The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families & Friends
Happy Women's History Month, friends! Over the weekend I drove to Livingston, TX to visit friends and my daughter Elias tagged along. That's a four hour round trip trapped in a car with six year old. It was surprising wonderful. It was a lot but I enjoyed the uninterrupted time with her. While most of what we chatted about was kindergarten classroom love triangles and the upcoming Scholastic book fair, she was also really excited to tell me all about Rosa Parks and how brave she was. That led us down a rabbit hole of all the ways women have advanced the human race AND how little credit we've gotten. I often think back to a quote I came across a few years ago from activist and all around badass Sandi Toksvig, "When I was a student at Cambridge I remember an anthropology professor holding up a picture of a bone with 28 incisions carved in it. 'This is often considered to be man’s first attempt at a calendar' she explained. She paused as we dutifully wrote this down. ‘My question to you is this – what man needs to mark 28 days? I would suggest to you that this is woman’s first attempt at a calendar.’ It was a moment that changed my life. In that second I stopped to question almost everything I had been taught about the past. How often had I overlooked women’s contributions?' " So cheers to us and all the incredible women throughout history whose actions might not have been acknowledged or celebrated but have undoubtedly made our world a better place. And cheers to our children who do even more!
Since our last Bumpdate
Last Thursday I had the honor of representing Heart of Houston on a panel of experts hosted by The Family Equality Council, a non-profit organization whose mission is, "... to advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them..." Thursday's event topic was the Fourth Trimester and I covered sleep...or lack thereof. I joked that I would open with, "There will be no sleep for you ever again. Thank you and goodnight!" While I'm all about keeping it real, I actually did offer some advice on managing expectations, division of labor and tricks I've picked up along the way to help new families adjust to life with a newborn. We talked about bed sharing vs co-sleeping, establishing routines, outsourcing daily chores to maximize rest and remaining flexible to, well, just about everything. Of course, my best advice was to high five at the end of everyday they kept everyone alive and anything beyond that is bonus!
We also had our very first baby gear swap on Saturday and Sunday and it was a great success. Folks showed up with bags of clothes, toys, diapers, feeding supplies and even maternity clothing. Our sweet babies were able to hangout while parents had the chance to catch up. I'm super excited to move into our new space so we can begin offering more Saturday family events and classes geared towards older babies. We will do another gear swap in the fall so keep your eyes on our calendar. If you still have items you'd like to donate but didn't get a chance to drop off please consider bringing them by this Sunday. Our friends at Baker Ripley are in need of items for Afghan families seeking asylum in the Houston area. Email Jessica for more info.
Meet The Folks We Love
Each week we feature a family or friend from our remarkable community!
The last couple of months have been super busy here at the birth center. The midwives and I have been so grateful the Universe sent us our new nurse/birth assistant, Rachel. She knows how to read a room, has a great sense of humor (a must in this line of work) and a really intuitive birthworker. She's just the best! So, meet Rachel!
Meet Rachel Palomera, RN
1. Who are you?
Rachel Palomera, RN BSN. Clinic Nurse and Birth Assistant at Heart of Houston 2. How do you serve/help the pregnant and postpartum communities?
I am passionate about the midwifery model of care and educating families so they can make informed decisions about their care and birth. I assist the midwives in the clinic and during birth and enjoy the labor and postpartum period. I want birth to be a calm and holy experience for families, as much as possible. I am a certified lactation specialist and taking the Lactation Consultant exam in a few weeks...hoping to become a IBCLC! 3. How did you get into this line of work?
I used to live in Haiti and met some friends who had a birth center there. I got to join them for a couple months and fell in love with the work and the impact it had on the health of communities! I then took a job at The Minnesota Birth Center for a few years and really became passionate about coming alongside women and families during this time in their lives. 4. What you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise?
No question is a dumb question! An informed patient who is engaged in their care is what nurses strive for. 5. What is most rewarding about your work?
I love to build trust with my patients and absolutely love watching the moment when things click and they gain understanding and confidence.
6. Tell us about something (or someone) you love.
I started a Little Free Greenhouse for my neighborhood recently and am loving it! (Thanks to my lovely husband for building it!) I have been trying my hand at propagating plants and my neighbors are starting to join in with swapping their plants, produce, and books.
Follow Rachel and her crazy dope Little Free Greenhouse on instagram @littletexasgreenhouse
Mask recommendation updates
You may have heard that the CDC recently updated their recommendations for wearing masks in public spaces. We wanted to remind everyone that pregnant persons are considered higher risk because of immunocompromisation during pregnancy. As such, we will continue to recommend that folks wear a mask in spaces when possible. We also ask that anyone who enters the birth center for appointments, classes or other events properly wear masks for the entirety of their visit. For more information on Harris County's threat levels and updated CDC's recommendations please visit CDC.gov and of course, our midwives are more than happy answer any questions about vaccinations and COVID-19 in pregnancy.
It's your big day!
Finally, this week I'm introducing one more weekly feature, the Birthday Bulletin! Each week we will celebrate the birthdays of our HOH kiddos and introduce you to our newest additions. This week we celebrate three of our original Heart of Houston babies. We missed wishing Evangeline a happy birthday last month so she's joining her friends Max and Ivy who are all celebrating their first trip around the sun. Happy birthday little friends! And a great big welcome to world to our first March 2022 baby, Adedare Ogunseinde! Welcome little one, we are so happy you're here.
Postpartum Support Group: On Zoom Wednesday 3/9 10am-12pm. Meet in the HOH zoom room for some community time and non-judgemental support from your village.
Take a Walk PP Support Group :Thursday 3/10 10am let's meet for a short stroll, keep an eye on our social media accounts for location.
Stretch and Dance for Labor and Birth: 3/12 10:30am First and second Saturday of each month join Joanna Zepeda for an hour and half of grounding, breathwork, stretching and dancing to prepare you for your big day. Please RSVP
Pregnancy Group Core Class: When Plans Change Saturday 3/13 2pm on Zoom Mary Love will discuss what happens when your birth plan has to change. RSVP
Queer Parent Circle: LGBTQIA+ parents are invited to join in community to share their highs and lows and everything in between. Babies 2 and under are welcome
Pregnancy Group Core Class: Comfort Measures Sunday 3/20 in person 2pm Members will gather in person to practice a variety of comfort measures. Bring your support person(s) and dress comfy. RSVP
Pregnancy Group Core Class: Stages of Labor Sunday 4/3 on zoom. 2pm Review the stages and phases of labor and how to support the birthing person each step of the way. Partners/support persons are encouraged to attend.
Postpartum Support Group: Every Wednesday from 10-12ish and Thursday 9:30-11:30. Zoom link has been sent to all HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 3:30-5pm Open to the public!
Birthworkers Circle: Second Sunday of every month starting Jan 2022 time 11am-1:30pm