I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down with an expecting couple, got to talking about the upcoming birth, and then the partner says something along the lines of “Well I’m planning on just staying out of the way.” Every time I hear this it breaks my heart a little bit. If there ever was a time a person NEEDS the support of their partner its in that sacred vulnerable moment when they are facing the incredible force that is birth. But as much as it breaks my heart I can 100% understand that sentiment. Birth can be scary and one of the scariest things about it is the feeling that there is nothing you can do. I’ve never been in the position of the partner. I’ve given birth, I’ve served as a doula for couples, but I’ve never walked into a room and thought to myself, “a person I love is going to be uncomfortable, in pain, and scared for who knows how long and there is nothing I can do about it”. That is a scary thought and I can totally understand how that thought makes people want to just “stay out of the way.” But the thing is you don’t have to feel powerless. There are things you can totally do! Real things, helpful things, that will make you look like a rockstar and your partner eternally grateful for you! Here are 5 quick easy tips for partners to pull out when the rubber starts hitting the road.
Get them eating and drinking water
This is especially true during early labor. It is so easy to get excited and distracted once you REALLY start feeling those contractions and forget to eat and drink. But guess what the body needs to birth a baby? Energy. And where do we get that energy? Food and water. Be the supportive hero I know you are and go make her a sandwich!
Do they look tense?
You know your partner better than anyone. What do they look like when they’re stressed out? Do they clench their jaw? Start curling their toes? Do their shoulders start living up there by their ears? Pain, any kind of pain, is so much easier to handle when your muscles are loose and you are relaxed. So, if you see those toes start curling or those shoulders tensing up get over there and start giving them a little rub. While you’re over there tell them how great they’re doing and how proud you are of them. They will never forget how you showed them love in this moment.
Get in the water!
Keep it interesting
Here’s something people don’t say that often, labor is boring. You have no idea how long it’s going to be (on average most first time parents are in active labor for over 8 hours), if you are in a hospital during this time you might feel like you are stuck in one hotel like room, and depending on the time of day the only thing on television could courtroom dramas. On top of this you might people wanting updates, texting to ask how you are or what’s happened. Maybe those people are actually in the room with you. Let me tell ya something, when those hours start to stretch on and no baby has shown up yet pain starts getting more intense and your partner will start getting more frustrated. Pull out the stops. Get out of that one stuffy room and go for a walk. If it’s still early enough in labor bust out some games to play. Listen to some of their favorite songs. Talk to them about how you first met. When they start needing to focus more stop trying to actively keep their attention and switch to background distractions. Help them change positions, turn the music down and walk them through a relaxation and visualization exercise. Doing this will keep them from feeling stuck and help keep you engaged as well.
Be aware of the laboring environment
What’s going on around you? Is it loud and busy or calm and quiet? Has your sister in-law been sitting in the corner for the last hour and a half watching the television at full volume? Does the room feel cramped and crowded? And most importantly how does your partner seem to feel about this? Labor is SO much easier if the environment feels comfortable and safe for the laboring woman and YOU are the one that knows them best. YOU are the one that knows what helps them feel comfortable and safe. So look around you and start asking yourself, “what kind of room can my partner relax in”.
These are just some of the easy things to help your partner during labor and make you feel like you did more than just sit in a chair and stress yourself out. For more easy tips on how to help your partner during labor AND for more preparation for your amazing birth Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp offers a free one hour mini comfort measures workshop once a month. Please come by and see us, grab a bagel, and ask us some questions.
Growing up my family didn’t always have what they needed in the moment they needed it. When my mom and my dad divorced my mom didn’t have her college degree and our options were limited. She eventually went back to school, got her undergrad and graduate degree, and is now a practicing therapist here in Lehi. However, in that moment of growing up, stuck in those thin places, it was hard. Balancing a household budget for three people, trying to figure out how to pay tuition and bills, needing to buy medication for your diabetic child, and then having enough left over to eat and buy school uniforms for your kids is hard. All of it is hard. So what do you do when all three people in your house have a period once a month? Go to the Walmart website and search “tampon” real quick. I can tell you right now that at Walmart a box of tampons can cost you between $5 - $35. I can also tell you that a 20 day supply of insulin is $35, provided that you have good insurance. We didn’t have good insurance.
So what do you do? What do you do when a basic hygiene product that three people in your house need cost the same as medication that will keep one of those people healthy? Do you honestly want to know? Well, first you get really good at layering toilet paper in your underwear. Second, you learn exactly how far you can push every tampon, pad, and panty liner before you have to put them back on the shopping list. Third, you overcome your shyness and learn to become ok asking your friends for what you need. Luckily for me and my family we had a support system. Wonderful people who loved and cared about my family and who were cheering us on from the sidelines. I am grateful everyday for them and how they changed my life. But what about those people who don’t have a support system? What about that family who is new and struggling in your community? What about that high school student who is also working a full time job to help pay the bills? What about those people who are homeless? What are their support systems when “that time of the month” rolls around?
enter the homeless period project
The Homeless Period Project is a group that is attempting to answer those questions with a solution. On their website their missions statement reads “We provide menstrual products to those in need while educating and advocating to end the stigma of menstruation.” In the first quarter of 2019 they donated over 800,000 period products and they are hoping to start 2020 off on the same foot. So what are they doing? What are they providing? Who are they educating? The main product that they are providing is something called a “period pack” which is a ziplock baggie filled with tampons, pads, pantie liners and wipes. They donate these to shelters, local schools, as well as to disaster relief organizations to give to those in need. One of the main problems, however, is the lack of education. Menstrual products are still one of the least donated items to shelters and a lack of sanitary products can be a huge hindrance to people who are looking for jobs, looking for housing, trying to stay in school, or who have only one set of clothing. On top of this some families still keep their children home from school when they are on their periods instead of buying menstrual products, not realizing what a disadvantage this puts their children at. The Homeless Period Project works with shelters, schools, and other organizations to provide education and support to communities in need.
what can you do?
So what can you do? You know what the problem is now and you’ve spent the time reading to the end of this article so I’m guessing you care enough to want to get involved. Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp is following the lead of Utah Douals & Company and helping raise donations for the Homeless Period Project. We are accepting donations of pads, tampons, panty liners, quart sized ziploc bags, and tall kitchen trash bags. The Utah Period Drive is accepting donations till February 14th, then we will be assembling the period packs and taking the packs to The Road Home and family shelter in Midvale on February 18th. If you can donate products, please do. If you want to give time, even better. Contact us or any of the lovely ladies at Doulas & Co. for more information on how to get involved in this worthy cause. Let's work together to “give dignity back, one period at a time.”
Simply put, YES! You will greatly benefit from taking an amazing childbirth class AND hiring a doula! Find out why in this quick video below!
Greetings! My name is Daelyn Kingston and I am a doula with Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp. I was born in St. George, UT in the beautiful month of April. I am the oldest of 8 children in my family and have 3 sisters and 4 brothers. We have been blessed with wonderful parents. While a few short years of my childhood were spent in Cache Valley, ultimately I grew up in Las Vegas, NV. I spend a great deal of my youth on horseback and outside with friends and siblings. It was fantastic!
I graduated from high school and headed to college. I started my college career looking at nursing, labor and delivery was my choice. After watching some interactions with some nurse moms and their kids, I decided that maybe nursing wasn't a family friendly career and changed my major. I always loved education and spent all my high school years working with children, so I changed my major to elementary education. I loved it! I loved working with sweet children and I was very blessed to teach kindergarten for several years.
In my life I have been tremendously blessed to have been married to two wonderful men. I married Chris right after I graduated college and spend a wonderful year with him before he passed away very suddenly from leukemia. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever been through, but it changed me in so many positive ways. It made me stronger, it just made me more than I had been. Then I was amazingly blessed to marry my sweet Kent. He is kind, generous, funny, smart and handsome and I am forever thankful he is mine. He gave me 3 beautiful step daughters and then together we have 7 beautiful children. All together we have 8 daughters and 2 sons. Of my 7 births, 4 were hospital births. Some induction, some medicated, some natural. My last 3 were home births and I loved those as well.
While spare time is not plentiful at this point in my life, there are several things I love to do. Reading, sewing, spending time with my family, teaching and taking care of our small farm are some of my favorite things! I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I love the responsibilities that I have there also.
I attended my first birth when I was 19 years old. I was invited to attend the birth of a friend's baby. The experience was one of the most memorable of my life. It confirmed what I had know since I was little, that I loved birth and wanted to be part of it. Over the years I have attended a variety of births, each leaving a new impression on my mind and heart. Natural, Cesarean, multiples, hospital, home each one amazing, each one magical and each one with a new lesson learned. I feel immensely blessed to be able to use this knowledge to encourage, help and empower women and they bring their little ones earth side.
Did you know that our own Hollie Hauptly teaches doula trainings!? She has 3 training dates later this year and there is still time for you to register! All of the doulas with Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp are certified with Birth Boot Camp DOULA and we can't recommend this training more! Check out this video to see what training with Birth Boot Camp Doula is like. You can contact Hollie to learn more if you are interested in becoming a doula! Check out www.BirthBootCamp.com/doulas to learn about the certification process and training dates/ locations.
Hi! My name is Kathryn Elizabeth Gardner, but that makes me sound like a character in a Jane Austen novel so please, call me Kayte. I was born in Salt Lake but spent most of my life in Oklahoma City. This means that I grew up in a place that was busy enough and big enough to have traffic and crime but never get mentioned on television. It also means that I grew up saying “y’all” and have a slight accent every now and then BUT I have no idea how to ride a horse.
I went to college in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University (GO POKES!!) and studied sociology. I planned on getting my masters in forensic psychology. The plan was to teach and write and consult and profile. Glorified desk work basically, but life got in the way when I met Mark. Mark has more in common with the movie TRON than he does with any Austen novels. Still, he totally and completely surprised me and literally swept me off my feet. He saved me from a tornado and 9 months later we were married. He is the best and most impulsive choice I ever made.
We moved to Utah shortly after we were married because my husband is a tech wizard and “Silicon Slopes” had jobs that wanted his skills. At first I was at a loss of what to do with myself. I had planned on being a perpetual student and desk jockey but my life had changed in so many big ways over such a short time. The life I planned didn’t really seem to fit the person I was becoming anymore. I decided to find work in the mental health field. The people and the lessons I learned during this time changed my life. I learned how to hold space and hold boundaries. I learned how to listen, connect, and empathize with people. I learned how to empower someone instead of just enabling them. I use all of these lessons today in every part of my life, as a mother, a wife, and a doula. They became the foundation to what I like to call “my mental and emotional doula bag”.
our Impossible girl
About 2 years after we moved to Utah I got pregnant with our first child, Clara Renae Gardner, our very own “Impossible Girl”. I am a type 1 diabetic, so I always knew my pregnancy and birth would not be the ideal natural birth I had always wanted, but I was determined to get as close as possible. I was healthy, I was an active participant in all my doctors appointments, my husband and I took classes, I asked relevant questions. I felt like I was prepared. I went into labor spontaneously at 39 weeks. We drove to the hospital. I labored for close to 17 hours surrounded by the love and support of my husband and my mom. Labor was honestly wonderful. I loved feeling my body working, I loved feeling that powerful, and then everything went horribly wrong.
I don’t want to get into the details here. Part of the reason is that it’s still hard to think of that moment when everything got turned on its head. The other part, an even bigger part is I know pregnant women are going to read this. The last thing I want is for you to read the details here and have them color your own birth and pregnancy. What I will say is that what happened to me and Clara was statistically unlikely if you look at my medical records. It surprised everyone, me, my husband, both our families, the doctor, the nurses, and it broke all our hearts. Four days after her birth Clara died. To feel that door between life and death swing open and close so many times in such a short amount of time was another experience that changed me. I learned that joy and despair and pain and relief are all sides of the same dice. I learned that connection is the most important part of serving someone. I learned that you really can do anything for one minute, and sometimes all you can focus on is one minute at a time. These lessons also went into my mental/emotional doula bag and I have used these lessons more times than I can count.
Our surprising boy
After Clara’s funeral I was determined to handle grief and loss well, and in many ways I did. I was open and authentic with my grief, My husband and I went to therapy, I wrote about my thoughts and feelings in a very raw and personal way. In many other ways, however, I did not handle it particularly well. I isolated myself from others. I impulsively quit jobs. I ate my feelings. Even with all these thoughts, feelings, and actions making the air thick and the days hard, life still carried on. We moved. My mom came to live with us. I got a different job and so did Mark. We celebrated Mother’s day, then Clara’s birthday, and then Father’s day. Then one day close to Christmas I got pregnant with baby number two.
When I got pregnant with my son, Fox, I wanted a baby so so bad, but I didn’t want to be pregnant. I didn’t want to think about birth or what could happen. I didn’t want to connect with this being inside me that I might never get the chance to properly meet or know. I went to my doctors appointments and asked no real questions. I made an active choice not to learn anything about birth or development. At 34 weeks I scheduled a c-section and at 34 weeks and 6 days I went into labor. I couldn’t make myself believe I was in labor though. Maybe it was gas, or the flu, or food poisoning. I walked around my house trying to get comfortable. Maybe I should try sitting on the toilet for a bit, I thought. This was followed by more pacing and swaying. Maybe I should just go lay down, was my next bright idea. My husband came home from work and asked if there was anything he could do to help me feel better, maybe go get me some food? After eating a cheeseburger and fries we both decided to call it an early night and go to bed. I was up four hours later. My “food poisoning” was getting worse. I tried to go to the bathroom again but nothing happened. Then I remembered the sounds I made during labor and how making those sounds made me feel better. Sure I wasn’t “in labor” but sounding my pain out couldn’t hurt right? My moaning woke Mark up who decided it was time to start timing my “stomach bug”. About 20 minutes later my moaning woke my mom up who decided we were passed the point of timing contractions or humoring me. She got us in the car and told Mark to step on it. We pulled up to American Fork hospital and about 40 minutes later Fox was born. A complete stubborn surprise, just like his daddy. He was early, he had a bit of a NICU visit, but he was alive, here, and safe. My body didn’t fail me or my baby. I did it. Fox’s birth changed me and brought me back to life. I learned to get out of my head and listen to my body. I learned that I am capable of hard and wonderful things. I learned to trust those around me because they might be seeing something I’m not. All of these lessons also got packed into my mental doula bag.
After Fox’s birth I wanted to learn everything about the birth of my children. Then I wanted to learn everything about women who give birth with pre-existing conditions. Then I wanted to learn about how to lower a woman’s chance for a c-section. Then I wanted to learn about when a c-sections are necessary. Then I wanted to learn about recovery and VBAC’s. On and on it went. Eventually I got to a spot where I had to ask myself “why”. Why was I spending so much time learning so much about birth? Yes, I wanted to know these things for myself but that didn’t feel like the only reason. I wanted to help others. I wanted to give comfort and support and service to the men, women, and families of my community. I wanted to share this feeling of strength with others. So I became a doula and a childbirth educator.
This is truly the best job. You get to be there at the beginning, at the start of everything. You get to stand there and watch how 1+1 magically becomes 3. You hold people's space and help them protect their boundaries. I am honored that I get to be there and witness the moments when people find their power. I love that I get to connect with the families I serve as they navigate the complicated emotions that accompany birth. I hope that I help make their path a little more clear. I love it when people learn that they are capable of doing things they never thought they could do and I am humbled that I am part of the team of people that couples choose to put their trust in. Being a doula means you’re constantly learning, constantly serving, constantly growing and I love every minute of it.
My husband and I thought we knew a lot about pregnancy/birth, but as the time drew nearer there was so much we didn't know! This class helped us learn everything we could possibly need in order to be prepared for any possibility as we approached our due date.
I had always been terrified of labor, and just figured I would get an epidural and it would be no big deal. Even then though, labor and delivery have always been one of my greatest fears. It was something that I never wanted to go through. In taking this class from Hollie, she was able to help me work through my fears. She was so personable, kind, and fun to learn from! She helped my husband and I decide what kind of a birth experience we wanted, as well as how we could navigate any changes or emergencies that could develop.
Leaving this class I felt prepared for anything that could happen and so much of the fear was relived, and the fear that I still had(of what could happen), I left with the tools and knowledge to deal with.
Going through the class with my husband also helped us to learn his part in the labor/delivery process. We were able to make all the decisions together before hand and both knew what we wanted as a couple. He also learned what to do to help and support me during labor. He was empowered to do so much more than just sit on the sidelines holding my hand.
Hollie was more than just an instructor. During the classes she was fun as well as knowledgeable and helped us think of, and answer questions we didn't even know we had. She was even helpful outside of the class. She was always just a text or phone call away to answer questions and help us through one of the most amazing, yet challenging times of our lives!
I honestly don't feel I could have done it without having been through this class with Hollie. She helped make what I thought would be a terrifing experience, into an amazing one.
I have already recommended taking a Birth Boot Camp class from her to a my friend and my sister in law, who are both pregnant. I will keep recommending it to anyone I know!! It was more than worth it! We love Hollie!"
I recently had the opportunity to take a tour of the labor and delivery suites at Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, UT. I’ve honestly been wanting to see inside this little hospital for a while. Since it opened its doors all the way back in 2015, it’s still a relatively new hospital and is visible right off I-15 on the Silicon Slopes side of Point of the Mountain. On top of all that I have yet to hear a negative thing about it, which is saying something. My curiosity was thoroughly peeked. So, when I heard they give free, twice weekly tours I said “Sign me up!” I grabbed one of my fellow Wasatch Mountain Birth Boot Camp ladies, the lovely Hollie Hauptly, and together we joined the expecting couples for the tour.
So let me get the bad news out of the way up front. Ladies, gentleman, and variations there on, this is still a hospital. That means they still have hospital policies and procedures. There are still going to be nice and well meaning people in scrubs who may or may not share your opinions about birth, vaccines, or who really should have won The Masked Singer. This is still a hospital that does hospital like things, but from the moment you walk in the door you wouldn’t even know it.
Hollie and I walked through the door at 9:50 on a Saturday morning into what looked like an empty upscale hotel lobby. Seriously, this place and 80% of the hotels in Park City must have used the same interior designer. But what was more noticeable than the earthy stone walls, high windows, and bright naturally lit atmosphere was how absolutely calm and quite the whole hospital was. This spirit of quite calm continued up the stairs and down the hall to the “Women’s Services” area of the hospital on the second floor. We were buzzed through the doors and asked to wait in one of the biggest triage rooms I had ever seen. Soon the rest of the tour group was there and we were off.
Our first stop was one of the labor, delivery, and recovery rooms. That’s right, families who come to Mountain Point Medical will have just one room for the entirety of their stay. The first labor/delivery/recovery room that we saw was one of 5 with tubs. The rooms without tubs have spacious showers instead (plenty big enough for a laboring woman and a birth ball). The tubs are also impressive. Deep and wide with a door to make getting in and out easier for the laboring woman. Now, before you get excited because you just hear “tub” and “labor” in the same sentence, no, they don’t do water births. In the event that a baby is born when the woman is still in the tub hospital policy/procedure is to take the newborn to the level 2 NICU for a quick once over to make sure they are ok. The room that we were shown was also big enough to fit our group of 14 comfortably. When asked how many people the hospital was comfortable being at the birth the answer was basically “however many can fit and still allow us to do our job” and this list included family, doulas, and birth photographers/videographers.
Besides beautiful spacious rooms and tubs that make me want to renovate my own bathroom, Mountain Point Medical offers wireless monitoring, allowing women to walk the halls during labor instead of being strapped to the bed. They also are fine with women eating and drinking during labor before they receive an epidural. After an epidural women can have water, juice, jello, or a slushy from the slushy machine in the kitchen. Before an epidural families are welcome to help themselves to the snacks in the fridge, the cookies in the cabinet, or bring their own food.
Our last stop on the tour was the healthy baby nursery...which was completely empty of babies. This is because most women choose and are encouraged to do rooming in. “Of course,” we were assured, “if the parents feel like they need a little bit of rest we are more than happy to accommodate them.” Accommodating might be the best word to describe the whole atmosphere of the labor and delivery suits. Accommodating, calm, and peaceful. And it’s no wonder they are able to achieve this sort of atmosphere with a patient to nurse ratio that they try to keep at 1:1!
Yes, this is still a hospital. Once your water breaks your labor will be put on a clock (24 hours according to our tour guide); it is still routine to give the newborn test, shots and screenings; and no, they are not going to be ok with you having a water birth. However, for families that need or want to give birth in a hospital but are hoping for an atmosphere that is cooperative and supportive of their birth plans I would say that Mountain Point Medical Center is a great option.