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Callie Corless                                                                                          

Comprehensive Childbirth Classes - Birth Doula Services                                        

theswayingdoula@gmail.com 


Flower Mound, Tx

Callie provides childbirth classes in North Dallas and Flower Mound, TX and birth doula services in the Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. The Swaying Doula provides birth services for pregnant mothers and their families, as well as prenatal exercise and dance fitness to help pregnant mothers have a healthy pregnancy and prepare their bodies for labor, birth, and postpartum recovery.

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The Swaying Doula - birth doula services and natural birth classes in the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area including Flower Mound, Highland Village, Denton, Coppell, Lewisville, Grapevine, Irving, Plano, Frisco, and The Colony TX.

Why Take A Natural Birth Class - Even If You're Planning on an Epidural

Callie Corless

Why take a natural birth class if I’m planning to have an epidural?

Short answer: Because you learn way more than how to have a natural birth.

When people ask me about the Birth Boot Camp Classes I teach in Flower Mound TX, they often say “oh, I don’t need a natural birth class. I’m getting an epidural.” Now this isn’t an anti-epidural post, just to be clear. I think everyone knows what is best for them, and I certainly wouldn't recommend you birth in a setting you aren't comfortable with. Birth doesn’t go so well if the mother is anxious or afraid.

What I do want to do is make sure you know that planning on an epidural doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel any pain. I also want to show you why investing in your birth is worthwhile. (And considering the benefits, the cost of a birth class is fairly minimal. For example, have you seen how much the average couple spends on a wedding? The amount we spend on preparing for our births pales in comparison.)
Birth Boot Camp gives couples the evidence and current information they can use to plan their birth, specifically tailored to what works for them.

You might not have thought of the following when planning your birth. Here are a few reasons a Birth Boot Camp class is a good idea; even if you plan to birth with medication.

Hot Spots

This isn't as fun as it sounds.

Sometimes when an epidural is placed women will have a spot that the medication doesn’t reach and they will feel contractions just in that location. In this case, you’ll need those comfort measures to rely on! 

It Might Be Awhile...

Even with an epidural early labor can last hours or even days. If you plan to birth in a hospital, this means you’ll have a lot of time trying to cope with contractions before pain medication is even an option. 

Think You're Guaranteed An Epidural? Not Quite.

I'd like to tell you about a good friend of mine(with her permission) who planned on an epidural for each of her births. Her last birth was so fast she delivered the baby soon after arriving at the hospital, with no time for an epidural. She was never planning to birth without pain medication(natural birth actually terrified her!), but it happened.
Another common occurrence is when the anesthesiologist is overwhelmed with other patients, and you are essentially "in line" for medication. I’ve seen moms who waited for an epidural for HOURS and didn’t know what to do in the meantime. Don’t get caught off guard! Taking a class is worth it.

Know Your Stuff

With any intervention, there are pros and cons to weigh. If you are planning on an epidural, you should find out how that works. What are the risks? Benefits? How is it placed? Our class covers common medications and interventions so you can make decisions about your care, fully informed. 

The Partner Needs Support Too!

Birth can be intense. Mom might be really focused during birth. Sometimes she is so focused she can’t voice what she wants and needs as well. The last thing we want is a partner who feels helpless. Helpless is no bueno. Birth Boot Camp gives partners lots of tools to use, and in class I pass out little card reminders for Dads to bring to the birth - a sort of cheat sheet for supporting mom, if you will. In class couples learn together, so they are on the same page as they plan their birth.

Fail To Plan, Plan To...Not Get What You Want

Birth Plan in Denton County TX

If you want something to go well, you wouldn’t just show up and wing it(see this post if you need a little help with your birth plan). You'd prepare ahead of time. That would help you to feel a little more ready, confident, and calm. (All of these are important for a safe, happy birth!) A childbirth class should prepare you so that if plans change or something comes up, you’ll know what to do because you’ve prepared for it, whether it’s a long labor, change of birth location, a necessary induction, or even a cesarean.

Mind the Gap: How Kinesio Taping Supports the Abdominals

Callie Corless

During pregnancy the abdominal muscles can pull apart and create a gap (Diastasis Recti) as your uterus expands and your belly grows. After you have the baby, this can sometimes heal on it’s own, but often needs some help in the form of proper exercise and movement (tip: don’t just start doing crunches!).

Did you know you can utilize kinesio taping to support your abs during pregnancy and postpartum? I didn't...until I took a training and and was wowed with all the techniques you can use to have a more comfortable journey through pregnancy and beyond. I've even used it on myself and my "baby" is almost 4 years old. (By the way, when did that happen?!) Perhaps you've seen athletes taped up, such as in the Olympics. It wasn't just a colorful accessory. Each taping serves a specific purpose. 

Kinesio taping uses flexible, cloth-like tape to gently lift the skin and allow better blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and decompress inflamed areas in the body. Basically, it makes room for your body to work more efficiently, and provides support for areas needing a little help. And the good news is unless you have a special condition that prevents you from using it - it's safe for pregnant and postpartum women to use. Just make sure to double check with your provider to get the a-okay!

Here's a postpartum mom using the kinesio taping technique to support the abs as they heal. 

Here's a postpartum mom using the kinesio taping technique to support the abs as they heal. 

Here are three main ways it helps specifically for abdominal support:

1) It provides gentle support during your pregnancy as your belly expands.

2) It supports the transverse abdominals(the deepest layers of abs) as you work with your body to help those knit back together after birth. 

3) It serves as a reminder to you to be aware of how you’re engaging your core - keeping your awareness in how you move and use those muscles to provide the optimal conditions for healing! (And it can be more comfortable/convenient than wearing a belly belt - it stays on while you sleep, bathe, etc.) 

Kinesio taping isn't a cure-all - it's simply a tool you can add to your repertoire of prenatal and postpartum care, for added care and comfort. It generally lasts up to 5 days, depending on placement and activity level. It's a nice addition to the things I can offer my clients; it's quick to put on, and low maintenance. 

Kinesio taping can also be used for nearly every other physical complaint in pregnancy. Carpal tunnel, back pain, belly support, sciatica, edema, etc.

If you're near Flower Mound TX and would like to learn more, visit my kinesio taping page or contact me!

Happy Taping!

- Callie Corless, BBCI 

aka The Swaying Doula

 

 

When Breastfeeding Is The Worst: My Experience With D-MER

Callie Corless

This is the story of my 3rd breastfeeding experience. I don’t intend to scare anyone away from breastfeeding - it was still a wonderful experience overall and I miss having that connection often. It was a beautiful challenge that helped me grow in a lot of ways and I wouldn't have done it any other way. I'm glad I found a way to work through it so I could continue breastfeeding my baby.
My goal is to bring more light to a condition that isn’t very well known, so that others can find the help and support they need, and have a starting point to become more educated on what they’re experiencing.

My D-MER babe and I. Breastfeeding was challenging, but it was wonderful sometimes too!

My D-MER babe and I. Breastfeeding was challenging, but it was wonderful sometimes too!

The homebirth of my last baby was everything I'd wanted. I was so happy to have her here, and to have a midwife who supported my choices, who sat by and allowed me the space to do my thing. She observed, while ready to assist when needed.

About a month or two after I started breastfeeding, I began to recognize there were specific times when I felt really depressed. More so than what was normal. It seemed to come and go, and I still couldn’t pinpoint what caused it. Around this time I also received some devastating news from a family member and was grieving and distraught- so much so that getting out of bed was a struggle. If I was already a hot mess after having a baby, this certainly didn’t help. In fact, it was harder to notice the difference between how I was feeling already, with the moments when the depression was amplified from the D-MER.

Slowly, I began to notice a pattern. I noticed it happened a lot while nursing, but I figured that was because I was sitting with not much else to do but stew over the things that felt so cruddy. Eventually I realized that it was definitely worse during a feeding. It felt like impending doom(and I’m not just being dramatic! I half expected a creepy theme song to start up any minute. Okay, not really. But it would have been a fitting addition.) During these times it seemed the world was a big pile of awfulness. I was positive nothing would ever make me feel happy again, and the grief I felt from my family struggles felt beyond overwhelming. I would cry while I nursed and silent tears fell on my baby’s cheeks, as she looked up at me completely innocently while she ate. She was calm, and unaffected- to her, all was well with the world.

I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. I thought breastfeeding was supposed to be a bonding, lovely experience. The oxytocin was supposed to help me feel happy, and close to my baby! That’s what everything said! I knew something wasn’t right.

At one point I decided to do some research, and somehow my struggles with breastfeeding came up when I was talking to a friend, who told me to look into a condition called D-MER, or Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. All it took was a quick google search to realize I’d found the answer. The terror-that-could-not-be-named....had a name!

What is D-MER?

“Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex is a condition affecting lactating women that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.
Preliminary testing shows that D-MER is treatable if severe and preliminary investigation shows that inappropriate dopamine activity at the time of the milk ejection reflex is the cause of D-MER.
Dysphoria is defined as an unpleasant or uncomfortable mood, such as sadness, depressed mood, anxiety, irritability, or restlessness. Etymologically, it is the opposite of euphoria.”

- D-MER website

Basically, something happens during letdown that drops dopamine levels dramatically. Dopamine is what gives us pleasant feelings, and regulates emotions. Low dopamine contributes to fatigue, mood swings, depression, etc.

Once I had a name for it, and I knew that it wasn’t something that I was doing wrong, I immediately felt a lot better. I wasn’t terrible at bonding with my baby! What a relief. Just knowing what it was brought me so much comfort. From there, I worked on ways to manage it, and to help bring back some of the joy I was hoping to have in my experiences with breastfeeding.

Happy baby!

Happy baby!

Ways to cope with D-MER

  • You probably know what I’m going to say first. Yep, get help from a professional! When calling around, ask them about D-MER and see what kind of experience they have in helping clients who’ve dealt with it. Start your search for lactation support here
  • Visit this non-profit D-MER website for information on natural and medical treatments, depending on the severity.
  • Set boundaries for yourself of what you will and won’t dwell on while nursing. Some topics may be completely off the table. I’m generally not a fan of avoiding emotions, but this is not the time to process heavy things. Set these feelings aside to process outside of nursing sessions, when you are feeling more balanced, and can focus on taking care of yourself. Above all the other things I tried, this helped the most.
  • Play soothing, uplifting music that helps you feel more relaxed and at ease before the start of a feeding. Set the tone beforehand.
  • Nurse with company. Sit with another one of your children(Or a partner, friend, or other family member) while you breastfeed and tell them about a fun vacation you’ve had together, or your favorite thing to do with them. This won’t always be an option, but if you can have someone to talk to for some of the time, it may help. 
  • Talk to your baby. Tell her/him about your hopes and dreams for them. Why did you choose their name? What are you most looking forward to in the first year of their life? 

These suggestions may not always help, and most likely they won't completely solve your struggles, but there is some merit to trying to manage D-MER naturally before trying medication. In any case, certainly don't delay getting the help you need! The most important thing you and your baby need is a healthy, happy mother. 

If all else fails, have some chocolate. We could debate whether it’s actually proven to boost happiness, but I know it works for me. Seems like it's at least worth a try, don't you think?

Callie teaches Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Classes and serves clients as a birth doula in Flower Mound and Denton County, TX. Some of her favorite things are birth, Brene Brown, her three precocious little girls, making new creations for her family or Etsy shop, and stashing treats in her closet for a rainy day. You can check out other posts on her blog or contact her at theswayingdoula@gmail.com.