Perfect Birth, Part 2: It’s Personal

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my heart about an issue that I know plagues expectant mothers everywhere: what does it take to have a perfect birth?

I touched on the fact that while childbirth education is imperative, and support during labor is helpful, we still don’t know how any woman will react to the labor process until she is already in the moment. I made the point that all births, no matter what they look like, are victories to be celebrated. And I mean that. All births are their own brand of perfect. But sometimes, for some women, the truth is this:

Even perfect birth can be traumatic.

I would be foolish not to acknowledge that some women have frightening or even life-threatening births and are forced to come to terms with their experience. For one reason or another, the process simply doesn’t “work” in some situations. For some of these women, my testimony about my disappointing birth experience and my injured feelings of self-worth might be exactly what they need. But for others, well… maybe not so much.

Beyond our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies, we are each also composed of our own complicated list of experiences. We have a mind, which we discuss in class, but we also have a subconscious mind, which we couldn’t even begin to cover: immature in its ability to make sense of our experiences, and endlessly vulnerable to the hoaxes of the enemy (again: see the Devotional). Working quietly behind the scenes, beneath our cool, collected exterior, it shapes our reactions to every one of our life experiences.

It’s personal.

In the five years since starting my childbirth services company, I have had no choice but to grow as an individual. I have been brought to my knees by some of my own life experiences. Shaken to the core of my beliefs. The shaping of my character as an adult has been arduous, and I have fought hard to find—and hold on to—what is true. In the process, I have also come to see some of that which is not.

I have learned something very important: We are each fighting our own battles. Maybe that sounds cliché, but this is relevant in all areas of life – including the quest for a great birth. For me to come alongside a woman and preach “worth,” when her own personal life experiences have shaped her to need a message of “safety” (for example), would mean that I have missed her altogether.

But how can I help? How do I know what someone needs, when it is beyond their own understanding? How do I discern the tune of their song, unless they themselves can sing it to me?

It’s possible.

The message I offer in my classes about worth and birth idolatry and relationship problems is—in all humility—good. It is quality stuff, and I will continue to teach it. But if I am to partner with God in caring for souls, then I must work from the heart with all of the skill allotted to me. There is more I can offer on an individual basis, seeking hearts and re-adjoining them to God’s in a way that is so much bigger, so much more personal, than the quest for the perfect birth.

It’s time to integrate more. Eden’s Promise is ready to offer you – each mother, father, and child- more than I ever dreamed possible. Click here to find out more!

Jennifer DeBrito, CSP, CCLD, CCBE is a Master Splankna Practitioner  Colorado Springs Doula and Childbirth Educator.She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional, and the creator of the Expectant Parents Workshop childbirth preparation class. Jennifer was the 3-time doula to Suzanne Hadley Gosselin (esteemed author of Expectant Parentsa pregnancy/childbirth/parenting book by Focus on the Family). In addition to coaching expectant parents toward a Christ-centered childbirth, Jennifer also specializes in prenatal and postpartum wellness coaching and Splankna Therapy Colorado Springs. Jennifer is a featured blogger for My719Moms.com. To learn more about Jennifer, go to EdensPromiseLLC.com.

Helping baby sleep through a cough

So your baby’s cold has moved into her lungs and coughing is keeping her up at night? Whether you’ve read through my previous posts about how to help your baby overcome a cold, or are just starting here, here’s what you can do right now to re-introduce that coveted, restoring beauty sleep:

1) Clear her sinuses with a bulb syringe before bed. It’s usually drainage that causes that “tickle”, so help eliminate the source for her before going to bed. Plus, leaving that yucky stuff in there overnight is probably the number one cause of ear and sinus infections.

2) Do a eucalyptus treatment while they are in bed. The menthol (and other similar “-ol” chemicals) which are present in eucalyptus not only help curb the need to cough, but also fight airborne bacteria and viruses. I covered how to do these in my previous post; this time, just place it under your baby’s crib.

3) Give your baby a lavender body rub. Just add a few drops of lavender essential oil to some oil or lotion (don’t apply it plain or it will irritate your baby’s skin). Lavender has great antimicrobial properties, and rubbing it into the skin is a direct means of safely introducing it into the blood stream.  Plus, it is known for its relaxing properties as well. If my baby seems especially uncomfortable, I also add some chamomile. Coughing is less likely to occur during the deeper stages of sleep, so the idea is to get them into a deep sleep as quickly as possible. Lavender and chamomile are both good for that.

4) For toddlers, a sippy cup of water can be kept in the crib so that if baby should wake up at night,  will she will see it and take a drink. Sometimes room-temperature water is just what she needs.

5) Also for toddlers, consider pulling milk and dairy from their diet for a day or two. We’ve even gone as long as a week for our little guy. Milk and dairy make mucous thicker, whether in the sinuses, lungs, or digestive tract. Pulling it from your child’s diet for a day or two and giving them clear liquids instead will help them overcome this last stage more easily. (If your child is less than a year old, keep giving milk or formula as usual, and just hang in there!.)

6) A note on homeopathic cough remedies: It is important to understand that while the correct way to identify a homeopathic treatment for an illness is through its symptoms, that does not mean that taking a homeopathic cough remedy will make your child stop coughing. It means they will overcome their cough more quickly. (More about homeopathic remedies in previous posts). Still, I recommend using one. We like Hyland’s.

Jen DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Jennifer is a Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator in Colorado Springs. In addition to coaching couples through Christ-centered childbirth, she also specializes in wellness coaching for prenatal and postpartum mothers and their children. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the proud owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC.

To learn more about Jennifer, please visit: www.edenspromisellc.com

Steps 2, 3, and 4: Baby’s Stuffy/Runny Nose

A friend contacted me today wondering how she can help her infant, who recently came down with a runny and stuffy nose. Looks like cold/flu season is coming early this year!

The runny/stuffy nose is a clue for which homeopathic remedy you could start with, if you feel comfortable giving one. An explanation of homeopathic remedies was provided in my previous post, ‘Step 1: Homeopathic Remedies.” Since we covered Step 1 in the last post, here’s what to do next:

2. Burt’s Bees Hand Salve on the feet.

Wierd, I know…but the ingredients in it are similar to–but better quality than– what is in Baby Vicks. I had heard of Vicks as a remedy and tried it on my son, and it did help him. But I wasn’t satisfied with using petroleum jelly and isolated, lab-produced chemicals on him. (Natural remedies are effective yet gentle, due to their naturally-occurring combinations of chemicals. It is the combinations which work together to enhance the positive effects of the remedy, while limiting the negative effects.)

When my little guy was sick with a cold, I happened to notice that the ingredients in Burt’s Hand Salve contain everything I would personally choose if I were creating my own salve for my sweet baby’s stuffy nose, so I went ahead and tried it on his feet–along with a little swipe under his nose for good measure. The fact that it contains several antiseptic/antiviral essential oils, all balanced in a rich jojoba-based salve, has me convinced that in addition to helping clear nasal passages with eucalyptus (which contains menthol as one of its active ingredients), it is also delivering effective yet gentle medicine to baby’s blood stream to help fight whatever bug has infected them. Win-win.

A fun fact to keep in mind when applying this remedy to baby’s feet? It only takes 1-2 minutes for an essential oil to travel from the nerves of the feet to the nerves of the brain in an average adult! So, they should feel some relief almost instantly.

3. Saline nasal drops (labeled for your baby’s individual use) and bulb suction at every diaper change.

This is important for keeping everything cleared out of the nasal passages and sinuses so baby’s cold doesn’t turn into a sinus or ear infection. You can just turn them a little bit upside down on your lap, like you’re going to tickle them, and add 3-4 drops per side. Try not to get it in their eyes. Keep them tilted while you count out loud with them, “One Alligator, Two Alligator….” to 10. Then sit them up and suction everything out of their nose that you can with the bulb. Your baby will probably get mad and cry. That’s the bummer about being the adult sometimes; you need to do it anyway. Besides, tears are also helpful for helping thin mucous.

Once you are done, tell them so – and mean it. They’ll forgive you as soon as they realize they can breathe again. (As a side note, I always tell everyone to ask for an extra suction bulb when they bring their baby home from the hospital, because the bulbs at the store are just not the same. When my daughter was born last November, I realized that the bulbs from the hospital are actually labeled for use with ulcers. So, if you need to put out an order for a bigger bulb, maybe that little tidbit will help in your search.)

4. Eucalyptus Oil at Bath Time

Put a dime-sized amount of eucalyptus oil in a cup of very hot water and bring it in the bathroom with you at bath time. (Don’t put it in the bathwater, just bring it into the room). It will fill the whole room with an antibacterial, antiviral respiratory steam treatment. You can include lavender if your baby seems restless or uncomfortable. 10 minutes or so is sufficient to be effective. If your baby is older than 1, you can also leave a cup in their bedroom at bed time. It’s that simple!

Steps 2,3, and 4 are inexpensive, easy, and effective for both fighting the cold bug and providing comfort to your sweet baby. Don’t forget to call or visit the doctor. There’s a reason they get paid the big bucks.

Next I will cover how to care for stomach bugs, since apparently that is going around already, too!

Stay healthy,
Jen DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Jennifer is a Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator in Colorado Springs. In addition to coaching couples through Christ-centered childbirth, she specializes in wellness coaching for prenatal and postpartum women and their babies. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the proud owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.Edenspromisellc.com

Your Natural Remedy Shopping List: Stock up before you need it!

I know, I know. It’s August. But I just spent the last week of my life dealing with a nasty, achy cold that just would not quit. The worst part? My kids (ages 5 and 9 months) and husband got it, too. Thankfully, we had the very last remnants of what I consider to be our essential arsenal of natural remedies still on hand from last year. I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what to use and when, so I’m pretty sure we were able to cut the life span of this cold at least in half–as well as its intensity. It got me thinking that with the school year quickly approaching and winter on the way (yes, I said it!), it’s time to start restocking that handy arsenal of natural remedies so that I’m ready the next time my family is struck with a nasty cold. Since people inevitably ask me what I do for my family only after their family is already sick and they don’t have any remedies on hand, I decided to share my shopping list with you so that you can start stocking up, too!

Now, don’t go out and buy all of this stuff at once. Just make the list, stick it in your purse, and you’re bound to start finding these items on sale as you do your regular shopping. (I am a weekly King Soopers shopper, and a monthly Whole Foods and/or Natural Grocers shopper, FYI). By the time Old Man Winter knocks, you’ll be able to open the door with a fully loaded bazooka of effective remedies to blow him right back outside. Here’s the list. I’ll teach you what to do with it all later.

  • Lavender Essential Oil (I usually buy NOW brand from Whole Foods or Natural Grocers, and only when they are on sale.)
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil (I wait for the big one of these to go on sale)
  • Traditional Medicinals Cold Care Sampler
  • Honey
  • Epsom Salts (Sam’s has a huge bag for under $10)
  • Nasal spray (one for each family member, including your babies, labeled for each person)
  • Homeopathic FLU remedy. I really liked the Heel BHI FLUPLUS from Whole Foods this time around.
  • Garlic and Olive Oil

That’s it! Pretty easy, huh. Now just keep the list handy and pick up items as you see them. Have fun, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Jennifer DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator

Author, Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional

Owner, EdensPromiseLLC.com