The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families and Friends!
Over the Weekend
Happy Wednesday dear ones! Hope you've enjoyed your week so far. It's spring break for those of us with school age kiddos and I for one cannot wait for next Monday!!
On Sunday our friend Dr. Kate Cleveland, PT, DPT of Enso Mama Physical Therapy and Wellness joined our monthly birth worker support group to chat about the work she is doing for pregnant and postpartum folks. Much of the shared work we do is to help folks understand how the body will respond to the sensations and hormones of labor. One of the major topics to consider is who will be at your birth. Labor is all about hormones and we go into a very primal place in our brain in order to allow our body to do the sacred work of labor. Because of this, it is vital that your team consist of folks who support you and your birthing preferences 100%. Years ago, Midwife Rowan started lecturing birth workers about reducing "Vag TV" in the labor room. Meaning folks in the birthing room should be there to support the birthing person AND their partner, not to just sit and....well, watch your vag. I love how Celest Gillman of Evolutionary Parenting describes this interaction, "If emotions are contagious between people in normal times, it seems especially important in the vulnerable time of birth that the people around a birthing mother consistently project confidence in her, support and caring, peace, and patience." This insight might mean that you might need to reevaluate your current plans and possibly make some adjustments to your birth team. Just know that setting boundaries now is great practice for the future and trust me, you will need to become a master of setting boundaries when you become a parent.
Don't miss this class!
Baby Sign Language Class - Level 1
8 week session (once a week for 30 minutes)
March 20 - May 8, 2023
11:30am - 12:00pm
$150 for non Members and 12% discount for WHC members
Your baby understands you, but can't yet speak, and you can't read your baby's mind (or not well enough!). Baby sign language can give your baby a way to communicate with you even before they can talk. Start with a few signs - just a handful - and build up to as many as you and your baby want and need. It's a fun way to promote a language rich environment in your home - and to take some of the frustration out of life before language for your baby and your whole family.
Baby Sign Language Classes for parents with their children (approximately 6 months to two-years old). (Age questions? Read this.)
American Sign Language for moms, dads, grandparents, nannies and babies in a fun, relaxing environment.
Learn signs through songs and music with Mimi Brian Vance.
Session includes eight classes - 30 minutes each.
FIVE focus words/signs each class, along with many others.
Class Completion Certificate
Classes are progressive (each class building on the previous), and focus on:
5 new signs (and more!) reviewing signs from previous weeks how to do the signs when to do the signs how to implement signing songs to help remember and repeat the signs between classes anecdotes about how signing works in a baby’s life what to expect from yourself and your baby tips for helping you work with your baby on signing theory of signing and language development
Recovering from a surgical birth
Our doula friend and VBAC mama, Kelley Ellis of Premier Doulas of Houston shares her tips on recovering from a surgical birth. This piece was originally featured in the group's monthly newsletter, The Drip.
Cesarean birth, whether you planned it or it was at the end of a long labor, is the result of approximately 30% of births in America. If you find yourself as one of the 30%, you’ll be home recovering from major abdominal surgery and taking care of a newborn—not an easy task. Here's some recovery tips to help you out:
Manage your pain - Especially in the first few days, take pain medication/anti-inflammatories on schedule to stay ahead of the discomfort.
Granny panties - The last thing you want on your fresh cesarean incision is an elastic band of your underwear or pajama bottoms digging into you. Make sure your bottom half clothing is high-waisted and comfortable, so you don’t have a single strip of elastic, zippers, or buttons digging in. Post-birth undies are likely to get wrecked by lochia, the uterine discharge leaking out of your vagina in the first few weeks after birth, so just toss a cheap pack of high-waisted underwear into your cart the next time you’re at the store.
Compression - While a single strip of elastic is uncomfortable, overall compression is good for wound healing to increase circulation. Belly binding or compression workout tights can help.
Protect yourself when you cough/sneeze/laugh - I will never forget standing in my kitchen after my first child was born via cesarean and sneezing without holding my belly. Ouch. Pro tip: Keep a pillow handy for holding over your incision for the first week.
Reduce friction -Your abdominal muscles have just been through some trauma, and they’ll need some time to heal. In the meantime, slippery pants will help you slide in and out of bed. Nylon athletic pants, satin shorts - just something to make gliding out of bed to shuffle to the toilet in the middle of the night before the baby needs her next feeding easier.
ACCEPT ALL OF THE HELP - You are recovering from major abdominal surgery. You need to focus on healing, which means rest and good nutrition. Hire a postpartum doula, ask your friends to drop off meals (mealtrain.com), have your partner bring all of the soups and water to you. Leaning into your washing machine will be a challenge, and there’s lots of laundry with a brand new baby and a leaky postpartum body. So, if your coworker says she’s going to stop by with food, point her toward the laundry room when she gets there. Y’all can catch up on office gossip while she switches over your towels.
Don’t overdo it - Another clear memory I have is strapping our second baby in a carrier when I was about a week postpartum to walk around the grocery store. Our babies were over 8 lbs. I made it through the produce section and down maybe 2 aisles before I was on the verge of tears and told my husband I’d just meet him back at the car. Even if you’re feeling better, make sure you have a way to end activities when your body reminds you of your recovering state.
Stay hydrated and take stool softeners - Y’all. Constipation is not your friend. That's it. That's the tweet.
Process your feelings - Maybe a cesarean is exactly the birth you wanted and planned. Maybe it wasn’t, and you’re feeling like your body let you down. Maybe you felt just fine until your Aunt Sally made a rude comment about how easy it must have been to have a cesarean. Whatever you’re feeling, those feelings are real and valid. Find a local chapter of ICAN - International Cesarean Awareness Network - to find people on the entire spectrum of cesarean recovery. If someday down the road you decide to have another baby and would like to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), then ICAN is the best place to start.
Meet Dr. Kate Cleveland, PT, DPT
Who are you?
My name is Kate Cleveland and I am the owner of Enso Mama. My titles include wife, mother, Doctor of physical therapy and postpartum doula. I received my Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Emory University in 2011 and have practiced in a variety of clinical settings prior to finding my purpose in women’s health. I am a Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist and certified in dry needling.
How do you serve/help the pregnant and postpartum communities?
We empower women through all seasons of life by providing compassionate care through whole person physical therapy, intentional movement, breath and corrective exercise. We will discover the root cause of your symptoms together to help you move from anxiety, fear and overwhelm to ease, confidence and peace of mind. We treat with a trauma informed, nervous system, connection based approach. Enso Mama is inclusive and LGBTQ+ affirming.
How did you get into this line of work?
I’ve always known I was called to work in a helping profession. I originally was exposed to physical therapy as a young person when my neighbor suffered a Traumatic brain injury. I would help her with her water therapy sessions. I was set to go to medical school after college when my close friend’s mother asked me to shadow her for a day in her physical therapy practice. My mind was immediately blown with how connected she was with her patient’s families and how she had a direct impact on improving their quality of life.
What do you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise?
Healing is ALWAYS possible. Women tell me “I would have started sooner if I had known I could heal my symptoms in such a short time and so easily!” Most people feel pelvic floor physical therapy will take a huge time or money commitment so they delay care waiting for the right time. I want to shout from the rooftops that healing can occur with a commitment of 5-10 minutes a day, 4x/week with as little as 3 sessions when you receive a thorough, whole body physical therapy assessment with a qualified provider (not a Kegel chair or device!)
What is most rewarding about your work?
I love connecting with families in the community on a personal level to help lessen their suffering and provide hope. I love providing an environment of safety and care for the whole person during vulnerable times in their life. I love holding babies while I guide mamas through intentional movement. I love helping women feel less alone in a challenging season.
Tell us about something (or someone) you love.
I love my son who turns 4 this week. He was and will always be my “why.” Through my challenging pregnancy and severe PPA/PPD, I found my life’s work.
This Week's Events
Evening Core Class-Newborn Care: Wednesday 6pm members only event. What to expect from the first few day and weeks with a newborn.
Babywearing Class-Soft Structured Carriers: Every third Saturday 4-5pm Free for HOH and WHC members, $25 for everyone else. Please register.
City wide Babywearing Meet-up: Every third Saturday 5-6pm Immediately following class a free meet up for anyone interested in learning more about babywearing.
Family Meet-up: Sunday 13/19 10-12pm You asked for more family groups on the weekend! Come share the space with your fellow HOH families.
Ask the Experts!: Sunday 3/19 12-2pm 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.
Core Class Stages of Labor: Sunday 3/19 2-4pm We had great turn out for our last weekend Core Class so let's do it again! 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. Members only event.
RSVP on all Calendar of Events page
New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100
Monthly Ongoing Events
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.
Parents of School Age Kids Circle: First Sunday of every month 11-1pm Open to the public.
Babywearing Meetup: Third Saturday of each month Class with various topics 4-5pm $25 non members Open to the Public 5-6pm Citywide Meet up FREE Open to the Public
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
Yoga with Bee: Every Monday from 10-11am Open to the public members donation based register here.