Announcing…Childbirth Classes!

Exciting News! Brilliant Birth Doulas are now offering Childbirth Education and Breastfeeding/Newborn Care Classes.
Childbirth Education will be a six week series. Karla will cover topics such as Joyful Pregnancy, Anatomy, Natural/ Holistic Birthing, Local Birthing Options, Planning your Birth, and Comfort/Relaxation techniques.
There is also an optional Breastfeeding and Newborn Care Class that Lisa will be teaching.
Date/time: Feb 13th/ Thursday Nights from 6:30-8:30
Location: The Learning Cycle
1624 Woodruff Road, Greenville, South Carolina
Fees: $175 per couple
Feel free to contact us with any questions or for more information.

Birth Photography

Have you seen these two beautiful photos on our “About Us” page? They were captured by photographer Jen Conway. Jen is offering a special discount to Brilliant Birth clients so hop over to her website to see more great photos and contact her for details!

Birth Photography



Hypnobabies – I’m sold!

This week I went to my first Hypnobabies class.  Originally, I was going to audit the class as a doula but at the last minute there was an extra student spot and since I am pregnant and all, it made sense to jump in and fully participate.  I’ve heard a lot about Hypnobabies over the last couple years.  Mostly from Karla who raves about it to every pregnant woman we meet 😉  But I wasn’t convinced it was the right fit for me.  My last three births were Bradley births.  I love the Bradley method and my births have been great.  I wanted to stick with what I know.  I read Mongan’s Hypnobirthing book and I was willing to take my Bradley relaxation skills to the next level but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go all the way to Hypnobabies hypnosis.  Honestly, I thought the recorded scripts sounded a little hokey.  It reminded me of laying in my best friend’s room in junior high, listening to her dad’s stop-smoking-hypnosis tapes, trying to be serious but busting up laughing.  I can still remember that guy’s voice instructing us to take a deep breathe and “hode it, hode it, hode it.”  It was a running joke between the two of us for a long time.  So I wasn’t sure I could take Hypnobabies serious enough for it to work.  That and the fact that I don’t like being told what to do.  But, after just a few practice sessions, I’ve gotten used to the voice on the CD and I’m more willing follow directions and accept suggestions, knowing that I am still in control of this type of self-hypnosis. And it feels so good to relax completely at the beginning, middle, or end of a crazy day.  Now I’m excited, not just to help expectant moms have a great hypnobirth, but to experience a great Hypnobabies birth for myself.  With each of my four babies, the birth experience has gotten better and better and I’m confident that with Hypnobabies, this birth will be our best yet! 

An Inspiring Story,p0,d0

The other night my husband was out watching the NBA finals with a friend so I was looking for something extra-feminine to watch after the kids went to bed. I discovered that hulu has a series done by photographer Anne Geddes called My Preganancy which tells the very different stories of very different women and their pregnancies and births. The photography and the stories are as interesting as I expected but there was one that stood out: Gina’s story. She discovered she was pregnant and 4 days later she discovered that she had breast cancer. Amazing and inspiring story of courage and determination.  Click the link above to watch it yourself.  It’s about 20 minutes long.


In the midst of the first trimester…

It seems the best time to write about pregnancy would be while experiencing it. The only problem is, I’m way too tired to come up with something insightful. And I’m starting to feel a little nauseous, which means I absolutely must get up and go eat something before it gets worse. So I guess that is my great first trimester insight for the day: Do what you need to do. Eat when you need to eat. Even if you don’t want to eat. And if you did any laundry today, I’d love to give you a high five. If you actually mopped the kitchen floor or cleaned a bathroom, I will jump up and down and rejoice with you. The little things are huge. These are the days of keeping it simple.  And spending lots of time on the couch.

My friend Rae wrote a beautiful blog post from her current home in Newborn Land.  As someone who has experienced postpartum depression, she shares about navigating the rough waters and learning to look through eyes of sadness to see the joys that come with new life.  You can read it here.

She also recommends that moms spend a full week in bed after birth.  Get in touch with us if you or someone you know could use a little extra help and support in the postpartum period.


Preventing Mastitis and Dealing with Plugged Ducts – What Worked for Me

When my second child was an infant, I was convinced I that my milk ducts had a tendency to plug up.  And if not dealt with promptly, mastitis could develop.  The last thing a busy mama needs is to be down sick.  But in most cases, busy mama’s body is warning her she needs to slow down.  What worked for me when I felt that painful lump in my breast?  Cabbage leaves!  And a few other things.

1. Rest – Decrease activities to the bare minimum. Find a good book and spend a lot of time with it on the couch.

2. Nurse often – Pointing baby’s chin toward the plugged duct seemed to help.  I had to get creative with positioning.

3. Apply heat right before a feeding to get the milk flowing – warm washcloth, hot pack/rice sock

4. Apply cold after a feeding – to reduce inflammation and numb pain.  A cold pack or cold rice sock will work and a cold cabbage leaf inserted in the bra will work great!  You can leave it there until the next feeding.  There’s something about cabbage leaves that lowers your milk supply which is very helpful when your trying to clear out the affected breast but you’ll want to keep that in mind and only use when necessary.

With my first 3 babies it seemed my problems with plugged ducts were only getting worse and worse.  Then with baby #4, I hit on the best preventative measure: proper positioning during nursing.  When moms first start breastfeeding, we often play close attention to positioning.  Then as we get more comfortable and baby gets bigger, the baby starts sliding down down down into our laps.  My littlest guy is 18 months old and I still nurse him like a newborn.  I keep his body straight and snug against mine; his bottom is not in my lap, it’s supported by my hand and his feet are out to the side where he can kick the husband sitting next to me.  Kinda like this picture.  With his head a little lower, of course 😉DSC_0687

(This is not intended to be professional advice for any medical condition.  It is simply the shared experience of one mother to another.)

Karsten’s Birth Story

Lisa here.  My littlest guy is coming up on his first birthday and I’m feeling nostalgic so I thought I’d repost his birth story.  Here it is…

I couldn’t get to the camera. So instead I tried to seal the images in my mind as we pulled into our driveway with a new little brother snug in his carseat. Inside the house Geneva and Caleb spotted us and stood waving and tapping at the living room window. Bob gestured for them to “come on!” and out they ran straight for the back seat, full of smiles and giggles and excitement.

What other snapshots would I take of the time before, during, and after Karsten’s birth? There’s Bob and I sitting at the table playing dominoes with my parents Thursday evening. There’s the bowl of cheerios with sliced banana that I left unfinished when I felt a pop pop gush as my water broke at midnight. Then there I am on the phone with the midwife, standing over the puddle in the kitchen. There’s Bob sitting at the computer while I wait for contractions to get going. And there I am at the door at 1 am wagging my finger and saying “come on we’ve got to go NOW!”

On the drive to the birth center the contractions started getting stronger. After we arrived and settled into our suite, I labored sitting on the ball and leaning on the edge of the bed while Bob applied pressure to my lower back. I started dozing between contractions since it was like 3:00 in the morning. My midwife Susan suggested I lay down in the bed and try to rest. We actually slept for over an hour. I had some contractions throughout that time that required my attention and when they got too strong to stay in bed, I got out and labored in the big, warm, relaxing tub. As I felt each contraction coming on, I tried to welcome it, instead of resist it, letting my body do its work, knowing that each contraction was bringing us closer to the end goal of meeting our baby. After Magdalena’s labor which was pitocin induced, this one seemed a lot less intense and much more manageable. When the time came to push, I wanted to try for a waterbirth but just could not get in a comfortable pushing position. My back was hurting and I felt like I was floating. I couldn’t get the stability I needed. I tried getting comfortable on the bed. No go. Still too much pressure on my back so we tried the birthing stool. With my feet firmly planted and gravity on my side, this was the way to go. But as I pushed, little was happening. At one point I thought, “I don’t think he’s going to come out.” And it seemed a reasonable thought at the time. Apparently Karsten had his hand up by his cheek, making my job more difficult. But we kept pushing and he did, indeed, make it out. The midwives handed him to me right away, and I mean right away and they let me keep him. One of the midwives did snap some real pictures of these moments but I am not willing to post them on the internet 🙂 I glanced at the clock – 6:30am.

We got some rest and bonded with our new son. I loved the peaceful, private atmosphere of the birth center. Susan checked in on me periodically during labor and then was there full on when I needed her. Then after his birth she checked in on us, but let us get our rest too. We were welcome to stay as long as we liked but also free to go home as soon as I was feeling well enough. We were home in time for supper. It was certainly my best birth experience so far and for that I am thankful.