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Austin, Texas
USA

512-222-5655

AustinBorn is a modern parenting center in Austin, TX offering classes and services in an inclusive atmosphere. We offer birth + postpartum doula care, group prenatal classes, childbirth education, loss support, postpartum support groups, breastfeeding support group, lactation counseling, breastfeeding education and special workshops. Come say hello and check out our cozy space. We can't wait to meet you!

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Filtering by Category: Pregnancy

February 16th: My 5-Week-Old Daughter's Due Date

Austin Born

As a doula, I am reminded time and time again that nothing about birth is predictable. No matter how much we plan or what we envision for the day we bring a child into the world, plans always change and sometimes tough decisions need to be made. It’s all about how prepared and empowered we are by the ups and downs, and by our team, that can really make for an awesome birth experience.

I had a healthy pregnancy and hospital birth with my son Lochlan four years ago so felt confident that I wanted, and would ultimately have, a home birth with my daughter. I picked amazing midwives and was preparing both mentally and physically to have her in the comfort of my bedroom by buying all the necessary items and reading everything I could about unmedicated births.

At 34 weeks, my daughter had other plans. I got out of bed on a Sunday morning and felt like I had wet myself but I knew that’s not what it was. I tried to take the day in stride. I wasn’t prepared to have her yet; there were so many loose ends I had to tie up and things I had to do to ensure her arrival was everything I had dreamed of. But after hanging out around our house, confirming with a simple test that I was in fact leaking amniotic fluid, and consulting with our midwives, my husband and I headed to the hospital that evening to have our daughter.

It was such a surreal experience to be back at the hospital where my son was born. It was a familiar place and somewhere I felt comfortable as I had volunteered for over a year in their postpartum and newborn care floor. But I had no experience in their NICU - a place where my daughter was sure to go once she was born. As I told a dear friend, being a parent of a premie in intensive care is a club you know exists but one you never imagine belonging to.

The staff were amazing and took good care of me. Knowing I was a doula who had planned on a home birth, they were respectful and thoughtful with the decisions I was making and left me and my husband to labor on our own (as much as a hospital can allow). While we waited for things to pick up, we watched movies, held hands, and with dry and sometimes tearful eyes talked through what life would be like once she arrived. Later the following afternoon, I had an acupuncturist come to my room to help alleviate stress, anxiety, and to hopefully kick start the labor process. My midwife became my doula and arrived that evening, about 24 hours after I was admitted.

The birthing process was somewhat of an outer body experience. I had been to 30 births and knew what labor looked like including the flood of people that emerged when a baby is about to be born and the sweet embrace that happens when mom and baby first meet earthside. My beautiful girl came fast, so when I was on the bed, I was simultaneously pushing but also taking inventory of the room to make sure all the necessary people were there. My husband and midwife were right next to me to keep me grounded, as it’s hard to be the mama and a doula all at the same time.

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Of course I was so excited to meet my sweet girl but felt almost selfish about these feelings because I thought she wasn’t ready. And I was terrified that she wasn’t going to be ok when she was born, so when the sweet moment arrived I couldn’t bring myself to look down for fear that I couldn’t handle my sweet baby as she was. Aila was born and after I heard her first cry, I knew that she would be alright. For a brief few moments she was in my arms and my husband was allowed to cut the cord. The NICU staff were on hand and did what they needed to do and gave me a few more precious moments before she was taken upstairs to be hooked up to oxygen and a feeding tube.

As a birth worker, I have told countless parents that they need to take it easy and hunker down at home for at least the first few weeks to rest, recuperate, and bond with their baby. As a parent of a NICU baby, that just isn’t reality. Within hours after her birth, I was pumping around the clock to ensure she would have my colostrum and to increase my milk supply. It was eerily quiet in my hospital room without the sweet cries of my daughter. I would make the long trek to intensive care to see her all hours of the day and night to share just a few precious moments with her and by her second day of life I was finally able to hold her in my arms. I was discharged from the hospital after three days and came home to an empty bassinet and with a heavy heart. Every moment I wasn’t up there, I felt guilty and like a big piece of me was missing.  

I am indebted to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin and the selfless donor mamas. My sweet daughter was the beneficiary of their generosity when I wasn’t able to supply her with enough milk within those first few days of her life. Providing breast milk to my daughter was important to me but was even more so as a tiny NICU baby. It’s something I will never forget and I hope to pay it forward in the near future.

My daughter spent 10 days in intensive care and is now home and in our safe, loving arms. Our family feels complete and my heart is full. Her birth was the exact opposite of everything I had planned for both mentally and physically and I am still coming to terms with it. I’ll never know why my water broke early and I continue to struggle with feelings of guilt that somehow my body failed her. I wept tears of joy the moment I found out I was having a girl and I’d like to think that she decided to come early because she was just as eager to meet me.

Like all major life events, birth has a profound impact on us as persons and our core being. Aila’s birth has been one of life’s biggest teaching moments and I’ll carry it with me forever. Surrendering to what has happened and those things I cannot change has been the hardest but most poignant lessons of all. My husband and midwife were a rock star team and I could not have done it without their support. This experience has further solidified my commitment to my work and I am eager to get back to my sisters at AustinBorn. I am so grateful that I’m in this field - a place where I can continue to grow, process my story, and share all the newfound wisdom I have gained.

 

5 Tips for Staying Healthy This Season

Austin Born

We're in the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in nearly a decade. #thanks2017 And even as the temps are slowly increasing in TX, we are not out of the woods yet.  February is the peak month for flu activity.

There is increased risk of getting the flu while pregnant because the immune system is not as effective at fighting off infections. So if you're not willing to lock yourself inside for the next two months, what are your options for boosting immunity and staying safe? (Hint: It's not rocket science.)

1. WASH YOUR HANDS. We're going to put that one in CAPS because it deserves some extra oomph. Just in case you need a reminder of the process, here is Jimmy Kimmel getting a tutorial on proper hand washing:

2. Stay Hydrated. We know you're already being extra vigilant about your water intake during pregnancy, so keep it up during this flu season. It's helpful to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, filling it up as it reaches the bottom. Don't let it sit empty! If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set an alarm on your phone to remind you to have a glass of water every hour throughout the day. 

3. Rest Up. You need more sleep when your body is growing a baby, so don't let a lack of it put you at risk for getting sick. If your day doesn't allow for a quick nap, then make it a priority to get to bed early every night. Put down the phone, take a bath, and crawl into the sheets with plenty of time to score a solid 8-hours of dreamy sleep for you and baby.

4. Take Your Vitamins. There's a reason your care provider asks about your vitamin intake at every appointment. They're vital in boosting your immunity during pregnancy! Take those prenatal vitamins and also consider adding in Vitamins C & D*, as well as a probiotic for good gut health.

5. Get Those Nutrients. Yes, you are what you eat. A diet filled with fresh nutrient-dense foods will help to ensure optimal health for you and your growing baby. Did you see our post about a delicious soup recipe for this season? (It's even better and healthier with homemade bone broth!)

What other tips do you have to share for flu prevention in pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below!


*Always refer to your care provider for appropriate dosage of all supplements and medications. 

 

Tuesday Tucked In

Austin Born

It's cold in TX today! Austinites, are you surviving?! What are you doing today as the city is mostly shut down?

We're tucked in at home doing a combo of self-care (Hello, homemade soup and an afternoon snooze!) and prepping for our upcoming classes. The former includes making this amazing Lentil + Sausage soup, which we also whipped up for a postpartum family. It's easy to make and is the perfect blend of protein and vitamin packed goodies for a recovering mama and an exhausted partner. 

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

What are some of your favorite things to make for a postpartum family? Share your recipes in the comments -- we'd love to add to our list!

Sooooo pre-delicious soup and post-nap, we'll be working on finalizing things for our upcoming classes. We're gearing up for our new Childbirth Education Class. At AustinBorn we're about high quality education and care, and we believe in working efficiently to provide that for our clients. That's why we're offering a 1-day comprehensive CBE class. You'll get all the information and tools you need, without having to spend weeks in a class. Classes are ongoing throughout the year and we have a spot waiting for you! Because you're reading this, (and we like you for that) use code CBE30 to save $30 on your registration. xo

We're delighted that our first Easing Your Birthing Time class was a huge success this month! This 2-hour workshop includes tools for coping during the stages of labor: comfort measures, communication, mind/body connection, essential oils, and more. This is a GREAT class for partners to learn how best to support the birthing person. Next class is February 3rd from 4p-6p.

Lastly, a note for parents of little ones who are starting solids soon. We have just a few spots left in our upcoming Introducing Solids workshop on January 20th. This class is taught by a pro -- an occupational therapist who will answer all of your questions, ease your fears, and help get you and your baby set up for success. Grab one of the few remaining spots now!

Well, we're off to taste test the soup and daydream about that nap on the horizon. Hope you're all safe and warm, and we look forward to seeing you at an AustinBorn class soon!

*Also coming up: Prenatal Breastfeeding, Newborn Care, The Circle, The Nest


Are you following us on Facebook and Instagram? (It's kind of a big deal over there.)

We Made It

Austin Born

It's 2018. We made it! 

Just like so many of you, we are reflecting on what we did in 2017 and we are prepping for the big things to come in the new year. We're also proud to say there is a lot we do that doesn't need to be changed, which feels amazing as we step into the next phases of AustinBorn. 

So what happened in 2017? 

  • Our Instagram account blew up in a really important way. We've made it part of our mission to share images and videos that represent the realities of labor, birth, infant feeding, and parenting. There is a movement to normalize all of those beautiful journeys and we're committed to being a part it. Head over to our account @weareaustinborn to see what's happening! 
  • With the addition of two new birth doulas, Jacqueline and Scout, our team was exponentially elevated. They are the embodiment of the AustinBorn doula: they hold high standards of professionalism, they provide superior client care, they value collaboration (with their peers and with their greater community), and they're super fun women to be around. (Stay tuned for another birth team announcement later this month!)
  • Our group facilitators -- Yazmin, Juanita, and Kristen -- exceeded expectations in supporting and leading our meet-ups for parents and babies. We talk a lot about holding space in this work and these ladies have proven time and time again that they get it. They confidently navigate the balance of guiding parents, while also allowing them the space to find their footing. Come see for yourself if you haven't joined us yet! The Circle: For Mothers, a gathering for mothers and babies of all ages, meets every Wednesday and Friday from 10a-12p. The Nest: For Families, a gathering for parents and babies of all ages, meets the 2nd Saturday of each month from 10a-12p. 
  • We welcomed Amy Tucker, Certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (PBi), to our team. What a phenomenal addition she has been! Amy represents the gold standard of placenta services. She offers top-notch communication with our clients, provides thorough information on placenta encapsulation, guides clients in navigating the placenta process at their place of birth, and a conducts a safe and seamless process from start to finish. (Oh, and she gives THE BEST hugs.) We're offering $50 off Placenta Encapsulation through the month of January. Use code PLACENTA50 during registration

 

And what are we planning for 2018?

  • We just launched our new Childbirth Education class and it's kind of a big deal. Something we've noticed about education for expectant parents is that most classes are so time-consuming. Growing a baby is exhausting; learning the whats and hows of becoming a parent shouldn't be. That's why we're offering a one-day comprehensive Childbirth Education workshop. You'll leave feeling confident about: the physiological process of labor and birth, what tools you can use to increase comfort and manage pain, what interventions can pop up and how best to navigate them, how to handle a change in plans, and what to expect postpartum. We're currently offering a discount on this class for the new year! Use code HOLIDAY20 to save $20 on your registration. (Offer ends 1/3/2017.)
  • We're also introducing Easing Your Birthing Time, a new workshop to provide expectant parents the tools to help create a harmonious birth experience. This 2-hour workshop will cover coping techniques in labor, how partners can play a beneficial role in providing comfort, and effective communication techniques for couples during labor. We have 2 spots left in our upcoming class Saturday, January 6th. REGISTER HERE
  • Be on the look-out for more community events at AustinBorn (Hello, collaborations!), as well as casual hangs for our growing group of parents. (Family dinners, self-care gatherings, mama movies, and more!)

Thank you to all who are a part of AustinBorn. We are honored to be welcomed into your families and support you on your journeys. 

 For those we haven't met yet, please reach out to meet us! Check out our Calendar for upcoming events, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram

My Bold Birth....?

Austin Born

By Juanita Sawyer

I wasn't the girl who grew up dreaming of an ornate wedding and tiny toes in satin cradles. I wasn't ever sure what I wanted in my adult life. It took many years lived as a pseudo adult, learning from mistakes and falling in to incredibly obvious traps before any sense of self or future came in to focus. I don't think my story is unique but it helps set the stage for my current life and this quickly evolving pregnancy of mine. I got here by feeling it out and making decisions based on gut checks informed by a life of very real experience. 

I came around to my role in the world as a doula through some very tough self exploration. I had waited so long for any sense of calling that I wasn't about to take this journey lightly. I realized that I'm capable of standing at the gates and crossroads in life with folks and offer some true connection in those times that can be a miasma of emotion. What a relief to know my purpose and have something to walk boldly forward in to.

When I met my current husband, while living in Eastern Asia and imagining a life of autonomy and travel, I wasn't even sure I wanted children. My ethic base and global consciousness was in over drive and I wasn't sure I deserved the luxury of having my own child. He was certain that we were to be together and make babies and I have to admit that there was something very sexy about his certitude. When he asked me to marry him, I promised to do my best and walked boldly forward.We returned to the states and started life here; he in nursing school and myself as a doula exploring birth work. We agreed that putting pressure on baby making wasn't going to offer either our marriage or our pursuit to be parents any help so we went forward in the spirit of 'not not trying' and trusted synchronicity and biology to do the rest. Starting a new life in a new inter-cultural marriage in a place completely new to both of us proved stressful enough. We finally found our way to my husbands graduation day and some traction in my work enough to move in to a home that provided a greater sense of stability and comfort. We were pregnant a month later. And so we walk boldly forward. 

You may have started wondering why I'm telling you all of this... By no means am I trying to paint the picture that big life decisions come easily for me or that 'walking boldly forward' is always been my go to in life. I'm also plagued with seemingly insurmountable fear when heading in to the unknown. Here's the thing though... this 'having a baby' business has, in many ways, thrown me for the biggest fucking loop of my life. It doesn't help that I'm a doula and can't unknow the things I've seen and learned. It also doesn't help that I'm not able to pursue a blissful, natural midwife guided home birth due to some health issues. So... here I am, walking into a medicalized birth having been trained in the natural model. And, ya know, that's all fine. I'm game to do whatever I have to do to bring a healthy baby in to this world. The problem is that I don't want this experience to be wrung of all of that beautiful, empowering juice that all momma's and babies deserve. So.. I'm on a mission. I'm gonna make this a beautiful birth. It may not be ecstatic or surrounded by candles and chanting while I moan my baby in to the world through water. There will be beeping machines and harsh lighting and perhaps scalpels and masks. There will be drugs and a hospital stay and rules. But there are things that I can do to advocate for that will draw me back in to the deep truths of the transformation that my baby and I are having together. And ya know... fuck some of the rules. Cause that's how I do.

I say all of this BUT you'll notice that I didn't invoke my catch phrase in the last paragraph. The truth is... I'm not feeling so bold yet. And I am hesitating in my steps forward. I'm on the hunt for the right OB and boy has that been an adventure so far (more on that later). In short, I've found that a practitioner that isn't the right fit can really throw a wrench in to any bold, birthing empowerment one tries to summon. Also, I'm looking for the right doula, although, that process hasn't started ardently yet. I need someone who can help me to completely honor my birth for everything that it is. So often, doulas come with a set of bias that our training can instill in us. And, though it's true that a natural birth is, as shown by a lot of evidence, the best for both mom and baby, what matters most is what remains in momma's memory and baby's bones. What was her work and how did her brave show up?   How did she invoke the deepest parts of herself to bring this life into our realm? What are her memories of those redefining moments? Was she treated like the warrior she brought? Was she given a warriors welcome? 

Sharing these thoughts with you is emboldening my outlook. Let's get this conversation started and keep it going! What do we need from our birth workers to make birth ours again even when they happen in an environment that can be alienating? How do we bridge the gap between the perceptions of a medicalized birth and a birth modeled after midwifery standards so that honor is showered upon every birth? When we give birth, we are approaching the very vale between life as we know it and the beyond. We are encountering the very essence of what makes us human and links us with the ancient and posterity. What do we need to avoid a complete irreverence of that? What tools do we need to walk blindly and boldly forward into the deep unknowing that makes life a miracle?

I know now, through experience, that life's big moves don't happen because I have calculated every thing perfectly. It happens because something larger than me moves me forward into some potential shit storms only for me to emerge a more complete version of myself. Never has that been truer than now as I bring this child into the world. And so, one bold step at a time, mommas. 

Juanita is a birth and postpartum doula, supporting families in Austin, TX. To read more of her work, visit her website Vine Doula Services.

Welcome to AustinBorn

Austin Born

We support YOU.

Yes, YOU. In all of your individual glory, we support you.

Since the beginning of AustinBorn, our message has reflected judgement-free support of your decisions. Our mission remains to uphold a safe and compassionate space where families can learn, belong, and thrive together. Our hope is that you’ve heard that message loud and clear. In case we missed a few folks:

We’re here to proudly state that we serve and support ALL FAMILIES.

Everyone is welcome to pass through our doors and receive the guidance and support they need and deserve. As new and expecting parents, you have one of the most important jobs on the face of this planet -- and we understand that process looks different for all families.  At AustinBorn we celebrate your diversity, we respect your decisions, and we vow to hold you up while you navigate the (sometimes rough) waters of parenthood.

We are honored to work with each and every one of you, to help ensure you thrive along your journey.

Welcome, Families...our door is open.

*We would love an opportunity to get to know you. Click here to schedule a meeting with our birth and postpartum doula team.