What is a Virtual Doula?

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I'm very excited to announce that I have added Virtual Doula Care to my services!   

What in the world is a virtual doula? Being a virtual doula was created out of a need for women who may need remote, long distance, emotional support and doula care. It differs from my traditional services in that all prenatal and postpartum appointments are done either on the phone or using Skype or FaceTime. There is also not a hands-on component during your labor, though you can reach me by phone or text with questions during the birth and anytime during pregnancy. 

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If you live in a rural  area or cannot otherwise access a doula for your birth, this option might be great for you. Virtually, we can still connect, and I can share knowledge and emotional support. I'm here via phone or text 24/7 helping you answer questions, create a birth plan, and otherwise prepare for your labor.  

There are many reasons virtual doula services may be a good fit for you. Maybe you like the idea of a doula but you and your family are very private and do not want someone in the room with you while birthing, however, you really want the prenatal support, education, planning, and assurance that a doula brings. With my virtual support, your birth will remain the intimate space you want, but you will have the preparation and educational assistance you need.

Virtual doula care is also a great options for mothers who have already had children, had uncomplicated births, and are looking for help with organizing birth and postpartum preparations and a knowledgeable, sympathetic ear for the more challenging aspects of pregnancy and birth.

And oh hey, maybe you would love to have me as your doula but you're not living in the Asheville area. I'm happy to work remotely, and as a great benefit, I offer a huge discount off my regular doula fees for virtual doula work! 

 

My Virtual Doula Services include: 

  • 1-3 prenatals by phone, FaceTime, or Skype
  • Assistance writing birth plan and postpartum plan
  • 24/7 phone and text support
  • Phone support during labor and delivery
  • 1 postpartum FaceTime or Skype consult
  • Herbal and aromatherapy support and reccomendations 

 

Do you think virtual doula services may be a good fit for you? I'm happy to help you decide and even recommend other options for you if not. If you'd like to learn more, please email me at info@marandabussanich.com. I'd love to chat with you!

 

 

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What To Eat and Drink in Early Labor

It used to be the recommendation that no eating should happen in labor what-so-ever. Thankfully, new evidence based research shows that eating and drinking in labor are helpful and beneficial. Eating and drinking in early labor can be especially vital to prepare and store energy for the hours and hours of labor that lay ahead. But what should laboring mama eat and drink?

True hydration cannot happen during labor absent hospital administered IV fluids. So it's SO important that in the weeks before labor, you're drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, in order to be properly hydrated for labor. However, maintaining that hydration during labor is also important. Water is, of course, the best go-to, but something with electrolytes and energy boosters should be considered too. These sippers are awesome for labor drinks.

  • Lemon water
  • Coconut water
  • Fruit infused waters 

To maintain energy for birth, think of eating in early labor like preparing for a marathon. We don't want belly too full with a big meal but we don't want you starving and lacking stamina either. Here are some energizing snack ideas for early labor.

  • Nut butter on whole week toast
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt with fruit or granola
  • Apple slices and peanut butter
  • Carrot sticks and hummus 
  • Grapes or berries
  • Protein shake
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Whole fruit granola bar
  • Turkey slices
  • Beef jerky

Most importantly, listen to your body. If you're hungry, eat. If you're thirsty, drink. If you're tired, take a nap. These snacks and drinks coupled with rest and care should give you the energy for a great birth. 

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Happy Halloween!

Halloween has become one of my favorite holidays of the year. The past two years have been very special because they've been the first that we haven't had to travel to an exciting part of town to find trick-or-treating or festivities. Now the fun is in our neighborhood and it makes the whole experience that much sweeter. Last year our neighborhood hosted hundreds of trick-or-treaters. Our street is a great mix of older couples and young families. All of which get in on the fun, decorate, and play candy host to dozens of costumed-kiddos at a time. 

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Even beyond the fun, dressing up, and candy, I love the communal spirit of Halloween. The community literally open their doors, greet happy children, and share treats and good will. Last year we ran into school kids we knew, parents we pass in the car-rider lines, neighbors we wave at but haven't spoken too much, and before we knew it our patio was filled with our local community of friends and fellow parents. 

 

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This weekend we are prepping for Halloween fun by carving pumpkins, watching lots of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin, and just snuggling in and awaiting what feels like the first official greeting of autumn. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 

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Self Care in Pregnancy

As a doula I encounter all different kinds of expecting mothers. The diversity in my city is a wonderful thing. Something I've noticed speaking with expectant mothers, no matter how prepared they are they all feel like they're failing in some way. "Am I reading enough?"  "Do I know enough?"  "I'm not doing enough labor exercises!" "All I want is cake and not leafy greens!"

These thoughts and worries rattling off are normal! Suddenly our bodies aren't our own. We're sharing physical and spiritual space with a new life beneath or ribs. While it is such a beautiful experience, it's oftentimes one of pervading anxiety and doubt too. "Can I be a good mom?" I remember having these thoughts too. I remember googling the side effects of Red40 after inhaling a bag of strawberry twizzlers during my third trimester. It was my first pregnancy and I remember feeling worried that maybe I'd doomed my baby to some terrible side effect. (She's 7 now and fine, if you're wondering ;) )

 

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Pregnancy is our first lesson and our first glimpse of the emotional labor of motherhood. I hate to tell you, but the worrying doesn't stop when baby is earth-side. This is why self care in pregnancy is so important. Establishing healthy self-care habits now will help make the journey into parenting a little easier. 

So start now! Make a list of things that reenergize you and when you feel yourself reaching your limits of stress, pull out the list and utilize one of those resources. Better yet, plan in advance your self-care. Some ideas to get you started: 

  • Take a walk. Either alone or with your partner. Getting fresh air and out into nature is so healing to our bodies and minds.
  • Take a fancy bath. Make an event of it. Add in epsom salts, lavender, bubbles, light some candles. Pamper yourself!
  • Journal. Get your thoughts out and onto paper.
  • Have a date night with your partner or treat yourself to a nice dinner out. Hey, I'm a yoga-pants and mom-bun mother but I still LOVE getting dressed up and going out for a while. You deserve time to yourself or time connecting with your partner!
  • Plan a movie night for yourself. Popcorn, candy (twizzlers with a side of red40?) the works. Watch the chick flick your action movie dude denies you.
  • Go electronic free for a few hours a day. Turn off the phone, close the laptops. Sit on the floor with your pet and play. Or spend time reading without distraction. See where your desires take you when there's nothing to pull your attention away.

As mothers, in pregnancy and beyond, it's so easy to focus 100% on our children and totally forget about ourselves. What we have to remember is that we cannot pour from an empty cup. We can't give our children and partners the best love that we can if we are under-resourced and stressed. So really, by giving to ourselves, we are giving back to our families.

Take care of yourself, mama. 

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