Thursday, June 30, 2016

For Motherhood, in all its forms.


This very image has gone viral 6 years after its creation. I would like to share a bit about how it all started. 

I created this logo in July 2010 and registered it with the US Copyright Office. At the time, I had two children and was actively pursuing my passion for childbirth by being a birth doula. I have since had two more babies and doulaing has taken a backseat in my life as I raise my four sons. I designed it to be in the shape of an S- like my last name and in the obvious shape of a pregnant woman. I wanted the design to be simplistic and yet powerful. A single line connects the mommy and her baby. This symbolizes the eternal connection between a mother and her child. The two hearts intertwined in the design further show the loving bond between the two. 

The design has gone viral and was featured in an article by The Today Show, Huffington Post, Parents, Cosmo, SELF, scarymommy, popsugar, and countless others.

I am thrilled to hear that this design is resonated with other women like it has resonated with me. It was grown to mean so much more: pregnancy, miscarriage, surrogacy, and beyond. I am grateful to show this design to the world. 

This is for Motherhood, in all its forms.

*If you are interested in purchasing rights to use this image either for personal or commercial use please email me at hollysteffenstudio@gmail.com or visit my etsy shop at etsy.com/store/hollysteffenstudio


Thursday, January 17, 2013

baby3 birthstory.

Sorry it took me so long to post this! Life just got away from me. :)
------------------------------------------------------------------

Brian’s mom came to stay with us from 8/16- the morning of the 8/23 incase I went into labor. On the 23rd we made plans with my parents to take the boys til hopefully a baby was born. My calculated due date based on my lmp was 8/23/11 but my 7 week internal sono dated me for a due date of 8/31/11… my 26th birthday. We met up with my parents on the 23rd, and had a nice lunch. They took the boys and we went home, cleaned a little, and took off to hang out with some friends- the Lystrups. We had dinner together. Little did I know that would be my “last meal”.

I woke up at 6:30am on Weds 08/24/2011. I thought I had a contraction. I got up, went to the bathroom and laid back down. I had another contraction when I laid down. I laid in bed til about 7:15am and had a couple more mild contractions. I woke Brian up at 7:30am and told him I thought I was having contractions. I also texted my doula- Chris to let her know too. Brian got up and sat and talked with me while I took a shower. The contractions started to get more intense. I timed a couple and they were 3-5 min apart lasting about 45sec.

We went downstairs and Brian made French Toast. I ate about a half of a slice and felt sick and shaky. I couldn’t eat any more. I got on facebook to talk to Chris and I also got to talk to Britta. I told her what was going on and she urged me to call the Dr. Some of the contractions were REALLY intense at this point so I thought I would call and get checked. By this time it was 10am. Janet, one of the midwives, wanted me to go to the hospital, so Brian loaded up the odds and ends—toiletry bag, French toast, ice water, and put towels on my seat. I waddled out to the car.

We arrived around 11:15am. Found a spot at the top of the parking garage and grabbed the elevator. We stopped on a floor and another laboring mom got on. As we arrived, Janet was calling to see where we were. She was worried something happened. We were standing at the desk when she called. The hospital was so busy that we were sent to a labor./delivery room right near the OR.. one that is hardly ever used- for triage! I was checked- by Janet at 11:28a and was 5, almost 6cm- 90%effaced- and -3 station. I told Chris to come whenever. Michele another doula sister was going to come but she was actually picking up her new car and so she wouldn’t be able to make it, but she was totally there in spirit.

I laid in bed while getting the initial monitoring strip and IV antibiotics (I was strep b pos this pregnancy). A contraction would start and I would lie limp in the bed. I focused on my breathing. I let the pain go. The nurses kept saying "I can't believe you're in labor" & "You're SO CALM". I got unhooked after a bit and started walking around. Brian stayed in the room and recorded a couple videos to the baby. Contractions were about 2min apart and I wanted to get into the big whirlpool tub. In the tub, I did the same thing- focusing heavily on my breathing. I kept saying over and over in my head: "Let it happen. Let your body do it. Let your body do what it knows how to do" I was giving up control to my body. I only let 2-3 contractions “go” that I couldn’t stay on top of. I arched my back in pain and bent my legs. I wanted to be done. I told myself to stay in control and regained control for the next contraction. By this time I was feeling tons of pressure. I knew the time was coming. I kept telling myself after the next surge, I’m gonna get out and back to the room to be checked. Then after the contraction I wanted to just lay there and enjoy the break. After a couple more, I got out. When I stood up- my mucus plug plopped into the tub below me. I had never seen it before. It looked like a scallop with a little red vein through it.

I had about 2-3 contractions in the hall and they were almost unbearable. I leaned against the railing and put my head on the wall, swayed my hips and blew away the pain. I had to pee so bad! I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to the room. Luckily, I did. I sat on the toilet, peed and then pushed. “Chris! I gotta get checked now!” She was trying to ask me if I pushed bc I was pushing or pooping. I was so focused on staying in control and trying not to push that I couldn’t answer.

Dr Berry arrived and checked me as soon as I got into bed—at 3:52pm. My water broke. Fully dilated and effaced. Ready to push! I was -1 station but she wasn’t worried at all about it. I heard Dr Berry say something like ‘We don’t have time to break the bed’. And the nurse called for preadmittance of baby over the loudspeaker. Holy Crap! I’m gonna meet my baby, I thought over and over. I pushed and within a couple mins the head was out. I was told to stop pushing and Dr Berry was saying something about a compound. I thought “Oh my word! It's shoulders are stuck!!” Nope. Baby came out with the hand up by the head. The cord was wrapped around the tiny fingers. She unwrapped the cord. And baby was born minutes later… at 4:02pm. They put the baby right on me and covered it up. I laid there for about a second before looking. Another little boy! “Awww, I knew you were a boy!” I exclaimed happily! We are so blessed. Dr Berry was leaving the cord intact until the placenta was out like I asked but then after a couple min, I was okay with it being cut. She milked the cord some more and Brian cut it. She put the placenta in our container and we put it on ice waiting to go home. (My parents ended up putting it in our freezer for us) I kept saying “wow, I can’t believe it’s over already!”

Anderson Boulter Steffen weighed in at 8lbs 5oz and was 21.5in long.

I had some problems with bleeding afterward and was almost considered hemorrhaging. It was a little scary but Dr Berry was great at giving me my options and being proactive.

I am so grateful for my support system. The office of Dr Berry and Associates, my doula Chris and my husband Brian. I can honestly say, I got everything I wanted in my birthplan!

2nd VBAC SUCCESS!

Parker and Carter saw the baby an hour or so after being born. Brian asked them what they thought and Parker said “It’s a boy! I know it was a boy!” They were incredibly sweet—hugging and kissing the baby. They wanted to take the baby home now and show the baby Yogi. (They are camping there with my parents right now) Parker said he was gonna share his toys with the baby. Carter showed the nurse the baby’s eyes, nose, and ears. They got on a stepstool and watched the nurse examine the baby. It could not have been any more picture perfect. Parker wanted to hold the baby so daddy helped… and then Carter wanted to too. I had tears in my eyes. Such a tender moment. I knew that having the boys see the baby first- as soon as possible- just us- was the right thing to do. This was our new member and they had the right to know about the baby first. I think they could honestly tell how special they were.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

wintertime

Wintertime is here. Most of the births I have attended have been in Syracuse-- which is an hour away from me. With Central New York's unpredictable winter weather- travelling that far for a birth isn't an option. I will be "off" from doulaing until April.

I'm super excited to see what this spring/summer holds. I've had a couple prospective clients for the local hospital and so I'm really hoping to get more established around here. This area needs doulas.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Neglected

I can't believe it has been since April 2011! I'm such a slacker when it comes to blogging.

I'm happy to report that in August 2011 I had my second med-free VBAC!

Here's that story:
Brian’s mom came to stay with us from 8/16- the morning of the 8/23 incase I went into labor. On the 23rd we made plans with my parents to take the boys til hopefully a baby was born. My calculated due date based on my lmp was 8/23/11 but my 7 week internal sono dated me for a due date of 8/31/11… my 26th birthday. We met up with my parents on the 23rd, and had a nice lunch. They took the boys and we went home, cleaned a little, and took off to hang out with some friends- the Lystrups. We had dinner together. Little did I know that would be my “last meal”.

I woke up at 6:30am on Weds 08/24/2011. I thought I had a contraction. I got up, went to the bathroom and laid back down. I had another contraction when I laid down. I laid in bed til about 7:15am and had a couple more mild contractions. I woke Brian up at 7:30am and told him I thought I was having contractions. I also texted my doula- Chris to let her know too. Brian got up and sat and talked with me while I took a shower. The contractions started to get more intense. I timed a couple and they were 3-5 min apart lasting about 45sec.

We went downstairs and Brian made French Toast. I ate about a half of a slice and felt sick and shaky. I couldn’t eat any more. I got on facebook to talk to Chris and I also got to talk to Britta. I told her what was going on and she urged me to call the Dr. Some of the contractions were REALLY intense at this point so I thought I would call and get checked. By this time it was 10am. Janet, one of the midwives, wanted me to go to the hospital, so Brian loaded up the odds and ends—toiletry bag, French toast, ice water, and put towels on my seat. I waddled out to the car.

We arrived around 11:15am. Found a spot at the top of the parking garage and grabbed the elevator. We stopped on a floor and another laboring mom got on. As we arrived, Janet was calling to see where we were. She was worried something happened. We were standing at the desk when she called. The hospital was so busy that we were sent to a labor./delivery room right near the OR.. one that is hardly ever used- for triage! I was checked- by Janet at 11:28a and was 5, almost 6cm- 90%effaced- and -3 station. I told Chris to come whenever. Michele another doula sister was going to come but she was actually picking up her new car and so she wouldn’t be able to make it, but she was totally there in spirit.

I laid in bed while getting the initial monitoring strip and IV antibiotics (I was strep b pos this pregnancy). A contraction would start and I would lie limp in the bed. I focused on my breathing. I let the pain go. The nurses kept saying "I can't believe you're in labor" & "You're SO CALM". I got unhooked after a bit and started walking around. Brian stayed in the room and recorded a couple videos to the baby. Contractions were about 2min apart and I wanted to get into the big whirlpool tub. In the tub, I did the same thing- focusing heavily on my breathing. I kept saying over and over in my head: "Let it happen. Let your body do it. Let your body do what it knows how to do" I was giving up control to my body. I only let 2-3 contractions “go” that I couldn’t stay on top of. I arched my back in pain and bent my legs. I wanted to be done. I told myself to stay in control and regained control for the next contraction. By this time I was feeling tons of pressure. I knew the time was coming. I kept telling myself after the next surge, I’m gonna get out and back to the room to be checked. Then after the contraction I wanted to just lay there and enjoy the break. After a couple more, I got out. When I stood up- my mucus plug plopped into the tub below me. I had never seen it before. It looked like a scallop with a little red vein through it.

I had about 2-3 contractions in the hall and they were almost unbearable. I leaned against the railing and put my head on the wall, swayed my hips and blew away the pain. I had to pee so bad! I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to the room. Luckily, I did. I sat on the toilet, peed and then pushed. “Chris! I gotta get checked now!” She was trying to ask me if I pushed bc I was pushing or pooping. I was so focused on staying in control and trying not to push that I couldn’t answer.

Dr Berry arrived and checked me as soon as I got into bed—at 3:52pm. My water broke. Fully dilated and effaced. Ready to push! I was -1 station but she wasn’t worried at all about it. I heard Dr Berry say something like ‘We don’t have time to break the bed’. And the nurse called for preadmittance of baby over the loudspeaker. Holy Crap! I’m gonna meet my baby, I thought over and over. I pushed and within a couple mins the head was out. I was told to stop pushing and Dr Berry was saying something about a compound. I thought “Oh my word! It's shoulders are stuck!!” Nope. Baby came out with the hand up by the head. The cord was wrapped around the tiny fingers. She unwrapped the cord. And baby was born minutes later… at 4:02pm. They put the baby right on me and covered it up. I laid there for about a second before looking. Another little boy! “Awww, I knew you were a boy!” I exclaimed happily! We are so blessed. Dr Berry was leaving the cord intact until the placenta was out like I asked but then after a couple min, I was okay with it being cut. She milked the cord some more and Brian cut it. She put the placenta in our container and we put it on ice waiting to go home. (My parents ended up putting it in our freezer for us) I kept saying “wow, I can’t believe it’s over already!”

Anderson weighed in at 8lbs 5oz and was 21.5in long.

I had some problems with bleeding afterward and was almost considered hemorrhaging. It was a little scary but Dr Berry was great at giving me my options and being proactive.

I am so grateful for my support system. The office of Dr Berry and Associates, my doula Chris and my husband Brian. I can honestly say, I got everything I wanted in my birthplan!

2nd VBAC SUCCESS!

Parker and Carter saw the baby an hour or so after being born. Brian asked them what they thought and Parker said “It’s a boy! I know it was a boy!” They were incredibly sweet—hugging and kissing the baby. They wanted to take the baby home now and show the baby Yogi. (They are camping there with my parents right now) Parker said he was gonna share his toys with the baby. Carter showed the nurse the baby’s eyes, nose, and ears. They got on a stepstool and watched the nurse examine the baby. It could not have been any more picture perfect. Parker wanted to hold the baby so daddy helped… and then Carter wanted to too. I had tears in my eyes. Such a tender moment. I knew that having the boys see the baby first- as soon as possible- just us- was the right thing to do. This was our new member and they had the right to know about the baby first. I think they could honestly tell how special they were.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Babies Don’t Keep

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Induction.

Inductions have been on my mind lately. I have some friends who are getting induced or thinking about induction...

BEFORE I go on a little bit of a rant, I am all for informed consent. If a mom is well informed and chooses to induce- then that's her prerogative. I don't judge people who make that choice. And, as I always say, and want to reiterate, there ARE situations that WARRANT induction.

Inductions scare me. Point blank. I was induced with my first child, which ended in c-section. Was I informed? Kind of. I didn't really know about inductions. Whose fault was that? Mine. I take full responsibility. I trusted my Dr. They had never lead me astray. They wanted to induce me at 39w 2days but I pushed it as far back as they would allow-- 39w 5d. I was boarderline gestational diabetic. I failed the test by 2 points. I poked my finger 4 times a day- never a high number. When my baby was in fetal distress (60bpm) and I was deemed to small (hip wise) to birth my baby (CPD) he was cut out and ripped from my womb.

Does every induction end like mine? Of course not.

Pitocin. Pitocin forces your body to have contractions. It forces your uterus to contract by loading up your bloodstream with pitocin- a synthetic oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps the uterus contract with gradual increasing intensity. Pitocin has one speed: strong. Women who get pitocin are more likely to ask for pain medicine (narcotics) and then eventually an epidural. Medications make it so you can't get out of bed. Gravity can't help in the positioning of the baby on the cervix when you're lying flat on your back. It CAN be a nasty cascade of events that can spiral out of control in no time.

(photo from google images, credit unknown)

My advice (for most healthy moms and pregnancies)-- avoid inductions at all cost. Your body is made to birth. Your baby will come when he or she is ready. Trust yourself. Trust your baby. Trust birth. You are not a lemon. God made your body to work perfectly on it's own. You CAN do it. In those last couple weeks and days -- every mom wants to meet their baby-- but let your baby choose their own due date.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Born Every Minute-- My Commentary

WHY does this show START with a SIREN? Birth is not an emergency situation.

Which is immediately followed by LOTS OF SCREAMING. Birth doesn't have to be super painful.

ALL the patients there are happy with all these cameras? Do they all WANT their births on tv?
I bet they have to sign a waiver before being admitted. What the heck. Birth is NOT a spectator sport.

First Scene: you hear " and hold.... push push push push push"
Pro: baby is handed to mom
Con: not skin to skin

Second Baby: Acting like Pit is routine. She's already 3-4cm dilated.
"the trend today is a 90% epi rate, *smile*"
Stuck in bed.

Gossiping about patients. awesome.

Third baby: Induced. Pit then water break is the plan.
"is your dr planning on you having this baby vaginally?" no.
"are you planning on an epidural?" no, it slowed me down last time
"if you time in right, it won't"
"not quite 2 fingers, let's break your water and start pit"


I seriously have to stop... There's too much to write!!