Ya'll, Monday morning I turned on my car and was greeted with a low tire pressure warning! In Houston that can only mean one thing... okay with our crappy streets it can actually mean a lot of things but in this instance it means COOLER WEATHER! Not like, cool enough to wear a sweater outdoors cool, but cool enough to not break a sweat by merely glancing outside so I'll take it!!
This past weekend yoga and Spinning Babies instructor Cat Allen taught a group of parents all about movement and optimal fetal positioning. We are excited to announce that we'll be hosting this class for parents on a regular basis starting soon! Keep an eye on the schedule for more 2023 dates.
Mark your calendars for our next family weekend! On Sunday September 24th we have a day full of new family programming starting with Newborn Sleep Seminar with Sleep Specialist Nicola Moy from 10-11:30. From 12-1:30 we'll have a Community Hour/Meet the Experts where newly postpartum families are invited to connect with other members of the community, including expectant parents. Families who have lived through the fourth trimester will share their survival tips with their peers. Everyone is welcome to attend, light snacks and refreshments will be served, please RSVP! Curious about what you need to protect your family and estate now that you're a parent? Join Attorney Marlyn Schulz for an overview of the must-have documents for every family.
The Labor of Labor
August was our busiest month since we opened in late 2019. We met a lot of babies and saw a lot of longer than usual labors. Probably because it was a first birth for many of our expectant families. If you've spent anytime with birth workers you know some of us can be a bit superstitious. Things come in threes, don't speak about down times because that will inevitably cause a storm of babies and never have more than one drink when you're on call or you'll anger the birth gods. The truth is that sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees and as birth attendants when we've had a streak of longer than usual labors it's helpful to go back and actually look at the data.
I asked the members of our Whatsapp chat to tell us about the length of their labors. And, not just the physical labor but the MENTAL labor that goes into waiting for a baby to arrive. Here's what they said:
In my thousands of hours laboring with folks I've found that beyond the first birth, the physical portion of labor takes a backseat to the mental labor of waiting for actual labor to start. With the first labor you only had to worry about getting to your place of birth at the right time. With subsequent pregnancies you have more to consider. Who will be around to help with the your existing child? Will they be asleep when you go into labor? Do you take them with you if things are moving quickly? What if they are in school/daycare? Who has the authority to pick them up that also has a carseat? Have they spent the night with anyone else? How will you manage the hours you're away laboring? There are so many things to consider that a lot of your mental energy will be spent anticipating these questions while you wait to meet this new baby. While second births tend to be much faster than your first, the lead up can feel like torture.
Some folks will experience practice labor or Braxton Hicks. You hear it called "false" labor which kinda sucks because it's not your imagination, it's real! Prodromal labor is different than Braxton Hicks in that it can often last for days and in some cases even weeks. Braxton Hicks contractions aren't usually painful, unlike prodromal labor, and typically do not cause cervical dilation. With prodromal labor it feels like labor is going to start but it never really takes off. Contractions or surges are strong enough to be annoying and usually rather uncomfortable but they don't increase in intensity or frequency...until they do. This is especially common for third babies but can happen for a number of reasons in any pregnancy.
My rule of thumb is: if you feel a significant change over the course of an hour, it's time to check in with your team. All of this long rambling post is to say the labor of labor is different every time. Just because your dilation isn't changing doesn't mean things aren't happening. Sometimes the start and stop patterns are because your body is trying to figure out how to reposition baby, or break up cervical scar tissue or it could even be your body waiting for your bigger kids to be out of the house and staying with grandma before it takes off. Trust that this incredible body of yours, the same one that has grown an entire human, will bring your baby earthside exactly how it's supposed to happen.
And then there were three...
There is something so incredibly humbling about working with freshly postpartum families. Having just given their all to bring their baby earthside they emerge battered, shaky, and slightly wild-eyed. IT'S OVER! I DID IT! I SURVIVED! WTF JUST HAPPENED?! Yeah, dude. THAT was crazy and YOU did it! And we got to see you do it!! Your baby is here now and your focus will shift from the indescribable wilderness you just walked through to get that baby of yours, to keeping them alive and well. And after what we just witnessed we know that you're already a good parent and that there is no challenge you can't overcome. The truth is though that you might not feel as confident about that as we do and there's nothing wrong with that. There will be so many firsts happening all at once that feeling overwhelmed is perfectly normal. This is exactly why we encourage folks to spend as much time planning for the fourth trimester/postpartum period as you've spent planning for the birth. The birth is over in a flash and you immediately step into the lifelong role of a parent. We want your transition into parenthood to be as easy as possible because, unlike your birth, we can't physically be at your side while you figure it out. So the best we can do is prepare you for some of the more challenging parts of your new role and sit back and watch you be amazing...again. I've invited two incredible postpartum doulas to join us at next month to discuss the simple and practical ways to prepare for the postpartum period of your journey. Alex Tran and Kate Vosta will join us Monday October 16th from 6-8 pm for a special Core Class: Fourth Trimester Preparation. RSVP to secure your spot.
New address 6550 Mapleridge Ste 100
Monthly Ongoing Events
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 Beginners Series:Every Third Saturday 4-5pm Free for HOH & WHC
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.
Yoga with Bee: Select Mondays from 10-11am Open to the public members donation based register here.
Various Childbirth Education Curriculums starting soon: Bradley Method with Anne Zwicky