DFW Birth Doula

Doula at Inanna Birth Center in Denton, Texas

One of my favorite places to serve as a birth doula for pregnant families in the Dallas, Fort Worth area is at Inanna Birth Center in Denton!

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As you may know, in addition to my work as a birth doula, I am a midwife assistant at Inanna Birth Center. When I have a doula client birthing at Inanna, it has such a special feeling. It's always an extra special birth with our midwives and the midwife assistant that attends the birth since we all work together regularly and know each other so well. It really makes for a perfect, cohesive birth team! After a recent birth I was joking that it's kind of like a big birthday party, celebrating the new baby and the strong momma!

Inanna Birth Center is run by Jean Sala-Smith, CNM. It is staffed by Certified Nurse Midwives in Denton and the surrounding areas. In addition to the midwives on staff at the birth center the Midwives from Caring for Women that have offices in Denton, Flower Mound and Frisco also have privileges to practice at Inanna and if a client chooses to, they can deliver at Inanna. Caring for Women is the back up Midwives and OB physicians that Inanna uses if transfer is necessary. Presbyterian Hospital of Flower Mound is the hospital they work with for non-emergent transfers.

There are two birth rooms at Inanna. Both have tubs and one of the two bathrooms also has a shower. Water birth is an option at Inanna, of course you'll need to check with the midwife to make sure that you are a good candidate. Regardless of water birth or not, hydrotherapy is a great comfort measure in labor!

Inanna serves families from all over the greater Dallas, Fort Worth area. Families come for the compassionate quality care from as far as Witchita Falls, Gainesville, Fort Worth, Keller, Grapevine, Denton, Sanger, Decatur, Chico, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Lewisville, Flower Mound - just to name a few!

If you're expecting and are in search of a doula I would love to chat! Consultations for doula services are always free of charge!

Recovery from a C-Section: Tips and Tricks

Recovery from birth can be tricky and you want to make sure you're taking care of yourself. Recovery from birth via cesarean section has an added level of challenge because it's surgery! I asked moms who have had cesareans what their best advice was for those first few days and weeks postpartum after a c-section and got some great responses! Several of these I would say apply to birth in general, but especially to recovery from surgical birth!

  • Dresses are great for going home and the first few days around the house. The incision line will be very sensitive!
  • You might consider packing a thick towel for the car ride home, fold it and put it over your belly to protect it from the seat belt.
  • If you are having a scheduled cesarean, make sure you have lots of food in the freezer! Trying to cook in addition to caring for yourself and baby is just too much in the first weeks postpartum! Don't forget to have quick easy snacks on hand!
  • You will be sore and maybe in pain, but don't put off walking in the hospital too long. The walking helps with recovery! Just a small bit of walking at first massively helps with recovery.
  • It will take a couple of weeks before you have full range of motion. Plan to have help during that time! Partner, family or a postpartum doula!
  • Your body has been through birth, your body has been through major abdominal surgery - you need time to recover!
  • Take stool softener while you're on pain meds
  • Take pain meds on schedule the first few days at least.
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Hire a postpartum doula!
  • Have extra large, high waisted cotton undies to wear at home for a while afterwards. You don't want anything that might dig into the incision.
  • wear a pad, soft side facing you, in front of your incision to protect it from rubbing
  • Bring baby to your height to nurse with nursing pillows or extra bed pillows, don't bend towards baby.
  • Your milk might come in an extra day or two later after a cesarean. Ask for the hospital lactation support and use that resource!
  • Ask for a belly binder in the hospital! It makes a world of difference in recovery! It allows you to feel better about getting up to walk and do daily things. It provides a secure feeling for your incision.
  • Don't over do it! When you start feeling better, only add things back to your day one at a time. Take it busy for a few days more so you don't have any set backs. It seems like if you don't over do it early on, recovery as a whole is so much easier and faster!
  • Keep a small hand towel folded in thirds by you to hold your incision when you cough/sneeze or go to the bathroom... #2 is tricky.
  • You might also like a pillow for the above reason...
  • When you get pain medication, ask the nurse when your next dose will be and remind them 30 minutes or so before so you don't lapse. Staying on that pain medication schedule for the first few days will help you to function more quickly and get those important first few walks in to speed recovery.
  • Try to time your first walk 30 minutes after you've had a pain pill, give it a chance to work!
  • Ask for 2 abdominal binders. One to wear when the other is in the wash. Use these for several weeks!
  • Use the bedrails and incline the bed up or down in the hospital so you're not trying to use your core muscles to sit up.
  • Before going into the hospital, set up a baby care station in your bedroom so you can be resting without walking all over the house for necessary baby stuff when you get home.
  • Make sure to plan who will be your driver for your doctors appointments and babys appointments you won't be driving or lifting baby in the carseat carrier for several weeks!
  • Laying down flat is pretty uncomfortable so I slept in a recliner the first few nights at home.
  • Yoga pants were the best when I was tired of wearing dresses. I lived in either a dress or yoga pants for several weeks!
  • You still bleed vaginally after a c-section!

My FAQs and Common Interview Questions

How Many Clients Do you take per month?

I take 1 to 3 clients per month. Never more than 3 and usually just 2. I want to give my clients the best care and attention and for me right now, that's the perfect balance! 

What Happens if you're at another birth when I go into labor? (Or you're sick, or *insert crazy event* that makes you need to miss our birth...)

First of all, I have never missed a birth because I was at another birth *knock on wood*! But it could *technically* happen though there's less than a 1% chance (3% chance of going into labor on any particular day, so the odds of 2 people with different due dates being in labor at the same time... not high!). Whoever I am with first keeps me, never fear - I have amazing back up doulas and you will know ahead of time who your back up doula is! I will send my back up to take amazing care of you until I am able to join you! By hiring me, you are guaranteed a birth doula for your Birth Day!
(if you were wondering, the one time I missed a birth was due to a totally unavoidable family crisis)

How do you work with my husband/partner?

I never want to take the place of your husband or partner! I want to support the two of you working together to bring your baby into the world! It looks different for each couple and I want to be flexible and meet your needs.
Do you mostly want suggestions on how to best support her? I can do that! Do you want me to handle the physical support while you see to her emotional needs? Perfect, that works! Are you queasy around medical situations and unsure of how labor will affect you? I have experience working in many of these situations and we can work together!

How are doulas different than our nurse or Midwife Assistant?

I am non medical support, so I am there with you the whole time meeting your needs whatever they may be, physical support, emotional, information on what's going on. Both nurses in the hospital and birth or midwife assistants out of hospital will come in and out of the room until it's time to push. As long as you and baby are doing well health wise they do not stay and offer support. In out of hospital situations, many times the assistant doesn't come until around transition and they are just there for birth and postpartum. Nurses and assistants are awesome and have their place but a doula and nurses jobs do not really over lap.

What if I have a planned induction/cesarean?

I have experience supporting both! A lot goes into supporting inductions and there are so many options and avenues that I can help you navigate. Each induction is different and I tailor my support to what the situation needs. For planned cesareans I help you to plan and have the best family centered cesarean possible meeting both your desires and the policies of your hospital. If I am allowed, I will support you and your partner in the operating room and provide snapshot pictures of your birth and postpartum if you do not already have a birth photographer). My postpartum support is focused on working to make the most of the golden first hour after birth and establishing breastfeeding post operative and helping you to get settled into your postpartum room.

What if I just want you to take pictures and video?

That's just fine! Let's chat and see what we can work out together!

Do Doulas only work with women planning an unmedicated/natural birth? I know I want an epidural...

That is just fine! I have worked with clients who know they want an epidural before transition or at various points in labor and I am happy to support that! I will support you just like any other client and birth plan and help you meet your goals!

What if I go into labor outside the on-call time frame of 38-42 weeks?

You will still get a doula! I have had clients have babies outside this window of time and it works out just fine! You just give me a call and if I can I will be there. I might be a little further away than my usual on-call distance and there's a chance since I wasn't on call that I may be out of town but I will send one of my amazing back up doulas to you! You will still get awesome support for your birth, no matter when that may be!

What if my unmedicated birth plan changes? What if I decide I want to have pain medication? 

That is a-okay by me! I often say I am team whatever you want! We will have a game plan in place but when that doesn't go as planned it's time to use the tools we have available to us and I am happy to help you navigate that and support your birth.

At what point in pregnancy should I hire a doula?

I have been hired as soon as the test says "positive" and I have been hired in the last days of pregnancy. There isn't a right or wrong time. The earlier you hire me, the more time you get with me in pregnancy to answer any questions that may pop up, help you understand tests and procedures that happen during pregnancy and to build a relationship together so I can best support you and your desires in labor.

Will you labor with me at home?

Yes! I am happy to labor with you at home and help you decide when it's time to head to your birth place. We can talk more about the logistics at our consultation and prenatal visits!

Do you serve my area?

Probably! I serve the northern part of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. If you live outside one of these areas, still feel free to reach out! I may be able to make an exception or if you're birthing in one of the areas I serve we can do your prenatals while you are in this area!

I doula any of Denton County, so Denton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Argyle and all the surrounding smaller towns and communities. I will serve up I-35 E to the 121 intersection - occasionally I take clients in Carrolton or Farmers Branch so don't hesitate to ask! It usually depends on what my calendar looks like for that month and if I can add that drive time to my schedule. I will serve Collin County, Prosper, McKinney and Plano. I will sometimes serve in Frisco (if you live in another town and plan to birth in Frisco, that's no issue!) again, it just depends on the month. I will serve north all the way to the Oklahoma Boarder, so Sanger, Valley View, Gainesville (pretty much all of Cooke County) with Munester being my north western boarder and Callisburg being my North eastern boarder. I am happy to doula for all of Wise County, so Decatur, Bridgeport and Slidell and any other towns or communities there. I serve some of Montague county, depending on where you are specifically - if you're birthing in Denton, feel free to contact me! I'm sure we can work that out. I serve as a doula south into Tarrant County to downtown Fort Worth with the hospital district. This includes Keller, Haslet, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, and Northlake.

 

I would love to schedule a free consultation with you to see if we're a good fit!

 

 

 

Birth Affirmations

Birth affirmations can be a great help and emotional boost in labor. I recommend my clients prepare birth affirmations before labor and display them around the house where they can be a focal point in the last days of pregnancy. For some moms, taking the time to actually hand write the affirmations can be a nice way to focus, meditate, pray and really take heart in the affirmation, plans and hopes you have for birth.

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These were my personal birth affirmations for my second daughters labor and birth. I had them hanging in the bathroom and next to my bed to read over and focus on in the last few weeks of pregnancy. When I was in early labor I grabbed them to bring to the birth center with me. I also had a few cards packed with affirmations for my husband to read to me after I was in active labor and knew my eyes would be closed most of the time.

Clients who prepare birth affirmations are encouraged to pack them & I'm happy to hang them up around your birth space so your partner and I know exactly what you would like to hear most in the trenches of labor.

There isn't a right or a wrong when it comes to birth affirmations. A couple of unique affirmations of choice I've heard throughout my years as a doula; "I'm going to kick labors butt!" and "This baby is going to slide out like 'buttah'"! I have a pinterest board dedicated to birth affimations, check it out and see what resonates with you!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a birth doula, professional belly binder and placenta encapsulator serving families in the North part of the Dallas Fort Worth area. She serves families in Denton, Cooke, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and Collin counties.

Interviewing Doulas: Why some questions matter!

Congratulations on your pregnancy and decision to hire a doula! It can be a daunting project to decide what to ask when interviewing doulas and finding the right one for you. Here is a peek behind the doula curtain to see why certain interview questions matter!

You can find lists of questions to ask when interviewing doulas all over the internet and one of the first questions they recommend is how many births have you attended? A better question to ask is: How has your training prepared you to support me in my labor and birth? You might even ask a bit more about what their training was like and what it involved! Everyone has to attend their first few births, I have to say, I did an amazing job supporting my very first client! It is about so much more than numbers. A good training will have your doula ready to support you whether it is her first birth to attend or her twentieth! Your connection with your doula honestly matters more than the number of births she has attended. Do you feel comfortable and supported with her? That's what you should ask yourself!

Speaking of a good training - ask her if she is Certified? If so, with what organization? There are many doula training organizations out there! Some people pick a big name company or a smaller one that they connect with their ideology and philosophys. Sometimes you will have an uncertified doula tell you that she has decided to remain uncertified although she trained with xyz organization because she found their "scope of practice limiting". Honestly, if they found it limiting, they needed to find another organization that has a broader scope or one they agree with more and certify with them. Ask them what about that scope was limiting? Was it that they can't use essential oils? Is it because they aren't allowed to do cervical exams? (if your doula says she will do cervical exams RUN! that is not her job!)
You can be a great doula without being certified but here's why I advocate for certification - it holds the doula to a higher standard! If I was running around doing things I shouldn't (catching babies, acting unprofessional, not showing up to births etc) my clients can contact the 3 (yes 3!) organizations I hold certifications with and I would have someone to answer to. I get resources and materials from these organizations, I don't want to do something to ruin that relationship with my cert org because that's part of me staying in business! Doulas are not regulated (like midwives or doctors) so working with someone who has taken the time, expense and effort to maintain a certification is an indicator that you have found a professional, not someone doing this as a hobby.

Some other certification/training questions: Do you have to recertify yearly? (or did they get a lifetime stamp of approval regardless of how they practice?) Tell me about your training? (was it an in person hands on training or was it all distance education and books or a combination of both? There isn't a good or a bad here, just what fits their learning style best. If they've only attended a handful of births, is it important to you if they had hands on training?)

Ask about continuing education. A professional doula should always be working towards learning and growing, if her certification organization requires yearly recertification she will be working on something. This is also great for you! Continuing Education is when doulas pick up skills beyond the basics they learn at training. Accupressure, TENS, Massage, advanced situation training (ie bereavement doula), rebozo, spinning babies etc. These are just an example of things a doula can add to her tool belt to help you have a supported birth!

What unique or challenging experiences have you faced as you have supported clients? This is where the number of births comes into play, you can have a doula that has been to 50 births, but they all happen to be uncomplicated vaginal births. You can have a doula who has attended three and all three had a complication arise that has afforded the doula unique and invaluable experiences.

Some people ask how many children a doula has. That might be important to you, but I know doulas that do not have children and they are awesome at their job! Instead ask, Do you have reliable childcare? How long will it take you to get to me when I am in labor? Doulas who do this professionally have some awesome on call childcare options! When I take on a client I have a game plan of where my children can be dropped off at a moments notice for the 5 week on-call window, 24/7!

What is your birth philosophy? is a common interview question -  it isn't a bad question, but a better question would be if she can support you in your desired birth? (water birth, hospital birth, birth center birth, home birth, vbac, unique complication, c-section whether planned or emergent)

How do you work with my husband/partner? Doulas and dads should complement each other. A doula should not take a partners place (unless that's what the birthing person and partner want!). Sometimes I'm at an interview and a pregnant mother wants me to convince her husband that a doula is a good idea. Doulas love to talk about what we do and how we can help you have an awesome birth but please understand we can't make him do anything. I don't know the dynamics of your relationship and if he doesn't really want me there and it has been forced on him, it probably won't be the greatest birth environment when half of the birthing couple doesn't want the doula present. Hopefully after meeting a doula your partner is on board with a supported birthing experience!

Another frequent question is whether or not a doula has worked at your particular birth place or with that provider. I am in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, we have hundreds of care providers! While there are some providers I have worked with more than once, chances are I won't ever work with all of them! It still might be nice to know if the doula has worked with them, but don't put a lot of stock in that response! You should ask the doula instead, I am planning a ______ birth. What questions would you suggest I ask my care provider to see if he/she will support my wishes.

Do you have any "black out dates" around my due date? This is a great way to also learn about their back up doula! Doulas are people too and sometimes we need to go out of town or attend a wedding etc. There's about a 3% chance of going into labor on any given day, so the chances of you laboring on the day(s) that your doula isn't available are slim but she should have a solid back up relationship regardless of black out dates! If your doula does have a black out date, ask if you can meet the back up doula if you'd like!

Do you have an hourly clause in your contract? Hourly clauses work a couple of different ways: Some doulas charge a base rate for their services and if your labor exceeds a certain number of hours an hourly fee begins to retain your labor support. Sometimes it's 12, 15, or 18 hours of labor support that is built into the existing fee and hourly labor support varies but it's anywhere from $12-$20/hour. I do not charge more based on the length of your labor nor do any doulas that I have a back up relationship with!

Most doulas have a clause in their contract about bringing in a back up (if needed) if labor goes beyond a certain number of hours. For example, 15 hours, if your doula is with you for 15 hours she reserves the right to bring in a back up doula to relieve her and bring in fresh awesome support for you (so she can get some rest! We're pretty awesome but we're not super human! Trust me, you want a rested doula). Check to see if you are responsible for paying the back up doula or if that is covered in your fee.

These are just a few questions you might consider asking in a doula interview. At the end of the day, I believe that it matters most how you personally connect with the doula. If you feel on edge, or like you're being judged by the person you are interviewing - she isn't the doula for you! It should be a pretty easy connection and someone you look forward to seeing.

Check out this post for a more complete list of doula interview questions!

 

Rebekah Lewis is a birth doula, professional belly binder and placenta encapsulator serving families in the North part of the Dallas Fort Worth area. She serves families in Denton, Cooke, Tarrant, Dallas, Wise and Collin counties.

 

 

 

 

 

FREE Bump Day in Hurst, Texas for Pregnant Families

If you're a new mother or pregnant and local to Grapevine or Hurst you will want to mark your calendar for the upcoming Bump Day being hosted by Back in Motion Family Chiropractic! 

This event is FREE to anyone. There will be freebies, raffles and prizes! 

I will be there and happy to chat about Birth Doula services and Postpartum Belly Binding. Callie will be there representing Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Education - my favorite birth classes because they are the best! Birth Boot Camp was voted the BEST childbirth education in Fort Worth for 2016!

You can learn more on their website and if you're on Facebook this is a link to the event page

Hope to see you there!