Alice the Doula with Sparkles 0
I have a confession. My personal doula website was pretty bad, for quite awhile. It started off okay. I did it myself using a stock template provided through my host company. What started out 'fine' gradually went downhill. My contact form stopped working for a some reason, the pictures were old and the information was out of date. I didn't even list my childbirth classes on there!! I was too focused on my other businesses to spend time on my own website.
Enter Sprinkle Sparkle aka Cynthya Dzialo...
I met Cynthya at a doula dinner a few years ago when she was a new doula just starting out. She knew of me and had seen my site. At the time I was near the top of the Google searches for Atlanta Doulas, but not anymore! Search engine optimization is one of Cynthya's skills and she quickly brought her site (www.happiestdoula.com) up the Google ranks. Sprinkle Sparkle was born out of Cynthya combining her SEO and website creation skills with her knowledge of the doula industry.
With a makeover from Sprinkle Sparkle my Alice the Doula website is a much better representation of myself and my services. It's no longer "sad and drab" (quote from a client of mine). I feel proud to call it my website and enjoy getting referrals from it. They are able to contact me through the working contact form (imagine that!).
Does your website need some TLC or does it even exist? Consider Sprinkle Sparkle for your website needs. When I can I like to patronize doula companies. They understand the business like no one else can.
For the month of March you can get 10% off any services at Sprinkle Sparkle. Use the code:YourDoulaBag.
Manage your doula business with YourDoulaBiz 2
Have you heard about our web based doula business management program yet? Let me introduce you to YourDoulaBiz.
YourDoulaBiz was born in August of 2011 as the result of a former database programmer (me) becoming a doula. I used to manage my own data with some really awesome Excel spreadsheets, but was never satisfied with that solution. One of my biggest complaints was my inability to access these spreadsheets while away from my computer. The spreadsheets were never easy enough to use that I kept them current either.
My system just wasn't working! I'll share some embarassing examples. Would you like to hear about the time I forget whether a client paid me our not? How about the many many births where I forgot to take notes because I thought I would remember the details and then didn't remember the details after all. Then there is the very exciting end of the year tax time scramble where I attempt to retrace all of my car trips in order to determine my mileage driven. I needed a better system.
YourDoulaBiz is the system of my doula dreams. It stores all of your client information(including payment data!). There is a nice visual of your call calendar which helps with client inquiries and bookings. You can track all of your tasks (like prenatal, labor, followup and networking events) and include the mileage and expenses associated with them. There is a great birth record form to record all sorts of data from a birth. This month we are even releasing a new funationality where you can share records with your doula backup! I am organizing and on top of the management of my doula business and you can be too. Oh and best of all, it's accessible from any device that connects to the internet (computer, smart phone, iPad).
We have lots of happy customers. They have this to say...
"I really like how I can see the summary of details from births I have attended. This will be a big help when I interviewing with potential clients!" Nicole HCHI, HCHD Lawrenceville, GA www.AdventuresInChildbirth.com
"I love YourDoulaBiz. It has really gotten me organized and everything I need is a click or two away. I love how it tracks outcomes and provides a summary as well. Thank you so much for this incredible service!" Danielle Freudenberg, CD(DONA) EmergingMiracles.com
"YourDoulaBiz helps keep all of my client's organized in one place, which makes keeping notes securely available anywhere I have internet access and so much easier come the end of the year." -www.comfortingtouchdoula.com Albuquerque, NM
"YourDoulaBiz keeps me much more organized than I’ve ever been on my own. Doesn’t quite compare with my inexperienced attempts at creating Excel spreadsheetsJ. I think my clients, my finances (keeping detailed records, easy access for tax information, etc) and my overall business will greatly benefit from using YourDoulaBiz." Liz Johnson Birth Doula/Childbirth Educator- CAPPA www.embracebirthsupport.com
Have I tempted you to sign-up? We have very afforadable plans which can be paid in one yearly payment or on a monthly basis.
Lessons from Acorns 0
My son and I enjoy going for walks in our neighborhood and he especially enjoys visiting a neighbor that has a whole yard full of acorns. We usually pick up several and bring them back to our house where they entertain him for a good 10-15 minutes. His favorite nuts were the ones still wearing “hats” (actually called a involucre or cupule)
One day while we were playing with our loot I started wondering why were some acorns still wearing their hats while others were not. All of the acorns started growing about the same time. They had all been gestating on the tree for the same amount of time yet clearly some were ready to go onto the next phase of their life (germination or food for another animal) and others needed more time on the tree.
As a birth professional, it is only fitting that I draw a comparison to childbirth. I have a firm belief that some babies need longer in the womb then others. Some mothers give birth at 39 weeks and others not until 42 weeks. I see it as simply as I the nuts in this picture.
I recently had a conversation with a pregnant mom about her OB and how he practices. She said that he likes to induce his patients at 39 weeks for two reasons. 1) Because the baby is a bit smaller and will therefore be easier to birth and 2) Because the final weeks of pregnancy are hard on moms and they will have a bit more energy for labor if induced earlier. This conversation shocked and frustrated me. How could someone really think that those were good reasons to induce? How could his patients think these were valid reasons and worth the risks associated with induction?
Why do we feel that at the very end of the process that we know better? Why do we feel that our bodies no longer know what to do? Babies seem to know what they are doing. They grow hearts, livers, brains and even fingernails without our help. Our bodies create placentas and umbilical cords without our assistance.
My question to the care providers in the world is why can’t we honor mother nature and let babies choose the day of their birth? Give the baby a chance to tell us when it is ready. Have you ever tried to take the ‘hat’ off a green acorn? It’s nearly impossible. Give the acorn a few more days/weeks and it easily falls off by itself. Try to induce a mom with a low bishops score and you are bound to have a difficult time getting labor started. Give her a few days/weeks and she will go into labor on her own.
Come on people..Don’t give up on mother nature!
- Tags: Induction
7 years 1
February of 2004 I attended a DONA doula training and forever my life was changed. After months of researching the doula profession and talking to my husband, family and friends, I decided to take the plunge and become a doula. Once the training began, there was no question that I had made the right decision.
My doula training was wonderful. My eyes were opened to this exciting career that was perfect for me. I love helping people and was a certified birth and breastfeeding junkie. My doula trainer, Rae Davies, was excellent. I hung on her every word and soaked the information up like a giant sponge. Each night when I returned home I was exhausted from the day, but so thrilled to be following my passion.
In the 7 years since my training, I have attended nearly 100 births as a doula. I have had two wonderful home water births myself. I became certifed as a Lamaze childbirth educator. I created and run a doula products company and launched a doula business management program. My life is completely doula focused. Birth is my business and I love it.
I am so lucky to have found my passion. Bring on the next seven years, I can't wait!
Join me and make a difference 0
Earlier this month, two great maternal health activists and bloggers (Hillary and Jeanette) asked me to help out with a fundraiser to help send certified nurse midwife, Karen Feltham to Haiti. I said YES right away, even before reading all of the great background information that they provided. Why did I jump at this opportunity? Well, being a doula can sometimes be frustrating. We often see change in small ways (one birth at a time), but it’s rare to see big change. Here’s my chance to make a bigger change.
As we all know, Haiti was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck January 12, 2010. This country that had a lot of challenges (to say the least) before the earthquake occurred was devastated after this event. One of the first things to go during disasters such as these is basic care for women during the childbearing year. A wonderful non-profit group called Circle of Health International has a mission to fill this need. This is the group working to bring Karen Feltham and other trained professionals like her to areas in crisis.
The original goal of the fundraiser was to raise $1000 to send Karen back to Haiti. Guess what, it’s already been done! BUT WAIT, this fundraiser isn’t over yet! So what am I asking for exactly? I would like for you to consider making some type of donation to COHI. We have raised enough for Karen’s trip, but how about other areas of need. We know there are plenty of women all over the world that need help. COHI has been involved in places such as Sri Lanka, Tibet, Sudan and even Louisiana. Extra funds will be used to send Karen or another volunteer to the next area in need.
Here is my question to you: Can you spare just 1% of what you made with your last client? If your fee was $600, could you send just $6 to COHI?
- Tags: Event
The Power of the Shower 1
I love the shower for labor. It is one of my go to suggestions for sure. I have found that sometimes it takes a bit of convincing to get a laboring mama in the shower. I think the whole process of having to undress, get wet, get out, dry off, and get dressed again can be daunting in labor. Most of my clients that make it into the shower feel relief and contractions seem to really progress.
Here are my steps to setting up a hospital shower for a client.
- If mama has an IV port, ask the nurse if it needs to be covered in plastic. This is one way to protect it from the water. I like this better than just saying “don’t get it wet”, that makes mama feel like they can’t move around freely in the shower.
- Look for a shower stool or bench. These aren’t available at all hospitals, but when they are I like to have them in the shower in case mama wants to sit. Cover the stool/bench with a clean towel. It will get wet, but will be more comfortable.
- Have mama’s toiletries available in case she wants them while in the shower.
- Put a washcloth in the shower and get plenty of towels ready in the bathroom for dry off. When she is ready to get out you don’t want her to have to wait for you to find towels.
- Get the water running. In my experience the hospital water has to be turned all the way to hot in order for it to feel good. Stepping into a shower with the water running is a whole lot better than having it spray cold on you!
- If mama is listening to music bring it into the bathroom and set it up.
- Bring mama’s water cup with a straw into the shower and place it within easy reach. Remind her that it will be in the shower with her.
- CRITICAL STEP – turn out the horrible florescent lights! If you need extra light turn up the lights in the room and leave the door cracked. I like to use battery operated candles. I keep 4 in my doula bag and set them up around the outside of the tub.
- Tell mama that you’ll be just outside of the door if she needs you and leave her ALONE. I think this is one of the greatest qualities of the shower. Mama can have some private laboring time. Sometimes partners want to join the shower which is great, but I think there is a lot of power in that alone time.
- While she is in the shower check her water cup periodically and get her clothes ready for when she gets out. This might include grabbing a fresh gown if she is wearing one.
- When she is done with the shower, be ready to help assist her in getting out, getting dry, getting dressed and navigating back to the room. Don’t forget to bring the music back to the main room too.
Other tidbits about using the shower…
Warm water on your back can help ease labor pain, especially back labor. If a hand shower is available, partners and/or doulas can direct that water right where relief is greatest. Warm water on your front can provide nipple stimulation that can increase contractions. The white noise of a running shower can help ease relaxation.
Don’t under estimate the power of the shower!!