First Home Birth

Wednesday night I attended my first home birth as a doula, and something strange happened.  Strange for me at least.

Here it is:  I didn’t cry.

I generally cry at births, and sometimes even cry just talking about birth.  I find it a very moving and powerful experience, even though I am not the one giving birth.

But at this home birth, which was only my fourth birth overall, so it’s not as if this is “old hat” or something, instead of my brain going “OMG- THIS IS AMAZING!!  I AM GOING TO BURST WITH THE WONDER OF IT ALL!!!!” my brain went , “OMG- THIS IS AMAZING” and then immediately followed up with, “Oh yeah…duh…this is how it’s supposed to be…and how it’s been for hundreds of years.  Cool.”

Here’s the set up:

My client was having baby number two and although she had a great birth in the hospital for baby number one, she didn’t like the postpartum care.  All the machines and florescent lights, and the people coming in every two hours to wake you up and ask, “how are you doing?” when you were doing perfectly fine until they woke you up…it just wasn’t for her.  So she hired a midwife, and then hired me, and off she went!  She called me Wednesday night around 7pm and asked me to come over.  Her labor had started Saturday, but she had her bloody show earlier in the day and things had progressed.  So I made my way over and on a crisp night with a beautiful moon, we ventured out to take a walk up and down the street to kick it into high gear.  And boy did that work!  We started our walk at 8:15 and baby was out by 11pm!

About 10 minutes after we returned from our walk, mama’s water broke and things flew from there.  She went into herself, found her primal side, and on all fours in her bedroom, in the presence of her husband, midwife, midwives assistant, and her doula (aka: me), she pushed her perfect 8lb 8 oz daughter out.

And then she climbed into bed with her baby.

And baby latched on.

And mama ate a cheese stick.

(Other things happened in between and while all this was going on, but it was really that simple).

And today, in glow of the days after, it is the cheese stick eating, and the being in her own bed with her beautiful baby laying between her and her supportive husband, that is making my brain burst with the wonder of it all.

Home birth is not for everyone, and I don’t advocate it as something all women should do.  But if you are at all curious, or feel at all inclined to birth your baby at home, or a non-hospital setting, I implore you to do some research.  Visit a birth center and definitely interview some midwives.  If you live in the LA area, Davi Khalsa does a great talk called “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Home Birth” at Bini Birth.

**This post was shared with the permission of the couple**


November 13, 2011. Birth, Doula Stuff, LA. Leave a comment.

List #21

Things I Love About Fall

In Los Angeles

  • Rain.  We don’t get much, so it’s precious when it does happen.
  • The way people bundle up when it’s only 50 degrees out.  As if they even KNOW what cold is…HA!
  • Drinking warm drinks.  I almost never want to drink warm drinks.  Something about it does not agree with my (Pitta) body, so I generally opt for my froo-froo drinks over ice and then I actually drink them!  It’s also difficult to drink a hot drink in very cold climates (like Chicago) because it’s too cold to even take your hand out of the glove to hold the cup!  Here in LA, it’s not too cold, and drinking warm drinks actually feels good.
  • Wearing puffy vests.  I had always wanted a puffy vest, but in Chicago, it seemed ridiculous to wear one!  If I needed to be warm, I needed ALL of me to be warm- even my arms.  But here in LA, it usually perfect vest weather, so I bought one and love it!  It’s white, so I look like a marshmallow, but I don’t care.
  • Thanksgiving at Annie’s.  Annie hosts Orphan Thanksgiving and has about 20 people over to celebrate.  We are all out of towners and come together to create family.  It’s nice.  We all bring a dish and play ladder ball, and then a few rounds of Mafia in which there is too much yelling, but it’s fun all the same.  We all take turns talking or skyping with our families back home and then go around the table to say what we are grateful for.  Here are two recipes I like a lot:  Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce
  • Knowing that Christmas is coming and I’ll get to see my real family soon!  Being back in my beloved home state, seeing snow and hugging my family is so fantastic.  The fall weather lets my body know that those hugs are coming soon…soon.

In Chicago

  • The Smell!  There is just something so amazing about the way the air smells in the fall in Chicago.  Sometimes it’s leaves burning and I almost hyperventilate trying to take it all in because I love it so much.  Sometimes it’s just crisp air.  Whatever it is, it makes me feel so good inside.
  • The feeling of ducking into a warm bar when you’ve been in the chilly air. Followed by a cider or a beer- can’t beat it!
  • Watching holiday decorations go up on Michigan Ave.  Nuff said.
  • Crunching on leaves. The trees on Paulina Ave would turn amazing colors.  One tree I loved looked like it was set on fire- the bottom would be orange and it the top was red.
  • Cooking with squash. There is an abundance of squash in the Midwest this time of year, and I used to be annoyed that it was all we could get, but being in LA, it’s hard to find good squash!  They are so tiny here…
  • The fall progressive dinner.  When I first moved to the city, I got a job at a study abroad organization called IES.  I made some amazing friends there and after a time, many of us ended up living within a mile of one another (except Joe who is a Northist).  I came up with the idea of doing a Progressive Dinner whereby we each picked a course and we’d move from apartment to apartment eating and drinking.  Ryan would carry a boom box (aka: bucket) and we usually ended up at Dan and Daniella’s for dessert by the fire pit.  We eventually had so many people on the route that every other stop was a “drink” stop.  The fall progressive was my favorite because it was fun to bundle up, tromp through streets with travel cups filled with Peppermint Paddies, and arrive at the next house where we would peel off our jackets, scarves and hats to enjoy another amazing, warm dish.  I treasure those times and feel so grateful to those buddies.

November 12, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks, family, Food, LA, Recipes. 1 comment.

List #20

Things That Make Me Happy

  • Trying new recipes.  I am addicted to the PPK blog and will be making this and this for Monday.  May also try this (although not from PPK).
  • Cider weather.  Finally got cool weather here in SoCal and I LOVE it!
  • The new Chanel nail polish commercial I saw yesterday.  Makes me want to buy SO much nail polish!  And go dancing.
  • Skyping with friends and making them think their speakers don’t work by moving my mouth like I am talking when really I am not (tee hee)
  • Getting pictures of my friend’s cute kids.
  • 10pm tea time (a new ritual in my house).
  • Making bread.
  • Staying in bed longer than I should.
  • Making Buck laugh.
  • Seeing Family. My in laws were in town this week and it was so great to see them!  We went to see Iris, the new Cirque du Soleil show here in LA, and it was so beautiful!

Jan and Dan and Kate on Santa Monica Pier

November 5, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. 1 comment.

List #19

Contrary to what I am portraying, I really like blogging!  But I’ve been insane lately.  Insanely busy trying to keep up with 3 jobs (2 of which I really like!), support people I love, and trying to remember to breathe in and out.  I am not complaining- at all.  I know I’ve got it good.  I just wanted you to know that it is not for lack of wanting to blog…just lack of energy/time/ideas/brains.

But having these weekly lists gives me a great sense of security because I know that once per week I will actually have something to blog about that doesn’t require more of me than I can give.

So, here we go:

List #19: “ME in a list…the good, the bad, the weird, the quirky”

  • I am a nail biter, and I wish I wasn’t, but I don’t do enough to kick the habit.
  • I love the combination of pineapple juice and gingerale.
  • I recently discovered that by putting socks on when I go to bed, I sleep SO much better!
  • I love reading cookbooks, but I don’t love watching cooking shows.
  • I can hold my breath underwater for a really long time.
  • I am a messy person.
  • I don’t collect anything, and I worry that it means something about me..
  • I really love getting my hair cut!
  • I really like building things.  Working with Habitat for Humanity in high school and in college taught me so much (mostly that hammering things is really fun and you should not wear sandals to a work site).
  • I believe compassion is a muscle and I work on building it as often as possible.
  • When I was little, I wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist for swimming.
  • I love the smell of coriander and wish there was a perfume with it’s scent.
  • I am grossed out by mold and by bathrooms.  When there is mold in a bathroom, forget it- I’m traumatized.
  • I love surprises!
  • In my life I have hit the following things with my car: a garbage can, 2 lamp posts, 1 column.  I have also been hit by other cars, and one time, I was riding my bike down the street and, distracted by the way my pool towel made my shadow look like I was wearing an Indian headdress, hit the back of my mom’s car, causing me to tumble up and over it a la Stacy in the movie Wayne’s World (“Hiiii Wayne…Hiiii Garth…” CRASH!)
  • I do not have a green thumb.
  • I am afraid of and inspired by the ocean.
  • I (finally) like living in California.
  • I need to go to bed…now.

October 14, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. Leave a comment.

List #18

Ten Things I Love About Sundays

  • Farmer’s Markets.  The Hollywood Farmer’s Market is nearby and it’s a decent size.  I like to go toward the end of the day when they are giving things away for cheaper.
  • The idea of sleeping in.  I usually don’t get to/let myself, but just knowing that it might be an option is pretty nice.
  • Coffee.  Is it just me, or does it taste better on Sundays?
  • Having Buck home.  That hasn’t happened much lately because he is in rehearsal for Peace in Our Time (opens soon!)
  • Sunday Skype.  We don’t do it anymore, but Amy and I used to Skype on Sundays.  We should pick that back up…
  • Menu Planning.  Ideally this is done prior to Sunday, but I never remember.

Oh man, I have to tell you- coming up with 10 things is taking FOR-EVER.  And this might be the most boring list I have ever made!  Sundays are not much different from any other day of my week.  I usually have to have an open house to try to rent apartments that are vacant, and that requires showering and not relaxing.  There are very few things that are consistent about Sundays for me.

  • The idea that I can “start fresh” with a new week.  I like telling myself this on Sunday nights.
  • Listening to This American Life.
  • Marathons.  Most races are held on Sundays, but I always loved The Bank of America Chicago Marathon (although in MY day it was The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, but whatever).  This Sunday over 30,000 people will be running 26.2 miles through the beautiful city of Chicago (I hear the leaves are turning and I can only imagine how nice the scent of fall is).  The majority of those runners will be first time marathoners and I am excited for them!  It’s an empowering race and I loved both of my Chicago experiences.

Jess Vig and I early in the race- 2006. It was 40 degrees and snowing!

Amy and I after I finished the race. It's so awesome to have supporters along the route!

  • Donut Day.  When I was little, Sunday was considered “Donut Day” in my house.  My dad would go fuel up the cars for the week and on his way home he would get a dozen donuts from Dunkin Donuts.  We all had our favorites:  Mom was Boston Creme; Amy was chocolate long john; Dad was jelly (actually, he didn’t discriminate); I went for the double chocolate and a big glass of milk for dunkin.  We don’t have donut day in our house, but Buck often petitions to get it back.  Find me a vegan donut shop, honey, and you’re on!

October 6, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. 1 comment.

List #17

Ways to Stay Creative and Inspired

  • Take walks.  I prefer to walk with people, but sometimes a solitary walk with some good tunes can really rev the engines.
  • See a baby born.  I know I get to do this as part of my job (!), but if you ever get the opportunity to witness this miracle, DO IT.  Don’t be freaked out by notions of fluids and gore.  It’s insanely awesome and you shouldn’t miss out.
  • See some live music.  It is my goal to see Adele and Florence + the Machine (together?  Now that would be awesome!) in a SMALL venue where I can see their groove.  Seeing Tori Amos rock out is pretty inspiring.  As is Prince.  That man can MOVE ya’ll.
  • Sew or knit a new pattern.  
  • Bake some bread.  I’ve been on a major bread baking kick lately, and it makes me feel really good to do this simple task.
  • See the ocean.  This makes me feel inspired every time!

October 6, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. 1 comment.

List #16

I am a bit behind, so this one is going to be a quickie on the fly!  Normally I like to look at the topic, give myself a few days to come up with a thoughtful list, and then write the blog.  Because I am a week behind, I am going to try something new and just look at the list now and blog it NOW!  Crazy- I know, but here we go…

My Life To Do List

(To Be Completed Within the Near Future)

(Kellie describes this as a To Do List that is for her overall life and not to be done TODAY, just sometime soon.  Love it!)

  • Set up my website.
  • Find a way to organize my work.  I just took over managing another small building and I am working with BINI in a bigger way, as well as running my own doula business, so my brain is hurting a little.  I know if I can just get some cute notebooks I will feel a LOT better!
  • Finish the 100 pushups program.  We are ALMOST there!  Week 5 has been restarted twice and is about get get another restart.  Oy!
  • Send out birthday cards to the 20 people I missed this summer.  Where the heck did the summer go?  And why were so many of you born in those months???
  • Make my balcony look nice. Here is what it looks like now:

No fancy formatting could make it look better...I can't really believe I am showing this to you- it's SO bad! My poor direct sunlight.

  • Find a gift for my Grandmother’s 80th Birthday.  Any and all gift ideas welcome!  I really want to make her feel special and I can’t get home for the occasion, so a good gift needs to be sent.
  • Make veggie stock.  My favorite recipe is here.  Warning: once you make this, you will NEVER want to buy store bought stock again.  Proceed with caution.

Okay, that feels like a good list!  I bet I could get this all done in October….

September 25, 2011. 52 lists, 52 weeks. Leave a comment.

Birthing a New Mother

Found this and thought it was interesting:

Birthing A New Mother Home Study Program

I haven’t watched all the videos yet, but I have added it to my list (oh the growing list!) and hoping to combo it with some Friday Night Knitting tonight on my couch.

Have a great weekend!

September 23, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Still here…

Hi.  I’m still here, just got SUPER busy all of a sudden and I need to get organized before I can write any kind of thoughtful post about anything.

I have really missed writing, so in an effort to touch back, I thought I’d share the list of things I’ve been crazy with:

  • Had my 2nd birth last week!
  • Organizing an event with BINI Birth (Phyllis Klaus is coming to town!)
  • Working with BINI on a larger scale
  • Planning for next two births
  • Interviewing for MORE births (yay!)
  • Got rid of one apartment
  • Picked up another (booo)
  • Maintaining sanity by cooking, walking, seeing friends
  • NOT freaking out that Buck is going to be out of work in a few weeks (the restaurant he works at is closing)
  • Workshops
  • Reading (of course)
  • Assisting Alisha Tambourri in her Hypnobirthing class

Here is what is on my list that is bound to just make me crazier (but in a good way- always good):

  • Knitting (need to find a free pattern to make a hat like this for Zac)
  • Gifts for clients
  • Rent units at new building
  • Make Rebozo cheat sheet
  • Make bread
  • Make veggie stock
  • Do some canning before the season is gone (unless it already is…)
  • Read this book
  • Make Doula By Heart logo (anyone know anyone who does this kind of thing?)
  • Get a consistent yoga practice going FOR PEETS SAKE!!!!

Oh my…there is more, but if I keep going, I may have an anxiety attack!

Life is busy, which is so good.  I think back to a year ago and feel so blessed that I am in this place.  I am not good at journaling, but I do like to go back to check on my “progress, “and I was a sad lady for a while there!  I actually pinch myself everyday because I know how lucky I am to be on this course.

September 22, 2011. Random. 3 comments.

Watch a Live Birth

UPDATE:  Nancy had her baby boy last night and it was so beautiful!  She was really focused and I felt so grateful that she shared this moment in her life.  I found it fascinating to watch her process and really learned a lot.  Thank you Nancy!


So, there are TONS of birth videos online for you to watch- TONS!  Many are scary, some are dramatic, ALL of them are beautiful in their own way.  One thing I run up against in my work as a Doula is the fear women have about giving birth, and it’s mostly because movies and television have taught us that birth goes like this:

–  Mom is standing in the kitchen making dinner, 9 months pregnant.

–  All of a sudden, there is splash of water hitting the floor as her water breaks.

–  There is a lot of running around as mom and dad get into the car and rush to the hospital.

– By the time they arrive at the hospital, mom is screaming, she can’t walk, she is sweating, and screaming obscenities at her partner.

–  In a few more minutes, she is red faced, on her back in the hospital bed, and pushing out her baby.

–  Baby is delivered to her with eyes wide open, totally clean and pink.

Folks, this is not how it happens…EVER.  In fact, the number of women whose labors begin with her water breaking is small…I wanna say, like, 10%, but I am not totally sure that is correct, so don’t quote me.

Anyway, if you’d like to see a real home birth, check out this link.  Dr. Nancy Salgueiro is allowing us to sign up to see the homebirth of her third child- how cool is that?!

Here is what she says on her site:

Here’s what you will gain by watching my home birth live:

  • Be invited into a home birth
  • See how a woman behaves in labor
  • Create a new visual blueprint for what birth can be like
  • Watch how birth unfolds, you can never know what to expect
  • See a great support team in action
  • Witness how children experience birth (my 2 and 5 year old will be there)
  • Debunk the giant myth about birth being an emergency and why it’s untrue

So, go to this link, sign up, and you will be notified when her birth begins.  You will receive a link to the live feed and can see what real birth looks like!

I bet you’ll be surprised.

September 15, 2011. Tags: , . Birth, Doula Stuff. 3 comments.

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