Staci Bishop

Monday, September 16, 2013

Doula Testimonial

The 5 W’s of Why Staci Bishop Rocks
By: Sarah - Nashville, TN

My fiancĂ© and I were bound and determined to be ready to knock down doors to have a natural childbirth. After enrolling in Bradley classes, which armed us with knowledge about informed consent, the birthing process, and a myriad of details, we felt semi-prepared and ready to go. As the day grew closer, I started to doubt myself. Would I be strong enough? Would Shawn remember everything? I knew from the beginning that it would just be the two of us in the room. I wanted it to be intimate and I wanted every decision made to come from my heart and not an outside influence. I knew that Shawn supported my decisions, but who would be there for him when the going got tough? We decided around 36 weeks that we would need a doula. We scheduled three interviews and only had one. It was with Staci. I didn’t need to meet anyone else.

Maybe it was the aromatherapy, the specialization as a hypnodoula, her crazy good organization skills, or her calm, but assertive manner, that made our instant decision? It was all of the above. The essential oils did so much for me at home. I BELIEVED in their ability to help and most of all BELIEVED in Staci using them to guide me through. I tried to get into hypnobabies during pregnancy, but couldn’t. On birth day, Staci was armed with the CD and it got me further than I ever thought it could.

54 hours is a long time to be in labor. Staci was with us when I thought the contractions were bad, when they started to get bad, when they were REALLY bad, and when they stopped. Her techniques allowed me to remain calm and at home through early labor. Your sense of power is amazing when you have someone there with you, working through each contraction, telling you that YOU WILL deliver this baby and YOU ARE strong and DOING GREAT.

Staci spent early labor at home with us. She went to the Vandy with us…twice. Most of all, she was there when I felt defeated and opted for an epidural. Sometimes medication is needed. For pain. For rest. I needed both. Having the support of my partner and my doula allowed me to relax. I was able to get into the side position that Staci and my Bradley classes had taught me, and in an hour and a half I was ready to push. Charlotte came into the world with Shawn, Staci, and our (third) midwife by my side. I remember Staci and Shawn cheering as I was pushing. It still brings instant tears. This woman that I met a few short weeks ago had helped me achieve a LIFE dream. How can I every repay her?

Without Staci I would have almost definitely had an unplanned cesarean. I would have gone to the hospital early, I wouldn’t have had the courage to decline an unwanted ultrasound (to look for an amniotic leak that would have put me on the 24 hour clock), I would have just wanted it to be over so that I could go to sleep. She worked me through almost two days of contractions at home, gave me support with all decisions that we made, and kept me drinking fluids to keep my energy up. All of this AND the support she provided for Shawn. A great midwife told me once that however many people are at a birth is how many it takes to deliver a baby. For Charlotte’s arrival, I needed Shawn, but we BOTH needed Staci. My heart soars when I think of her. Needless to say, she comes with high recommendations from our family. When it comes time for another baby, I can only hope that she will be by my side once again.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

nYn Supports Women & Children in Uganda

This has been on my heart for a while and I'm excited to share it with you!

Starting today, a portion of all nYn doula fees will be given to ministries in Uganda.  

I've never even been to Africa but there is a piece of my heart reserved for Uganda. Why? Well....

My best friend, who also blogs at A Southern Ruckus, adopted her daughter from Uganda in 2010. In an attempt to survive the painstaking waiting process, she soaked in as much knowledge as she could about Uganda: the landscape, the history, the culture, the language, the orphanage, logistics. Everything. In my attempt to support her as much as possible during this time, I learned right along with her. We've often joked that I was her "adoption doula." I read the same websites, saw the same pictures, read reviews on her book selections, followed the same blogs, and stalked kept up with the same people on Twitter. Some of my favorite people on the Internet right now are families that I "met" virtually during that process. Many of them have also adopted from Uganda. 

When my bestie was in Uganda for 6 weeks, I lived vicariously through her via email, chat, blog updates and video conferencing (thank goodness for technology). While I have never experienced Uganda first hand, it's 3 years later and still on my mind. Mainly because it pops into my blog newsfeed so frequently. ;) In the last few months, I have been feeling the need to continue to support women and children in Uganda. 

After much prayer and consideration, I'm excited to put real funds towards the following ministries. When you hire me as your doula, a portion of that fee will be given directly to this family and organization. Read below to learn more about each of them! 

I "met" Jade when she was on Uganda soil waiting to bring her son home. Her personality, patience, humbleness and love for the Lord was and still is abundant. I've been inspired by her in ways she will never know. Now, her family is preparing to go back to pursue a full-time ministry opportunity.

I also "met" Melissa while she was in Uganda waiting to adopt her daughter. She brought to my attention to conditions in which Ugandan women deliver their babies. She began distributing "Mama Kits" to help the women of Uganda have cleaner, safer births. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Training: Herbalism for the Birth Professional

Ever since I first became pregnant many years ago, I have not been able to stop researching and learning as much as I can about pregnancy, birth, and babies. So far, I have completed my doula certification through Childbirth International and my Hypno-Doula certification through Hypnobabies.

Along the way I have also developed an interest in natural health, wellness, and treatment. I've been a fan of Vintage Remedies for a while now and I was thrilled when they released this course last year. I thought it would be a nice compliment to my doula training. I think it's important to be to be able to give my clients as many tools as I can to manage their pregnancy in the most natural way possible. However, just because something is natural doesn't mean that it's appropriate for a pregnant or nursing mother. This course should provide me with the the resources and information I need to make appropriate recommendations for my clients.

One extra perk of this course is that there is a section on keeping the doula healthy as well. Herbalism for the Birth Professional covers information on aromatherapy, herbalism, natural solutions, and immune boosters.

Vintage Remedies also has a variety of other course options available including Family Herbalist, Holistic Wellness, Foundations of Aromatherapy and more! If you are just looking for a good book to get you started, I would recommend, The Handbook of Vintage Remedies, The Herbalism Course, or The Aromatherapy Course.

I'm excited to get started!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No 'Poo Part 3: Switching to Low 'Poo

When I last checked in, I was 20 days into the No 'Poo Experiment. I'm now on day 55. Here are the updates.

Right after I posted my last update, I noticed that my hair suddenly didn't feel so "clean" between washes. For a while I chalked it up to the fact that "Hey, hair that contains some of it's natural oils is definitely going to feel 'different' than hair that has been stripped of it's natural oils." That is technically true. My hair felt heavier, yet it was still bouncy with plenty of volume. It had texture. I didn't mind this as my hair actually stayed in place. Fly aways were non existent. It was nice!

But, no matter how thorough I was in my washing process, I still had random spots that felt greasy, especially up underneath. The top of my hair always looked flawless and gorgeous (or so people told me). Underneath it felt greasy. Maybe this is because my hair is so short right now. The top part has more surface area to distribute the natural oils. The little short hair underneath does not. That was my reasoning but I'm not sure how accurate that is. See what I mean?
The goal was to be able to go 3 or eventually even 4 days between washing but I was back to 2 days and sometimes really toughing it out on day 2. I kept trying to adjust my baking soda to water ratio, or keep it the same and adjust the apple cider vinegar to water ratio, but nothing seemed to make a difference.

And that's when I colored my hair on day 40. I'm pleased to report that you can, in fact, still color your hair and not use shampoo. I was afraid the baking soda would be so harsh that it would wash the dye right out but it's been totally fine. However, by coloring my hair, it stripped the oil right out. Since I'm disclosing all hair secrets, I use Preference or Excellence by Loreal. After washing on that day, even with baking soda, my hair was back to it's pre no 'poo state. I'm not gonna lie, I REALLY liked the way may hair felt. It was squeaky clean and light. I almost threw in the towel right there on day 40.

Alas, I figured there had to be a happy medium. So, on day 45, I cheated. Well, not really but kinda. I'm now doing what is referred to as Low 'Poo. I'm still not using shampoo but I've added a soap agent, castille soap. It's still all natural and chemical free, which is the whole point, but the castille soap gives it a sudsing effect that essentially dissolves dirt and grease. Now, I'm back to washing every 3rd or 4th day and I'm much happier. My new recipe is below. This will last me about 4 washes and is super cheap!

12 ounces of water
2 Tablespoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon castille soap

Oh, I've also been super pleased with my dry shampoo concoction. Again, all natural. I've actually considered adding it to the nYn product line. I typically start needing to use it to get through day 3 but it does a great job of soaking up any oil and leaves my hair looking fresh but doesn't weight it down. I have a friend testing it now to see if someone else loves it as much as me.

There you have it. If something else changes, I'll do another update. For now, I'll just be over here doing my Low 'Poo thing.

I'm curious. Are there any other No 'Poo or Low 'Poo folks out there? Do you have a recipe that works for you that I haven't tried? Share it with me and other readers in the comments below.

Want to start at the beginning?
No 'Poo Part 1: The Journey
No 'Poo Part 2: The Experiment

Saturday, July 6, 2013

nYn Laundry Detergent

Homemade powdered laundry detergent is much less expensive to use than traditional detergents but just as effective. It's also great for those who have sensitive skin that reacts to the harsh dyes, perfumes and/or chemicals used in many store-bought brands.

nYn Laundry Detergent contains all natural ingredients and is available in in a 16 oz. jar. Because you only need 1 Tbsp per load, this will do about 30 loads. This detergent is also safe for high-efficiency (HE) washers.

  • Washing Soda
  • Baking Soda
  • Soap
To order, simply contact me or click the button below. You can go here to see more nYn products.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No 'Poo Part 2: The Experiment

Yes, it's definitely an experiment. While the general goal is to avoid using harsh soaps and shampoos on your hair, there are a variety of ways you can clean your hair. Different types of hair can respond in many ways so it takes a little experimentation to find what works best with your hair type. You can read all you want on Pinterest to get started but, in the end, you just have to take the plunge, assess how your hair responds, and adjust accordingly.

As of this post, I am now 20 days shampoo free and, honestly, it hasn't really been that bad. My idea to start right after a fresh cut and while I was on a beach vacation was kind of genius, if I do say so myself.

I started with the baking soda wash but it's been interesting trying to figure out the ratio that works best for my hair. Some folks said they can just mix it up in the palm of their hand. Others said the measurement of baking soda to water had be to exact. I've finally settled on a sprinkling of baking soda in the bottom of a cup (I'm guessing about 1-2 teaspoons) filled with water. I mix it up at the end of my shower so that it has time to dissolve and blend fully before my next no 'poo wash.

I use an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse (with the 'mother'). It's about 1 teaspoon of ACV and a cup of water. Some folks use half and half. Some poor it over their entire head. Me, I flip my head over and just dunk the ends into the cup, let sit for a few mins, and rinse with fresh water.

Dry Shampoo:
I combined arrowroot powder and cocoa powder (since I have dark hair). I just started using this but I really like it. I just massage some into my roots and scalp and it immediately soaks up any oil and gives me fresh looking hair. It doesn't
weigh my hair down like I would have thought and I don't smell like a chocolate factory, much to my disappointment.

The lowest point in the whole process was day 5 (above picture). It was a no 'poo wash day and I was still figuring out my ratios. I used too much of something (I think ACV, which is why I now only put it on the ends) and my hair was still kind of "oily" even after washing. I toughed it out until the next wash and we've been fine ever since. At this point, I'm washing every other day but I've pushed it to 3 days a few times and will continue to try that. With shampoo, I usually had to use a dry shampoo or baby powder to get me through the 2nd day. Now, my hair still looks great on day 2. I'm hoping my new dry shampoo concoction will help me to easily make it through a third day.

Overall, I'm pleased with the progress I've made with the no 'poo method and have no plans of going back to shampoo. Stay tuned for more updates.

Read Part 3: Switching to Low 'Poo

Saturday, June 8, 2013

nYn Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an amazing product and it's gaining popularity as a super food with medicinal benefits. It has the following properties:
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • antioxidant

It has been shown to:
  • help with weight loss, metabolism and digestion
  • help with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes
  • increase bone strength
  • relieve kidney problems
  • be used for hair care, skin care, dental care and aging
  • boost the immune system
  • treat HIV and cancers

Common ways to use coconut oil include:
  • substitute for any vegetable oil in cooking
  • eat 1 Tbsp daily for health benefits
  • apply to bumps, bruises, burns, rashes
  • use as a deep hair conditioner
  • remove make up and cleanse skin
  • use as a carrier oil for essential oil applications
  • and more! (Check out 333 uses for coconut oil)

This stuff is amazing! 

nYn offers coconut oil in two sizes, 8 and 16 ounces. To order, simply contact me or click the button below. Currently, I only offer local pick up or delivery. You can go here to see more nYn products.  


Friday, June 7, 2013

No 'Poo Part 1: The Journey

No 'Poo (no shampoo) has been circulating around the Internet and in crunchy circles for years. I was always intrigued by it as a way to rid toxic chemicals from my home and have a more natural option for hair care. But, I was never quite ready to take that leap. This is my journey of finally wanting to do it and willing to try it.

I seriously started to consider it as an option a year ago when I stopped to observe my daughter's hair (age 5). I naively assumed the ONLY reason her hair didn't get "oily" was because she didn't have adult hormones pulsing through her body. I was washing her hair every few days out of habit, not because she needed it. Out of curiosity, I once let it go a whole week without washing and it was fine. In fact, she could have gone more than 7 days between washes. However, I'm a routine oriented person so once a week became our new habit but the whole process encouraged me to really consider going no 'poo myself.

I have really long hair. I'm a donor for Locks of Love so I grow my hair for about 3 years, chop it off, and start all over again. All of the washing, blow drying, and styling really takes a toll on your hair so, again, I was looking for a better way to maintain the hair I'm donating. I currently wash every other day but I've read that you can go 3, 4, even 5 days between no 'poo washes and still have great looking hair. That sounded awesome!

I was also aware of the detox period and I was afraid to take the challenge with my hair so long. So, I scheduled my big cut 2 days before I left for the beach and thought that would be a perfect time to start my little no 'poo experiment  I mean, who cares what your hair looks like at the beach, right?!

So, that's how I came to a point of being willing to skip the shampoo. Stay tuned for the next installment and I'll tell you how it went.

Before and then 15 inches later. ;)

Part 2: The Experiment
Part 3: Switching to Low Poo

Friday, May 31, 2013

REVIEW: Baby Catcher (Peggy Vincent)

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
By: Peggy Vincent

This book is based on the memoirs of California midwife, Peggy Vincent, and I simply could not put it down. It was an amazing story! 

She chronicles her life and experiences through the birth stories of women she worked with over the years spanning from 1962-1992. It was very interesting to see her transformation after her very first birth experience during nursing school at Duke University. It changed her perspective about labor and was a constant theme throughout the rest of her journey into midwifery and beyond.

I enjoyed how each birth continued to to shape her solo homebirth practice and some chapters left me on the edge of my seat. I was anxious to hear how they would end and even more interested to see what life lesson she would take away from that labor and how she would apply it to future midwifery clients. Many doctors she worked with believed that "all births are complicated until proven otherwise." Her philosophy for supporting women was the exact opposite and was proven over and over though out her years of practice. 

Peggy Vincent amazes me with the amount of details and dialogue she remembers from the 30 years which spanned in this book. She often talks about her meticulous notes and patient charts but I feel this book was beautifully written from her memories and first hand accounts. It's not fiction but it easily reads and flows in that manner, which explains how I managed to read it in just over 24 hours. 

I would highly recommend this book even if you aren't a birth professional. Her story is just that good! It's been added to my lending library if you would like to borrow it. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

CLASS: Essential Oils for Beginners CANCELLED

Just an update that this class has been CANCELLED. It appears that many of you are traveling and are really bummed about not being able to attend. Therefore, the class will (hopefully) be reschedule for this fall. Thanks so much for you interest.

Many of you asked me to teach a class on essential oils and I'm making that happen! It excites me when others want to learn about natural health.

Here are the details for: nYn Essential Oils For Beginners

DATE: Saturday, June 15th
TIME: 10 am - Noon
LOCATION: FiftyForward  |  Donelson Station  |  Conference Room 

You will learn 
  • the history of essential oils and how they are made
  • 10 essential oils for beginners
  • how to use essential oils for health
  • starter recipes
Class items include
  • topic lecture
  • nYn Essential Oils for Beginners handouts
  • a personalized massage oil made by you
To register for the class, please click the button below. If you have questions, please contact me. A limited number of spaces are available. Sign up today to reserve your seat.

Essential Oils For Beginners Class  |  June 15, 2013  |  $15

Saturday, May 11, 2013

nYn Bug Spray

*Note: Product packaging has changed to a green bottle as of 5/1/13. 

This 4 ounce insect repellant is all natural and protects against mosquitos and ticks without DEET, which has been linked to brain cell death affecting learning, memory, concentration, and movement in addition to behavioral changes in animal studies. Instead, this product utilizes essential oils known to ward off pesky insects such as
  • Geranium
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass 
  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Witch Hazel
  • Grapeseed Oil
To order, simply contact me or click the button below. You can go here to see more nYn products.

Monday, May 6, 2013

nYn Lip Balm

This lip balm is both moisturizing and soothing. It comes in a standard 0.15 ounce lip balm tube. Ingredients include
  • coconut oil
  • grapeseed oil
  • beeswax
  • shea butter
Best of all, it can be customized by scent. Choose from one of the following essential oils.
  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • lemongrass
  • orange
  • vanilla
  • grapefruit
To order, simply contact me or click the button below. Currently, I only offer local pick up or delivery. You can go here to see more nYn products.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

nYn Healing Salve

This healing salve is basically the naturalist's version of over-the-counter Neosporin but without the antibiotics. It comes in a 1 ounce container and is great for any sort of skin issue such as
  • boo boos
  • bug bites
  • scratches
  • cuts
  • wounds
  • eczema
  • scarring
  • burns
  • dry/chapped skin
  • infections
  • bruises
  • and more!
Ingredients include
  • calendula
  • plantain
  • coconut oil
  • grapeseed oil
  • beeswax
  • lavender essential oil
To order, simply contact me or click the button below. You can go here to see more nYn products.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Doula Testimonial: Hypnobabies and Postpartum Support

Staci Bishop is the most valuable investment I made when planning for my birth, not only for her support before and during labor but especially during my postpartum difficulties. There are so many decisions and details she helped me sort out with information and care to support my choices. Since she was trained as a Hypno Doula, she was also able to provide specific support for my natural, drug free childbirth. My husband was equally pleased with Staci's professional guidance, especially since she worked with us during the busy holiday season. My ObGyn even commented to me twice on how impressed she was with my Doula. With so many decisions to make when I was pregnant with my first baby, I am so incredibly grateful I hired Staci as my Doula. 

Lori Gentry - Nashville, TN

Saturday, April 13, 2013

nYn: New Products Now Available

I have exciting news! But first, a little back story.

When starting my doula business I thought long and hard about a company name. I literally have pages of scribble from my brainstorming sessions. While my main focus is currently doula work, I also wanted a name that portrayed my lifestyle and would give me the additional opportunity to share my passion for natural health.

I'm often asked for home remedies to help this or that or to recommend alternative treatment options for (insert ailment here). Not only do I think they work but I believe they are healthier with fewer side effects and more economical.

Thus, nurturing YOU naturally was born. The "YOU" can literally be anyone. Besides, everyone could use a little nurturing from time to time. :)

Today, I'm pleased to announce that nYn is now producing and selling natural products. Current items include
These products are made of natural ingredients and are appropriate for anyone, including babies and pregnant or nursing mothers. More products and flavors are coming soon. If there is a product that you would like to see nYn create, please let me know in the comments.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts with product profiles for items currently available. If you are interested in purchasing any of the above products, please contact me, or Shop Now.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Herb Fairies: Kid's Book Club Opens TODAY for a limited time!

The Herb Fairies Book Club is now open for a limited time! 

I am so excited to go through this program with my daughter and be able to share my love for natural health and healing with her. In fact, I'm just as eager to learn some new things as well.

This herbal learning system for kids includes 13 chapter books (one for each month). The book schedule also coordinates to when herbs are typically available for gathering. How cool is that?! Kids will learn how to identify the plants as well as how to harvest and use them, all through storytelling. They will be able to create their own Magic Keeper's Journal. Plus, recipe cards are also available for everything in the books. The book club also offers coloring pages and online access to a community forum where you can share your experience or ask questions. You also receive Herbal Roots Zine with additional stories, songs, information, recipes, remedies, games, crafts, calendar and much more! This is so much more than just a book club but a true hands on learning experience.
This program is great for kids of any age and for both girls and boys and an amazing way to help them explore the world around them.

The eBooks are available for Kindle, iPod, iPad, iPhone, tablets, smartphones, or printable PDFs. You will also receive mp3 files which are great for younger book club members because they can listen to the books.

The best part is that the program comes with a 30-day money back guarantee if your kids don't love it.

I'm so excited about the many ways this program can be used. I plan to do it on the weekends with my daughter but this could also be incorporated into your homeschool curriculum. Grandparents could even work through the series with their grandkids. What a special memory that would be!

Order today (click and scroll to the bottom) and you will be able to download the first book immediately to get started. Hurry! This opportunity will only be open until Saturday, April 13th and then will close until Spring 2014.

*Update 1: The herbs covered in the books have just been announced. They include Chickweed, violet, lemon balm, plantain, chamomile, calendula, marshmallow, burdock, elder, pine, rose, cinnamon and finally, dandelion.

*Update 2: They just added an additional bonus eBook: Herbal Remedies for Children (93 pages - $37 value)!

*Update 3: A payment plan option is now available!

*Update 4: When I signed up, I also got an additional bonus eBook: Wild Foods Ninja - 40 Recipes Using 8 Amazing Herbs.

Click here to check it out.

affiliate link included

Monday, April 8, 2013

Awesome Pregnancy, Birth & Baby eBook Sale!

This week only, you can get 5 awesome eBooks for less than $8. I think my readers would be particularly interested in this set because they are all related to pregnancy, birth, and baby's first year. If you were to purchase these eBooks separately  the set would cost about $40. Head on over to Bundle of the Week to purchase the entire set for only $7.40. Here are the titles that are included:

Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods by Kate Tietje
In Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods, Kate simplifies pregnancy nutrition with just two rules: 1) Don’t eat junk food and 2) Eat super foods. This ebook includes details about the super foods you should be eating (and a basic list of what you should avoid), what pregnant women’s nutritional needs are, and offers more than 30 super food recipes.

Fearless Birth by Kristen Burgess
Fear of giving birth is a very real thing, but through the Fearless Birth workbook and bonus tools, Kristen helps you understand the source of your fears, create positive images of birth, let go of fear and approach labor and birth with confidence and peace of mind.

Unbound Birth by Jennifer Yarbrough
Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital is an inspiring collection of natural hospital birth stories. With determination, information, preparation, and support, Jennifer offers women hope for the beauty of a natural birth within a hospital setting.

The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel Jonat Parenting is a demanding job, and the first year with a new baby iz exciting, ever so tiring and filled to the brim with baby toys, gadgets and gizmos. In The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to the Baby’s First Year, Rachel shares her own journey into motherhood and the lessons she learned about avoiding the clutter trap of too much baby stuff, slowing down to enjoy the early months with your new baby, saving money, creating a peaceful home and finding more time in your day for things like sleep!

Breast to Bib by Kate TietjeIf you’ve ever wondered how to get a baby started with real food, this is your go-to guide. In Breast to Bib, Kate offers help with breastfeeding and discusses low milk supply and homemade formula options as well as how and when to introduce solids and tips for handling picky toddlers. Plus you’ll find 27 healthy, family-friendly recipes to get you started!

When you purchase the set, you will have instant access to all 5 titles. What an awesome set of books for only $7.40. Click here to learn more

affiliate link included

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Doula Services Include....

As a wrap up to World Doula Week, I thought I would take a minute to share the specifics of what I do and why I firmly believe that every woman deserves a doula.

I get to know you. By the time birthing day arrives, we (me, you & your partner) will have already had two to three face-to-face visits and several phone conversations. We will have exchanged countless texts and emails. I will know your likes and dislikes and your wishes and desires for birth. You won't have to explain why you want this or don't want that, because I will already know. I will have developed a fondness for your family as I do for all my clients and you will feel comfortable with me in your surroundings because we already know each other. Feeling a level of comfort and familiarity is an important factor for moving the birth process along.

I am a safe place. There is nothing you can think, feel, say or do that will shock me. Seriously. I've seen and experienced a lot in my lifetime. Trust me when I say that you will think all sorts of seeming illogical things as labor draws near and begins. This is totally normal. I find it best to go ahead and verbalize it and get it out in the open. I will not judge. I will help you process and move forward. Some women need to vocalize (make sounds) during birth. Knowing I am a safe place gives her the freedom to do that. Sometimes, I even initiate or mimic the sounds so that she doesn't feel alone. A laboring woman needs the opportunity to be open and vulnerable but feel completely safe while doing so.

I'm a wealth of knowledge. I remember all the stuff that you are afraid of forgetting. I'm a plethora of info at your fingertips. Yes, I will encourage you to research on your own beforehand but, in the moment, sometimes the details slip through the cracks. I remind you of your birth plan and encourage you to stay the course. Maybe something new comes up that you didn't research. I offer non-medical options to see if they will meet your needs. I make sure that you understand the information your care providers have given you. I remind you to ask them for all of your options - including risks, benefits & alternatives - before making your decision. Best of all, I support your decisions, no matter what!

I stay with you. Starting at 38 weeks you have 24/7 access to me. Call, text, or email, and I will respond immediately. When you go into labor and are ready for me to assist you, I show up pronto, and I do not leave until your baby has arrived. I literally do not leave your side other than to go to the restroom or unless you ask for some privacy. In active labor, many women close their eyes and tune in so internally that they loose all track of time and what is going on around them. I give the play-by-play of birth keeping you informed every step of the way. I help you understand what is happening in that moment and what is going to happen next. I'm always there providing encouragement, support, and information.

I help you. I bring you drinks and remind you to pee. I put lip balm on your mouth before you even notice that you are chapped. I re-arrange your pillows because you only thought that you were comfortable before. I'm adjusting the temp in the room because I know you are hot but afraid to ask because your hubby might get cold. I pop mints in your mouth to keep you feeling cool and refreshed. I keep the bath water warm and drop in some lavender essential oil to help you relax. I sense that it's time to go and signal hubby to load the car. I know that transition is coming and mentally prepare you as well. I turn on your play list. I rub peppermint oil on your wrists to keep the nausea away. I suggest comfortable positions for nursing your baby and make sure that you have something to eat as well. I make every effort to recognize your needs and meet them.

I provide comfort. I use my rebozo to help your baby move into an optimal position. I suggest positions that relief pressure and tension. I help you find coping mechanisms that support your progress. I provide counter pressure and hip squeezes and neck massages for hours on end as needed. I hold your hand. I press accupressure points. I encourage you with my words. I repeat relaxation scripts. I cover you with blankets. I take them off. I sway with you, moan with you, walk with you. I use essential oils to keep you relaxed, relieve discomfort, center your mind, and address physical symptoms. I press cool washcloths on your forehead. I accomodate whatever position you deem best for the moments right before you meet your baby. I aim to make the day of your birth as comfortable as possible.

I follow up. Yes, I am there for the birth but I also make sure that you transition well into motherhood. I remind you to make sure that your guests are helping and not just holding the baby. I give you permission to stay in bed and not overdo it in the early days. I make sure that diaper changes are within normal ranges and give suggestions for feeding and sleep issues. I assess and encourage normal behaviors and activities for mom, dad, and baby. I give you reassurance and encourage you to contact me at any point should you have questions because babies are constantly changing. If there are concerns for healing, breastfeeding, baby care, ect, I direct you to local resources and make sure that you get the help you need. This is when it can be so helpful to have already established a relationship with a doula because you have a trusted professional to call.

I am passionate. Seriously, spend just a few minutes talking to me and it's obvious that I LOVE what I do. I deeply feel that no matter what type of birth you are planning, the entire family will benefit from the consistent, loving, and nurturing support of a doula. It can make all the difference in the world!

Pregnant? You deserve a doula. Contact me today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Doula Week Special Discount

Today, March 22nd, is World Doula Day, which also serves as the launch for World Doula Week. If you have never looked into doulas before, this week would be a great time to learn more.

Did you know? Research has shown the benefits of doula care at birth:

 Reduces cesareans by up to 50%
 Reduces instrumental delivery (vacuum & forceps) by 40%
 Reduces requests for pain medication by 30%
 Reduces need for Pitocin by 30%
 Shortens labor length by 25%
 Increases maternal satisfaction in birth by 30%
 Increases the rate of prolonged breastfeeding
 Reduces the rate of postpartum depression


Doula care has also recently been in the news, thanks to a recent study out of Michigan, which supports a previous Cochrane study showing that continuous support in labor leads to better outcomes. In summary,

"We conclude that all women should have continuous support during labour."  

In keeping with the saying, "every woman deserves a doula" I'm offering a special discount on my doula services. Anyone who contacts me during World Doula Week (March 22-28) to schedule a FREE consultation will receive a $75 discount off of my Birth Doula Package.

Contact me today and let's discuss how I can help you achieve the birth YOU desire.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Training Recap Part 2: Getting Started with CBI

Once I had chosen a certifying organization, it was time to sign up and start studying. The process to sign up was really easy. You basically fill out a webform and choose your payment option. That was another thing I like about Childbirth International (CBI). They give you the option of making monthly payments if that is what works best for you.

Within moments I had a login and password with electronic access to the complete training materials. This was another perk of CBI. You could start training right away. Everything you need is online! Within a couple of days I had received an email from my "trainer" and within a week, I had received the books of the training materials. It was really a quick process to get everything going.

My trainer was Amy Hoyt and she was great. Granted, I'm a pretty low maintenance student so it was rare that I needed to contact her but she was always available with support and willing to help me along in the process. She also provided some really good feedback along the way.

The are three training manuals for Birth Doula are Communication Skills, Physiology for Birth, and Birth Doula Skills. It is recommended that you complete them in that order but not required.

Here is the short list of what is required to become a certified birth doula with CBI.

Certification: Certified Labor Doula (CLD)
Cost: US$430 (payment plan available)
Workshop required: None
How long does it take: 3-7 months
Time limit: None
Refunds: 2 day full refund less admin fee of $50
Number of births required: Support 2 women for a total of 15 hours including pre and postpartum support
Exam: Multiple choice open book exam
Assignment: One written paper
Other requirements: Read 3 books and survey of childbirth class options locally

Next, I will share with you some tips of what helped me to get on track, stay on track, and complete the certification process within my desired timeline.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

nYn now accepting credit card payments

It's no secret that I love technology. I also think it's important to stay cutting-edge when running an business.

When it comes to nYn, the majority of my doula clients choose to pay by check. However, recently I had a family ask if I would accept payment via PayPal. I already have an account in place and the transaction worked out nicely. While I was perusing PayPal to follow the transfer, I noticed that they now have a schnazzy little card reader device that connects to your iPhone for credit card payments. I researched more and checked out the accompanying iPhone app which processes the transactions. It was very simple and cost-effective to use. So.......

I am pleased to report that nurturing YOU naturally is now accepting credit card payments for doula services. 

There is another announcement coming soon for nYn where this handy, dandy card scanning device will be put to even more good use. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hypno-Doula, at your service

A few months ago, I announced that I was undergoing training to become a Hypno-Doula. Well, today I received my official notification that I passed my test and I am now a HypnoBabies® Certified Hypno-Doula (HCHD).
How does a doula celebrate the accomplishment of being able to add four new letters behind her name? With new business cards, of course! These are my new mini cards from They turned out super cute.
The best part about Moo is that you can have up to 5 different images on the back of your cards. I kinda took a leap of faith and ordered mine in advance. Positive thinking, I say. :) They have already arrived and I'm ready to start handing them out. I have some some with my nYn logo, some plain, and some geared specifically toward pregnant mamas. 

These mini cards are so versatile but they have many other promotional items as well. If you are thinking of ordering, please click here to get started and you will also save 10% off your first order! 

Okay, back to HypnoBabies®. I am a firm believer in this program. I have seen it work first hand to give moms a beautiful, quick, and peaceful birth. It's really amazing! The program is comprehensive in that it teaches about all aspects of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding. At the same time it eliminates any fears and anxieties surrounding birth. The techniques allow the mom to completely relax her body and let it do its thing! HypnoBabies® is also great for dads in showing them how to really support their wives in birth. :)

There are local classes and home study options available. If you are pregnant and looking to have a pain-free birth without medication or intervention, then I would highly recommend you check out If you are a HypnoBabies® student, then you truly need a Certified Hypno-Doula. We have been trained in specific ways to support hypno students. Specifically, we know to use the verbiage/lingo that you will learn in class. It is crucial to have your birth team using the same terminology so that you can stay focused and relaxed on birthing day.

If you are looking for a Hypno-Doula or have general questions, please contact me today to set up a complimentary consultation.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Wrap Up

This is the final post in a 4-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle
If you missed the second post click here: Food
If you missed the third post click here: Herbs & more!

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. So far, we have discussed lifestyle habits, using food as "medicine," as well as herbs, supplements, homeopathy and essential oils! Today, I just want to recap the steps I take to prevent and treat should illness occur. 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

My Preventative Measures: These are a part of my regular daily & weekly routine. I follow this protocol year round. If you have a weakened immune system, you might want to add in some additional preventative measures to give your body a boost.
  • Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.
  • Follow an exercise routine and get regular chiropractic care.
  • Eat a healthy diet that utilizes coconut oil, onions and garlic.
  • Take a daily probiotic and supplement with vitamin D.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow.

When Someone Around Me Becomes Ill: These are immune boosters that I introduce in addition to the above if someone that I am in close contact with becomes sick. 
  • Take a dose of Elderberry, Raw Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea once per day.

When I Notice the First Signs of a Cold: I am pretty in tune with my body. At the first sign that I'm not feeling well, I start the following regimen. Many times, I can ward off whatever is coming on and avoid a full-blown cold. 
  • Up my doses of Elderberry, Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea to twice per day. 
  • Take up to 8000 mg of Vitamin C, 5000 IU of vitamin D, and 250 mg of Zinc within 24 hours of symptoms broken up into equal doses, usually four or five.
  • Do a couple rounds of salt water gargle.

When Cold/Flu Symptoms Persist: At this point, I'm probably not a happy camper but I will do what I can to get the symptoms under control and decrease the duration. 
  • Up my doses of Elderberry, Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea to three times per day. 
  • Continue daily doses of Vitamin C (1500 mg), Vitamin D (2400 IU), and Zinc (150 mg). I break this up in to 3 doses. 
  • Do a salt water gargle 3 times a day. 
  • Use OTC homeopathic combinations. 
  • Cut all sugar from my diet (aside from the honey). 
  • Drink lemon water or ginger tea. 
  • Call in my order for donor breast milk and use it in a Netti Pot.
  • Let a fever run it's course only using Tylenol or ibuprofen if extremely uncomfortable. 
  • Run a hot bath with Epsom salt & grated ginger. It's also best to do this again at the conclusion of any sickness to be sure your body has detoxed from the illness.

I hope you have found this series helpful. I absolutely believe it is possible to both protect yourself against sickness and treat yourself naturally should illness arise.  Let's face it, we come into contact with germs on a daily basis but a healthy immune system will fight them off, many times without us even being aware.  Antibiotics certainly have their place but with antibiotic resistance on the rise, I beg you, please use them sparingly. Again, please refer back to the previous posts for details on each item listed above. 

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Lifestyle,  Food,  Herbs & more!

As always, please research these remedies on your own or contact your doctor before proceeding should you have questions. 

Be well! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Herbs and More!

This is the second post in a 3-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle
If you missed the second post click here: Food

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. I have already told you about our lifestyle habits and using food as "medicine." Today I want to talk about herbs, supplements, homeopathy and more.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

Herbs and More: Below is a variety of herbs, vitamins, tinctures, essential oils, and homeopathy that I have found to be effective. Please do your homework before using these products to make sure that you do not have any health concerns that would be contraindicated to their use. While they are indeed "natural" some of these are very potent and should be taken or used with care.

  • Elderberry - Just as honey was my top pick for foods, elderberry is my top pick in this category. It's a huge antioxidant and is also loaded with vitamins known for their antiviral properties. You can take this once daily to boost your immune system or up to three times a day if you feel a cold coming on or have already been hit by one. You can purchase it in liquid or tablet form over the counter at your local drug store. Just ask for the brand name Sambucol.  
  • Astragalus Root - This herb mimics the immune system and can also be helpful for increasing energy levels. It can be taken long term to help prevent colds/flu but may also be used once symptoms have started to give the immune system a little help. This can be found in capsule or tincture form. 
  • Echinacea - This will work in a similar way to Astragalus in that it doesn't fight infection on its own but instead it boosts all cells in the body to fight off bacteria and viruses on their own. Again, it can be used to prevent infection but may also lessen the duration of a cold. 
  • **Astragalus/Echinacea** - I prefer to take these two herbs together in tincture form. We use Herbs for Kids. I take it straight from the dropper. For my daughter, I put 1 ml into a shot glass and cover it with juice. She thinks it's cool to drink from a little cup and doesn't even notice the taste. This can be taken up to 3 times a day to prevent or treat illness. 
  • Vitamin C - Studies have shown that vitamin C may not help in preventing colds but it certainly aids to shorten the duration of cold symptoms. It's best to take 8,000 mg over the course of the first day of a cold.  
  • Vitamin D - Researchers have concluded that we are more susceptible to cold and flu when our vitamin D levels are low. Our bodies best absorb vitamin D through the sun but that isn't always available during dreary winter periods. Instead, consider supplementing with over the counter D3. Adults can consume up to 5000 IU of D3 per day. It's also interesting to note that vitamin C aids the absorption of vitamin D so I like to take them together. 
  • Zinc - This is available in tablet, liquid, or lozenge form. It's most effective if taken within 24 hours of onset of cold symptoms. I start it as soon as I feel any sort of tingle in my throat, just in case. It has been shown to reduce symptoms by 40% and shorten the cold duration by a full 24 hours. 
  • Probiotic - Toxins like to hide out in the intestinal track and will ultimately suppress the immune system. However, your gastric track also needs a certain amount of "good" bacteria to fight the bad. I recommend taking a probiotic year round but particularly during cold & flu season. You can start with something as simple as OTC acidophillus. This can also be helpful in preventing your children from coming home with the wretched stomach bug. You may choose a children's probiotic (my little one likes this one) or simply dump the contents of an acidophillus capsule into their juice. 
  • Essential Oils - Lavender is my favorite for preventing infection. I just sprinkle a few drops on everyone's pillow. Rosemary can also be used in this way as well. Eucalyptus can help with a stuffy nose. Simply incorporate a few drops into a carrier oil like coconut or grapeseed and rub onto the chest. Peppermint is my favorite for reducing cough and nausea. Remember, essential oils are not designed to be ingested but inhaled. That's how they are most effective. 
  • Oscilloccocinum - Should full-blown flu symptoms occur grab this and start treatment pronto. Homeopathics work best when taken without food and when given at regular 15 minute intervals. The science behind how they work is that it introduces trace amounts into the body that mount an immune response, which helps combat the symptoms. This can also be found at your local drug store. 
  • Homeopathy - These are some of my favorite OTC homeopathy brands and combinations that can be found at local drug stores. ColdCalm Tablets, Sinusila, Cough 'n Cold for Kids, and Complete Flu Care for Kids.
I had intended for this to be the last post in this series but I think I will do one more post to tie everything together and give a sample schedule of what I do when any of my peeps get sick. If you have questions, fire away in the comments and I will try to answer them as well. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Food

This is the second post in a 3-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. Yesterday we discussed lifestyle habits and today we will look at foods that I use as "medicine." Tomorrow we will address herbs, supplements, and homeopathy.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

Food: This is nature's medicine at it's finest. While maintaining a healthy diet goes a long way in supporting your immune system, sometimes we need specific ingredients. All of these can be found at your local supermarket. That's the best part about natural cures, they don't have to cost a fortune and they are easy to come by.

  • Honey - This is my #1 recommendation for cold & flu season. To get the best effect, you need local, raw honey. It has antibacterial properties and is a big energy booster. It's also great for a sore throat! For maintenance, take 1 tablespoon once a day. If you are feeling sick, up the dose to 1 tablespoon three times a day. Please note that honey should NOT be given to anyone under 12 months of age. 
  • Coconut Oil - I heart coconut oil and my favorite brand is Nutiva. It's a very versatile product but also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties! Seriously miraculous stuff here! Adults can take up to 3 tablespoons per day and you can also cook with it. It's also great for a sore throat and soothes dry skin. 
  • Lemon - Fresh lemon juice is packed with vitamin C, which has been shown to boost the immune system. It's also good for detoxifying the body.  
  • Garlic - This tiny little thing has lots of immune boosting agents. Raw garlic is best but you can also take it in capsule form. If you are cooking with garlic, be sure to let it "rest" for 10 minutes after chopping so that it seals in all the good stuff. 
  • Onions - These are very similar to garlic in that raw is best but you can also include them in cooking if you let them "rest" before cooking. Onions are full of antioxidants, which strengthen your immune system. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - This product works by balancing out the pH in your system and restore the body. It's also great for reducing fever. I will warn you that the taste isn't pleasant but it can be mixed with other things. 
  • Salt - If you have a sore throat, a salt water gargle can help to soothe the discomfort because it reduces inflammation. It can also loosen up mucus from post nasal drip. Research has even shown a 40% decrease in upper respiratory infections when conducted routinely. Heat up a cup of water as warm as you can stand, and mix in 1 tsp of salt. Gargle deep in the throat and spit out. Continue until the liquid is gone. 
  • Spices - These items have also been known to have antibacterial & antiviral properties: ginger, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon.
  • Sugar - If you are sick, you should cut sugar consumption as much as possible. It will just surpress your immune system. Besides, bacteria LOVE sugar so stop feeding them!

Recipes: If sickness occurs, it can often be helpful to combine some of the above ingredients into a powerful potion of sorts. For example:
  • 1 tsp warm honey + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp coconut oil = cold buster
  • 1 tsp grated ginger + 1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp honey + 1 cup hot water = drink to soothe a sore throat
  • 4 ounces honey + 4 drops peppermint oil = cough suppressant 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 1 tsp grated ginger + 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar + 1 cup hot water = cold buster

Honestly, you can't really go wrong mixing ingredients here. Just find a combination that you like best and stick with it when you are feeling puny. 

Here is one more food item that I truly recommend because I have seen it work for my family but I know that it is highly controversial. Because it works for me, I'm listing it here anyway because I think it's important. You will need to decide if this is appropriate for your own family.

  • Breast Milk - If you are a nursing mother, continue to nurse your baby for as long as possible, even if you are sick. Your body is producing additional antibodies against the infection and passing those antibodies onto your baby. They don't call it "liquid gold" for nothing. If you aren't nursing, consider using donor milk. Because breast milk is full of amazing antibodies, if we are sick, I get breast milk from a trusted friend. For my daughter, I mix some into her own milk. For myself, I use it with a Netti Pot. It gets the antibodies right where they need to be. 

Check back tomorrow for my final installment of how we are Surviving Cold & Flu Season.