Feb 13

Walking (An Invisible) Line: Baby Cash’s Birth Story

By Joy

This post is written by Jessi, a local mom who has been sharing her pregnancy to parenting journey on the BABS Instragram page. Check out her story on Instagram here.  You can also meet Jessi and see her photos at The Baby Fair on March 8th.

Nothing went as planned.

Instead of waiting for signs of labor to start, my labor began with a phone call. On Sunday, January 11th at 4:20PM I received a call from a one of my doctors that due to a high protein count in my urine, they were going to deliver my baby. I was more than 2 weeks away from my due date. I was in shock. When I hung up the phone, we had about an hour to make our way to the hospital. No bags were packed; the house was still being organized for the new baby– everything was a mess. We were in a scramble. I can imagine that feeling may have closely imitated the excitement of natural labor, although in my mind we would have been much more prepared.)

We called the parents and immediate family on the way with fear and anxiety in our voices, not the excitement I had imagined there would be when I told my Grandparents that our sweet baby boy was on his way! While driving to the hospital it was raining, such a dreary January day and I kept thinking, “This isn’t how it is supposed to go.”

My sweet Husband was calm and supportive, everything I always imagined he would be. When we got to the hospital, I was very calm, instead of making my way to the Labor and Delivery during contractions and visualizing something hysterical, like being a lawn ornament. (I read a hilarious blog previously and this particular woman kept envisioning herself as a lawn ornament when a contraction would hit and I was convinced I would envision something absolutely crazy. No such luck.) I was feeling nervous butterflies and really taking in every step along the way. Upon checking in, we were joking with the nurses and patiently awaiting directions.

Once I was changed and sitting in my hospital bed, the nurse came in to check my vitals, gather information and call on the doctor to do a cervical check. I was 1cm, 0% effacement and -2 station-in simple terms– Cash wasn’t anywhere near wanting to make his appearance. I knew immediately, we were in for a long haul. The first step was the Cervidil. Once the nurse applied the Cervidil– super uncomfortable, please see the lack of “ripeness” of my cervix– it was a waiting game of hoping to sleep through the night with a plan to start Pitocin in the morning. The entire time we were in the hospital, we had the blessing of many wonderful nurses, all of whom were very skilled and very sweet. This helped to ease the fear and tension. I slept a total of 2 hours that night.

The next morning, our Doula, Amber arrived with Starbucks and a smile. I ate a small box of Honeynut Cheerios and waited for the nurse to start Pitocin. I was nervous to experience this drug, as all I had ever heard were terrible things. The plan given to me by my nurse was to administer the Pitocin by 2 every half an hour! Wow! I asked to go up by 1 and the nurse politely agreed. I kept eating ice and very yummy gummy bears, and I laughed with Amber and listed to music. Jack White radio on Pandora to be exact. After a bit, Amber and I took a nice long walk while I pushed around my drugs on wheels, laughing along the way and envisioning what my experience would be. I wasn’t feeling pain, truly. I would feel tightness and at times, mild cramping. My Mother visited as well as my best friend. My spirits were high and the more I waited to be in pain the more concerned I became.

From 8:30AM to 10:45PM I was being pumped full of Pitocin and an antibiotic. During that time I laughed out my mucus plug while peeing and 3 different nurses came in to tell me I must have a really high pain tolerance. I was still waiting for the big moment where I knew I was in labor. That time came for me when my bag of water was broken. I was catapulted into intense and scary contractions. By midnight I was vomiting and saying that I couldn’t do it– with strong contractions every minute I couldn’t cope or rest between the pain. My Husband and Doula helped to apply counter pressure, provide mental and physical support, but in the end the Pitocin won. I was at a level 20 with only being 4cm dilated. I opted for the epidural at 2AM and endured another hour of contractions until the epidural was administered. Once the pain relief was in place, I smiled and joked with the nurses, anesthesiologist and my Husband. I don’t remember most of anything, but I do remember ultimate relief. I will never regret that decision and I know that I was strong to endure what I did.

At 3:30AM we all decided we needed sleep. I sent my Doula home to sleep thinking we would have much more time. My Husband passed out on the pull out and I passed out in my bed. 2 hours later, I awoke to the Doctor checking me to find I was 10cm, 100% effaced and +2 station. Cash’s head was there and ready to come out! We woke up my Husband and I pushed for a little over 10 minutes! Cash came into this world alert and 5lbs, 13oz! He was placed on my chest and from that moment my heart opened up flooding emotion. This emotion was of love and awe-inspiring wonderment at this amazing little person. We had made him. I carried him in my body and now he was looking at my Husband and me. He rooted around and found the breast quickly. He was my perfect little boy.cash

I would be open to discussing any and all parts of our labor and birth experience during the Baby Fair. If I can help even just one woman along her journey to become a Mother– a realistic voice or point of advice and reference– I will feel that I’ve accomplished what I set out to do with this project.

Peace and Love,




Jan 30

Dancing for Birth™

By Joy

dancing for birthDancing for Birth™ Classes support pregnant mamas by helping them build endurance, gain strength, increase flexibility, and prepare for an active and empowering birth experience.

These classes are part movement, part child- birth education, and wonderful for all women. No prior dance experience is required. Pregnant and postpartum mamas will experience movement inspired by women’s dance from around the world. Belly dance, African dance, and Latin dance all provide for the joyful expression of your amazing mama body and allow you to make these beautiful movements your own.

The next Dancing for Birth™ series starts February 5th, 2015 from 5:15-6:30pm. The cost is $35 for the 4 week series.

To better serve our BABS families, this class requires preregistration. There is a minimum of five registrants required to hold the series. We will refund classes if class is cancelled due to the weather, however because this class is a series, we will be unable to refund for classes missed for other reasons.

To register please call the office at 812-337-8121 or email info@bloomingtonbirth.org.

Jan 26

Meet the Doulas

By Joy

Have you thought about hiring a birth or postpartum doula, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet? Are you daunted by making tons of calls to different doulas? Not sure what to ask them? Afraid you can’t afford it? Are you not even really sure what a doula does, or whether you want one? Now’s your chance to have all your questions answered, as well as some you didn’t even know you had.

PrintCome to BloomingFamilies Meet the Student Doulas this Sunday, February 1st, from 1:00-3:00 pm at BABS. You can meet all of our Student Birth and Postpartum Doulas at once, and learn about how the BloomingFamilies programs work to help you feel confident and satisfied during your birth and postpartum period. Our goal is to make doula support available to everyone who wants it. We currently have eleven different birth and postpartum doulas, so it’s likely that you will find someone who feels like a good match for your needs.

Jan 19

Preparing for Postpartum

By Molly Mendota

This post is written by Kate Duneman, one of BABS BloomingFamilies’ Student Postpartum Doulas.

While we are fortunate to live in a community with many resources for a healthy pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding relationship, we still live in a country that largely ignores the postpartum period for what it can be: an isolating time of sleep deprivation, massive hormone fluctuations, breastfeeding challenges, unprecedented life and relationship transitions, and recuperation from labor, delivery, and often major surgery.

As a student postpartum doula for BABS and a mother of two, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. If I could go back in time, I would have studied up on what to expect postpartum as much as I’d studied up on pregnancy and childbirth. I wish I’d known that I would have to advocate for myself during those early postpartum days and weeks as much as I would in labor.

There seems to be more talk lately about how our society is lacking the social infrastructure to adequately support women and their families in the postpartum period. The connection is being made between this lack of support and postpartum depression. I recently came across a blog post from Claudia M. Gold, M.D., which touches on this very thing: http://claudiamgoldmd.blogspot.com/2014/12/is-postpartum-depression-really.html

An excerpt from the article:

“There is an evolutionary purpose to what in this country was once termed “lying in.” During a period of 3-4 weeks mothers were able to rest and connect with their baby while a group of women helped with household chores and offered emotional support.

Cultures around the world recognize the need for protecting the mother–baby pair in this way. Contemporary American society, with its unrealistic expectation of rapid return to pre-pregnancy functioning, is uniquely lacking in a culture of postpartum care.”

And another excerpt from Hillary Brenhouse’s piece in The Daily Beast: (http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/08/15/america-s-postpartum-practices.html)

“A culturally accepted postpartum period sends a powerful message that’s not being sent in this country,” said Dr. Margaret Howard, the director of the Day Hospital for Postpartum Depression in Providence, Rhode Island. “American mothers internalize the prevailing attitude—‘I should be able to handle this myself; women have babies every day’—and if they’re not up and functioning, they feel like there’s something wrong with them.”

I am hopeful that the more this issue is written about and discussed, the more likely we will see acknowledgement, acceptance, and support as the norms in postpartum care in our country. In the meantime, I encourage all expectant mothers to prepare for postpartum as you would for pregnancy or birth. Read a book like Sheila Kitzinger’s The Year After Childbirth before you are in the year after childbirth. Think about who you will call for emotional support, or relief when you are desperate for groceries or a shower. Consider whether early postpartum family visits will be helpful or overwhelming. Prepare meals ahead of time to freeze, and/or let a friend set up a meal train for you. Make a list of the things you can do to take care of yourself, and put it in a visible place. Remember that taking care of yourself benefits your baby. If possible, carve out more time and space to heal than you think you will need postpartum, so that it’s there if you need it. Consider hiring a postpartum doula!

BABS BloomingFamilies offers Postpartum Doula services on an income-based sliding scale, as well as free Postpartum Doula services for low-income families.  For more information, click here, email molly@bloomingtonbirth.org, or call/text 812-269-2510.

Jan 14

Connect with other moms

By Joy

One of the most amazing support systems a new mom can have is a group of other new moms. At BABS we provide an opportunity in our New Moms’ Group for you to meet other mothers and get to know them in a meaningful way. This group is designed for new mothers with a baby (or babies!) ranging in age from birth to 5 months old. The 8-week series will be geared toward the needs and interests of the moms in the group and will be facilitated by Kelly Leach. Topics may include, but are not limited to: self care, sleep deprivation, self-identity, intimacy, parenting, postpartum depression, and stress management.

The cost for the group is determined by an income-based, sliding fee schedule; please come by or call the BABS office to register (812) 337-8121.

Due to the nature of the group, BABS limits the number of registrants. If the group fills up an additional group may be formed to accommodate additional mothers wishing to participate.

The group will meet January 19-March 9, on Mondays from 6:15-7:30pm. Bring your baby and enjoy and evening with other moms.

“This group has been an awesome place to grow as a mother, find my peace, and connect with other moms.” -Former New Moms’ Group Member

Jan 12

Supporting ALL Parents

By Molly Mendota

Birth is hard and awesome.  No matter how you do it.  Parenting too.  And guess what?  The more support you have, the less hard it is, and the more awesome.  No matter how you do it.

Sometimes I hear people saying that they think doulas are only for a certain kind of family, or a certain kind of birth.  BloomingFamilies doulas have worked tirelessly for the past three years to counter those beliefs.  We have had clients who’ve had vaginal births, scheduled c-sections, and unscheduled c-sections.  We’ve had clients who’ve had epidurals that they’ve planned and epidurals that they didn’t think they’d want.  We’ve had clients who wanted epidurals and didn’t get to have them.  We’ve had clients who’ve breastfed, pumped, used donor milk, formula fed, used a combination of breastmilk and formula.  We’ve had clients from fourteen to forty.  In a relationship, single, partnered with someone who’s not the father of the baby.  So many different variables, choices, circumstances, lives.

Every single one of them loves her baby beyond measure.  Every single one of them wants her baby to have a happy, healthy life.  Every single one of them has desires & opinions about her birth and her parenting experience.  Every single one of them wants her choices and her knowledge of her family to be respected.

That’s our job:  unconditional, judgment-free support.  It breaks my heart when I hear someone say that they think doulas are only for a certain kind of parent.  Doulas are for the kind of parent who needs, wants, & deserves support through a major life transition.  In other words, any parent.  Every parent.


Instagram Project

By Joy

Written by Jessi Klein

Growing up loving The Beatles instead of mainstream, popular music, this lyric always stuck with me: “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Perhaps I knew the meaning was bigger than my young life and possibly one day, I would discover why it was so gravitational. It wasn’t until I met my Husband, Michael, that I realized the full capacity of my love. However, it wasn’t until we found out we were expecting our first baby that I knew this was the love I’ve been waiting to “make” my whole life.

jessi1That was a heavy intro-Hi! My name is Jessi Klein and I’m a wife, soon-to-be-Momma, part-time graduate student, and a full-time professional woman. I was born in Bloomington Hospital, where my son, Cash, will also be born. I should mention that I am the first in my family to have a doula and thankfully we have Amber Richards along for the ride! I’ve lived in Bloomington my WHOLE life. I’ve never left and truthfully, I’ve never wanted to. I attended Indiana University where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Arts Administration. SPEA – the School of Public and Environmental Affairs – gave me the opportunity to merge both my passion for the nonprofit sector with my enthusiasm for art. Currently, my part-time gig as a graduate student is pursuing an MA in Arts Administration, hoping to focus on community art based projects empowering organizations and the town I love so much – Bloomington. I currently am the Assistant Director of Development for the Jacobs School of Music and I love, LOVE being productive daily in philanthropy for the university. Go IU!

My life changed only for the better when I was set up on a blind date. Don’t worry; I acted like a total dweeb! (Do people even say that anymore?) However, once we started talking, we didn’t stop. At the end of the night I went in for a hug from a complete stranger. (Dweeb alert!) Hang on, it gets worse. I texted him the next day and quoted “Creep” from Radiohead. (Need I say more?) Two months later, we were officially a couple. Two months after that, we were living together. Three months after that, we were engaged and on April 20th, 2013 we said, “I do!” and almost exactly 1 year from that date, we conceived our first born son!

jessi2Why am I telling you all of this? (Other than to prove the point that I am a dweeb…) I love to relive that moment because if not for that moment, this moment wouldn’t exist. Our baby will transform me as I become a Mother and I will hear the harmony of John, Paul, George and Ringo again. Cash will alter both mine and my Husband’s realities in ways yet unseen. My hope is to share our journey as I give birth to Cash Phillip Emerson Klein and Transition Into Motherhood. Follow as I post from labor and birth into and through the 4th trimester postpartum via BABS Instagram. Let’s create a strong online community of Mothers all asking the same question, “Is this normal?” As Mothers and as women, we need to empower one another and share in this joy and gift we have of giving life. In the end of this project, I will be displaying my photographs at the Baby Fair on March 8th at the Bloomington Convention Center. As an artist, let me be the lens into a world full of uncertainty and change. I encourage you to post and share your own moments of strength and of weakness as all are beautiful and supported.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you soon!

All my best,


Jan 9

The Weave of Motherhood

By Joy

weaveMotherhood is the most important, yet unacknowledged psychological shift in a woman’s identity. Mothers are left to cope with the huge changes in their life without the necessary supportive context for their new emotions, thoughts, or daily experience.

The Weave of Motherhood is a group created to give mothers the supportive context they need. Through this group you will have the opportunity to take a step back, regroup, and re-emerge with new capacities for love and self-awareness. Through connection, introspection, and creative expression you can strengthen and elicit respect for and a deeper understanding of your work of motherhood.

This group will use discussion, media, and expressive art, such as clay, weaving, and journaling. No artistic ability or experience necessary!

The next series of The Weave of Motherhood will meet at BABS on Tuesdays, January 13-February 24, 2015; 7-8:30pm

The cost of the class is: $35-$140 (the sliding scale is income based). There is also a Supply Fee of $20. Registration is required. To register call the office at 812-337-8121 or email info@bloomingtonbirth.org.

Quotes from previous Creating the Weave of Motherhood attendees:

“Spending time with other mothers, having an opportunity to explore various artistic mediums, and thinking about my role as a mother and woman made The Weave of Motherhood a wonderful experience for me. I grew closer to these other mothers in my community, which helped me feel renewed and supported.” —Amy

“The Weave of Motherhood came at a perfect time for me. I was feeling lost….I was overwhelmed with being a mother, a wife, a professional women in the workforce. This group brought together amazing women and allowed us all to ‘put it all out there’. I laughed and cried… A lot! Most of all, I gained a strength that was fed by these beautiful mamas that enabled me to dig deep and find my true self again!”—Marni

“The Weave of Motherhood gave me some space to think about who I am as a person and a mother. It allowed me to step back and connect with myself in ways that feel impossible sometimes as the mother of two small children. I was so grateful for the discussions, the art and especially the other women who shared the circle with me.”—Julie

Jan 7

Become a Postpartum Doula!

By Molly Mendota

During the spring and summer of 2002, I lived in Pennsylvania with my best friend, Leticia, and her partner, Paul.  Their first child was born in May of that year.  I was not at the baby’s birth, but I met her at six hours of age.  At 24 hours, I walked her back and forth across creaky floorboards while her parents slept.  I changed diapers and listened to Leticia tell her birth story and was supportive as she learned to breastfeed – though I knew nothing concretely helpful.  I was just beginning to learn about birth doulas, and had never heard of a postpartum doula.  Paul, Leticia, and I agreed, though, that it really takes at least three adults to care for a newborn.

Eight years later, Leticia drove from northeast Pennsylvania to Bloomington and made it in time to be at the birth of my daughter.  She stayed for two weeks afterward, washing diapers every morning, bringing me food, and forcing me to nap at least once every day.  My mom, who is now a postpartum doula herself, was also there every day and most nights – and again, it was clear that three adults was the right number in those early weeks.

Unfortunately, many (most?) families don’t realize how essential an extra grown-up can be until they are in the thick of it, or even until they’re looking back later on the “fourth trimester.”  It’s hard to imagine how it could possibly be so hard for one or even two competent adults to take care of a tiny little person who sleeps for 16-20 hours a day.  It’s not until later that we realize that this tiny person has changed absolutely everything about our competent adult lives.

Enter the postpartum doula!  She’s a knowledgeable, experienced support person who can do everything from change diapers to listen to you cry about something, everything, or nothing.  She can hold the baby while you shower (which is a kind of bliss that only a parent home alone with a newborn can appreciate!)  She can help you with breastfeeding and connect you with community resources.  She helps you find your new identity as a parent, and what works for your family, without judgment or agenda.  She eases the transition for your entire family as you all rearrange your roles and expectations.

Bloomington is home to a number of wonderful independent postpartum doulas, and BABS is home to some amazing Volunteer and Student Postpartum Doulas.  Demand for postpartum doulas is growing, and we are looking to expand the availability of postpartum support services in our area.  To that end, BABS is sponsoring a DONA International-approved Postpartum Doula Workshop in Bloomington January 16-18, 2015.  The cost of the workshop is $450.  Contact Molly Mendota for registration information – molly@bloomingtonbirth.org or 812-269-2510.

For more info about postpartum doulas, written by Anna Haag, one of our local independent doulas:  http://bloomingtonbirth.org/postpartum-doulas-101/

Jan 5

Dancing for Birth™

By Joy

dancing for birthDancing for Birth™ Classes support pregnant mamas by helping them build endurance, gain strength, increase flexibility, and prepare for an active and empowering birth experience.

These classes are part movement, part child- birth education, and wonderful for all women. No prior dance experience is required. Pregnant and postpartum mamas will experience movement inspired by women’s dance from around the world. Belly dance, African
dance, and Latin dance all provide for the joyful expression of your amazing mama body and allow you to make these beautiful movements your own.

The next Dancing for Birth™ series starts January 10, 2015 from 11:15am-12:30pm. The cost is $35 for the 4 week series.

To better serve our BABS families, this class requires preregistration. There is a minimum of five registrants required to hold the series. We will refund classes if class is cancelled due to the weather, however because this class is a series, we will be unable to refund for classes missed for other reasons.

To register please call the office at 812-337-8121 or email info@bloomingtonbirth.org.