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The Bumpdate

The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends


The best is yet to come!

Happy New Year dear ones! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. If this was your first with a baby I hope it was magical or that you at least got a couple of good naps. By the sound of it most of the city was spared the power outages of 2021. Unfortunately a few of us were victims of the Southwest Airline implosion and had to practice that boxed breathing we encourage for anxiety. My little family had an impromptu 1,450 mile road trip from Maryland that actually turned out to be quite fun.... aaaaand after three days on the road with a 7 and 4 year old, the Houston skyline never looked so beautiful.

What a transformative year 2022 was for so many of us. After almost a year of waiting we finally moved into our forever home on Mapleridge. We welcomed our 102nd into the world and had our very first repeat family. Our team helped three midwifery students become Certified Nurse Midwives and we had the pleasure of working with some super cool doulas from all around town. But truly, the best thing has been getting to know so many of you. Whether it was chatting in the waiting room or during classes or hearing about your frustrations and triumphs during postpartum group or even massaging your backside during labor, it's been a complete honor to walk this path with each of you. My goal this year is to offer new programming that will continue to support you on your parenting journey. I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas for 2023 programs and events. Please shoot me a message over text or email. Thank you for being a part of this amazing community.



A note from Mary Love

Photo from: https://www.rareseeds.com

The new year is here, can you believe it already? It is hard not to get a little nostalgic and reflective as we close out one year and enter into the next. However this year feels a little different than the last couple years. Perhaps it is just me, but it seems a little less chaotic? It just feels a little more settled and a little less unpredictable today. I don’t know about you, but I could use some time to deepen my roots, take in some sunlight and grow.


For Christmas, I was gifted a copy of Baker Creek’s The Whole Seed Catalog AND a gift card! I am busy dog earring pages and dreaming of this year's garden beds. I have been caught several times already looking longingly at my backyard dreaming about a tea garden or the taste of a warm Black Strawberry Tomato straight from the vine. This year will mark my 10th summer in Texas and I think I may have almost figured out how to get things to grow in this subtropical climate. If I could just figure out how to keep my cat from laying on tiny plants…


Moving Heart of Houston into its “forever home” a couple months ago has brought so much joy and peace, not only to myself, but I think also to every person that walks through the door. It is hard to describe the feeling of welcoming a new baby into one of the birth suites or having the community room filled with families singing to their babies! It isn’t just a dream come true, it is the result of persistence, hard work, and a lot of sleepless nights, and an Amazing Team.


Now that Phase 1: OPEN A BIRTH CENTER, is completed, we look forward to deepening HOH’s roots, creating breathing room, and growing! We have a lot of exciting things planned for 2023 including (finally) getting our nitrous oxide online for use in labor or complicated procedures. I have also just finished a provider Intrauterine Insemination Course through Mia Midwifery & Fertility and look forward to bringing what midwives do best, offering compassionate and individualized care, to those trying to conceive.


With 2 years and 102 Heart of Houston babies under our belts we want to make sure we continue to grow and thrive. Heart of Houston is nothing without our community and we want to make sure we are tending to you just like we would a garden. Whether you had a baby with us, attended one class, or haven’t even walked through our doors we would love to hear from you. What have we done well? Where did we miss the mark? What would you like to see more of?. Please take a couple minutes to fill in our Feedback Survey.

Thank you so much and Happy New Year!

Mary



Thoughts from a new parent

How it started, how it's going.

Please enjoy this beautiful reflection on the first year of parenthood from our friend and HOH mama, Alex Lekometros.


It Started with a Chair


(Bonus points if you can name that movie)


When we bought our (exorbitantly priced) glider, I envisioned myself rocking, nursing my sweet, content baby.


Instead, I got a baby who screamed like we were cutting off a toe, and arched her back like my nipple was the most offensive thing in the world when offered the breast.


Instead, I had my baby’s mouth cut with a laser at four weeks old.


Instead, I got a month and a half of five-times-a-day “tongue stretches” where you essentially stretch aforementioned incision until your baby screams bloody murder.


Instead, I got four months of nursing with a nipple shield - a plastic sombrero for your nipple so that baby can attach properly.


Instead, I got so many lactation consultant visits, she offered me a free one - like when you get nine coffees so the tenth one is free.


And then, finally, I got a baby who cared to nurse. Whose eyes would roll back with relief when she latched. Who wiggles with anticipation when she sits on my lap. Who lights up like a Christmas tree at the word milk.


And now, it’s coming to a close. Because I want to eat a quesadilla. Because I want to go on a trip without a pump. Because I want to be able to work out in the morning without hosing the person in front of me down with milk.


Sometimes, I say to Nate, “can you believe I make milk?” It’s such a brief moment of life, but it’s so all consuming while it’s happening. Raise a glass of milk to a mom today. However she fed her baby, it definitely wasn’t gently gliding in a chair with a smile.




Courage

During one of my 2am TikTok sessions I came across a live feed of a large breed dog giving birth. Don't judge. Anyhow, I was watching without the comments and noticed how uncomfortable the poor dog looked. During our labor prep classes I usually use the example of how mammals will find a dark place to give birth. Rarely do they give birth with an audience. Most times you'll find them in a corner or hiding in a closet. That's because the hormones of labor flow best when an animal feels safe. The same applies to us, we are mammals after all. Many times first time parents will leave to the hospital at the first signs of labor only to be turned away when they arrive because contractions space out. Blame Houston traffic or annoying admission paperwork but that tiny bit of anxiety can stop early labor in its tracks. I tell folks I want the ride in to be the worst car ride of their life. We know that true active labor could care less about where you are, you're along for the ride whether you want to be or not.

Anyway, I noticed that there was a lot of background noise as the dog was pacing back and forth. I could hear children in the background so the doula in me was annoyed for the poor mama dog. I checked out the comments to see if there was any explanation on where this was taking place and was surprised to see it was in a French speaking location. What surprised me even more was that many of the comments simply said, "courage". At first I thought maybe it was the name of the dog but I quickly realized that the french use of the word is similar to english terms like, good luck or hang in there. Google confirmed it is, "...the expression for offering verbal support before or during a difficult task." How. Beautiful. Is. That?! We strive to prepare you all for the challenges that arise during labor, birth and the postpartum period but ultimately it's you that has to do the work. I love what Britta Bushnell says in her amazing book, Transformed By Birth, "Let go and step bravely across the threshold into the wilderness of birth and explorer heading into uncharted territory. Carry with you belief in yourself, love for your partner (if you have one), and faith in the process- not that it will follow some idealized image of perfection, but that it will be what it will be and that you are courageous and strong enough to face it. You're open, resilient, and strong." So, courage dear ones. Whatever this year brings, know that you are strong, capable, and we believe in you.



This Week's Events


Wednesday's community walk will meet at Centennial Gardens







January Upcoming events

  • Meet the Doulas: Friday 1/13 6pm Have a burning question about labor, birth or the postpartum period? Ask some of our favorite doulas! FREE Open to the public.

  • Core Class: Bottle Feeding and Pumping: Sunday 1/15 Leah Jolly, IBCLC will cover all the things you need to know for successful bottle feeding and pumping. This three hour class is free to HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective Members (RSVP on event page). NON Members price is $75 Please register HERE.

  • Evening Core Class, Stages of Labor: Wednesday 1/18 We HIGHLY encourage all expectant clients and their support person(s) to join us for this session. We'll cover ways to support the laboring person at each stage of the laboring process.

  • Postpartum Support Circle Babywearing 101 : Thursday 1/19 This postpartum circle will be lead by Angelique Geehan, a baby wearing expert! Bring your favorite baby carrying device so we help get you going. Partners and other caregivers are welcome to attend! This event is for current HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members.

  • Babywearing meet-up: Saturday January 21st and Every 3rd Saturday: from 4-5pm. Free to HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. $25 for non members, please register here.

  • Core Class: Newborn Care: Sunday January 22nd 2-4pm Our friend Dr. Shirley Ramirez-Chan of Blossom Pediatrics and Lactation will be join us for a Q&A about all things newborn. Free to HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. $25 for non members.

  • Infant CPR and BLS: Saturday January 28th 10-12 $45 per person. Email instructor Gail Gould to register and pay.

  • Ask the Experts: Sunday 1/28 2-5pm Newborn parents will spend time answering questions from expectant folks in this laid back setting . Get hands on training from new parents! This is a Whole Heart Collective Members Only event.



New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100



Monthly Ongoing Events

*No Second Sunday Events in January*

  • Wednesday Virtual Postpartum Support Circle: Second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 10-12 on Zoom. HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.

  • Thursday In Person Postpartum Support Circle: 10-12 in the community room. Open to current HOH & WHC members. Feeding clinic first and third Thursdays of each month.

  • Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 2-4pm Open to the public.

  • Babywearing Meetup: Third Saturday of each month 4-5pm

  • Birth workers Circle: Second Sunday of every month 11am-1:30pm midwives, student midwives, doulas, birth assistants, Obs and L&D nurses are all welcome to attend.

  • Mindful Movements: First and second Saturday of each month 10:30-12

  • Various Childbirth Education Curriculums starting soon: Rebel Birth weekend intensive or Bradley Method with Anne Zwicky


That's all for now! Have a great week everyone.




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