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pregnancy, birth and parenting life Bringing baby home to a small space

by and for everyday people

Healthy foods... in a dilation chart! Home, birth center, hospital... What birth fits you?

spring/ summer 2018 spring / summer 2018


Natural childbirth with the security and comfort of a Hospital

Deliveries are made by a certified nurse-midwife at Henrico’s Doctors’ Hospital West End Midwifery childbirth at using alternative methodsHospital and treatments Deliveries areencourages made byunmedicated a certified natural nurse-midwife Henrico’s Doctors’

West End Midwifery encourages unmedicated natural childbirth using alternative methods and treatments

Natural childbirth with the security and comfort of a Hospital

Deliveries are made by a certified nurse-midwife at Henrico’s Doctors’ Hospital West End Midwifery encourages unmedicated natural childbirth using alternative methods and treatments Services include prenatal visits, childbirth education, labor support, post-partum care, and breast feeding assistance

To make an appointment please call: (804) 523-3712 • WestEndMidwifery.1\2h.1016.indd 1

Services include prenatal visits, childbirth education, labor support, post-partum care, and breast feeding assistance

9/7/16 10:12 AM

Services include prenatal visits, childbirth education, labor support, post-partum care, and breast feeding assistance

To make an appointment please call: (804) 523-3712 • 2

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Join the 100 Conversations Project What would it be like to live in a community where ALL families are supported through the journey of pregnancy, birth, and early parenting? To learn what is needed to create that community, Nurture is hosting 100 Conversations with RVA birthing parents and the care providers who serve them. If you are: • pregnant or have given birth within the last two years • a perinatal care provider (doula, midwife, nurse, doctor, counselor, etc.) • a policymaker or community leader We want to hear from you! Your voice is heard and valued. All demographics encouraged to participate.

Learn more and sign up at

spring / summer 2018


Cheyenne Varner Editor in Chief Advisory Team Sarah Choi, marketing consultant • Virginia Strobach, illustrator • DeAudrea Rich, photography consultant

• Maria Oya X, inclusivity consultant

Healthy Foods Dilation Chart Food Cooked & Staged By Arley Arrington Small Space, Here Comes Baby Nicole Rutledge Postpartum Bag Unpacked Naima Bond, M.Ed.


Getting Ready for Home After Birth Barbara Verneus

For any editorial, advertising, or general inquiries please email

Doula Q&A Alexis X, Aisha Ralph, Dorota Jastrzebska

Life-Giver: Supporting All Birthing Persons M. Carmen Lane

CONTRIBUTORS The Wisdom of Birth Mars Lord Tips to Create a Better Baby Registry Laurel Gourrier The Visual Guide to Choosing Your Birth Space Kenya Fairley Birth Playlist Barbara Verneus

PHOTOGRAPHERS DeAudrea Rich pages 5, 11, 21, 25 Jade Chiu pages 7, 9, 38 Desiree Chapman pages 14, 15 Taylor Lenci Photography pages 18, 19

How to Choose Your Care Providers Tracie Brown, CNM

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Everyday Birth magazine is a product of The Educated Birth. The Educated Birth exists to equip parents for wellinformed and empowering birth by equipping birth workers with high-quality, easy to learn from, visually engaging birth education materials. To learn more about The Educated Birth, please use the following contact information: Email

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spring / summerdeaudrea 2018 5 rich

@ richmethods

a note from the editor Whoever you are, wherever you are, welcome. I’m so grateful you are here. My name is Cheyenne and I’m a birth and postpartum doula, but that’s not the whole reason I am here, writing you this little note of love in a magazine I hope will meet you like a sweet hand squeeze and a smile. I want you to know that I see you. I know what it’s like to feel... not seen. To feel not spoken to. To feel a little like a wanderer in a place you don’t completely belong (even if you know that you actually do). I’ve felt this way in parts of my life from when I was very young, so when I became a birth doula, it wasn’t long before I started to see this in the birth world, too. In the times in my life when I felt the least seen, the least like I belonged, and most insecure — I limited myself so much. I created stories about what I could and could not do, about who would or would not want to be around me, and how my life would turn out. I created a lot of untrue stories, many of them very unkind to myself.

Seeing is not believing, but seeing is on the path to that place. When I saw and spoke to people who looked like me and understood my struggles, I began to undo my old stories and reimagine new ones. I hope that this magazine would help to bridge that gap for anyone who has felt limited during or after a pregnancy, because it has seemed like you’re walking pretty alone. Feel like you don’t have options? You have so many options. It may not be easy to get to them, but you can. Because you are not alone at all. There are people surrounding you who want to offer you peace, comfort, and care. Let’s find them. This is how we make things that seem like they can’t happen, happen: by speaking our desires, and supporting each other. If you’ve learned an unkind story for yourself – like I did long ago – I’m here to say, let’s write a new one. Cheyenne Varner

content 6 The Wisdom of Birth The beauty birth makes us all witnesses to. 8 Tips to Create a Better Baby Registry Consider this to make the right list for you. 10 The Visual Guide to Choosing Your Birth Place Home, Birth Center, Hospital. What’s for you? 18 A Labor Playlist Get ready to get in your labor groove. 21 Birth Bag Unpacked Toss this in your bag before you jump in the car.

jade chiu

@ jadeyeonghee

28 Birth Insurance 101 Tips to know how to get the most out of your coverage (or lack).

34 Getting Ready for Home After Birth What we’re not told about after baby arrives.

22 How to Choose Your Care Providers Who you pick sets the tone for much of your pregnancy and birth.

31 Small Space, Here Comes Baby Making room doesn’t always mean getting more space.

36 A Little Doula Q&A Three doulas chime in on what support looks like.

26 Healthy Foods Dilation Chart Healthy eating tips in the order your cervix dilates.

32 Postpartum Bag Unpacked Helpful things to have ready when you get home with baby.

38 Life-Giver: Supporting All Birthing Persons What does gender inclusivity look like in birthing?

the wisdom of birth It’s funny how little many of us know of our bodies. I wonder just how surprising that actually is when you consider that many of our bodies have been fetishised, demonised, experimented on, abused, and viewed as exotic exhibits, vessels for sex and birth. It is hard to remember when first we viewed our bodies as our own. We draw so much of our opinion and internalise messages from the media about how they should look. Size, colour, shape, made up with cosmetics, hair or not, different chemicals altering us inside and out. To bleed or not to bleed. I work as a birth keeper, and as such I have seen women’s bodies do the most incredible things as they change and stretch in pregnancy. As they writhe and turn in labour. As they open and give forth life with the birth of their babies. I’ve seen these same bodies sustain the new life they’ve birthed as their breasts leak milk and cause small babies to grow into toddlers and children. I’ve watched as afterwards those bodies change back to their pre-pregnancy state. I remember sitting with a group of women of varying ages. It was a baby shower. The conversations turned to birth. Most of the women there had birthed at least one baby. As I talked about the gloriousness of birth, because as a doula and birth keeper, what else would I do, some of the older women began to shake their heads in disgust. Talking about the mechanics of birth, 8

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the fluids, and the placenta caused them to grimace and say, “There’s no need to talk about those things. These girls,” (many of whom had children), “don’t need to hear that stuff.” Is it any wonder that birth is seen as an ordeal to get through, or barely seen at all? And small wonder that we do not love this which we were blessed with. One of the keys to being a birth keeper, in my opinion, is the ability to sit still and be. This is difficult when we are primed to spring into action and often have become birth keepers because we want to help and do. But when we do sit still and hold the space for our clients we learn so much about them, birth and ourselves. I’m a natural talker. My mother says that they will bury me talking, and she’s probably right. Once I enter a birthing room though, my words slow and cease. My volume decreases and moves to silence. When I do speak, it is normally words of encouragement that have a hypnotic quality about them. I have learned that I am able to move with the ebb and flow of the room. Sometimes leaning forward to stroke an arm, rub a back, comfort a mother and/or partner. I watch as, when left alone, her body sways and moves and finds its own dance. No need to teach this woman how to move in labour. Her body teaches her. As I watch, I find myself matching that dance. If I have done my

jade chiu

@ jadeyeonghee

I watch as, when left alone, her body sways and moves and finds its own dance. No need to teach this woman how to move in labour. Her body teaches her. work well before labour, her partner also recognises and matches this dance. As her breathing rises and falls, and slows and speeds up, we all begin to breathe as one. She is not alone in this dance. She leads, we follow. As healthcare professionals enter the room, those with eyes to see, see this dance and join with us. It is a group dance. All are included, the birthing woman and her child are the centre. To trust your body, you need to know your body. To know your body, you need not fear her. She is there for your exploration. Every bump and curve,

every inlet and outlet. Her fluids, her sounds, her personal dance. To support a birthing mother, and encourage her to trust her body, we need to not be afraid of our own bodies. We are encouraged to love ourselves as our neighbour. We cannot love our neighbour until we love ourselves. When we witness birth, we witness the emergence of a Goddess. We learn the way she shifts and changes to bring forth life. If we are wise, we will learn about her in all her glory, long before she turns to the birthing room, so that the dance is one of trust, belief and joy. by mars lord

@ abueladoulas @_ marslord

spring / summer 2018


tips to create a better baby registry

make your registry work for you Don’t stress! There’s no such borrow and buy thing as a perfect list and you secondhand don’t need everything at once. may have a family member or friend Consider this as you build the You who has things you were thinking about registry that works for you: getting and is willing to let you borrow think about your lifestyle and home What have your routines been like without baby and how will they shift when your baby’s born? How do the things babies need fit into your life and home? What will your days look like in the first year? Consider what your home is like and look for functional items that can serve multiple purposes and save space.

think outside the box Instead of just thinking about what baby may need, think about experiences for baby, yourself or even the both of you to share together – and how you can add those to your registry. There are baby gyms that offer music and spaces for little ones to explore. Looking to exercise? There are places designed so you can bring your baby. Even local zoos, aquariums, planetariums, etc. have spaces for you and your little one to explore. Once you have found a rhythm getting out and about with your baby, this can be just the thing you need. 10

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them or take them off their hands. This also allows you to test run some items for your baby. You can see how your baby responds to different brands or types of items, and save some time and money. Take a look at what your local “buy and sell” stores, groups or apps may offer, before buying from a larger retailer. You might be able to get items for 50%-75% less than their actual retail value! The one exception to all of this would be car seats. It’s best to buy your car seat new. When buying or borrowing second hand, you run the risk of not being able to verify if the car seat was involved in a car accident or not. Even minor accidents can change the configuration of a car seat, which makes it unsafe.

register Create that baby registry at your favorite baby store, but make sure it has a good return policy. When you start receiving items from friends and family, take inventory and think about the essentials. You’ll need the stroller, car seat, and something for baby to sleep in. Other items that you may be unsure about you

deaudrea rich

@ richmethods

can always return to the store and get store credit. Friends and family gift items with the intention of helping. If you get two diaper pails and don’t need both, you can use the store credit from returning one for things you do need, like diapers and wipes.

by laurel gourrier

@ lgdoula

Creating a registry list can feel neverending. What we know for sure that is as long as you surround your baby in love, you’ve tackled the most important part of your list! spring / summer 2018


the visual guide to choosing your birth space

and birth stories from families Benefits... Care support from midwives, come directly to you in your home Safe and familiar space with little to no distractions Most freedom to move and labor where and how you feel comfortable

Non-medicated, hands-off approach is typically used in this setting and use of water to labor and/or birth is encouraged Light eating and drinking during labor is usually encouraged, and comfort food let in soon after birth

No limitation on the number of visitors allowed

Parent may stay at the birth center for several hours or overnight after birth

You can eat and drink more freely to maintain stamina and feel energized

Fewer beds, about 4-7 rooms, in a home-like, family style setting

Fetal monitoring often external and intermittent, supporting free movement to help labor progress


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Lactation support is typically available to assist with breastfeeding, and samples, discounts, or coupons may be available if formula feeding Rooming-in for partner and baby is usually available, and the hospital nursery may be an option

Onsite security and restricted access to the maternity floor may provide sense of safety Setting and process may be familiar to people who have been to a doctor and/visited a hospital Many medical professionals are available to attend to parent and baby in an instant, including specialized emergency services

No matter where you choose to birth your baby, think and talk

about what you expect with your partner, care provider, doula and whole support team. Imagine the birth experience you want; that would make you satisfied and proud. Describe it in detail with your support team, or write out your thoughts in a journal or by drawing in a sketchbook. Consider all your options. The benefits and limits listed below, and stories to follow can help you start.

by kenya fairley kenyathedoula


Limits... Legal rights to give birth at home vary by state; consult the Midwives Alliance of North America for information about midwifery laws1

There are a limited number of freestanding birth centers across the United States. Find one in your area through the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers2

Parents with high-risk pregnancies, unanticipated complications, or multiples may have difficulty finding a Midwife that will attend their home birth

Birthing Centers do not offer epidurals as a form of pain medication (they offer alternatives)

Even with a healthy pregnancy, if advanced medical care is needed, transfer to a nearby hospital will be required and care may be shifted away from the Midwife to the OB in attendance

If advanced medical intervention becomes necessary, transfer to a nearby hospital will be required and care may be shifted away from the Midwife to the OB in attendance

Family members and loved ones may be resistant and create a difficult dilemma for the pregnant person state-by-state 1

2 www.birthcenter

There will be restrictions on what the birthing person can eat (nothing) and drink (clear liquids or ice chips) during labor Due to constant fetal monitoring and measuring vital signs, freedom of movement out of the bed or room will be restricted The number of visitors may be limited to partner, doula and one additional person; some hospitals do not allow doulas to attend births (while few require it) Constant monitoring after the birth may make it difficult to get a restful sleep

let tering by virginia strobach

@ amigahormiga

spring / summer 2018


choosing home does it fit me ? Those who choose home birth often trust their knowledge of their body and health needs, and may even feel uncomfortable with the traditional medical system and hospitals due to histories of racist and unjust practices. They may view common medical technologies as tools to be used in extreme circumstances and may have cultural beliefs that promote home birth.

what do i need ? A home birth kit. This usually includes basic supplies like chux pads, gloves, gauze, lubricating gel, bulb syringe, cord clamps, peri bottle, cleansing solution, and alcohol prep pads. Homebirth kits can be customized to include non-latex gloves or a tub for labor and birth, for example. Those birthing at home will

also need to purchase a waterproof mattress cover and have several items on hand: exercise ball, oil, towels and washcloths, bowl or basin for the placenta, receiving blankets, fresh bed sheets, and biohazard trash bags, among other items suggested by the Midwife.

can i afford it ? Home birth expenses are often paid out of pocket and provide for the Midwife, Midwife’s Assistant, and any necessary supplies as dictated by the Midwife. Costs range from $1,500-$3,000.3 The only way to know what’s covered and the true costs near you, though, is to ask (see page 28).

These are estimates based on national averages. Exact costs vary depending upon the care provider.


How can I reduce the of birth?


• Understand your health insurance (see page 28). • Make use of flexible spending or health savings accounts. • Stay in-network for your care. • Maintain your health, nutrition, and exercise during pregnancy. • Find an affordable doula to prepare you and your partner for birth, assist during labor, decreasing the need for medical interventions. 14 everydaybirth . com

desiree chapman

facebook . com / desichap

My first home birth was intimate and beautiful. Me, my husband, my midwife and her student.

I remember feeling the top of my baby’s head. Labor was so hard but when I felt his head I felt like a lioness. I bore down and birthed my son into the world. There is no greater feeling than that moment of control. My third birth was at home, too. We had our two oldest children with us (ages 2 and 4) and they witnessed me labor and birth our youngest son. I caught our son and I believe I was in control the whole time.

It was phenomenal. I remember my four-year-old looking me straight in the eyes and saying, “Mommy, you can do it,� and kissing and hugging my belly. Cessilye, 37 Dallas, TX spring / summer 2018


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Everyday Birth Magazine, Issue #1  

Spring/Summer 2018 We're a magazine about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood created to serve all families. We're proudly committed to a diver...

Everyday Birth Magazine, Issue #1  

Spring/Summer 2018 We're a magazine about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood created to serve all families. We're proudly committed to a diver...