Hello again! It’s been awhile but I’ve just been trying to get into a new rhythm and spend as much time off the computer as possible. I am more than half way done with my doctorate at this point but am taking a short break until January to focus on my new job. My hope is to graduate with my DNP in 6/2020 and forever be done with school.
In April I started my first midwifery job in St. Petersburg with Women’s Care Florida at Absolute Health & Wellness. I found the cutest little house about 3 minutes from the office and 8 minutes from the hospital- literally a God send.
We have two offices we work out of- one on 5th Ave and one on MLK. We deliver at Bayfront Babyplace. It’s a beautiful hospital with large labor and postpartum rooms. Also easy to find- only one floor to remember- you walk in and go up the elevators to the third floor. Feels a little like home since I worked on the third floor at my old hospital for five years.
Our team is comprised of 3 OBGYNs and 5 CNMs. I honestly can say everyone has been nothing but supportive and so helpful. It’s a really wonderful group of ladies who truly care about women and each other.
If you are looking for holistic well woman preventative care, birth control counseling, have a gynecological problem you want to discuss with someone who will actually listen, or want to have evidence based, empowering prenatal/labor/postpartum care and you’re in the St. Pete area- feel free to contact me through this site or call our office. I’d be happy to answer any questions and chat with you.
If I’ve learned anything over the past few months- the words of Dr. Neel Shah have hit home more than ever…
“It is important to remember that people have goals other than simply emerging from childbirth unscathed…Safety during labor is the floor of what people deserve. What we should all really be aiming for is the ceiling: care that is not just safe, but also supportive and empowering.”
Hope everyone had a lovely summer spent with family and friends outside!
*A sprinkling of photos from the last few months*
Somehow it’s been almost a year since I’ve posted. It was a full, joyful, hard, and wonderful 2018. From April through September I had the opportunity to complete my midwifery clinicals at Breath of Life birth center and through USF at Tampa General Hospital. Both were amazing experiences that I will never forget. I know everyone says this- but I had the BEST preceptors that have become friends. There is not enough time or space to describe what I learned and how I grew as a person during those months. I’ll never forget the first baby I caught in the water, or the times I had clinicals then went straight to my nursing job, or had the honor of delivering a close friends baby, to walking alongside moms in some of their darkest and most joyful times of their lives. Midwifery school changes you in so many ways. As I am just now starting to come out of the fog of studying, I can say I don’t regret one second of continuing my education.
After 11 years of college (2007-2018!), 52 babies caught, over 800 clinical hours, passing boards, I am officially a midwife. I am now in the process of applying & interviewing for my first midwife job. I am trusting the process. Trusting that wherever I need to be will open up and knowing right now I am exactly where I need to be. I am super blessed to continue working my nursing job in the meantime. Enjoying my finals weeks-months of working alongside some of the best coworkers in Tampa. I will miss them dearly but know I will hopefully see them as clients sooner than later 🙂
This website will continue to serve as a place moms can come for resources and encouragement. I will no longer be acting as a doula (even though I’ll forever be a doula in my heart). And maybe one day in the future- this space will turn into my own midwifery practice.
If you’re reading this- you probably were one of the people that encouraged, prayed, sent text messages, or showed up with coffee when I needed it the most in 2018. So thank you- I appreciate every one of you!
Wow! 9 months have gone by since I’ve posted- almost a full pregnancy- unlike most pregnancies though, the time has flown with lots of hard work and memories throughout.
Back in October I was able to attend the American Association of Birth Centers conference in Anchorage, Alaska with my best midwifery sisters. We learned a ton, ate a delicious brunch, and hiked to the most amazing views.
The holidays were filled with work, time with family, lots of studying, and so many baby snuggles.
I have attended almost 10 more births since I last posted. Yes, the end of the year was a busy doula month for me with some of my mom’s going early and some going late. But it all worked out and those are births I’ll never forget. One included my best friend having an unplanned home birth to several repeat clients that rocked their second births. Some of them I was simply a presence in the room, cheering them on. What I have learned over the years is most of the time, mom’s just need a familiar face to hold space for them. They do all the rest.
I am officially done with my didactic portion of my midwifery program. I start clinicals next month and everything is becoming so real. I have 4 shifts left at work before I go PRN during clinicals. I love my coworkers and am thankful to call some of them my closest friends. They know who they are- but I am very grateful for all the encouragement at 4AM in the morning when I questioned everything.
I am also officially transitioning from doula to midwife. The last 6 years of being a doula are coming to a close and it’s incredibly bittersweet. I have a feeling my experiences as a doula will shape everything about how I practice as a midwife. I hope so at least. Thank you to all the parents who trusted me enough to ask me to be at their birth. It was truly an honor.
I am still here for placenta encapsulation and lactation services. But for the next handful of months- my focus will be on learning the skills of midwifery and studying for boards at the end of the year.
All that to say…I love you guys and am forever grateful for all of your support! Here’s to catching your future babes and providing all your well woman care!
One more term down in midwifery school. I have officially been a student (BS, LPN, RN, BSN, and now MSN+DNP) for a VERY long time. I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be in school for something I love and am so passionate about. I start clinicals next April, so less than a year from now…if I squint my eyes, I can see the light!
Being a doula has taught me to trust women- to listen to them and believe in their bodies…it has shown me patience, intense joy, and deep sorrow. Being a doula inspired me towards midwifery with the hope of making the world a better place. A path sometimes I can’t even believe I get to be on.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and hopefully more time with friends & family spent outdoors.
Apologies that it’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything. I have been in the thick of studying and spending time with friends & family. I am excited for a few summer babies that are getting ready to make an appearance soon. It’s nice and hot here in Florida, so remember to stay hydrated and maybe bring your yoga practice indoors for a bit. I just started training for my second marathon and it’s been pretty brutal running outside, unless it’s later in the day (which the night shifter in me loves running at sunset).
And last but not least, I have officially opened up my Etsy shop. Head on over and see what I have listed! Here’s a sneak peak…
So when should you give your newborn their first bath?! Well…first off, it’s up to YOU! You are the mom, you get to decide. Remember that!
St Joseph’s Women’s Hospital waits 8 hours from the time of delivery.
Tampa General Hospital waits 24 hours from the time of delivery but you have to ask
And if you have your baby at a birth center or at home, you can decide.
Some known benefits to delaying the first bath:
- Vernix (white cheesy substance on a new baby) contains lots of antibodies that can fight infection- some say it’s the baby’s 1st vaccine
- Increased breastfeeding rates since your baby will most likely be doing skin to skin most of the first day
- Helps the baby to experience lower stress
- Helps the baby maintain its blood sugar levels easier
Personally, I would wait at least a few days to let all the vernix really sink in but that’s just me. I’m clearly not bothered by fluids and blood, especially if it’s mine.
This blog post is mainly a reminder that YOU are the mama! You get to decide what is best for you & your new baby.
Baby Harvest getting her 1st bath at home a few days after getting home from the hospital.
She LOVED it!
I just wanted to take a moment to explain why I chose the three words that are found under my logo.
- Educate– One of my goals as a doula is to educate women in all aspects of their pregnancy. I am constantly texting with past doula clients about breastfeeding issues that arise or new things I’m learning. I love keeping up to date on new evidence based research on everything regarding birth. Then passing that info on to new moms.
- Empower- This is probably the most important word thus why I put it right smack dab in the middle. In a recent midwifery school presentation we were discussing the word empowerment and how vital it is to new moms during their postpartum period. We can educate all day long, but in order for someone to make a decision they have to feel empowered. Active listening and gentle encouragement can go a long way for a mom who might feel pressured in many directions. My goal is to empower the mom from the soul- to get to the root of what they desire and go from there.
- Support- This is where the idea of a doula comes in. I am your support person or sometimes I like to say “your birth-y best friend.” I am here to unbiasedly support you and your desires. I am on your side.
Cesarean rate reduced by 50%
Length of labor reduced by 25%
Epidural use reduced by 60%
Increased skin-to-skin time with infant
Some of the things I can provide are massage, acupressure, music, aromatherapy, help with relaxation and visualization, advice on optimal fetal positioning, suggestions for labor positioning, hot/cold packs, assistance with staying hydrated and nourished, Rebozo techniques and help with backache relief measures.
As your doula I can’t make decisions for you, but can equip you with the education and encouragement to advocate for yourself. As a nurse and student midwife, I am extremely comfortable in the birth setting and can help put you at ease. During our prenatal visits we can talk about your fears and questions, and I’m always available via the phone. Sometimes during birth things come up that we haven’t discussed and I always encourage moms to say to the provider “hey can you give my birth team and I five minutes and we will get back with you.” This way we can regroup and decide how to proceed.
Photo credits | Mary Catherine Hamelin Michele Dye
The word doula originates from the Greek word for “a woman who serves.”
Sometimes there is confusion between a doula and a midwife. To break it down simply a doula is a support person in birth whereas a midwife is the medical provider.
Another way to describe a doula is “a woman experienced in childbirth that provides advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and just after childbirth.”
Photo credits | Mary Catherine Hamelin Michele Dye Connie Ardiff
I want to say a huge thank you to the following people that helped me create this amazing website. From encouraging me to launch this website, to helping me edit content, to being previous doula clients, to offering amazing photography for this site…I am truly grateful to have these people in my life.
Wildflower Illustrations | logo designer, friend from travels, & extremely talented artist
Marigold Flower Co. | a best friend, doula client, & creative extraordinaire
Yellow Leaf Marketing | dear friends, doula client, & marketing gurus
Photo credits | Savannah Lauren Michele Dye Mary Catherine Hamelin Connie Ardiff