Stevie Cruz Photography is pleased to announce our new partnership with Your Birth Team: Orange County Doulas and Educators.
When you book your select services through Your Birth Team, you will be offered a special gift certificate toward maternity or newborn photo services with Stevie Cruz Photography. We are so excited to be working with these spectacular local doulas and all of their lovely client families. If you are not familiar with doula services, here is some great information from the Orange County doulas at Your Birth Team.
What is this thing called Doula?
Doulas are skilled professionals who are trained to provide extensive emotional, physical, and informational support to families during pregnancy, labor, birth, & the postpartum. Classically, there are two categories of doulas: labor/birth and postpartum. However, there are many doulas now who specialize in working with adopting families, those experiencing pregnancy losses, and those who are in surrogacy situations.
Though there is an abundance of info about professional labor support in various corners of the internet these days, and amazing research has been conducted to show the tremendous benefits of having continuous support, many still do not know about or fully understand what this resource could mean for their family. I believe this is due, in part, to the way doulas themselves describe their work, which is usually laid out in terms of what we do and not in reference to what our clients gain from the things we do. So, to help expecting and new families really understand how a doula can help in the year surrounding childbirth, I want to share what some of my clients have said about my presence and support in their lives.
“She really enhanced the communication between my husband and me to bring out feelings about the birthing experience that we had never considered in our previous birth experiences. Sharing those feelings really increased our intimacy during delivery and gave us such a special experience.”
This family wanted something different, something more…something they couldn’t quite put into words but knew existed. I was invested in helping them figure out what this special something was so that their birthing experience could be memorable in a positive, joyous way. To get there, we spent about 2 or 3 hours together during pregnancy exploring what they each individually enjoyed about their previous births, what things came up for them that maybe didn’t feel good or left them feeling like something was missing. I got to know their personalities, some of their quirks, what they adored about each other, and how they worked together in tough situations. Then, I offered up ideas- some they had read about but couldn’t imagine working into their labors and others that had never occurred to them but were truly helpful once labor began. As a team, we made a flexible plan for labor that included new ideas as well as the things they knew helped and felt right from their previous labors.
During Labor and Birth:
“Both my husband and I were extremely grateful to have Amanda at my labor. She was the steady and calming presence we both needed when my water broke four weeks before my due date. She was able to reassure and coach us both, all the while gently reminding us of our birth preferences and documenting the entire experience with pictures and video.”
This couple encountered a surprise early birth. There were no indicators that this might happen before it did. The couple was even on their last trip together out of town before the baby’s arrival. For most parents who go into labor a month early, feelings of worry, fear, and perhaps even panic are dominating the mind. Because they had someone experienced and calm in their corner though, the partner was able to reach out immediately when his wife’s water broke. I was able to walk them through what would happen when they got to the hospital and what kind of interactions with the staff they could expect as well as potential decisions that they would need to be prepared to make. When I arrived to support them in the hospital, I first comforted them both by listening to their concerns, acknowledging that their feelings in the moment were completely reasonable and okay, and then giving the partner suggestions on how he could best support and reassure his wife in those trying moments. As labor progressed, I supported their decisions, translated the technical language coming from the staff, and provided hands-on physical comfort, alternating with the partner so neither of us exhausted our resources along the way.
“Amanda would spend the first 30-40 minutes with myself and my husband answering first time parent questions (all those “is this normal??” questions!) After our chat, we would give her other tasks to consider like sterilizing bottles and pump pieces, laundry, etc. I would sleep in the guest room so that when our daughter was ready to eat, Amanda would come wake me up and hand a freshly changed baby to me. Amanda would also bring me a big glass of water and a snack. After baby was done nursing, Amanda would take her and put her back down so I could go right back to sleep. It was amazing!”
This is a nice snapshot of what one shift as a postpartum doula might entail. For this family, their greatest need was getting more sleep. With that as the priority, I provided overnight support in their home where I cared for their new bundle of joy throughout the night while helping them maintain the breastfeeding relationship they desired. When their baby was sleeping, I worked on other things to cut down on the list of household chores that needed to be done the next day. This typically means more time for resting and bonding!
Whether I’m working with daytime or overnight clients, my first goal in the postpartum is to ensure a speedy healing processes for mothers by helping them maintain good health. Sometimes this means grocery shopping so the parents don’t have to. Other times it means me caring for the baby while the parents catch up on sleep. Often, it means making meals or snacks and providing gentle reminders to get plenty of fluids. I also work with parents on communicating so their expectations of each other are realistic, they can find balance within their home as new parents, and they can preserve their bond as a couple while expanding to include the new family member.
Hiring professional doula support can seem like a daunting task. Figuring out who does this work in your community, how much of an investment the support would require, and going through the interviewing process may all seem overwhelming and time-consuming when adding it to a long list of to-dos you’re building during pregnancy. The great news is that hiring a doula or doulas makes the rest of the process easier, as they can help you navigate the unknown waters of constant decision-making that is parenting! For a step-by-step guide, check out my article on hiring a doula here: Choosing a Labor/Birth Doula: The Ultimate Guide
Amanda Cagle is a Birthing From Within Mentor & Doula, Lactation Educator & Counselor, Placenta Specialist, and Evidence Based Birth Instructor. She is the owner of Your Birth Team (www.yourbirthteam.com), a full service doula support group providing comprehensive care to families in Orange County and the surrounding area. Doula support is available from pre-conception to three months postpartum and additional services such as belly binding and car seat installations are available!
Thanks, Your Birth Team! You can contact Your Birth Team at 714-657-6409 or at www.yourbirthteam.com.
To see more newborn photos from the Stevie Cruz Photography collection, choose the following: Orange County Newborn Photographer Portfolio
For more information about maternity photos or newborn photos, contact Yorba Linda newborn photographer Stevie Cruz Photography at the CONTACT link above.