Category Archives: Doula

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Blemishes And Non Cystic Acne: My Journey

hormonal acneI have made a lot of progress on my skin since this picture was taken in 2011.When your face looks like this, your body is trying to send a message. It’s hurting and it needs help. I’ve found a lot of natural tools to tackle the problem of adult hormonal acne. In my first and second posts of this series, I explain that there are three different reasons for acne: bacteria on the skin, food intolerances and hormone imbalances.  Read about those more here.       Part 1       &   Part 2

This is part 3 of the series.

 

For me, this was a 3-way war. I didn’t just have one cause for my adult acne, I had three. Once I realized I needed to heal from the inside out, my journey began taking on momentum. In the beginning, it’s always hard to try to find something that will work because we expect a one-prong answer. Just like a three legged stool, I needed to support all three legs of my stool in order for it to work properly. The last leg on my stool was my hormones and figuring out natural and safe ways to support my body. I had gone to the Doctor and had only been offered synthetic substances. It didn’t make sense to me to begin adding fake, man made chemicals into my body when I was trying to be healthy from the inside out. It felt like that would be adding to the problem. It wasn’t until I found Young Living, that I was able to trust the products that I was putting into my body.

All of the products that I highlight on my journey have added essential oils. Progessence Plus is a natural way to support the body. It’s wild yam based and helps to balance the luteal phase of the woman’s cycle. (Day 14- end) It does not need to be cycled. Lack of progesterone can be a precursor to many problems related to the woman’s reproductive cycle and lack of hormones. I use this daily.

Joy is a wonderful blend for hormonal support with singles such as Geranium and Ylang Ylang. 

Prenolone+ is a unique product in the fact that it delivers pregnenolone, DHEA and black cohosh to help maintain healthy estrogen levels. This supplement is meant to be cycled for 21 days. As we age, our bodies will naturally produce less hormones, but we can support the decrease like a well made pair of Spanx! 

Lastly, this blend of oils will support the Thyroid. It’s so versatile, I give it to my pre-teen daughter for growth spurts and menstrual help. It amplifies metabolism and creates hormone balance with oils like spearmint, sage, myrtle, and nutmeg. It also smells WONDERFUL! 

For more help on hormonal balance, please consult your Doctor. There are many tests that can reveal deficits and imbalances that can give you an overall picture of your health as a starting point of reference. I do not pretend to know everything, nor am I a physician. Only one of these products has been tested and approved by the FDA, while the others are still awaiting their trial. Please use your own discernment and start slowly when you are supporting the endocrine system.

2009 (without make-up)

2014 (without make-up)

2016 (mascara, no foundation)

Mother’s Day 2017 (light foundation)

 

Here’s the progress, from the beginning of my journey, until now. My face has dramatically improved, but so has my digestion, skin elasticity, energy, hair and nail strength and mental agility. When you heal your body from the inside out, there are so many benefits. I’d love to go on this journey with you. If you are at all interested in any of these products, please contact me or use this web link to Sign Up. May your health and wellness start today!

 

 


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A Big Reveal & A Birth Story

 

I feel like I’m about to reveal the gender of my baby. Well, a baby that I have been working on for months now with a very talented logo designer.

She’s DOULA’d me through the process with creativity, patience and love. Logo planning is full of expectations and idealism. When I was a mess of ideas, and bursting with 1,000 different thoughts, she guided me. And when we had tried them all and came up with empty hands, she was patient. This baby was still cooking and she knew that even though I had a due date in my mind, these things don’t always happen on time. I was apologizing for being a bad client and she continued to encourage me. “This is the process,” she would say.

In mid process, reality had hit me and I had given up hope. This was a lot harder than I had expected. I was going through transition and nearing the end of this long labor, but I couldn’t see that at the time. I felt like this baby would never be born. I needed to get out of my frontal cortex and use my intuition. I needed to feel my way through and she gave me the room to do just that. She gently suggested a few places to begin again, to refocus, and it worked. I found exactly what I needed to be inspired and all of a sudden I could feel the urge to push. I told her we were getting close, but of course, she already knew that. She had Doula’d me through this process and was familiar with the ending.

Like a seasoned trail guide, she encouraged me up until the very end coming up with new creative spins. Her professionalism never wavered and her heart shone through. As I hold my new baby in my arms, I am so grateful for all of her help. Thank you Ginger Dixon, I could have never done this without you. She will tell me that I birthed this baby and that I am a strong woman, but I will be forever grateful that she was by my side.

 

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Natural Family Planning

The Natural Family Planning Method

Natural Family PlanningThe Natural Family Planning method of birth control has been our first choice for the past 10 years of childbearing. Why?

  • hormone free
  • cost effective
  • flexible- the decision to prevent or plan a pregnancy can be changed instantly
  • foster’s communication between the couple
  • creates an awareness of the female’s natural cycle
  • adds an element of empowerment for individuals
  • long term effectiveness
  • no known side effects

What are some of the known side effects of taking synthetic estrogen often in the form of a Pill?

  • increased risk of breast cancer
  • increased risk of blood clotting
  • migraines
  • gallbladder disease
  • increased blood pressure
  • weight gain
  • mood changes
  • nausea
  • irregular bleeding or spotting
  • benign liver tumors
  • breast tenderness

These known and documented side effects are often subtle at first, but the more women I talk to, the more I hear about the dangers of using hormone therapy as a form of birth control. Before you put something in your body that you are unsure of, learn about all of the options available to you. If you have suffered the effects of synthetic birth control, I would love to talk to you as well. I offer birth control counseling for free. Please contact Deirdre at:

stretchngrow (at) yahoo (dot) com


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Yoga and Jesus: Just Breathe

A few years ago I had a counselor critique me. He said, “you don’t breathe.” I looked at him with curiosity and then realized I was in fact holding my breath. Maybe you do it too?

His recommendation? To breathe, and practice breathing deeply when I feel stress. And for at least 8 years now, I have been practicing this. Reminding myself to breathe, reminding my children and my best friend, “just breathe” I say. Try it, right now, nice and deep. Doesn’t it feel good? A cleansing breath.Just breathe, doulaThere’s this new adventure in my life right now called yoga. I’ve been a bit close minded about it in the past I’m afraid to admit, and now since trying it I’ve come to understand the benefits. I was close minded because it seemed so zen and associated with religions other than my own. But, I’ve come to realize…

1. We can be friends with Jesus and Yoga without compromise. My pastor said that sometimes as Christians we can be so afraid of Eastern religions and the traditions that we have completely dismissed meditation in Christianity. Abraham meditates in Genesis 24. In the book of Joshua, the LORD tells Joshua to meditate on the law day and night. And all throughout the Psalms we are instructed to meditate on God’s wonders, His promises, His statutes, and His works. This is an absolute Biblical habit. We should not be afraid of compromising our relationship with Jesus by meditation. In fact, it can strengthen it.

2. Yoga trains the mind and body to be still before the LORD. Now,  there are definitely challenging poses that require effort, but what I’ve experienced is a stillness of mind while doing yoga. I’m not going through my to do list. I’m not paying attention to my mobile device. I’m in my body, giving my full attention to my muscles and my breathing. I’ve learned to hold a pose, and still my mind and ignore the thoughts of “I can’t do this.” If I am intentional about prayer while practicing yoga, I can walk away feeling like I’ve actually spent time with Jesus during a session.

3. Yoga trains me to breathe. So, let’s just state the obvious. If you hold your breathe while exercising in general, you will pass out. During a stretching pose that is particularly difficult, if I breathe, I can maintain a deeper stretch than if I don’t. If I breathe, I can stretch further and longer than if I don’t. If I breathe, I can hold a pose longer because I’m focusing on the breath instead of the pain. This is what I often tell my doula clients during labor contractions. Focus on the breath instead of the pain.

yoga, doula

During a yoga session I wear Bergamot and Ylang Ylang essential oils to help with the mind/body connection. They don’t drug you into submission, they just encourage the natural processes that are happening in the body while exercising. You will often hear instructors remind the class to breathe. It’s training and it’s good for you. For stressful times, for pain filled times, just breathe.


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Compatibility With Your Doula

Having a relationship built with trust and open communication is vital between doula and client. I don’t think I need to say this twice; your doula is going to see you naked! 

If that’s not enough motivation for you, I don’t know what is. So what other compatibility issues should you consider when choosing a doula?

  • Does she listen to you? And more importantly, do you feel heard?
  • Does the conversation flow easily? Do you have random things in common? Having interests outside of giving birth is a good foundation to build on. Also, it makes for easy conversation and distraction during labor.
  • Do you have similar spiritual views? Now, we know that you won’t agree on everything, but do you feel comfortable enough around her to invite her to your church or place of worship?

 

Birth is often a total person event; meaning, it involves both body, mind and soul. You want to feel like you click with your doula.

You want to trust her, not only her skills and competencies, but her heart.

She should have your best interest in mind.

She should keep your birth story confidential.

She should respect your birth choices and not push you in a certain direction.

 

As your doula, I pledge to do just that. And if you don’t feel like you click with your doula, let me encourage you to interview a few more. Usually, first consultations are free. Remember, this person will be with you most likely throughout your entire birth. You want to feel comfortable!

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Rebozo

Birth Basics Package

Birth Basics Package – $450

Rebozo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free consultation to see if we click

On the Big Day

  • On-call labor support for the 2 weeks surrounding your due date.
  • Early labor phone or text support.
  • Continuous physical and emotional labor support provided in your home, birth center or hospital from the time you request me
  • Free use of TENS unit (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) with Doctor approval and signed waiver
  • Optional use of essential oils with Doctor or Midwife approval
  • Initial breast feeding assistance.
  • Back-up doula in the event I am unavailable.

1 Postpartum Visit -at your home

As with motherhood, sometimes deciding on a doula is a last minute decision due to finances and other factors out of your control. Life hands you lemons and you choose to make lemonade. Birth doulas do not have to cost a mortgage payment.

If you are in need of a doula, and would like to hire me only for the day of labor, this is your package. It is one of the most affordable birth packages in Tulsa. This basic birth package does not include prenatal support.


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Learning Value

The value of doula work is a highly debated topic among expecting mothers and doulas alike. How much should a doula charge? What’s a reasonable rate? Many, many blog articles have been written, eloquently breaking down the expenses that a doula incurs and how much her “bottom line” is. I agree with most of those opinions; doula work has value.

Just like any other industry in the modern United States, it is a bit of a supply and demand equation. More doulas flood the market and competition increases, but the beautiful thing about demand is that babies are always being born. There’s no stopping that train. The demand is really more specifically about the growing number of mother’s learning the value of doula work and desiring it for themselves.

As a doula, I value what I do. I hadn’t even heard the word doula until my 3rd pregnancy and I was so fresh into the midwifery care model that I was overwhelmed with all of the possibilities. I did have a doula approach me with her business card and I wish I would have explored the option further. As a doula, I realized my value this weekend…

Cecelia Jaine 004This weekend our dog became extremely sick. Fever, limping, loss of appetite, syringe feeding to keep him hydrated and two visits to the veterinarian. Both vets wanted to keep him overnight in intensive care. We declined because we couldn’t pay the $1200 emergency vet bill and opted to care for him ourselves. With round the clock care by all 5 family members, we managed to get him through the worst of it but by the end we were all exhausted.

Doulas talk about how we doula’d our child through the flu or how we doula’d our best friend through an emotional crisis. And it’s true, we use our skills on the people we love when they are hurting or in pain. It’s just what we do.

Last fall, we were getting our starter house spruced up to put the For Sale sign in the yard and I was oiling the old front door. All of a sudden, I had a ginormous splinter in my finger. I immediately ran outside yelling for my husband to come pull it out for me. It was large enough to grab with two fingers, but it was a stubborn thing and wasn’t budging. I was hysterical, mainly because fingers have so many little nerve endings. After a few screams my husband promptly looked me in the eye and told me I needed to CALM DOWN. That’s when I clicked into doula mode. I told myself to breathe and focus on relaxing. After he retrieved some pliers to pull the splinter out with, I had managed to calm down. We doula ourselves, we doula our loved ones; it’s just what comes naturally, but it’s actually a skill.

After being awake with our dog and nursing him back to health, I had this thought; “this is why they wanted to charge so much. It’s a lot of intense work.” And then I promptly realized I had doula’d my dog.

It was an epiphany for me.

Up until that point, I had never put enough monetary value on my skills as a doula. It’s easy for me, it’s what comes natural. I enjoy it. But after I compared it to the work that it took to nurse my dog in a very unpleasant, and long night, I realized not everyone has this skill. Other people pay money for overnight vet clinics. Companies pay extra money to their employees who work the night shifts. Being “on-call” also comes with it’s own extra raise. And working overtime or a longer shift than usual gets time and a half. Doula work is all of these things… every day… every birth. And it’s ok to place monetary value on these extras.

You can work a job that you love and get paid for it. I have realized for me, it’s being a doula.

 

How much should a doula charge?


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Labor and Delivery [5 min. Friday]

A birth quote for you! When thinking about labor and delivery, think on this…

“The family is born in the delivery room.”  -Johnny Lind, M.D.

Labor and DeliveryHere I am, days before my daughter was born; days before my family was born. As I look back on my growing family, this quote remains so true. God talks about marriage and the union of the husband and wife as two becoming one. They are of one flesh and one body. Marriage is a holy union in which I highly respect, but it’s in the delivery room that the family is born.


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Mile Marker 31

Jesus take the wheel” by Carrie Underwood may just be the song I woke up to this morning. I never this listen to country ya’ll, and I never say ya’ll but as I lay in bed thinking, it dawned on me that today marks one year of living in Tulsa. So ya’ll, is fitting now more than ever.Jesus doula

A year ago, I was saying good bye to some of my most dear friends in this world. There were tears and hugs and kind words spoken and acts of service given. As they packed our moving truck, a bit like Tetris, I wondered what was on the other side of the state line. Would Jesus really be enough? Can he really fill the hole that’s left? As I followed the moving truck down the one lane highway for what felt like an eternity, I prayed. One of those long, 5 hour conversations where words don’t exchange, but hearts connect between me and my Savior. “Jesus take the wheel,” I prayed.

I’ve learned by watching and listening to others’ stories, that we mark our lives, the timeline of before and after with specific, life changing events. We will catch ourselves referring to our history with, “before the accident” or “after he died.” And as we should. Life changing events are meant to be just that, are they not?  “Jesus take the wheel, cause I can’t do this on my own.”

I find myself writing some of those same old scripts in my head, and then I catch myself. I give a little nudge to the, “before Tulsa” feelings and remember that He makes beauty from ashes. When we begin to see the beauty from the pain, we know we are on the other side of the lesson. So I allow the lesson to be just that, a moment He teaches me from. Jesus whispers the memory of mile marker 31 into my heart and I pause, because He’s reminding me of all He’s carried me through.

Mile marker 31, is an identity lesson. My identity is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. It’s not about my culture, where I’m from and what kind of accent I use. It’s not about which home team you cheer for, or all of the back roads and short cuts. It’s not about how comfortable you feel in a crowd at church or who you can wave at from across the room because you know everyone, and their mother. Identity should be, with Christ because

“It ought to be the business of everyday, to prepare for our final day.”

On that final day, when I say goodbye to those I love most, the comfort of being found in Christ will be the only thing that matters. So I “praise the One who paid my debt, and raised this life up from the dead.” Mile marker 31 is only restoration, as we take one step closer to home.

 


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Birth Story {2nd addition}

Dear Ashden,

My sweet baby boy; as we waited in the living room for the line to show on the pregnancy test, it was decided that your Dad and sister would look at the test and deliver the results. I was much too nervous. You were a surprise from Heaven, a gift from above and I was a wreck. At that time in my life, I didn’t know how to take the present God had graciously gifted to me and unwrap it with care. I didn’t know how to receive good things from the Father; but I know now that the Father only gives good and perfect gifts.

As Daddy and Ainsley emerged from the bathroom, I tried to read their faces and listen to their words but I was in shock. This wasn’t according to plan, I was not in control. As the news sunk in I revealed my true feelings to only those most trusted in my life. Processed. Absorbed. And then the bleeding began. Within the hour my heart had accepted this precious gift from above, I was facing the reality of loosing it: of loosing you.

As I raced to the OBGYN, I prayed my guts out. Only a momma knows what it’s like to pray for her baby. This literal life growing deep within you, wholly dependent on you. That’s when I knew I had finally unwrapped the gift from God, as my prayers for your body and soul drenched my cheeks.

The 10 week ultrasound showed an intact gestational sac and a strong little heartbeat. I was relieved. The bleeding was a result of a placental abruption; partially separating from the uterine wall resulting in blood loss. Miraculously, the bleeding stopped and the placenta remained attached to the uterus. I had bonded and wanted to meet this little life on this side of Heaven. So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed for a little boy with blue eyes and that’s exactly what God gifted. You are fearfully and wonderfully made my son.

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7 weeks

As delivery time neared, I realized your due date was Easter weekend. A beautiful time of year for a birthday; the trees are budding, the grass is greener and flowers have emerged from hiding but Easter weekend also meant that my OB was out of town. So at my 39th week appointment, she routinely swept my membranes to get the party started. Her office called and asked if I wanted to schedule an induction, in order to avoid going into labor while she was out of town so that I could stick with my trusted Doctor. My gut said no. My mind and my logic said yes, it was the best thing to stick with the person I had trusted for 9 months. After much deliberation and prayer, I decided against the induction and I am so thankful I listened to my gut. I had possibly just avoided the largest risk factor for an unplanned C-section.

As the weekend began and Easter preparations were being made, I knew the slight cramps were the beginning of labor. After coming very close to an epidural free delivery with my 1st labor, I knew that was the goal I wanted to set my eyes on. As the cramping became heavier and Good Friday became dark, I found myself on my bed, unable to talk through the contraction and unable to yell to my husband to announce, “it’s time!” The hospital was an hour away and the drive to the hospital was excruciating. Folded into the front seat of a Honda civic, we arrived at the hospital at midnight. Good Friday had passed, but my thoughts were continually drawn to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The amount of pain I was experiencing, I knew, would be the closest I would ever come to empathizing with my Savior. As He hung on the tree for me, and endured the cross out of love, the parallel of a mother’s love ran deep.

After being admitted, I was at 5 cm dilation. Praise the Lord for those contractions! They had been doing the hard work of opening the cervix and for that I was grateful. It had not been for nothing. The on-call doctor had been advised, and I was scared. My trusted advisor was out of town and I felt like I was flying solo. My husband was helpful, but also tired and we were not educated well in pain management. If I had chosen a midwife and a doula to accompany me on this journey, I believe the rest of the story may have been much different. I needed more support, more advice, more knowledge and more encouragement in those wee hours of the morning. The nurses were only so helpful, and the on call doctor was no where to be found until the pushing began. And so as any woman who enters the transition phase of labor, I began to believe I couldn’t do this anymore.

Transition As the body adjusts to accommodate the last few centimeters of dilation, just before you begin pushing, the hormone levels are so high that you will see undeniable physical signs. The major emotional marker for this stage is giving up. Another physical sign is the inability to relax or be comfortable. A woman who was handling labor well may suddenly find that she has no idea what to do and nothing is comfortable any more. At this point, it is the job of her coach or labor partner to assist her into various positions in an attempt to find the one that will keep her most comfortable.  –www.birthingnaturally.net

At 2:40 am I had felt defeated and asked for the epidural. I was 7 cm dilated with very strong contractions. The nurses wanted me to stay on the bed, but I was very uncomfortable. I was hooked up to an IV and they did not want me to walk the halls or get into the shower, or try anything to manage the pain naturally. I had wanted this birth to be different from my first. After the epidural had taken effect, I tried to sleep, but was overly anxious. I couldn’t feel my toes, legs or abdomen. I literally was so numb that wiggling my toes was impossible. This was the very thing I wanted to avoid and it had happened again. As I told the nurses that I couldn’t move my legs, my complaint was dismissed. The out of control feeling I had felt during transition, did not go away after the epidural was administered. I still felt helpless, numb, paralyzed, without a voice.

At 4:10 am, my baby’s heart rate dropped. I faced the possibility of an unplanned C-section yet again. As the nurses rushed in and rolled me over because my muscles were too numb to do so on my own, we listened intently for the little heart beat to rise again. I breathed the oxygen, praying silent tears alone as my husband slept on the couch. I felt helpless, paralyzed, without a voice and so I spoke to the One who I knew would listen to me. I prayed for my baby again just as I had done at 10 weeks. I asked for health, protection and sovereign grace.

As the heart beat raised, so did the back of my bed. I had dilated to 10 centimeters and was ready to push, or so they told me. I needed help from the nurses to raise myself up, to get into the stirrups, to bring my bottom forward. Still overly numb and paralyzed, they each had to hold a leg in order to keep them from falling out of the stirrups. Dead weights, I felt like an inconvenience to them. At 5:00 am I started pushing, but with little feeling in my abdomen, bottom or legs, I couldn’t tell if I was pushing right. How hard? How long? The ring of fire was absent. Feeling very inadequate, watching the doctor’s face as he waited impatiently and on-call. Knowing in my head that it did not take me this long to push out the first. At 6:32 am my sweet blue eyed baby boy was born with the routine episiotomy preformed. My husband and I had objected, firmly stating that in our birth plan; routinely missed by our care providers.

The baby was born and I was relieved, but even as they whisked him away for the routine newborn procedures, I struggled with my sense of loss. Still feeling a strong lack of control, numb from the waist down and unable to voice my concerns. I became the patient in the recovery room who stayed too long. Can you feel your legs yet, they said. Are you able to walk? Do you need to use the restroom? Longing to get out of bed, but still paralyzed, the patient who stayed in recovery for 6 long hours. I finally regained feeling in my legs and was able to transfer to the new room with my baby.0077What I learned from this birth I took into my next. Just as I had gained experience and knowledge with my first birth to bring with me this Easter weekend. My redeeming grace was that my sweet baby boy latched on like a pro and had a strong suck reflex. Thankful that the breastfeeding problems I had with my first baby were not repeating themselves, I began my new adventure in mothering a blue eyed, sweet baby boy. IMG_1337