Google+

contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.


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!

Blog

Filtering by Tag: motherhood

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.

IMG-0846.PNG

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.

 

The Circle: A Gathering for Mothers

Austin Born

The weather is a little cooler (Well, not THAT much in TX, but it's not 90 degrees so we'll take it.), we made it through our annual October birth storm, the holidays are upon us, and we're preparing to wrap up an incredible year at AustinBorn. As our community continues to grow, we are welcoming some big changes to make our mission even greater for you.

We've been working hard this year to ensure AustinBorn is an inclusive community and that the language we use represents that. One shift we're making in this realm is to change the name of the Breastfeeding Cafe so that all mothers feel welcome to come for feeding support. There are many variations of infant feeding and the name of our group must represent that. 

So we're making both of our weekly support groups The Circle: A Gathering for Mothers. This group remains a same safe space to give and receive support regarding all things motherhood and our members will see the same lovely and professional facilitators each week. Our hope is that this change further opens our door to the greater ATX community. 

We have a few more big announcements to make over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

 

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.