Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Making choices in childbirth can be a nerve-wracking experience for many first-time moms, but that’s the beauty of having a birth plan (especially when you end up with an unplanned natural breech birth).

 

Lisa Chin learned first hand the benefits of having a birth plan when her birth DIDN’T go quite as planned (as many births don’t).

 

She shares with us how doing her research and writing a birth plan helped her be able to roll with the punches when her dream birth didn’t go down like it was written on paper.

(Spoiler alert: she was able to totally rock a natural breech birth!)

I cannot say I’m a perfectionist but I had enough Type A in me to want to try to achieve as close to perfection in preparing for my first birth. This included detoxing for a year before trying to conceive, reading as many pregnancy books as I could process, and meticulously  tracking my fertility with the methods shared in Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

After a perfectly timed and planned conception, the next goal was to have a non-medicated vaginal birth. To prepare, my husband and I took a 12 week Bradley Method course with a local instructor. I elected to birth with midwives at the local hospital instead of an OB-GYN. And I ate tons of protein, drank raspberry leaf tea and practiced lots of squats.

In preparation for my daughters birth, I mistook birth as the finish line. I thought birth was a milestone to be met, checked off and something completely separate to who I would be as a mother.

I was wholly unprepared for how my daughter’s birth (a natural breech birth) would shift me entirely and provide the foundation pillars of how I would approach mothering.

It’s not so much a plan but more of a strategy.

Boy, did her birth show me that a birth plan is a complete misnomer. There is no true plan in birthing and the same goes for parenting. All I can do is prepare and strategize and make the best of whatever situation comes my way.

My birth plan fell apart when I found meconium in my underpants. After notifying the midwives at the hospital, I was told to go in immediately. I was instantly admitted into Labor & Delivery. This was a surprise as I didn’t have regular contractions and thought I would only be getting checked. Then I was immediately put on constant fetal monitoring due to the meconium. Constant fetal monitoring was not part of my birth plan.

Things really fell off track when an ultrasound confirmed the midwives’ suspicion that the baby was frank breech (butt down). The options I was offered were to either go for a C-section or to wait to see if the baby turned and then try for a vaginal birth.

Be informed but also trust my instincts.

My dream of having a vaginal birth seemed to be slipping away.

But all of my research while preparing for birth came rushing back to me. I knew there was one other option – some doctors perform breech vaginal births and there was one at this hospital! I had heard about her during one of my prenatal visits as well as in my Bradley class.

I asked the nurses if that doctor was around and if I could speak to her. Serendipitously, she was on the floor for a couple of other births and came not too long after.

After a brief but authentic conversation, Dr. H agreed to let me try to continue to labor and hopefully, birth vaginally. This was not something she normally agreed with first time mothers but I think my confidence and preparation showed in the conversation. She saw that while I deeply wanted a vaginal birth, I was not enamored to the point that I was willing to compromise my baby or my safety to meet my goal.

I could breathe a little easier. My instinct to find another option paid off.

After laboring overnight, my trust and instincts were tested again.

Dr. H came into the room to inform me that progress had been slow. Because it had been so long, she wanted to suggest the option of a C-section as I was not laboring at a predictable pace.

My goal for a vaginal delivery felt truly in jeopardy, and I wasn’t sure if we could accomplish a natural breech birth.

My husband and I took a moment to assess the situation with a level head. One of the things we learned in our Bradley class was a set of three questions to help evaluate the need for an intervention:

  1. Is mom okay?
  2. Is baby okay?
  3. Can it wait?

The answer was “yes” to all of these. These yes’es were further supported with my gut feeling that we were still on a good path.

With that, we asked to wait.

Accept help and support.

A few hours later, at noon, Dr. H told me that I was just about 10 cm dilated and I could start pushing.

Since being admitted to the hospital, I had two people in the room with my husband and me at almost all times – a L&D nurse and a midwife. Dr. H would come and check in between her other patients.

We were in L&D long enough that the shift changed twice. I felt fully supported the entire time I was in the room with each set of nurse and midwife.

Not too many moms have the opportunity to attempt a breech vaginal birth and so not too many practitioners get to witness one. Word got around the L&D floor that I was attempting one. The midwife mentioned that the nurses on the floor were rooting for me. While I had no idea who they were, it lit me up. I needed all the support I could get, even if it was in the forms of positive thoughts.

Then the midwife asked me if another midwife could join us in the room to observe. I said, “Sure why not?” It was another set of hands to help and support.

When I started pushing, I had 2 midwives, 1 L&D nurse, Dr. H, and my husband (and a partridge in a pear tree) in the room. I never felt overwhelmed with the offers to help me from one position to another or receiving suggestions of new techniques to try.

Laboring was not easy as my contractions never got to a predictable pace but after about 4 hours of pushing, I was finally making progress. I got onto the bed so Dr. H would have better access. I pushed for half an hour more and successfully birthed my daughter butt first! I remember looking up after I gave birth to probably an additional half dozen practitioners in the room.

In the final hours of laboring, I received more requests for others to join and welcomed them all in. I never felt a sense of intrusion or disruption as I was so focused on what was happening to me, but I did feel everyone’s support. It was like having a whole cheering squad. As an introvert, this would normally have terrified me, but this experience showed how valuable it is to accept help and support when it is offered. I believe it was the palpable energy in the room that helped push me through the last hour of labor.

These three lessons have profoundly shaped my motherhood experience.

It’s not so much a plan but more of a strategy. I am never under the illusion that any part of parenting is predictable or controllable. This was especially helpful in not losing my sanity over my daughter’s sleep because she did not follow the “normal” schedule for sleeping. She was a very wakeful sleeper for the first 3 years but I learned to adapt and roll with the challenge.

Be informed but also trust my instincts. I research and evaluated all aspects of parenting and motherhood from every angle. I love that there are those who have done all of the legwork to share their research and experiences and I use that information to come to my own conclusion after using my instincts. The combination of research and my instincts has not lead me astray thus far. One instance is following my gut in how I “discipline” my daughter.

Accept help and support. I always tried to be self-sufficient as the solitary wolf in my own wolf pack. But motherhood has completely changed that. Looking around the room after my daughter’s birth, I realized the importance of the village. I created an online community to support me and other moms. This community truly showed me how powerful even a virtual village can be. For my “real life” support, I asked my mom to move in with our family. It has been hands-down the best parenting decision. We are not weak for accepting help and support. We will become weak in thinking we can do it all alone. My natural breech birth was accomplished with a team.

I cannot believe I ever believed birth occurred in a vacuum. That experience inevitably feeds into the next step of our journeys just like every other part of life. I know I will continue to learn lessons from my daughter’s birth for years to come.

Achieving your birth goals is still possible when things don’t go quite as planned, even a natural breech birth!

Lisa is a multi-passionate mother fervently following her inspirations and curiosities. While jumping from one project to another appears random, she has learned that she can’t ignore what her soul is called to create. Motherhood has been the secret sauce that unites her creative work giving her greater purpose as a woman, coach and citizen of this world.

When she is not wrangling spreadsheets or her kids, she can be found writing for her blog, Lisa for Real, where she explores and shares her thoughts on motherhood, fulfilling our purpose and lessons in self-awareness. She is also the founder and host of the Fourth Trimester Summit featuring over 40 sessions for new mamas on how to heal the body and mind, nurture our babies and build our village in the first three months after birth. Join her newsletter to learn what else she is brewing up next.

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The Best Nursing Bras According to Breastfeeding Moms

The Best Nursing Bras According to Breastfeeding Moms

If there is one thing that changes after having a baby… it’s your breasts.

Chances are you don’t quite recognize them anymore. Breastfeeding initially means your breasts are a lot bigger than they used to be and probably leaking milk on a regular basis.

Once your babies grow a little, the engorgement might end, but that just means they turn into a couple of slightly deflated balloons. One thing that is a MUST is a good quality nursing bra, and we’ve scoured the internet for the best ones according to real breastfeeding moms

These nursings bras have actually been recommended by breastfeeding moms. We will break down the pro’s and con’s of each.

(Just an FYI. This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something from a link we provide, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you! If you plan to purchase an item from this list, using our link is a way to show us you enjoy what we are doing, and it costs you $0. 😍)

 

Medela Maternity and Nursing Comfort Bra

Let’s start with the standard. When it comes to anything breastfeeding, Medela is the brand that comes to mind for most. 

This bra is basic, but comfy. 

You can grab them on Amazon for a little over $30, or grab one on your next Target run.

The Medela nursing tanks are pretty bomb too!

Ready for a little step up from the Medela? Try the Bravado.

This design is very similar, it gets great reviews on Amazon, AND it comes in a variety of colors. (Pretty cute ones too!)

Thousands of moms are currently counting this one as their fav, and comes in sizes XS-XXL.

The pretty colors come with a slightly higher price tag though, $49 on Amazon. 

Calling all well endowed and plus sized mamas! This one is for you.

This one isn’t just cute and a bit sexy, it’s also available in large and unusual sizes!

Grab it on Amazon for around $69 in sizes:

32GG-46DD

 

Great for support! This one was so good, one mama bought multiples! 

It’s simple, but supportive (and actually not unattractive). 

The perfect bra for super active moms who still need access for those nursing sessions. 

And… it’s not too pricey, selling for just $19.99 on Amazon.

Only drawback is it is a bit thick for some moms, but for those who don’t want to be able to cut glass with those breastfeeding nips, this might do the trick.

We can personally attest to the comfort of this bra! 

When it comes to looks, it does tend to go towards the granny side of sexy, but I didn’t care. 

We wore this nearly every day for at least two years before it wore out, making the $60ish price tag on Amazon totally worth it!

AND this particular bra comes in many sizes from 32B to 42H!

(I also just love Hot Milk bras in general, and will share more below)

Wacoal Women’s Nursing Bra

These babies are super cute, and dare we say even a little sexy??? 😍

A bit pricier than others. This option runs for about $65 on Amazon.

BUT – it does go up to some larger sizes, including 38G.

A lot of the reviews say this is the ONLY wired bra a lot of moms have been able to wear comfortably and they totally swear by it. 

These definitely seem like they are worth the investment!

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Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

by guest blogger: Felicia Trumbauer

Postpartum can be a wonderful blissful time of settling into your new family, or it can be a whirlwind of stress. With all the expenses associated with a new baby, sometimes it’s easy to ignore why you need a postpartum doula.

However, one of the best ways you can get support and ease during this transition is by hiring a postpartum doula. (After hiring our own, we swear by them!)

Felicia Trumbauer is a doula-in-training and mother of two.

She shares her top five reasons why you need a postpartum doula.

 

1. She’ll listen.

A woman embarking on motherhood may want to talk to someone about multiple parts of this life changing time but sometimes she doesn’t have the type of listener she needs.

Many women have people in their lives that give well meaning, and not so well meaning, advice when the mother is really looking for someone to just hear her. Some people can be judgmental and make the new mom feel as though she isn’t good enough.

A postpartum doula will never do that. She will give the new mother space to speak her thoughts into existence and work through her feelings, allowing the new mother to come to her own conclusions. If mom needs to cry she’ll have a tissue, if mom needs to retell her birth experience for the tenth time she’ll listen fully.

There are many physical parts of postpartum that a doula can help with but having someone that will listen too is one of the biggest emotional advantages that comes with hiring a postpartum doula.

2. She’ll help manage the little things.

Who is going to walk the dog? Who is going to take the older sibling to school? Who is going to water the garden? When a woman is about to have a baby she tries her best to plan for every scenario but there’s always something that gets forgotten.

A postpartum doula will sit down and help the mother and non-birthing partner plan for all the smaller day to day tasks that may be missed. She can help create a schedule, remind certain people of their obligations, and help the new mother feel more at ease because there will be less to worry about.

3. She’ll make sure mom takes a shower.

I don’t know about you but when I had my daughter, showering became a luxury. Personal hygiene should never be something that goes on the back burner. Unfortunately when there’s a new baby in the mix and life keeps moving as if nothing major has happened, some new moms are lucky to shower every day.

A postpartum doula will be there to watch over the baby so mom is able to shower, eat, or sleep if she needs to. These daily tasks help the mother feel more like a normal human being again which helps her relax and focus on what really needs attention.

 

4. She’ll have resources for any service the family might need.

A postpartum doula is a generalist and is not a medical provider. She has knowledge about a lot of subjects but isn’t quite an expert in every one. If the new mother is experiencing pain during breastfeeding the postpartum doula will give referrals to trusted lactation consultants in the area. She knows when and where the Mom’s Club meets and where the closest car seat technician is.

If there is grief or trauma surrounding the transition into parenthood the postpartum doula has referrals to support groups and therapists to help get through a trying time.

 

5. She’ll make sure everyone can focus on bonding with the baby.

There are many people that come to visit when there’s a freshly born human around. Most of them say they’ll help around the house or bring a meal, but more often than not these people come to hold the baby while the mother is left cleaning or feeling like she needs to entertain guests.

A postpartum doula will actually do the things that Aunt Mary said she’d do. The postpartum doula will load the dish washer, make sure the diaper changing area is stocked, and fold the laundry. She is there to make sure each member of the family is able to get to know the baby and take in the few short weeks of the newborn period. If the non birthing partner is worried about bonding the postpartum doula will have ideas that will be special to this person and the baby.

If there’s an older sibling the postpartum doula will make sure the child doesn’t feel ignored and will help that child create a bond with the baby. The postpartum doula helps facilitate a loving environment with as little stress as possible.

Once you’re a mom, your number one priority is bonding and spending time with that little squish. But you really need to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. A postpartum doula will make sure that your wellbeing doesn’t fall through the cracks as you make this transition.

Felicia is a mother to one fierce little toddler. After having her daughter she realized how little American culture cares about the new mother. Felicia is currently working towards postpartum doula certification through CAPPA. With a background rooted in activism and social work she’s looking forward to continue helping vulnerable populations become empowered. You can find out more about her on her photography page at www.littlewarriorphotography.com.

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

Breastfeeding is hard. Yes it’s natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally to many of us. Bad latch, low supply, going back to work, pressure to supplement from doctors… the list of possible issues that can arise is long and can be complicated. A few breastfeeding tips from the pros should help.

 

You’re an awesome mama, and you just want what is best for your baby. But the idea of breastfeeding can be pretty daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of breastfeeding tips from both experts and real nursing mamas!

 

Here are what some other moms and experts say are their top breastfeeding tips:

 

“One of the biggest myths about breastfeeding is that it comes naturally to everyone. Breastfeeding is a skill that mom and baby have to learn together. It takes time to master and often requires help from a friend, family member, or professional lactation consultant. Ask for the support you need early on and you can have the breastfeeding relationship you are hoping for!” -Miri Levi, a mom of two with one on the way, a Certified Nurse Midwife, Family and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. You can find out more about her at www.justlivinghealthcare.com

 

the ultimate breastfeeding class

“Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, literally. But I feel such a proud and fierce love knowing that I pushed through the difficult beginning. I know now that my sacrifice will benefit my kids for the rest of their lives, in ways that science is still discovering. Suddenly it doesn’t seem as big of a sacrifice anymore. Isn’t that beautiful?” -Sarah Marquez, mom and blogger from realsimplemama.com

“Just because breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do, doesn’t make it the easiest. It took me a few months before I felt like breastfeeding was easy for us.” -Meghan Winters, Breastfeeding advocate and counsellor in-training.

“Attending La Leche League meetings while pregnant is a great way for expectant moms to prepare for breastfeeding. You’ll learn how to deal with possible difficulties, as well as build a support system of experienced moms who you can call any time for help.” -Amber Herb, mom and La Leche League Leader. Find out more about LLL at www.llli.org.

“Surround yourself with support! It is so important to have a great support group you trust where you can ask questions, vent, and brag about all your accomplishments and goals! The beginning can be hard and at times you may question giving up. It DOES get easier. Trust your body, it was designed to make milk. There are so many products to help with pain, my favorite is Amorini silver disks. They helped heal me when I needed relief from pain. Even the LC and doctors complimented how well my nipples looked with a newborn! Stay motivated and don’t be scared to ask questions, we all need help at one point in time.” -Crystyn Leigh Haun, Mom of two, breastfeeding advocate, baby wearing educator and photographer. You can check out her work at www.facebook.com/photographybycrystyn

 

Back to work pumping class for breastfeeding moms

It may be the most challenging part of being a new mom, but in the long run breastfeeding actually simplifies your life because you don’t have to deal with bottles and mixing formula. Your baby is less likely to get sick, which means fewer trips to the doctor, and you have two built in comfort objects to help a fussy baby relax. Like Sarah Marquez said in her guest post, it will be tough at first but if you want to take the lazy way, breastfeeding is a great choice. Just be sure to read as much as you can so you’re educated and if you don’t know any other breastfeeding moms, create your own network of support online! That will give you hundreds of breastfeeding tips to choose from!

 

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Pregnancy Must Haves for First Trimester

Pregnancy Must Haves for First Trimester

These pregnancy must-haves for first trimester are absolutely essential for all the mamas out there on the struggle bus.

First trimester morning sickness is no joke. As I type this out, my body remembers what it felt like to simultaneously feel like throwing up and eating a giant cheeseburger with a little acid reflux thrown on top. At times I wondered how I’d survive that first trimester morning sickness, but these pregnancy must-haves for first trimester were so helpful.

 

Nausea, exhaustion, back pain. These are just some of the lovely symptoms of pregnancy. The first trimester can be brutal, and I know from experience! While writing this I officially crossed into the second trimester of my second pregnancy and I wanted to share with you my first trimester survival list. The items that were essential to me making it through the last 12 weeks with my sanity marginally in tact.

If you click on the image below you can find all of these items on Amazon. I created a nice little list for you to grab all the items from the first trimester survival list for you or a pregnant friend who will owe you big time if you hook her up with this list! 

As a quick disclaimer… be sure to check with your midwife or doctor before using these items. I personally used all of these in consultation with my midwifery, but each pregnancy is unique.

And one more disclaimer… this are affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from this list I get a small commission at NO extra cost to you. 🙂 

 Since just getting off the couch or the bathroom floor can seem like a Herculean task while dealing with morning (or all day) sickness, going to the grocery store is almost impossible.

Luckily, you can now order all of your ingredients from Amazon Fresh and have it delivered directly to you home!

This service is such a life-saver, and now that Amazon and Whole Foods are one, there’s even more organic and healthy options!

Sign yourself up here!

 Some moms swear by these babies! And since they are pretty cheap and easy to use, they are definitely worth a try.

 You just slip these bands onto your wrists and a little plastic piece puts pressure on a point on your wrist that has been known to reduce nausea. 

I’ve personally used them and while they didn’t totally eliminate morning sickness, it definitely helped! 

Find them on Amazon here.

 

 Ginger can help with lots of belly problems including nausea and heartburn.

These chews in particular do work, but they are also very spicy! So if spice isn’t your thing, you may want to skip these. 

But they did provide me with some much needed relief during that first trimester while I had this weird mix of acid reflux and nausea that was uber annoying.

You can find them here on Amazon.

 

 More delicious ginger. 

This soda is addictive and sooo good. Plus it has REAL ginger in it, not just “natural flavors” like you see in so many ginger sodas, like traditional ginger ale. 

Ensuring that you have REAL ginger in your ginger soda is key in making sure it is not just healthier, but actually effective. 

This was by far my fav ginger soda during the first trimester.

Buy a 12-pack to try on Amazon here. 

 

I know we are all worried about stretch marks, and from what I’ve heard the best way to prevent them is with vitamin E from very early on.

But I won’t lie. I totally got stretch marks from the last pregnancy.

This body oil however does make your skin super soft, and the lemony scent helps with nausea.

 

Scent can be sooo helpful in combating that nausea, and this bright lemon scent is absolutely lovely.

Try it here. 

 

My heartburn wouldn’t allow me to drink anything besides water and my nausea wouldn’t allow me to drink too much water.

So to mix it up a little I had my husband make me some sweet tea with honey out of this Pregnancy Tea, and it was divine. It was delicious and has all the recommended herbs for pregnancy.

One thing to note is it does include raspberry leaf, which some doctors don’t recommend in the first trimester. My midwife was fine with it for me, but you may want to check for yourself.

Try it here. 

 

Sour candies are a great remedy for morning sickness, and Preggie Pop Drops helped me so much during certain periods of my first trimester.

These are delicious and absolutely a must-have on any morning sickness checklist. 

The sour taste cuts through the nausea and can give you some relief really quickly.

Check them out here. 

 

 You wouldn’t expect a ton of back pain this early in pregnancy, but for me, I started having sciatic and round ligament pain at around 8 weeks. The hormones that start allowing your ligaments to relax in prep for birth can start pretty early.

Plus you know you will absolutely need one of these bad boys at some point, so go ahead and get comfy right now.

Find it on Amazon here.

 

I had never heard that magnesium deficiency was a thing, but when I asked friends in a Facebook group for their tips to get rid of morning sickness a few told me to get more magnesium in my life.

I don’t know all the ins and outs of why/how magnesiums deficiencies can cause morning sickness (though I did see in an article that it can contribute to preeclampsia). I do know that when I started take daily baths with magnesium oil and/or flakes, I felt better.

All you do is add a cup or two to a bath or foot soak and enjoy for 30+minutes.

Grab some here.

 

These bad boys are like Tums, but better!

Papaya Enzymes are my BFF in the first trimester because they help with both the nausea and heartburn. 

Must-have for sure!

Find them here on Amazon.

 

Unisom and B6 vitamins

These prenatal vitamins are not totally huge horse pills like some brands. Plus, they are plant based, non-GMO, and very gentle on the stomach. So you can actually keep them down

Click here to find Unisom and B6.

 


Prenatal Vitamins and DHA

These prenatal vitamins are not totally huge horse pills like some brands. Plus, they are plant based, non-GMO, and very gentle on the stomach. So you can actually keep them down

 

If I’m being honest, the only surefire way of relieving those unfortunate morning sickness symptoms is to go ahead and give birth. BUT for most moms they will start to feel better by the end of the first trimester. Keep these pregnancy must-haves for first trimester handy will help ease that wait though. Congrats mama! Hang in there, and you’ll get through this first trimester.