Postpartum recovery in the hospital setting.
A recent post on Facebook has been getting a lot of attention due to its real look at postpartum recovery in a hospital setting (You can find it here). I find its timing rather uncanny because this was the exact thing some clients of mine were talking about at the follow up visit I did with them a week after their daughter's birth. They were shocked at the amount of people coming into their room, unannounced, for various reasons; most they had never met before nor would ever see again. The differing advice from each new shift nurse. The disregard for whether they were sleeping or not. It is a bit much.
The hours and days after birth, it is vital that mom and baby remain together for bonding and recovery. Rest is important for physical and mental well being. How is one supposed to heal when they are having two new people every hour coming into their room to ask questions when they are already physically and mentally exhausted?
Reading and hearing all of this made me think about my hospital experience with my daughter. Being woken up for things that could have waited until I was naturally awake and then being questioned on decisions that we had already discussed. The experience left us seeking out different options when we had our second baby.
So it stands to question how can things change so that the family can receive the rest and support that they need in the hospital setting? Policy and procedure seems to have gotten in the way of seeing birthing families as humans having a very raw human experience. That checking off the box has taken precedence over personal connection.
I understand that many facilities are understaffed, that the nurses are the low men on the food chain and procedure is in place in hopes of keeping everyone safe. It seems like a win-lose situation, especially for those at the mercy of the system.
I encourage families who have had experiences like these to reach out to their hospital administration and share their concerns and ideas of how to help make birth and postpartum at their facilities more personable. If we the consumer do not speak up, things will not change.
Organic hairstylist in Bend, Oregon talks pregnancy and hair care
Hair has been said to be a woman's crown. For many, the upkeep is a weekly thing. For some (like me) it happens when your mom says she'll pay for you to make an appointment with your stylist. This is why I have stopped coloring my hair because I will have three inches of grow out before my dear mom says something to me.
So what do you do with your hair when pregnant? I asked local organic hair stylist Heather Greene about hair care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose the organic hair care
Firstly, its a pleasure to be interviewed for this blog topic, so thank you! My name is Heather Greene and I'm an organic and eco-friendly hairstylist here in Bend Oregon. I began working in the industry about 11 years ago, the first 7 being at an Aveda salon. I dug everything about the Aveda culture from its mission (using naturally derived ingredients and sourcing them responsibly), to the education, to the smell of the products, but after 7 years I wanted to see what else the industry had to offer. Although I got to experience using more pigment packed color and luxury product lines, my hands started having reactions to the shampoos and styling products I was using (rashes, flaky skin, itchy hives). In addition to the skin sensitivities, I started craving more natural aromas again. The ultra perfumey, fruity, highly synthetic fragranced products just weren't doing it for me any more. After making the decision to move from Portland to Bend Oregon, I knew this would be the perfect time to transition to using a more natural, organic, and eco-friendly hair color & product line.
Can you tell if a client is pregnant by her hair?
As a hairstylist, there's no way to tell if a guest is pregnant via their hair alone, however, there's usually signs that a woman has had a little one within the last year. Due to changes in hormones, it's common for women to experience a little bit of hair loss around their front hairline. To be honest most of my clients wont notice the hair loss around their face, however they DO notice the little baby hairs that start to grow back in after baby is born, or when they are finished breast feeding. During this time most mommas will also experience an unusual amount of shedding. It can be a little overwhelming for some, but is incredibly common. While a woman is pregnant its typical to experience a lack of regular hair shedding, which is why many talk about having such thick and luxurious hair during pregnancy (if only our hair could stay like that all the time!).
Is coloring your hair while pregnant safe?
What options are there?
I love this question because I feel there's no 'one size fits all' answer. Much of it will depend on your own intuition, and what you individually consider to be a possible toxin or sensitivity to you and baby. Over the last decade I've had the pleasure of serving many of my clients during their pregnancies, and each woman (as well as their doctor / midwife) have had varying opinions about choosing to color their hair while pregnant. To be completely honest, I feel many professionals have no concrete knowledge about the possible side effects of coloring hair while pregnant, and often leave it up to the mother to decide whats best. Here are the following options I talk about with my soon to be mommas: 1) Discontinue coloring your hair during your first trimester, 2) Keep all hair color off the scalp to avoid it sitting (and therefore possibly absorbing) on your skin. This is achieved by using foils and doing either highlights, lowlights, or both, 3) Choosing to use an ammonia free color line, 4) Discontinue coloring your hair during the entire pregnancy, or lastly 5) Continue to color exactly as you have been. Majority of my clients end up choosing option 2, a nice middle of the road approach. As a hairstylist, I truly feel any of these options are safe options, and encourage mommas to do what feels right for them. The one thing I WOULD suggest pregnant women steer clear from are straightening treatments, due to the fumes they produce.
What about shampoos and conditioners?
It's relatively easy to find a shampoo and conditioner nowadays that boast being "natural", "clean", or "organic". but whats' sucky is that just because the label claims to be these things, it doesn't mean they actually are. Educating yourself on common beauty toxins and then reading labels is the ultimate way to go. I've also had many clients purchase clean shampoos and conditioners from Whole Foods or other natural grocery stores, but what they find is that they don't tend to work all that well. Although professional beauty lines are starting to get better with removing common beauty toxins, it's difficult to achieve the same professional styling results. It was incredibly difficult as a stylist to find an entire hair care line that was clean, AND did what I needed it too... but I found it: Innersense Organic Beauty. This line is the cleanest of clean (read more about them on the Think Dirty app!), is simplistic in size, and still super affordable. Another clean line I enjoy using is Oway. Not only do they rid their products from common toxins, but all of their products are packaged in glass and aluminum containers, rather than plastic (cool, right?).
Any tips for birth day hair?
Treat yo' self! Make an appointment for a wash & style (or "blowout") appointment with your hairdresser right before you anticipate going into labor. My second tip is to keep some dry shampoo handy. This will be an essential for those first couple days (or week) after baby arrives! My current favorite is https://innersensebeauty.com/product/refresh-dry-shampoo/ . This foam to powder dry shampoo is just the right consistency to help your scalp feel refreshed, without leaving a white powdery residue (my brunettes absolutely love this!).
Postpartum hair loss is a bummer, any advice?
I wish I had some magical tips or tricks, but unfortunately all I've got is "don't worry sister! Your hair is doing what it's supposed to ". Your hair density is leveling back out and those little baby hairs along your hairline will grow back... I promise. One thing some clients have found helpful is to continue taking their daily vitamins, especially ones that pertain to hair, skin, and nails.
So there you have it from one of Central Oregon's one and only organic and eco-friendly hairstylists. Feeling beautiful inside and out is important. How you want to continue your hair care routine really comes down to what you feel is best for you and your baby. Reading labels and doing a little research can help you make those decisions.
Thank you again to Heather Greene for her time and willingness to conspire with this blog.
If you would like to get in touch with Heather you can find her at www.hgreenehair.com or on instagram @hgreenehair
What to expect when having a baby at St. Charles Bend Oregon
So you're getting ready for the birth of your baby. As you begin to refine your preferences and decide what's important to you, you may be wondering what is the routine at St. Charles Medical Center Bend.
Upon admission you can expect to be presented with these procedures but you have the right to decline or ask for more information as to why they are being suggested. It's not being high maintenance, it's being an informed and active participant in your care. (Informed consent is my jam)
It is recommended that laboring women receive a saline lock for IV fluids or narcotics. This is typically in your non dominant hand or wrist. IV fluids are usually started but there is compelling evidence to hold off on fluids if you are drinking on your own. If your hopes are for an epidural, IV fluids are needed to increase your blood pressure as it tends to drop when the medication is administered. If you are GBS positive, it is recommended that you receive IV antibiotics every 4 hours until your baby arrives.
Vaginal exams upon admission and every four hours until baby is born. For some these exams are beneficial, but for others it can be defeating, especially if you feel you were farther along than the nurse says you are. Vaginal exams only can tell you the information for that point in time. They do not tell us when baby will be born, can vary from person to person performing them and can be inaccurate.
You will receive a blood draw so the hospital can test your blood for any issues that could complicate your labor.
The hospital provides you with a gown but you are not required to wear it; Some do and some don't. It is really up to you and what feels good. I suggest comfy pants or a skirt and a tank top for easy skin to skin after baby is born.
You can eat and drink during your labor and it's important to do so! The hospital will provide you with large water cups and that awesome "snowball" ice. I recommend buying electrolyte packets to add to your water to help keep hydration up and bringing snacks. Room service is available but does shut down late in the evening. If you are being induced, depending on the method, or if you receive an epidural, you may be put on a clear liquid diet because the possibility of cesarean goes up.
You can labor in the tubs but water birth is not supported at the hospital. If this is a desire of yours, I encourage you to look into birthing with any of the wonderful midwives in the Central Oregon area.
Moving around and birthing in positions that feel good to you are encouraged. The hospital has birth balls and peanut balls for you to use. Contrary to what is seen in media, laying on your back in the semi-sitting position is not the only way to have a baby. In fact, it's probably one of the least favorable for the birthing mother. I suggest looking up alternative pushing positions so that you have some ideas for when you have your baby. But ultimately, it's what feels best to you.
During the pushing stage, pitocin is administered to do what is called "managed third stage" of the placenta. It is assumed that providing synthetic oxytocin will help aid the uterus in contracting down and lower the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. There are differing views to this practice and pitocin has been linked to risk of postpartum depression. It is worth a discussion with your care staff about how you want your third stage managed.
Yes! You can keep your placenta! Encapsulate it, bury it, donate it to search and rescue, or just let the hospital dispose of it for you.
Three medications will be suggested for baby after birth: Hepatits B, Erythromyacin, and Vitamin K. You have the right to decline all, some or none. Do your research and decide what is best for your baby.
Baby will not be weighed, measured or bathed right away (unless there is a concern and perceived need to). They will also stay with you. St. Charles does not have a nursery but practices what is called "rooming in". So unless baby needs to stay in the NICU, the room that you labor and birth in will be the room that you recover in as a family.
If all is well, you will be going home 24 hours after baby's birth, 48 hours for a cesarean. You can sign yourself out sooner, but for many, that 24 hours is needed to help recoup and rest.
I hope you find this helpful as you look at all your options for birthing at St. Charles Bend. If you have any other questions, feel free to post them in the comments or shoot me an email.
At least. It means "if nothing else".
This phrase is used a lot. It is used to try and lift spirits. To try and get someone to look on the bright side of things. To compensate for things lost.
For many women, they are so over hearing at least. "At least you know you can get pregnant", "At least you have your baby" , "At least you are both healthy" . While these statements may be true, it suppresses deeper things that are tugging under the surface.
Our society has gotten hung up on the belief that as long as the baby is healthy, that is all that matters and we should be happy about that. There are reasons to be thankful for a healthy baby but I think there is room for healthy moms and families to complete that equation.
Healthy, non traumatized, heard and supported mothers will have healthy babies. Families that are listened to, cared for and nurtured will have healthy babies.
A healthy baby will not flourish if the mom is still in shock from how her birth went. She may not be able to respond to her baby's needs to the fullest if her mental health is shaking. Partners can experience trauma from what they see in the delivery room; already feeling helpless enough but then being told their input doesn't matter. Or from just adjusting to caring for a new mom and a new baby. There is so much going on below the surface that the phrase "at least" fails to address and it is suffocating.
Our stories and experiences are important. Whether good or bad, they shape how we respond and react to things. Saying "at least..." devalues a person's feeling and emotion to what they experienced. We should instead be asking questions and making sure that they, the recipients, are all right. You don't need to ask a mom who's birth plan went awry the perfect question or say the most poetic thing to the woman who's lost another pregnancy. You just need to start the conversation and then listen. Sometimes there will be silence. But it's in those moments that healing and reflection can take place in just knowing someone recognizes there's more than just "at least".
o Continuing with my look into the birth options for Central Oregon, I am going to touch on the OBGYN's that are here for you to see throughout your pregnancy.
For many, once you find out you're pregnant, you may reach out to your friends or Facebook and ask who's the best OB in town. While there are certainly favorites, when choosing an OB for yourself and your baby it is more than a popularity contest. It's about finding those who fit your individual needs and uphold and respect your birth wishes.
Currently, the two largest independent OB offices in Bend are East Cascades Women's Group and Central Oregon OB/GYN. East Cascades has nine OB's on staff and just recently added a Certified Nurse Midwife that you can choose from and see throughout your care. There are many great doctors in this office who can serve a wide variety of needs from low to high risk. Central Oregon OB has two OB's on staff. If you are having a high risk pregnancy, this may be an office to look into.
All of these doctor's do not work for St. Charles Health Systems, rather they are independent contractors who have hospital privileges. They also work on an "on call" rotation, so the doctor you chose to see during your pregnancy may not be the who is on the day you go into labor.
The third option is St. Charles Women's Clinic. While the office and prenatal visits are in Redmond, you will birth at the Bend hospital. The women's clinic has a mix of OB's and Certified Nurse Midwives on staff. There are five CNM's and one will be on call at the hospital at all times. If you are looking for the midwifery care model but still in a hospital setting, this is an option for you.
The hospital also has hospitalist on staff. These are OB's who do not regularly see women prenatally, but are available on the labor floor if needed.
It is important to look at your individual needs when choosing your physician. Even with the knowledge that you most likely will not get your same doctor for your baby's birth, how you are treated prior to can pave the way for your birth. Interviewing physicians and asking about their birth philosophy, induction rates, cesarean rates, and how they would handle certain situations will give you a good idea if they are the right fit for you.
Take your time finding the right care provider for you and your baby. The relationship should be built on open conversation where you feel that you are heard and are receiving all the information you desire.
Mother's day is right around the corner so my mind has been thinking a lot about what a mother does for her children.
Becoming a mother is the act of allowing yourself to lose control and being okay with it.
It all starts before you even get pregnant. Not knowing when it will happen or if it even will. And if it does, will it stay?
And when it does, you no longer have the control over how your body will react. Foods you once enjoyed now repulse you. Everything hurts. Your hormones are doing funky (and amazing) things. You're exhausted even though you just woke up. You get bigger and bigger and bigger.
Then it's the waiting. Counting down the weeks waiting for baby and body to agree to be born. Ask most women who have gone over their estimated due date about their unsuccessful old wives tales when trying to induce labor. Labor is something we physiologically cannot control.
Then on the day your baby decides to arrive, the control of your body needs to be released in order for the symphony of birth to happen. We have to will our minds to let our body go in order for birth to happen. We have to let go of the doubt, fear and anticipation to just be in the moment.
When baby is born, we realize that time is no longer ours. We give of everything to help our child adapt, learn and thrive. Some schedules work, some fail. What was flowing yesterday isn't today. So we hand over the control and just roll with each day as it comes. Learning how this unique human is fitting into this world.
Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months. Soon first words are being spoken. First steps are taken. With every new first is a feeling of triumph and heartbreak. Little by little, your baby doesn't need you. Words go from "momma" to "no" to "let me do it" to "I got it". Whether it's putting on a shirt or learning to ride a bike, mothers know they have to let their child do it eventually; so we let go of control no matter how messy it may be.
Before we know it, our baby will be older and ready to live their life. And all we can do is love them and let them know we are always in their corner. Fly or fail, they always have a home to come back to and a momma that will still give everything for them.
Happy Mother's day to all women. Those who wish to be mothers, are mothers of angels, young mothers, older mothers, mothers by birth, mothers by love.
YCentral Oregon is one of the country's hottest towns to move to. With all that the 541 has to offer, Bend is a pretty big deal. Last year we saw over two thousand births in Deschutes county.
With the large influx of families moving here, many find themselves looking at their options for having a baby.
Today I will talk about midwifery care and what having a baby with them looks like. I have the benefit of having experience as both a client and a professional when it comes to midwifery care.
Let me say this: Home birth with professional midwives is safe. You can read more about that here. Yes, it can be messy because birth is messy. But your house isn't going to be messy when they midwives leave. They firstly make sure you and baby are taken care of, then they get to work cleaning everything up. They will even cook you food afterwards (Which is a win). I personally loved birthing at home. Being in my own space I was at ease. I knew where everything was and I really didn't need to do much other than let my husband know I was in labor and then do my thing. I know its not for everyone, but I encourage you to look into it!
Midwifery care is the sole focus on pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Midwives can order tests and ultrasounds like a doctor would and have good relationships with the OBGYN's in the area in case they needed to consult about something or refer a client to them. They are trained to care for low risk pregnancies and births and ready for emergent situations, if it was needed. They carry pretty much all the supplies you would find in the hospital labor rooms from IV's to disposable pads. Emergency supplies are at the ready to help them control most situations. Hospital transfers are low but do happen and they are not too stubborn to suggest when more help is needed. Most transfers are due to a long labor and the mother needs a rest or epidural.
Midwifery care is a fraction of the cost of a hospital birth and most insurances cover it to some degree. All of the ladies below offer a free initial consult to see how they might serve your family best.
If you are interested in:
High involvement in your birth
Catching your own baby
I highly recommend you look into birthing with a midwife!
There is one stand alone birth center that is ran by two licensed and certified midwives at Bend Birth Center. It is a cute, renovated mid-century farm home that overlooks the canal. In the summer, the water is running and irises are in bloom everywhere. Here you have the choice between birthing at their facility or in your own home.
If you would like to birth at home, you have three more amazing options.
Legacy Midwifery consists of two seasoned professional midwives who create a great team to help you bring your baby into the world confidently and peacefully.
Mandala Midwifery is a solo practice of a professional midwife who will help you feel empowered and safe. Allegra is happy to work with your needs and has a calm and collected presence about her.
Beautiful Births is a solo professional midwife who's name says it. Kari helps you feel heard and prepared to have the birth you hope for.
St. Charles does have Nurse Midwives on staff. This is an option for women who are wanting less involvement from a doctor but still want to birth at the hospital. The midwives take a more natural based approach to labor and birth but still aim to abide by the hospital's policy. At this time, water birth is not available at the hospital.
If you are looking into your options or are maybe dissatisfied with your current provider, call any of these midwives and I know you will be in the best of hands!
Combating infant dry skin in the Central Oregon air
The high desert is an amazing climate. One day it can be ten degrees and snowing and the next it's seventy without a cloud in the sky. Humid is not a word I would describe it here. It's great for hairstyles but it wreaks havoc on infant skin. My youngest has an issue with dry, patchy spots on his body and it's taken a bit of trial and error to figure out what it could be and how to manage it. For about two months I was on an elimination diet which helped clear up about eighty percent of the dry spots. But there are a few that are stubborn and haven't gone away completely. I have found that keeping his skin moisturized and well covered is the best trick. Maybe you have this issue too?
In the womb, babies are covered in a thick, white coating called Vernix. Vernix keeps babies warm and protected while in utero and when on the outside it protects them from bacteria and moisturizes the skin. So the first thing you can do to help your baby keep their super soft skin is to rub that vernix in and avoid bathing. Newborns really don't need baths. I know people love the idea of lathering up their sweet baby to clean them but in all honesty, they aren't that dirty. Even adults don't need to be washing with soap every day because we are stripping away the natural oils on our skin and it's very drying.
So what do you do when your baby needs washing?
If it's just a spot or two, water on a wash cloth is all that's needed. The most common areas will be behind their ears, under their neck and their hands. If they are needing a bath, or you just want to give them one, consider not using any soap to lessen the chance of washing off the natural oil on their skin. When you're ready to take them out, don't liberally dry them off but just wrap them in a towel and let the body absorb the water that is on their skin.
Find a moisturizer that is emollient and well absorbed into the skin. After your baby is no longer wet, rub them down with the moisturizer and then put on some cotton clothing. I love A Bushel & A Peck's Baby Balm. It's smooth but thick and helps fight off dry patches. Best thing, there's no yucky ingredients so I don't have to worry about putting it on my baby. If your kiddo has dry patches, you will need to apply a moisturizer a few times a day. I typically do it with each diaper change. You can also try putting a humidifier in your baby's room to help add moisture to the air.
Dry skin is no fun. If your baby's skin issues don't clear up, consult with a care provider about options for treatment.
Want to try A Bushel & A Peck's amazing Baby Balm? Use code BabyMe15 at checkout for a 15% discount!
Many new parents eventually find themselves looking for the perfect sleeper solution once their new baby is a few week old. Most babies love to be snugged up in a swaddle. And why wouldn't they? It's safe feeling and reminiscent of the comforts of the womb. Infants are equipped with what is called the Moro reflex, more commonly known as the "startle reflex". Infants will startle when they are surprised or feel unsafe. Which is a bummer when you get a coughing fit as you are rocking them and they just fall asleep.
I have found that every baby will have a different preference as to what swaddle to use. Here are a few that have worked well for me.
In the beginning the muslin blanket swaddle works like a charm. This is the basic first swaddle that you will most likely learn and use. When your baby isn't snuggling on you, this burrito is a great choice. There does come a time when your baby may start to demand their hands be free no matter how tight you wrap them up and it's back to square one.
Velcro swaddles are a great option once you get past the muslin blanket. (Above I have pictured is the Halo swaddle) They do not come loose like the blanket swaddle and are pretty good at keeping your baby's hands down by their side. These work well for the babes who don't mind their hands being down. Our daughter loved this and stayed in one from start to finish of her swaddling journey.
If your baby is comforted by having their hands by their face, you may want to look into something like the Love to Dream sleep sack. (Above I have pictured the 50/50) My middle boy always had his hands by his face and he despised the Velcro swaddle. I decided to give this swaddle a try and never looked back. The 50/50 is amazing because you can unzip the shoulders to eventually free their hands when needed. It's pretty awesome and worked well for him.
You may find yourself with a baby who doesn't fancy either of the swaddles or is needing to transition to having their arms free, the Baby Merlin's Sleep Suit is a great option. I called this the marshmallow suit. It helps them learn to sleep with their arms free while dampening the startle reflex. My youngest slept in this until he started rolling and getting himself all the way over. At that point it was game over and cold turkey.
Most babies will lose the Moro reflex in a couple of months and the need to swaddle won't be as necessary. But once your baby starts rolling you will need to put them in a sleeper that allows for at least one arm to be free so they can lift themselves if needed.
Not all swaddles are created equal and each baby will prefer a different kind. If you are on the hunt for the perfect sleep solution, try a few options for a couple of nights to find out what your baby's comfort preference is.
I think that the birth plan is something that comes across as all or nothing and therefore is downplayed. I believe that they are more than that. They are an opportunity to really think about your birth, your baby and your experience.
When I meet with my clients, I encourage them to have an idea of how they would like things to go because
"the power isn't in the plan, it's in knowing all your options".
Because birth isn't always a straightforward process, I have witnessed birth plans take a complete one eighty and the parents feel satisfied with their experience because they felt prepared and the decisions were made on their terms. How mothers and fathers experience the birth of their children is important to their health and that of their baby. I have also witnessed plans go better than hoped for and the end result is wonderful.
Being informed and involved in all the options and decisions should be a role that is entrusted to the birthing party. I believe that when parents are given the recognition that they are vital participants in the birth of their baby, outcomes are happier and healthier.
Birth is like a trail mix. Some people want the pretzels, some can't have them. Some want the peanuts and others prefer almonds. Preferences will differ from person to person and with each birth.
Having a birthing preference brings the focus back to the fact that you are a human giving birth to a human and would like to have a unique experience the suits your needs, wants and desires. Birth preferences don't need to put safety on the back burner, you can discuss with your provider how you can achieve what you wish and hear their take on it. Then you can use that info to make an informed decision on what you would like. In most cases, you will have time to take the time to think about your options and make a decision that works for you.
They are also a benefit because no one wants to feel rushed or scared into an uninformed decision when they are tired, hungry, and unprepared. Thinking about how you would like things to go even if it's not what you originally wanted can help your decision making if labor takes a turn. Unexpected outcomes can still be positive!
Birth preferences aren't just annoying dreams that will complicate labor and birth. They are your tools to ensure that you are receiving the best, patient centered care possible.