Tag Archives: pregnancy

Join us as we Renew Rebirth & Retreat

A couple of years ago, while hosting a meeting of black birth workers and birth advocates in New Orleans we decided we should create a campaign to educate our community about the benefits and value of doulas and normal birth.  As the conversation continued, and as we outlined a plan, it dawned on me… it will be great to get our sisters motivated and informed about natural birth and doulas but when they ask “Where can I find a doula?”  what will our answer be?

You see in 2012, when we had this meeting, I could literally count the number of working doulas in New Orleans and the black doulas working in New Orleans… I could count with my fingers.  In a city that has a population that is nearly 70% black… that was a problem! To make it even worse, there were NO local doula trainers.  Not ONE. Every so often a trainer would visit from afar and unfortunately, I have heard most left lots to be desired.

The way I saw it, we definitely had a problem and I set my mind to do something about it. Fast forward to today, and I am preparing to do my third official Sista Midwife Productions’ Birth Sister Training in New Orleans starting May 16.  This is the first of three I am planning this year.  The beautiful thing about my training is that while it is certainly not exclusively for black women, the black women in my community who are drawn to this work are also drawn to my training.  I am proud that my first two classes combined included a total of 16 students, 13 of whom identify as black and more than half of them attended on scholarship.

I am proud that my training is endorsed by individual birth advocates, as well as local doula and community groups. I am proud that I am making a difference by expanding the reach of birth work in my community.  Recently all over web there have been articles and questions about where are the birth workers of color? Where are the trainers of color? *Raises hand* We are here. We are learning and growing. We are working hard to do our part.

“Nicole’s passion for birth work and women’s health rights is infectious! During her training I couldn’t help but be engaged, and afterwards I left feeling like I, and all other women, could shake and move the world.” ~ Shayla B. – Mississippi

Since I conducted my first training, I have been asked… Are you going to take your training on the road? What can I do to get you to Texas, California, Florida, Georgia? And my answer has been, I don’t really know but build it and I will come.  Most recently, I have been asked about conducting a training in Tennessee. AND… when I said “build it and I will come” my sister Angelique “Sobande” Greer, herbalist and founder of Natural Choice Botanica School of Herbalism and Holistic Health took me at my word.

With that said, I am very pleased, proud, and excited to announce that my first “on the road” doula/birth sister training will be taking place June 17-June 22, 2014.  This VERY special event will be far more than a doula training as women come together from various parts of the country to RENEW – REBIRTH & RETREAT.  We will come together to learn, relax, bond, and grow within a serene  retreat center.

Now… not only is my sister Sobande the reason I am travelling to TN, she is also a spiritual teacher, healer, and herbalist who will share her wisdom with us during the phenomenal event.  I had the pleasure to learn from her during the last Wise Women’s Herbal Conference in Ashville NC and she is bout it! Throughout this retreat she will share with us her wisdom, her passion for healing, and her love of nature.

This event gives YOU a unique opportunity to receive my full 36 hour Birth Sister/Doula Training and training and guidance from Sobande all while we sit at the feet of mother nature.  Throughout the training we will incorporate time for self guided meditation and facilitated retreat activities. Whether you are at the beginning of your journey into birth work and you are looking for a foundation, OR you are an experienced doula/birth sister and you want to increase your knowledge base and re-ignite your fire, this training is for YOU!  The back drop for this retreat is the serene Penuel Ridge Retreat Center which sits on 135 acres in Middle Tennessee a short drive outside of Nashville.

I promise you this is an event that you do NOT want to miss.  In order to make sure this is an enjoyable experience for everyone, registration is VERY limited.  The registration for this event is only $850 and this includes EVERYTHING… your training, your lodging, your meals, and your serenity.  Registration is currently open and today you can reserve your spot for $100.  As the training dates approach, the registration rate for this event will increase so reserve your space today!  I look forward to seeing you there and experiencing growth, love, knowledge, joy and laughter with you!  Let’s come together and #BirthSomethingBeautiful!

“My Doula training experience was great! Nicole is a wonderful trainer and I would recommend Sista Midwife Doula Training to anyone!”
~ Queen Hope Parker  - New Orleans

TIME SENSITIVE – Nourished Living, Natural Living

Are you doing your best to make healthy choices for your family and sometimes you feel overwhelmed when it comes to making the best choices for your family?  If so, the Nourished Living Summit is for you.

This FREE online summit started last month and brings together  69 natural health, wellness, and parenting professionals who are dedicated to helping parents care for their family naturally.  The Nourished Living Summit continues through April 29th and is showcasing 62 presentations divided into 8 thematic tracks including: Pre-Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth, Breastfeeding, Health and Development for Children Ages 0-18, Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family, Care and Nurturing For Mothers, and Education for Natural Minded Parents.

I was proud to be a speaker for this phenomenal event and my lecture/interview is included in the preconception, pregnancy and birth tract.  While you may have missed my call, you still have time to participate and to listen to the remainder of the FREE calls because as I said, the Summit does not end until April 29th.  While the summit is free, you MUST be registered in order to listen to the presentations.

If you want to listen to my presentation and you want to learn from some of the other speakers that were featured during March, you can take advantage of the Flash Sale going on NOW through 5AM tomorrow morning (Monday, April 14th) You can purchase a Nourished Living package TODAY for only $127 and you will receive:

Lifetime access to all 62 expert audio presentations (MP3 format);
Lifetime access to all 62 slide presentations;
Over 300 Pages of Presentation Summaries;
Over $150 Worth of Free Bonus Items;
35 Exclusive Special Offers and Discounts;
109 Page Speaker Guide;
Automatic Lifetime Access to All Future Presentations Released in 2014-2015 (including accompanying MP3s, slides, and summaries

This is a phenomenal opportunity to learn from a slew of experts in natural living and parenting. The price will increase to $147 after 5AM so be sure to take advantage today. You can learn more, see the line up of speakers, and get involved by clicking the link below.

Click here to visit Nourished Living Summit.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope you will find something that will help you Birth Something Beautiful!

When the Blind One Shows Us the Way… *smh*

It has been far too long since I have made writing a blog post a priority. I have been busy making plans to Birth Something Beautiful in 2014 :-)  And I promise I will get better in 2014!!! <3

In the meantime… one of the things that has me busy today is my need to get the CEUs necessary to renew my nursing license.  I found an online modules on a reputable site that would give me half of the CEUs I need and it also sounded like I might enjoy the reading.  Its titled “Childbirth Education:  A handbook for nurses” The objective is to give labor and delivery nurses an idea of what is discussed during a CBE class.  I can tell this course is not old, meaning it was written in the past year because it does not expire until 2015 and there are references on the reference list from 2012.  It was written by a person who is an RN, CNM and has 20 years of experience as a CBE.

Sooooo let me  get to the part that has me taking a break to write this blog post… I’m reading along, going fast so I can get to the test and get my CEUs… you know how it goes… and I am brought to a screeching halt when I read the following statement:

“The average length of the early phase is eight hours. A maximum length of 20 hours for primiparas, eight hours for multiparas is considered normal.”

I think to myself… hmmm, thats odd…  Aint nothing right about that… She is trippin… then I say to myself  “What ever Nicole… just remember that wrongness for the test so you can get this done” And then I continue reading and I see…

“The normal fetal heart rate is 120 to 160 beats per minute with variability that may range slightly lower or higher. The fetal heart rate should accelerate greater than 15 beats per minute, for more than 15 seconds, and twice in 10 minutes or three times in a 20-minute period.”

And then I’m like SERIOUSLY?? How was this course ever approved?? FYI and BTW… the information above is WRONG.

What is most interesting to me is that in addition to all the various degrees and experience of the author, the reference list includes the all important 2008 National Institute of Child Health Human Development workshop report on electronic fetal monitoring: update on definitions, interpretation, and research guidelines.Obstet Gynecol. 2008;l12(3):661-666.   This document is the standard used to read fetal monitoring strips nation wide. In spite of this document being listed on the reference list the facts are not being reported in this module.  The definition of a normal fetal heart rate is 110-160 and when doing an NST we look for TWO heart rate accelerations in TWENTY minutes. (side note:  This is just part of the picture… normals and variations can happen and with only the information presented here there is no way to know if a fetal monitor strip tracing is normal or not)

Now… imagine a new nurse, without guidance who is using this CEU module for learning… WOW!!Just WOW… and I am only 1/4 of the way through this thing…  I’m speechless… The blind… leading the blind…  I’m not saying everything in this module is bad or wrong nor am I suggestions that I know all the right answers. I am suggesting that we really have to go to the source. Do our due diligence and make sure we have valid information…

And so it is… and so we must continue to educate and help our mamas know the TRUTH And help them navigate the madness. The struggle continues… #FistUp

The Birth Plan Myth – A 6 Class Course

I am very excited about my upcoming educational series.  This series will be for mothers, fathers, doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, nurses, birth advocates, reproductive rights activist and anyone interested in learning more about what goes in modern day obstetrics and what you need to know and do to work within the system in order to #BirthSomethingBeautiful.

This 6-part web based series will build on my popular call The Birth Plan Myth.  During this series, we will cover topics like:
Creating a Birth Philosophy
Informed Refusal and Patient Rights
Understanding Interventions
Normal Newborn Hospital Procedures
Creating an Empowered Birth
Eating and Drinking in Labor
Epidurals and MORE…

This course will begin November 2013 and I want your opinion on how I should schedule these six live web classes.  Please take a moment to share your opinion and then stay in tuned.  Select two answers. One to determine how many times a week the class should be and one to determine if the class should be on the weekend or during the week.  I will announce details for the series soon! THANK YOU for your assistance!!

Does your provider know the research?

This JUST happened and I could not go on without sharing this.  I’m almost speechless but I had to say something LOL… (But its NOT funny)

I often read little research blurbs and then see and hear what goes on during hospital birth and wonder to myself  “Has anybody around here picked up a scholarly journal since graduating from nursing/medical/midwifery school?”

I am by no means a research buff nor do I profess to be but there are some things that have been shown, and discussed, and proven over, and over, and over and to me its common knowledge. One of those things is the benefit of fetal growth through (and beyond) 39 weeks.  Research has shown, before then… all bets are off.  This common knowledge has instituted the 39 week hard stop policies that have been implemented across the country to stop providers from doing elective c/sections and elective inductions prior to a woman reaching her 39th week of pregnancy.  Where these policies have been enforced, they have seen c/section rates decrease, more successful inductions, and fewer NICU admissions. The March of Dimes has a national campaign around the issue.

With that in mind…. it is shameful for me to participate in an online CEU module put together by Medscape, a well respected online portal of information and educational opportunities and see THIS:

First there was the case study followed by this question:  “According to the ACOG recommendations, when is the earliest a fetus can be delivered with a low risk of respiratory and nonrespiratory morbidities?”

I answered the multiple choice question, clicked enter then saw this chart.

 Your Colleagues Responded:
At 34 to 36 weeks’ gestation  16%
At 37 weeks’ gestation  22%
At 38 weeks’ gestation  19%
At 39 weeks’ gestation Correct Answer  43%

*Blank Stare*     Only 43% of the individuals taking this test got that right? SERIOUSLY??!! And we wonder why things are moving at such a slow pace…. WOW!! There is work to be done. #FistUp

Did you know the answer to this questions? Does your doctor/midwife/nurse know the answer to this question?