'Twas the Night Before Christmas (As Retold By a Parent with Small Children)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and the kids were insane
I suspected a sugar-high from too many candy canes.
The stockings were strewn this way and that,
because the baby had tried to use them as hats.

The Best Holiday Traditions with Kids

The Best Holiday Traditions with Kids

You know what doesn't determine my nostalgia for Christmas Time?  Details.  We had just as much fun, life was just as special whether we used fine china or paper plates, and no matter if it was just us or the whole extended family. 

In the Sknow- 10 Indoor Activities to Survive Your Next Snow Day

Tricks for Surviving Your Kids' Next Snow Day.
Those beautiful, peaceful days that bring some gentle stillness to the dreary winter landscape. Until the kids wake up.

Hiring Help: The Best Money I Ever Spent

doula in richmond

Today, I came home and my house was clean.  I don't mean just mostly picked up, I mean dusted, vacuumed, wiped down, dishes put away, looks like the guests could arrive at any minute kind of clean.  And it stayed sparkling clean until my adorable youngest sweetly asked me to read to him, and ALL OF THE BOOKS fell off of his shelf onto the floor.  Obviously they stayed that way all night, because no four year old in his right mind can be asked to pick up ALL OF THE BOOKS IN THE WORLD at 4pm after a long day of preschool and playing,

But for FIVE WHOLE MINUTES my house was clean.  And it was glorious.

I can't tell you the number of women I speak to about wishing they had someone to clean for them, even just wiping down the kitchen or folding and putting away laundry.  It's not about having a partner who shares the duties, but that at the end of a long day, where you both worked 8-10 hours plus commuting, you have picked up the kids or relieved the nanny, and now there is the rush of cook-eat-dishes-bathe-homework-jammies-toothbrushing-reading-snuggle-bedtime-TV-quality time-sleep all to be done in the next 3 hours, who has even the mental space to pick up ALL OF THE BOOKS when they come falling down?  Not me.  Not my partner.  And certainly not our 4-year-old.

In these days where we are rushing to fit everything in, all of the work, connections, activities for the kids, family time, adult time, more work because we couldn't get it all done,

it is ok to admit that you want help

doing the things there aren't time and energy for.  It is also ok to prioritize those things in your budget.

The greatest money I ever spent was that which cleaned my house while I was gone.  And its not because I am not good at housekeeping (although I'm not really- my mind has too many other things to pay attention to than whether or not I actually swept under that cabinet) but because what I'm really paying for is peace of mind. 

It is knowing that once every two weeks, my house will be clean, even if only for five glorious minutes. 

It is relief of the clutter and the energy spent worrying about when I'm going to be able to find an hour to scrub the bathrooms as well as they need to be scrubbed with three boys living at home.  And that relief, my friends, is priceless.

Finding the money to hire out our deep cleaning is not always easy, but it is a priority, because

I am a priority and so is the time I spend with my family. 

Because having the time to read to my youngest when he asks so nicely is a priority.  Because I want to be able to watch Netflix snuggled up with my honey and not folding and putting away laundry EVERY NIGHT (because we all know laundry is never ending).  Because during the day, I need to be able to focus on work, not when the bedsheets are going to get changed. Because I am a better mom and wife and business owner when I know someone else is taking care of those details.

I've been asked how I'm going to teach my kids to clean if I have someone do it myself?  And the answer is: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. 

Well, no, ok that's not actually what I say, but sometimes we want to, right?  But if I'm not feeling defensive about it, I remind them (and myself) that firstly, our kids already do a tremendous amount of chores for their age and capabilities, they are learning responsibility and systems for caring for themselves and a home.  Secondly, I'm also teaching them how to be their best selves, and

sometimes that means getting some help doing the things that are sucking joy out of your life.

You deserve this peace of mind.  You deserve to be a priority.  You deserve to invest in yourself.  And when you do, send me a photo of you sitting on your comfy couch in your clean living room, reading to your little one.  I'll cheer with you, because

it. will. be. GLORIOUS.

 

doula charlottesville

 

 

"We've Got You Covered, Baby!" Diaper & Formula Drive

We are so excited to announce:

Diapers charlottesville

 

to benefit families suffering effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Jose, and families displaced by the wildfires on the West Coast.

We are collecting:

  • opened and unopened diaper packs
  • powdered or premixed formulas

Bonus Feel-Good Points for these high demand items:

  • Size 3, 4, & 5 Diapers
  • Specialty formulas for higher need babies

Drop off Locations
(Please check their hours)

CHARLOTTESVILLE

Dates: 9/15/17-9/30/17

Important info:

1. We have been in contact with doulas on the ground in the areas affected by our recent natural disasters, and they will place orders from the donations collected, so you can rest assured

ALL ITEMS SENT OUT OF STATE WILL GO DIRETLY TO A FAMILY IN NEED

2. The Virginia Baby Company will pay for the shipping for items for immediate use.

3. After October 15th, any remaining collected donations will be gifted to local food and diaper banks serving families in need here in Virginia.

4. We are not a non-profit agency, so sadly, you won't be able to take a tax-deduction for your items donated.

5. We want to celebrate your donation, so please take a photo of yourself or your little one with your donation, or the donation box, or outside of your drop off location. Make sure to tag the location you dropped off AND The Virginia Baby Co. on Facebook or Instagram. #wevegotyoucoveredbaby

Gifts for NICU Babies and their Families

when will my baby sleep?
My friend just had her baby early and they are going to spend some time in the NICU. What kinds of gift can I get for them?

We hear this all the time, and we've polled all of our NICU clients and a few NICU nurses to find out what the favorite gifts are for families spending time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Gifts for Babies in the NICU

Adorable preemie caps (those heads are TINY!!) or a sleeper for preemies are always appreciated.  NICU staff seems to appreciate snaps instead of zippers; they're easier to open in an emergency, and leaves rooms for wires and such.  Stay away from anything that would have to be in the crib with them-- they tend to keep the sleeping areas free from anything soft and squishy that might carry bacteria.

Something Sentimental

The minutes can feel so long, but the months and years pass quickly, and we frequently hear how the moments they never thought they would forget become lost in the fog quickly.  A special journal for NICU babies, or these adorable cards can help them record the memories so they can share them with the world and their baby as she grows at their own pace.

Gifts for NICU Mom

She (and her partner hopefully) will be coming and going all the time.  Some sweet treats and non-perishable snacks for her purse will help keep vital time with her baby to a maximum.  Hair ties, lip chap and quality travel sized unscented hand lotion (we LOVE the stuff from the locally owned LadyBurg) will help keep her hydrated in the dry hospital air and through all of the handwashing and sanitizing necessary.

Be Practical

The number one thing NICU parents tell us they appreciate is gift cards.  They are on the go all the time, sometimes quite a distance from where their baby is located.  Anything you can do to alleviate that stress is helpful.  VISA gift cards, gas cards, grocery cards, gift certificates to local places near the hospital to get something fresh to eat (you wouldn't believe how far a salad goes when you've been eating hamburgers fries and sandwiches), or pizza places that will deliver to the lobby of the hospital. Starbucks cards, or iTunes/Audible cards to help give them something to listen to during the long hours.

Also a clean house and a dinner at home that can be eaten in 30 min or less is a tremendous help.  Whether you are the kind of friend who can clean their house and leave a meal (other than pasta- EVERYONE brings pasta), or if you are more of a hire a housecleaner and drop off Panera one evening, that kind of peace of mind is priceless to a family traveling back and forth.

Presence

Sometimes our precious babies spend a few days regulating blood sugars and breathing and then are sent home.  Other times, the tiniest fighters can spend weeks and even months there.  In those longer stretches, the nicest thing you can do is to make sure they are remembered.  Visiting is nice, but sometimes distance or NICU safety precautions can make that very difficult.  There are other ways to be present:

  • set a reminder on your phone to send a "Thinking of you today" text.
  • call every few days and don't be surprised if they send you straight to voicemail.  If they do, leave a message, tell a short story and let them know you're thinking of them.  DON'T ask them to call you back or ask for details.  They will do so if they can/want to.  But just because they don't, doesn't mean your thoughtfulness isn't touching them deeply.
  • Send cards/letters to their home, so they have nice mail to look forward to when they ARE home.
  • Send photos of the outside world.  Of things that remind you of them.  Sometimes its nice to know there is more going on.

If you are a NICU parent, what were your favorite gifts or could you have used and didn't have?

How to Be The World's Best Mom

doula in richmond

Today, my 3 year old walked up to me and without prompting, gave me a big hug and said,

You are the best Mom ever.  I love you just exactly how you are. I love your beautiful cubby arms that hug me, and I love to your beautiful squishy belly to snuggle with. I love your beautiful eyes and your blue glasses, and your purple hair that tells everyone you are MY mom. 
— Kid Positioned to Quickly Become Favorite

This is not an accident.  Our kids have been brainwashed by our love for them.

Isn't that the greatest thing we can do for our kids?  To make them feel so supremely loved they only know how to love in return?  Their father and I have worked hard to create a unified front where there are boundaries for behavior, but never boundaries for our love for them.  We have literally washed their little brains in love.

Our kids aren't perfect, and so it's never easy.  And (apparently) I'm not perfect either, so I have to remember how to teach my kids that love and like aren't dependent on one another, and we aren't defined by any one emotion or decision, but how we work to control our behavior through the really hard emotions, because life has those too. 

How to be a perfect Mom (aka how to brainwash your kids in love)

1) Tell you kids you love them.  All the time.  Tell them so much it becomes embarrassing.  Tell them before they can talk.  And when they are yelling at you because their life has become too much for them to contain inside of a quiet life.

2) Be specific and genuine.  "You are the perfect NAME YOUR KID for me because I love how you go and do that hard thing, even when you don't want to."

3) Respect their boundaries for when and where they want affection, but also be willing to give it when it's needed.  This is hard, especially when they are really small (say 3 and under) and don't always have words for their feelings, but they know they will feel better if mom hugs them but mom is in the middle of nursing the baby and doing the dishes.  It's ok to ask them to wait a minute occasionally, that's YOUR boundary.  I tend to side though, on the one of more hugs now and dishes later.

Look, don't roll your eyes just yet. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm relatively sarcastic and my inner anxiety can manifest itself as a quick temper if its not kept in check.  So I'm not all "Oh, I love my babies all the time no matter what forever and ever and ever..."  I'm not saying "Love your kids all the time like a love-robot and life will be perfect."  I'm saying if we choose love more often than not, and forgiveness when we don't, then life will FEEL perfect.

Choose the side of love

even in the face of daily routine or life irritants, or just flat out mistakes.  We teach our kids how to deal with the big emotions by dealing with them ourselves.  If that means taking a time-out for ourselves in our room, or counting down from 10, or a few deep breaths before we continue to speak in anger, taking time for ourselves, we are showing our kids HOW to deal with the big things.  If we do this in an environment surrounded by love, we cannot go wrong.

And when you let the anger/frustration/overload get the better of you (and you will, my friend, you will), just use it as an example of how to ask for forgiveness.  Even when they are little, before they understand what that means.  Because then they will have the words for it when it comes time to fully process it.  And because you have brainwashed them in love, they will forgive you, just as you have forgiven them.

So even though yesterday was a hard one for my kiddos and I, and even through I'm pretty sure they had goldfish crackers and grapes for breakfast, and even though I MADE THEM DO THEIR CHORES, today, I'm the Best Mom In The Whole World.

Requesting Medical Records for Pregnancy in Virignia

medical records while pregnant

If you are in the middle of trying to switch care providers, in preparation for or in the middle of pregnancy, or if you need to see a specialist, providing your medical records to your new provider will inform the whole picture of your health and care and help them manage and/or treat as needed.

How do I request records from my current office?

In Virginia, each office is allowed to have their own form, but this one here, at the bottom of this file on medical records, will allow your doctor's office to furnish them to you.

A faxed copy should work.  You should be allowed to provide this information via fax, but because of HIPPA not over the phone and probably not via email.  Your best bet is always to go into the office personally, to fill out the form so you can guarantee the date which it was received.

Will I have to pay for my own records?

In short, yes.  As frustrating as it sounds, the records are legally the property of the practice who took them.  Privacy laws are in place to ensure they cannot share them with just anyone, but they HAVE to share them with you, even if you have not paid for a service, they cannot withhold them.  This is good news. 

But it means the doctors offices have to provide staff to be able to get your records to you (or to your new care provider) within 15 days.  This costs money, which is understandable, so in Virginia, they are allowed to charge the following fees for records:

  • Search Fee- $10
  • Pages 1-50- $0.50 per page
  • pages 51+- $0.25 per page
  • other film/media $1.00 per page

Will my records be complete?

According to § 32.1-127.1:03. Health records privacy act,  your records must be released to you, upon your request, within 15 days, or you must be informed that they cannot find them.

They cannot keep your records because of payment of service.  Meaning you can still have your records even if you have not paid for being seen by a doctor.

There is an exception to the law, that involves psychoanalytical notes.  If it is deemed that reading something of a psychological nature will become detrimental to your mental health, they are not required to share those notes with you.  This is not the case in most pregnancies, and is seen more often when people are institutionalized for severe mental health concerns.  IN THIS CASE, all tests, bloodwork and physical notes must still be released to you.

When should I request my pregnancy records?

As of the publication of this article, according to the Department of Health Professions in Virginia, a provider has up to 15 days in Virginia to get your records to you after they have been requested.  

The doctors I've talked to ask for 2-3 days prior notice with new patients, in order to keep the practice flowing smoothly.  That way your first appointment can really be about your care, and not discovering your medical history.

This means if you are thinking you want to switch providers mid-pregnancy, you will want to request your records AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, knowing you'll possibly need almost THREE WEEKS to ensure your records arrive, and your new doctor or midwife has time to read them.

My Midwife is Moving... Now What?

By now, news has broken all over Fredericksburg that our three longest running nurse-midwives, Julie Weathers  and Dana Taylor (at Rappahannock Women's Health) and Lee-Ann Parker (at Generations of Women) are all moving their care to Richmond to be the first ever midwife group to serve patients at St. Mary's Hospital.

doula in richmond

But What Now?

I remember being 36 weeks pregnant when my midwife disappeared, and it wasn't that long ago that we had a major shift in midwives here in The 'Burg.  So we at The Virginia Baby Company wanted to make it clear that you still have great options for pregnancy care, even with the midwives' moving.

Option 1: Follow them

Richmond can seem so far away, but it is a much easier drive than heading into Northern VA, and St. Mary's Hospital is at the North-West end of Richmond, so it's wouldn't be that difficult.  If you wanted to, you can still see the midwives you've come to know and love, at a phenomenal hospital that is consistently rated as Richmond's favorite place to have a baby.

Option 2: See Another Fredericksburg Midwife

As of the publishing of this blog, there are two midwives in Fredericksburg who see patients and deliver at hospitals in the immediate area:

Option 3: Stay with Your Current Practice

Just because your midwives are moving on, doesn't mean you have to.  Even if you were seeing your midwife exclusively, you have always been a patient of the doctors of that practice, and there are some excellent obstetricians at Rappahannock Women's Health Center and Generations of Women.  Sometimes you just don't have the energy to move elsewhere-- that is ok too!

Think about Hiring A Doula

We know that people create can close connections with their care providers, and when those care providers move on, it can leave us feeling kind of empty, even with a new, great doctor to step in an manage the medical care. If you are wanting continuous presence, to be certain you are going to know someone who will be at your birth, or who can help you after the birth, once you come home, we suggest hiring a doula.

Our doulas will be there for you to help smooth this transition, whether it is during your birth or home with baby, you can count on us to be there for you, to answer your questions, and to walk with you every step of the way from the moment you sign a contract with us.  And because our agency model is sustainable for doulas, you can rest assured that our agency will be here for you, no matter which provider you choose.

BONUS DISCOUNT

To make continuous support more accessible no matter which pregnancy care option you choose,

placenta encapsulation fredericksburg va

we are offering a 10% discount to allpatients (current or former) of Julie Weathers, Dana Taylor and Lee-Ann Parker through the end of 2017. 

**Discount is honored based on date of contract signing, not time of service, so even newly-pregnant people can take advantage of this rare offer! Call us today at 540-300-1102 to set up all of the support you need!

Midwives in Richmond at St. Mary's Hospital

YOU'RE INVITED

to experience the intimacy and empowerment of midwifery care in Richmond

Richmond VA midwife

What

Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital is launching a 24/7 midwifery care program.

Where

Midwifery at Richmond OB-GYN delivering at St. Mary's Hospital.

Who

Julie Weathers (CNM), Dana Taylor (CNM) and LeeAnn Parker (CNM) are going to be the establishing midwives at Richmond OB-GYN's new Midwifery Program.  They will be the first group in the area to offer personalized care from experienced midwives for those patients choosing to deliver at St. Mary's Hospital.

When

Richmond OB-GYN is currently taking appointments to meet with the midwives starting in August 2017.

What you need to know

These are experienced nurse-midwives who have a combined 23 years of insight into providing true midwifery care to women in Virginia.  They have a longstanding professional relationship with one another and work in concert for their patients.  Those who seek care with Midwifery at Richmond OB-GYN will experience the benefit of personalized attention from an small group of midwives who each practice with the same philosophies and standards. 

Midwives and Doulas Work Together!

Those of us at The Virginia Baby Company have worked with these midwives for years, and our experience shows that when a woman uses their experienced pregnancy care combined with our excellent doula support, she will have an empowered and positive experience as her family grows.

We are offering a 10% discount on all Virginia Baby Company contracts signed by the end of 2017 to patients of The Midwives at Richmond OB-GYN.

To take advantage of your discount on any of our services, please call us at 540-300-1102. 

Why St. Mary's?

St Mary's Hospital is recognized nationally for its outstanding care for moms and babies, as well as its other service areas. St. Mary's is also repeatedly voted Richmond's FAVORITE place to have a baby in Style Weekly's annual "Family Favorite" poll- 14 years running!  Some of the services our clients in labor love include Nitrous oxide,  Hydrotherapy tubs, and Wireless fetal monitoring. 

If you would like to schedule an appointment with these new-to-Richmond midwives, please call Richmond OB-GYN at 804-320-2483.