Postpartum Doula

Northeast Iowa Doulas | Celebrating National Nurses Week | Meet a Children's Health Nurse

It's National Nurses Week!

In honor of this special week, we are featuring some of the fantastic nurses in Northeast Iowa

Meet Brenda Carradus. She is a registered nurse (RN) at Child Health Specialty Clinics in Oelwein, specializing in Iowa children and youth with special health care needs.

Brenda has touched the lives of so many Eastern Iowa families and has made such a positive impact in her community. Her co-workers say she is friendly, loving, caring, and has a great sense of humor.

We are so excited to introduce Brenda to you today!

NEID-Kaity: How long have you been a nurse? Where did you attend school?

Brenda: I have been a nurse for 40 years and attended school at Clinton Community Junior College.

NEID-Kaity: What inspired you to become a nurse?

Brenda: I have always enjoyed science, psychology, and health-related classes and felt becoming a nurse would challenge me in these areas.

NEID-Kaity: How did you become interested in this line of nurse-work?

Brenda: I had been a school nurse for 11 years and thought this line of nursing would allow me to focus more on the special needs of children and families.

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy most about being a nurse in this specialty field?

Brenda: Interaction with families and community partners.

NEID-Kaity: What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Brenda: Helping families be the best they can be by accepting the challenges and jumping the hurdles. 

NEID-Kaity: What is one thing you always say to your patients who are expecting or who currently have small children?

Brenda: "Focus on the day and be patient. Time flies and children grow quickly."
"Enjoy the little things and don't be in a hurry for the next stage in life."

NEID-Kaity: What advice would you give to any new parent or soon-to-be new parent?

Brenda: Don't expect everything to be good all the time. Parenting is the hardest and most frustrating job you will ever have; it can also be the most satisfying. 

NEID-Kaity: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Brenda: I enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, doing yard-work, and DIY projects.

NEID-Kaity: What is your favorite food?

Brenda: Dark chocolate...Is chocolate a food group yet? :-)

NEID-Kaity: Please share a favorite memory with us about a time at work.

Brenda: The best memories I have are when I see families we have discharged, sometimes a year or more later. They greet me like an old friend and tell me how well their child is doing. Success stories are wonderful!

Thank you for your time, Brenda. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy work day to be interviewed. It is very clear that you love the work you do, and the families you have the opportunity to work with.
Thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do.
Happy National Nurses Week!

Everything is Different After Having a Baby...Including *Ahem* Down There.

Many women worry after a vaginal birth that what they’re experiencing is not normal, or that things like sex won’t feel the same again. Oftentimes they feel uncomfortable asking about it or choose not to talk about it because they’re embarrassed - and let’s face it, talking about healing from a vaginal birth isn’t exactly typical dinnertime conversation.

“Normal” after having a baby is relative, and every new mom's experience is different. But rest assured that what you’re experiencing is most likely normal. If you have concerns, it is always a good idea to check in with your care provider.

The vagina is an amazing muscle, biologically designed to accommodate the physical demands of delivering a baby. However, there are many other factors to consider that may impact how quickly you heal physically after birth, such as:

  • How long your labor lasted
  • How fast baby came through the birth canal
  • If forceps or vacuum were needed to assist the delivery
  • Whether your *perineum remained intact or if lacerations occurred, either by naturally tearing or via episiotomy. 

*Perineum refers to the area located between your vaginal opening and your anus

Nearly all women will experience some degree of soreness after delivery, as it is very intense for the tissue down there. You’ve also just put your body through intense physical stress for hours or possibly even days.

You have probably heard the saying,
"Labor and delivery is like running a marathon." 

This is true! Except this is a marathon you didn’t get to spend days, weeks, or months practicing and conditioning your body for. It is expected that you will be sore after the birth of your baby!

It is very normal for your vulva, vagina, and possibly even your anus to experience some swelling and/or bruising as everything down there has been stretched to its max during a vaginal birth. This soreness can last for a few days to a few weeks. 

But no worries-- Your body will heal. You can help it by resting, using ice (those frozen pads or ice diapers may have seemed silly at first, but trust us, they can be your best friend!), and if your provider recommends it, taking an anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication can make all the difference. 

As for sex? There really is no rhyme or reason for determining the best time once you have been cleared by your OB or midwife. Most care providers recommend waiting at least six weeks simply because it's important to ensure you’re fully healed. Waiting this length of time will allow swelling and bruising to go down as will also allow your perineum to heal if tearing occurred during delivery. Waiting will also reduce the risk of any infections.

Most importantly; you should wait until you feel comfortable and ready to begin having sex again. Once that time comes you can hop on over to our blog post for 8 Tips for Having Great Sex After Baby

Authored by: Trish Morfitt
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

How I Slept Through the Night, Even With a Newborn!
(Guest Blog)

"Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Yeah right. Every new and seasoned mom has heard this tidbit of knowledge when bringing home a new baby; I’m no exception. Even on baby number three well-meaning friends and family told me this. Sure it’s a great idea, but hardly practical. My husband didn’t get paternity leave, and all our family lives out of town. So I was right back to the same household duties that I had pre-newborn baby: 

-laundry to do
-suppers to make
-lunches to pack
-dishes to wash
-homework to help with
-a dog to walk

You get the picture.

I had all of this work to do while caring for and breastfeeding a new daughter while recovering from her birth. I was fortunate to not have anything major to recover from, but even an ‘easy’ labor and delivery are no joke! Add to that returning to work on the horizon, and the sleep deprivation and stress adds up fast.  

I attended an event looking for a chiropractor for my baby, and met Kaity Klotzbach, owner of Northeast Iowa Doulas. She told me all about postpartum care, and I’ll be the first to tell you I was hesitant. I was concerned what people would think, or even what the doulas would think of my parenting choices, but I’ll also be the first to tell you I was SO wrong and it was SO worth it! Not only did Kaity match me up with Kelly, a postpartum doula who was perfect for our family, but they all supported every decision I made without making me feel bad or wrong about it. I’m terribly sad I didn’t know these magical people existed 10 years ago when I had my first baby! 

I was breastfeeding and using a co-sleeping crib, which was going well - but I usually went to bed much later than my kids, and got up much earlier. This was because I was trying to get all the other household tasks done while I had longer uninterrupted breaks. Having an overnight doula allowed me to go to bed and wake up at reasonable times, because she took care of many of the light household chores for me - folding laundry, washing dishes, and meal prepping. On a couple occasions when my daughter was fussy and just wanted to be held, Kelly stepped in and kept her happy until she needed to nurse again, allowing me to sleep. After one particularly rough night, I woke up that morning surprised {and admittedly a bit panicked} to have slept in quite late - only to find my doula had gotten my other two kids up and fed and ready for school! 

Getting a full night of sleep, even a few nights a week, made me feel so much happier and healthier - physically and emotionally. Our overnight postpartum doula took immense stress off me, allowing me to actually enjoy bonding with my new baby and having extra quality time with my other kids and husband! This was going to be our last baby - but knowing what I know now about postpartum doula support, another baby would be a breeze!

Are you ready to get more sleep during the night so you can be well-rested and ready to take on the day ahead? Take the next step by contacting Northeast Iowa Doulas at (319) 361-6984 or to learn more. You and your entire family will be so happy you did!

Authored by: Trish Morfitt, Waterloo, Iowa

Changing Parental Leave Policies

Recently Twitter announced their new parental leave policy. Starting on May 1st, all Twitter employees based in the United States will be eligible for 20 weeks of PAID parental leave! This means guaranteed maternity leave and paternity leave for ALL employees. However, the chances are slim that if you’re working in Iowa you’re also working for Twitter. So what do these changes mean for you? 

Well hopefully it means that brighter days are in your future. You see, Twitter is only the latest in a long line of prominent companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix who have also introduced new leave polices for parents in the last year.

With the recent announcements, a lot of people are wondering, “Why are these companies changing their policies?” The biggest reason companies cite is they understand the importance of having both parents available at home to care for and raise a new child. By allowing for both partners to take maximum time off there is time for the family to bond as a whole and for both parents to put time, effort, and work in to raising this new human. The time parents are able to spend with their children greatly impacts the development of the parent/child relationship, the health of the child, and the bond of the family and the parenting partners.

At this point in time, parental leave policies are largely at the discretion of the employer, often something you work out in your contract. Currently the governmental policies that are in place in the United States are the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). FMLA requires that employers give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work in order to take care of a family medical event, such as the birth of a child. PDA states that if an employer provides disability insurance to other employees they must also provide disability insurance to a pregnant woman. However, both of these acts are decades old and do not apply to every company or business in the United States. If a company has less than a certain number of employees, they don’t have to provide the benefits of FMLA and PDA.

The lack of progressive parental leave policies in the United States can be associated with many common problems that families have during their postpartum transition.

-Postpartum depression
-Issues with a partner
-Difficulty bonding with baby

These are just a few examples of problems that could be solved if new parents felt more supported in their decision to take an extended period of time away from work to bond with their new baby and get acclimated to their new 'normal'.

If you are looking for more support during your postpartum transition consider hiring a postpartum doula. All of our doulas will provide your family with unbiased, judgment-free support as your family adjusts during your baby’s first year of life. For more information about postpartum services check out our website or contact Iowa’s premier full service doula agency for more information.

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

Fuller House - Building Your Village

“It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s an adage we’ve all heard before, but what does it look like in our modern society?

  • Single mothers living or working together, helping each other with childcare and everything else that parenthood encompasses
  • Single parent moving in with their parent(s) to have a more stable environment
  • Moving into the same neighborhood as family to ensure you'll have backup when needed
  • Calling on everyone from family, neighbors, friends, and coworkers for support
  • Hiring a professional postpartum doula

Fuller House was recently released on Netflix and follows the story of DJ Tanner as she navigates being a recently widowed single mother. It is clear to viewers that DJ is nervous about what her life will look like when her family all returns to their regular lives, leaving her alone as a single mother of three young boys. While toasting to family at the going away party DJ realizes that in the morning everyone will be gone. She goes on to say, “But we’ll be fine; there are lots of single moms. I can do this. I just want you all to know I love you so much.”

Feeling Overwhelmed

As DJ’s family prepares to leave her youngest son, Tommy, gets an ear infection. When family members offer to help, DJ says, “No, this is my responsibility.” As she rushes off to take care of her baby her father asks if she’s okay. DJ replies, “Yes, I’m fine! Why does everyone keep asking me that? I have to get to Tommy!” As her family stands in the kitchen, they can hear Tommy crying on the monitor and DJ trying to comfort him. This scene was heartbreaking for me; I cried as DJ said “It’s okay Tommy, Mommy’s here. I’m sorry but I’m having a tough day too. It’s just everyone’s leaving and for the first time we’re going to be all on our own. It’s okay, I know. I just don’t know if I can deal with all of this. I just hope I can give you the beautiful life you deserve.”

Family Steps Up

When DJ comes back downstairs she is surprised to find her family and best friend still in the house. When she asks why people haven’t left yet her father, her aunt, and her uncle all say they’re going to stay and help her. Finally, her sister Stephanie steps in to say, “You guys, sit down, we’re going to have a little talk… You guys did your share for us. Now it’s time for me to step up…I am clearing my schedule and I am moving in with my sister…” Looking at DJ she says, “You are entirely too stubborn to ask anyone for help! You do everything for everyone else. You need me right now.” Finally DJ responds and says, “The truth is I have been so scared about how to make this work by myself. I love you guys so much.”

How can I get that?

Not everyone has family and friends that live close enough to step in to help. Even if your family does live close by it doesn’t mean they are in the position to do what Stephanie and Kimmy did for DJ. It is possible you have the fantastic support of family to help out after baby arrives, but that typically only lasts for a short time.

So how can you get the support DJ has? You can hire Northeast Iowa Doulas for all your postpartum care needs! Our professional postpartum doulas can meet every need your family has. We offer anywhere from daytime shifts, overnight care, all the way up to 24-hour live-in care. With each of these services we tailor the work we do to provide support where it is most needed and desired.

When hiring Northeast Iowa Doulas for your overnight care needs, you can be sure that everyone in your house will receive a full night of sleep. This will help ensure you will be well-rested and ready to care for the baby the next day. No more ‘mombies’! Even if you are planning to breastfeed; your postpartum doula will bring baby to you when it’s time to nurse and then take care of baby’s other needs so you can go right back to sleep. Sounds amazing, right?

Cooking, light housework, sibling care, validation in your parenting choices, a full night’s sleep; the possibilities are endless. All of our doulas will provide your family with unbiased, judgment-free support as your family finds its groove. This means we provide 100% unconditional support for all parenting choices. This is your baby and only you and your partner know what's best. Our job is to help you find a parenting style you like and become confident in it.

For more information about postpartum services click here or contact us today for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

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