Category Archives: Birth Doula biz

Big News at MCMaternity

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out about my big news! Second, considering all of the pregnancy inquiries I received, my news is going to be anticlimactic for some. But as far as my business goes IT IS HUGE!

So, here goes:

You know that exam I was so concerned about? The ANCC-accredited Nursing Skills Competency Program Certified Lactation Counselor exam?  Well, I FREAKING PASSED IT!!! And, I didn’t just pass it, I freaking nailed it. Turns out, I know more about boobies than I thought I did :)

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I took the exam through the Healthy Children Project, Inc. which is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s COA.

Now, I am Mary Choquette, CLC. Has a nice ring to it, eh?

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So, what does that mean for MCMaternity? It means that I can now make house calls to women struggling with breastfeeding, or provide phone counseling. Also, even more so than before, I can help initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth. I can assess a latch, determine feeding issues, offer guidance, and really counsel women to be successful with their breastfeeding journey. To anyone who has struggled with any aspect of breastfeeding, imagine how different your experience could have been with a little support.

It also means I now have the “authority” (if you will) to help change breastfeeding views in my community. I have the education necessary to “get some attention” from local hospitals and legislation writers. I can speak intelligently about the ’10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ in hopes that hospitals with staff who are “set in their ways” to be re-educated with this research-based evidence of how to bring the success rates up. And, I plan to do just that. With the right support, so many more women can be advantageous in their nursing journey.

Did you have trouble with breastfeeding? If so, what were some ways you worked through the issues at hand?

Are you having trouble now? If so, call me :)

That Time I Cut the Umbilical Cord

(First of all, I am breaking blogger rule 101: this entry has no images. Just words; just my story.)

Take a second and think about the most memorable thing you ever learned. It need not have been in the classroom. It could have been the time you learned how to skate the corners – and you can still remember the chill on your nose, the weight of your stick in your hand, the slight breeze as you turned, put skate-over-skate and glided around the corner successfully. It could be the first time you had to perform CPR and you can remember how it seemed to come naturally, like you had known how to do it all along, and adrenaline kicked in as you saved a human life.  It could be anything; what was it for you?

See, the thing with me is, this keeps happening. I think I have learned, and seen in action, the best thing I will ever know. And then I will see something else, just as good, and I am just blown away. Like, my first birth. God, I will never forget it. It was just days after I finished my doula training in New York. I remember learning about this connection between mother and baby, that mom can’t even put into words, like she doesn’t even KNOW about it, but it’s this connection that her baby knows how to be born, and she does EVERYTHING in her power to make sure her baby is born correctly. I KNOW this is true just from seeing the differences between labors, deliveries, and when moms just instinctively know when something isn’t right. It’s freaking amazing. I remember, during my first birth, seeing the head emerge, and then seeing the baby turn so he could fit his shoulders through, and take his first breath in the outside world. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. That was the moment I KNEW this would be my life work. And I am forever grateful for that moment <3

However, not every moment of seeing learning in action has been a good one. Like, the first time I saw the cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. In the same way that I get overly excited and emotional for the good situations, I get just as scared and “how do I make this situation better, and best support the parents” sense of urgency in the not-so-good-ones. Luckily, I heard and saw this precious baby take a breath, and knew he would be fine, but the wait for him to get out of the NICU was still so intense.

Recently, though, I was blessed with another first. And this one was so, so positive. I was asked to cut the umbilical cord. At first, I didn’t really think about it. I mean, I was totally HONORED to be given the opportunity, but at the time I had a laboring woman to support through pushing. I just stored it in the “things to do after labor support” part of my brain. But, when the time came, I turned into a bit of a puddle. As I was sobbing, hugging, and congratulating the wonderful mom on a job well done, the doctor said “Mary!” and pointed at the scissors on the table. I asked some stupid question (out of nervousness), like “now?” or something of the sort. She smiled behind her shield and nodded. I picked up the scissors, and to my surprise, my hands were shaking. “Do you know where to cut?” the doctor asked. I nodded, too overwhelmed to speak…

So far, this story may seem a little dramatic. But, in those short moments (we are talking less than 15 seconds) my mind was racing. Up until this point, mom and baby were one life. That baby was only alive because of this cord attached to mom’s INCREDIBLE placenta*. Now, it was time for his own life to begin, and for some reason, this job seemed bigger than it really was. The doctor gently held the cord closer to me (as if to say, no really, like now), and I went for it. I cut the cord, and basked in the glory of it for a moment. Then, I went right back to work, and held it together until it was time for me to leave. As soon as I got out of her room, I felt the emotion creeping back. By the time I made it to the nurses station, (I had never been at odd’s with the intense security of the maternity ward before) I had nurses by my side asking me “what happened” and how they could help. What happened? How do I explain it in words. The miracle of life? That’s what happened. “I’m just happy” I replied, “could you please buzz me out?” The doctor who was in the room put her hand over her heart and wished me well. She is someone I certainly hope to cross paths with again.

Is this how you feel when you go to work? I hope everyone gets to experience this amount of joy in what they do at some point in their life <3

Until the next cord… :)

*Originally, here, I had a whole rant about how amazing placentas are. Sometimes, though, I feel like the world just isn’t ready for placenta love. Someday, though, someday :)

The Celebration of Hope 2014

Just to get this statement out-of-the-way: the weather sucked, which was a HUGE bummer. But, so many people still came out to support the cause, and over $18,000 was raised! :)

There were so many inspirational stories that were shared throughout the evening, so many brave people. I met couples in various stages of treatment, diagnosis, success, and heartache. I absorbed their stories with a heavy heart, just wanting to find a way to help. Something I really enjoyed was that it was such a safe place to share your story, and have the person listening really understand what you are talking about. My favorite part of the evening was meeting a couple who was featured via a video submission earlier in the night about their struggle with adoption. We chatted for a while about their struggle, and how it impacts every aspect of your life. I thanked them for their submission and felt like I really knew them.

Below are a few pictures from the night (I wish I had actually brought my camera, rather than just my phone, and I wish I took a picture of the AWESOME silent auction table, but such is life.)

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  1. “He who plants a tree plants a hope”-Lucy Larcom: the generous favor given by the AGC.
  2. Roses given to the AGC President Aprill Lane. Each flower represents a family who has been helped by the AGC to fulfill their dream of becoming parents.
  3. The hope tree. This one made me cry. Each branch held a picture of a success story, and how the baby was conceived (IVF, IUI, adoption, gestational surrogate, etc.)

Gala2iPhone camera’s version of Aprill Lane and me. She is such an amazing woman, and her foundation and book have helped SO many families. She rocks. Buy her book.

And last but not least, MCMaternity’s representation at the event. It was certainly a proud moment for me, and I am SOOO HOPING that this gift will bring some funds to the organization. And, it means I will get to help another family welcome their baby into the world! How awesome :)

MCMaternityGalaBecause the turnout was not what it could have been, several auction items were moved to online auction so that those who couldn’t be at the Gala could still participate. My services are featured on the online auction, here. The bidding is already at $175, so act fast! :)

Overall, despite the weather, the evening was a great success. The ladies of the AGC are a flawless representation of the amazing things that can happen when women support each other. They create life, and do so with grace and dignity <3

Celebration of Hope Gala with Bill Rancic

 

The AGC Scholarship Foundation Presents:

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There are only 10 days left to register for this amazing event at…don’t delay!

 

 

The First Inaugural Celebration of Hope Gala with Bill Rancic!

The AGC Scholarship foundation was founded in 2010 with the goal of helping as many of the five million Americans who struggle with infertility in the U.S. as possible. Most insurance plans do not cover infertility, therefore treatments can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $25,000 or more, per couple, per child, out-of-pocket. The AGC is a nonprofit group committed to providing both advocacy and scholarships to couples who do not have the financial resources to fulfill their dream of becoming parents.

To buy a ticket to the event please visit https://www.agcscholarships.org/donations/celebration-of-hope-tickets/. There may even be a chance for you to bid on MCMaternity services ;)

 

What I Wear for Labor & Delivery…and Why

Let me start this entry by saying this: I have the best family and friends. In the world. Period. Through this journey so far, the support, encouragement, and overall “you can REALLY make this happen” outlook they have provided me has been outstanding. I really couldn’t ask for better people in my life. To all of you out there, thank you <3

How is this relevant to what I wear in the delivery room? Because my friends and family made it happen. It used to be “I need comfortable clothes that I don’t care if they get ruined”. Now (going to brush my shoulders off for a second) I look much more sleek and professional. And, my main goal of being comfortable, is totally supported.

I’ll start from the bottom up. Comfortable sneakers. The ones I wear have all memory-foam gel in the bottom, and provide enough comfort that I can be standing in them for days on end.

Next, thanks to my dear friend, I have my Lululemon yoga pants. I used to wear my $9.99 no-name brand yoga pants that start falling apart after three washes. And that was fine with me. My friend, however, is a fitness guru and has been preaching about the quality of these pants since I started. I kept telling her “I’ll buy them when the business takes off” because I was just not ready to spend $80+ on a pair of pants. Then we went shopping and she wanted me to “just try them on”. And then, despite my protests, she bought them for me (and ripped the tag in our let-me-just-pay-for-it scuffle). They wear like a dream, and I am so grateful for headstrong friends :)

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Finally, I have my brand-spanking-new, logo-embroidered, PINK, Athleta hoodie. This beyond-thoughtful gift came from my brother and his girlfriend (more like a sister, if we are putting labels on her). I could not believe my eyes when I opened this one. There was definitely a happy tear twinkling in my eye as I put in on. It was one of those “this is really happening; I am really living my dream” moments. It’s funny how just seeing your logo on something can make you so proud. And, the hoodie even has a little butt flap that hangs down, which is great because even in L+D this ass just won’t quit.

You may be asking yourself why it looks like I’m about to run a marathon or go to a hot yoga class. That’s a fair assessment of the ensemble. But you need to know that in the delivery room it is just not about me. At all. There is no time to gauge how comfortable I am, if I am warm or cold, if my legs or back hurt from standing, if I am tired, etc. None of that matters. What matters is how the mom-to-be is doing: if there is a way I can make her more comfortable, if she is sweating to death or you can hear her teeth chattering down the hall, if I can give her a massage to ease her aching body, if there is a way I can get the dad to be helpful and engaged, if there is a way to politely make the mother-in-law leave the room or at least tone it down a notch, etc. So, I go in dressed as comfortably as possible because her needs are my only concern.

Why not just wear scrubs? I would LOVE to wear scrubs, and some doulas do. However, already in my short career as a doula, I have faced some adversity in L+D. Many of the nurses, midwives, and doctors have been incredibly supportive, and have even thanked me for being a part of their team. But some see it as a threat, or a nuisance, something of that sort. And in no way do I want to fuel that fire. I don’t want them to think that I think I am a nurse, or that I think I am calling the shots. They earned the right to wear those scrubs, and I respect that. I believe that it takes an extremely special, selfless person to become a good nurse, and in no way would I want there to be any animosity from them because of a choice in uniform. Yoga gear is next best, and I am so proud to wear my logo :)

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So there you have it. A comfortable, yet somewhat professional look. Because everyone wants to look decent when they get birthed on :)