Providing Professional Doula Services to Families in Greenwich, Westchester and NYC

January 2013

July 11th 1992

I gave birth to 7lb 3oz Erica early that morning. My due date was July 4th and when it came and went I was pissed! I'm not sure why they told me I was... DUE that day, since in my chart it said  ESTIMATED due date . I still can't figure out why they skipped the word estimated.

Seems like an important one to me….

Ok, my water broke - no contractions - went to the hospital - started pitocin - laid strapped in bed on the monitor for a bunch of hours - begged for an epidural - doctor cut the opening of my vagina with a scissor and there she was…. Our daughter, Erica Bonnie… and there she went, our daughter, straight to the nursery.

I was bonded to Erica before she even came, I so desperately wanted a child and our separation didn't interfere much with that.

It amazes me that I didn't put up a fight when they took her away.

That was the rule and for some strange reason that I will never understand, I agreed to follow the rules. Of all the times to start following the rules, right?

I guess they bottle fed her in the nursery because they didn't bring me to the nursery to feed her until the next morning after I showered. They brought her into my room for visits prior to that but not for feedings. I remember walking very slowly and carefully (remember, they cut my vagina with a scissor…) to the nursery. My mother was with me and when I walked in they sat me in a large plastic chair with arms on it right next to the...Read more

Dig a little deeper

You, a friend and a cup of coffee. You called her, you made the arrangements to meet up with her. You fit it into your schedule.

WHY? What do you hope to get from it? Will you make it worth the time you give it?

What happens next is dependent upon what the two of you are willing to do. It is dependent upon how much you trust each other and how compatible you are as friends. Will the focus of this coffee outing be "lists"? You know what I mean....

How's your mom?

What are the kids up to?

What are you doing for the holidays?

Are you going away this summer?

OR

Will you become part of the "I know how to turn a cup of coffee into an awesome afternoon, club"? Will you let yourselves connect? Will you let your walls down and be vulnerable, honest, DEEP?! I don't mean share your innermost secrets or thoughts (unless you want to) but will you make it meaningful?

I am passionate! I feel like a "list" cup of coffee is a waste of my time. I leave one of those, feeling a decrease in my energy levels.

I need to talk about feelings! shortcomings! victories! I need to be pissed off or really excited. I need to laugh my ass off or give up a couple of tears. I need to inspire AND be inspired.

A one sided coffee outing, where you give more than you get feels shitty too! It's not fair to spill it, I mean really dig deep and spill it and get back...Read more

Children should be seen and not heard…

I made you and I can make another one just like you…

I brought you into this world and I can take you out…

I am in my mid 40’s and these were the quotes that adults spoke to children when I was growing up. These 3 sentences were the theme of my childhood. It is no wonder that we struggled with self-esteem growing up. Those statements were not said to lift us up, they were said to remind us that we were being controlled. Not taught, controlled.

Not long ago, I was in the reception area of a doctor’s office. There was a boy about 4 years old coloring quietly at a small table. I kept looking up from my magazine to peek at him. He was determined to stay in the lines and his tongue was even poking out of the corner of his mouth while he focused with all of his might. Finally his mom caught my gaze and I smiled at her and said, “Oh my gosh… he is so cute!” She replied (somewhat jokingly), “Ugh… he’s a little monster! You want him? Take him!

The boy barely budged. He had heard this and possibly worse before. His mother, the woman who grew him in her womb, the woman who gave him life, the woman who nurtured him as an infant just offered to give him to a smiling stranger! I was crushed for him. If another man told her husband that he found her attractive and her husband replied with, “you want her? Take her!” How would she feel? She would be mortified, yet...Read more

Hypnobirthing, The Bradley Method, Lamaze….

Boy oh boy, so many to choose from…. How will you pick the class that’s right for you? Do you know enough about each method to choose the childbirth class that you are philosophically aligned with? Do your research and read up a bit on each method before you decide.

Ultimately, you should be sure to have a good understanding of your anatomy in relation to giving birth. You should also obtain enough knowledge of the risks and benefits of medical interventions so that you thoroughly understand the decisions you will be making for yourself and your baby.

Learn as much as you can regarding comfort techniques such as breathing, position, water therapy, and relaxation.

You should also consider the childbirth educator. Does she have a personal agenda when it comes to birth? Does she offer evidence based information that will enable you to formulate the choices that are best for you?

You will only give birth to this child once! Do your homework, pick the one that’s right for you and have fun! Be sure to exchange information with the other couples in the class so that you can stay in touch and support each other once your babies arrive! Nothing is more comforting than having a new friend to share your experiences with.

Test your knowledge. Take this quiz to see...Read more

How do I choose the right doula?

*Is she certified?

To become a certified Labor Doula is fairly simple:
The requirements are that you attend an intensive 3-5 day workshop.
Complete a short reading list (6-10 books)
Write several essays.
Attend 3 births where you are evaluated by the mother, nurse and provider.

*Is she experienced?

For many women, asking if a doula is certified is just a starting point. Experience once she is certified holds more weight. Keeping in mind that it only takes 3 births to become certified, decide how much experience it would take for you to be comfortable and keep that in mind as you talk with doulas.

*Is she available for your estimated due date?

The amount of availability a doula has, largely depends on the systems she has in place. If she is an independent doula (not with an agency) she can take 1 or 2 clients a month with a back up doula in place. Insist on meeting the back up doula before signing a contract. That person may end up being your doula and you should have the opportunity to interview her as well. Make sure the back up doula’s name is part of the contract you sign, to protect yourself from getting a different doula that you haven’t met on “labor day”. If a doula works in a team situation, the team of doulas will be able to take 3-4 clients a month, which increases the amount of availability they have. Meet both team members and be sure you “...Read more

DOULAS, DOULAS, DOULAS!!

My hope is that as doulas, we are changing the way women interact with women – that we are caring for our clients (and friends and family), in a way where support and nurturing are commonplace, and judgment and conditions are irrelevant.

My hope is that my daughters will feel educated and informed about their options in pregnancy and childbirth (MANY years from now), that they will feel confident and supported in the decisions they make.

My hope is that my daughters, and all of the women who will labor before them, will feel respected and empowered…. When they are pregnant, when they birth their babies and when they become mothers.

On Monday, January 21st Northeast Doulas held a Postpartum Doula training. Women came together to talk about how to support women; what that support looks like, feels like, sounds like. They learned how to help a newly postpartum woman discover herself as a mother, and rediscover herself as a woman.

For a woman, navigating through this transformative experience it can feel like every person she sees has an opinion to share, advise to give, wisdom to impart. Becoming a mother is...Read more

A bad day Doula?

Riiiiinnnng…Riiinnng…

Good morning, Northeast Doulas.

Ummm… Hi, my name is Suzie Q.

I am not pregnant and I didn't have a baby, i just want a doula!

I’ve had a bad couple of days, my husband works insane hours, I’m tired and cranky and I just want to be nurtured!

Can you send me a Doula please?

You decide you’re taking a personal day. You aren’t sick, you just need a day. You want to rest but you know if you’re home alone for the day, you might grab a nap but you’re probably going to use the time for “catching up”. Laundry, a closet makeover, ironing, etc…

What you really need is a day of nurturing! You want someone (ANYONE!) to care for and encourage the personal growth and relaxation of YOU! Is that so bad?

She arrives at 9:55am with a small bouquet of flowers and a look in her eye that says, this day is all about you!

Her only concern for these 5 hours will be you!

You sit and chat for a little bit and you are amazed that you’re having a conversation with another woman who is really listening to you. She is not talking about HER self, HER children, HER mother… She is listening to you! Hearing YOU! Asking YOU thought provoking questions about YOUR life, YOUR hopes, YOUR thoughts! It feels amazing.

She suggests you take a hot bath and you agree.

She grabs your dock and sets up some music in the master bath for you.

She lights a candle and...Read more

BULLSHIT!

I completely disagree with this overused, under-understood statement that it takes a village to raise a child! I mean really??? The whole village? What about the village idiot? Does he get to help too?

I’ll tell you what it does take. It takes parents that parent deliberately. It takes a small handful of the RIGHT people. People who understand your values, your morals and your parenting philosophies.

Recently, a woman in my village (my daughters, 11th grade English teacher) thought I needed help raising MY child. I, however, did not invite her into my child raising circle. In fact, my daughter who has an 85 average in english and has never had a disciplinary action, does not like this teacher and is not liked by this teacher. This teacher talks derogatively to my daughter to the extent that other adults in the school have brought it to my attention. My daughter, admittedly has no respect for this woman and is not without blame. She loves the “social game” part of school and often needs to be reminded that school is actually an academic game!

Now for the part where her teacher thinks I need a village to help me raise her… Ty is “alternative” looking. She colors her hair (red, teal, platinum blonde, etc) she has facial piercings and dons herself in edgy studded clothing. (We are in total support of this creative way to express oneself). Oh, she’s also well adjusted, a cheerleader and full of the rarest teenage girl...Read more

A WOMAN’S EMPOWERMENT THROUGH CHOICE

The free dictionary.com just gave me the definition of “alternative birth” and I thought I should share it with you.

alternative birth - a method of childbirth that avoids intrusive high-tech medicine in favor of more natural and homely settings

When did we as a society decide that intrusive high tech medical intervention in hospital settings was the “normal” way to give birth?

I mean it is certainly an option and thank goodness for those interventions when we need them, but It seems to me that if we stop talking about natural birth as “alternative birth” it might have a chance at becoming a little more main stream.

Birth Choices, Labor Doula, Birth Plan, Birth Wishes, Water Birth,
Hospital Water Birth

Why do these...Read more

 

Senior Prom, 1985… Randy Patterson? … nowhere to be found.

Instead, I was working as the heavy metal DJ of a small club in Middletown, NY called JB’s Rock 3.

On that particular night a small band named Metallica were opening for the legendary Ramones and I was playing records in between sets.

My love for Heavy Metal was instilled in me by my family.

My parents were graphic designers and worked on album covers for bands like Metallica and Anthrax and my aunt and uncle owned an independent record label known as Megaforce Records.

I spent my teenage years working at my parent’s record store, Rock n’ Roll Heaven North (where I met the love of my life, Jerry Patterson!) and spent Friday and Saturday nights pressed against the stages of L’amours, Studio 54 and The Ritz checking out the latest metal bands. Trading tapes and waiting for new albums to come out was a way of life back then and daring to be different came with the territory!

The passion that heavy metal invoked in me, that spirit to fight for what I believed in, to be true to myself and to never conform, heavily contributed to my success as a wife of 23 years, mother to my two amazing daughters and my life’s work as a labor and postpartum Doula.

I am the co-owner of Northeast Doulas, an agency that eduactes and supports women through childbirth and the ins and outs of being a new mom. When the phone rings at 2am and I find myself in the car on...Read more

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