula, discussing the rebozo thinking how divine it would be to use one during labor. Alas, on labor day, the last thought on my mind was the rebozo, but that’s what doulas are for anyways: to remind laboring mothers of their options. Anyways, I digress…

I ordered a purple rebozo. Mainly because I associate purple with power, especially feminine power. With that order are also brochures about rebozos as well as brochures discussing doulas and Dads! But that’s another blog post altogether…I am just eagerly awaiting the arrival of my order for now.

Doulas, moms and midwives: how have you used or witnessed the rebozo being used? I would love to collect all different kinds of ways they have been used during labor and delivery.


November 10, 2010

Starting January 1st, I will be an apprentice doula with Get Babied Doula Collective ( here in Austin, Texas. Basically, it’s a 24/7 on-call doula service. Clients can pick and choose which services they want or they can choose package deals depending on how little or much they can spend. They have opportunities to meet all the doulas at a once-a-month meetup to get familiar with them before the big day. I will be an apprentice, which means if someone needs a cheaper option, I am their gal. As soon as I become certified and if Get Babied and I are a good fit, then I can become a full time on-call doula.

I decided this would be a good thing for me to do. Since I am still working at Whole Foods part time and watching my daughter full time, my time is a bit limited. Being an on-call doula though, I can just be on-call once a week instead of the full two weeks like I would be with a regular client. I will miss one on one meetings with clients though and certainly being on call for those two weeks can be exciting and is all apart of the trade when it comes to being a doula.

So, if you are going to have a baby and want a doula, find me at Get Babied Doula Collective! Everyone I have met so far has been super nice and super super professional.

Also, speaking of baby-related items; go to this website and sign up to win a free laboring skirt. It acually has a fancy name and everything, but it is a skirt designed by a mom and a doula with the laboring mother in mind. It’s super cool! Tell Joy that Michelle sent you too (although my only readers are Joy, Bethany and Ann…).

I will still continue to blog about my experience. Just wanted to give y’all an update about my doula-bizness yo.

tagged — arrrgggghhh

November 2, 2010

So, Joy, a close friend and wonderful doula, mother and wife who lives just far enough away, tagged me in her blog (can’t figure out how to do the links, so here is her blog And since she knows I am sucker for those things; here I go:

1) What is your dream occupation?
I don’t have just one. Seriously. There are a lot of things I can see myself doing, loving and doing well. But my gut instinct is to say that it’s not really an occupation. Or at least in today’s use of it. I would love to work for myself. For my family. And that be it. Get up everyday, feed livestock and chickens, work around the house, bake bread, etc…maybe every once in a while, deliver a baby or two…yes, I would also like to be a midwife. And apparently a pioneer woman from the way my description sounds. Anyways. I just like to be hands on. Have a purpose. Doing household stuff now doesn’t have a purpose. There are no chickens waiting on me to feed them, there is no garden waiting to be weeded so we may have produce…you see what I mean? I am saying this because there are some of you who know me well and probably could never ever ever picture me living everyday life like a farmer. But if that is all I had to do and I was working for it and it for me, then totally.

2) What is the best dish that you can cook?
It’s been a while. But the last thing I was known for cooking was a baked portabello mushroom dish. And risotto.

3) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?
Yes. For winning 4th in my age division in an Austin running race. For being in an award winning play for school. And for my wedding announcement.

4) What’s the worst and/or most memorable job you’ve ever had?
I was a can-can dancer at a revue show in this little rinky dink pioneer town setting in Wimberley. I can’t say it was memorable because I was a teenager or the worst, but the fact that I was once a can-can dancer surely means something.

5) When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision yourself getting married? How old were you in reality when you got married?

I never envisioned it. I never even thought about it. Seriously. I was just so focused on getting out of the beautiful small town that I would now like to move back to that I never thought about what happens during or after college.

6) What’s your most hated household chore? What’s your favorite?
Picking up in general and putting away stuff, like folded laundry and piles just needing to be put away. I would scrub toilets, mop, sweep, vacuum all day if someone would pick up the piles first.

7) What’s your earliest memory?
I was three and we were visiting relatives in New Mexico. I was sitting on a cold porch in my huge purple jacket petting a kitty. It is a very real and visceral memory.


Laurel’s Birth Story

October 26, 2010

Laurel is my daughter. My red-headed, stubborn, likes to climb everything little toddler.

As I tell all my friends and clients, every birth story is unique. All of our bodies are technically doing the same thing during labor and delivery; but our perceptions, past experiences, body and self esteem issues, etc shape the way we handle, react and perceive labor and delivery of our precious bundles.

Giving birth to Laurel was one of my greatest experiences in life. Being pregnant with her was wonderful, but giving birth was exciting! An adventure!

So this is how it went down:

I was due on July 4th, 2009. A Saturday.

The week before, a Friday, I was at work and I kicked butt that day. I was more productive that day than the whole month of June. Even my boss (not a mother) joked that I would probably have Laurel over the weekend. I reassured her I would be there next week (I was planning on working right up to the due date).

That night I went home, my husband and I went out to eat. I was feeling uncomfortable. I attributed it to all the work I did that day. We went home and I went to bed, thinking about these weird cramps I was probably having; again attributing it to the productive day.

The next day, after sleeping like a rock, we got up and my husband went to help some friends move while I went to another friends house to help her go over lines for a play she was in. I was still feeling crampy. But I hummed my way through them and if they got really bad, I just asked my friend to stop and I slowly breathed through it. Around 1pm, I met up with my hubby and friends at a pub where I nibbled a little at a hamburger and drank half a beer. But by then I was on a warpath to go swimming. I had this really strong urge to be in a pool that day. We went home, I got ready (including shaving!) and after stopping for a gallon of water, we arrived at a pool. It felt glorious. At that point, the cramps were getting more noticeable.

After returning home from the pool, though, I began to question what really was going on. I was a week early, this was my first, there was no plug, no bloody show, no water breaking, and I was expecting the contractions to be all over my belly, not just in the lower ab area.

We had tickets to go to a play with the friend I helped with her lines. She showed up at our house ready to go, but I was in “I don’t know what’s going on mode and these are getting harder and I wouldn’t be able to pay attention to the play” zone. So I showered, in case we did decide to go and when I noticed I was leaning against the wall, with the hot water on my back, I knew I wasn’t going to a play.

After dressing, I called my mom. She suggested going for a walk. We did. It hurt. We were stopping every 2-3 minutes for a contraction and it was hot (we live in Texas). We headed back for the house where I did the lunge through contractions for a while before getting on all fours on the bed. I called the birthing center. The midwife said I was in early labor and to sleep. But everytime I went to the bathroom (which made the contractions harder and the pressure was enormous!), there was discharge. Around 9pm, we called our doula. We needed help timing the contractions since we didn’t have anything ready and my husband was running around getting things together. And there was no way I was going to time them.

She came over. She timed them. They were 1-3 minutes apart. She suggested calling the birthing center again. We did.

Again, the midwife said it was early labor. But I insisted on coming in, if only just to see where I was.

We gathered up our things and headed there.

The car ride was the hardest part. I had about 5 contractions during a 10 minute drive. I could barely sit properly the pressure was so great. I was annoyed that my friend texted to see if my husband wanted coffee. I was thoroughly annoyed and yelled when my husband nearly missed the turn into the birthing center.

The midwife met us and checked me.

She said “Well. The only reason why you haven’t had this baby is because your water hasn’t broken. You are 8 cm.”

My doula cheered. I don’t remember what everyone faces looked like because I went from shock to ‘we are having a baby’ mode.

(My midwife later told me she backed out of the room slowly as not to alarm me and then ran to prep the room).

I got off the exam table and waddled to the reception area, where I felt a slight trickle. I said “Did my water just break?” and then whoosh!!! My water broke and it felt like the earth had opened up beneath me and gravity was pulling me through it. I immediately squatted down, realizing I wanted to push and started panting. My doula ran after the midwife and my husband was trying to support me as I tried to stand. He kept kissing me as I panted, squealed and eventually screamed “Stop kissing me!!”

And then bam. End of transition. End of 1st stage labor. I waddled into the birth room, was asked about the bath tub, where I said “Sure”. I got in, pushed when the urge came but my midwife told me I wasn’t doing it right. I didn’t feel comfortable pushing like I should for a BM in water, so I got out of the tub. I waddled over the bed. In the semi-lying position, with my doula holding one leg and my husband holding another, I pushed about 4 times before the midwife asked me to pant through the next two so she could get ready. I did. That was hard.

Then I pushed a couple of more times. The last push, where she crowned, was definitely the ring of fire. It hurt. Good Lord. I kept on pushing though the burn though and she emerged fully and it immediately stopped. The pain immediately went away. And there was my baby. On my chest.

I did tear, requiring 4 stitches. But I didn’t care. I didn’t even feel where she numbed me.

There are a couple of things I would do different:

1. I would have had my bags packed so I didn’t have to yell for my husband when a contraction was coming on.

2. I would have called my doula sooner.

3. I would have squatted in the 2nd stage.

4. I would have labored down a little more, or at least panted when she crowned instead of pushing so I wouldn’t have torn.

But all of that I learned from experience, there was no way to exactly, in my head know all of that. Overall, it was a very instinctual process for me. I had a lot of back labor, so without thinking, I got into the positions to help with that. I trusted myself completely. And maybe that is what I love about birth. The fact that with the right amount of knowledge and support, for sometimes the first time in a woman’s life, we completely love and trust our bodies. Instead of society telling us we are not pretty enough, thin enough, etc…during labor, we are in charge. We can do everything needed to help bring our child into this world.

yay birth stories!