Pregnancy After Loss from a Doula's Perspective

To me, vulnerability is one of the most important pieces of being a doula. Our load is lightened when we share. Speaking our truth allows us to own it rather than letting it own us.

My truth is that this pregnancy comes after a loss which has forever changed me, as loss does.

The first half of this journey was rooted in fear. I think I peed on about 40 pregnancy testes (even after visiting the doctor), ran my HCG and progesterone a dozen times, had 4 ultrasounds, and cuddled the fetal doppler at night instead of my husband. I barely had the energy to get a load of laundry done. My time was taken up by sitting in bed with my hands on my stomach waiting for any sign of life to be felt.

Mirror bump selfies noting the number of weeks gestation are a thing of the past for me this time around. I have two pictures of this baby belly and neither show my face. I can’t bring myself to pose in front of the mirror (even though my sister repeatedly asks me for a bump shot). It feels trivial this time.

Why am I not celebrating this baby the same way I did with my daughter?

Because this pregnancy is not the same. Period.

This pregnancy, even with all of its fear and anxiety, has given me the gift of learning to be present. Elijah (We’re having a boy!) has given me the ability to slow down, to rest, to listen, to talk, to touch, to breathe, to pray, to meditate, to connect with the universe and with my body. He has given me the gift of allowing things to not be perfect and to live in the moment.

Laundry can be folded tomorrow… or next week.

Elijah has helped me to appreciate intimacy. We are so deeply connected already, a connection that I don’t remember forming with my daughter until I saw her face. In this moment my biggest fear is that he is going to pee on me when I’m changing his diaper. And that’s all I have, this moment, so I’d say things are going pretty well.

This is me. Who I am today. In this moment.

I am a doula, a mom, a wearer of many hats. I am an open book for those that need it. I am an ear for others. I take care of families, just as I have been taken care of myself.

Written by Kami Wagner

5 Reasons Why You Need a Nighttime Nanny

Hold on. Let's be honest. No one NEEDS a nighttime nanny or baby nurse. You absolutely can do it on your own or with the help of your partner. Many moms do! But do you want to?? Are you sure? Let me tell you why having a nighttime nanny is worth her weight in gold!

#1 - The 4th Trimester Has a Steep Learning Curve

Yes, a new baby is one of the most amazing and joyful times of your life. It can also be intense, scary and overwhelming. A brand new person has entered your life that is solely dependent on you for their every need. They are warm, snuggly, smell heavenly and trust me; you will want to hold them 24/7 when possible. This is just as it should be! You will be immersing yourself in every aspect of this new life. It takes a lot of energy and this little one doesn’t have the same sleep needs as you do. Their sleep cycles are short and their feeding and changing needs are frequent. You’re learning all about this new life and how to care for them. A nighttime nanny can be there to care for all of you! With years of experience under her belt raising her own children, she can guide your family while pulling out her Mary Poppins’s bag of ideas to help! Answering questions about breast and bottle feeding, sleep patterns, baby behavior and incorporating your new baby in to the family; she has seen and done all of it.

#2 - Your Body is Healing

You have just been through the most intense physical experience of your life! Your body has grown and brought forth a new person! It needs sleep and nourishment to recover. A nighttime nanny is there to ensure your family’s sleep is restful and maximized, allowing your body the energy recharge it needs to begin healing.  Breastfeeding? Your nighttime nanny can bring your baby to you at the first sign of hunger cues so your baby is ready to nurse and not crying. Bottle-feeding? She is happy to let you sleep and she can feed your baby. Whether breastmilk or formula, you never have to worry about what your baby is eating during the night. She can make formula for tomorrow’s feeding before she leaves and will always follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines for making formula so you never have to worry if it was done correctly. You and your partner can get the rest you need to handle tomorrow’s events and be fully present with your new baby.

#3 - Your Partner is Tired Too

Yes, your partner is overjoyed at your new little one as well! And they really want to be involved in every aspect of this adventure! BUT, chances are, your partner is tired. They may be returning to work shortly after the birth or may have the best of intentions but find it difficult to maintain the energy levels necessary to stay up throughout the night with you. Your nighttime nanny is there to be sure that everyone is getting the rest they need. You and your partner will be sleeping and able to meet the daytime needs if you have a chance to recharge. If your partner is returning to work, having a nighttime nanny to support you and your baby will help them be their most productive on their work days. Remember, this is a big adjustment for everyone and not a reflection of their love and devotion to you or your baby.

#4 - Sleep Deprivation is a Form of Torture for a Reason

It’s true, without sleep our brains cannot function fully. Many of us have had that experience of feeling sleep deprived. Sleepiness, mood changes, difficulty concentrating, memory and thinking problems, disorientation, anxiety and depression can all result from being sleep deprived. The intensity of these symptoms can increase if a lack of sleep continues for more than a few days. Babies have very short sleep cycles (they can be as short as 30 minutes!) and newborns do not develop the effective circadian rhythms we are used to until at least 6 weeks old. This means they are not sensitive to rhythms of dark and light and can sleep the same regardless of the time of day. A nighttime nanny can be there to create a conducive environment to encourage the development of circadian rhythms in your newborn. Creating a dim, quiet environment that does not encourage extended waking at night, following baby’s cues for hunger and not fully waking them every time they move, and using gentle methods to encourage sleep (such as swaddling and rocking) can help your newborn begin to experience sleep patterns more like ours. Because your nighttime nanny is not sleep deprived and taking care of a baby 24 hours a day, she can patiently and consistently help your baby to sleep while you get the sleep you need.

#5 - Taking Care of New Families is Her Passion

A nighttime nanny does not simply decide one day to give up her normal sleeping patterns in exchange for financial compensation. She is there because she loves the work she does! Having raised her own children and having spent a career working with new families, your nighttime nanny has a vast knowledge base in baby and child behavior. She remembers a time when communities cared for new mothers and showered them not just with gifts but with time and devotion. She preaches that having a community to care for families helps them to gain confidence as parents and feel secure in their new roles and she practices it. Patient, compassionate, non-judgmental, supportive, loving and kind describe our nighttime nanny. Her devotion to the families she serves is a direct reflection of her passion to serve new parents and their babies. She values the privilege of caring for families at such a precious time and dedicates her time and energy to them.

Deciding to have a baby is the start of one of the greatest adventures of your life! It takes a lot of energy to care for this new life and we are here to support you. If you’re considering hiring a nighttime nanny, contact us today to discuss the possibilities and meet our own fairy godmother!

Written by Melenie Duval