Changes, they are a comin’

Hey All!

So things have changed so much over the last year. We’ve decided to put our house on the market, our kids have all gotten larger, and I’ve settled into the role of praise and worship leader at our church. I have been crazy busy and as you all know, balance is hard.

I’ve decided to examine who and where I want to be in this life. I want to be more present, and I want to do the things that my heart calls out to do. One of these things is being a doula. I had a really hard time balancing life when Dixon was born. We had just lost the girls a few weeks prior when I found out I was pregnant. Life was hard. In the year since he’s been here though, I’ve found balance was so hard to find. That’s one of the places I really struggle with. I like to be everything for everyone all the time and now through therapy I’ve found that just isn’t possible. I have to have priorities. I have to say no to good things sometimes. And I have to create a balance that may not work for anyone else but does work for my family.

Being a doula is one of those areas. I would love to have a thriving business being a doula, but this is just not the season for us. So while my heart cries out to help women in birth, I’ve decided that I can make it work without making my family struggle. Being a doula is something I feel called to do, but the business aspect was just not working for me. I support all doulas who charge, so that isn’t where this is coming from. It’s truly coming from a place where my heart can be happy, I can be happy doing what I love, without the aspects that stress me out. So I have decided to become a not for profit doula. I also am dramatically limiting the number of births I attend. I don’t know exactly what this will look like as I’m trying to figure it all out, but I know that it has to look like something I can be happy with. Serving women in pregnancy and labor is something my heart desires, the business part isn’t, for now. Maybe that will change in a year, who knows. But for now I’ve found peace in it.

Dixon Murphy Erickson’s Birth Story

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When I first found out my blood pressure was high I wasn’t worried. I figured it was a fluke. The same thing had happened once in Maddox’s pregnancy as well, but was shown to be an issue with the cuff. So I headed over to the Birthing Inn and settled in for a Non Stress Test. Once laying down, my pressure fine and I was sent on my merry way. Little did I know I would have to continue the NST’s, 24 hr urines and bedrest until I birthed. At this point, my diagnosis was pregnancy induced hypertension. But soon I was officially diagnosed with pre eclampsia. To say the least, I was scared. As a doula I knew enough about pre eclampsia to know that I had to take things seriously. When the midwife asked me to go on bedrest, I obliged, knowing that laying down dropped my blood pressure dramatically, therefore dropped my risk of stroking or having a seizure. I thought that I’d be induced right away, but the midwives were gentle and caring. They encouraged me and set up a plan that would include inducing at 39 weeks. This was prior to the tests showing I was spilling protein. I received a call on Wednesday, Oct 23rd. I was to be induced, again, for the fourth time, on Thursday. I wasn’t happy. I was overwhelmed. Scared that my blood pressure would spike during labor. Afraid I’d be tethered to a bed. Afraid of letting down my clients and friends. Afraid of side effects. Of the pain of pitocin. I wanted to be excited. It was there that I realized I had made my birth an idol. I was so obsessed with having a 100 percent natural birth that I wasn’t letting myself get excited about the baby! I knew I had to change that, and quickly. I prayed. I drew. I painted. I worked through letting to of my obsession with natural birth.

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I showed up at the Birthing Inn at around 8 o’clock on the 24th. They settled me in, read my birth plan, and the midwife, Courtney came in. We chatted about how I wanted to proceed. At that point I was around two centimeters dilated. I knew that I didn’t want Cervadil, a hormonal cervical dilator. We talked about my options. I decided, for me, a Cook’s catheter (a catheter that is filled with water, with two balls on each side. One ball goes in the cervix then is filled, the other sits inside the vagina.Β Β  This physically dilated the cervix without chance of hyper stimulation) was the first step. Courtney suggested I also have a low dose of pitocin. At first this was not what I wanted. I had wanted to avoid Pitocin at all costs. However, the more I thought about it, the more I was scared that without it I may be in labor much longer, giving my body more of a chance of developing dangerously high blood pressure, which could then lead to even more interventions. We decided very low Pitocin would be the best bet. We started everything around 9 am

At first all I felt was awkward. Having fluid filled balls in your vagina isn’t exactly the most amazing feeling. There was a lot of pressure. It was hard to walk. I found a nice spot on the birth ball, though. I rolled my hips and kept entertained by constantly updating my Facebook status. Yep, I totally live Facebooked my early labor.

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Contractions started and I started to breathe through them. Any woman who has experienced labor can tell you there’s a point where you breathe through, but it’s a choice. Then later, you hit a point where you no longer have a choice. You simply have to breathe through them to get through. I was definitely in the choosing to breath phase.

After about 3 hours Courtney said she was happy with my contractions and held the Pitocin at the level it was at. I continued to roll on my ball. I was so glad that my blood pressure was behaving. I was starting to have hope that maybe, just maybe I could stay out of the bed, not need any medications to lower my BP and have a semi gentle birth.

Around 1pm any time I stood up I used belly dancing techniques. Opening up my hips, doing circles and figure eights. This was a huge help to me.

At 2 pm, the Cook’s catheter fell out. So much relief! There was still a lot of pressure, but it helped. I knew I’d need to get checked to decide on the next course of action. Courtney said I was 3-4 cm. Honestly I’m not a huge fan of breaking water this early, however this is where trusting the provider comes in. I talked through my fears, and Courtney walked me through. When she looked in my eyes and said it was up to me, I felt it. I knew there would be no judgement. No sighs or complaints if I had decided to forgo breaking my water. So I heard her out. And again, went back to my previous births. In each one, as soon as my water was broke within an hour or so I had a baby. I knew that the birth I wanted was within reach so I consented to the AROM.

You know how I said every mom hits a point where she has no choice but to breath, stop what she’s doing, pay attention to the contractions? Yea well, that happened fast. Within minutes I went from smiling and facebooking to wanting to sign a release for an epidural. I looked at Jeremy and told him I couldn’t do it. That if labor was going to be like this for long I couldn’t do it. I got weak. Felt like jello. Thought I was going to throw up. Courtney got behind me on the ball and rubbed my back. Jeremy rubbed my thighs. I quickly hit a point where I knew if something didn’t change I would need some sort of relief.

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Although I was nervous it was too soon, I asked to get in the tub. Courtney thought that was a great idea and started filling it. I kept silently talking to the baby. Begging him to just come out.

A few minutes later, in the quiet between the contractions (at this point I was having two to three contractions back to back then a decent down time) I walked to the bathroom. It was about 3 pm. I started taking my clothes off through the web of iv’s. I knew the back to back contractions were coming, and that I needed a break so I sat down on the toilet, before I got in the tub.

During my last birth, that was the last place I wanted to be. It made everything worse. But this time? I could brace myself on the wall bars and ride through the contractions. The nurse and midwife must have sensed I was able to cope, and left Jeremy and me to be alone for a little bit.

In my mind I kept talking to Jeremy about what I was feeling. I was telling him that I thought he was getting close. That I was feeling pushy, but still figured I had time.Β  However, in reality I said nothing until my body was pushing! Everything I thought I was articulating out loud was all just self talk. All of a sudden though, my body started pushing and I was finally able to articulate that it was time. Within seconds, he yelled for the midwife. By the time she got in (which was literally seconds) I had delivered his head into mine and Jeremy’s hands! Courtney then helped me to stand to deliver his body and somersaulted him (his cord was wrapped) onto my chest where we removed the cord that was wrapped loosely around his neck. Quickly after I delivered the placenta, still in the bathroom. I was able to gaze at him, in shock of what had happened.

I had done it! I birthed my baby, I had caught my baby! I had brought life into this world. I never would have imagined I would have birthed on the toilet, and yes, I totally get how hilarious that is.

I had always had this dream of an unassisted hospital birth, where I was able to labor and birth on my own time, but in the hospital setting to calm my anxiety. However, I had went into this birth with that being the furthest thing from my mind. This wasn’t a choice I made, to catch him, but it’s amazing that this birth that I decided I needed to just let go of and let happen ended up being so fulfilling.

Dixon Murphy Erickson Morris was born lovingly fast into the hands of his mama and daddy at 3:22pm.

I couldn’t have done it without my husband by my side. He was such a huge support through the pregnancy as well as the birth. His constant encouragement is amazing.

I also want to thank Courtney at Loudoun Community Midwives. I know she believed in me throughout everything. Her trust in my body made the difference.

 

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A recommendation and an update

Hey everyone,

It’s been a crazy few weeks! Wrapping up school, getting “more pregnant” ;), and three kids tend to keep me pretty busy. But I did have the pleasure today of meeting up with a mama to work on her birth plan! She took advantage of my “mini mama” service. It was a lot of fun and I always enjoy helping mamas prepare themselves for the birth they desire. So without any further ado, I’ll share this glowing review πŸ˜‰

I am currently 38 weeks pregnant with my second child. My first is 6 years old so it’s been awhile! πŸ™‚ I figured since I’ve gone through this experience before I knew what I was doing, but as I did some research, I realized that much has changed since I was last pregnant and there were so many options that aren’t readily offered that *are* available to me as a birthing mom. Yesterday I decided in a frenzy that I needed a birth plan because I had more questions than I thought I would. Echo showed up and showed up BIG! Within 24 hours, she dug into some research for me, had an outline prepared to walk me through a birth plan and met with me for a few hours to work out what my goals are for my birthing day (in 6 short days- planned c-section). You have a gift Echo and I am grateful for you! You are simply amazing!

– Joy B.

A doulamamaecho review

I was sent this beautiful review from one of the mamas. It really touched my heart <3

 

We decided to have a doula for this birth for a number of reasons. Although it was my third child, I wanted to have someone to support me if I went into labor before we were able to secure childcare for my other children. We had an initial meeting with Echo and decided that we were a match. In a subsequent meeting, we discussed birth choices. Echo provided me with many choices that I was unaware of such as delayed cord cutting. When I wasn’t sure what my decision would be at that moment, Echo took the time to send me some articles so that I could make an informed decision about it. During this meeting, she also took the time to discuss what measures would be most helpful for me during labor. After the meeting, she wrote up a birth plan and then sent it to me to look over. When I was finally in labor, she brought it to the hospital for the staff to have. Echo was very supportive during my early labor, which seemed to last a long time. I had a few false alarms and she was always patient and took the time to answer my questions and remind me what true and false labor were (despite this being my third, I needed some reminders). We called Echo on our way to the hospital and she arrived very shortly after. She jumped right in to see what she could do. While I was in labor, she offered massage, position changes, music, and other measures to help me. When the hospital staff suggested an intervention, she made sure that I was aware of all of my options. Overall, I had a very good birth experiences and I was glad that Echo could be a part of it. I had a number of fears going in (a doctor that I was nervous about, possibility of a huge baby, nurse that wasn’t too warm and fuzzy), and Echo helped me throughout the experience. Had Echo not been at my birth, I do not think it would have been as positive of an experience. I would highly recommend Echo as a doula and wish that I had had her at my other births. After Echo left, the nursing staff commented on how involved she was and how impressed they were with her skills.

 

– Brooke R.

Exciting news for Mama Echo

Welp, if you follow my facebook page, you’ll already know… we are expecting our fourth baby! We have three little boys from the ages of 8 to 17 months… and we are welcoming another in November.

 

This pregnancy came as a bit of a suprise.. not that I don’t know what causes pregnancy πŸ˜‰ but we weren’t planning on it. In fact, I had been planning on getting pregnant in around August after my doula training is complete. But God had different plans.

With everything that has gone on in the past few months, this pregnancy is an interesting one. I’m depressed, and I recognize that. So I have to push myself to enjoy the little moments and the joy that this pregnancy will bring me. I know that I don’t want to regret this pregnancy. Life isn’t worth living if you are going to regret and be miserable, so I’m trying to choose to be happy and choose to live in the moments of here and now. Be more mindful of this pregnancy.

 

So what does this mean for DME? I’ll be continuing to support my mamas that have already signed contracts with me. After that, in August I will go on maternity leave until January 1. So I will continue to have doula dates for any mama who needs a doula with a due date after January 1st. If there is an emergency, you can’t find a doula and desperately want one, I am still willing to attend births until August, but only under extreme circumstances. Please contact me with any questions πŸ™‚

Birth mama numero four

Beautiful warrior mama went into labor on Thursday morning, made it through until Friday night! She gave birth to a beautiful little girl! Surrounded by love the entire time, it was a long journey for mama 4!

 

Doula note,

this was my first birth at Jefferson Memorial in Charles Town, WV. I have to say, I really wish EVERY hospital could be as great as JM. They were respectful, loving, caring, and had some really great protocol in place, like allowing mama to EAT during labor! They even allow water birth if you are lucky enough to get in the big room. Check the hsopital out! Not only are they cutting edge, the doctors and staff are amazing.

A note from a mama’s mama

This touched my heart so much. Being my first birth, being a huge step in my life, just wow. So touching. Thank you, Faye, for letting me share this.

 

My name is Faye and My daughther’s name is Rachel. Echo was my daughters doula last Monday and it was a wonderful experience. I must admit that I wasn’t sure if I wanted someone else helping out my daughter since I was there to be her coach. It’s been 7 yrs since seeing Alyssa being born and things were different this time . Maybe it’s because I’m going through Menopause but I didn’t have the stamina that I knew Rachel needed me to have .Echo helped me to help Rachel by showing and telling her things she could do to make labor more bearable. As the labor progressed I soon found myself being able to depend on Echo and didn’t have to feel like I was letting my daughter down. The encouragement she gave Rachel showed me that you don’t have to be a relative to someone to helpful, and her knowledge made me feel that it was ok for her to be there. She never left my daughters side and I will always cherish this experience forever. I’m very grateful for Echo she had only met my daughter once but it was as if she knew exactly what to do and how to calm Rachel, and me sometimes also.:) And made this whole experience better than I could have done on my own. Thank you Echo from the bottom of my heart !! Faye

Baby story

I just wanted to share a little bit (with permission) about my first birth. I was nervous, of course! But once there, it was just so seamless. This was a wonderful first birth to attend. Mama was being induced due to low fluid, however we were determined to make it a more natural induction. Mama made her own decisions, asked for time to discuss and research, and moved through labor like a seasoned professional πŸ˜‰ She labored much of the time out of the bed, moving her baby downward and out. She was determined to go pain medication free, and after hours of labor made it! She was truly an inspiration and it was such a blessing to be there with her!

 

Thank you Rachel for allowing me to be a part of such a beautiful and special time in you and Keith’s lives!

Rachel Staub birth photo

Baby number one!

I’m so excited to write this! I had my first since officially starting my training! I’m feeling super blessed that I was able to be a part of it. I’m so glad I had that “aha! this is what you are supposed to be doing” feeling… It’s unlike anything else. Seeing a baby being born, also like nothing else. I think that seeing a baby born is about the closest we get in this lifetime to seeing God… it’s just this amazing, breath taking, magical moment.

birth community in frederick county, md

Wow! I can’t believe I forgot. I was interviewed for Want2Dish about some super exciting things going on in the birthing community in this area, specifically Sacred Roots Birth Community. Β It was super fun to be interviewed… and anything to spread the word about birth choices πŸ™‚

 

Check it out!

Want2Dish!