Baby Registry Basics

Overwhelmed by the samples different stores give you about baby registry items? All the things doesn’t actually mean to register for everything! We had a client who wanted the bare minimum. What were our must haves as doulas for our clients to have. We created this list for you to know the basics and anything added on from there is simply nice to have.

A Letter to Mothers From A NICU Mom

I wish there were magical words that I could write to make this situation better, but I know from experience that there are no words to do that. What I can do is share with you from one NICU mom to another, some words of encouragement for both mom and family and friends based on my experience.

When you are a parent of a NICU child, your hero or heroes sit before you every day. Much like a police officer saving you from a everyday crime, my child has saved my life. He is saving his own life and he is only a few months old. I have become a very strong woman, an extremely proud and devoted mother, and a person that is grateful for each passing day.  I try my best to thank God for my boys because I have now seen miracles happen right before my eyes. I go about my day as all other people do and I have my simple challenges and my crazy moments. I deal, I move on, and I live my life. Not everyone knows I am a NICU Mom, but I know that it makes a difference in the woman I am each day. I think we all live a fairly normal life, but our experience in the NICU plays a huge role in my everyday. All of us have both external and internal battle scars.  My husband and I have memories that could most likely be compared to those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Sometimes, when a friend mentions anything related to a hospital experience, without invitation I immediately start telling my story and give details about my little tikes stay at the NICU. The memories come flooding and my mouth starts speaking even before I know what I am saying. I think most of my friends have heard my stories, but they just allow me to talk because it is polite and because they love me. We are a family of miracles. Even though I am tougher than I was before the NICU stay, I am still as fragile as the first time they told me that he would be born at 28 weeks and then he told me that 40% of the children born at my son’s due date do not survive and if they do they have complications. I am fragile as the time I was holding my breath when my son’s ventilator was removed for the first time.  I am as fragile as the time that they took my son out of his isolette when he weighed less than 5 lbs. Even though I am tough, even though we are warriors, I am forever fragile because I know that life is fragile and I know that every second with my children should be cherished because they were gifts given only to us. All that being said, I am a regular mom.

 

I live a regular life and I think regular thoughts for most of my days.  I have the occasionally slip ups every now and then, but it’s not easy being a mother and knowing my baby is at the hospital.  People often ask me how I do it, and I know how I do it. I do it because I would never want to do it any other way. I need these two boys like I need to breathe. I have the guilt of not carrying my child to term. I have the memories of each roller coaster moment from my 36 days in the hospital before he was born, and continuing days in the NICU right now.  I have found strength in the eyes of my child, and I have learned to be compassionate for all. The NICU is like the teacher of a class you never wanted to take, history for me. It gives you lessons that you will remember forever. Many of my memories from the hospital stays are horrible but I have a few that are great. I am forever thankful for the nurses and doctors that raised my children for those months when I could not.  I will never forget the names or the faces of the nurses and doctors that saved my son’s life and I remember the love you showed me. I have met countless heroes along the way and I think I can honestly say that I am grateful for this crazy journey. One nurse in the NICU said to me “Ya know, one thing I learned about the NICU is that every person’s journey affects them the same way. Whether you are here for one day or nine months, all parents are affected.  The fear that you have is the same.”

Awareness is key, as an outsider you want you celebrate the new life. However We have a hospitalized child fighting to survive. The scene isn’t jubilant yet. We are neither physically or mentally prepared for the usual frozen meals, cute onesies or requests for photos. Please don’t pry. We might not know why the baby was born early but as a parent we do feel shock and guilt about it. Talking about our baby’s health issues and roller coaster of the NICU is too scary and everything is unknown. The same discretion goes for mom’s body and health status. If we share, listen. Until then your curiosity must go unsatisfied. Offer us help however don’t be do proactive. Please understand sitting in the NICU inventing errands or shopping lists to make loved ones feel useful is a burden. Let us focus. My favorite texts were question-free and read, “Thinking of your family. Here to do anything when you want help. No need to reply now.” If we don’t respond, be patient. You might be on standby for a few days—or weeks—but we’ll probably take you up on the offer. Be calm and cautiously optimistic in front of preemie parents. Crying to us on the phone or telling us you’re worried sick makes things worse. Be zen. Our parents kept their cool and it reassured us. Skip asking when the baby will come home. The due date is the target and we’re more impatient than you are. We’ll share when NICU staff give the green light, I promise. Most of all, tell preemie parents you believe in them. Friends and family told us we were good parents doing everything right. Your love is powerful medicine and we need it now more than ever.

 

 

NICU mom,

you are a regular mom, tho most days it doesn’t feel like it. You got this. Do not feel you are over sharing with telling people about your bundle of joy. Write down the good and bad, it helps to get it out and have a place for people to read about what is going on so you don’t have to repeat yourself over and over again. This helped me not relive the moments again and again. I used Facebook to keep my friends and family up to date. Mainly because you’re likely going to be bombarded with folks who care about you dearly. Folks who want to help you. Folks who want to fix the situation and take away your pain. Occasionally they’ll say things to you that will hit a nerve. They may be under the assumption that your baby is just in the NICU because he/she needs to grow a little more (not knowing the battle your child is in). They may demand you stop grieving and ask you to be glad that your baby is still alive. Some may go as far as to say to you horrible things such as, “At least you didn’t have to go to the end of your pregnancy and be miserable” (True story.)

But the truth is, unless they’ve been there, unless they’ve walked this, they won’t know that your heart is broken. They won’t understand that you’d do anything, go through anything if it meant you could just carry your child to term and save them this pain. It will take some getting used to, but often times you’ll juggle being thankful for your child’s life while being scared to death for their future. That’s ok. You see, some of us have been there. Some of us are still there. And we want to tell you one thing: all those feelings, those conflicting and sometimes awful feelings, they’re normal. Yep, totally normal.And no, you don’t need to explain them to us. We get them. We’ve had them. We’re still having them.

Plain and simple: the NICU is traumatic. All of the uncertainties, the obstacles your child faces, the pain, the statistics— it all takes it’s toll. But you will emerge. You will find a hidden strength that you never knew you had. And you’ll see the strength of your child. You’ll grow amazed and proud of them as you watch them win their battles.

As you navigate these new waters, Don’t be afraid to speak up and speak out. Find your voice and share your feelings and concerns. Allow yourself the opportunity to correct others who may misjudge your fears of the future as an inability to appreciate the miracle of your child. Grieve. Lots of things have been lost along the way- a normal pregnancy, a normal birth, a normal departure from the hospital… the list goes on and on. Grieve it all. You’re experiencing loss, a huge, unimaginable loss. Know that you can’t prepare yourself for the future (after all, no one can predict it) and force yourself to stay in the present. Deal with the hurdles of the day. But when your mind does start to ask the “what ifs” about the future (and it will), when you start to doubt the path you’re on, don’t beat yourself up for it. Face those “what ifs” with courage and know that the strength you’re discovering will emerge as you face each and every new trial. Remember that your child, not statistics will determine his/her course (these stubborn NICU babies rarely follow the predicted path). And finally, know that you’re not alone. Some of the most therapeutic times are found in the NICU when moms begin to connect. Share stories with each other. As you begin talking, you’ll likely find that these women who you thought were so different from you, have now become the only ones who understand your heart. Don’t be afraid to talk to them. Chances are, they’ll appreciate knowing that they’re not the only ones feeling this way either.

This journey that you’re on, it’s a battle. It’s likely to take some turns. You’ll make advances and retreats. Sometimes it will feel like you haven’t left the trenches in weeks. But you will emerge. You will make it. The battle will end. And one day, you’ll look back on this time and it will be a blur. A new normal will emerge, you’ll begin to find happiness and good times again and you’ll look on your scars knowing that each one represents something you have conquered.

 

– Alyssa Queensberry is a Green Bay resident who gave birth to Preston Scott , born 12 weeks early on July 19th, 2018. He weighed 2lbs 11 oz & 15 inches long. 

Why Doulas Love The CUB

As doulas we are told to have our tips and tricks with us in a birth bag. But the reality is I only have a change of clothes, some snacks for myself, a phone charger, a water bottle and the CUB.

 

We stumbled upon the CUB about three years ago in a Pinterest board and haven’t looked back.  Here is our the top reasons why the doulas of Green Bay Doulas love the CUB.

Starts Conversations

When we bring a CUB to a clients house, the older siblings love to play on it, which helps to get everyone comfortable with it and us. Who doesn’t love a new toy?  Nurses and Doctors stop, look and ask lots of questions, all conversations end with “well that’s wonderful, we need some of those!” Wausau Aspirus Hospital currently has one for their labor and delivery unit after we supported a client while using a CUB.

Stability

Unlike a birthing ball which can put pressure on the sacrum, and requires some balancing, our clients like that it is more stable than a birthing ball, but still offers movement if needed.  When we would use birthing balls on the bed for gravity based positions, it would be hard to find the right size, where if our clients are using the CUB we can use both or just one chamber and the belly fits right in there to let them just layout and rest while feeling supported.

Versatility

From end of pregnancy to in the laboring room on the floor (sitting), in the bed (hands and knees) or even in the shower on its side on top of a chair so they have a perfect height to learn against, we can set the CUB up to support our clients when needed.

Ease of Use

It takes seconds to inflate, seconds to deflate, folds up small and it’s lightweight. Also, it’s easy to sanitize or dry off.

Affordable

For the benefit it brings it’s a great tool for all families. I was so excited when I heard the CUB was coming to the USA. No more international shipping! It can be also used well beyond pregnancy and labor, as I said the kids love it, and provides a great alternative to a couch or chair while providing support.

 

If you are ready to join the Green Bay Doulas and experience the CUB you can at https://www.the-cub-usa.com/

 

I Don’t Want A Doula

Things I hear on a daily basis: “I don’t want someone else in the room with my partner and I” “I just can’t afford a doula, maybe next baby we can plan better” “I really wish I would have hired you, even just to have that support before I had the baby.” and  “I don’t want a doula, I’m getting an epidural” 

 

This got me thinking about how our role as doulas is to offer our clients options. Options in hospitals, doctors, laboring techniques, and inductions. Options in pain management from hydrotherapy to epidurals, options in navigating vaginal birth after surgical birth and even surgical birth itself. Options in community resources from photographers to chiropractic care, massage to hair dressers, and even dog trainers!

 

SO WHY NOT OFFER AN OPTION IN THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT MANY WISH TO RECEIVE?

 

One of the cornerstones that Green Bay Doulas was built on is to listen to the birthing community, and be and bring the change that they long to see.

 

We listened to the desires of our community, and we are excited to announce Everything But the Birth: Your personal concierge through pregnancy. You are matched with your perfect doula who will become your best friend and confidant for your pregnancy. She will help you navigate questions, comments, she will celebrate with you, and lift you up when needed. She will help you navigate your options with her insider knowledge. She will provide a prenatal planning session where you discuss what to expect, help you build your birth plan, and teach your partner or friend/family member some hands on approaches to help support you during labor. She will also provide a postpartum visit once you are home and settled with the new baby.

 

So how is this different from a labor doula?

 

We don’t attend your birth.

 

This option will bring the support you desire throughout pregnancy, without the larger investment. But what happens if along the way you decide you’d like birth doula support during your birth? You’d just need to make that decision by 34 weeks, and your initial payment is applied to your remaining balance. We work in teams of two when supporting laboring clients so we want to make sure your entire team is at your prenatal.

 

Photo: Timeless Touch Photography

Our goal is to make doula support accessible to every laboring family, surrogate, and individual. We want you to have access to the knowledge we have and feel supported, secure, and empowered to make the best choices for your family. This is the very heart of Green Bay Doulas, to give our clients options to decide what support option works best for their family.

 

Contact us today to get started!

Mothers Day Self Care

Mother’s day is filled with brunches, free admission for mothers to family events and adorable handmade presents from school and daycare. But what about some alone time too? Here are my top three ways you can refill your cup in Green Bay by supporting local and spoiling yourself!

Hope Della Skincare

801 Hoffman Road

Green Bay, Wisconsin

 

If you haven’t heard of this brow magician you are truly missing out. Hope is a lovely person with a talent for making you look your best. She’s offering a limited edition Blackberry Vanilla Bean Facial available only the week of Mother’s Day! Savor the bursting fruit scents of blackberries followed by soothing vanilla bean aromas with this anti-aging, hydrating, and firming treatment.

For $65.00 ($80+ value), you’ll be treated to a mimosa (or sparkling cider), a 60 minute limited edition relaxing facial, a complimentary brow wax, and a special gift to take home.

Available by appointment only May 14-May 18. To schedule this special, please TEXT Hope at 920-403-0013 or EMAIL hope@hopedellaskin.com


Mother’s Day Spa Retreat May 16th 

Mom Tribe and Stephanie Rudolph 

I can’t even describe my excitement when I heard that Mom Tribe, Stephanie, and Lodge Kohler were teaming up!  Take the evening to yourself and indulge in some serious SELF CARE! Join Mom Tribe along with the Green Bay Area Mom’s Blog & Stephanie Rudolph to chat about the importance of community & self care all while enjoying some R&R.

We have a special block of appointments from 4-8pm 

Book your appointments directly with Olive Galiano at

(920)327-4605 or OLIVE.GALIANO@kohler.com

ENJOY 20% OFF your booked service for the event!

Never been to the Waters Spa at The Lodge Kohler? Well, you are in for a treat! Book any service to have access to the entire facility from 8am-8pm (remember, book a service during our event and also score 20% OFF)! Would like to attend the event but skip a service? For only $40 you can enjoy all the amenities and mingle with the ladies!

Check out the menu of services here: https://www.lodgekohler.com/menu-of-service



Weiler Academy   You have heard me talk about the float pods but did you know there is more waiting for you? Great gift options for you and a friend or spoil yourself!  They look all the hard work have selected our favorite services designed to let her rest, rejuvenate and relax.  Their spa services utilize award-winning natural and holistic products and services from top European and domestic spas to create a special oasis here in Green Bay. 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Mothers Day to all of you! 

5 Tips When Saving For Baby

When planning a wedding it’s not uncommon to spend $10,000-$30,000 on a one day event. Having a child is no different. Being financially responsible from the start can help you get to where you need to be and take stress off of you by being prepared. We teamed up with Jenna Reimer of Northwestern Mutual, and a fellow GBD client and mother of 4 (including a set of triplets) to give us some pointers on creating a financial plan for parenthood. Connect with Jenna on Facebook, and learn more about Nothwestern Mutual.

1. Prioritize your needs
We all want the latest and greatest in baby gadgets and let’s be real, walking the aisles of Target with the scanning gun to create your baby registry is an overwhelming and fun date! Keep it simple. Identify your needs vs the wants. We have taken the hard part out of this, and here are our suggestions to the most basic baby checklist: Get Your Baby Registry List Here

Another thing to consider is considering who will be your village. Your mother? Mother-in-law? Sister? Friends? Most will have their own families and will be able to help as they can but when it comes down to counting on someone consider looking into postpartum care. From extra hands, self care (like a nap, shower or be able to just run some errands), and having continuous connection to an expert in baby care that gives you the space to have a gentle recovery from childbirth. Prioritizing your early parenting time and recovery, is a way where saving can be a very good idea. Our most popular package is the maternity leave 100 hour package. A doula will come to you a few times a week for your entire time of leave to help you grow in your confidence as a new parent and catch up on sleep!

2. Use your already available resources
Call your insurance and ask questions to see what is covered and what is not. From how many ultrasounds, to your hospital stay, you will feel confident knowing exactly what your plan covers so there are no surprises. Learning your options for what can be covered with your HSA and FLEX spending accounts can be beneficial too. If you are really ahead of the game, you can change your insurance plan ahead of time to include a HSA plan or FSA, purchase supplemental insurance, and in some cases daycare and postpartum care can actually be built into these as well. A financial planner can also help you navigate the insurance world, if you need some direction in how to go about all of this. For a breakdown of what costs to expect, review this article that breaks down The Cost of Having a Baby.

3. Creating a Budget and the Emergency Fund
No one wants to sit down and admit how much they spend at Starbucks in a given month, but it can be eye opening when you see just where your money is being spent. Starting to save now even if it’s $10-15 a week, will help your budget stay on track and your fund to grow. Maybe something fun, such as the penny challenge where you start saving a penny on day 1, 2 cents on day 2, and so on and so forth. At the end of 365 days, you’ll have $667.95. And no, we aren’t saying you need to give up Starbucks entirely. Use these Budgeting Tips to help you get started.

4. Get Your Affairs in Order

We get it, no one wants to think about worst case scenarios, but by taking the time to put these three things in order it can save you money, stress, and time in the long run.

Life Insurance can be budgeted, depending on what your goals are. From term to full life plans, you will want to think of covering lost income, funeral expenses, and college funds. It can be built into almost any budget, and is something very important to think about.

Drafting a will is another must have, and we’re not talking about just writing your wishes on paper and putting in the safe. Sitting down with a professional, which starts at around $600-800.00. It’s worth every penny, and could even likely be covered by your penny jar savings. Start thinking about Estate Planning here.

Talking to a financial planner about disability insurance is another thing to consider. Here is a great article about how stay at home parents should have disability insurance (we were surprised too!)

5. Partner Communication and Connections
Last but not least, make a plan to take care of you and your relationships! From date nights, massages, to that weekly therapy appointment, make sure you are a priority. Make time to be with your partner, and to really be present with them (maybe a phone free date). After months of Netflix nights, it might be good to get out and do something. Even something fun like a date night subscription box where each month is a different theme and idea. Find a way to have fun and connect.

Becoming a parent is a huge transition, and can take the realities and responsibilities of being an adult to the next level. Taking steps to make it a smooth and easy transition, will not only benefit your family in the short term but in the long term too. Having a successful financial plan in place can lower stress, and you know what less stress means right? More time to do what you love, and more sleep!

Three Day Mom Vacation

I was recently at a friends house letting the kids burn off some energy and my friend is a part time food blogger (on top of mother, wife, and student) so if she says “I’m cooking dinner” – believe me, I’ll be there. We got on the topic of mom breaks and how it’s great when friends or family take the kids for the day or an overnight right? But then they leave and we find ourselves in a crossroads of self care or productivity.  This is a real problem!

My friend declared: We all need a 3 day mom vacation!

So here are the plans for the 3 day mom vacation.

Day One: Run through the house in your pajamas, watch every show, eat in bed, take a long shower… several times. Go on a date or go to something fun for you. Something you never get to do, something you miss doing. Make it the perfect day.

Day Two: Sleep in, then time to conquer all things household. Deep clean, attack the mountain of laundry, (while still catching up on shows) order out so you don’t have dishes to do or have to cook. Do all things productive, all things on that “rainy day list” bust your butt. Whew! You did it!

Day Three: Recover from day two. Finish up the final touches and then one last time- take time for you. Be good to yourself, there is only one you and while you give yourself to others, your partner, children, fur babies, you also need to celebrate you. Do some retail therapy, and take a nap. Then the kids come back that evening and back to the grind we go.

The days are long but the years seem short. Those of us with young children are in the middle of some of the hardest years of your lives. This isn’t forever, it’s just for now and years down the road we will look back and say these were some of the best and hardest years of our lives but we miss them. So enjoy them while you’re in them but don’t forget to take care of you too. 

CHOOSING A PROVIDER

You’ve found the courage to look at the pregnancy test.  There it is.  The BIG FAT POSITIVE. The plus that you’ve been hoping for. The smiley face that you’ve waited weeks, months, or even years to see. The word PREGNANT is the first sign of proof – you’re having a baby!

It’s time to call the doctor. Or maybe the midwife? With so many providers and options, how do you know which to choose? It’s important to find the right provider for you.  This is your birth. This is your baby. This is your body. And you should find a provider that aligns with your birth philosophy and individual needs.

Keep reading as we discuss a few of the big ideas to consider

Does your Birth Philosophy align with that of your provider?

I’m not going to lie. This is a big one. Really figure out what birth is to you before selecting a provider.

Some women believe birth should be managed and monitored to ensure safety of baby and mom. Others believe birth is a natural process and should be treated as such, rather than a medical emergency. Some people want to make their own decisions regarding their pregnancy, labor, and delivery.  Other women just want someone to tell them what they need to do.

Most of the complaints about a provider or an experience boils down to this question.  Having a birth philosophy that aligns with that of your provider can help ensure a positive experience and outcome for you.

How secure does the hospital culture make you feel?

Some people find comfort delivering in a hospital, regardless of pain medications used. They like knowing that should anything happen to them or their baby, doctors and nurses are ready and waiting to do everything they can to remedy the situation.  Other women become anxious or intimidated when in a hospital setting, maybe because of a previous experience, or even because of their birth philosophy.

If being in a hospital is stressful for you, look into midwives who do homebirths or deliver at birth centers. 

Have you had a previous Cesarean Section?

If you’ve had a Cesarean Section, some doctors may require you to have another Cesarean. If you would like to try for a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), find a doctor that is comfortable with this.

What (if any) Pain Management options are you interested in?

  • Nitrous Oxide – some providers are uncomfortable with the use of Nitrous Oxide. It is not available at all hospitals
  • Hydrotherapy – not all hospitals have laboring tubs; no Green Bay hospitals the have capabilities of water birth.

The provider I choose will deliver my baby, right?

Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee that the provider you choose will actually be there to deliver your baby is to schedule a Cesarean Section or induction. If your provider is on call – Great! If not, however, the doctor on call may say and allow different things (some may not be comfortable with the use of Nitrous Oxide, for example).  It is a good idea to get to know the other providers in the practice to help you pick a provider AND a PRACTICE.

You should also consider your insurance and location (are you willing to drive 45 minutes or more to the hospital?)

So when you set up appointments to meet with doctors and midwives, ask these questions. If you want to ask the Facebook Hive for suggestions, explain your birth philosophy and needs first to get better suggestions, rather than a slew of names that might not be the right fit for you.

Better yet, ask someone who knows all of the providers and who can give you a few tailored options to choose from.  The Green Bay Doulas are knowledgeable about the birth culture in Green Bay and have worked with many of the areas providers. You can also join the “Green Bay Birth and Postpartum Options” Facebook group for more information and a safe place to ask questions about providers and options available to you.

 

-Melissa is originally from Buffalo, NY and came to Green Bay in 2013. She holds both her bachelors and masters degrees in Viola Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, OH, and an Artist Diploma from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. In her spare time you can find Melissa running around with her pup Louie, taking road trips with her husband and daughter, cooking, and playing board games.

 

4 Star Childbirth Education

4 Star Childbirth Education: A 4 Part Series

We have a little secret to share. Not all childbirth is created equal, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. We think, “Oh, 10 months, I’ve got this”, but in reality time is of the essence.

One of the drawbacks to large group classes is that everyone gives birth differently, so why take an overall view when you can focus on what you need to know? We can also fill in the gaps that hospital and online classes may not cover or have time for.

As a doula, I’ve heard over and over when things don’t go perfectly planned that, “oh there goes our childbirth education”. After five years of hearing childbirth classes were failing my clients, I have certified as a Childbirth Educator. I also know a common myth is that all childbirth educators are doulas and doulas are childbirth educators, they have similar paths but are separate certifications. So make sure your teacher is certified and accredited.

“Childbirth education is not about natural vs medicated or a certain method. The point of childbirth education is to gather a basic understanding of the way bodies work and however you birth that you are confident in your options, comfortable with your environment, and knowledgeable about the variations.”-Emily Jacobson

Green Bay Doulas offers private, customized childbirth education. We also offer small group settings as well. If you have a few friends expecting or growing their families, you can choose to host a session. You would benefit from a reduced rate on your class and be able to enjoy it in the comfort of your home with friends, in a fun and interactive setting.

What options do we offer?

2 hour private express focus classes

4 hour private 

6 hour –  2 day class

Learn more about our uncensored education classes. 


Your individualized experience is tailored to you, for your needs and wants. Everyone can benefit from private classes and the security in knowledge that they bring.

Being the only 4 star certified doula in Wisconsin, you can be confident you are being prepared for your birth by the most qualified option our state has to offer.

Comfort, knowledge, and security are the cornerstones of childbirth education with the Green Bay Doulas and we can’t wait to hear from you to set up your class today.

 

Check back for our upcoming blogs:

Adoption focused Childbirth Education

LGBTQIA focused Childbirth Education

Single Parenting focused Childbirth Education

Surrogacy focused Childbirth Education

 

To schedule your class please reach out to us at  (920)246-0200 or info@greenbaydoulas.com.

 

Emily Jacobson is a certified doula and owner of Green Bay Doulas. Her certifications include; Labor Doula, Postpartum & Infant Care Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, Postpartum Placenta Specialist, and Childbirth Educator.