Richmond On Call: 7 Day Trips

Richmond On Call: 7 Day Trips

Richmond is a wonderful place to be on call! There are so many fun things to do within city limits or within an hour of Richmond if you can afford a day trip. And cell phone service doesn't fade out in Richmond like it might in some mountain cities.

There are judgment calls--it's hard to promise my sons anything in advance because I am not going to head an hour out of town if a client has had contractions all night, has been advised by their care provider to take castor oil, or just texts me that she has gastrointestinal upset and moodiness. My kids will probably grow up thinking their mother is a super spontaneous person who loves last minute day trips! "Guess what, we're going to York River today!" I'm sure they think the idea just struck me, instead of it being planned but not promised for a week.

Still though, if you can afford a day trip, you have solid child care set up so you won't need time to find a sitter, and all is quiet, the list below may give you some ideas! 

Here are some of my favorite places to go within an hour of Richmond.

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Who is Richmond Doulas: Claire Prendergast

Who is Richmond Doulas: Claire Prendergast

Business Name: clarity postpartum
Services: daytime postpartum doula, DONA
Years in practice: 2

Claire is such a lovely woman and I can only imagine the quiet and thoughtful attention she pays to her postpartum clients. She is very knowledgeable, competent, professional and warm. In the following interview, you'll get to learn more about this nurturing mother and doula. 

She is the seventh doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.  

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Who is Richmond Doulas: Donna Westcott

Who is Richmond Doulas: Donna Westcott

Doula Spotlight
Donna Westcott CPBD
Richmond Doulas Social Media Officer


Services: Birth Doula; Acupressure; Rebozo
Years in Business: 4
Max clients per month: 2
Clients served: 28

What drew you to doula work?

I went to childbirth education classes at A Brighter Birth and found my doula through them.  Her help was invaluable to my husband and me. Even with an unsupportive environment during my first birth, I felt a difference. I’m pretty sure my doula helped me avoid a cesarean. After my second birth I was hooked on anything birthy: books, research, everything. The more I learned, the more I realized that doulas helped to improve birth. Plus, they were there supporting families in such incredible moments. It really is amazing and humbling to be invited to such intimate times.

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Day in the Life of a Postpartum Doula

Day in the Life of a Postpartum Doula

What do postpartum doulas do? You can read about the benefits here and if you’re interested in becoming one, there is a great training coming to Richmond in November. But what might a typical 3-4 hour shift look like?

This entry describes a typical four hour day shift in the life of a postpartum doula. Overnights are very different! Stay tuned for "Night in the Life of a Postpartum Doula."

*This is a fictional client to protect privacy.*

My client’s baby is six days old and she has two older girls, a five year old and a three year old. I met her prenatally for an hour to get to know her, to meet her girls and to get familiar with her house and where everything is. She signed up for a twenty hour package. When her new baby boy is born, she emails me a picture and I send her congratulations and a list of my availability for the coming month. She picks out five shifts of four hours each.

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Who is Richmond Doulas: Ruth Green

Who is Richmond Doulas: Ruth Green

Ruth is a source of wisdom for the birth community and the family she serves. She goes out of her way to advocate for doulas in Richmond and to mentor new doulas. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this nurturing and knowledgeable woman. 

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Doulas and Epidurals: Are They Compatible?

Doulas and Epidurals: Are They Compatible?
"I don't need a doula, because I'm getting an epidural! In fact, I may ask for one as soon as I walk off the elevator!"
"What would a doula even do once an epidural is in place?"
"I don't want a natural birth. Aren't doulas a little...you know...hippy? Aren't they all about no drugs at all?"

I'm pretty sure that every doula has heard some variety of the above. There are many different misconceptions about doulas. For instance, I'm pretty sure there's a certain percentage of the population that thinks we all smell like patchouli and throw essential oils all over the room when women are laboring. Others combine our job description with that of a midwife's. And, of course, others think that the only reason someone would hire a doula would be to help with a completely drug-free, "natural" birth at home or in a hospital.

Here's the secret: a few doulas smell like patchouli (because they love patchouli perfume), no one throws essential oils anywhere, and women who want "natural" births hire us....and women who want the most textbook, medicated births hire us as well. Essentially, there's a doula for everyone.

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Who is Richmond Doulas: April Titler

Who is Richmond Doulas: April Titler

Doula Spotlight
April Titler
"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." -Brené Brown

 

Business Name: Encourage Doula Services
Services: Postpartum Doula (DONA)
Years in practice: 3
Families Served: 20+ 

When meeting April for the first time, I noticed her positive energy. She came to my Centering Pregnancy group to introduce us to the idea of postpartum doulas when I was pregnant with my second son, and I remember thinking how lovely it would be to have her in my home. She is a source of sunlight in a room and a lovely person to spend time with. I can imagine her bringing a sense of quiet joy to a family's postpartum period. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this knowledgeable, competent and kind woman. 

She is the fifth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.  

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What to Expect at a Meet the Doulas Event

What to Expect at a Meet the Doulas Event

So maybe you've heard that Richmond Doulas is hosting our quarterly Meet the Doulas on August 31 at Richmond OB/GYN from 6:30-8:00. Maybe you are a curious expectant family, or maybe you are a doula who has never attended one of these events before. Are you wondering what to expect? This blog post will answer questions that both families and doulas may have about this fun event that RD sponsors four times a year! Maybe you'll decide to mark it down on your calendar and come on out to sit with us in person and learn

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Who is Richmond Doulas: Joy Kraynak

Who is Richmond Doulas: Joy Kraynak

Doula Spotlight
Joy Kraynak

Business Name: Joyful Birth
Services: Birth Doula; Hypnobirthing Instructor; Photography; Acupressure; Breastfeeding Counselor; Placenta Encapsulation
Years in Business: 4+
Max clients per month: 2
Clients served: over 200 (including childbirth education); 63 birth doula clients

Joy was so much fun to interview. I would sum her up in a few words: amicable, knowledgeable, and funny. It's easy to see how so many people love her and enjoy her classes.

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Who is Richmond Doulas: McRae Brittingham

Who is Richmond Doulas: McRae Brittingham

When meeting McRae, you’d notice her laugh and the way she puts people at ease. She is extremely knowledgeable yet presents her wisdom in a very easy going way. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this nurturing woman. In addition to working tirelessly with her postpartum clients, she advocates for postpartum doulas in Richmond and mentors those who are new to the field with enthusiasm and generous wisdom. I'd highly recommend chatting with her early on in your pregnancy to see if she has availability in her calendar for postpartum support.

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Types of Doulas and FAQ

Types of Doulas and FAQ

You're pregnant and you've just heard someone ask if you are hiring a doula. But you're sort of confused about what a doula is, what she does, and what she doesn't do. And maybe there's more than one type? Is that true? It can get confusing! Hopefully this blog post will help differentiate between the types, figure out which kind you'd like and/or need.

[Note: I use the gender pronoun "she" throughout the post, though men and/or those who do not identify as female may also become doulas and midwives. This is for simplicity's sake and not to be exclusive.]

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Who is Richmond Doulas: Jess Turner

Who is Richmond Doulas: Jess Turner

When meeting Jess, you can feel her quiet and peaceful energy. She brings calm to a room when she arrives. In the following interview, you’ll learn more about this sincere, self-reflective and knowledgeable woman. If I were to summarize Jess in one word, I’d use “reassuring.” I can only imagine what her calm presence would bring to a birth or postpartum room and recommend all families to check on her availability for birth or postpartum or check out one of yoga classes.

Jess is the second doulas featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.  

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Why Write a Birth Plan?

Why Write a Birth Plan?

"You can't really plan birth, so there's no point in writing a birth plan." I've certainly heard this sentiment expressed before, and I'm guessing you have as well. There is an element of truth to it - we don't necessarily get to plan when our labor begins, how labor progresses, how our bodies or our babies' bodies respond to labor. I often tell my doula clients that there's a surprise in every birth. BUT! That doesn't mean there's no value in a birth plan! 

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Who Is Richmond Doulas? The Blog Series

Who Is Richmond Doulas? The Blog Series

I love sitting and listening to the stories of others. I like seeing the way their eyes grow distant. More than just words spoken, you see how their hands cut the air, sometimes flowing gently, other times stiffly chopping at an invisible threat. You see their lips tense when they get to a part that hurts them; you see their eyes brighten at an amusing anecdote.

I love watching strangers stroll by on warm summer evenings, hand in hand. I wonder if they're parents, out on a date, acting as if they are high school sweethearts again. I wonder if they're discussing their children or the show they just watched or even politics. If nothing else, I'm witnessing a small glimmer, a small story of a lifetime.

Perhaps it's the bibliophile side of me, but I love listening to people, because it's the stories of their lives. More than that, it's the awareness that their stories are similar to mine. Or in any case, their stories become intermingled with mine because I am now affected by their stories. I have learned something about myself in hearing them.

These thoughts are the influence and inspiration behind Who Is Richmond Doulas. There's a list of doulas, all complete with headshots. In this way, the website will give you a name with a face, even some qualifications. However, I wanted to go beyond that. These women were all drawn to birth work as doulas, but all for different reasons.

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Doula Talk: What did you learn from your first few clients?

Doula Talk: What did you learn from your first few clients?

Doula training is immersive. Usually, we attend a three day, 20+ hour training and then we learn on the job. Much like an apprenticeship, our first few clients are part of our certification process, and a new doula learns so much from each family. I heard a doula at a conference say once, “I had only attended about five births at the time, so each birth was an entire education in and of itself…” I heard another doula comment once that when you have attended twenty births, you realize again that you know nothing. 

So much of doula work is about presence. Skills like acupressure, optimal fetal positioning, rebozo, postpartum recovery and breastfeeding support—all of these skills are valuable, but what we learn in the first few births or first few postpartum clients is how to be present. I find my birth and postpartum bags getting slimmer and slimmer with each client as I learn to trust my most powerful tools: my hands, my voice, and my presence.

We polled our members to ask them what their takeaways were from their first few client experiences. What I found so amazing was that not one of them mentions a skill that you can pick up at a weekend training or by reading a birth blog. Each and every doula describes learning something about presence and emotional support.

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Calling All Doulas!

Calling All Doulas!

Are you new in the area? Perhaps you feel like you are terrible at networking and need a little push? Or do you want more contacts, better resources, or maybe another backup doula?

Or maybe you just want to make a few new friends!

Whatever the reason, we encourage you to get to know Richmond Doulas a little better. In fact, we'd love if you could come by and check out what benefits membership could provide you.

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Welcome to Richmond Doulas!

Welcome to Richmond Doulas!

Who will be with you on the day that your baby is born? Who will be part of your village in those first tender days and weeks postpartum? These are the questions that Richmond Doulas want to help you answer. You know the saying: it takes a village. It certainly takes a small community to build a supportive group of people to help mother a mother and navigate through the newborn period.

I’m so pleased to be kicking off what will be a wonderful series of weekly topics for both birth workers and families. As the blog progresses there will be birth stories, opinion pieces, event highlights, and many other topics of interest. Stay tuned so you don’t miss anything!

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