Not Just a Birth Photographer

I find it really hard to disconnect from my birth clients and just be a photographer.
Nowhere in my birth contract does it say I will hold your hand when labor gets too intense, but if a woman needs me to, I do, like I am in my black tee in this picture taken by a nurse.

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Nowhere under “birth” does it say I will drive all the way back the next day for when your first born is meeting your newborn baby for the first time and you are melting, but I am melting along with you and I am there. 

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I can’t help it. These are not only my clients, they become my family.
My heart ♥️♥️♥️♥️ and my life divide three ways...

in ways most business owners never share their heart and life...
1.... to my own children...
2.... to my husband and home...
3... to my birth clients
No personal event ever outweighs me attending a birth. I’ve gone to births and missed my own birthday, I’ve missed my children’s birthdays
I’ve missed Christmas
I’ve even gone to births with the worst of migraines.
In 4 and a half years I’ve gone to almost 100 births. Because it’s not just a job to me. It’s not just photographs that look beautiful. It’s the power of the birthing motherhood community that no one talks about until a woman is vulnerable and simultaneously she is so powerful during labor, titles and time melts away and you are there to support her through a sisterhood that is felt, not spoken.
#notjustaphotographer
#paulinasplechta
#uniteinmotherhood

The Problem with hiring your family / wedding / friend photographer to capture your birth story

Problem

There are a few birth photographers down here in south Florida who I am sure have the credentials as professional photographers and high quality work in their field of speciality, but the problem we’ve found with my birth clients who have used their family photographer (or wedding photographer) for their previous baby’s birth is that these professional photographers don’t quite get the right shot. Remember, they are not birth-industry specialists. They tend to photograph the care provider delivering the baby but from a very revealing angle while completely forgetting to capture mom and dad’s very emotional reactions to seeing their baby’s face for the first time.

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It makes sense to me why this mistake is commonly made by those without birth industry experience: birth photography sounds like it could be a medical-geared genre of photography (such as the medical images you might find in an anatomy textbook about birth). And I am sure it really depends on the kind of birth photographer you hire (I say it is VITAL to look through their vast birth galleries to ensure not only their work is high quality and their editing style suits you, but the TYPE of photographs you would expect). There is a huge difference in photographer styles and approaches. For me, birth photography is much, much more than a baby’s head crowning and being delivered into the hands of an OBGYN.

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To me, birth photography starts during labor: the powerful goddess that you are. You may not think of yourself in this way just yet. But just wait. When your sweet baby grows up and you look back on that first day you met her, you’ll realize looking at these images, how strong, brave, and focused you were on the only thing that mattered, bringing her into this world. And it might take your breath away for a second. As she is going off to college, or getting married, or perhaps in labor with HER first child, think of the powerful message you will pass onto her: YES BABY, you CAN do this! I DID THIS with you 30 years ago!

The crowning/delivering moment of birth is a piece of the puzzle. Without the journey bringing your baby into this world, it’s not quite the entire story. Did your partner hold your head up as you’re pushing? Did they look at you in total surprise and also admiration, never knowing you were so strong of a woman? Did they hold your hand?

And once your baby is born, what did you say? Were there tears in your eyes for a split second when you first saw his or her face?

Did your partner kiss your head almost to say “damn I am so proud of you, thank you for giving me my son”

That first touch, that first look, the first time you feel their super soft skin and realize how tiny they are, that they have your nose and his eyes?

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All these precious firsts matter so much. They are all part of your journey, your transformation, and that is why my work focuses not on the anatomical process of birth, while acknowledging it, the main part of my work is HOW does this journey affect you? How does it strengthen you.

I have attended nearly 100 births in the last 4 and a half years, and what really broke my heart recently was a client sharing her story with me. A photographer was suppose to come to her birth, but she wasn’t on-call for them until 37 weeks, and my client went into labor during her 36th week of pregnancy, and they were unable to reach her. This is exactly why my on-call time for my clients starts at 28 weeks, the start of the third trimester. You have the security of knowing I am available whether day or night, for up to 14 weeks of your pregnancy and should your baby be a premie baby, you certainly deserve a birth story just as much as if your baby was born full term. The really heartbreaking part of this is that it is not the first time I’ve heard it. Women go into labor usually during the night (maybe 90% of my clients have over 4.5 years) and as a professional, on-call photographer who guarantees being on standby for your client, literally 24 hours a day (not just day time hours) you need to be prepared not only to drop everything and go when your client needs you, but to wake up the second you get that call. There is no snooze button in on-call work. And to not get out of bed instantly and commit to this family, despite how tired you are, is simply unprofessional and unacceptable. There are no do-overs in birth.

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Yes, I do have birth photographers on-call for me when I have more than 1 client due in a certain time frame, I feel most comfortable having many back-up plans for all the unpredictable aspects of birth, but in 4.5 years I have not once sent a back up photographer in my place. I do this by limiting how many families I work with each month, so I can be present not only for each of my families but also, be a good mom to my own kids at home. It is not fair for me to be burned out and overworked and sloppy, not fair to my clients, not fair to my own family. That is also why I do not work in any other genre of photography. Occasionally, when I have a slow month (the birth world always has mountains and valleys), I will invite past birth clients for family photos, but I do not ever commit to year round family/maternity/newborn/breastfeeding sessions. My commitment in my life lies in 2 places: my birth clients and my own family. Imagine if I took wedding clients and you were to go into labor during a wedding of mine. I would have no choice but to send a back up photographer to you. I have a hard time disconnecting from my birth clients. They are like my own family, and I cannot imagine ever saying I cannot come because I have another commitment.

I privately edit all of your birth story myself instead of outsourcing the editing like many photographers do to photographers who spend their year editing the work of other photographers. It is too important to me, I need to edit your photos myself. They are my art of your extraordinary experience, so your photos and video are always completely private with me in my office.

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Since almost half of the births I have photographed have all been photographed at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, the labor and delivery staff are very familiar and comfortable in working with me, they see me every month, and they know they can depend on my professionalism and being unobtrusive.

I have two phones, and although no one has ever had to use the second phone in all 4 years, this is my security measure for you to know that you can reach me multiple ways in case cell phone towers are being funky the night you go into labor.

How does birth photography work?

35 weeks

We are in touch weekly starting 35 weeks of pregnancy, you can inform me of any pregnancy symptoms, comments from your midwife or OB on baby’s size or when they think you may go into labor so I can be especially sensitive and alert.

Contractions

You notify me once you have consistent contractions for 2 hours so I can be prepared on my end to join you at your birth once you are in the late stages of active labor, that way I won’t be intrusive to you during the earlier stages when women tend to need space to be alone. I tend to be with clients for 2 to 6 hours on average before baby is born so I am able to capture the moments of you being a powerful and strong mama and your partner being supportive of you and it’s okay if you end up having a longer labor because I always am happy to be present and never rushed for time. And I like to stay for at least 1 hour following birth to ensure I can capture all the first moments of you enjoying your baby, breastfeeding if you are planning on it, daddy holding baby for the first time, and the entire baby exam where we will find out how much she weighs and how long she is. For families with older siblings I like to come back the following day for that first meeting between big brother and baby sister.

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You are already such a strong and amazing mama!

And it is really brave that you are listening to your heart and realizing how important it is to you to have this emotional moment documented of both of your faces the moment you both meet your baby so you can remember this day forever, all the moms say they forget most of it just even a year later, and you’ll be able to share the first time you saw her when she is older

Interested in learning more about birth photography?

Contact me below today and check on my availability

for your due date!

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Guest Blogger: Gelena Hinkley Midwife & Owner of Natural Birthworks Birth Center

WHY CHOOSE A HOMEBIRTH OR WATERBIRTH OR EVEN A MIDWIFE!

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Gelena Hinkley, LM, CPM

Studied under the tutelage of renowned Midwife, Shari Daniels, at the International School of Midwifery in Miami. Gelena is a Licensed Midwife (LM) by the Florida Department of Health and certified as a Professional Midwife (CPM). Gelena’s passion for knowledge in her field has pushed her to continue her education and she is going for her Bachelors of Science in Midwifery (BSM) with the end goal being a Masters of Science in Midwifery (MSM).

What are Midwives? 

Midwives are trained professionals who assist a pregnant mom through her pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period. The training, licensing, and certifications they received are completely emerged in Midwifery care. This means they specialize in low-risk, know what's out of the normal, and are trained in how to address that safely, early, and quickly. Their training also discusses newborn care this way immediately following birth and up to 6 weeks after they can help with newborn issues. These direct-entry Midwives usually work in a homebirth setting and birth center.

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Why doesn't every low-risk woman have one? 
That's a good question. England, and many other countries have Midwives as the lead for low-risk pregnant moms. When a woman requires a specialist due to a high-risk factor they then are sent over to an OB. This is how it should be for all woman. Since outcomes for low-risk women seen by a Midwife is extremely good this could really help improve the USA rating on our maternal/infant morbidity and mortality.

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Why a Midwife and not an OB? 
Midwives are trained for normal, low-risk pregnant women during prenatal care, birth, and 6 weeks postpartum. OB's are physician's who've successfully completed specialized education and training in the management of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. They provide medical and surgical care to women. Since pregnancy is a normal process for a woman, they should be seen by one who is trained for normal, if things become high-risk then they should be transferred to a specialist.

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Is it safe? 
How many people are in the world today? Midwives are one of the oldest professions in our history. We continue to educate, receive continuing education and certifications to ensure we are providing the safest up to date care to our families.

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What's a Waterbirth all about? 
Many believe that since the baby has been living in water for 9 months, then why wouldn't we help it transition with water to life? Other mothers believe the intensity of labor is eased when they can use the water. There is always the small group that also think the water soothing and moistening the perineum will help lessen their chances of tearing. Whichever option, they are all good reasons to consider the water.

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You can learn more about Midwife Gelena Hinkley and contact her below:

Peaceful Pregnancy Pathways ~ P3 Birth

Home Birth Midwife

http://www.p3birth.com

info@p3birth.com

954.780.9033

513 Melaleuca Drive, Margate Fl 33063

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Peaceful-Pregnancy-Pathways-P3-146381202069267/?ref=bookmarks


Natural Birthworks

Birth Center

http://naturalbirthworks.com/

954.960.3213 office

954.603.1471 fax

info@naturalbirthworks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NaturalBirthworks?ref=hl


REPEAT C-SECTION Birth Story with Third Baby Girl | Boca Raton Birth Stories

TOLAC, VBA2C, C-SECTION BIRTH WORLD TERMS

This is a blog post of a very moving, emotional, and powerful birth story about a mama who experienced a journey of TOLAC, attempted VBA2C, and CESAREAN BIRTH

A TOLAC is a trial of labor after a previous c-section birth

A VBA2C is a Vaginal Delivery after two prior c-section births

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Almost 6 years ago I was being induced in labor room 8 at Boca Raton Regional Hospital with my first child Kate. After about 15 hours of failure to progress, I was brought into Operating Room #1 and my first daughter was born there via cesarean delivery.

Despite the fact that I have worked in almost every single labor and delivery room at this particular hospital over my 4 year career as a labor and delivery photographer, it has been almost 6 years since I have been in this specific LD room. Labor Room #8 at Boca Regional.

On September 23rd, 2018, I never expected that my client in labor with baby girl #3 who was attempting a TOLAC and hoping for a vaginal delivery after two prior c-section births, would have a similar story to experience.

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My birth client hired midwives Polina Goldenberg and Courtney McMillian at Boca Midwifery for the birth of her third baby. Her previous two daughters were born via cesarean section and she was hoping for a vaginal delivery with baby #3.

Mama headed into Boca Regional on a Sunday early morning at 4:05am since her labor started.

Around 8:45am, I was already visiting a Fresh 48 session client at the same hospital in post partum who had a cesarean birth the night before, who actually told me that they bumped into each other in triage, so once I was done capturing my client’s older children meeting their 3rd child for the first time, I joined her in LD room 8 around 9:30am. I stayed with them for a little while and took some photos of her in early labor.

Mama labored through some pretty intense contractions for a while.

She walked the halls of the hospital with her midwife Polina and her daughters to help things progress and squatted and leaned against the hospital rails to get more productive contractions.

At around 2:30pm, I was back in my office when I received the update that mama started getting a little nervous during the latest more intense contractions. She started feeling a pulling and stretching sensation around her previous c-section incision site. Her midwife and the back up OBGYN Dr. David Lubetkin, who was overseeing the labor (a doctor who backs up a CNM Midwife for VBAC must be present in the hospital from the moment a vbac patient is in the hospital in labor until delivery in case an emergency c-section must be performed) both felt it could be scar tissue stretching during contractions due to the two previous c-sections, but with mama being so nervous, no one wanted to take the chance, not even mama.

So we prepared for the operating room.

For me as a mommy of two girls, having two c-sections, one of which happened starting in Labor room 8 and ended in the Operating Room 1, this started feeling really sentimental and emotionally compelling for me. I started feeling a very sisterhood connection with this laboring mama as she and her husband got dressed in OR gear

Since contractions hadn’t become so intense that mama felt she needed her labor doula with her before, we called her and asked her to come to hang out with mama’s older daughters while we would be in the operating room. Pictured below is one of my favorite labor doulas in south Florida, Lisa Raynor, hugging mama just before we headed into surgery.

Sometimes moms ask me what happens with their doula support if they need a c-section. The answer is — sometimes mom wants their doula to join us in the operating room, to help talk them through the process, to reassure them that everything they are feeling, both emotionally and physically during the entire process is normal and safe, to be there in support of their partner or spouse and reassure them whether all is going well, and sometimes, staying behind with your older children is just what you may need your doula to do.

When I went in for my repeat cesarean with my second baby, I asked for my doula to come to the hospital and stay with my 3 year old while I was in the operating room. It really made me feel very reassured she was with a person I could trust to keep her safe and preoccupied, so she wouldn’t be sad, scared or missing me while I was in surgery.

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As we walked back to the operating room, mama had to pause a few times as she continued to have contractions. When you spontaneously go into labor before a c-section, you continue to feel contractions until you have received either an epidural or spinal with anesthesia that blocks the sensation of intense contracting of your uterus.

This mama took every single wave and surge like a laboring goddess. I was so in awe of her. She really struck such an emotional nerve with me. I don’t know if it was because she is also a girl mom just like me, and I’ve secretly always dreamed of having three daughters, or if it was the linearity of the event — girl mom, using my favorite midwives for her birth, same hospital as my first, same labor room, same operating room. Maybe it was everything all at once. But I felt such a protective instinct over this mama. Almost like I had to be her big sister in these moments.

Perhaps the sweetest moment of any labor ever was this moment that my client’s husband took her beautiful face in his hands and kissed her just before she walked into the operating room

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And this moment eerily reminded me of my own experience, my own picture through the operating room window next to the sink that my husband took with our cheap black Friday special Nikon camera, (see the photo below on the right) I can only try to recreate in an imaginary fantasy what everything looked like from the outside from this moment:

And here is where I step back in, feeling so humbled & honored that this beautiful couple and family would trust me with this very tremendous moment and story. How I wish there could have been someone to capture these moments of our story with our daughters. Everything I do a birth photographer, I do with the intention of capturing every single moment I never got to have on camera from my two births.

A lot of moms ask me what happens if they have to have a c-section, who will be with them in the operating room. While I don’t know what happens at other hospitals, at Boca Regional, the hospital is a huge proponent of moms being fully supported. Every unexpected c/section delivery where the mom was originally with a midwife, continues to be accompanied by the midwife through the entire delivery even if in the Operating Room. This is HUGE to psychological health for moms during the partum partum period.

After baby girl was born into the hands of Dr. Lubetkin and midwife Polina, the doctor did see that the stretching/pulling sensations mama was getting during contractions and labor was indeed from a lot of scar tissue surrounding her previous two csection incision site. It was however a relief to hear it was not a uterine rupture.

And from this moment of the first meeting, all the emotions that came flooding after, the story that unfolded, was the most beautiful, most healing experience of my life. Seeing a mother SO supported and surrounded by so much love during a cesarean birth was so heart fulfilling.

If you thus far weren’t moved — oh come on :)

Then the following meeting story will completely melt your heart.

As soon as baby girl was born, and mama was brought back to her labor room, both big sisters were waiting with doula Lisa Raynor ready to meet this sweet princess.

Their meeting is EVERYTHING!!

I live for moments like this.

This was also my first time in the last 4 years that my ovaries really started aching, I started picturing myself as a mama of three. I didn’t even care if my third birth would be a vba2c or a third repeat csection, as long as it would be with this birth team, at this hospital, and with both of my daughters at the hospital immediately to meet their baby, I kind of really wanted it in a heart beat. My ovaries ache just thinking about it. My ovaries ache just writing it right now! Baby fever is so contagious! And this birth story and meeting story is completely intoxicating.

At least for me. My hubby better be careful, haha!

Dad’s Face as he sees their “baby” meeting the new baby!

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Oh my stars!

His face totally reminds me of my husband face (see cell phone picture below)

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Guest Blogger: How to Prevent Pre-eclampsia

How to Prevent Preeclampsia Part II: Magnesium Reduces Risks

boca raton pregnancy doctor

Our bodies contain about 25 grams of magnesium, of which about 60% is in our bones, 39% is in our soft tissues, and only a mere 1% is in our blood (National Institutes of Health [NIH], 2018).  Put more simply, 99% of our magnesium is intracellular (inside of our cells). Therefore, it is impossible to identify if a magnesium deficiency exists with typical serum blood work (NIH, 2018).  Even if your magnesium level was normal in your last workup you could still be deficient within your cells and bones (NIH, 2018).  Often when is even more confusing to people is that the deficiency is usually subclinical (which means initially there are no obvious signs).  Magnesium is a vital cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems in the body and it regulates a multitude of processes. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans do not even get the recommended daily amount in their diet.  

“Because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency” – DiNicolantonio et al., Open Heart Journal, 2018

So how can supplementing with magnesium prevent preeclampsia?  We will be discussing each of these functions of magnesium and connecting them to preeclampsia.(source of list: NIH, 2018)

  1. It regulates blood pressure

  2. It plays a role in the transport of calcium and potassium across cells

  3. It contributes to the development of bones and teeth

  4. It is required for protein synthesis

  5. It is required for production of the antioxidant glutathione

  6. It is required for the breakdown of glucose


(1) Magnesium regulates blood pressure and

(2) plays a role in the transport of calcium and potassium across cells


…..Read more on Elena’s Daily Dose click here

Nurse and the author of Survival Secrets For The New Graduate Nurse

Limited Edition Breastfeeding Fall Photo Sessions

Breastfeeding Photo Sessions are open to new clients, past birth clients and my birth world colleagues

Saturday November 10th

Sunday November 11th

(Below you will see back up dates in case one of my birth clients is in labor on Saturday November 10th and Sunday November 11th)

Back Up Dates: Saturday November 24th and Sunday November 25th

Times:


Pre-Golden Hour Time Slots:

4:00PM to 4:20PM

4:30PM to 4:50PM

5:00pm to 5:20PM


Golden Hour Prime Time Slots:

5:20 to 5:40PM

5:40PM to 6:00PM

6:05PM to 6:25PM

6:30PM to 6:50PM


$50 Deposit

This is only the DEPOSIT! Remainder due in full before session of day of. Deposit is NONREFUNDABLE.

Details: $350 — This session includes 20 minutes of shooting, at least 2 spots on beach location (by greenery and by the water) and 10 edits. All photos are available via a direct download through an online gallery.


Going Back to Work - My Post Partum Experience

Over this past weekend, a dear mama friend reached out to me and asked if me or any of her mama friends ever had to leave a stable full time job and go solo with our own business. I can totally relate to her hesitation and nervousness about leaving a steady job to start your own business. Taking that leap is absolutely terrifying. It’s like taking a trust fall and having no idea if anyone is standing beneath you to catch you.

My Post Partum Going Back to Work Experience

  • Pumping at work

  • Leaving my baby to go back to work

  • Becoming a full time photographer

I wanted to share with her and with you what my post partum going back to work experience was with my boss, with pumping at work, with leaving my barely 3 month old with my mom and mother in law, and how because of my experiences and personal journey, I became a full time photographer.



My Pregnancy

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When I was pregnant with my first child Kate, (she is almost 6 years old now), my plan was to always go back to work after she was born. Although I’ve been a photographer for nearly 11 years, for the first 5 years of my photography career, I only photographed clients on the weekends (and sometimes during the week depending on if there was still light out when I got out of my office job). During the week I was a glorified secretary (my official title was Office Manager), and I was working at a dead-end job at a Graphics/Computer Engineering Company in Boca Raton, with nowhere up to go. I had many jobs exactly like this one over a decade leading up to this one. It was the kind of job you have to pay your bills, and live pay check to pay check, but it was in no way a career. On top of it, I had the worst boss. A total sexist individual with absolutely the worst “bedside manner” — who paid no attention to his employees being human beings who needed to be treated with respect and positive reinforcement in order for our team to be strong — so they had a high turnover rate. So I was his assistant and the office secretary in this office. I did my job very well, but I was absolutely miserable. Almost everyday I left work either crying or angry. But it did pay the bills and I was grateful to have a job.

When I was in my 3rd trimester my boss tasked me to find a temporary hire to fill in for me during my maternity leave. I found an excellent employee who I trained to fill in for me, and I worked every single day up until the day I was induced.

In my last week of work my boss proposed an offer to me that really caught me off guard for several reasons:

The Bribe

He told me if I came back to work within the first few weeks of the first months following my birth, he’d give me a bonus of $3,000.

If I came back during the second month, he’d give me a bonus of $2,000.

If I came back within the last 4 weeks of my 3rd month, he’d give me a bonus of $1,000.

These were his incentives to get me back to work immediately.

He used his wife as example and role model for me with how she was back on her feet at work within just a couple of weeks of giving birth to her first child.

This offer really conflicted me. On the one hand, we could really use this money. My salary was laughable, and my husband had just started a new job not too long ago, so this money could really help to pay off our student loan debt, pay for the basic necessities of having a baby since we were doing this for the first time, and many more bills and living expenses.

But on the other hand, I was conflicted about accepting this offer. From what I had heard about giving birth, a woman doesn’t even stop bleeding until 6 weeks post partum. I wondered how I could possibly go back to work while my uterus and body was still recovering from giving birth? I also wondered how I would ever be able to leave my tiny baby with someone at home, forget about her while I was at work for 8 hours (plus commute time). I wondered how it would work with milk production. I was so conflicted and so confused about what to do.

But shortly after, I was being induced, and most of these questions were solved for me.

The Reality of Motherhood for Me

I had a c-section and the recovery was a nightmare.

It was like being hit by a truck. For the first week, I needed help from my husband to get out of bed to pee. The walk from bed to the bathroom took 15 minutes. For a few weeks after that, I still needed to go very slowly and very carefully out of bed for my incision site where the c/section had been performed to not hurt excruciatingly.

Other Challenges in the First Few Weeks Following Birth

On top of it, I was still recovering from being sick. I came down with a cold 3 weeks before I was induced, and because of being pregnant, my immune system was weakened, and I was still sick.

On top of all this, breastfeeding had not at all been the walk in the park I thought it would be. I thought it was this natural process that was beautiful and god-given, but as it turned out, my daughter’s latch was absolutely horrible, if you’ve ever talked to a lactation consultant, they’ll tell you a bad latch could produce a ‘lipstick tip’ looking nipple, which in retrospect I had every time I unlatched her. I found out after 27 years of my life that I had what LCs call inverted nipples. I had to learn and become well acquainted with a double electric breastfeeding pump, nipple shields, lanolin, airing my nipples, constantly leaking with breastmilk all over my entire life.

AND TO TOP OFF ALL OF THIS — I was blessed with a very high needs baby girl. Name the most common newborn problems, this little lady had them.

She had colic, jaundice, severe diaper rashes, was impossible to burp, cried every single night from 6pm to midnight for 3 months without fail and impossible to soothe, wouldn’t ever take a pacifier, nursed constantly and for super long 45 minute stretches, one minute was super constipated another minute had back to back blow out diapers. 15 loads of laundry a day. Then I got clogged ducts (which feel like marbles in your breasts — OUCH!) She wouldn’t ever nap alone in a bassinet, crib or otherwise, she always had to be on me — velcro baby 24/7

Velcro Baby

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I quickly learned that after being a super independent human being for 27 years, having to be attached to a human being who is painfully latched to your nipples all day and all night, never sleeps, never stops crying, pooping, projectile vomiting, while on top of it you are healing from excruciating c/section surgery, I had a massive learning curve to master, I experienced huge “culture shock” and I plummeted straight into the steep slide of post partum depression.

Not to mention, my poor baby girl came down with a cold when she was barely three months old, which quickly accelerated and worsened, and the pediatrician we were with at the time continued to tell us to “wait and see” as there were not recommendations for medicating a sick barely 3 month old. (Long story short, two pediatricians later, frustrated parents who were getting no help and no answers, ended up in the emergency clinic where my daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia).

Infant Pneumonia

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Forget About Money

But going back to when my baby girl was barely 3 months old, at this point I was neck-deep in post partum anxiety, post partum depression, and barely navigating through mothering a brand new baby as a first time inexperienced mom. It was in this state that I finally returned to work.

As you have already gathered, my boss’s tiered bonus incentive offers went out the window, I completely forgot about them once my baby was born.

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What Motherhood Meant to Me

Because motherhood, and the 4th trimester as I discovered is not some kind of bargaining chip or negotiation.

Motherhood, especially for first time moms, especially for moms who undergo a difficult recovery whether from a vaginal or c-section birth, especially for moms who are blessed with a hyper, irritable fussy baby, these women are NOT thinking about MONEY and getting back to work immediately. They are in survival mode, thinking about how to stay afloat, while at the same time, as crazy and counterintuitive as it may sound to non-parents — we are also hopelessly falling madly in love with our new baby and not wanting to spend a single minute apart from them regardless of how absolutely unpleasant and traumatic my 4th trimester has thus far sounded to you — because I instantly felt a huge maternal bond to my baby (I know and honor the women who did not, because that is all too common as well and I see you mamas, I see you and I honor you) and the last thing I wanted to do was to put the pause button on all this 4th trimester rollercoaster baby-mooning and say “yes sir, I want to come back to work and work my ass off while you treat me like crap).

post partum depression solutions

The First Weeks Back at Work

I eventually did go back to work at the 12 week mark, and my first day leaving my baby was an absolutely nightmare for me. I cannot even describe the deep level of psychological and emotional pain I felt leaving my first baby at home and going to work. My innate maternal instincts told me to not leave her. And the severe anxiety, crying and depression that leaving her caused me was devastating. This separation did me no favors to the post partum anxiety and post partum depression I was already juggling.

The immediate nightmare I was faced with when I started my first week of work was that my boss gave me a very hard time about pumping. He compared everything to his wife and told me that he didn’t understand the need for me to pump at the office — his wife had supplemented the baby with formula while she was at work so why couldn’t I.

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Florida Maternity Leave Law

It was a small business under 20 employees so there really weren’t any Florida business laws he had to worry about violating. He kept pushing me to pump before or after work because he did not want to allow me 15 minute breaks to pump during my work day. He did not want me pumping in the office and the building had no dedicated rooms so he pushed me to pump in the bathroom. I never pumped in the bathroom. I felt this was a disgraceful violation of human rights.

Finally I was given a spot on the floor behind a door, with male employees constantly walking in on me. I was told very clearly I had to record the times during which I pumped and I would be docked this money for using the time for personal reasons.

After just a couple of months of a very loose version of the term “part time hours” my boss fired me. He told me that they had a lack of work at the company and they had no need for two office managers.

I can’t believe that I actually had a screenshot of getting fired from April 26, 2013 and the person delivering the message? The employee I recruited to fill in my position…

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Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the temporary employee I recruited to fill in for me during maternity leave assumed a full time permanent position — my job.

I almost maybe sensed this coming. But naively I didn’t want to admit it.

I suddenly found myself as a stay at home mom and our family was being sustained by one entry-level income from my husband’s job.

We cut down every expense we possibly could and even had only 1 car for almost a year.

6 Months Post Partum

The time when my 4th trimester really ended

When my baby turned 6 months old, that was really when I started feeling more like myself again. We finally connected with an amazing pediatrician who saved her life from the terrifying encounter with pneumonia after two pediatric practices completely disregarded my plea for help, (the amazing Dr. Edna Tello of Personalized Pediatrics), my baby started growing out of colic and the witching hour vanished, my breasts finally stopped leaking constantly as my milk supply evened out, I started feeling like my post partum depression started to fade and I felt more motivated to start photographing again, and so I started taking the first real professional pictures of my daughter.

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Finally Leaving the House and Making Friends

This was also the first time that I started leaving the house with her — just me and my daughter. We had that entire traumatizing experience with my baby and two incompetent pediatric practices and my daughter having pneumonia and so between that and my post partum healing both physical and psychological, the very first time I ever took my daughter solo to the park and met other moms and children wasn’t until she was almost 8 months old.

But this is the profound moment of my life (that I had not clue about at the time) when the foundation of my career as a birth photographer was being started

Shortly after I became very immersed in the local mommy community.

I started taking pictures of friends and other moms in the community on the weekends and in the evenings when my husband would come home from work and stayed with our daughter. And sometimes, I’d bring her with me while I wore her in a carrier while I took pictures of friends and their children.

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Call to Action

I found through hearing other mothers breastfeeding journeys, challenges and struggles that I was compelled to fight for them using my pictures.

That’s where my advocacy in my work was founded.

But it was not an easy journey. I was terrified of restructuring my photography business around breastfeeding photography.

I thought I’d lose all 400 followers — well I did.

I lost all 400 of my facebook followers who had no desire to see pictures of mothers breastfeeding their children.

Breastfeeding Photographer

Breastfeeding Advocate

Women’s Rights

But in the place of the 400 followers I lost, I gained 2,000 new followers — all new mothers who believed in my goals, in my mission, in the power of community and empowering mothers.

But it was still terrifying even then.

Losing a Steady Income is Frightening

I was terrified that I lost my steady income when my office job let me go. I felt like we were going to lose our home and end up begging on our knees for my parents to take us into their home.

But I went with the flow of the ocean.

I closed my eyes and went with the flow of the waves.

My life led me away from a steady income job, to home where I was able to be a stay at home mom for my daughter when she needed me most, and then when I saw that my heart grew a deep passion for education and motherhood, I took a leap of faith doing rather controversial at the time Photography, and 4 years later, I am the head of household financially and we can afford to have both of our children in full time preschool (that my dear doula friend Lisa Raynor encouraged me to do)

We are basically working for our kids to be in preschool, but I have never been more empowered by my role in our family, in my community, among other women. I hope this gives mothers a little bit of hope. I took a huge leap of faith, and put 110% of my passion into it.







Post Partum Depression - Good News is That it's Not Here to Stay!

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Dr. Jaclyn Polsky

Specializing in maternal mental health, which includes postpartum depression/anxiety, infertility, and loss

The majority of my work is with new and expecting moms, helping them to alleviate negative thoughts and emotions, as well as obtaining the confidence that we sometimes forget that we possess.
— Dr. Jaclyn Polsky

When Dr. Jaclyn was in high school, she enrolled in a Psychology course as an elective and she has been hooked ever since. From there, she knew she wanted to major in Psychology while in college and quickly realized that she wanted to go all the way and obtain her doctorate. She believes that it is one of the most interesting fields, with various topics always evolving. Once opening her own private practice, she fell in love with the ability to help others. Whether it be grieving the loss of a loved one, relationship difficulties, postpartum depression following the birth of a baby, or anxiety surrounding an upcoming situation, there is always a solution and a way to alleviate those not-so-pleasant feelings. Dr. Jaclyn strongly believes that therapy is a unique process for each person and she prides herself on utilizing an individualized approach in order to ensure that all individuals receive the appropriate support and guidance necessary to grow and change, and improve their overall quality of life.


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How She Overcame Obstacles in Building Her Business To Help Women


Like any situation in life, Dr. Jaclyn was presented with obstacles along the way of reaching her ultimate career goal; however, she is a strong believer that overcoming these roadblocks only leads to more strength and confidence. Wanting to offer her patients only the best quality services, she would not settle for anything less; therefore, this road took slightly longer than expected to reach. Dr. Jaclyn says she would not change a thing about this journey.


How She Impacts Women’s Lives by Specializing in Motherhood



Being a Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Jaclyn has training in general areas of focus (i.e., depression, anxiety, grief, relationship difficulties, stress, anger management, parent training, etc.); however, her specialty is maternal mental health, which includes postpartum depression/anxiety, infertility, and loss.

The majority of Dr. Jaclyn’s work is with new and expecting moms, helping them to alleviate negative thoughts and emotions, as well as obtaining the confidence that we sometimes forget that we possess.

Moms: You can follow Dr. Jaclyn on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/soflapsych

post partum depression boca raton

When opening her own practice, Dr. Jaclyn says she made a promise to herself to maintain an individualized approach for each of her patients. All of her patients have access to her direct e-mail and cell phone number, and she has received amazing feedback regarding the ability to reach her without going through an office manager, answering service, or numerous prompts over the phone. Dr. Jaclyn believes that the ease of these methods of contact is priceless.


South Florida Psychological Associates in Plantation

150 South Pine Island Road
Suite 369 Plantation, FL 33324

 www.soflapsych.com

954-909-7793

DrPolsky@soflapsych.com

https://www.yelp.com/biz/south-florida-psychological-associates-plantation

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=psychologists&find_loc=Plantation%2C+FL

Limited Edition Holiday Fall Photo Sessions

Family Photo Sessions for past birth clients and my birth world colleagues

Saturday November 17th and Sunday November 18th

Times:

9:00AM

10:00AM

11:00AM

1:00PM

2:00PM

3:00PM

4:00PM

5:00PM


$50 Deposit

This is only the DEPOSIT! Remainder due in full before session of day of. Deposit is NONREFUNDABLE.

Details: $350 — This session includes 30 minutes of shooting, at least 2 spots on park location (bridge and path) and 10 edits. All photos are available via a direct download through an online gallery.

Meet the Pediatric Sleep Specialist who is Changing Sleep for South Florida Moms

When Laura became a mom to her beautiful baby boy Logan over 3 years ago she quickly discovered he was not a good sleeper.

She actually nicknamed him Senor Fussypants, because he fussed and whined day and night.

At the time, she didn’t know this wasn’t normal because he was growing and gaining weight on the standardized growth charts, and she recalls all the doctors telling her that “he’ll grow out of it”.

After a very long year of struggling he did grow out of his medical issues but not out of the sleep issues. So then Laura decided to try and learn everything she could about baby and toddler sleep, and she realized that there is a lot of misinformation out there and almost no support for parents!

As a struggling parent Laura decided to do something about it — she went back to school became certified and started her business:

Good Little SleeperZzz

south florida pediatric sleep consultant

So as a parent who struggled personally with sleep and infant sleep deprivation, Laura knows the kind of support and guidance parents need during these tough times. Which is why it’s become her passion to help support parents and education them on the topic of their children’s sleep!

The biggest misconception about the work Laura does:

Laura says that when people hear about the work she does, she gets called a “sleep trainer” and parents get nervous because they think that means that she comes into their homes and make their kids cry themselves to sleep (known as the “cry it out” method).

The Truth:

Laura never wanted to use the cry it out method with her own son so she would never ask any parent to do that with their babies.

Laura takes the time to explain, almost daily, to parents that there are gentle ways to teach positive independent sleep habits. She tries and encourages parents not to suffer through, so many parents think its okay to just survive in a sleep deprived state but doesn’t have to be that way!


Laura’s business "Good Little SleeperZzz is about educating and supporting parents struggling with their children’s sleep.

Laura offers families customized sleep plans and in home support.

Parents come to Laura exhausted and seeking guidance, so all her parents have to fill out an in-depth questionnaire which she uses to create their customized sleep plan for their child or children.

Next, she comes into their home to help guide them through implementing the plan and subsequently supporting them through all the new change.

Overall, her goal is to make the experience as positive as possible for both parents and the children.

What makes Good Little SleeperZz unique is Laura’s passion for helping the families she works with, not just help but to really support and guide them during the entire process. Any change can be hard but when you have someone who is there following up everyday (and even during the night), the entire process really becomes a positive one that can really change family’s outlook. There is nothing better for Laura and her company, than working with a struggling family who is just so grateful to have your help and support throughout the process, and then you get to see them really blossom into this beautiful, happy and well rested family. Seeing parents light up when they get their first good night’s sleep is just magical to Laura.


How to get in touch with Laura:

www.goodlittlesleeperzzz.com

754-307-4970

Laura@goodlittlesleeperzzz.com

https://www.instagram.com/goodlittlesleeperzzz/

 https://www.facebook.com/GoodLittleSleeperZzz/