Thursday, June 30, 2011

'Cause Winning Things is Fun

After waking up way too early thing morning, I've decided to give you all some contest links. All of the contests end this week, so you won't have to wait months to find out if you've won. Here they are:

Little Tikes Cars Bedroom Giveaway

Toys from La-Z-Boy

Prizes from Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine

Trip for Four to Sesame Place

Nordic Baby Carrier

Step2 Sand and Water Farm

Good luck everyone!

- Liz

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"How do you do it?" or "Thanks, Caffeine."

356 miles driven + 2 doula client visits + 1 student midwives' meeting + 18 hours at Walmart + 7 cups of coffee = My Weekend.

For the many folks who have asked "How do you do it all?" I'll tell you that my secret isn't a secret at all. The answer is: stubbornness, perseverence, determination, and... caffeine. Once a water drinking, orange juice buying kind of gal, I've recently rediscovered coffee, soda and even the world of energy drinks. Not something that I would necessarily recommend to others (at least not in the amounts that I'm consuming), but for now, it's a way to get through my schedule and stay awake. The picture above was tonight's "snack" at work.

I've decided that the current (thankfully temporary) schedule is worth it to get me closer to my goal of becoming a midwife. While it's hard, it's worth doing. And at the rate I'm going, it won't be long before I can afford to work less or drop the Walmart altogether.

I heard this song on the radio as I was driving from the Student Midwives' meeting to my overnight shift as Walmart tonight and thought it fitting:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Childbirth Classes!

The group I'm a part of here in Syracuse is now officially advertising our childbirth classes. Since I had a partial shift at work tonight (I hit 40 hours at 1am and Walmart has an aversion to paying overtime), I was able to get the Childbirth Classes page added to the group's website:

For my doula clients, I will be offering a $25 discount on my childbirth classes.

To book me as your doula or to just schedule a childbirth class, email me at or call 443-690-6212.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Changes in Childbirth

This short video on changes in childbirth practices highlights changes in birth over the past century (stopping at about the 1950s). I especially like the part about the Southern midwives.

This and more videos can be found at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Price Chopper Trip Today :)

The kids and I had a great Price Chopper shopping trip today.

We got:

- 3 boxes of Cheerios
- 1 box Lucky Charms
- 2 Yoplait yogut multi-packs
- 1 4-pack of Fiber One yogurt
- 1 4-pack of Yoplait Delights
- 1 box of Simply GoGurt
- Pantente Nature Fusion shampoo and conditioner

The cereal was on sale 4/$8 and we used two coupons for $1/2, making them $1.50 a box.

Yogurt was on sale for $2 each and we had coupons for "Buy 4, Get 1" and two coupons for $1/2, making them $1.20 each.

The Pantene was on sale for $3.50 each. I had a manufacturer coupon for $3/2 and a store coupon for $3/2, making them .50 each.

Finally, I handed the cashier our $5 Off Your Next Order coupon from the last trip!

And then... another $5 Off Your Next Order coupon printed out!!!

Our original total was $38.91 and we paid $8.32.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Good Morning! Welcome to Walmart!

Walmart Parking Lot: 5:15am
It's hard to believe that it's already been two weeks since the last time I posted to the blog.

The past weeks have been a blur. For the past four nights, I've been "people greeting" at Walmart. I had one night off before that and worked the previous three nights. So, out of the past eight nights, I've worked for seven of them. I spend from 10pm-7am greeting customers, putting stickers on items people are returning, checking receipts (it's nothing personal, stop getting annoyed about it), sweeping the front entryway and counting the minutes.

I also spend from about 5am on reminding myself that it's for midwifery school and I have to stand there for the rest of the shift and be grateful that I have a way to pay for school. I'm working on it. The gratitude, that is.

At the present time, my midwifery school fund is up to $2050!!! Another $1950 and I can mail off a check for my first year's tuition :) My next Walmart payday is this coming Thursday; I'll try to post the new total.

So I am still here. I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I've just found that working full time at night, being with the kids during the day and sleeping in the late afternoon/early evening doesn't leave nearly as much time for being on the computer as I used to have.

- Liz Baer: Doula, Aspiring Student Midwife, Homeschooling Mom, Walmart Greeter

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Car Seat Safety

Car seat safety recommendations seem to be something that are constantly changing. Lately, they seem to be changing for the better, particularly with the AAP's recent recommendation to keep children rear-facing until age two.

The following is a crash test video from Sweden showing child sized dummies who are forward facing and rear facing. Note the amount of impact that the forward facing child has to absorb.

Something that I notice a lot when I see people putting children into seats is straps that are too loose or chest clips that are all the way down at the crotch or belly. Straps need to be tightened and chest clips are called "chest" clips because they need to be placed between the child's nipples.

One good resource for parents is the Family Safety forum at the Mothering message boards:

Another place to get car seat safety information is:

You can see if your car seat has been recalled here:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Doula Certification: Info for Consumers

What is the difference between someone who is trained as a doula and someone who is certified?

In my experience with DONA, not a whole lot. To become certified through DONA, I had to check book titles off of a reading list, attend a childbirth class and a breastfeeding class (very basic, geared to consumers) write a couple of essays and get evaluations filled out from births I'd attended. In other words, one could be DONA-Certified and still not be knowledgeable about birth or well connected with local resources. (This is not to say that there aren't many wonderful certified DONA doulas. I am one and I work with a bunch of them).

The whole list of what I had to do to become DONA certified was:
  • Pay for DONA membership
  • Pay the certification application processing fee
  • Fill out the application
  • Read The Birth Doula's Contribution to Modern Maternity Care; The Doula Book; The Birth Partner; Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn; Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers
  • Attend a childbirth class (where I wasn't a pregnant participant)
  • Complete the course at
  • Attend a DONA birth doula workshop
  • Attend three births and submit three evaluations from mothers, three from caregivers, an essay about each one, DONA Birth Record sheets for each one
  • A resource list with resources from 30 different categories
  • Write an essay on the value of labor support
  • Sign Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
  • Take multiple choice quiz
Some of the other doula organizations do have more requirements for certification. CAPPA, for example, requires that you complete a study guide before attending their training. You can see the study guide at With BirthWorks, one has to write a book report about each book on the reading list and submit it for review.

In the Doula Connection in Syracuse, the group I work with, all of our doulas have taken doula training. Some have chosen to be certified through an organziation and some haven't or are in the process of doing so. I do not think that the ladies who are certified are better doulas than the ones who aren't

What I would recommend looking for when you select a doula is someone who you "click" with, who you would feel comfortable being supported by in labor. You might also want someone who is well connected in the local birth communty. If you need a referral for a midwife or a chiropractor, it's better when the doula can recommend someone that she's seen in action. A wide knowledge base is another strength. If you call you doula from a prenatal appointment with your caregiver with a question about something they said, you want your doula to know enough "medical-ese" to translate it into English for you.

If the doula who you're considering is someone who is "into" birth and she has attended a doula training, I wouldn't hesitate to use her because she isn't certified. I would also not recommend asking "certifying" doulas if you can pay them less than you would have paid a certified doula. Many doulas, both trained and certified, are willing to work with families in need who want doula support. For those families who are able to pay (and there are lots of ways to work it into your budget), a trained doula is providing you with the same service as a certified doula and deserves to be paid accordingly.

- Elizabeth Baer, CD(DONA)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Bookshelf Expandeth

I've added some great books (that make me really happy) since the last time that I blogged about my birthy bookshelf, enough that I had to take two pictures to properly capture the coolness.

Top shelf:
  • DONA training binder
  • BirthWorks training binder
  • Birth Log
  • Special Women
  • The Birth Partner X2
  • Nurturing the Family: The Guide for Postpartum Doulas
  • Mothering the New Mother
  • The Doula Advantage
  • Birthsong Midwifery Workbook
  • Helping Hands (midwife's assistant workbook)
  • Paths to Becoming a Midwife
  • Midwifery & Childbirth in America
  • Research Updates for Midwives
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Handbook
  • Heart & Hands by Elizabeth Davis
  • Holistic Midwifery Vol. 1
  • Anatomy Coloring Book
  • Physiology Coloring Book
  • Box of Midwifery Today mags
Middle Shelf
  • Past doula client folders
  • NARM Candidate Information Bulletin
  • Notebook from Midwifery Today conference
  • National Midwifery Institute handbook
  • Sisters on a Journey
  • Diary of a Midwife
  • Baby Catcher
  • Vaginal Politics
  • Let Birth Be Born Again
  • Medical Dictionary
  • The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
  • Silent Knife (VBACs & Cesarean)
  • Survivor Moms
  • Herbal for the Childbearing Year
  • Unassisted Childbirth
  • Giving Birth
  • Birthing From Within
  • Mother's Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth
  • Spiritual Midwifery (2)
  • Birth Matters
  • Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
  • Orgasmic Birth
  • Birth Reborn
  • Rediscovering Birth
  • Birthing In the Spirit
Bottom Shelf
  • Active Birth
  • The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
  • Childbirth Without Fear
  • Husband-Coached Childbirth
  • Gentle Birth Choices
  • Siblings Without Rivalry 
  • Immaculate Deception II
  • The Official Lamaze Guide
  • Mothering Multiples
  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother
  • The Breastfeeding Book
  • The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers
  • Breastfeeding
  • The Baby Book
  • Gentle Birth Choices (DVD)
  • The Business of Being Born (DVD)
  • Mothertouch (DVD)
  • Healthy Birth Your Way (DVD)
  • Special Women (DVD)
  • Birth (DVD)
  • Giving Birth (DVD)
  • Birth as We Know It (DVD)
  • Baby-Led Breastfeeding (DVD)
Just imagine, if you are in Syracuse and I'm your doula, you'll have access to someone who not only reads all of those books but can look things up when you call.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Homeschooling Week of 5/30-6/3

Homeschooling is going fairly well considering that I spend a decent chunk of the daylight hours asleep nowadays (yay for working overnights!).

We managed to make it to the library twice this week and the kids got out a big stack of books. James had speech therapy at the school on Wednesday and Friday. Friday night, we took the kids to the Taste of Syracuse festival, which has got to be educational considering the number of foods they sampled.

Delilah reviewing addition using linking cubes
Patrick and Delilah are both still using most days. James has asked to do it but I think we're going to wait to start paying for him until he's reading well. I did manage to make time this week to work with Delilah and James on math in a more focused way.

Patrick started using the "Summer Before 6th Grade" workbook that we found at Five Below (which has a fantastic book selection).

All of the kids are enjoying our couponing hobby. Early in the week, I discovered the "All You" magazine that Walmart sells, which is full of coupons. Patrick and Delilah joined me in clipping them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting Back into Studying

Today has been a great day in terms of getting into the swing of being a student and gearing up for when I start my midwifery coursework. I've been trying to develop a habit of setting aside time every day for my "schooling."

In about 2 1/2 hours today, I managed to:

- read chapter 7 in Heart and Hands, "Becoming a Midwife"

- read chapter 2 in The Doula Business Guide

- wrote a book report on Jean Sutton's book, Let Birth Be Born Again and sent it off to my BirthWorks Childbirth Ed program reviewer

- ordered a copy of Becoming a Midwife by Carolyn Steiger

- watched my new DVD, "Baby-Led Breastfeeding," that I got when I went to the neonatal resuscitation training last month. You can check it out here:

I'm impressed with the "Baby-Led Breastfeeding" DVD. I think I'll be using it in my childbirth classes.

Doula Connection Anniversary Celebration!

Next Thursday will mark the date that, a year ago, the Doula Connection first met in Syracuse. We knew we wanted something different than what had been available in Central New York for doulas. We looked at doula groups online, emailed and called other groups to ask them questions.

What we formed was a doula networking group that focuses on enrichment for doulas in the form of group meetings, field trips, trainings, book discussions and video showings. The group now does regular community outreach to educate folks about pregnancy, birth and (obviously) doulas.

We also started the website: where families can find and contact the childbirth educator, birth doula or postpartum doula of their choice. One strength of the website is that it is the only site that lists local doulas individually.

On June 9th, at Cicero United Methodist Church, at 6pm, we are getting together to celebrate our first anniversary. Expectant couples who want to meet our doulas are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Baer
Doula Connection
443-690-6212 (cell)