*Welcome – Start Here!*

*In 2014 I will be taking a limited number of clients, but please feel free to contact me to find out if I’m open for your due date. When I’m booked I am referring to The Birth Group, though you will need to contact them to find out their individual availability. When looking for options I encourage you to also check out DoulaMatch.net. The sooner you begin your doula search the better, as that helps ensure you can find the perfect fit for you.*

I’m Heidi, I live in the DFW area of Texas & I’m a doula & birth photographer. Whether you are a birth professional or a new parents, I hope my website will provide useful information for you. To the right you’ll see some links for expectant parents. I’m also now a doula mentor, and I have over a hundred great Tips for Doulas posts available by subscription.

Your comments and questions are very welcome, so please feel free to drop me a line. I can be reached at heidi@thadenpierce.org. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!

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Doula Belt | Tips for Doulas

I saw the FlipBelt on Pinterest and I was intrigued. Not that I’ve run in years (it’s designed for runners) but I do chase children around a lot, and we love to do hikes as a family. I’m always hesitant to leave my bag unattended at the park with my wallet & keys, but it’s bulky and a pain to carry it with me while pushing kids on the swings or going down slides.

Not to mention as a doula I need to keep my phone on me whenever possible, so if I’m running around the park or hiking or in the museum with the kids I want to keep my phone close when I’m on call. So this FlipBelt looks very intriguing to me – as a mom and as a doula.

Then I started thinking – I bet this would be great at BIRTHS! I could keep my phone in it for quick notes on their birth timeline, my chapstick, even my little essential oils bottle! This could be BRILLIANT for births! My hands would be free to help moms, but I could still have some of the essentials from my doula bag immediately accessible. I’m curious how many and what things I can keep in it!

So I ordered one. :) I’ll post a review after I try it out at home with my kids and when I attend my next birth. I’m really excited!

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Online Option for Childbirth Education

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On Tuesday nights for the last couple years I’ve had the chance to help teach a childbirth education class here in town. It’s been taught by two midwives for the last 15 years! I was incredibly honored to be brought on staff, trained and mentored by these amazing women, and invited to assist in teaching.

In our town there are also instructors for at least three other type of childbirth education courses – all great programs. Both hospitals in town even offer classes! However, despite these many options there are some parents for whom scheduling is so tricky that they cannot attend any of these courses. The midwives encouraged me to create a condensed childbirth education class for these parents and depending on circumstances I can sometimes teach that – but a condensed class cannot possibly fit in all the wonderful materials you receive in a full course.

Which brings me to an option I am so excited to share – an online curriculum from Birth Boot Camp! This program was created here in the DFW area and I’ve been fortunate to talk with the creator, some of the trainers, as well as some of the instructors. I’ve looked through the materials, and I am impressed. It is thorough, engaging, detailed, VERY up-to-date, and will prepare you incredibly well for your birth experience. You can see videos and more information on their website here.

Again, I think in class courses are always ideal but if scheduling or location makes that tricky then Birth Boot Camp online is absolutely the best option I’ve found for an online childbirth preparation class. No matter where you are living around the world you can access this and know you’re going to have tons of important information and preparation ideas for your birth. GO check it out!

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Tips for Doulas – New Set Up!

So, all those Tips for Doulas posts have not vanished, I promise. I’m making some changes to my website and business stuff as I celebrate three years since starting certification this month (hooray!) and have some time off from being on call for doula clients.

The tips will return (I had no clue I had so many Tips for Doulas posts – 100 of them!) but I’m offering them now as a private section of the website available to doulas for a fee. (Currently it’s one time, it will be changing to a subscription fee in the future.) There have been several posts full of ideas that I was so excited to share, but I realized I was offering up lots of business secrets! I ended up keeping those posts private because really – they were some great ideas. :) After discussion with my business team (that’s an informal position I have forced upon some trusted friends and family!) I was encouraged to make ALL the Tips for Doulas posts available but put them into a different area of the website accessible just to those who have signed up. I’ll also be making my PDFs (both the “Things to Consider” and the photo tips) available for those registered. They’ve been removed from my Forms section above and I’ll be revising those before sharing them within my new section.

I’m eager to get that all worked out next week and will be posting more details. For now if you’re anxious to get back to reading those Tips for Doulas posts you can get read up on my plan here. Judging by the Pinterest traffic focused on my doula tips posts, I hope this will be a great resource for birth communities everywhere.

Thank you, thank you, for reading along and for your kind comments and messages.

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Energy Bites Part II (GF, Vegan)

www.BetterBirthDoula.orgThese are similar to a very famous energy bar whose name I won’t mention lest I violate a copyright of some sort. :) They are similar to the energy bites I posted before, but these are a gluten free & paleo version (from what I hear – I don’t do paleo so I’m not sure of the guidelines!)

The base is dates, which I found at Aldis and decided to get creative with. You then add nuts (cashews, pecans, almonds) and a paste if you want (peanut or almond butter) along with other add ins – chocolate chips, coconut, dried cherries or craisins, etc. Get creative!

This is the recipe I used for inspiration but I played around with ingredients and amounts until it was a texture I liked. Do make sure you chop the dates and nuts first before adding the other stuff to help it get a better consistency. Mine was a bit wet at first so I added more almonds and chocolate chips and then it looked too crumbly – but you don’t want it sticky, once you press them into balls or bars even the crumbly mixture stayed together well.

These are great for one handed snacking while nursing, for pregnant moms on the go, as an early labor snack, and for all of us chasing toddlers. If you tried it let me know what variation was yummiest for you!

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Peanut Ball Article & Links

www.BetterBirthDoula.orgHere is a really well done article by Andrea about the use of peanut balls in labor.

My first post (with link to a video) about peanut balls and epidurals is part of my new doula section – you can read about accessing that here. (This main site will continue to have lots of helpful tips for expectant parents, the doula business section is changing up a bit, but it will have even more great tips, plus all the materials I wrote up while going through my certification and first three years as a doula. It’s going to be fantastic and I hope you’ll check it out!)

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Testimonials

JuiceThis testimonial made me burst out laughing. It was such a fun home birth to welcome their fifth baby, and after being hired by the couple I found out I’m friends with both the midwife and the midwife assistant. While the mom was very obviously working hard birthing her sweet baby, it was also such a neat experience – it felt like a “Welcome, Baby!” party. My husband teased me that it sounded more like a night out with friends rather than work. :)

Here’s her very kind full review:

Oh. Seriously.  Heidi is such a big help…She freed my husband from needing to do all those little things I wished for, and he was able to relax and enjoy the birth his own way.  We loved it.  I was having my fifth baby and my fourth homebirth, Heidi was the first doula and I struggled with whether I really needed one at a homebirth.  Oh. Girl.  You need one. Doulas are not luxuries.  They are necessities. – Charlyn”

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Standing & Waiting

My son is losing his eyesight. We knew before he was born that blindness was a possible side effect from his early arrival, among the many other challenges micro-preemies face. He had a laser eye surgery when he was a couple months old (and still a couple months BEFORE he was due to arrive) that saved his retinas from detaching, but left scar tissue as well. Over the years his eyesight has deteriorated, as he’s lost acuity and peripheral vision and depth perception and colors began fading for him. This is a challenge we’ve known he would face and the bad news has come gradually with each doctor visit, but it’s been hitting especially hard this last year as we learned he meets the criteria for legal blindness. He’s nine years old now, old enough to understand a bit of what is happening to him and deeply heartbroken over the uncertainty he faces.

A dear friend sent me a poem as we talked a bit about the situation, and it resonated with me on many levels. It’s by John Milton, someone who also lost his sight:

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Like all writings, this obviously is open to the reader to interpret what it means to him. As a mom to a miraculous kid who happens to be losing his sight it’s a reassuring reminder that we can change the world no matter where we stand, how we serve, or what challenges we face.

It also struck me as a mom – when days are long, nights are too short, we’re exhausted and overwhelmed and heartbroken at times. Motherhood is not glamorous, and I’ve spent countless hours standing around waiting – for children to cooperate, for a toddler to pee, for kids to get their shoes on, for the baby to please, please, finally fall asleep after I’ve rocked for hours. But it’s a sacred work, to stand and wait and serve our families in this way.

Then as a doula – there is a lot of standing in this work. :) And a lot of waiting, and a lot of holding the space and quietly serving. It’s not glamorous, and it’s also exhausting at times, and there are moments of heartache and moments of deep joy. It’s a sacred work.

I love this poem – it speaks to my heart on each of these levels, and I thought that it may also touch you. Whether you are facing a challenge that leaves you feeling stuck in place, or if you are standing and waiting on little ones, or as a birth professional if you are supporting a couple through countless hours as they work to welcome their little one. Wherever you may be standing, remember that your service is a precious gift to those around you.

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Sneak Peak – Baby A

www.BetterBirthDoula.org

www.BetterBirthDoula.org

Baby-4www.BetterBirthDoula.org

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Time & Money

This is only tangential to doula work, but it made me laugh so hard!

We’re teaching a lesson on budget to my kids and I asked them what they think I make as a doula – my 9 year old said, “Seventeen dollars?” My 10 year old said, “I think $20.” I asked, “Per HOUR or per birth??” They said per birth.

So I asked how long do they think I’m normally gone for a birth? My son said, “Usually 5 or 6 hours,” and my daughter said, “No, like 7 hours.”

I can’t stop laughing! For the record, I do cost more than $17 and it’s incredibly rare that a birth is only 7 hours… not to mention prenatals, postpartum visits, editing photos, etc. I’m glad they think I’m not gone that much. :)

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My Baby Scrapbook

untitled (1 of 1)-2When adding a new birth announcement to my scrapbook I was flipping through the pages and smiling as I saw all these beautiful families. I have birthday invitations, birth announcements, holiday cards, thank you notes, and sweet letters from families thanking me for helping them on their journey. These are mostly from my doula and photo babies but so are also childbirth class students. I love this collection, it reminds me of how blessed I am to be part of their experience. I look forward to seeing this grow and grow!

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