Saturday, January 12, 2013




There are few things more exciting than a BIRTH!


(and the birth of a Doula Group is SUPER exciting!)

Lately there is so much to say.  And so much to do.  


So, today I decided to let Thumbtack assist me.

<a href="http://www.thumbtack.com/Your-One-Stop-Shop-for-Childbirth-Services-Riverside-CA/service/505802">Your One-Stop-Shop for Childbirth Services!</a>


Thumbtack arrived in my inbox in October of 2011 when I was on the verge of quitting my full time job and doing birth work full time.  Considering it.  On December 9, 2011, I put in my two-weeks notice.  It was official.  

             But, use Thumbtack?  No, I thought.  Not yet.

 The people at Thumbtack have a great thing going!  So the blog today is just to say, "Three Cheers for Thumbtack!  A smart, intuitive website that is helping YOU to find and book trustworthy services in your local community . . .
. . . and one of those services just happens to be my dream.  


DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 

Today's blog was brought to you by Kathie Neff, CD(DONA) and owner of
Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  


See you next time!

Monday, January 7, 2013




Motherhood is . . .




Driving in the car on a balmy winter day you are enjoying the cloudless blue sky and the road that will lead you home in five minutes. Lovely harp and piano music playing Ave Maria transport your soul to place of calming serenity. 



And then your lovely mental respite comes to a screeching halt - LITERALLY! 




Torturous cries coming from the back seat demanding you stop at a suspicious shopping center parking lot. Locking the doors you climb into the back seat to pacify the hungry mouth with your full breast. 


As you look into his 7 week old eyes, lashes drenched with tears, they peer into your spirit sending you the message you are his hero. Your heart melts, and with it all the tension and stress from just moments before. You take a snapshot and place it your mind’s memory box. 

We’d love to hear about moments from your motherhood experience. What are some of your stories about the joys and struggles of motherhood?

We invite you to post your stories on our Facebook page - Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services!


DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 

Today's blog was brought to you by Deidre Coutsoumpos, CD(DONA)
Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  


See you next time!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The Fifth Stage of Labor: Why?


It’s true.  

You have probably not heard the term, “Fifth Stage of Labor.”  

The term, although not official, is useful in demonstrating the experience of birthing women from the time of their six-week check-up through the first year of mothering.  

The first few hours (or sometimes days) of labor is often termed the Fourth Stage of Labor.  The definition expanded can be used in a more metaphorical sense to describe the weeks following delivery.   


Still, when considering “recovery” in a holistic manner (the integration of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness) some women report that it takes up to two years to be fully recovered

As in most things, it is intensely personal.  Some people have an easier time than others admitting to having needs.  Others have been raised to resist expressing any kind of "need" and have had to navigate their needs on their own, often pushing them down as if they did no exist.  In these situations, one can see how "needing recovery" is not really an option.  
Most would agree, however, that no matter how a woman birthed, no matter her personal sense of feeling strong or weak, that her body did an amazing, rocking, super-hero job of growing that baby in the womb!

Even before the moment that pregnancy test shows the two little pink lines, a woman’s body goes through a magnificent transformation.  From a tiny cluster of cells that develops into a minuscule fetus, she grows the tiny being within her womb (and the placenta through which she will help to sustain that tiny life).  Her body will take all the nutrients it needs from her store of resources in order to accomplish the task at hand.


       The work of a pregnant woman’s body in pregnancy.



So why the 5th stage?

The Fifth Stage of Labor honors the tasks required for the mother’s mind-body to complete the journey of transformation.  The variables are legion.  The previous health of the mother, the landscape of her particular labor -- long or short labor, vaginal or cesarean delivery -- previous health conditions, or pregnancy related health conditions; these and other unique conditions tell the story of what was required of the mother’s body during the nine months that her baby was developing within.


What is required of a woman’s body after the birth?  

Healing from birth requires tending a woman's physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Gaining help from your allies - your people - is critical.


"Who is in your village?"



DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 


Today's blog was brought to you by Kathie Neff, CD(DONA), Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  


See you next time!

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Friday, January 4, 2013



Woo-Woo... Hee-Hee...

Is it laughter or labor? In a doula's world it may be both! 

OR, it might just be conception!



Shakey Shakey eggs and baby.

It’s been said that humor is good for the soul. 


HUMOR IN LABOR CAN BE FUNNY, BUT BE CAREFUL OF YOUR TIMING!


Well, it’s good for many things...your soul,  your cervix,  your relationships and a whole lot more!  So, with that being said let’s take some time to tell a story about conception.

It must have been the 5th or 6th (maybe even the 7th month) of trying to conceive a baby...I really wanted to quit my job, but no positive test strip had appeared yet and I knew that would not be a possibility until “It” happened.  Was it the stress from work  that kept me from having that second little pink line on the strip?  Or was it just the stress that maybe somehow I was inadequate?  Who knows?  All I know is that every month I spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests only to find myself crying and somehow mad at my husband (poor guy like he wasn’t trying hard enough). 


I really wanted to quit my job, but no positive test strip had appeared yet and I knew that would not be a possibility until “it” happened.


Same thing every month....go to the store, pick out just the right pregnancy test...Maybe this month I’ll buy the blue one...last month was pink.  Like it really makes a difference what color the box is!  But in my world at that moment, I felt maybe it just might.  Like somehow in the pregnancy universe the color of the box might just have a bearing on the positive or negative result.


Rush home. . .must pee must pee, must pee. . .oh darn, I have to wait till the morning that way my hormones will be stronger and I’ll know for sure.  Go to sleep thinking something will surely be different tomorrow morning.  Rush to the bathroom having no problem having to pee, but now I have hold it and wait to get the test out of the wrapping and read the directions at least 3 more times to do it right . . . awwww. . . relief comes with peeing on  the plastic stick.... set it on the counter.... must wait 10 minutes with,“This could be it” floating around in my mind. . .no, I can’t wait 10 minutes! I’ll just peek and see if something is happening...nope too soon....10 minutes has passed and then the drop in my heart once again...no second line that means positive...with sadness my head falls and the tears come.




Like I said, 5th,6th,7th month (for some moms it’s even more or not at all) of the same pregnancy test dance. Until you are so fed up that you just change the music so you can do a different dance...oh yeah, baby, a completely different dance.  What happens when you are fed up with the same results?  You try some crazy S#%T...


"Oh yeah, baby, a completely different dance"






I look at my hubby and tell him, "I’m really tired of this.”  I want you to try something new.  "Okay” says my loving hubby, "What are you thinking?”


“When we are done I want you to grab me by my feet and legs and turn me upside down” (on my head with my feet in the air) and shake me till you think you got the sperm in just the right place.”

Maybe it was my position.  Maybe it was the very hard laughter as we were trying it, because believe you me there was a lot of laughing going on. Maybe it was the letting go of every normal idea I had of how to get pregnant. Whatever it was, we always laugh when we retell that story.






Yup folks!  You can shake yourself into pregnancy!


So do you need to change your music and do a different dance or change your position? Maybe you need to laugh or let go??? 



Sometimes, whether in conception, in labor or in life, it just might be the laughter that gets us through.


How about you? When has humor been just the thing to help you cope? We would love to hear from you!



DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 


Today's blog was brought to you by Ivette Carter, DONA Trained Birth Doula
Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  


See you next time!


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Thursday, January 3, 2013



REFLECTIONS FROM A MOM OF TWO




In theory, we all know that we should take time for ourselves.


Moving to two children is teaching me that I need to be more intentional about it as time passes. I am able to snatch a nap during the day here and there. Let me tell you, once the kids are down around 8pm, that’s my usual time to turn my brain off and sit in front of the boob tube for about an hour, sometimes more, pretending I don’t have any kids until my 5 week old rouses me from my mini-vacation.

These breaks have kept me sane but there is a special time that I look forward to each month. A few years ago my spouse and I were introduced to a non-traditional worship services called Taize. Check out more about it here. Everywhere we’ve lived we’ve been able to find a congregation that hosts this program. After being in our new location for a year or so, I found out that a local church, not even a mile from my house holds a Taize service once a month. 

This service is mindfully crafted to help the participants set life aside and focus on the present moment.

Although virtually impossible to describe, I will use my two brain cells that are currently functioning to try. This service is mindfully crafted to help the participants set life aside and focus on the present moment. When I walk into the candlelit sanctuary, shrouded in silence, sans spouse or children, it’s almost like walking into a vacuum that forces me to leave all normal life behind. For me, there is very little that can trouble me in this space. If random thoughts pop into my mind it is easy for me to shelve them until later. Once it begins simple songs are sung. A phrase or verse is continuously repeated in order to relay messages of peace, healing and spiritual companionship to the soul. There’s nothing like it for me. It’s like the special treat or dessert my spirit yearns for. 



I did not know how much it meant to me until today, when I missed it while showering one child and bathing then nursing the second. There could not be a better excuse for me to not to attend. When I glanced at the clock and realized that there was no way I would make it, part of me wanted to throw a tantrum like my 4 year old when she’s tired, another part of me wanted to use that superman power and turn time backward by flying around the earth counter clockwise, the last part of me did it’s best to tap into that intentionality of being present just where I was. I did my best to enjoying the fleeting moments of my rapidly growing children. This experience also showed me how much I need intentional feeding of my soul on a regular basis.

 “There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by my self.” ~B.Andreas


How about you? What do you do to make sure you spirit is getting enough nourishment? We would love to hear from you.


DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 
Today's blog was brought to you by Deidre Coutsoumpos, CD(DONA)
Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services

Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  


See you next time!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013



EAT your placenta?  


What do YOU think about Placentophagia

You want to what? Yuck! Gross! That’s disgusting! Isn’t that like cannibalism? That sounds like something only granola hippies that live in yurts would do!

This is the reaction many mothers receive from friends and family when they are considering placentophagia. What is placentophagia, you may ask?  Well, according to the Segen's Medical Dictionary (Farlex, Inc.) placentophagia is the act of “Eating of the placenta after giving birth.”  The Medical Dictionary then goes on to explain that “most placental mammals, including herbivores, have eaten their own placentas, including Insectivora, Rodentia, Chiroptera, Lagomorpha, Carnivora, Perissodactyla, Artiodactyla, and Primates.” 

Although many people joke and jest about how disgusting eating the placenta is, they may not realize that animal and plant placentas can be found in many products around the world, including cosmetics, hair products, food, and pharmaceuticals. 


Many cultures honor the placenta for its imperative role to mother and baby. An article published by Baby Center and approved by the Singapore Medical Advisory Board, States that “The Chinese place a great deal of importance in the healing properties of the placenta. In the Malay Community, the placenta is esteemed for its role in supporting the baby during the pregnancy. After the birth, the placenta is collected and accorded a respectful and proper Muslim burial, as a way of giving thanks to this special organ. 

The Chinese place a great deal of importance in the healing properties the placenta.




Many other cultures around the world have special ceremonies that honor the placenta for its role during the pregnancy. For example, the Maoris in New Zealand bury the placenta as a symbol of honoring the relationship of humans and earth.”  

We are now we are seeing a steady increase in the practice of consuming placenta capsules in the United States. Consuming the placenta has been attributed to many health benefits for a mother in postpartum. Some of these benefits include: increased energy, a quicker return to health after birth, balance hormones, increase production of breast milk, decrease postpartum depression, replenish depleted iron levels, decrease the likelihood of insomnia, and reduce post-natal bleeding.


Because the placenta contains all the nutrients, blood and oxygen from mother to baby in pregnancy, it is sometimes referred to as the “tree of life”. The assumption is, the amazing nutrients that help the baby, can also help the mother, like a postpartum super food.  In an article written by TTS Health Consultant Gabrielle Gingras, she states: 

“The placenta has very high levels of some vitamins such as B6. This is the one that helps out with postpartum depression. The mother can reclaim these vitamins and put them to use in her own body by ingesting the placenta. CRH, a corticotrophin- releasing hormone, normally secreted by the hypothalamus, is well-known to be a stress-reducer. During the last trimester of pregnancy, the placenta secretes high levels of CRH, also pouring great quantities into the expectant mother's bloodstream. And guess what? After birth, the mother has much lower than average levels of this hormone, thus triggering depression. Actually, when so much CRH was being produced during the final weeks of pregnancy, the hypothalamus shut down on its production. After the birth, the hypothalamus hasn't yet kicked into gear and begun to compensate for the low levels of CRH.” 



The questions many ask is whether there is solid research available to back-up these claims.  There is quite a bit of controversy about the validity of research on human placentophagia. And in truth, I was unable to find a great deal of solid clinical research on the topic. I did come across a couple of websites, including placentabenefits.org, which listed several research articles on placentophagia.  However, of the 9 or so research studies listed only about two of them were specifically related to ingesting the placenta. The others discussed sideline topics such as hormone balance and the benefits of iron supplants. 

Despite the lack of solid research available on the topic, there is a growing number of moms in the United States who have had their placentas encapsulated. The buzz in getting louder and moms everywhere are posting their real life testimonials all over the web. Placentophagia has even gotten the attention of mainstream editorial magazines. In Julie Wan’s article published in the Washington Post, Health and Science section, she comments at  “Mad Men actress January Jones told People magazine that she began taking placenta pills after giving birth last fall and credits them with helping her to bounce back quickly. “It’s not witchcrafty or anything! I suggest it to all moms,” she told the magazine. “Your placenta gets dehydrated and made into vitamins. It’s something I was very hesitant about,” but she ended up taking the pills daily.”

So, what do YOU think about placenta encapsulation?

Did you encapsulate your placenta?  How did it work for you?  We would love to hear from you!

Happy Researching! 


DoulaTales.  Real people.  Real challenges.  Real joy.  Join us. 

Today's blog was brought to you by Adriane N. Garbayo, Birth Doula (DONA Trained) Seasons Within Doula Group & Birth Services


Meet the DoulaTales Bloggers: Adriane Garbayo, Andrea Shutt, Deidre Coutsoumpos, Diana Figurski, Elizabeth Valencia, Heather Hanning, Ivette Carter, and Kathie Neff.  



See you next time!

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