Monday, November 3, 2014

Announcement! We are Having a BABY!!!

Oh my gosh y'all ...

Enjoy our adorable pregnancy announcements, we are excited to finally share them with you!

Here is our animal pack learning the news :)

And here we are practicing our cloth diapering and looking through my library of pregnancy, birth, and baby books and movies!

Looking forward to sharing more pregnancy and birth news with you!

~Wisdom and Birth

Thursday, October 30, 2014

GERBER SUED over False Health Claims!!!

Well it's about damn time...

Gerber (a product of Nestle), and a number of other infant formula manufacturers, have long claimed health benefits of their formula and infant food products.

Reminds me of this wonderful example :)

False advertising and unethical predatory practices have undermined the hard-work mothers, health professionals, and public health specialists have put into improving breast feeding knowledge and practices.

So I know many proponents for mother-baby health, as well as ethical advertising and honest labeling, will cheer when they hear that the Federal Trade Commission has sued Gerber for making a false claim that their infant formula reduces the risk of developing allergies (haha, I call BS!).


I couldn't find any images online of Gerber being sued... so I made this one! Feel free to use this lovely image when spreading the news article, which can be found here.

Now we'll just have to see if money can buy them out of this one, because we all know they don't have any data to back up their claims!

Here's to honest adverting and labeling!
~Wisdom and Birth

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Conception Contract ~ Joining with my Spirit Baby

I've always wanted to be a mother.

At 17 I was surprised to find out I was pregnant and momentarily devastated... this wasn't how I envisioned becoming a mother. I knew I couldn't be physically and spiritually 'there' for my child and felt lost and confused about what to do. I knew the young man who fathered my child wasn't the right father and I knew that I was not yet ready to be a mother - I was needed to accomplish more for myself and my future children before bringing my children into the world.

With this knowledge I entered into an internal communication with my unborn child. I shared with them my sincere apologies for not being ready at this point in my life. I explained why and gave this child a vision of when I thought they should be born; when their mother would be better prepared to raise them with the respect and environment they deserve. With all the energy in my heart I told them that I wasn't going to bring them forth, yet, but hoped that if they felt it was right for them, that they would wait to be my child in the future.

For 10 years I have held a special bond with this spirit baby... it wasn't until 5 years after my first pregnancy that I learned about others who had communication with spirit babies and that this is a 'real thing'. I had never shared my spirit baby bond with anyone until I discovered that I was not alone.

Then I began a journey into understanding this realm of spirituality. I learned about pre-birth communication. About prenatal and perinatal psychology. Healing wounds from our own birth and how to welcome a spiritual connection with those souls who wish to be born.

Now, 10 years later, I am more than ready to be a mother and I have found the spirit, encased in my husband, that was meant to be their father. We have both prepared ourselves in many ways for parenthood and we have agreed we are ready to nurture, respect, and love a child.

I am one who follows where my heart and gut lead me. Often, I feel as though there is a energy leading me to new discoveries; discoveries which happen to be so perfectly timed that it could be nothing other than divine energetic connection leading me.

We had been TTC (trying to conceive) for just a few weeks and I tried to free myself of the sometimes manic feelings of getting pregnant. I recognized that my physical experiences and highly intellectual reasoning isn't what my spirit baby needs to make a connection ~ rather, they need my spiritual presence and an open and peaceful, loving energy to enfold them into be-ing.

It just so perfectly happened that around the time we were TTC, I came across an article about reincarnation. An amazing story about a boy who remembered so much and shocking details proving he was who he said he was, from a recent and previous life. I was so moved. I felt, again, as though I was being guided by an energy and I willingly followed.

I found a book about reincarnation and read page after page with such excitement. I shared what I was reading with my husband and we had avid discussions about the possibilities. We talked about how we will be open to listening to our child and believing in what they may say. I began to feel open to the idea that my child had a previous existence and will continue to exist after their physical time on this earth.

Then, a few weeks later, I had a dream. In this dream there were no spoken words, but so much was communicated through unspoken means. It was as though the entire conversation happened telepathically.

There was the energy of a child, myself, and what felt like a being greater than both of us. We all felt loved and cherished, bathed in energetic light. There was the feeling of many energies observing us from afar, but all that could be truly seen was the three of us up close.

It felt as though we entered into a contract. That the greater soul was over-seeing the agreement between the spirit child and myself. I remember peace, joy, and a great sense of welcomed responsibility.

I am ready to be your mother, spirit baby. I respect your past and I will guide you and stand by you in the present. I acknowledge that you have experiences to share with me, lessons to teach me, and a path of your own that you must discover. I will be here loving you every step of the way!

Blessed be, Spirit Baby!
~Your humble mother, Wisdom and Birth

*we became pregnant with our cherished baby about two months after this dream :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

10 Tips for Visiting A New Baby


Now you probably want to go bother the severely exhausted parents and rub your germy nose all over the baby's delicious smelling head... I totally understand! I'm a doula, so I do the same thing ;)

Since your desires to meet this new little human MUST be quenched, let me at least give you some tips for making your visit as seamless as possible and increasing your chances of seeing the little bundle of poop again... do you babysit?

10 Tips for Visiting A New Baby:

1. SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT. Ask the parents for a convenient day and time for them and once you agree on a time, stick to it. If you have your own children, then plan a time when you can go without them. Unless you are a very close family member, the midwife, or the doula, plan your visit after the first week, preferably after the second week - the baby will still be adorable, I promise.

2. BE HEALTHY. Do not go visit a new baby when you are sick. PERIOD. Snot running down your face, diarrhea last night... cancel your visit and reschedule when you are healthy.  

3. BRING SOMETHING. Ask the parents if they need you to pick up anything, or, if they have a craving for any favorite meals. If they politely decline any thing you offer, then think of something to bring anyway. You can never go wrong with some essential groceries such as eggs, bread, and ice cream (that's essential, right!?), toilet paper, a gift card for the parents, or something that you know they like (sushi, burgers).

4. BE QUIET. Knock quietly (for sanity's sake, DO NOT ring the doorbell!). Keep your voice low for both the parents and baby's nerves (and headaches!).

 5. WASH YOUR HANDS. As soon as you arrive. Walk into the house and before touching anyone or anything, go wash your hands. 

6. BE PATIENT. Wait to hold the baby until you are offered and then give them back in a timely manner.

7. RESPECT THE BABY. Babies have bigger thoughts and abilities than we have previously been aware and it is past time for us to begin respecting them. Be considerate of your actions and the volume of your voice. It can do no harm to ask the baby if you can hold them, and to speak kindly and respectfully to them.

8.  DO SOMETHING HELPFUL. Clean a few dishes, change the toilet paper roll, take the dog for a walk... DO SOMETHING. If you ask what you can do, they'll probably pretend to be polite again and say "nothing", so then just go wash a few dishes. 

9. LISTEN. AND SAY NICE THINGS. If the mother wants to talk about the birth, then listen. Most importantly, DO NOT GIVE ADVICE unless you are asked for it. Essentially, only speak when spoken to unless you are saying things like "what a beautiful baby", "you are doing so well", or "I'd love to do something for you, what can I help with". Any opinions or unsolicited advice can be directed to the radio on the way home.

10. MAKE IT BRIEF. Do not over-stay your welcome. A visit should last 30-45 minutes... if you've reached an hour then you better be vacuuming, doing laundry and cleaning the litter box - then leaving! 

~Wisdom and Birth

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doula Hangover

Being a doula entails the self-less act of supporting a woman throughout the entirety of her labor... and contrary to what you see in movies, labor IS NOT a quick event, sometimes lasting 24, 36, even 48 hours and doulas are there for most of it!

As doulas we often join the mother in early labor and we don't leave until a few hours after the baby is born.

So, as you can imagine, after countless hours of massaging, hip squeezing, kneeling, standing, walking... doulas are exhausted (to say the least) after providing labor support. 

Not to mention trying to remember to eat and stay hydrated is often overlooked or minimally attended to as we often put the mother's needs before our own. 

So not only is your body working hard for a full day (or more!), but it is doing so with less water and calories than typical. 

Somehow, though, the energy of the birth keeps you going for as long as you are needed... but once the birth is over and you are headed home, the extreme fatigue sets in. 

This is when your DOULA HANGOVER begins!

Truly, I don't think there are many positions that can boast working for 24, 36, or even 48 hours with a supportive smile on your face and a willingness to do whatever it takes to help a mother give birth!

Doulas are a special breed of incredible!

~Wisdom and Birth

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Hospital Birth Story from 1957 - My Grandmother's First Birth

In March of 2010 I interviewed my maternal Grandmother Ann (Nana) as a part of my birth Doula certification project. Now, many years later and a few years after her passing, I'd like to share her story. 

This really isn't a positive or uplifting birth story and it isn't meant to be. Rather, my grandmother's story represents what many women and babies experienced as routine hospital birth in the 1950s and 60s. I wish this was a positive story, but my grandmother gave birth in a country and time that did not fully respect the importance of pregnancy, birth, bonding and the experience of motherhood.

My grandmother was 26 years old in 1957 when she gave birth to her first born, my Aunt M. She re-lived this experience with me 53 years later at the age of 79.

Let's hear my grandmother's story...
Wedding Day!

I was 26 years old, pregnant for the first time and still considered a newly-wed (I married my husband less than one year before at the age of 25... I'd spend most of the next 7 years pregnant, all with similar birth stories).

The day I went into labor was like any other day. I got up, dressed my best and headed into Carbondale sometime around noon - I needed to run a few errands and planned to visit my husband at work. I remember arriving at his office during a meeting, there were a number of men sitting around the room, soon after I registered that I was very wet between my legs - like peed your pants wet. Remember, we were expected to dress well and always wear pantyhose... which at this moment felt like a saving grace as I figured I had peed myself and was thankful for the extra absorption!

Since it was considered unlady-like to be anything but prim and proper, I quickly left the office and headed home. It was at this time I realized it may have been my "water breaking"... but, I was very uncertain because no one had ever told me anything about birth and I had never taken a class about reproduction, let alone childbirth. In fact, it was considered taboo for anything related to woman's bodies and reproduction to be spoken of, so really, I had no idea what was going on with my body. 

My grandmother never received any sort of childbirth education from her mother, friends or the hospital. She feels as though it was assumed that if you were having a child then you must know what you are doing. When bringing her baby home, Ann had to learn from the beginning, alone, how to care for an infant. 

 Once home and cleaned up, I laid down on the couch and waited for my husband to come home. During this time my cousin, who I had considered back then to be an "old-maid", lived in the same apartment complex and she came to sit with me and keep me company. After work, my husband William took a cab home and then my cousin drove us to the hospital. I distinctly remember feeling very uncomfortable and experiencing lots of pain during the car ride; we even had to take a detour because the bridge was under construction.

We arrived at the hospital around 7pm and I was given a laxative, spent some time in the restroom, and then was admitted to the delivery room where they had me lay down in a hospital bed and they placed an ether mask over my face. There were many occasions where I was left alone, lying in the hospital room. I remember feeling very embarrassed by everything they were doing to my body. I also remember a friend of my husband's family, a woman, who entered the delivery room many times throughout the night to report my progress back to my husband and others in the waiting room. I was embarrassed by her visits because of all the 'inappropriate' things my body was doing and revealing; I was very self-conscious. I remember the most embarrassing thing was when the nurses would hold a bed pan underneath me and instruct me to "void". I didn't enjoy that.

I delivered laying on my back, breathing in ether, with my feet and legs strapped to the stirrup arms of the bed. The doctor cut an episiotomy and used forceps to "facilitate" the delivery of my 5 pound 5 ounce baby girl. The nurses were the only ones who spoke to me. 

My grandmother described her experiences with hospital procedure and professionals as unchallengeable; she had been raised to understand that you do not question authority and therefore, she did not question any procedure done to her while at the hospital.    

After she was born I was allowed to look at her before she was taken to the nursery. I remember her being all wrapped up in a blanket, swaddled, and just seeing her little face. She certainly was a beautiful baby. The doctors and nurses all said "you have the most beautiful little girl we have ever seen", I think this is because she was so petite.

My grandmother and her first born.
Shortly thereafter I was moved into a private recovery room - a room I was given because my husband was well known in the area and so I received some special treatment. I spent 2 whole weeks in the hospital, read lots of books, and remember being so bored and feeling "pent-up" and restless. I was able to see my baby a few times a day when the nurses brought her to my room. I remember feeling lucky because my room was close to the nursery and I was able to walk to the nursery and watch my baby. 

 Breastfeeding wasn't really encouraged and I decided to formula feed. I made this choice because I was scared of the public embarrassment of breastfeeding and didn't want to have to hide away to feed my baby. When I made this decision they gave me a pill to dry up my milk.  

When I asked her how she prepared bottles and what she fed the baby...

We would use evaporated milk and dilute the solution. The younger the baby, the more dilute the solution, as the baby grew you diluted the evaporated milk less and less. I remember something else being added to the bottle such as a powder, but I cannot remember... sometimes honey was added for a “sweet” flavor. 

Using evaporated milk as a formula!?!? Oh the health implications... I can't even imagine! 

My Thoughts: 

My grandmother's memories were very matter-of-fact and she attributed little emotion to the experience as a whole. When asked if she agreed with a procedure or policy or if she had a choice she replied, “You do not question professionals, you just do what they expect of you and trust that they know what is best.” For example, when describing the stirrups and recalling that her legs had been strapped to them, she was very casual and said that they did this to keep the legs up in case women tried to kick or squirm.

It seemed enjoyable for her to recount her story as she laughed often, would go back and provide more information as her memories awakened, and would compare her experience to what her own children experienced years later, when her grandchildren were born. For example, she remembers being shocked when her son was allowed in the delivery room for the birth of his first child.

As a public health birth professional I am saddened by my grandmother's experience because I know what her and her children deserved during this influential time and they certainly didn't get it... however, I am thankful she didn't reflect negatively on her births in this way and I never placed my expectations on her shoulders - these were her experiences and I was just there to hear them.

Most of those who will carry on Nana's legacy!
I am so thankful to my doula-trainer for this assignment. Years later and much farther down my path as a birth professional; I recognize the immense importance of having recorded my grandmother's first-birth experience, which occurred so many decades ago. Her memory lives on!

It was a pleasure to share my grandmother's experience... rest peacefully, Nana :)

With love and respect,
Your granddaughter,
~Wisdom and Birth

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What is your Hospital's Cesarean Surgery Rate - Tampa Bay

The percent of births delivered via cesarean section at the hospital you are considering having your baby is SO important. Not only can it inform you of your chances in having a vaginal birth at that location, but also because it demonstrates the quality of care that particular hospital is providing to birthing women. 

What is an ideal cesarean section rate? There isn't a precise percent, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a rate of 5-10% with data indicating that rates above 15% do more harm than good (

Cesarean sections are MAJOR surgeries and are not without risk; especially repeat c-sections. Risks of cesarean surgery include things such as infection, hemorrhage, reaction to anesthesia and more. Repeat cesareans further increase the risks to the mother and child, such as greater risk of hemorrhage in the mother and damage to internal organs due to scar tissue adhesion - looking into a provider that supports VBAC is an important decision you should make.

Unfortunately NOT ONE SINGLE HOSPITAL in the Tampa Bay Area has a cesarean rate under 15%. Even more unfortunate is the large range of variability between hospital's c-section rates, which speaks to the lack of consistency in care and the absence of truly informed evidence-based medical practices. 

Truly, much of medical maternity care is still one large experiment in the US and around some of the industrialized world.

So what is the cesarean section rate at YOUR local hospital?

If you aren't planning to deliver at a hospital with a low rate of cesarean sections and that will respect your birth, then you should find another provider and location!

You can look into a birth center, or home birth with a midwife as well :)

Happy Birthing!
~Wisdom and Birth

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gorgeous Beach Wedding ~ Wisdom and Birth Style!!!!

This post is totally unrelated to birth, but since this is my blog I wanted to share how Wisdom and Birth celebrates a wedding, beach style!!!!

As many of you may know, my name is Randi and I am the blogger at Wisdom and Birth. I have recently married my dearest friend and partner Chase and wanted to share our incredible union and wedding ideas with you!

Follow along for our wedding story!

The Beginning...
Groom's cake - a tribute to the Huskies that brought us together

It all began at a dog park in Tampa, Florida.

I met Chase one week after a 35 hour road-trip across the country (Denver to Tampa) to begin graduate school at USF. I was surprised to see another Husky at the dog park and quickly became friends with his owner ;)
Our first date was soon after ~ we had a few drinks at The Independent as 'friends'... and the rest is history! 

Over looking Lake Dillon, CO
Our Engagement...

I took Chase home to Denver, Colorado in August of 2013 to meet the rest of the family. Chase proposed just outside my favorite mountain town, Breckenridge. We drove the scenic route (gorgeous!) from Colorado Springs to Breck  - Chase had chosen a lovely location overlooking Lake Dillon to propose; he cleverly asked a nearby hiker to capture the moment :)

Our Wedding...

We rented a beach house on Anna Maria Island and made a wedding week celebration out of it. On the first night my three sisters (bridesmaids) arrived. I'll never forget our hour long road-trip to the beach house... not a single topic discussed in the car is appropriate for the internet! ;) We partied hard all night and slept even harder, as evidenced by one bridesmaid waking up cradling the legs of another... then a bottle of Malibu Rum on night 2... :/
Sisters, the beautiful bridesmaids!
On Wednesday the groom's brother joined us. A sweet, well-raised Southern Baptist with only one older brother... well, now he has four sisters! After a few accidental boob shots, some inappropriate jokes, and hours of "fingeling" (you know, the ipad game...!) he was loosened up and ready to join in on the shenanigans :)

After an hour long search for a wallet (under the Frisbee, dammit!), we hopped on the free trolley to explore the island. We made it to the GORGEOUS North Pier and then back into the heart of the island for lunch at Lobstahs; after over-hearing (thanks to loud sisters!) that we were there for our wedding, some fellow diners bought us a celebratory cocktail and the restaurant bought us dessert! Thank you Lobstahs and mystery couple! We ended this wonderful day with drinks (mmm, Hippie Juice), loud-music, and decorating the beach house... and more Fingeling! (it is just a finger game, really!)

Grandma made my orange lily bouquet
Early Thursday, tired and hung-over, the groom had to crawl out of bed to retrieve a groomsmen from the airport. Shortly thereafter, the groom's family arrived at the beach house (mom, dad, and grandma) and they began preparations for Friday's rehearsal dinner.

The ladies got their nails done (read: foot and hand massages). But the guys... well, they dealt with mind-numbing traffic, an incredibly talkative salesman, and hungry women foot-tapping at home waiting for Pub subs - which were made painstakingly slow by an employee in training (we mean very very slow). Needless to say, the groom had his only groom-zilla moment (really not that bad). It all worked out, though, when they brought home Pub subs and pizza!

The bride's mother (with her fiance) and Aunt arrived on Thursday evening ~ most of the party was there! We all celebrated, relaxed, and had a lovely time. Grandma made our bouquets and I'm pretty sure there was more fingeling going on in the kitchen ;)

Rehearsal Day!!!!

Friday morning ushered in a few more arrivals, including the Bride's father, one of her brothers and his lovely girlfriend.

In the afternoon some of the Groom's close friends from the College swim team arrived, along with our final member of the wedding party ~ the last groomsmen was there!

Rehearsal went swimmingly and everyone LOVED the dinner prepared by the Groom's mother and grandmother. The night played on with lively conversations, second story cannonballs, and a floating keg... the party lasted LOOOOOONG into the night and a few people had trouble falling asleep in anticipation of the wedding day on the horizon!

Wedding Day!!!!

We made it!

Groom and his father
Grandma Vee made breakfast for the wedding party and originally I thought that I would "hide-away" all morning... but once I had to sit alone in my bedroom and eat breakfast I decided to throw that tradition out the window and went to join my sisters and friends. After breakfast the ladies headed up to the master suite to get ready and my sister did my hair :)


Truly, this was the only time on the Wedding Day that I was nervous. The parents, wedding party and some guests were downstairs watching with cameras at the ready - so much for a 'private' first-look! *deep breath* and I made my march down the stairs and into the arms of my husband-to-be!

Look at his face :)

On the way to the beach ceremony!

Groom, his mother, and the wedding party.

...and down the aisle!

The Ceremony

Hand-fasting ceremony 
Sand Pouring.
Our officiant was a close friend who became a notary (possible in Florida). He did an incredible job and it was perfect to have someone close to us perform our ceremony! There were brief vows, ring exchange, sand-pouring, and a hand-fasting.

Bridesmaids wore purple convertible wrap dresses

My bridesmaids held a single stem orange lily with multiple blooms. My bouquet was orange lilies with lavender accents. In the end we had about 40 people at the Wedding (including the wedding party and us), it was wonderful we kept it small! We had the ceremony at 1:30pm and after a reception everyone was able to change and play at the beach!  

You may kiss the Bride!

We walked off to "Happy" by Pharell Williams

And we took a few formal pictures


And a couple with family and friends :)
Bride's family... aren't they adorable!

Tampa friends!

Groom's father, mother and brother

Father of the Bride



Back at the beach house we had cocktails, gave toasts, catered dinner, delicious desserts, and our first dance!


Our cakes were from Let Them Eat Cake in Tampa. We had a small wedding cake, cupcakes for guests and a grooms cake (Husky cake above).  They also give a free anniversary cake, so you don't have to save your cake in the freezer for a stale piece one year later!  

(Right) We hung ornaments on fishing wire from the stairs and wrapped white lights and purple paper around the handrails. (Left) We had a small area for our scrapbook and other mementos of our journey. My mom made a photo slideshow as well!

First dances...

We had our first dance as Husband and Wife to Miguel's Simple Things; Tiny Dancer for the Father of the Bride; and Bon Iver for the Mother of the Groom.

Cake! We agreed no messes :)

Once all the official wedding activities were done, most of the party changed in to something more comfortable for hanging out at the beach...

Where we did the garter toss.

With his teeth!

And there was a brawl for the bouquet...

And we made a pyramid!

We did some celebratory jumping :)


And we drew in the sand.

Did some fist pumping!


And walked off into the sunset.

 For a sunset kiss!


And we had to get one with the Full Moon!

Cheers to a long and happy marriage together... on to the babies!!!!! ;)
~Mrs. Wisdom and Birth