Mind-Body-Spirit, Childbirth, Pregnancy, Parenting, Career

10 New Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments

Before the birth of her daughter, Aurora, in 2016, Heather Huhman, host of the podcast Beat Infertility and founder of content-marketing firm Come Recommended, went through seven cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), suffered four miscarriages and gave birth to stillborn twins, Eric and Alexis. As difficult and heartbreaking as the Washington, DC, woman’s journey to motherhood was, she never stopped working—she had to foot the almost-$60,000 bill for all those fertility treatments.

Heather is not an anomaly. A survey by FertilityIQ, a fertility doctor and clinic evaluation website, found that 92 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments are employed. Of those, 68 percent work a full 40 to 50 hours a week.

One big reason? More and more women are postponing pregnancy until their mid-to late 30swhile they’re furthering their careers—and this delay often makes fertility treatments necessary to start a family. But medical need isn’t the only reason working women make up the majority of fertility-care patients: The high price of help forces many women to continue earning a paycheck while trying to conceive. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported that the average cost of one IVF treatment in the United States is $12,400, not including the extra medications a woman might need and the added fees for using an egg or sperm donor, or gestational surrogate.

Read more on Working Mother

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Ride the Wave: Floating Through the Centimeters

Special thanks to Bailey Gaddis for sharing her transcendent birth story with us. Like many mothers, she was desperate for labor to start after she passed her due date. But once things got started, cervical dilation measurements played a major role along the journey: from determining if it was time for admission to the hospital to causing her doctor to decide to break her bag of water to determining that her dilation was too far advanced to get an epidural.  Read on to see how she harnessed her inner strength throughout her birth experience. You can find the full story in Bailey’s book, Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, available on Amazon. Inspired by her beautiful story? Check out her website, Your Serene Life, where you can learn about hypnobirthing and childbirth classes.

Read more on Dilation!

Pregnancy

How to Become The Queen of Quickies

*Excerpt of Feng Shui Mommy on New Spirit Journal

Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.

• Squats: While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . .  a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your gluts and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.

Read more on New Spirit Journal! 

Childbirth, Pregnancy

The Story Behind Feng Shui Mommy

The Story behind Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.

Daniela GS:
Good morning Bailey and welcome! I’m looking forward to getting to know more about you and your book Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.

Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE:
Good morning! Thanks so much Daniela. I look forward to diving in.

Daniela GS:
First off, how would you best describe your book?

Bailey Gaddis, C.Ht, HBCE:
It’s a holistic guide for women who want to feel informed and empowered to craft their own journey through pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. The book supports the woman through all four trimesters (the fourth being the first three months of baby’s life outside of the womb) and has a mind, body, and spirit section in each trimester with chapters that help to nourish that aspect of her self. It’s also designed to help a woman regardless of what type of birth she will have – women who want an unmedicated birth, or need medications or a c-section are all supported in the book.

Read more on Dreaming of Baby

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Introducing Birth Transformed

An issue I’ve had with many childbirth courses is that they don’t leave much room for women to process their emotions, fears, doubts, and more. It’s for this reason that Taryn Longo and I created the online Birth Transformed childbirth preparation course with the goal of helping pregnant women feel safe, supported, and informed through pregnancy and childbirth so they can release their fears and find their own voice of wisdom.

Check it out 🙂 http://birthtransformed.teachable.com/p/birthtransformed

Course Description:

Birth Transformed is a comprehensive approach to pregnancy and birth that empowers you from the outside in, meaning it equips you (and your partner) with powerful and necessary information to prepare for what is ahead. But, rather than leaving it solely up to you to assimilate the information on your own, and navigate what comes up for you in this process, Birth Transformed supports you in continuing to unravel the layers of your experience, then works with you to move into, face, and transform your fears, challenges and blocks, finding your wisdom along the way.

As the you move through your time with Birth Transformed, you will learn all the “traditional” strategies you can use to navigate birth (e.g., breath work, birth positions, pressure points, knowledge of the phases of birth, and more), but will also be supported in exploring the deeper layers of birth and motherhood, and how these layers will impact your experience.

At Birth Transformed, we’re not just here to pass information on to you, but to love you through this journey, and be your mentor in finding and honoring your optimal path into and through motherhood.

Find out more at BirthTransformed.com

Childbirth, Pregnancy

How to Know When You’re Ready to Have a Baby

Have you been keeping yourself up at night, hemming and hawing over whether you should toss the birth control and get your sex on?
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(Yeah, me too.)
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To help us out, I wrote down all the advice I offer clients who come to me with that whopper of a question, “Am I ready to have a baby?”
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While there’s no crystal ball (or all-knowing in-law) to tell you the perfect time to hop on the path to conception, there are key life elements that should ideally be healthy before you create a human, or adopt.
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1. Physical Health – If your health is tenuous it could be difficult to conceive, carry a baby to full term, and then care for the baby when they arrive. To ensure your body is primed for parenthood visit your primary care physician, cut out alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs, and adopt a nourishing diet and exercise regime. 
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2. Financial Health – If you look at your financial reserves and feel a sense of stability and security wash over you, you’re likely in a good financial spot to have a baby. Having a child fills your life with enough pockets of uncertainty – don’t let your finances be one of them.
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3. Emotional Health – Even the most emotionally stable women amongst us are often thrown into an emotional tumbler when they have a baby – ensure you’re at a balanced emotional starting point before conceiving by visiting a therapist to take a look at how your emotional health is doing, and figure out ways to get it to the health status of “thriving.”
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4. Romantic Health – If you’ll be tackling parenthood with a partner it’s important to have a robust base of trust, open communication, respect, and overall love with that baby-making-teammate. Have a “relationship overview” talk before becoming pregnant where you look into and discuss every nook and cranny of your relationship, so you can figure out what might need some work, and then dedicate yourselves to putting in that work before conceiving. 
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And finally, it’s essential to feel like you actually want to have a baby. Many people have a child because society tells them they should, and they check off that box even though it’s something they didn’t want. So, check in with your heart and intuition to make sure you have a burning desire to have a fertilized egg latch on to your uterus. 
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So, what’s your answer?
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Mine is that I’m still working on it – I have the burning desire but still need to boost the health of a few of the fore-mentioned areas.
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Keep me posted!
Childbirth, Pregnancy, Self Love

Serena Williams’ Photo Backlash Is A Sad Reminder That Pregnancy Body Shaming Still Exists

Fact: Pregnancy is related to sex and the naked female body. So, why are women being shamed for connecting to their innate sexiness and showing off their bare bellies?

Serena Williams recently appeared pregnant and nearly nude on the cover of Vanity Fair. Her beautiful image made me proud to be a woman, causing words like empowerment, courage, and goddess to float through my mind. But for others, words like “disgusting” and “trashy” floated from their minds and onto the internet, contributing to a disappointing trend of body-shaming pregnant woman who publicly display their pregnant form.

It’s not just celebrities who are being told to put their bare bellies away. When I was eight months pregnant, I went to the beach in a two-piece, trying to survive the triple digit temperature of the day. As soon as I plunked down into a beach chair, a woman rolled up to me and said, “Ma’am, please cover your belly. There are children at this beach.” I didn’t cover my belly.

I also recently received a tearful call from a pregnant girlfriend who had received negative comments from her in-law’s friends telling her the exposed-belly photos she had been posting on Facebook were “shameful.” She took them down.

Read more on Babble

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press

A New Perspective On Self-Care {book excerpt}

Exercise does not have to be held together by laces, sweat-wicking spandex, and a Jillian Michaels playlist you found in a fitness magazine. Toning and stretching your muscles and livening up your heart rate can happen anyplace, anytime. Of the suggestions below, some are a few of the endorphin-eliciting quickies I partook in while my uterus was packing a baby, and some are ideas from the human-making babes I’ve worked with. I encourage you to try these, then work out your creative nature by thinking up new ways to get in a quickie.

  • Squats: While you’re doing dishes, scrolling through your phone, or engaging in any other stationary activity, squat into it. A squat is an excellent way to prep your birthing muscles and get comfortable assuming the most effective birthing position, which is . . . a squat. Play around with the squat until you find a position that you feel secure in while it’s causing your glutes and thighs to tighten. No need to assume a full squat; bending your knees a bit and lowering your tush a few inches is effective. Squat for as long as you feel comfortable, and upgrade the benefits by dropping some Kegels into the mix.

Read more on SarahMaclaughlin.com

Childbirth, Guilt & Forgiveness, Pregnancy, Self Love

How I Stopped Being Ashamed of My Reproductive System

When a large cyst was found in my left ovary, a cyst that might be the first whisper of endometriosis, I felt shame: shame that I might not be able to conceive again, shame that this cyst had grown without my knowledge, shame that I must be broken.

Shame sauntered into that examination room, handed me a cold platter of pity, and said, “Infertility issues, huh? You should probably feel like less of a woman.”

And I did. As I walked out of the clinic I felt like a shaving of the whole woman who had walked in an hour prior. I eyed the other women in the waiting room, wondering what messages shame was feeding them.

After two hours crying in my car, and being the life of a raging pity party, I called bull.

Read more on circle & bloom

Childbirth, Pregnancy

Essential Questions to Ask Care Providers When Considering a VBAC

If your last baby was birthed via a cesarean section it means your chances of a vaginal birth are dashed forever, right? Wrong.

There is a prevalent misconception that a cesarean birth should beget another cesarean birth. But, what if a vaginal birth after a cesarean birth (a VBAC) was actually safer for many women? An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) bulletin says, “A VBAC avoids major abdominal surgery, lowers a woman’s risk of hemorrhage and infection, and shortens postpartum recovery.”

Despite this statement by a trusted organization, many care providers are hesitant to support a VBAC because of their fear of the mother experiencing a uterine rupture, but according to ACOG, if you had a previous cesarean with a low transverse incision, your risk of uterine rupture in a vaginal delivery is .2 to 1.5% – aka it’s a very low risk.

So, if you have dreams of a VBAC know that that can be a very real and safe possibility for you, as long as you have a care provider who fully supports your desire.

To begin the process of finding such a care provider, reach out to friends in your area who have had a VBAC and ask for their care provider’s information. If referrals are not an option, do some online research, or ask your current care provider if they have any recommendations (if they are not willing to support a VBAC.) Then, create a list of a few care providers you would like to interview.

Before you sit down with a care provider, call ahead to confirm they’ll agree to attend a VBAC – don’t waste your time with a NO care provider. You want a YES man, or woman.

When you’re meeting with the candidates, make sure to ask them the questions below – these questions are not just intended to elicit information, they provide you with the opportunity to read the body language, tone of voice and overall vibe of the care provider as they answer your queries – these signs might just be more telling of whether they are a good fit for you, than what they’re actually saying.

As you move through these questions, keep in mind that you’re looking for a care provider that openly expresses their authentic enthusiasm for not only VBACs, but enthusiasm for supporting your unique body and baby through a VBAC.

You also want to be sure the care provider is willing to work with you on the emotional aspects of a VBAC, or at the very least embrace the presence of a birth doula who will support you in this way.

Do you feel comfortable with VBACs? The most authentic piece of the care provider’s answer to this question will likely live in their initial reaction. If they immediately seem enthusiastic, that’s a good sign. If they seem ambivalent, but then say they would be willing to support you in a VBAC, be wary of their initial timidity.

How many VBACs have you attended? What were the outcomes? You want the care provider to have attended many successful VBACs. If they’ve attended multiple VBACs, but most ended in cesarean, take this as a potential sign that this care provider supports VBACs at face value, but really feels most comfortable with a repeat cesarean birth.

What is your cesarean birth rate? You want this number to be low.

What is the general VBAC philosophy of the hospital I would deliver in? If for whatever reason your VBAC-supportive care provider isn’t able to attend your birth, you want to be certain that the hospital you’ll be delivering in is supportive of VBACs, and has a low cesarean birth rate.

Am I a good candidate for a VBAC? I placed this question after the fore-mentioned ones because it’s important to gain a sense of the care provider’s philosophy on VBACs before having them assess if you would be a good candidate. If it seems clear that they do not fully support VBACs, this may skew their assessment of your candidacy. If it’s clear that they’re in favor of VBACs, you’ll likely receive a more unbiased evaluation.

Common reasons a woman won’t be a good candidate for a VBAC are the presence of twins, a breech baby, placenta previa and fetal distress.

Take comfort in knowing that, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 90% of women who have had a cesarean birth are candidates for a VBAC.

How confident are you that I’ll have a successful VBAC? While there is no way for a care provider to guarantee that you will have a VBAC, your experience will be more positive if they express confidence in your body’s ability to move through a VBAC, and their ability to ensure you stay safe.

By asking these questions you are being a strong advocate for yourself and your baby, and increasing the chances that you will move into your VBAC with a care provider who is also one of your greatest advocates- this is not a privilege, it is your right. You want to feel as though you’re in a partnership with your care provider.

Claiming your right to have a supportive care provider will ensure you experience the birth you’re meant to have. You got this.

Childbirth, Mom Humor, Parenting, Pregnancy, Press

Fun Interview on What Matters Most with Paul Dolman!

“What a joy to interact with Bailey Gaddis (find her on Twitter!), a dynamic and inspiring woman who is clearly on a mission to brighter the world with the vast knowledge she has acquired through her many experiences.”

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Childbirth, Pregnancy

Should I Take A Childbirth Class If I’m Going To Have A C-Section? You’re Still Giving Birth

* A piece by Shannon Evans on Romper I was quoted in.

After a long conversation with your OB-GYN, you’ve decided together that this baby of yours will be born via C-section. Whether it took you a while to make your peace with it or was your preference all along, women who plan to give birth non-vaginally often wonder, “Should I take a childbirth class if I’m going to have a C-section? Or is it just a big waste of time?”

Childbirth preparation educator Bailey Gaddis says she often has moms planning C-sections in her classes, which she always strongly encourages. In an interview with Romper, Gaddis says, “These women say they enjoy the classes because although they won’t have use for birth positions, or understanding the common phases of a vaginal labor, they can utilize almost every other tool I teach to have a calmer experience during their surgical birth. For example, many of them say the breathing techniques, affirmations, relaxation recordings, and other techniques I offered them in class were incredibly useful before, during, and after surgery.”

Additionally, Gaddis explains that she has her C-section moms create cesarean birth preferences during class to help them feel more empowered during birth. According to her, some of the most frequent preferences she sees identified are choosing to not have your arms restrained, choosing the music to be played in the delivery room, and requesting that the medical staff limits their conversation to strictly be about mom and baby. These are simple enough, but a woman might not think of them ahead of time were she not in a childbirth class empowering her to do so.

Read more on Romper!

Childbirth, Pregnancy

All The Gross Stuff About Birth That Other Moms Will NEVER Tell You

Two words: Poop particles.

When you wipe away the romantic veneer of bringing a new human into the world, you’re met with blood, sweat, and tears (of all kinds), for many hours. But few women will get into specifics of the messiness of childbirth because it makes for stomach churning chitchat.

While it’s not pleasant to discuss, it’s important to be aware of the grime that comes with birth to help fortify your grittiness: an essential ingredient to pushing a human out of your vagina. So, I’m going to be your inappropriate girlfriend and fill you in on the gross stuff that happens during birth and all the ickiness you can expect from a vaginal birth.

Warning: This article is not to be paired with a meal.

Childbirth, Pregnancy, Press, Reviews and Giveaways

Review of Feng Shui Mommy on Peace to the People

“I genuinely recommend this book to any future mama or any woman curious about pregnancy, motherhood, or learning more about this ultra-transformational time in mother’s lives. Feng Shui Mommy is an intelligent blend of scientific understanding melded with an intuitive trust of ourselves, our desires, and needs as wise and knowledgeable women.”

Read more on Peace to the People!