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/

What's the appeal nowadays with professional pics taken during birth?

I was recently asked a really good question by a labor doula…

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…"What's the appeal nowadays with professional pics taken during birth?”

This is actually a really important topic we should talk about together as a community, so I brought it here to my birth blog…

 

7 life-impacting reasons expecting couples decide to hire me as their professional birth photographer


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  1. Memories & Emotions are Important

It’s so important to my birth clients that their transformative experience is documented — for the emotions they experience in becoming such a powerful woman during their labor, to remember the bond they shared with their partner during this experience, to capture their completely raw and unplanned emotional reaction to seeing and touching their baby for the first time.

 
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2. Risk of losing everything

Another thing that most of my birth clients tell me is one of the reasons they choose to hire me is because they don’t want to risk leaving it in the hands of someone who might be taking pictures of a birth for the first time, or someone who may be emotionally compromised in the moment, such as grandparents, friends, dad or the other parent who is witnessing their baby being born. I’ve heard this from many of my birth photography clients with regards to photos from their previous births — as in they don’t have any — their partner was so captivated when they saw their child they forgot to take photos of the moment. Many of my birth clients are having their second or third baby and they remember what their photos look like from their previous birth where dad, grandma, sister or friend took the pictures: most pictures are blurry and this makes sense, an inexperienced hand that belongs to a really excited family member, tends to also be an unsteady hand. Birth clients also recall cell phone / cheap camera pictures from previous births being either too dark or too bright, which makes perfect sense to me, since without knowing the birth process and how different medical providers work during birth, you may not know when to expect sudden bright lights or the opposite. Fluorescent lighting in hospitals is especially tricky to work with and can cause pictures to come out with weird bands, or oddly green/yellow photographs.

 

3. Not Being Part of the Story

I think that the #1 thing my birth clients tell me is the reason they hire me is because they want to know what his reaction will be, they want to see what his reaction will look like, they want their partner or spouse to be PART of the birth story.

Did you know that most pictures taken at births are taken by dad/partner/spouse? That means usually the only pictures of them are holding the baby way after delivery, when you’ve had the time to get comfortable, and that initial raw reaction of his PURE AMAZEMENT has faded. The family pictured below did not want to give up that moment a second time so they hired me to capture them meeting their second daughter.

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This family pictured below knew that an experience like becoming parents for the first time ever was something they couldn’t miss and chose to hire me for the birth of their first child, a baby boy.

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4. Umm.. that’s not exactly what I wanted a picture of…

Often times when a family member or friend is taking pictures at a birth, the pictures end up being not exactly what the mom had in mind.

Many of my birth clients tell me that to them — the most important FEELING about their birth story photos was to see the emotional bonding between mom & her partner, between mom & baby, daddy & baby; but often times when it is someone who is inexperienced in photographing a birth story, they often focus on the wrong things — they might photograph the baby crowning (and often at a very unflattering angle!) but totally forget about mom’s face in the moment she realizes she’s really doing it! They may photograph the doctor holding up the baby but not mom and dad’s faces lighting up and crying and smiling like crazy at the first sight of their baby.

When it is a person who is inexperienced in capturing these exquisite once-in-a-lifetime moments, they may not know how to look for the important highlights of a birth story, and so often, not only is it common for the quality of non-professional birth photos to be compromised, but the photos may all together be of not quite the special and emotional moments the parents wanted to remember from this day.


5. This is the picture I wanted:

Is what most of my clients who are having their second or third baby say to me when they describe the lack of photos of these special memories from their previous births. And it is also one of the moments and photos my first time moms are looking forward to seeing in their birth story once they give birth.

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6. Family Matters

Family matters to my clients, and these kinds of reactions below would NOT be possible without quick acting and knowing your camera gear and what to look for and when to expect it.

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7. Forgetting Most of the Day

For most women, labor tends to be long, and towards the end — quite intense. It is easy to quickly forget most of your labor. Having it captured by someone who exclusively photographs birth, understands the physiology of birth and works really well with your doctor, midwife, nurses, doulas and family members — it is the best investment and the best way to document and remember this incredibly life-changing experience forever.

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Behind the scenes of birth photography | discretion, respect, love

MIDWIFE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Courtney McMillian CNM of Boca Midwifery

My first birth with Courtney McMillian of Boca Midwifery as the midwife was the pivotal moment when my view of birth changed. She is my person supergirl in scrubs. She is the kindest, most patient midwifery practitioner. Here are some fun facts about this amazing birth provider!

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  • Courtney McMillian is a Certified Nurse Midwife which means that she delivers babies in the hospital

  • She has been a midwife for 4 years

  • She became a midwife to help women have better (more gentle/less interventional) births

  • She has 3 children, ages 4, 8, 11

  • Her own first birth with her first child was a home water birth

  • She has given birth at home, at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

  • Courtney is married to Joseph of 12 years

  • She is a Leo born in the year of the goat

  • Her favorite color is navy blue

  • When she was a child she wanted to be a pediatrician when she grew up

  • Her favorite place to go with her entire family is the beach. Or away anywhere they are all together! 

  • In the morning she drinks 2 cups of coffee

  • She is an omnivore

  • Something you don’t know about her is that she lived in Spain for 6 months in college

  • Her proudest moments as a midwife are helping women achieve vaginal births after c-sections (VBACs)

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DOULA HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Orlando Labor Doula Katherin | Rin Rin Doula

I recently met a fantastic human being and amazing labor doula in Orlando, FL — Katherin Rinaldi, owner of Rin Rin Doula.

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Katherin Rinaldi

www.rinrindoula.com

Orlando, FL

What really struck me about her the very first time I came across her, was her energy. Yes you read that right, her energy was so powerful and positive, I immediately knew that this woman was born to do what she does.

Katherin is the third of four children, born in Colombia and raised in a Baha’i family (a religion teaching the essential worth of all religions, and the unity and equality of all people). She moved to the US when she was 13 years old with her parents and younger brother. She got married at 20 as a student at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, GA and her husband and she now live in Orlando, FL and have three daughters. She feels that being a mom to her three daughters has been tremendously fulfilling but also challenging. She enjoys an active lifestyle and is passionate about health and wellness, meeting new people, serving others, and traveling with her family. She loves dancing (especially salsa) with her husband, water sports and baking and gardening with her girls.


WHY KATHERIN IS A DOULA

Katherin says she has always been mesmerized by childbirth.  One day many years ago, while her mom was talking to her two older sisters sitting at the kitchen counter, she asked her (out of the blue) if she was pregnant.  Surprised by this question from her three year old daughter, she said “Si!” (“Yes!”) with a gleaming smile.  Her sisters thought she was joking.

After she found out it was going to be a baby brother, she asked her Dad to make a countdown calendar for her; she couldn’t wait to become a big sister. She frequently asked her sisters and their teenage friends to read her an encyclopedia-type book on childbirth (with graphic pictures and descriptions) and it quickly became her favorite book around the house.  

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She is now following her desire to serve women.  In fact, Doula means woman’s servant in Greek.  Katherin’s goal is to empower women and their families through pregnancy, childbirth and in the post partum period.  She feels that women need to feel cared for, supported and loved during this pivotal moment of womanhood.  Her goal is not to replace the role of the partner or father in the childbirth process but rather to be part of the birth team.. The doula-client relationship begins several months before baby is due. During this time, the mother is free to ask questions, express concerns and fears and her desires for her birth plan. As a doula, Katherin is an advocate for the mother, helping her fulfill specific desires she may have for her birth in order to have a positive and safe birthing experience regardless of birth location. Katherin provides her birth clients with continuous physical, emotional and informational support before, during and shortly after childbirth. She also is able to provide comfort measures and relaxation techniques, positive affirmations to help mothers during labor and she encourages participation from the partner in the process. After birth, Katherin stays and helps the mother with breastfeeding and encourage bonding.

If you are an expectant mother near Orlando, FL seeking the right labor doula for your pregnancy journey and upcoming birth, you can reach Katherin here: https://www.rinrindoula.com/

Guest Blogger: Nurse and author of Survival Secrets For The New Graduate Nurse

Preventing Preeclampsia Part I: Connecting the K2 Dots

We don’t know the exact cause of preeclampsia or eclampsia, and current treatments are only moderately effective. Many women who develop it will deliver preterm. Since is a severe progression of preeclampsia which involves seizures, we will only be using the term “preeclampsia.” Converging evidence suggests that supplementation with certain vitamins, micronutrients, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids could prevent or possibly treat preeclampsia and eclampsia. We will be discussing the evidence that supports each, and make a case for the theory that nutritional deficiencies are the cause, therefore nutritional therapy is the treatment. This post is about Vitamin K2, and future posts will cover the other nutritional therapies.

Who is Elena?  Welcome! I am a nurse and the author of Survival Secrets For The New Graduate Nurse.

Who is Elena?

Elena is a nurse and the author of Survival Secrets For The New Graduate Nurse. 

You can follow the series by subscribing on her page here: elenasdailydose.com


Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 (also known as MK-7 and menaquinone) is a little understood and little known vitamin and cofactor. It plays a major role the proper absorption of calcium, the prevention of atherosclerosis, suppressing inflammation caused by oxidative stress, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, increasing insulin sensitivity, and many other processes which we are still uncovering. Right now there isn’t even a test that is used as the “gold standard” method for assessing total Vitamin K status. What we do know, is that most people are not getting enough of it from the foods here in America. 
Let us take a look at some of the risk factors and lab values associated with preeclampsia and eclampsia (according to WebMD, 2018) and connect them to K2 deficiency.

Risk Factor #1: Preexisting Protein C or Protein S deficiency

Protein C and Protein S are both Vitamin K dependent proteins. This means that the body requires Vitamin K to be able to activate Protein C and Protein S. Protein C is made primarily in the liver, but 50% of protein S is made in the endothelial cells of the vascular walls (Frannsen et al., 2017). Vitamin K1 activates coagulation factors in the liver, but vitamin K2 activates the vitamin K dependent proteins that exist extrahepatically (outside the liver) (Frannsen et al., 2017). If a vitamin K deficiency exists, than Protein C or Protein S deficiency will also exist. If protein C or protein S deficiency is a risk factor for eclampsia, it is certainly possible then that the root cause is actually vitamin K2 deficiency. 

I was diagnosed with “mild” protien S deficiency after having three miscarriages.  I did not know then what I know now.  I had to take aspirin to be able to maintain the pregnancy.  If I had known better, I would have replenished my K2 before trying again.  I was never tested for K2 deficiency and did not even know it could be a possible cause at the time.  I will be writing about recurrent miscarriage in the near future and will certainly discuss this further.

Why does this matter in preeclampsia?

It is important to realize that calcium plays a direct role in vasodilation (the dilation of blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure), though we won’t get into the specific mechanisms here.


You can read more here on Elena’s page elenasdailydose.com


The Story of Maxwell

Today, 7 months ago, at 11:23pm, a sweet angel was born

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This mom. Her husband. Their birth team. Two doulas. The nurses. Everyone supported this amazing warrior mama so much.

She spent her pregnancy energy focusing on hypnobirthing, concentrating, focusing, calming, relaxing, embracing every wave that was to come.

Her team knew how important an unmedicated as natural as possible birth was to her and her husband (and best friend) and they did everything to support and encourage her through every contraction closer to meeting her son.

Her OB walked into the delivery room just as mama emerged from the hot shower and baby boy was crowning.

She made her way to the delivery bed, and with a few pushes, sweet boy was born onto mama’s chest.

You were such an inspiring warrior mama. You are such a strong woman. Your doulas and I were so incredibly proud of you! And your husband was your steadfast rock. If he was nervous at all, we were never able to tell. Your constant and relentless encouragement and being at her side was awe inspiring.

And her team... Her OB Dr. Arcelin of Women’s Health Partners, her amazing doulas Elle and Samara from Orchids Nest. She had the dream team. But then again, everyone at Boca Raton Regional Hospital comprises to make a dream team!




Guest Blogger: Getting real about my postpartum experience


Birth Story Featured Guest: My birth client and owner of Shelby Truly Photography


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Austin only left my side once during labor, because he had to move the car, and even then, he moved as fast as he could, because he knew I needed him.

 
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True love is letting your wife rest her head on yours, even though you are getting soaked, because you know that is the only thing that will bring her comfort.

 
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The best healthcare provider I have ever met. I thank God for my midwife Kathy. She truly cares about her patients, and is passionate about her job.

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Meeting Thea for the first time. Birth photos all by the talented Paulina Splechta

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On Monday, October 17th, 2016  at 8:16am, after 27 hours of drug free labor, my daughter was born via Cesearan. Hearing her cry for the first time, was pure relief. The battle had been won. All 9lb 1oz of her was here. They placed her on my chest in the OR, and her little hand grabbed my face. The first thing I noticed was that she had the same nose as me. I was too tired to express my emotions, and if I am being honest it wasn’t the best moment of my life. I didn’t feel the magical love that everyone talked about.  I was way too tired, and traumatized to really feel much at all.  I wanted to instantly bond with her, and feel that great love, but it wasn’t there.

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The view from my hospital room. Photo by Paulina Splechta.

 

While we were at the hospital I spiked a fever, so they put me on a ton of antibiotics to prevent any infection that might have been forming. We stayed at the hospital for four days. If you know me, you know I am not a fan of hospitals. The constant people in, and out, the attention, and overall atmosphere doesn’t mesh well with my personality. I thank God that our hospital room had a view of palm trees, and the ocean, without that it would have been much harder for me. 


Leaving the hospital. I really hope we buckled her in better than this before we left, but we were so out of it, I’m not sure that we did. Oops.

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Thursday late afternoon we were finally released from the hospital. Bringing a baby home for the first time is scary, but my husband and I were both anxious to leave. We were both exhausted, and ready to be in the comfort of our own home.  I didn’t think of how hard life would be once we got there. Somehow, bringing Thea home confused her days and nights. Instead of just eating and going back to sleep like she had at the hospital, she was awake in the middle of the night. I remember sitting in our bedroom at 3am with an awake newborn, who didn’t want to go back to sleep, or be put down. It was not fun. Add to this the fact that when I laid down to try and sleep I was having nightmares about being in labor. The lack of sleep felt like torture. We were so overwhelmed.

Time stamped 2:54am (Ironically sleeping)

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Our first day home with Thea.

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The next morning I called my mom in desperation. We needed help. We couldn’t do this alone, but I felt so guilty asking for help. I was Thea’s mom, I should be able to handle this right?? I felt like a burden, and a failure asking for help. I know now that I shouldn’t have felt this way. My mom got to spend time with her brand new grand baby. I’m sure she was ecstatic, but I didn’t see that in the moment.

 
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Grammy to the rescue.


I spent the majority of my time for the first few months of Thea’s life in this spot on the couch. It was easier for me to get up and down from the couch than the bed, and Thea slept better in the swing. ( Photo by Austin)

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The months to come were some of the hardest of my life. With the lack of sleep, and my body not healing properly, depression set in (not surprising for me). It all felt too hard, like so hard I couldn’t do it. I remember asking God why he made me Thea’s mother because obviously I wasn’t cut out for it. Everyone around me expected me to be over the moon, and so in love with my new baby. This expectation just added to the guilt. I was struggling to bond, and feel the love that everyone talked about.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression I never enjoyed her, because I did, I just didn’t enjoy her like I should have.

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I mean look at this sweetness. She was/is so precious.

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At six weeks old, Thea started sleeping a 4-5 hour chunk in the beginning of the night. It felt amazing, and it gave me a glimmer of hope. I thought maybe I could do this after all. Sadly it only lasted a few weeks, with her teething early, sleep went out the window once again. Sleep continued to get worse, she eventually got down to waking up every single hour ( and no I am not exaggerating). This was my breaking point. I couldn’t do it anymore. I finally broke down sobbing, and my aunt took her for the night. It’s hard for anyone else to watch a breastfed baby who won’t take a bottle, but they made it through, and  I slept for five hours straight. This was the longest stretch of unbroken sleep I had slept in the three and a half months of Thea’s life.  It was also the longest stretch of sleep my body would allow. My body didn’t know how to sleep through the night anymore. 

I posted this photo to Instagram, talking about sleep issues. Looking back now, I think it should have been titled “This is what Postpartum depression looks like.” But depression is tricky, it doesn’t always look like this. There are smiles, and happy moments still, but a dark cloud lingers overhead.

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Around four months old we let her cry to go to sleep, it was that, or me locked up in a mental ward.  It was one of those things I never wanted to do but ended up doing to save my sanity. (For those of you who think I was a terrible person for letting my baby cry herself to sleep. I don’t really care what you think, nor do I want to hear your opinion.) It helped. She didn’t magically sleep through the night, but enough to keep me from losing it, we went from waking hourly to 3ish times a night.

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When Thea was five months old, I sought help for my mental health, and something was sparked in me. God spoke into my life, and I finally had hope of getting better. Hope is powerful. I realized that I wasn’t stuck like this forever. That God was/and still is bigger than my struggles. My bond with Thea grew, and I developed the great love that everyone talked about so much. I started to enjoy spending my days with Thea, and being her mom. 

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I am so grateful for this love, and the joy that she brings into the lives of those around her. I love watching her grow, and learn. I soak up her smiles, and laughter.  I love listening to her ‘talk.’ She is my little people watcher, and observer. She is strong willed, and will let you know exactly what she wants, or doesn’t want. She loves figuring out how things work, and imitating mommy, and daddy. She is still a boobie baby, and will let me know she wants to nurse, by repeatedly pecking her face into my chest like a little bird. She loves animals, and insists on making friends with them where ever we go. And I am thankful to say that she nows sleeps through the night completely!

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To the mamas struggling, hang in there, I promise it gets better. Find your village ( I am still in the process of growing mine), and accept help. I promise there are people in your life that want to help, let them. I had help, but should have accepted more. I felt guilty accepting more help, because she was my baby, and I should have been able to do it all by myself right?? 

To everyone with a new mom (or dad) in your life, ask how they are doing, care about them too, not just the baby. Don’t assume she is on a magical new baby high, too many women struggle with Postpartum Depression to assume this.  Even if they aren’t facing PPD, parenthood is hard, not sleeping is hard, trying to do it all on your own is hard. And don’t forget dad, this whole thing is hard for him too, and takes a lot of adjusting, and sacrifice. 

To all of you who helped us in this past year, thank you! When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they mean it. I have learned the importance of community. We weren’t created to do this life alone, even if you are good at being alone like I am. 

I write all of this, not for sympathy or your pity, but so the mom who is in the midst of the struggle knows she isn’t alone.  If you are struggling, and need an ear to listen, or want to share your story, feel free to email me shelbytruly@gmail.com. I will do my best to reply to everyone in a timely manner. 






Two Empowering Birth Stories of Women of Color

September Mama Birth Story

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Powerful Woman Empowering Women

I love how mama looks at her first born (daughter) in such awe and admiration as if to say with her eyes — we did it, together!

When I first walked into her labor room in the middle of the night at labor and delivery in Boca Raton, the first thought I had upon seeing her was ‘wow this mama is powerful!’

She was laboring on all fours, at the very end stages of her labor, as her body was naturally progressing to 10cm on its own, without any medications, and I was in absolutely awe of her natural born power.
South Florida is a focal point in the U.S. with the highest c-section rates. And in today’s day, it can be terrifying to be an African American woman giving birth, because the mortality rates and mistreatment of women of color during pregnancy and birth are the highest out of any race of women in the world.

That is why this mama knew she wanted the most natural and holistic and safe birth experience so she made well researched choices when choosing her birth team. She went with a hospital midwife team (CNMs Courtney McMillian and Polina Goldenberg) that have the 3rd lowest c-section rate in south Florida and a reputation for being extremely gentle and natural minded.  (Boca Midwifery)
I am so wowed by this amazing first time mom! And so humbled that she would trust me 110% with capturing this moment for her!

Best of all, mama recognizes that I am a birth photographer on a mission and completely stands behind me with sharing her birth photos with you all and this powerful message. 

 

May Mama Birth Story

miami birth photographer and videographer

Best Position to Give Birth in

The best position for the baby to be in to pass through the pelvis is with the head down and the body facing towards the mother's back. This position is called occiput anterior (source: medlineplus.gov)


That is the position this sweet baby girl is being born in, about to be caught by her midwife & her mom.


When I was about to become a mom 6 years ago, I had never seen a beautiful, not intimidating photograph like this one. This doesn't show fear, grossness, chaos, danger. Instead, this image shows grace, peace, comfort, safety. We’ve been taught that birth is a hugely medical process and the scariest moment of a woman's life. But this moment proves that birth can be peaceful, calm, supported and completely safe, where ever you choose to birth if you make smart, educated choices.
The midwife catching this baby is Licensed Midwife, Gelena Hinkley of Peaceful Pregnancy Pathways and Natural Birthworks Birth Center in Margate, FL. She is also our Midwife Highlight of the week. 
I have received permission from my birth photography client, a woman of color, to speak out about the safety, tidiness and comfort of her birth. Having your baby the way she did, unmedicated and at home, does not have to be a lower class irresponsible, cheap and messy route to choose as sometimes is the common myth discussed among women of color. Having your baby unmedicated and at home can be empowering, clean, safe, and a wonderful experience for you and your entire family - as this mom felt.
Did you know that the statistics of mortality/complications during labor, birth and post partum are the worst numbers for black women in America? 
Key to changing these statistics begins with knowledge during pregnancy. Interview multiple providers with low c/section rates, low mortality rates and high positive feedback, hire experienced doula & make smart choices about the location you choose to birth in.
I am grateful to my birth client for being brave in giving me permission to share photos from her birth. Women of color have suffered far too long, it is time to bring peaceful, supported, empowered birth to all women.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms Before The Pregnancy Test & During Pregnancy

I remember so vividly the feeling after you hope you conceived and between the time you were able to test positive on a home pregnancy test. Those days were the longest. Except maybe the last month of pregnancy. The start and the end of every conception to birth journey is so unique in that you need to let go, and let time just happen. But it really feels like you’re briefly sucked into a time vortex where the clocks stop moving and you’re just tapping your finger and waiting.

Remember, none of the below is medical advice. I am just a mama, and I happen to love pregnancy and birth and love to write about it. If you are genuinely concerned about your pregnancy, issues conceiving, or with upcoming labor/birth, make sure you ask your medical provider your questions.

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TRYING FOR A GIRL

With both pregnancies (when we were trying to get pregnant) I read that if you tried at the very beginning of your ovulation cycle, or even 2-3 days before your ovulation cycle began, you’d have increasingly higher odds of getting pregnant with a girl because something about male DNA carrying sperm dying out quicker, so by the time you were at the peak of your ovulation cycle, only female DNA carrying sperm remained. I can only prove this twice, because I have only two kids, but both of them are girls, so maybe it worked? :)




CANDLESTICK METHOD

Another method for getting pregnant that I used was called the candlestick method. It’s when you kick your feet up in the air, and place the palms of your hands against your back. Apparently this is a known fertility exercise during ovulation and conception. I again don’t know if its effective, but its what I tried with both babies. It’s known well as a yoga move too.

FEVER

Both times that I got pregnant with my two daughters, the very first early pregnancy symptom that I experienced with each pregnancy before I could even test positive with a home pregnancy test was a fever! Yes a fever! With both pregnancies! It lasted a very short amount of time, I can’t remember exactly anymore because my very first pregnancy was 7 years ago, and my second pregnancy was 4 years ago, but I believe the fever was less than 24 hours in duration and it was a low-grade fever both times, around 100.6. I can only guess the reasoning behind this was my body lowering its immune defenses as it prepared for implantation.

CRAMPING

Once we tried for each baby, I was so impatient to know if I had gotten pregnant successfully. Instantly I started googling what early symptoms of pregnancy could feel like before a home pregnancy test would actually give me real results.

With both of my times getting pregnant, one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy that I was personally able to feel was menstrual type cramping. Later on I found out that this could be a sign of a fertilized egg traveling down the fallopian tubes to your uterus.

With both pregnancies very early on I experienced slight bleeding between weeks 6-8 which I thought could be implantation bleeding.




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FATIGUE

Right away with both pregnancies in the first trimester, I immediately felt tremendous fatigue. When I got pregnant with my first baby, I’d come home from work, and fall asleep right away for a late afternoon/early morning nap. Once I got pregnant with my second baby (and something nobody tells you that complicates things with pregnancy related fatigue!) I couldn’t nap anymore when I felt exhausted! Because it seemed that the moment I got pregnant with my second baby, my first child who had just turned 2 years old, completely stopped napping.




METALLIC TASTE

HELLO Pregnancy! The Metallic Taste is the one thing most complained about by myself during both pregnancies, family members of mine, friends of mine and even my birth photography clients. It just tastes like you have pennies in your mouth, and its super unpleasant. It can make food taste awful and unappealing causing you to eat less, causing you an empty belly and more nausea, and it can just be an overall frustrating feeling to not be able to wash it out of your mouth no matter what you do!




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MY FAVORITE TRIMESTER

My favorite trimester has always been the 2nd trimester. The second trimester goes from week 13 to 26 of pregnancy.

My belly always started to look more round, so I was visibly pregnant, my skin was tight around my belly, which made me feel more confident in myself, pregnancy caused fatigue went away, and although I was still nauseous during this time with my first pregnancy, the nausea definitely got better with my second pregnancy during this trimester and by the middle of the second trimester my pregnancy related nausea was completely gone.

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NAUSEA AND HYPEREMESIS

Nausea was something I unfortunately experienced A LOT of during both pregnancies.

During my very first pregnancy with my first daughter, my nausea started at about 6-7 weeks and lasted consistently every day until the 37th week when it finally dissipated. No matter what I tried to eat or drink, I couldn’t keep anything down. In the middle of the day, either just before lunch or immediately after lunch time, I could keep down anything chocolate, but that was literally it. So it was no surprise to me that my now almost 6 year old daughter is a huge chocolate addict!

It wasn’t until my first baby was about a year and a half old that I found out that I experienced during my first pregnancy a similar condition to Kate Middleton called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It was actually in an article about her pregnancy which is how I found out.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and possibly dehydration. Signs and symptoms may also include vomiting many times a day and feeling faint. Hyperemesis gravidarum is considered more severe than morning sickness. (source).

I also later found out that many women who experience Hyperemesis Gravidarum (also called HG) during their pregnancy end up being hospitalized for dehydration and malnutrition since they cannot keep anything down to hydrate properly or nourish themselves.

The OBGYN I was with during my first pregnancy never mentioned this medical condition. He also never gave me any solutions to treating it. I realize now looking back, I was very underweight, although I gained a healthy 15lbs, I really should have gained more. I looked very thin until 37 weeks of my pregnancy. My OBGYN recommended oral 8mg zofran tablets but they only barely took the edge of for 30 minutes per day. So every day I had to decide which 30 minutes of the day was worst and take it then. It was misery. It was like being sea sick for 30 weeks of my pregnancy! Or a really bad hangover.

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So there you have it, those were the bulk of my early pregnancy symptoms and some of the most prominent during my pregnancies. There were definitely many other symptoms I experienced as time went on. More food cravings, headaches, round ligament pain, back pain, mood swings, etc, but the above were the ones that hung around for most of my pregnancies! I hope this blog post was helpful or insightful to you on what to possibly expect when you’re pregnant.


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ABOUT ME

I am a birth photographer in Boca Raton, FL. I started out 11 years ago originally photographing engagements, weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties. But once I had my first child almost 6 years ago, I felt a calling to only working with new moms. I limited my work to maternity sessions, newborn photography, photographing families and breastfeeding photo shoots. I became very well known in south Florida for my advocacy of breastfeeding.

Shortly after my daughter turned 2 years old, I attended my first birth as a photographer. It was for one of my maternity / breastfeeding photography clients.

The moment I photographed her birth a little over 4 years ago now, I knew then that I wanted to be a full time on call birth photographer & birth videographer as my career.

I never looked back.

Today, I have photographed almost 100 births in the last 4 years, ranging from birth center births, to home births with midwives and doulas, inductions in the hospital, unmedicated births in the hospital, surrogate births, twin births both vaginal and c-section, schedule cesarean births, emergency cesareans, and I love what I do. I have birth great professional relationships with the midwives, OBGYNs and labor doulas here in south Florida, many of my colleagues are baby nurses, lactation consultants, pediatric sleep specialists, physical therapists and chiropractors. I would love to work with you for your birth story, and typically I book about 5 to 7 months in advance, however, it is not unheard of for me to sometimes take a client who is in the last two months of their pregnancy, so don’t hesitate to reach out!