15 Meet The Best Doulas In Charlotte, NC

Heidi Campbell

What is a Doula?

An anxiety vacuum. A google filter. A constant support.

Listen in to hear three of Charlotte, NC's best and most experienced Doulas talk shop. Part 1: We walk you through what a Doula is and what a Doula does throughout your pregnancy. Then we tackle continuity of care for the pregnant mom.

Part 2: What is like to birth at home, at a birth center and at a hospital? What tools can you implement if you don't have a Doula. What hospitals are doing right and what health care systems can improve on when considering moms at customers and not patients. 

If you are considering a Doula, this episode is for you. 

If you would like to contact the Doulas featured in this episode please reach out to Helen Herzig of Aussie Doula & Sarah Eiley Cowherd of Sage Mama Doula.





 15 Meet The Doulas-A Candid Conversation On Doulas, Pregnancy, Labor, and Support At Home Birth, Birth Center & Hospital Births-Host MyDoulaHeidi -  -

[00:00:00] What does a contraction feel like how do I know if I'm in labor? And what does a day of Labor look like? Wait, is this normal? Hey, I'm Heidi Campbell a certified birth Doula host of this podcast birth story and owner of my Doula Heidi. I've supported hundreds of women through their labor and deliveries and I.

[00:00:29] Give that every one of them and you deserves a microphone and a stage. So here we are listen each week to get answers to these tough questions and more birth story where we talk about pregnancy labor deliveries where we tell our stories share our feelings and of course chat about our favorite baby products and motherhood and because I'm passionate about birth outcomes.

[00:00:55] You will hear from some of the top experts in labor and delivery whether you. [00:01:00] Pregnant trying desperately to get pregnant. I hope you will stick around and be part of this tribe. Hey everybody, it's Heidi. Thank you so much for listening to episode 15 today is meet the doulas and I have brought in some of the most experienced doulas.

[00:01:20] Sarah from Sage my medulla and Helen from Aussie. Do Le plus myself were having a conversation about what the heck is a doula. How is it dual a different than a midwife? How does a doula and a mid wave and an OBGYN? How do they work together in continuity of care? What does it cost does insurance pay for doulas?

[00:01:43] Oh, there's so many questions that we are going to tackle head-on. We are all passionate about. Every Woman deserving a doula this episode is going to teach you all about what it is that this beautiful profession does [00:02:00] and why you deserve a doula by your side for your pregnancy for your labor for your delivery in for your postpartum care?

[00:02:08] Enjoy? All right. Well, let's get started. So what I'll do is I'll just introduce us give you right. Are you guys ready? Yeah, you're right about now. Okay. All right. Yeah, and we are getting our wiggles out. I'm Heidi Campbell with the first story podcast and today is so exciting because I have two of the best and my favorite doulas in all of Charlotte and we're here to talk to you mom's about all things birth from the doulas perspective.

[00:02:43] Let's just roll. So I'm going to introduce myself. I'm Heidi in. Doula company here in Charlotte is my Doula Heidi and then I've got with me Helen from Aussie Doula and Sarah from Sage Mama Doula. So let's go Helen like just tell us all [00:03:00] about you. All right, where do I stop? Okay, so I am Helen hurting and I am the Aussie dollar.

[00:03:06] I have been a doula here in Charlotte for the last six years. And I have been doing for about 20 years not knowing what a doula was but that's time for another story I guess but loving the child at Birth Community and I'm just really happy to be here with with these two awesome dollars. So we let's just dive into that really quick.

[00:03:25] Then you have five children. I do know that. And so when was your first your first birth that you attended was 20 years ago. Was that your own birth, or was that like a friend's birthday? I went to my sister-in-law's birth and was amazed at the process of birth and then over the last. You know 15 years or so had been to a few other friends births because I have five kids and I guess I had that calm demeanor and was invited into the birth space which was very amazing and I felt very honored to be in that birth space and then five years or six years ago a [00:04:00] friend had a dream that I was her Doula and said, would you be my Doula after she had this dream and I said, well, I'm not sure what a dual does but I can find out.

[00:04:10] So, of course, I went onto the internet and found out what a daughter was and what a dollar did and I said, okay. Well I've had been doing that about 20 years unofficially, so I attended her birth and it was amazing and the. Labor and delivery nurse said you were a great duel or and I said, well, actually I'm not but that started my path.

[00:04:31] So I did a training and then soon after started taking Doula clients and the rest is history 200-plus birth later and love absolutely love what I do. I found out what I wanted to do when I was 47 years old. So and that was 200 Birds after you became a doula. So you have a whole bunch of birds is under your belt though before you became a doula nephew.

[00:04:54] Yeah, we have very similar stories and Helen to because all of this for me came [00:05:00] from dreams also, is that right? Mmm Yeah. Story for later. So Sarah tell us all about you and Sage Mama Doula. Yes. Hi, so I have been in the Charlotte area for just three and a half years doing Doula work postpartum and birth work for the last three years really full-time gung ho but before that I spent just about a decade working primarily with Teen Mom.

[00:05:25] And then I would have friends and church members and community members hire me or asked me to be their private Doula but really my passion for birth grew out of volunteering and crisis pregnancy centers and running a non-profit Ministry for teen moms. So that was my focus with birth work for a really long time was in an advocacy role and doing lots of community activism promoting Midwifery care promoting access to Doula.

[00:05:54] And in the midst of all of that work, I also was raising my own for babies and experiencing Parenthood [00:06:00] and then allowing that to sort of enriched my professional life. I became a doula while before I had children of my own and I think that raised my expectations for my own birth experience so much because I had seen so many different kinds of birds and seeing the good and the Bad and the Ugly and the Beautiful and I had a vision for what I wanted for the kind.

[00:06:22] Care that I wanted to experience and the intimacy that I wanted to feel with my care providers and I was really lucky because I had worked at all of the local hospitals when I was choosing where to deliver my first baby and I'd worked with all of the doulas. Professionally, so I sort of set up my dream team knew that the hospital that I chose to deliver had.

[00:06:44] I knew all of the nurses so even though I didn't know who was going to be on shift the day that I delivered. I knew I had a familiarity there. I think I was just incredibly elaborately spoiled that when I walked off the elevator into the maternity [00:07:00] floor. I feel like there was like a cheer like everyone was like Sarah's here.

[00:07:03] She's having her first baby was just so. Wonderful. I want every woman to feel that kind of comfort with their care team. Obviously. I had a relationship already established with my care providers, but but there also is a model for that kind of care that exists in our country. That's just it's not.

[00:07:22] Shouted from the rooftops enough that you can have a personal connection with your care provider that they can give you more than that 10-minute impersonal chart looking, you know, they're looking at your name as if you're a number and so I am really passionate about pointing women to care providers who have a more personalized approach and really get to know them and know their.

[00:07:45] Story and what they're wanting out of their birth experience because I had that and I just knew it to be so beautiful and important and foundational for my experience of giving birth. Well, I'm come back to the other babies in a minute. Let's jump in because if moms are [00:08:00] listening and one of the things we wanted to address here is who deserves a duel.

[00:08:05] And I think all three of us at this table and all Duelists would say every single woman that is delivering a baby deserves a doula. Hmm and our birth duel isn't their postpartum doula is but today we're talking about birth Doula support, but that every single woman deserves a doula. And there's a book nothing our several books actually and the books will tell you that if you are planning to have an epidural that you don't need to have a doula and my face will turn angry mean red when I hear this or when Mom's call me that are pregnant and they're curious about having a doula and all the sudden you hear but Heidi.

[00:08:51] I might want to have an epidural would you be okay with that and they're apologetic for asking and I it's like a knife through my heart. So [00:09:00] let's talk about that Helen because. Let's talk about this happens to you too, Mom. Yeah, I had a mom called me yesterday and she was almost apologetic about saying well what sort of people you know, what sort of women do you serve and I say, you know, a lot of moms will say what's your birth philosophy and I say, well, I don't have a birth philosophy because it's not my birth.

[00:09:20] It's your birth. So I am there to support you. I'm on that birth Journey with you and I will support you whatever you want along your journey. So you may say Okay. I want to have a natural. Earth I want to try for natural birth. You may be one of those moms who says you know what I know. I need somebody to be.

[00:09:37] Walking along that path with me, but I know it's some point I'm going to want pain management a doula should not have an agenda or anything about, you know, related to another woman's birth. This is a very personal private road that you are taking where along that Journey with you. To help you achieve what you would like to do that may change [00:10:00] you may decide that you want a natural birth.

[00:10:01] And in that, you know your dirt birth Journey. You may change your mind. We are there to say it's okay, whatever you want in your journey is what we want for you and it's very important that whatever. The road you take that you are given choices your voice is heard and you are hopefully have a positive birth experience.

[00:10:25] Even if it's not the one that you had chosen originally along your path and I think having a doula there can really help in that. Pazzo, yeah, I believe so too. One of the things that I like to share with moms, when they first call me and we're kind of navigating like getting that off the table.

[00:10:43] Let me say that I start with my first birth was. An epidural induction I was in labor prodromal labor for five days, and I was really really tired and I was only 2 centimeters dilated and an epidural was a tool that [00:11:00] my Midwifery team and alongside with a doula. These are different choices that people helped me make five days into a prodromal labor.

[00:11:10] That was a medical tool and intervention that helped me to have a vaginal childbirth. Absolutely. Yeah here I am a doula I had a dream like many moms that are listening. I had a dream of having an all natural childbirth. I ended in an epidural I ended in an induction but that doesn't mean that it had to be a bad birthing experience.

[00:11:30] Right? Right. And so I think that that's one thing for moms that are listening that I want them to hear from us as that as doulas. We are there to support them in the vision that they want for their body in the birth that they want without judgment but. When do you hire a doula who's educated there are certain things that we are trained in to help like when is the right time to get the epidural?

[00:12:00] [00:11:59] And so Sarah? I'm going to have you pick up there. So I think our are all of our philosophies are in line that everyone deserves to have a duel on by their side. But what is it look like to have a doula like like some people are going to be listening and are like I have no idea. What a doula does right.

[00:12:19] So let's let's start with you. Like what do you do? For your clients like what does that process look like? Yeah. So you used the word tool to describe to view an epidural and I think that a doula brings many different tools and tricks of the trade to the table and an epidural can be one of those things.

[00:12:42] Obviously the Doula doesn't do the epidural or perform the epidural but we can help guide clients as and inform them about the pros and cons and the timing but we also bring. First of all a presence and a sense of peace to birth because we're outside observers. We're not [00:13:00] going through the process.

[00:13:01] We're walking alongside our clients while they're going through this journey, and and we don't bring to the table the same anxieties and fears that clients walk into birth. So we have a sense of trust and belief in how this process works and also from all of our experience of seeing so many births and seeing such variety of births.

[00:13:23] We have a sense of what can be expected what comes next so having a doula sort of like having a wedding planner or a tour guide somebody who's just been there before and that can be informed by our own personal birth experiences and like you said well will dive in and share some of our personal birth experiences, but it also just comes from the practice.

[00:13:42] Witnessing so many different words so many different laborers and expand experiences and expressions of what it looks like to go through Labor. So we've seen those like really peaceful Blissful hypnotic breathers through Labor and we've seen [00:14:00] how they do that and what tools. They use to cope with labor in that way and we've seen the more Primal movers and groaners and and the people that are reacting to labor in a different sort of way.

[00:14:11] We've seen it all and sort of able to encapsulate all of those birthing experiences that we've witnessed and then take that to our clients and guide them with how they can cope instinctually. What a doula does is really help a woman tap into her own Instinct and and find what feels right for her in the moment what feels right about the next position to move into or the next intervention to question whether or not it's the right choice to make what instinctively feels right for that individual person as they're laboring and so a doula is a guide for for a client back to themselves.

[00:14:52] What? Right for you what choices are right for you your birth and your baby and then we have all kinds of tools. [00:15:00] There are pain relief medications, but there also are non-medical pain relief options and we we know how to use those and incorporate them into somebody's labor aromatherapy and music and movement and changing positions touch and massage and comfort measures like back crack Under Pressure.

[00:15:21] All of those things are. Are just skills that we've picked up along the way from our training or professional training, but also just the experience of being with so many people in labor. Yeah, so it's all about the tools. Okay. So almost 700 Birds between the three of us. So if you're listening pay attention because we witness a lot of births like Sarah said and just have seen different things unfold one of the things Sarah that I was listening to you talk and it made me think about the different the ways in which.

[00:15:52] Women labor and you don't know what that looks like until you're in labor. Even you know for yourself or someone else having a doula [00:16:00] also gives an opportunity to diffuse fear. So you'll see these moms that are doing great with their breathing techniques or great with their Primal moaning. And then maybe there's a moment where fear sets in like a contraction double peaked or with a little bit stronger and then having a doula as a tool for you also to really help diffuse any kind of fear and kind of get back to that place of peace and Stillness.

[00:16:29] So Helen, I want to hear from you too. When when Mom's call you and say what do you do? You know, how are you gonna help me? What do you share with them about what you do? How you take care of them? Basically, you know, what I do for them is my latest I'm very physical and literal in the way. I explain things to my family's is a doula is like having an anxiety vacuum so our main.

[00:16:58] Thing that we do in a birth [00:17:00] is to allay fears to walk along the path with them and to say a lot of the times when we're in that birth is this is normal and this is okay. This is what you are supposed to be feeling at this time. I had a mom who is a labor and delivery nurse give birth last week and she still had those still she still no she knows birth in and out, but when you get into that zone, you're very Primal and you're very it's an intimate time having someone there.

[00:17:31] You know looking at you and saying No, this is okay. This is what you're supposed to be doing. Dualism dad's. Also we are there just for Dad just as much as we are for the mum. Absolutely so Dad maybe looking at you saying you know with that look in his eyes of what is everything. Okay with my wife.

[00:17:48] Yes, it's okay. This is the way it's supposed to be. It may be a silent thumbs up. It may be a smile directed at him to say no, this is okay. This is this [00:18:00] is. Things are supposed to be it's very this is a hard time but this is what is supposed to happen throughout this birthing process. Also with the mum.

[00:18:09] This is okay. This Is How They things are supposed to be yes, this is hard but you're powerful you're strong you are doing this so just to support them I think is really important and we are there where that that continuity of care shift change may come in a hospital setting even in a birth center setting but your Doula will be there throughout the process with you and I think just having that person there is really important.

[00:18:38] Throughout the process. Yeah, so let's talk about that a little bit because typically you guys interjected your philosophies are different but like when my clients hire me one of the things I tell them is I'm now yours from now until the end of your, you know journey into Parenthood. And then hopefully we stay in contact a lot [00:19:00] longer lutely, but my clients like to check in like right before they have an appointment or right after they have an appointment and I get questions like.

[00:19:09] Is there something that I should be asking my provider today for he Heidi we just I just walked out and I am GBS positive. What does that mean? So just sometimes an even though we're not doctors, but just kind of being dr. Google even for our moms are and the car they're on their way home. But really being their support person, I like Helen that you said continuity of care and then Sarah said personalized care because it truly is like having a sister or Mom or a best friend.

[00:19:45] I mean just the word Doula is woman caregiver and we are there to serve our moms and to take care of them from the moment. They hire us all the way, you know through the labor and delivery [00:20:00] and one of the things. People may be listening from different cities, but in our city in a hospital setting I'm not going to speak the birth center is a little bit different but in a hot or home birth, but in a hospital setting the big practices rotate so quickly that most moms will call and tell us.

[00:20:21] Well, I don't really have a provider. That's what they'll say. Who's your provider? Well, I see someone different every week. That's the answer I get well not when you hire a doula right you're going to talk to us. Every week we're going to come into your home. We're going to build a relationship and we're going to be by your side through the labor and delivery.

[00:20:43] So let's talk about continuity of care. So Sierra, what is that relationship Building look like for you? What's the earliest someone's ever hired you? Oh my goodness. Look as soon as they pee on the stick, especially the repeat clients, you know that they want to make sure that they booked in [00:21:00] advance and I really love it when clients find the early.

[00:21:04] And you know, I got people who call when they're 39 weeks pregnant and they're freaking out at the end to so we you it's never too late to hire a doula but when clients do hire me early, I love that. I have that whole stretch of pregnancy to develop a relationship with them and I had one client who said I just want you to be my Google filter.

[00:21:24] That's what I need you for the most if that when I have a question, I go to Google or WebMD and then I get all of the internet's opinions and articles and there's an article for. Single side of the argument and I just need help filtering out all of that information and knowing how to make these big decisions or how to get information.

[00:21:46] And so that's often the jumping-off point for developing a relationship with client is just answering questions and I always give the disclaimer that I am both a professional and I'm a parent with lived [00:22:00] experiences of making decisions as a parent and so I have my natural biases. About certain parenting philosophies or medical decisions, but that as that a doula I'm always filtering out the information with also what's evidence-based and best practice and so we bring both to the table.

[00:22:18] So when a mom says, well, what would you do if x y z or what did you do in your pregnancies? I might share that with them, but then I'll also Circle back around and share an evidence-based article and maybe send them some links and a few opposing ideas or things to toss around and think about I'm always.

[00:22:34] For what the good science says that supports decision making and I'm also open and willing to share what my experience was as a mother personally and I think that that cultivates relationship because if I only sent the signs to evidence-based articles and said this is what this is the latest research and I didn't open up and sort of share what my what my decision-making looked like, it doesn't really cultivate [00:23:00] relationship, but when they can get to know me as a human being and as a mother.

[00:23:05] We develop a rapport that that really grows a trusting relationship. I think it's also Sookie for women in labor to know that their Doula knows their life and their personality and their home and their marriage or and their children so I know things when someone's in labor that a nurse who's on an eight-hour shift just.

[00:23:26] Doesn't have the opportunity to know I know that as a woman's hitting transition and she's getting weepy that part of it may be that she's nervous about adding another child to her home or whatever part of her life. She's carrying into her labor. I know little bits and pieces of who she is and that changes the way that I care for her and interact with her that continuity of care having built a relationship throughout pregnancy and then bringing that into labor and then even in postpartum is totally different.

[00:23:56] And the role of a clinical care provider who comes and [00:24:00] goes and has the responsibility for the heart rate and the vital statistics and how a woman is responding to labor and how a baby is responding to labor. Those are crucial life-giving roles of a clinical care provider. But we we have such a different relational emotional spiritual element of our relationships with our clients.

[00:24:21] So it's such a privilege to be able to sort of exist in those realms. People to know those things about their lives and what's going on in their hearts as well as what's going on with their bodies. Yeah, such a privilege such an honor. I mean, it's just the littlest things, you know of listening to their stories being witness to their stories and then being welcomed into their lives.

[00:24:46] I mean, it's just such a privilege. And so Helen, is there anything extra special that you do in addition to what we've talked about and I specifically know like your postpartum care that you [00:25:00] have some things and so I just wanted to you to share. What are some of those extra special things that you also do for your clients?

[00:25:07] Yes. Well, I actually have I excuse me. I have a Facebook group a secret Facebook group for my birth clients. And I also have a mums group at one of the local birth centers here two times a month because I feel like that care not only postpartum but when during a pregnancy is really important like Sarah said we make these connections with these women and this.

[00:25:32] Families that hopefully will continue on for for our lives. I think we're having that baby is such an intimate and powerful and strong milestone in your life that you will never forget and hopefully having a dual of their will make that a positive thing that you will never forget. Prenatally my mum's are welcome to come to my mom's group whenever they like they make connections with each other.

[00:25:59] So it's [00:26:00] really important. I think have those connections in your pregnancy that you can carry through. I have friends who I met at a breastfeeding group 20 years ago who I'm still friends with so those relationships are really very strong. And really important I think early on so my mom's will meet.

[00:26:22] You know, I have my prenatals and my times but anytime's mum's want to come to that group there. Welcome to twice a month. So we build really great relationships with each other and with other mums in the group and also just the fact that the ones who are pregnant when they have their babies. You know the term mother's two maidens a doctor who said it but it's amazing.

[00:26:44] You know, these are these maidens to mothers they become after they're pregnant. They become the mothers who help the ones who are pregnant. So it's very organic and beautiful relationship. Yeah. I love watching on social media to and all the different mom's groups where [00:27:00] they are constantly, you're just constantly reaching out to your tribe.

[00:27:04] And so what a beautiful thing that your Doula can provide you with other. Moms that have recently given birth within those, you know months or year that you have to be supporters. I love that you do that and I'm really proud of you and I think that that's amazing. So and it's also very for me it's wonderful to because I don't want to just wait for two years until you have another baby.

[00:27:28] I love those relationships that we build together. You know, I would say I'm kind of the mum dual or the grand medulla, even though I have she's very young. And this is crazy. I had my first at 33 and I lasted 44 so all those older Advanced maternal age. I hate that saying mum Robert you can do it.

[00:27:47] I had plenty more. Let's high five. My mom had my little sister at 44 years old. I'm 40 and I'm thinking yeah, I could probably go hiding see what life holds [00:28:00] over the next couple of years. So, all right. So is everyone listening like have you decided are you pumped up or you like higher? Do a lot have me convinced you that if you are on a fertility Journey.

[00:28:13] You deserve a doula. If you are pregnant, you deserve a doula if you are a woman hear you roar, you deserve a doula and so you can find Sarah at Sage Mana Doula. And what's your website Sarah Sage Mama Okay, and then Helen of Aussie Doula, how can we find you LD do I'll see dual

[00:28:34] Okay, so that is our heart. That's our warm and fuzzy, but we are very we wanted to start this podcast with. Who deserves a do a lot because we believe everyone does and we hope that we have convinced you to start exploring your options. If you're in the Charlotte area, you know to call us. So let's get into the good stuff.

[00:28:57] Yeah, waiting for [00:29:00] misbehaving. Now we're going to take a short break to just share a few things with you and we'll be right back with our guest. I'm so excited to tell you about my first book that I wrote that is launching. This summer is a 42 week guide to your pregnancy. It's a collection of birth stories.

[00:29:21] It has a ton of dual advice from all of the questions that my clients have asked me over the last 14 years. It has hysterical partner tips that you will want to read to your partner and it has journaling prompts because nobody has time to write a 20-page has in their Journal about their pregnancy.

[00:29:39] So I've taken the Liberty to give you some prompts of things that I think you might want to remember back on after the baby's born. So again, you can go to burst or and pre-order a copy today and it would mean the world to me. Hey guys, if you're enjoying this podcast then I need your help to spread the [00:30:00] word if you know anyone who is pregnant is trying to become pregnant or just loves a good birth story.

[00:30:07] If you could send them to iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or SoundCloud wherever they listen to their podcast and ask them to subscribe. The birth story podcast and okay. So first of all, let's tell everybody that were all three of us are in panic mode right now because we're 30 minutes into a podcast and our cell phones have to be turned off him.

[00:30:30] We're all on call. We're all alive Golf and this is like it's amazing. We're all here together with canceled this podcast to make four or five or five because it births and because we have a thousand children amongst the three of us, but it's a really difficult. To get doulas together is when you have an on-call profession.

[00:30:51] So let's talk about being on call and I went. Oh my gosh, we're don't go live at [00:31:00] home state going. Okay. So let's talk about being on call and let's talk about where it was the most inconvenient place that you ever were what you're doing when you got a phone call that said, it's go time Helen. I have two really good ones that I love to tell my mom's that I will be there for you.

[00:31:21] Don't worry. I was on call Christmas and Thanksgiving. So I had a couple of mums do into the new year around Christmas time and I just checked in with them and said, you know, I'm going to the Outer Banks, which is 6 hours drive away. Just in case something happens. Just let me know and I get a call Christmas morning from My Mummy saying that my water broke so okay, so I know that I'll be heading back to.

[00:31:46] Let so long story short, we had a big turkey dinner for lunch. I was ready for a nap and then mum calls me says yes things are picking up. So I drove back to Charlotte and we had a baby [00:32:00] about five or six hours later into the following day after Christmas. And then another time I had a mum and I was heading down to.

[00:32:10] Florida for Thanksgiving similar thing happened where I had mum in labor and I drove back to Charlotte and we had a baby maybe 14 hours later. So it just saying this is going off track a little bit but usually labor and birth does not happen like in the movies where you see a half hour show or a one hour movie where the jar.

[00:32:39] Pickles drops on aisle 3 and there's this big splash of water water breaks and there's a baby with strawberry jam on it half an hour later. It doesn't happen like that. So ladies just know that we will be there for you. You know, what you're doing has time to drive back from the outer Bank. Yes and still labor with you for six hours.

[00:32:56] So we you are good. So allay those fears especially first-time [00:33:00] mom. Yeah, oh my goodness. So that was those two are pretty pretty good places, but I want it's worth noting too and I hear you talk that we all have backup doulas. Yeah absolutely work in partnership in in community. Helen is so committed to being at your birth and that she leaves her family vacation on the Christ was to be with you.

[00:33:23] So I just commend you for that because that's really important when we're talking about continuity of care and personalized care. This is it an action. It's Christmas Day your Doula six hours away. And she still makes it to you, you know, so that's incredible. Okay, Sarah the most inconvenient call goodness, you know, I don't use the word inconvenience.

[00:33:43] You just mean like. I don't be crazy story. I know I can't think of any really crazy stories about being on call but life on call is just crazy. And I think even whether you have one client a month or six clients a month your life hangs in balance and you're [00:34:00] just constant. Your phone is in your hand constantly and you're constantly having to explain to people why you have to look at every single text message Ding and I have like a Pavlov's dog responds to that ding sound of my texts that like.

[00:34:13] Had to cut off people in my life who were texting me after 9 p.m. After I go to bed because I go to bed like a little old grandma. Hoping that I get a full night of sleep, but knowing that I'm not guaranteed a full night of sleep and I hear that text ding, you know from my brother or my sister sending me a goofy Meme and I.

[00:34:32] So mad at them for waking me up because I have trained my brain to hear that Ding from like across the room because I am just wanting to be able to respond to questions for my clients and also respond to them if they think they're in labor and and that. Part of the difficulty of being on call is that labor?

[00:34:53] It is unpredictable and it can be really long and we could maybe be out of town or or you know, doing [00:35:00] something with our kids in school or have other commitments. But but we are available all the time. We respond to those text messages. So life is just it's a little crazy that there was a like a t-shirt or a mug campaign going around that was really popular with dual has a while ago and it was just.

[00:35:17] Shirt or a mug that would say if I'm not at a birth dot dot dot if I'm not at a birth because that's how duel has finished all of their sentences when we're invited to something or we're making plans were thinking I don't know if I can make that appointment that week because so-and-so is due and the other person if they're overdue they might be overlapping and we're thinking about who were what our client load is all times when we're planning our lives.

[00:35:42] All of our friends know that y always on call me Uncle. Yeah. Be at the movies or that dinner, right, you know dot dot if I'm not on Earth as okay. So I'm this on my own. Yeah, you've got one obviously. Hi. Okay. So this [00:36:00] one was so super hard for me that I almost thought about calling a backup Doula, but I adored the mom so much and we had I.

[00:36:09] I just knew I needed to be with our and it was the best decision I've ever made because she actually had one. She I think she delivered the largest baby I've ever had deliver almost 11 pound baby and she had a long tough labor and she just really needed me. And so I'm glad I didn't I didn't call anyone and I'm not going to say her name because she'll hear the date and Shota so my birthday is November.

[00:36:36] So every year I have a Halloween party. I mean not anymore really because I have two toddlers at home. But I mean it was like go big or go home my whole life for Halloween parties. And this was my 30th birthday party. So ten years ago big ones like big one. So 30 30th birthday and I mean my best friend.

[00:36:57] Like made this gigantic sign that took up the [00:37:00] whole entire front of my house. I had a live band there was over a hundred people there in costumes in an hour into it her water broke and she was like in hard labor and I was like. Through my house keys at one of my friends and I was like party all night have the best 30th birthday and I came home in the morning from this birth.

[00:37:26] And there were just like people everywhere and beer bottles everywhere and I thought like they they probably had the best time and in the end. I thought this was the best 30th birthday. I could have ever had because I gave a hundred people the. Most banging Halloween that they've ever had and. My joy, I got to be with this mom while she delivered her baby The Best of Both Worlds.

[00:37:52] Yeah, it's always a sacrifice we're willing to make and I think that's something that clients ask like, how do you live on call? You've got four [00:38:00] kids, but what do you do if it's their birthday or a school play and we do work in community with backup Doula so that we can have some balance and that's really important in our profession to have.

[00:38:11] Balance to be able to take a vacation but also we signed up for this because we love what we do and so it's always a sacrifice we're willing to make to be there with our clients and I'll never forget the babies that are born on my children's birth of right I have two of them. So and I only have afford a three-year-old and so I don't know what the odds are of that happening, but you'll remember that the actual my journal.

[00:38:37] Yeah, it's all good. It's going you know, it's going to happen. So, so anyway, so the next thing I want to talk about is. As our clients get towards the end of their pregnancies our phones like we won't hear from them for like weeks and weeks and that it's like ding ding ding. I'll question and so let's [00:39:00] dig into it.

[00:39:00] Yeah. So Helen, what's the what's the number one question you get at the end. Well, I think prenatally when we do our prenatal appointments the main thing I think is people will ask before they actually go into labor is how will I know? I'm in labor. So we know very well that there are certain signs that that mums.

[00:39:20] We'll look for sokka's we can talk about it talk about it. So that would probably be the main thing each other Helen go into it. How do you know you're in labor? Okay. So we're digging in for that a prenatal visit here. So things to look for so. Somebody wisely said do like do life until you do labor.

[00:39:40] I'm not sure who that was. But if it's a very smart one because the main thing I think the main nugget out of before you have your baby is to distract and to just live your life until you notice your contractions. So that would be the main thing that I think people look at as far as when you know, you're in [00:40:00] labor is when you start to have contractions, so we always say, you know, just go on with life until you can't ignore your.

[00:40:06] Your contractions anymore. So that would be one thing your contractions and then obviously there are lots of bodily fluids and functions that are going on early in your in your laboring. Doulas are immune to any of those things and we're quite happy to have pictures texted to us or conversations about what's going on with your body.

[00:40:31] So that can be mucus plug bloody show all of the different things and they're not going to have you have picture of the definitely we have seen it ladies. So, you know all those things what does literally labor look like? What will you know? Be expecting. Do you want to continue on with different signs of labor?

[00:40:56] Oh, yeah. So each other the other things that we can look [00:41:00] for contractions going to the bathroom a lot. That's actually a really good sign that your body is starting to make changes and for to yes doing doing a poo. Yeah, well and your life but maybe a doula can you text at like 5:00 in the morning and be like, I have pooped four times and that's not normal for me.

[00:41:20] That mean that maybe I'm in labor, you know that those are the sort of things that our clients can trust it with because like you said, we're immune were not grossed out by the picture of your mucus plug and we're not grossed out by hearing about what's going on in the bathroom you we're very excited that's totally part of the deal at something on kids deal.

[00:41:36] When you get to do like you get someone you can ask all of those unfiltered questions that maybe you don't want to ask your neighbor or your even your sister or you know other people in your life that's part of the deal is that we're so comfortable with bodies and what they do. And it's when there are questions that you don't necessarily have to ask a doctor care provider.

[00:41:55] You can call your Doula and and get some information. So that's yeah, [00:42:00] we guiding them through those those early mysterious unfolding. Is it happening is it not happening and helping provide resources and information and guidance from I'm very happy to hear about all those yeah and things that were happening.

[00:42:14] I have so many moms that are worried about pooping on the table, like wow. I'm pushing and this is one of the things that I always like when they call me and they're in early Labour and they don't maybe even know they're in early Labour and they've had like for bowel movements and that's when I use it as re-education.

[00:42:32] I'm like see your body is naturally like emptying itself. So like yes. Have we been pooped on everybody? Yeah. Sure. I have a we wiped poop lots of it but it's literally like my experiences have been that when my mom's poop on the table. It's just the littlest amount of poop you've ever see. I'm nobody.

[00:42:55] I'm you guys ever had a big load. I mean, I'd like [00:43:00] to say I'm like to say to my mum's if they wanted, you know talking about things were kind of going off a little bit. But what are things that are you're fearful about and a lot of moms will say yes. You know, I'm worried about that and I always like to say, you know, if it happens is usually very small amount the Midwife or the OB will usually have their hand, you know down there with a warm cloth helping with your your bottom if it comes it comes and it's just wiped away and then disposed of and then another cloth is put there.

[00:43:30] So it's not something that we have to worry about when mums think about, you know, pooping on the table. That's not really how it goes down. So I like to allay those fears with you know, it may happen. It stays in Vegas. No one's going to be talking about that experience if Dad is Dad making a face or something will be like, okay dad know, you know mums in his own so, you know, we try to minimalize that you know any anxiety [00:44:00] about that.

[00:44:01] Yeah, I always tell my clients that we're not going to say she pooped out human it nobody's riding attention to it. So gently wipe it away before anyone noticed and then doulas, you know, we bring out our aromatherapy and we distract and maybe put on the music and and it's really not a thing and it's so not a dying.

[00:44:21] So I just dig in people's mind. Yeah. I wanted to bring it up because that's one of the that's one of the fear questions I get. Almost every time at the end and so I'm glad we're talking about it so that if moms are listening that maybe we can just let them not be so afraid. Yeah, I have just something else to fear.

[00:44:38] A lot of times that families will have is you know, taking Dad into consideration and Mum into consideration as far as are you going to be watching what's going on with your wife? I like to say, are you going to be Uptown Midtown or downtown? Not a soul on this and being in [00:45:00] Charlotte. We we we say Morris equator is out.

[00:45:03] So, you know that's really important going in a lot of I think families will do their childbirth education. They will watch a video and go on my gosh. That's so you know, I can't that this is so powerful. I don't know if I can do this but being in the birth zone of your wife, your partner is such a different experience than seeing it on an objective.

[00:45:27] You know video screen. So of course, we like to went going into that space, you know, when you're seeing your wife, you know, give birth to your child. It's a totally different. Thing rather than seeing it on a video. So, of course, you know when you get into that you want to see what the pat what each person wants in that zone.

[00:45:53] A lot of times. Dad will say I don't think I want to see what's going on. That's you know, but in the time I would say [00:46:00] 90% of the families the dad will say yeah, I think oh wow. Oh my goodness. That's crazy. So even dads are listening. This is an amazing thing. If you want to see it great if you don't great, but it is pretty amazing.

[00:46:14] When you sing your child be born. Yeah, so allay those fears as well. Do you cry? I cry every time do you guys crying idea that I get this take it cheering? Yeah, it's pretty it is so beautiful. You know, it's so beautiful. Okay. I have a series of questions. I want to go through but it really depends on whether or not you've what kind of birds so for whatever.

[00:46:36] Way shape or form I the girls know this but for my audience, I've only attended at this point in early 2019. I have only attended Hospital births only of never attended a birth at a birth center. I have never attended a home birth and it's not because I don't want to it's because a hundred percent of the people that call me are delivering in a hospital.

[00:46:58] So that's where I'm at. [00:47:00] So Sarah, I know that you personally had a home birth or. Three or something how many home births? Did you have to home birth to home birds and you've attended home births and births enter. Yeah correctly. Okay, and then Helen your experience. Did you birth your babies in the hospital?

[00:47:17] Or I had my first two in the hospital. I had my third baby in Australia in a maternity very old. It was like Call the Midwife was amazing maternity hospital. I had my fourth a home water birth. And I had my fifth in a hospital here in Charlotte. So you go you've done it all a little bit yellow Farrah.

[00:47:40] So tell me about in your experiences witnessing the different types of birds and of course experiencing the home birth. But what would you say are some of the main differences for the mom's experience when the birth at a hospital versus [00:48:00] birthing at a home birth? Sure - yeah, I can address that. I think that the main difference in all sort of three different options for breathing's setting choices is the autonomy of the birthing person.

[00:48:17] So in a hospital there is sort of a default mode in how they care for people they do it all day day in day out with lots of different people. Lots of people from all walks of life different cultural backgrounds, but they have a default sort of setting and how. I care for people they've got nurses on shift and care providers on rotating and shifts and they just do things in a way that they do.

[00:48:40] And so there's your bit more Anonymous when you go into that setting where they're seeing lots of people all of the time and then the birth center setting with Midwifery care is a bit more personalized. There's there's more time in prenatal to develop a relationship and though you do have a rotation.

[00:48:57] Care providers. You've had a [00:49:00] chance to establish a relationship with those care providers. Birth centers are also designed with a bit more autonomy for the birthing person. So that maybe they're set up to support natural labor a bit differently than in a hospital setting which has a default mode of more medicalized births just buy because they provide a higher level of Medical Care.

[00:49:22] But the birthing center is for set up for low-risk. So it's designed to accommodate more freedom of movement being able to eat and drink freely there less restrictions on the laboring person and a home birth. The person isn't on in their own space. And so they have the greatest amount of autonomy in a home.

[00:49:45] So really it's their your operating and choosing very different paradigms in how you view your birth experience when you're making those decisions, so it's really really personal. It depends on the kind of relationship you want to [00:50:00] have with your care provider and the kind of autonomy in decision-making that you want to have you have the most power of decision making in a home birth setting and and then you are if you're going to another.

[00:50:13] Place Another care providing setting then your.

[00:50:20] You're subjecting yourself to their policies and their default mode. So the so it's a very very personal decision for somebody to make when they're deciding where they want to have their baby. Yeah. So I interviewed episode 3 of the podcast was Tori Jones. She's the CEO of bad company called a shell triangle and each shell meaning, you know Midwife a got the Mayan word for Midwife and I just loved one of her home / story.

[00:50:45] She was like, well, I just delivered him behind the couch. Hey total girl gum her I delivered her behind the couch, but just total, you know, freedom to move around and so Helen tell me so about three years [00:51:00] ago. The birth center came on the scene and our city. And so I want to hear about you know, your experiences at the birth center for from the moms that are listening.

[00:51:10] Why would a mom choose, you know a birth maybe at a birth center or what? Does it look like from your perspective? So that's different than. Birthing at a hospital. I'm glad you asked that because I was just thinking when Sarah was faking is very important for a family to decide where the best place.

[00:51:30] For them to both their baby is a lot of my family's will say because I have my mom's group at the birth center. You know, they come they come in and they see you know, how the surroundings is very it's a beautiful it's like almost being in your home and they say well it should I have the baby here or should I have the baby at the hospital?

[00:51:52] I'm conflicted and I always say, you know, this is your decision as a family to me. To a both and see which you feel better [00:52:00] about make a list of pros and cons and of each place and then basically you have to make that decision with your family what that looks like. So the difference between having a birth at the birth center as opposed to the hospital is like Sarah was saying you have more saying what you are able to do you're able to eat.

[00:52:23] Are you able to drink you don't have as many parameters put on you as you would in the hospital setting and it's it's I personally love having births at the birth center when my family say that they're delivering at the birth center. I do a little happy dance again, the you know, they were midwives on call.

[00:52:44] So there is sometimes there's a shift change but that door being with you is that that continuity but I really enjoy. Fits into setting with I love it. So I want to ask you about a couple of things. So I've toured the birth center and they have like the Pilates [00:53:00] ladder and then I don't know if they keep re bozos, but I know they weren't involved in different things.

[00:53:05] So just maybe just share a little bit about. You know not that are listening and they're thinking oh my gosh, I don't know what to do list, and I can't I don't even know what possessed they maybe get on Google and see a couple of different positions, but there are some really neat things at both the hospital but specifically the birth center that are kind of tools that we use to progress Leeper.

[00:53:27] And so we just share. Oh I bet about you know those. So like you said the Pilates bar, which looks like a big old ladder, which I did have a mum have a baby there not long ago and her thumb who was there with her in the birth room was climbing the Pilates bar so Pilates I can be a jungle gym for a three-year-old or it can be a tool that's used for labor laboring mum with a rebozo which is basically a big scarf that's used in labor.

[00:53:57] So, you know, we use those tools the [00:54:00] Beautiful. Birthing Tabs are a fantastic option. So we've had lots of mermaids and mermen babies born in the tubs there. So, you know dollars call the birth tubs Mother Nature's epidural. I mean, you know, they're all absolutely so good one. So they are a fantastic, you know hydrotherapy is of great way to labor.

[00:54:23] So at the birth center, there's this fantastic time in the middle of the room. There's this wonderful double. Queen size bed. I think that you know mum can labor and if she is needing some rest the the one thing that you can use if you feel like you need to Is nitrous oxide, so there's that option.

[00:54:42] But of course in a birth center, it is a natural birth, but share a little bit more about the nature assoc side. So for moms that are listening to don't know so share a little bit about the administration of the nitrous oxide and how long it lasts. Right. So with the nitrous oxide, I would [00:55:00] say that most of the families that I've served in the birth center.

[00:55:04] It's not usually something that most of them use because just the setting and the fact that you're allowed to labor the way you would like to just make such a difference in your progression. So but sometimes if moms having a hard time, you can use the nitrous oxide and the way that's delivered is mum holds that nitrous oxide to her mouth herself.

[00:55:26] She administers it herself and it doesn't really take away the what she's feeling but it just takes away her anxiety. So there we go. We have another exam anxiety vacuum. Yeah. I right you can trade mark. You can see I've got my t-shirt made so. So that can help but it only it will help for a certain amount of time and you know, then mom usually doesn't need it closer to when she's having the baby back and it can be a little help there.

[00:55:56] But the moms might know the [00:56:00] term laughing gas exactly the same thing. Yeah, and it's been used for Generations now in the UK If it's been shown to be safe and effective. We're just slower in the US to catch on but hospitals are starting to catch on and so there's hope because it's a fantastic option and alternative to other pain relief methods that are longer acting.

[00:56:25] It's very short acting you can try it for a few contractions. See how it's working and maybe that's all that that mom needs is just a few moments of relief and then it's done and it's out of her system. Yeah, it doesn't pass through to the baby. So I feel like all doulas should be campaigning for.

[00:56:41] To get nitrous oxide because it's just a fantastic tool I used it for. Number three in Australia. Yeah. Oh my God had a little bit. Yeah. Yeah when I went home for my Aussie, baby, I want some just thinking about and to listen Dad can't have any we always make that [00:57:00] joke, like can I get like a nice?

[00:57:02] I didn't mention about the birth centers is they have the essential oil diffusers there. I always bring mine to my birds anyway, but that's something that you can use. You're there at the birth center. So the environment is very much taken care of so that Mum and Dad feel comfortable. And you know, if we are in a hospital setting I think a lot of the doulas do the same thing and we want that environment to be very welcoming.

[00:57:32] I like to say it's very easy and Namaste and you know, we want to have we want to build an environment that is conducive to a peaceful. This yeah, I always say I'm not an interior designer. My own house is like a rack of got four kids. It's crazy. But when I get into a hospital room I go. All out for my clients to make that environment as non-clinical and homey and cozy and create that [00:58:00] sort of an oxytocin Rich environment.

[00:58:02] So I bring twinkle lights and I bring I buy a colorful fleece blanket for every client that's getting thrown over that, you know, White Hospital sheet and it just personalizes the space. I bring flameless candles and the aromatherapy and then we work together to create a personalized playlist. So it's all.

[00:58:21] All their curated space that feels personalized and homie even in a clinical hospital setting so so even clients who are not choosing that more home-like birthing center can have a beautiful experience in their environment and we talked a lot about what the environment needs to feel like for that individual to feel the most comfortable.

[00:58:41] Yep, and when it needs to smell like and yeah everything that's a little bit different for everybody. I was thinking as you girls were talking I was thinking is there any other tools that I use and so. I do bring a Squatty Potty to every first just to kind of when moms are laboring just to open the pelvis and to make [00:59:00] that position a little bit more comfortable than flat feet on the floor.

[00:59:04] And then I have two different really expensive massagers from Brookstone when that was still a company and but they do heat massage. So it's always nice because. Especially if there's a long labor and the duel has a little tired and moms like flips glaze as you know more of a question, but I will have moms.

[00:59:30] It's like we're on our 30 and every contracted like it's gooey and dad for you know or partner, but that sometimes I will use the heating pad or that heated massagers that they put in there. Oops, I'm hitting think that they put them into their arms and then they can put it anywhere on their back and shoulders and then the lavender rice bags to heat up in the microwave and lavender ice [01:00:00] cloths.

[01:00:00] The reason I'm going through all of this is that if moms are listening and you're I want to be careful because doulas cost money. So if you are a my gosh, Helen is a thank you for helping us. Thank you all labor essential blender. Oh, that's so lovely. Perfect. This is one of my favorite things to talk about with doulas because after doing this work for so many years.

[01:00:24] I still find new things that every duel it brings to birth, you know, if-- if we could go to Every Doula in the city's birth bag and we would all have different tools that we've all sort of cultivated and chosen over. Our experiences to find the most sort of essential items to bring to a birth and it's all different but I love that every Doula works really hard to figure out what things really benefit her and what you can fit in a bag because we can't bring in 10 bags.

[01:00:52] You know, let's go you would like to so it really is give me some more of

[01:01:00] [01:01:00] that much have to kill you. Which time I wish everyone could smells but no so I really wanted to transition to this because while we say every woman deserves a doula one of my main reasons for starting this podcast as I hope that this is a platform at some point where insurance companies and hospitals open their eyes and see that women are having better birth outcomes and costing the system in the state less money.

[01:01:38] In part of having this conversation and I was talking about all these tools is that there are going to be many women who cannot afford our services because they don't have an HSA account or an FSA account. Their insurance company doesn't happen to be ap&t. United Healthcare, which is in our area the only employer that I found [01:02:00] to provide Doula services.

[01:02:01] This is a huge shout out to thank you. Yeah AT&T for believing in your and your mother's and your fathers and for providing Doula services, but we're saying all these tools and I'm asking all these questions for a reason because if you're listening and you can't afford a doula be paying attention to everything that were saying about.

[01:02:23] How to take care of yourself or how your partner or how your sister or how your mom could could take care of you in childbirth? If you cannot afford a doula and we're just going to continue on the topic of and I'm just going off on a little tangent here but also right here in our community. We have a ton of doulas that are looking for their certification birds or that are newer doulas.

[01:02:47] And so. I will give a big shout-out to your Charlotte is a directory here in Charlotte of our doulas And if every city doesn't have a directory like that [01:03:00] they should so if you're in if you're in another city and you're listening go to your Charlotte and look at that directory because it's powerful it helps moms find the right Doula for them by reading all of their profiles and websites all in one place.

[01:03:16] So they're not just, you know going into Google hell. Because your best fit for Doula might be on page 16 of Google and you may never find them. So, you know that we have a resource here and I hope all cities will start to do that must've been a pretty amazing person that started that on Heidi Cree.

[01:03:35] I don't know what I might have done it a couple of years ago. She's not gonna take yeah, she's amazing know what well, let me just let me just say this. I have a master's degree in business and a concentration in marketing and I have a pretty good website and I figure it out a little bit SEO and I was getting a lot more inquiries than I could handle and I also didn't think that [01:04:00] some of the women that were calling me that I was the best fit for their Doula to be there to laugh, but they weren't finding the right person and I just it just got under my skin.

[01:04:10] So I wanted to create a resource for moms. That made it easy for them. With everything that they had going on in their pregnancy. I didn't think finding a doula should be something that was difficult or challenging. So very simply my husband and I created the website so really I do hope that other cities will catch on and do a similar website, you know to.

[01:04:33] So that was just like a little side tangent, but now let's get to hospital-based Birds because we're coming to the towards, you know, nearing the end of our podcast time and 92 percent of women in our country are delivering their babies in a hospital with an epidural so likely 92% of people women that are listening to this podcast are like, I'm so glad that you just walked me through that birth center.

[01:04:59] We don't have one in my [01:05:00] city or we walk through home birth. It's illegal in my state. I'm going to the hospital. I think I want an epidural, you know, so let's kind of talk about I love our Hospital. Yeah, I love we have our middles. Yeah, but no institution that has this volume.  Is I don't think right now they're paying enough attention and doing enough.

[01:05:25] Market research and focus groups and connecting with the Dual of community to really understand the patient experience. So if you're listening to this podcast and your in maternity and you are part of a big Healthcare System, then I really want you to pay attention to this conversation because we are The Voice.

[01:05:48] Right now for the moms that are kind of voiceless when they come into labor their voiceless and if you don't have a doula they kind of remain voiceless and they certainly don't follow up afterwards because they're [01:06:00] tired to even fill out your survey on how their experience was. So let's rip it open.

[01:06:04] The first thing that just fires me up is and I talked to the oldest midwife. In our city about this and it just I think fired her up. Do I think it's barbaric that when a mom is coming into the hospital with a doula especially and we know they're not one centimeter dilated, even though we don't check their cervix.

[01:06:26] We know from the signs and symptoms. The first place that they go is a triage room and let me tell you that recently. It's been redesigned to be partitioned by curtains. Hmm, so I will be in there and moms are deep into labor seven eight nine centimeters dilated and all the sudden they're thrown in a triage room and are partitioned by curtains with seven other moms in labor.

[01:06:57] How is this good [01:07:00] patient care and good patient experience when you feel like you have to be quiet because guess who's also allowed to be in the triage room the eight other husbands or partners that are sitting in a chair and now they're separated separated from their partner and their partner is in a bed.

[01:07:23] The labor process is completely halted. There's fluorescent lights everywhere and the through a curtain there is another woman trying to quiet her labor sounds and then another woman and then another woman because it's the busiest Hospital one of the busiest hospitals in the city. So that's my personal.

[01:07:48] I think it needs to be if you're going to triage. I think it needs to be a private room. I think that your Doula needs to stay by your side and never be disconnected from you. The personalized [01:08:00] care so I hope someone's listening to this. You can hear me I get all yeah, you guys can jump in or you can we can move on to the next I have not had that specific experience probably because I go to different hospitals more frequently, so I haven't seen that but so not to speak specifically to triage, but I think just in general over the last.

[01:08:24] 10 or 15 years that I've been doing Doula work. I've seen a tremendous shift in hospitals at least attempting to answer consumer demand for differences and for change. So we see things like the baby friendly initiative or the family-centered care initiatives where there are standards set out for hospitals to follow in with routine care that accommodates what families are looking for.

[01:08:48] So like 10 or 15 years ago you had to have a birth plan if you wanted something. Skin to skin care with your baby after right immediately after delivery. It wasn't as [01:09:00] well promoted in hospitals and it wasn't broadly practiced. But now it's pretty broadly practiced that babies go directly onto mom as long as there's no issue, but that.

[01:09:10] Sort of change came about because of consumer demand and advocacy not just because the doulas were the ones ringing the bell and saying this is wrong this practice needs to change but because mothers were eventually speaking out. So when I see issues in the hospital system, I really encourage my clients to get involved in.

[01:09:28] Advocacy after the fact to be become part of a rallying campaign for access to water birth or for access to Baby Friendly practices or for private triage rooms. Because it wasn't that long ago. It wasn't that many generations ago that are all of our mothers were given a standard routine of enema shave and an episiotomy.

[01:09:50] Hmm and then a generation before that all women were laboring in shared rooms laboring and giving birth and shared rooms and and unconscious. Yeah, so our [01:10:00] practices have changed because of consumer demand, so I'm always guiding my clients back to the importance of sharing their stories and their.

[01:10:08] Variances and going back to the hospital and saying this practice needs to change. So I'm amazed that there's a hospital that still has doesn't have private triage rooms. Oh, yes so old school and that definitely needs to change that we could go on and on about the things that need to change but it's going to have to come from consumers from the ones who are actually still giving birth and still their money is funding the hospital.

[01:10:33] So if moms are listening right now and and we've convinced you that you need to do a lab. Let's. About when you're shaping your birth plan or you're thinking about the people that are going to be laboring with you in a hospital and what they need to advocate for. So let's just kind of open up that conversation a little bit and I'm going to start with you Helen on some of the things that need to be advocated for still even though [01:11:00] we've come a long way besides triage, but it's because even though we've come a part of the way, what would you guide moms and you know, We're with our moms were advocating for them because we're their Doula.

[01:11:11] But how can they advocate for themselves beforehand? Here's an example if they want to have a water birth, but they're delivering at a hospital. Okay. I'm going back to a little bit what Sarah was saying? I think the change we can educate our clients and then they can speak for themselves. I don't like to say that we advocate for our clients.

[01:11:35] I like to say that we kind of give them the prompts to be able to advocate for themselves. So in the case say a mum. Wanted to do delayed cord clamping but the provider in the hospital did it immediately. That's something that is changing now in the hospitals where they will delay the cord clamping for a certain amount of time.

[01:11:58] But if in that case [01:12:00] the mum was you know, the doctor was about to cut the cord I would say, hey so-and-so would you still like to delay the cord clamping? Then she has a voice to say. Oh, yes. Could you hold off on that doctor so-and-so so giving them um that voice in the moment is important but advocating for themselves before just asking all the questions, you know, if you have concerns about things before the birth talk to your provider about that and ask them.

[01:12:31] What does this look like in this scenario? How do we you know? Well, you know basically, how can I help myself in that situation? Yeah, you know, I think that that's a really good point in one of the things here's an example is that when your GBS positive and Mom's call me and they say like, what does that mean?

[01:12:51] Okay. Well making that time to talk to your provider about. What are the why would I have antibiotics and Minister? How [01:13:00] long does it take the antibiotics to be administered? How often do they have to be administered? What is the protocol if I decide to not administer antibiotics talking about evidence-based birth?

[01:13:12] And can you get your provider to show you some research on both sides? So yes here is some evidence on using the. If your GBS positive but here are some education on what using antibiotics and labor does to the. Microbiome also in what that means long term for you or for your baby and what the consequences of that maybe so that so that moms understand that there's a balance when making those decisions that just because we studied one thing and seeing an outcome.

[01:13:44] Did we study the other side of it and see what that outcome, you know is also Sarah's like button. I am sorry. So I think that one of the most foundational things that we can give to labouring women. Is the idea that they [01:14:00] are consumers in this process and that to shift from the mentality that they are patients and that that pregnancy is an illness that needs to be cured or treated to understanding that it's a normal human experience and they are consumers their shopping for the service that they want.

[01:14:18] So they are paying their care provider to provide a service. They're paying their choice of birthing setting. And it to view themselves as consumers changes everything they are the boss. The woman in labor is the boss and that starts at the beginning of pregnancy when they're choosing their care team and shopping around and so asking for a questions about rates of cesarean sections and rates of epidurals and rates of episiotomies and will their care provider provide them with the experience that they are hoping for elements of their experience.

[01:14:53] There's no guaranteed out. When it comes to labor, but are you choosing a care provider who supports your [01:15:00] values around the experience? What do you value out of the kind of care that you're seeking? And how are you going to choose a team that really sets you up for that kind of success. That is the foundational beginning step when it comes to advocating for what you want out of the experiences viewing yourself as a consumer you're shopping around.

[01:15:18] I love you. Yeah, that is so well put Sarah I mean. Thank you. Thank you to everybody from everyone who's listening to so as we wrap up here for moms that are listening that are pregnant and as your quote due date approaches, Sarah and Helen, and I just want to kind of speak into you a little bit as you get into those last, you know, maybe those last couple of weeks.

[01:15:49] So thank you for listening to our podcast. And for hopefully you've learned a lot from us and I just want to share with you that your due date [01:16:00] is arbitrary that most women deliver their first baby at 41 weeks and one day gestation, and then I know that you are uncomfortable and I know that you have to pee every two hours and that you're not sleeping, but I just want to remind you that you are okay.

[01:16:19] You were born to do this. You are deeply deeply loved by your Creator. And the three of us are we're channeling you somehow today and we believe in you and we believe in your divine power and we are here for you and cheering you on through your birth. No matter what that looks like. Beautiful. So I love to tell women that the end of pregnancy can be a really special time.

[01:16:52] And I think that we love to talk about how uncomfortable it is and how hard it is to get a good night's sleep and the anxieties and worries [01:17:00] about when this baby's going to finally make their appearance. Becomes the Forefront of focus, but but you don't get to be pregnant with this one baby. Again.

[01:17:09] It's that it's such a special time. And so I love to help clients think about ways that they can really enjoy the last stretch of pregnancy and not just be so focused on when is the baby coming and how do I get into labor and trying all of the natural labor induction things? I think you can make it fun and light-hearted to to plan a special date night once.

[01:17:32] Week to create memories for the end of pregnancy before before life is just totally upended and changed by the by welcoming this new baby. So make special memories make a bucket list of things to do at the end of pregnancy that you won't be able to do again for a long time. And then there's there's no Indulgence that's too much at the end of pregnancies.

[01:17:53] So I send all of my clients for a prenatal massage at the end and then that last month I [01:18:00] think you can go for pedicures. And got dancing and here live band and go to your favorite restaurants and taken a few extra prenatal yoga classes just indulge and pamper yourself in whatever way that can be and if you don't have the budget or the time for for luxuries, then even just a soak in an Epsom salt bath is just perfect a routine where you listen to your labor relaxation playlist and take a bath.

[01:18:28] That's great preparation for labor, but it's also just really. Waxing and pampering for this last stretch of pregnancy.  My favorite one to say to my mom's is the way you have a baby is to forget you're pregnant that sounds very counterintuitive. But when you're relaxed your body is just doing what it needs to do.

[01:18:49] You will have your baby. It's like a piece of fruit. On a tree when you go to twist that apple on the tree if it's ready, you're you're the the fruit will just fall from the [01:19:00] tree, but if it's not ready you need to wait another day for. Treat to full so that is also like your body. Okay. So my answer to a woman who is anxiously awaiting.

[01:19:12] The birth of her baby is to say forget that you're pregnant and just go along and do your life as you normally would any other time and any other day. So the process for your baby to be born is very much the fact that you are able to be relaxed and that your body. Listen to its own cues and do what it needs to do to have this baby.

[01:19:37] So I always like to say make plans that you have to break when you have your baby. So like Sarah said go for maybe an induction massage go and have the pizza at the local pizza shop that is supposed to bring on babies. I have a date with your oldest child or your your your [01:20:00] toddler whatever that looks like.

[01:20:02] So, you know, enjoy those last few days. Don't wish that time away that baby will be here before you know it and everybody of course, we'll be checking in on you. So I also like to say turn off your phones turn off your social media and let people know when that baby is earth side, but it's very important to enjoy those last days before this little one comes earthside and.

[01:20:25] They will be here before you know it so enjoy your pregnancy and enjoy your wonderful births. Thank you everybody for listening to the birth story podcast, and we hope you will tune in and join us next week. So once again, I'm here with Helen from Aussie. Do Le hace and Sarah was Sage Mama Doula from Sage, and it has been my pleasure to have you.

[01:20:52] Thank you for helping to just support and educate moms that listen.

[01:21:00] [01:21:01] Thank you for listening to birth story. My goal is you all walk away from each episode with a clearer picture of how labor and delivery might go and that you will feel empowered by the end of your pregnancy to speak up plan and prepare for the birth. You want no matter what that looks like.