All I want is for my juicy new Danielle LaPorte planner to arrive, cause i got stuff to plan. Like school year 2016 stuff. think of this as better than a trapper keeper.
December is the last month of business as usual before midwifery madness, so please book your sessions that I either owe you, or a last hurrah before the doors close. Book here! Not acceptable you say? I will continue to work as a Houston doula or you can join my super small client pool. It’s been an awesome 20 years, Rowan P.S. Some of you know that Parsley left us last week. #trueloveneverdies
This is part two of a story from a friend/client, Blue, who is healing from a home-birth Cesarean transfer, and the subsequent postpartum depression happenin’ right here in Houston, Texas. And my girl Blue is super creative, so I totally wasn’t surprised when she designed two healing rituals to help her access and then process the emotions that felt trapped in her body. And I wanna say right here, We had people facilitate the second ritual who knew what they were doing, it’s not like we just grabbed some clothesline and went at it. Blue’s Story: Not sure where exactly to begin. I apologize if my words are a wee bit jumbled or repetitive because I’m still feeling the high from yesterday. For those of you that are just now, or recently joined me on my path toward healing, I can shed some background. In a nutshell. I’ve been on a journey the past eight months, trying to find some healing and closure from Rocco’s birth. I was a birth worker for years before I got pregnant. A birth photographer. I’ve watched women time and time again squat in their living rooms, or roar in a birth pool, and bring their babies earth side with their own hands. I was around birth frequently. I adored it. The energy around birth was intoxicating. Each one was a gift to be a part of. I have watched many women scared of pain and full of fear, birth gracefully and naturally. I thought someone like myself, who doesn’t really fear pain, actually has a very high tolerance for it, and someone so familiar with the natural process, would have a more manageable labor and birth than the average Joe. Whenever people would say, “OHHHH a homebirth!?” my response was always “god willing.” I knew birth was out of my hands. Birth has a spirit and power of its own. There’s so many factors involved and I knew it would be selfish or stupid to think yes, I just know for a fact my baby will be born in the safety of my bedroom at home. So, long story short, I was a homebirth transfer and ended in a c-section. I labored for 19 hours at home. My body started showing signs of infection. I got up to 9cm at home, but my body began fighting itself. By the time I was admitted to the hospital, I was back down to a 6/7cm I think. I just remember, laboring in my drive way, getting in the car for the hospital, thinking that my whole pregnancy I knew this could have ended up happening. But still, it was a slap in the face. A punch in the gut. A bucket of ice water on you. Nothing could have prepared me to flush my dream birth down the drains. The birth I fantasized and prepared for for years before I even got pregnant. I cant put into words, that feeling. I was THAT fluke birth that everything just went wrong. I was THAT statistic. I was a WRECK after Rocco’s birth. Having the loss of my home birth, recovering from surgery, having breastfeeding and latch issues. I was a mess. I’m infinitely grateful for my tribe who stepped in and raised me up in one of the darkest times of my life. In the blur of having a newborn, we decided to sell the house. I knew I wanted to have a Rebirth ceremony in the house before we moved. My rebirth ceremony was beautiful. We set up the birth pool in my room where I wanted Rocco to be born. My birth flags were around me. Surrounded by people I loved. We “baptized” him and I read some things that were from my heart. I’m so thankful to have that experience. I also ordered a “Homebirth Cesarean” book and workbook to help “speed up” emotional and spiritual recovery. I just felt an urgency almost in finding some closure. I kept reading about women who decades later didn’t find closure and the thought of that scared me. I couldn’t keep living with this open spiritual wound. During the few weeks that followed the birth, someone suggested perhaps doing a suspension ceremony to find some healing (I think my doula Rowan suggested it). The more I began to think about that, the more right it felt. My fears around suspension were similar to my fears around birth. Fear of the pain. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Transcending this realm. I felt like if I could go through with it, I would be proving to myself that if my birth had gone as “planned,” that I could’ve handled it. Conquered it.***The day before the suspension, I was a wreck. Thinking about the birth all day. Looking at photos and focusing on my feelings. I set up everything to interview myself to make a video for everyone explaining all this but the words just never came. The morning of, I was very tranquil. At peace. I realized that if I in fact failed at this, that I cant imagine anything else bringing me closure except time. And I needed to accept that. I enjoyed braiding my hair that morning. I felt like it connected me with the woman birthing on The Farm in the 60s and 70s or the women warriors braiding their hair before battle. The little Indian girls I’ve held hands with on the other side of the world. Or the native American woman I’ve learned about in anthropology class. I just felt connected to all women across the globe and through time just like I had felt while in labor. My suspension didn’t go exactly like how I envisioned it with a giant circle of flower garland beneath me. Wearing a floral crown. Having the earth, fire, and water aspects in my space like in my rebirth ceremony. I fluidly went with what felt right as it happened. I made a circle of rose quartz in my space. I read my birth affirmation cards. I listened to music I had playing at my birth that I haven’t listened to since because it was triggering. I wore the oils I had diffusing while I was in labor. I felt hyper-aware. Almost like I had ingested psilocybin. I could see and feel every detail but it was all like a warm slow breath or a soft blanket wrapped around me too. Everything just felt right. Getting the piercings wasn’t bad. It was uncomfortable but not near as bad as I expected. Not a fraction even. After the first hook was placed, I began to feel warm and fuzzy all over. After the second hook was placed I became light headed and a little loopy. A glucose tab worked wonders and I was totally fine after that. The sting never went away after the piercings. Once I was rigged up, the burn in my hooks became more intense. No one had warned me about this part. The BURN. I HATE the burning sensation. I hadn’t even gotten off the ground yet. Just little tugs and pulls as I tried walking around in my space. I immediately felt cheated. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this part? It reminded me of the unexpected things that happened in pregnancy, birth, and post partum that were shitty and no one warned me about. I began making groans. Moans. Squeals. Yells. Grunts. Laughter. Getting in a primal headspace and fighting the insatiable burn in my back. Intense pressure and burn. Wait a minute, “burn.” “The ring of fire.” When women birth naturally, some talk about the ring of fire. The ring of fire I never got to feel. The opportunity that I was never granted. This is what I wanted! From that point on, the burn was a gift. I welcomed the pain. I was grateful. I swirled around and around, my feet slowly leaving the ground. As my feet lifted up, my eyes closed. All I could hear were the cries of joy, laughter, and love around me as I felt myself rise up. The sun shining on my face. The wind blowing in my hair. Still, with my eyes closed. Swaying. I transcended. I had conquered my fears. I had overcome the pain. I had won. I’m not sure how long my eyes were closed. Seconds or minutes. I have no clue. I was swirling in a vortex of pleasure and pain and peace. I finally opened my eyes and was welcomed by five smiling faces below me and the most beautiful trees shedding their leaves in the wind. I was hoisted really high to enjoy the view. It was beautiful. And empowering. After a few moments I came back down so I could gather the red rose petals I had brought to release.I wanted to release them from my c-section scar. I saw the red petals as blood. I saw the blood leaving me as the pain and turmoil I’ve battled since the day Rocco arrived earthside. The self-hate I’ve harbored for failing myself with his birth. All the darkness, leaving my body. The rose petals, were my favorite part. Watching them fall below me. The velvety circles gleaming in the streams of sunlight beneath my feet in fluttery wisps. It was just magical. I felt my heart and spirit just open wide up. I felt the earth and life just welcome me back down to ground. I’m so glad I snagged a few photos on my phone while I was still up in the air. My favorite is the one with my tribe below me. All looking up. The red petals at their feet. You can see how proud they are of me. You can see that they knew how much this meant to me. And that they love me. Deeply. Reflecting on all the events today, I’m still riding the high. I feel so much happiness. I feel SO MUCH closure. SO MUCH PEACE. THIS IS WHAT HEALING LOOKS LIKE. Thanks for being part of this crazy journey.
I had the honor to be at a birth last spring and it was one of those painful as fuck types to watch, because mama was working so hard and it was an epically painful back labor, and also because I knew a transfer (and possibly a surgical birth) was going to really throw her for a loop. LOOP. Like a Loop of doom. Ugh.
So afterwards, this creative and innovative lady created healing rituals to let the pressure out of all these bottled emotions. The first was a Rebirth Ceremony, and if you think stuff like this doesn’t help, I’d invite you to pop over and give this talk about how the brain works a listen. Or a read.
Anyway, this is what it looks like in pictures, and letters to herself. Thank you Blue for sharing this journey with me. And you, gentle reader.
Letter to herself:
Dear Body, I pray that some day I will learn to trust you again. I still don’t understand why things happened the way they did. Why I was in so much pain from the beginning. Why I felt to push when I wasn’t ready. Why my baby was in distress in the only thing that felt right in my labor. Why I felt that you failed me. But then I remember that for nine months, you grew the most perfect baby. That we were both healthy. That you’ve healed beautifully after a major surgery. And although it may be little, you are providing nourishment to my son. I understand I may never have answers to my questions, but I hope that some day I may find not only closure, but peace. And I hope that peace brings trust. Enough trust to some day let you lead me through a natural birth.
And Thats How You Have A Vaginal Breech Delivery in Houston To hear Angela tell it, her baby called me to him as her doula, crafting the perfect birth team. And later he called the perfect doctor to him, because if the stars and moon had not lined up just so, this birth would of had a way different ending. Angela is a gifted meditation teacher, and she co~teaches with her horse Takoda, so we hit it off well and I was pumped to be her doula. Her husband Tracey wasn’t quite as sold in the beginning on me as the best doula fit, but in the end it took all key players and I was super glad that i had landed this doula gig. Thank you Tracey for taking a chance with me. On Thursday morning during an ENOURMOUS storm like we get in Houston, I started getting texts that A’s water was leaking, mild contractions. She was 39 weeks, first baby, and I seriously was like we have at least another two weeks, just go back to sleep, its the storm and just probably vaginal goodge in over drive. Two hours later I get a phone call from her hubs, and he’s like, “Uh no Rowan, this is strong.” So we strategize a plan cause by now we are gonna need an ark to get to the medical center, and they are an hour away, but this papa is a TEXAS STUD and he assures me that he can get her to the hospital in his Texas sized truck. So I’m all like, well, could you come pick me up? Because I’m pretty sure the Metro Rail does not have submarine capacity and my Honda Element is pretty low, and Rock Steady says, “sure, see ya.” They swing by and get me, and Angela is working hard in the front seat of the truck, and I am NOT DIGGING AT ALL the way her belly looks, but when I try to crawl over into the front seat of the big truck she says,” DONT TOUCH ME ROWAN!!!” which from this lady was some strong words. So I sat back nicely into my chair. Hubs drops Mama A and I at the front door of the hospital in the med center, and these crazy town valets are all like “SIT DOWN!” and keep telling us we need a wheel chair, and then again a transport aide accosts us and tell us we NEED a wheel chair, that she has to SIT DOWN, to which I pretty much tell them to step off, I have it handled. Contractions are coming every two minutes or so, and she is doing so well, and also telling me she’s ready for this to be over. Oh, and that she doesn’t want to sit down. I snag her a wheel chair, sling all our stuff in it, the wheel chair stabilizes her walking, and gives her something to hold onto during contractions (I locked the wheels), and she reiterates that for serious she does not want to sit down. We run into PJ the Placenta Picker Upper in the lobby, and I let her know we’ll be needing her soon. A couple of detours later we end up in triage, hubs catches up with us, and right before she gets checked, I suggest she grab a pee. I go in with her to the bathroom, and she’s getting sweaty and red faced and frankly I’m concerned because this woman has been so smooth and quiet and surreal in her calmness, and now she’s getting a little erratic. When she sits her undies reveal a black tarry mess, baby poop, so I grab the midwife and reassure Angela that we need to let the midwife see this. The midwife gets her onto the bed, and I can tell by the check that 1) something’s up and 2) that baby is real LOOOOOOOW. Midwife calls for an ultrasound, and a quickie reveals that baby is breech, and that the midwife had in fact felt a bum. Hospital policy is all breech births are surgical births, so we are quickly running down the hallway to the elevator for the next floor, the surgical floor. I’m running after grabbing all the bags including the midwifes (yes, I accidentally stole her purse) and whispering in Tracey’s ear that the only slim chance in hell we have for a vaginal birth is if an experienced doctor is the back up and will allow it. No such luck, newer totally awesome doctor is the doc on call. Staring down the gun of a C Section. We get in the surgical prep suite, and y’all its a tiny tiny room and there are like 5-8 people in there, and now mama is saying, “Its burning!!!’ and the midwife is encouraging her not to push and keeping her hand close by, and that’s when the midwife says, “I think we are going to probably have a general anesthesia, it’s to late for an epidural.” Y’all, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look into the eyes of this beautiful, effervescent woman after the fact and tell her that if she had just pushed her baby out in that OR prep room that she could of avoided a general anesthesia surgical birth. So I’m all shaking, standing next to her, and I put my lips to her ear and say, “You still have choices. If you don’t want a surgical birth, push.” And there is pretty much no part of me that didn’t think that bad ass midwife couldn’t deliver this baby. And I’m right here, happy to assist. The midwife, by the way, didn’t like me saying this at all. And said, “What are you telling her Rowan?” to which I replied, “That she has choices, but she’s gotta own them.” So now Angela is saying, “My baby’s ok? Why are we doing this? Why am i getting a c-section?!!!!” and the nurse starts yell-telling her that she has an unproven pelvis, that the baby’s head could get entrapped, and is over talking everyone else. I get it, it’s an excitable moment. So now Angela is yelling, “I don’t want a c-section, I can do it, I can do it, my baby’s ok, I can do it,” and then the sea of people parts and a kind faced older doctor who immediately brings a sense of peace and calm to the room walks in. And by older I mean more my age as opposed to my adult children. The doc looks at mama for a long moment, and then the midwife, who says, “Small baby, right here, roomy pelvis,” and stands back and looks. And looks. “I can do it, I can do it!” More looking. And then after a small eternity doc says, “I’ll deliver vaginally if you only listen to me,” and Angela looks at her husband, says, “What do you think?” to which Rock Steady replies, “I think you should push our baby out.” Lets just think about this for a minute. It is totally hitting the fan, and everyone is either telling you that your baby’s head is gonna get stuck in your wife’s vag or something else might go really wrong, and he says, “Push our baby out.” He was educated, he’d read the books, gone to class, but mostly, he believed in his wife. He believed in his wife. That was stronger than all the circus going on around them. #RockSteady So now it’s really crazy town in there, because we need to get her off the surgery transport bed and onto a different bed, one that breaks down for delivery. She gets moved over, Rock Steady on one side, me hand holding and leg holding on the other side, and midwife and Miagi doctor coach her to push against closed mouth, pressed lips. Out of her vagina comes a blue scrotum, and all I can think of is that OF COURSE this man has a baby that’s born balls first. Sheesh. Then we have a little tush, and Papa says to Mama, “Boo, I see him, I see our baby!” with a little hitch in his voice and it was so sweet. Next a torso and then some legs that are STICK STRAIGHT and kinda kicking/goose stepping, and when only the head remains and the anxiety is through the roof and it is WALL TO WALL people, like really think a Black Friday rush at the electronics store, Angela says, “I’m tired, I can’t push anymore!” Panic at the disco. Seriously, the energy of the room was like flames from a Nasa rocket at blast off. Anxiety to the max. I think to myself, no way sister, one more push and she’s gonna have a baby in her arms, so I encourage her to have one more strong push, push hard with a closed mouth, and pop, out comes the baby! A little cheer goes out, but its kinda subdued, so somewhere between a golf clap and a tennis cheer, because everyone who wasn’t busy in all of Houston is now in this room, and we are all AMAZED at this woman and her husband, and the doctor and midwife. Baby and mama and papa are cooing and loving up, and he’s on her chest and pinking up, and I can see where his little foot has been up by his ear, his legs jutting out like little sticks. At one point the doctor tells me to put her leg down, which I had completely forgotten I was even holding, and starts to address the placenta. I look over at the midwife, and mouth one word,” Fuuuuuuuck,” because as she says “The stars and moon aligned, and we got a magical birth,” and I don’t even know who Dawn is, but I want to kiss her on the mouth. Why? Because the doctor, the one doc of a small pool who even has breech delivery privileges at this hospital, who somehow happened to be on another floor, was called by Dawn, and told what was going on. THANK YOU! She maybe doesn’t want a kiss from a queer doula, but I officially from now until the end of time super heart her. #LOVEFOREVAH The best description I have for the doc comes from Rock Steady, who said, “That doc, he was just as cool as the other side of the pillow.” You got that right. Thank you Tracey, Angela and baby Garner for inviting me to the party. I’m a better person for being there. #gratitude. Wanna know more about Rowan’s doula services? http://doulamatch.net/profile/12605/rowan-twosisters
I wanted to update you on #LaborWhispering, like specifically that there is waaaaaaaaay more work than one woman can do. And I’m super clear on why my efforts to create a Labor Whispering self paced workbook didn’t get the traction I’d hoped for last year. Scenario: Pregnant lady is desperate to go into labor, the interventions are howling at the door, she gets workbook in hand, and promptly gets overwhelmed with the sifting, sorting and personal work she needs to do in the final hours. She needs a doula, a labor whispering doula.
So here’s my plan. I wanna get a bunch of birthy peeps educated on the art of Labor Whispering and into the mix. The more peeps, the better when it comes to working one on one with mamas to help get their labor started and running smooth. And you all know that teaching is MY JAM. Enter my very first Labor Whispering WorkShop, an Advanced Doula Training I’m going to lay it all out there, what I learned 20 years ago to last week. And for doulas who are also massage therapists? Sweet, I have a ceu and a certification waiting for you. Certified Labor Whisperer with some business coaching, oh yes. My dad calls this an honorable profession, and I’ve earned a great living helping women and families. If you know someone who loves birth, or empowering women, and wants to change our society’s fabric for the better then forward them this email. Ask them if they can see themselves as a Labor Whisperer. And of course I’m down if it’s you who feels called. 8 spots total, 5 left. These are the cheap seats. Next go round I’ll have fancy branded manual with a smooth as silk price. Gritty now, smooth later. You pick. Lastly, My phone’s been crapped out from a Sprint/Credo conflict since Saturday, so I haven’t quit you or anything, it’s a technology issue.
How’d you like to have this guy at your birth? http://youtu.be/RvV3nn_de2k One foot on the brake, one foot on the gas; a perfect metaphor for trying to birth with anxiety. So we gotta take the foot off the brakes. Birth Brakes = Anxiety Let’s think about this for a minute, the more gas you give, the harder you push on the brake. What happens then? Nothing. A big nothing. Not even 55. We gotta take a foot off the brake. And just to review ya, anxiety is one of the top three reasons a baby goes “overdue.” Anxiety eats birth hormones. And it doesn’t really matter who has the jitters, ’cause that energy is in the room, in your head, in your world. So, AT ALL COSTS you gotta get that out and gone and away from you. Gone. Here is the science of it as explained by Michel Odent. “In order to give birth, women must feel secure without feeling observed, in a warm enough place.” -Michel Odent, French M.D. and water birth pioneer So that’s really the first step. Reduce anxiety. Up next week are practical ways to ratchet down the anxiety and up the security. Boom. Look, a cute baby! Awwww, Cairn was born at 12:33am on August 24 weighing 9lbs, and measuring 20 1/4 in long. Planned vbac homebirth that became hospital induction vbac because Mom Christina was 41wks and 5days. And now a word from our sponsor… This week’s sponsor is Labor Enabler, a local rockstar doula by the name of Kathleen Wilson. She’s part of TLC Doula Group, and is currently taking applications for her next doula apprentice. So, tell her I said hello, k? Oh, and we had a bit of a mix-up here at UC headquarters last week which resulted in you receiving a Punk Rock Hoops newsletter (oops, sorry). But some of you liked it, so if you want to keep getting those, you can go here and sign up in that handy form on the right sidebar. XO, Rowan P.S.: This week, I’m offering the Caryn Craig special to all my peeps. 6 sessions for 5 bills. Why? I have light books ’cause I’ve been traveling. Oh, and I miss ya. P.S.2: Here is this week’s #PlacentaTuesday
I met somebody this past weekend while I was in NYC. Behold Maria, as in MariaWander.com. Like, she’s a closet designer for some fancy store that I can’t remember because the star factor overwhelmed me and I silently began to weep with envy when she casually mentioned it. Weep. She was all busy spinning fiber into lace weight yarn and I, embarrassingly enough, had brought my knitting some yarn, a pattern and 4 double pointed, size 5 knitting needles so I could try, yet again, to make some Baby Boobie Beanies for one-on-one labor whispering session prezzies. It’s bad, right? So I’m all dragging my stuff out, and trying to chew through the yarn with my teeth when Maria hands me some scissors, obviously pumped that a fellow fiber artist is at the table. I try to tell her gently, “Sorry Maria, I suck,” to which she says, “You get better at knitting by knitting.” Oh, right then, so it’s ok to suck, it’s just not ok to give up. Keep trying, to improve the effort in both art, business and, of course, in birth. I could actually add parenting in here, well, most anything, really. In labor it means that each contraction is a new opportunity to turn a challenge into healing, whatever that looks like for you. In postpartum, it may mean knowing you will figure out what your bebe’ is communicating, what do do about it, and knowing that this intense period will pass, oh yes it will. My Rowan practical application of Don’t Give Up, Just Keep Knitting in this moment looks like assessing where my Labor Whispering; Mapbook for Mamas project will go from here. I’m super clear on what I did right, on who loves me and has my back. I’m also clear on who thought this was worthy of investing in, and a special thank you to my loves who were ready to bust out a check book and write big checks with zeros behind them so that I could make the goal. Big love to all of you, my heart breaks open. With Love. What I don’t like about my Labor Whispering; Mapbook for Mamas campaign is: 1) how I come across in the video, 2) my hair, and 3) the stale energy. And that’s no fault of the director, because this would have been hideous and I could never have even stepped into the ring without her help and assistance. But it’s true, I don’t dig it. At All. This has totally slowed my roll, and I wonder if I recognized this as it was going down, or if I’m only seeing it in retrospect. So, I’m reviewing my birth story for Labor Whispering; MapBook For Mamas. Examining the painful parts, rejoicing in what went well. And loving all the folks who helped from start to finish, the clappers, the cheerers and the project doulas who walked the journey with me. And really, the love I feel? I am the lucky one. So, I love you tremendously, and let’s see where we will go with this next. XOXOXOX, Rowan
Labor Whisperer Private Session – $225 What be this? A magical way on how to start labor? Well, almost. Many times I see the same 5 things over and over again holding a woman back from entering her labor excited and body confident. Let’s go through the list together and see what we can do to mitigate any blockages, loosen and prepare your muscles, check the position of your baby*, and create an attitude of joyous anticipation. Sometimes this massage gets the labor ball rolling, and other times a few of nights of serenity and wrapping up details occur first. I want to share every tool I have to assist you in an empowered, awesome labor journey. This is a full 2 hour session. *Baby Position is super important, let’s see what we can do to get bebe’ optimally situated!
- LOA baby, looking good!
Need more info? Check out this FAQ. Oh SNAP, you Say!! Not living in Houston, or even in the great state of Texas? I got your mama self starter PDF right here. Feel free to purchase before the 40 weeks, so you can be ahead of the game come labor time. And I need to tell you that while there are things that you can do to get yourself as on time and awesome as possible, attempting to get labor started before full term is not within the scope of this pdf. Unless your baby is ready. Pat Jones, Houston midwife and local hero, says “There is hardly anything you can do to keep a baby in when he’s ready, and hardly anything you can do to get him out if he’s not.” Shoot me an email if you are not sure if it’s right for you, and step right up and get you some PDF labor whispering empowerment if it is. xo, Rowan
7007 North Fwy #435
Houston TX 77076
*Located inside the
North Houston Birth Center
w/Preggers Can Be Choosers