Let me take you with me to a very important day in my history. It is May, 2009. I have peed on a stick and observed the digital read-out that states “pregnant.” I have again peed on a stick and observed the digital read-out that states, “pregnant.” I have a third time, peed on yet another stick, and confirmed the previous two stick’s prediction of, “pregnant.” (Take it from a woman who has peed on a whole lotta sticks, spend the extra money for the digital test. It will save you a lot of tricking yourself into seeing the line, or not seeing the line – depending on what you hope the outcome will be. It’s just a real firm, “girlfriend, you’re pregnant,” or “have a glass of wine.” I appreciate the honesty). I am lying on an ultrasound table with a wand in my holiest of whole-ies with Mr. Lindstrom at my side. We are estimated to be eight weeks into another pregnancy, our fifth pregnancy, to be exact. Praying that this one will be full-term, and we are about to see a little heartbeat in 3… 2… wait. What? What on earth is… WHAT??? THAT IS NOT ONE HEARTBEAT! THAT IS TWOOOOOO HEARTBEATS.
Here’s the part of the story that I am going to have to glam up a little when I tell the Twinstroms about this moment. I literally sat up on that table and punched the ultrasound tech in the arm. I asked her kindly to “shut the (expletive deleted) up.” Mr. Lindstrom turned white as a ghost (which, if you know us, is really a feat for either of us – as we are a pale folk). “I need to stand up.” Mr. Lindstrom stands up, “I need to sit down.” Mr. Lindstrom sits. “Can I lie down?” (A perfect opportunity for me to share my refrain, “to lay is to place, to lie is to recline.") The ultrasound tech explains to him that the only location for lying is where his wife, and the mother of his BABIES is currently, and so he’ll have to put his head between his knees and breathe it out. We were just trying for one more! Where are we going to put all of these people? What is the (then) two year-old going to do? How will we afford this? How are we going to do this?????
Fast forward to November of 2009. Birth is imminent. Babies are scheduled to descend sometime within the next month. We have GOT to figure out how we’re going to make this happen. Enter Welcome Baby Care.They are without a doubt THE postpartum and early baby care experts, and I was ready to call on them to help me in those early days. This is important because if you ever wonder how I sound like I have it even remotely together as a mommy, I am about to tell you EXACTLY how (if you don’t think I have it together… well… you’re a little bit right, but read on… because this is news you can use as well)...
Welcome Baby Care employs women who are Post-Partum Doulas. Just as a Birth Doula is there during the birth process to support the mom, a Post-Partum Doula is there to support the mom in bonding with her baby during those early days (approximately the first six weeks of life). Their duties include providing lactation support (seriously, like having a lactation consultant at your side ALL day long), cleaning, housework, laundry, care for older siblings, care for the infant, just about anything you can imagine with the goal of the mommy having the opportunity and room to bond with the newborn, oh yeah, and a shower and some sleep (which were, frankly, my priorities). I want to share this with you for a couple of reasons, first of all, I am sad that we’ve become a culture that does not ask for help. We are NOT meant to start the mothering journey ALONE. In most cultures, and formerly, in our very own culture, the birth of a baby was a time for women to come together and nurture the mother and baby connection. These days it just isn’t part of the reality for everyone to drop it all for the brand new baby and mommy. Secondly, I want you to know what a post-partum doula is, for you (if you are becoming a mommy, for the first, second, third, or fiftieth time), or if you know someone who is becoming a mommy. I see this service and support as such a positive experience for the mother, and here’s why…
By the time the Twinstroms came along, I had already had the first 6 weeks post-partum with two other babies. I had had the visits from well-meaning friends and family who wanted to “help.” Herein lies the problem, friends and family are WONDERFUL (don’t get me wrong), but even with best intentions our impulse is to entertain, and the whole event becomes a “baby show and tell.” OR, the family or friend wants to come and hold the baby, when really, that’s what the mom needs. What is "helpful" usually falls to the assumption of the friend or family member, and not necessarily to the mom. Here's an example; following the birth of my first baby, I had a friend come to visit and bring lunch. She sat down in the living room with me, took the baby out of my arms, watched me eat a sandwich, and then stayed for two hours, holding my sleeping baby and having a conversation with me (although, I was so tired, I can't imagine I was a great conversation partner). When she left, my daughter had woken up, and was ready to eat. I was in tears. I had missed an opportunity to nap while the baby napped, and was now alone with a wide awake baby, and I was fading, fast (not to mention hormonal and on the front end of what I realize now was postpartum depression).
The mommy needs some control over what is considered helpful so that the baby can have their needs met, and the mommy can have her's met. This is what Welcome Baby Care did for me, in addition to providing me nursing support, and general support with my recovery from the birth, they did laundry, light cleaning, cooking, caring for my older child, caring for the Twinstroms while I napped, and massage (yes, you read that right, I got regular massages). Did I mention they also stayed overnight a couple of nights? Yes. It’s true. Mr. Lindstrom and I were able to log a couple nights of 7 hours straight in the sleep department because Welcome Baby Care was there. I don’t have to tell you how absolutely restorative those nights were for a new mom and dad. Even without twins.
Of course, hiring Welcome Baby Care comes at a price, and before you assume that Mr. Lindstrom and I are made of money (HA! You are HILARIOUS!), I will tell you that we are a one and a half income family. Mr. Lindstrom works full time, and I work quite part time, and together, we make a pretty modest income (that is… until I get my multi-million dollar book deal, stay tuned… but don’t hold your breath... no seriously - stop holding your breath). We had a number of plans to pull together the money for this service (and make no bones about it, we would do it again and again and again). We decided to devote our tax refund for the twins to this service (hey, it was their gift to us!), we also asked for contributions from family. However, I’ve done some creative thinking for you, because I honestly think that everyone can benefit from this service! Friends of mommies who are having subsequent babies, you likely won’t have a baby shower for your friend, but why don’t you pool together your money – and give this gift (she already has the other equipment from her previous baby)? How about this, as soon as you get pregnant, there goes your latte, your beer, and your sushi, so put aside the money you’d spend weekly for that, and you can get a post partum doula from Welcome Baby Care for a couple of days!
I am excited to announce a new partnership with Welcome Baby Care. Every Friday, I will bring you some wonderful and informative news you can use, courtesy of Welcome Baby Care (but juiced up a little with my funny? Obnoxious? Seasoned? Perspective). More than anything, I want you to know who they are, what they have done for me, and that they ARE the post-partum and new baby experts, and they can help new moms (no matter how many babies they have had) get off to the best start with the newest member of their family. Being a mom is what I DO. It is the best and most important work I do, and I can tell you that with the support of my friends from Welcome Baby Care at my side during the beginning of my most recent babies lives, we had the most beautiful start to our lives together, and that has meant everything for the mother I am today!