respectbirth

Finding the Beauty in Pregnancy-Colorado Springs Birth Photography

I have said it before, women are probably the most beautiful when they are pregnant. What an incredible gift it is, to be able to connect so deeply, so early on in our children's lives. Our bodies were so wonderfully designed to grow and birth new life, it makes no mistakes. No matter how big you get, you are beautiful. No matter where you come from, your pregnant belly is perfect. No matter where you choose to birth your child, you are an amazing mother. Every mother deserves to be loved, but especially while pregnant. I hear it all too often; as long as the baby is healthy that's all that matters. I am here to say I respectfully disagree. You cannot have a healthy baby without first having a strong, healthy mama. Take care of yourselves mamas, you are precious cargo too. Though I know as mothers it is all too easy to put everyone else first, take time to nurture yourself. 

The premise behind this lovely project was to shine a light on us mothers in our childbearing year. Pregnancy lasts nearly a whole year, and in that time we change and grow so much. We are also so diverse, and I wanted to showcase that here. There is never one way to look, think, act in any situation you encounter as a mother or in life for that matter. Pregnancy and birth is no different. Each of these women have a unique story and plan set in place for their birth and the future of their family.  Each of them beautiful. With the ever increasing battles in the mommy wars we are fighting, steps we take through our pregnancies should not be one of them. It is hard enough to be pregnant, for the first time, or tenth time, without adding more stress to our plates. We need to love ourselves, and love one another. We are really in this together, and should stand together. 

I loved capturing these moments between these ladies. Some meeting for the first time, swapping birth stories, pregnancy woes and laughs. It was a good time, amongst even better company and I am excited for our next chapter in this project. If you are interested in being apart of this or future projects, please contact me here: http://www.capturedbybrezi.com/contact-me/

Demetra from A Mother's Choice and Crystal from Active Peace Maternity and Massage are two lovely birth professionals that will be facilitating in these Pregnancy Project shoots. Offering advice, discounts and more, that are exclusive to the ladies participating.  Also find me on Instagram @Capturedbybrezi. Use the tag #beautyinpregnancy and show us your lovely baby bumps! 

colorado springs maternity photography. Colorado springs birth photographer
colorado springs maternity photography. Colorado springs birth photographer
colorado springs maternity photography. Colorado springs birth photographer
colorado springs maternity photography. Colorado springs birth photographer
 
 

4 Reasons you should hire a labor doula

4 Reasons to hire a doula-1

1- Fountain of information and resources
My doula and I chatted about breastfeeding, the best yoga positions for the third trimester, herbs, food, even sex at our prenatal appointments. Good doulas are not only an amazing resource for information for just about anything you could think of, but she often times becomes one of your very best friends. An amazing friend always makes you feel heard, supported and loved. I know my doula certainly made my pregnancy and birthing time an incredible experience. 

2- Helps your partner not feel helpless
Doula's are often times looked at as being a replacement for your spouse. On the contrary, doulas are quite possibly the opposite. Doulas can actually be more of a support to the husband or other labor partner there, than the mom. They are there to support the family as a whole, and most of the time that means making sure the other labor partner feels involved.  A lot of husband's can feel quite helpless as they are trying to support their wives through one of the biggest days in their lives. Doulas, while have become close with the laboring mother, cannot replace the love and familiarity of a husband's touch.

3- Don't have to worry as much about your birth plan being followed
If you have hired a labor doula, you can rest assured she is going to make sure you get what you want. I have seen some amazing fathers push for their birth plan to be read and understood by the whole birth team. However, seeing the one you love in transition can be hard. That's when your doula can step in and be the voice of reason. She can make sure you are not being bullied into anything you truly don't want or need. In contrast, she can make sure she catches the anesthesiologist before he goes on break because you just cannot wait another minute. She's there for you

4- She's there for you when you need the most support
Being in labor land can be euphoric and distracting all at the same time. You are highly suggestible, and if you are not feeling supported, you can be diverted from the thing that you have been planning for months. Now birth plans are meant to be held lightly, as they are rarely followed to a T. However, your doula is your number one supporter and your number one advocate. She will be there from the beginning to the end, and even in the weeks to follow. She will see you through it all, with understanding, compassion, and love. 
 

4 reasons to hire a doula-2

I love doulas. I have aspirations to become a doula. When I first heard of doulas, I thought that it was kind of unnecessary. I even had those feelings linger into my second pregnancy, which was the first pregnancy that I actually decided to hire a doula. I told my husband that I wasn't sure if it would be worth the cost, but if it was going to help me in my dream of having the perfect home birth then I wanted to do it! It was oh so worth the money and then some. I don't regret my decision at all. The only thing I do regret, was not hiring one for my first birth. My first birth was slightly traumatic, and would have gone a whole lot smoother if I had a doula on my side and in my corner, fighting for me. 

I asked a couple of lovely women in the community their thoughts on hiring a doula, here's what they had to say..


4 reasons to hire a doula-3

"When I found out I was pregnant, I'd never even heard the word doula before. When I first read the description of one, I knew I had to have one! When my labor wasn't progressing during my home birth, my doula slept on my couch so she could monitor my temperature during the night. When I had to transport to the hospital, my midwife became my second doula and when she had to run to another birth she sent another midwife who pressed on my tailbone during the worst labor pains I experienced to give me some relief. I've never felt so supported and surrounded by feminine power in my entire life. My doulas gave my husband and I the space and assistance we needed to have a more intense connection with each other during my labor, and for that I will be eternally grateful!" 
-Katy Allred
"The Mostly Mindful Mommy"
http://mostlymindfulmommy.com 


4 reasons to hire a doula-4

"I wasn't even going to hire a doula with my first pregnancy, but my childbirth educator took me aside and told me she thought I could be a good match with this Christian doula-in-training who would be able to work with us to make it affordable. The doula and I met and immediately hit it off. She was like a dear sweet mother to me while my own mom was several states away. She stayed at my side and gave so many uplifting words and prayers during the birthing. After a less than ideal birth, I saw the value in what she had done. We ended up paying her more than what she had asked! I told my doula that I absolutely would have hated the birth if it hadn't been for her being at my side. She assured me that my next birth wouldn't be like that. To this day, I am pretty certain I wouldn't have ever had another baby if it weren't for her. The things she said to me and the way she helped me process that birth after-the-fact was so important!

Today, I have three children. I went on to have two totally amazing, healthy, mountaintop birth experiences assisted by doulas. The second birth was such a tremendous high, it inspired me to become a childbirth educator so I can tell everyone about how great birth can be. 

I would never want to give birth without a doula. My wish is for a doula for every woman that wants one."
-Marcia Hyde
Childbirth educator
www.BirthPepTalk.com 


Leave a comment in the section below, and tell me your experience with hiring a doula. Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? I want to know! ...

Birth: A Midwife's Perspective

A photo I took of Tiffany helping to catch baby Willow. 

A photo I took of Tiffany helping to catch baby Willow. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffany at a recent home birth. I really enjoyed working with her, she was always smiling and laughing and sweet. I really value those qualities in birth workers. Especially women that work with other woman so intimately, like midwives, doulas and nurses do. A hospital environment is both physically and mentally draining for the birthing women and workers alike. I had been wanting to get the perspective of a labor and delivery nurse, as I only have my own perspective of giving birth in a hospital setting. Coincidentally, Tiffany has worn both the nurse and the midwife hat. I was excited to hear what she had to say about working with women, being on the more medical side of things, and how that differed from her new practice in midwifery. I really enjoy that Tiffany has been able to see both sides of the coin, each are so valuable. No matter where a woman chooses to birth, I think what makes or breaks her birth are her support team. She was kind enough to answer a few questions on the topic. . . 


When did you know you wanted to have a career in birth work? Can you talk a little about your experiences as a labor and delivery nurse?

My passion for moms and babies started when I was in high school and had the privilege of volunteering on the mother/baby unit for 4 years. I had always thought I was going to be an OB/GYN but I soon realized the doctors saw very little of their patients and participated very little in their care and I realized, the nurses did everything! The nurses continually reminded me that nursing was the better career and I soon fell in line! My true career began 8 months after I graduated nursing school and was working on a medical/surgical unit when I found out I had finally been offered my dream job on the labor and delivery unit! I was thrilled! I no longer cried every day I went to work and I loved everything about my job. However, within six months of starting there, I realized that the practice I had to maintain was not in line with what I believed normal, natural birth to be and within a couple years, it became too much for me to bear. I loved the patients I worked for and served them to the best of my ability but every day I had to go against policies, practices and beliefs which made practicing as the holistic nurse I was nearly impossible. I was returning to my previous state of crying every day I had to work because I constantly felt berated and bullied just because I felt women deserved choices in how they delivered. When I left in 2013, I was so exhausted, burnt out and hurting, it took over a year for me to recover and find my joy again. I loved working for mothers but could not maintain the practice expected of me in the hospital setting. I knew that there had to be something more out there for me.

What made you switch to midwifery, and can you speak on the differences you've observed so far?

I am still a nurse and I am very proud of the work I put in to become a nurse. Some have asked me why I didn't choose to become a CPM and I believe with all my heart the plan was for me to be a CNM and I don't regret the decision one bit! I had found out about nurse-midwives in my senior year of nursing school and told myself that one day when I’m not burnt out on school, I was going to go back and get my master’s in nursing. After the first six months on the labor and delivery unit when it became clear I would spend nearly every shift fighting for what I believed my patients deserved, I decided I wanted to be the person who would give women options and provide high-quality care without the rush and force of the hospital setting. I learned about home birth through a couple I babysat for as a teen and decided from then on that that was the setting I wanted to practice in. I couldn't do this independently as an RN, so becoming a nurse-midwife became my goal!  

The initial challenge for me was getting used to the pace. I have been “raised” in the hospital setting where visits were 20 minutes long and any “slow” labor was put on Pitocin and forced off the unit as quickly as possible. I distinctly remember my first home birth labor and thinking to myself “this is so slow and boring, what am I going to do?!” But within a few births, the pace has become more normal and comfortable (though I am still improving my patience)! The differences are that I feel like I can “allow” women to do what feels right to them and allow them to take the reins and lead me where they want to go. There is peace with each delivery and I feel like I’m right at home where I have always belonged. Another major difference is I am now the responsible provider. This can be a heavy load to bear but I feel like my clients are gracious and forgiving of me as I learn the ropes. I still can support women and offer my knowledge base as I did as an RN and I do feel my nursing experience gives some of my clients reassurance about my knowledge base and experience which is another great reason why I don't regret working in the hospital setting!

Tell me about a favorite memory you have of a birth...

This is a tough question since I’ve seen so many births in my few short years in practice! I would rather share my favorite moment in birth that happens just about every time after baby delivers. When the mother is exhausted and has been laboring and pushing and finally hits that peak of delivering her baby, it’s almost the same response every time; this sigh of relief and the expression of pure joy knowing her journey is over and her baby is in her arms. Many moms say something along the lines of “I did it!” or “I’m done!” and there is instant calm in the room. Often, this is when my tough daddies break down and cry and the whole room is filled with emotion! I love this moment as everyone breathes a sigh of relief and we watch the instant bond between mom and baby!

Can you lend any advice to women thinking of going into either field? 

Make sure it’s the right choice for you; shadow another nurse, volunteer, become a CNA. I can’t tell you how many women I graduated with went to work in the nursing field and hated every second of it. That is too much time and money to commit to change your mind like that! Prepare to be challenged. Especially if you choose to become a nurse-midwife. The education alone is difficult but the challenges, disapproval even sometimes hatred you’ll experience in the real world can sometimes be enough to make one walk away. I have shed many tears and had to rebuild my confidence over the challenges I have faced as a new nurse-midwife, I can’t imagine the blood, sweat, tears and extreme challenges the midwives who have gone before me have experienced! The path has been well-paved for me to practice and though there are always battles that will need to be fought, my mom’s deserve me to fight for them! On the flip side, there will be rewards, joy, beauty and love! I can't imagine being in any other field of work, I tear up at the thought of my nearly walking away from everything two years ago because I was so beaten down. I would've missed out on so much, I would’ve let so many mothers and their families down. Women deserve options. I don’t care what anyone says about home birth, midwifery, or out of hospital birth in general, women will choose to come to us and birth in the location they feel the most comfortable whether naysayers like it or not and that will never change! So why not be the options women deserve?! I say, if you like be challenged on a daily basis, using critical thinking skills, fighting for the rights of others and standing up for what you believe in, nursing and nurse-midwifery might just be the perfect fit for you! You are the patient/client advocate and your every day is spent drowning others in compassion, love, empathy and hope even down to their last minutes. It’s worth every laugh and every tear.

More concrete advice; Pick a good school that you can agree with their mission statement and beliefs. Don’t go to Yale University unless you can pay for it, it’s not worth the name recognition or student loan debt when UCCS or PPCC will give you the same degree and the same job! Go for your bachelors. This is not a slam to anyone who chose to get their associates but eventually, the associates degree will be phased out as the nursing force increases. Soon anyone who wants to be in independent practice will need a masters and the bachelors may become obsolete! Prepare yourself to work night shift after graduation. If you get a day shift job, you were just lucky, night shift is where it’s at and often it’s for two or more years! Take time for yourself. The work we do is exhausting and compassion fatigue is a very real thing. You MUST take time off or you will burn out. Lastly, enjoy each moment and learn something new each day. You are ALWAYS learning and no one knows everything. Stay humble and you will be successful!

 

-Tiffany Jorgenson, MSN, CNM
Mountain Miracles Midwifery, Inc.
Mountainmiraclesmidwifery.com

What happened when I just couldn't do it: A breastfeeding story

I walked in, explained every movement I've made, everything that's passed through my lips in the past 2 weeks. I explained my heavily researched diet, my over saturation of herbal teas and water, everything. I waited for her to tell me there was something I wasn't doing right, something I could do better, but she never did. There was nothing that could be done. For some reason, probably a million little reasons that have built up throughout the time I spent in my mother's womb, infancy, childhood and into my adult life, that has lead me to the place I was now. That lead me to the hard truth that I would never be able to fully nourish my child, and probably any other children I may have. 

I remember the day like it was yesterday, sitting naked from the waist up in a cold lactation consultants office. She was nice enough, but I could tell took pity on me as she said, "It looks to me that you have IGT." Those words struck me like a ton of bricks. Why? I had already known this all along, there was no way that it wasn't true. After all I was unable to breastfeed my first child. I have compared myself to the other women online with the same condition and it was like looking in a mirror. Though I just chalked it up to a lack of self care, water, and knowledge the first time around. I thought for sure the second time I would be able to. I talked for months about the fact that I was more prepared this time around, I would drink gallons of water and herbal teas, take supplements and pump between feedings. I would talk with my midwife and my doula on the proper way to latch, and gain support from a strong breastfeeding community around me. THAT was the difference, THAT was going to create success.

And I did. I did it all and then some. It didn't stop the fact that my 6 lb 2 oz newborn dropped 18% of her body weight in a couple of weeks, when the average baby would only lose about 10% and be on the track to gaining it back by then. It didn't stop the sleepless nights, the constant painful feedings, the worried looks from family who needed reassurance that I was producing enough when I didn't even know if I was. 

Me with my first baby Jocelyn.

Me with my first baby Jocelyn.

Me with my second baby Elise.

Me with my second baby Elise.

I remember breaking down in front of this woman, feeling as though everything that defined me as a mother was being taken from me. Feeling eminence guilt that I had put my baby through pain and starvation, and that I didn't turn to formula sooner. I felt like less of a woman because I had failed to produce what a woman was built to produce. However I firmly believe that God works all things for the better. Little did I know, but my breast feeding relationship didn't need to be any less wonderful as the next, nor did it need to stop. In fact we had a great bond through supplemental breastfeeding for the next 6 months. 

The experience impacted me more as a person than I ever dreamed it would. I walked into my last midwife appointment, baby in tow, feeling defeated. I expressed interest in donor milk, as I knew that I didn't want my child to miss out on those precious nutrients only found in mothers milk. My midwife, coincidentally had a previous client that was looking to donate her surplus of milk! God works all things for good, I tell you! She connected us together and the moment that I met this woman and her sweet family, I was in love with them. 

Our first donation! 

Our first donation! 

Me and my family with Ashley and her family. 

Me and my family with Ashley and her family. 

Ashley graciously donated well over 2,500 ounces of liquid gold to me and my precious baby girl and a few other little babies as well. I was so sad the day she told me she was moving out of state. I had just met her,  but when you find a true friend, the bond is almost instant. I am proud and honored to know such a giving soul, and am thankful for Facebook in this instance so we are able to keep up communication. 

No matter the way a mother chooses to feed her child, whether they choose formula right off the bat, or to breastfeed for the first few years of their child's life, she should be supported. That has to be on of the biggest thing that I have learned over the years, is to never judge a mother by the decisions she is making for her children. As long as they are decisions made out of a place of love, they are never wrong. I know how it feels to walk into a room of women all breastfeeding their little ones, and pull out a bottle of formula. To get glares, snickers, and eye rolls when I simply tell them that I was unable to exclusively breastfeed. To have them give me the "talk", about how that is almost never true and that I just didn't try hard enough. I'm here to tell you if you still experience these things, you are not alone, and I SUPPORT YOU. I'm here for you mama, and I understand your struggle. 

If there's one thing that I have taken away from all of this, would be acceptance. Not only for others but for myself. I accept the fact that I cannot exclusively breastfeed, and I realize now that it doesn't make me any less of a mother or woman. And that, my friends, needs to be the tone we set with ourselves no matter what the issue is. In this life there will always be another obstacle, and it's our jobs as mothers to face them with love and acceptance for ourselves, our children, and other mothers. 

Elise and I bonding. 2014

Elise and I bonding. 2014

I am desperately looking for the photo I have of my first daughter and I breastfeeding, however I will share the ones I do have of my second daughter and I. I am so glad that I have these, I believe my oldest actually took these! If you have any photos that you'd like to share with me I'd love to see them! You can share with me on my Facebook page, or email.