The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Families
Happy Monday, everyone. Please welcome sweet Petra to the HOH family! Petra, we are so happy to meet you and so, so, proud of your parents. They worked long and hard to meet you.
When you've been in the birth world as long as we have you know that the only certainty in labor is that there will be plenty of uncertainty. But goodness, the payoff is phenomenal, isn't it?!
Last week we talked about the changes in expectations leading up to your birthing time and the importance of staying flexible and, as if on cue, the CDC changed their COVID guidelines once again. The Delta variant of COVID 19 is proving to be extremely contagious even in vaccinated people. Houston numbers are again on the rise and so we ask everyone, vaccinated or not, to please plan on wearing a mask when you visit us at the birth center. If you have any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID 19 please call us before you come in so we can insure the safety of all our employees and your fellow HOH families. Mary Love shares her thoughts in a blog post today.
Whole lotta love!
We've been working hard on adding events and speakers to our calendar. We added a new feature to our website that shows events by topic. You can now search for events specific to you! Events are broken down by pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding and newborn/parenting. Take a look at the new page and let us know what you think. We even have events for birth professionals. If there is a topic or class you are interested in seeing at Heart of Houston shoot us a line and we will do our best to get it on the calendar. Don't forget we have another Dance and Stretch class this Saturday and a Family Brunch on Saturday the 14th. Later this week I'll send out a sign-up sheet for the brunch. Looking forward to seeing many of you there!
What's on your labor playlist?
So, I've been attending births for well over a decade and something that never gets old besides the whole miracle of life thing, is the variety in labor playlists. Spotify has dozens of Labor & Delivery Day playlists with the usual suspects like Queen and Bowie's Under Pressure, Salt-N-Pepa's Push it, and my wife's personal favorite, Survivor's Eye of the Tiger (insert HARD eye roll). But, it's the songs that I've never thought of in a birthing setting that surprise me the most.
Back in March, Mary and I sat quietly waiting for a mama to arrive at the birth center so we could support her during active labor. Suddenly she burst through our tiny back door, phone in hand with Nathaniel Rateliff belting out Son of Bitch at full volume. It. Was. Beautiful. Rachel marched in and sang her way through active labor and transition. Her playlist also included the Across the Universe soundtrack and even a little Otis Redding. She and her husband both have music backgrounds and it was so incredible listening to them sing and harmonize through contractions.
A few years ago I had a doula client who listened to playlist with The Greatest from Sia and Kendrick Lamar. I'll never forget the power of this verse as she was dancing with her husband and working hard to meet her first baby: Well, uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
But, oh oh, I got stamina
And oh yeah, running through the waves of love
But I, I got stamina
And oh yeah, I'm running and I've just enough
And uh-oh, I got stamina
Who could have guessed that Sia would be a musical doula for this mama?! Research shows that music can, "...reduce pain and anxiety while offering a multifaceted form of psychological support to alleviate stress and promote an increased sense of control in women during labour." I love to cite the Gate Theory of Pain when I teach comfort measures classes. Evidence Based Birth breaks it down like this, "Basically, the gate control theory says that if you activate your nerves in a non-painful way at the same time that you’re experiencing pain, that that blocks the pain signals from reaching your brain. That’s because there’s a gate. There’s a limited amount of information that can go up to your brain at once, and if you flood the nerves with non-painful stimuli, that prevents the painful messages from getting through." So, stimulating all the senses, including what you hear, can lessen the discomforts of labor.
Make a couple of playlists for your big day! Keep in mind labor tempos vary from phase to phase so while a little Lizzo might work when labor is ramping up, consider something more meditative for late active and transition. Check out one of my favorites, Beautiful Chorus for a combo of beautiful vocals and empowering mantras. And of course, there's always a good chance that you'll want complete quiet and that's okay too.
Get your Gottman on!
On Sunday August 22nd Kim Jones, LPC of The Center for Postpartum Family Health will join our pregnancy group: Introduction to the Gottman Method for Healthy Relationships. I love this class for expectant parents because it brings up really great topics for you and your partner to address right now, before the sleep deprivation of a new baby gets a hold of you. This introduction course will cover conflict resolution, making time for each other and skills for connection. Class is free to all HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members and $20 for non members. Sign up here.
Get to know the HOH staff
Bethany Horton, CNM
When Mary and I started searching for a second CNM to add to our practice we knew it would need to be someone special. Interviewing potential candidates was difficult because of COVID and we did many interviews online. It's hard to gauge a person's true spirit over zoom. We wanted someone who's birth philosophy aligned with ours and we also wanted someone who could practice confidently in the birth center or a hospital setting. Bethany was so confident and had such a loving spirit about her that we both knew she would be a great fit for Heart of Houston. Bethany, her husband Steven and their daughter Presley relocated from Medford, Oregon to Houston in June to join us and we are so glad she did. Here are a few facts about Bethany!
She and her husband are highschool sweethearts.
Her favorite classe high school: Anatomy/Physiology and Sports Medicine. "I have always loved science and getting to learn through hands on activities has always been my favorite."
When did I decide to have a BC birth: I knew long before I even planned my pregnancy that I wanted an out of hospital birth experience if possible. Throughout my whole journey to midwifery, my heart has been led to out of hospital birth both for myself and for the people I care for.
If I weren’t a midwife what would I be doing: Having lots of babies and staying home to raise them. It was always a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl to have a large family with lots of kids running around, never a lack of love or fun. Let’s just say being an adult in today’s world has changed my goals and I am happy to be midwifing!
Olympic sport I would compete in: I would say probably gymnastics. Only because I was a cheerleader in high school and loved the tumbling.
Thanks for playing along Bethany! We are so happy to have you on our team.
Latch Clinic: August 7th & 21st, 9/1 & 9/15, 10am, Leah Jolly IBCLC will join our weekly postpartum support group to answer your feeding questions.
Dance and Stretch Class: August 7th 10am, Joanna is back to ease your mind and prepare your body for the movements of labor. This class is like a session with a doula, yoga instructor and therapist all rolled into one. Take a moment out of your busy schedule to focus on your changing body and growing baby. Class is $15 for Whole Heart Collective members and all Heart of Houston families and $20 for the public. Feel free to invite your friends!
Pregnancy Group: August 22nd Kim Jones LPC of the Center for Postpartum Family Health will join us for a SUPER helpful info session on the Gottman Method and the classes offered for pregnancy and postpartum. We highly recommend you and your partner attend this meeting to get an idea of things you should start thinking about before you baby arrives. Even if you already have a kiddo or two at home, these tips will be beneficial!
**Infant CPR & BLS: Saturday August 28th 10 am, If you haven't taken a CPR class in the last few years we highly recommend taking a refresher before you bring your new baby home. This is also a great class for grandparents and potential babysitters. This class is an American Heart Association approved class. Sign up here. (This course is appropriate for expectant parents and healthcare workers) ** Please note the date change**
Family Brunch: August 14th 11am, Come meet your fellow Heart of Houston families! Get to know all the great people in your HOH community in a not super awkward setting. This is a potluck style gathering so bring a dish to share.
Pregnancy Group: September 19th 2pm Newborn Care Basics and First 48 of breastfeeding. Jessica will teach what to expect from your newborn in the first few weeks of life followed by Leah Jolly IBCLC reviewing the ways to establish a good foundation for breastfeeding in the first 48 hours of your new baby's life.
Postpartum Support Group: Every Wednesday from 10-12ish and Thursday 9:30-11:30. Come as you are, come late, leave when you need to.